US Decarbonization: 1992-2018


The figure above shows US rates of decarbonization 1992 to 2018. Decarbonization is a technical term that refers to a decrease in the ratio of carbon dioxide emissions to gross domestic product. The concept is derived from the Kaya Identity, which is a very powerful tool for understanding emissions and their potential to be reduced through policy action. This post provides an update on global decarbonization rates, based on new data from the EIA and OMB.

Summary data:

  • annual average= 2.4%
  • needed for -80% emissions (from 2018)= 6.8%
  • At the linear rate of increase 1992-2018, the US will hit the 6.8% rate of average decarbonization needed 2019-2050 to hit a -80% reduction by 2050 … in 2118.
  • 2018 saw the economy re-carbonize (only 4th time since 1992)

Further data:

US decarbonization annual averages:

  • From 1992-2018 (FCCC era)= 2.4%
  • From 1974-1991 (pre-FCCC era )=2.5%
  • From 1997-2018 (Kyoto era)= 2.5%
  • From 2015-2018 (Paris era)= 2.0%

US climate policy, whatever its effects, is not discernible in decarbonization data.

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