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US sees a near 2% decrease in climate pollution in 2023, despite economic growth, reveals Rhodium Group data.

In 2023, US climate pollution fell nearly 2% while the economy expanded, reports the Rhodium Group. This decline, primarily due to coal-fired power plant retirements, marks the lowest pollution level since 1991, according to Rhodium analyst Ben King.

However, the US is far from meeting President Joe Biden's ambitious climate goals. Set at the start of his term, these targets require significant reductions. To reach Biden's objective of halving emissions by 2030, King states that annual reductions need to triple to about 7%.

This necessitates a surge in zero-emissions energy sources like wind, solar, and nuclear power. Additionally, it calls for more electric or zero-emission vehicles and reduced emissions in heavy industries like steel and cement.

King recognizes the positive trend but stresses more effort for the US to meet its Paris Agreement commitments. The US's ability to significantly cut emissions hinges on the 2024 election results, which will influence updated targets.


Data highlights the substantial impact of reduced coal energy use on US climate pollution. Unlike China, the US is not building new coal plants. Instead, many utilities are retiring old, expensive power plants from the 1970s and 1980s. "We do see coal … is back to where it was in the Nixon administration," King remarks, attributing this to a decline in coal use since the natural gas fracking boom.

King points out that the Rhodium data proves economic growth can coincide with emissions reduction. This is partly thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act's substantial clean energy tax subsidies. However, the Act's full impact on the EV and clean energy sectors isn't fully reflected in the 2023 data, as the Biden administration was still finalizing related guidelines.

The Inflation Reduction Act bolsters the economic viability of clean energy deployment, King explains. Remaining challenges include speeding up clean energy permitting and expanding EV charging infrastructure. King believes affordability is key to deep decarbonization, stating, "if you can make it so darn cheap," the necessary elements are in place.

Samira is an Electronics and Communications Engineer by profession, but deep inside, her heart is a nomad! She's a state champion debater, a public speaker, a scriptwriter, a theater actress, but most importantly — A GREEN CITIZEN! She thinks of herself as a storyteller who thrives on enjoying the life at fullest and telling everyone the tales of life.

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