Will Trump Claim Credit for a Second Year of U.S. Emission Declines? Surely Not

Mathew Carr

Jan. 19, 2021 (London) — As the world examines Mr Donald Trump’s legacy, it’ll certainly remember his tendency to say one thing and do another.

This is what the White House is saying about some of his achievements in the environmental realm:


In 2019, America achieved the largest decline in carbon emissions of any country on earth. Since withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord, the United States has reduced carbon emissions more than any nation,” is one key claim.

Let’s take a look.

It’s not clear exactly what data Mr Trump is using. BP Plc data for energy emissions indicates U.S. co2 dropped 152 million tons in 2019 to 4.96 billion tons, after rising in 2018.

But U.S. emissions dropped 410 million tons in 2009, amid the financial crisis, according to the BP data.

So it’s also unclear what the President is claiming.

Perhaps he means to say 2020 U.S. emissions, which probably dropped about 630 million tons, according to a projection cited by @CICERO_klima.

This does seem like the biggest, or one of the biggest, declines in emissions for a single country in history. See this: http://carrzee.org/2021/01/12/the-u-s-has-cut-emissions-by-the-biggest-amount-in-history-for-a-single-nation/

This drop occurred as the global pandemic sapped economic output, especially transport emissions.

As recently as last week, Trump’s administration has been seeking to erode environmental protections – including the ability of President Elect Joe Biden to enact new climate rules.

Under a new rule put in place Jan. 13, the Environment Protection Agency can only regulate greenhouse gases from industrial sectors that are responsible for at least 3% of U.S. emissions.

See this for more than 100 rollbacks:

States are suing the Trump administration for the climate rollbacks and Biden is seeking to unroll them. See this: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-climatechange-lawsuit/california-19-other-states-sue-trump-administration-for-weakening-methane-rules-idUSKBN2652EB

Trump infamously pulled the U.S. out of the Paris climate deal. Given the criticsm also of Trump’s handling of the pandemic, should he seek to take credit for 2020’s lower U.S. emissions, it’ll certainly be one of best examples of double speak in history.

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