2018: A year of stalled progress and unprecedented ambition on climate | TheHill
In tangible terms, 2018 marked a setback for American efforts to combat climate change. Carbon dioxide emissions rebounded by 3 percent after three straight years of declines. But in the realm of ideas, 2018 was a year when pioneers at the federal, state and corporate levels announced unprecedented ambitions for future goals, and technologies emerged to make those goals more attainable.
First, the bad news. Tariffs on photovoltaic panels, steel and aluminum, slowed the construction of new solar and wind farms. That left natural gas to pick up the slack from this year’s near-record retirements of coal power plants. A colder winter and hotter summer than 2017 drove up demand for natural gas heating and electricity. Meanwhile, oil use rose as Americans drove a record number of miles and bought record amounts of goods. Beyond this year’s uptick, Trump administration proposals to weaken efficiency standards for everything from vehicles to light bulbs to power plants could boost emissions for years to come.