The Trump administration's scuttling or weakening of key Obama-era climate policies could together add 1.8 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent to the atmosphere by 2035, a Rhodium Group analysis concludes.
Why it matters: The 1.8 gigatons is "more than the combined energy emissions of Germany, Britain and Canada in one year," per the New York Times, which first reported on the study.
- "This cumulative impact is equivalent to nearly one-third of all U.S. emissions in 2019," Rhodium notes.
- They still see U.S. emissions being lower in 2035 than today, but it's a smaller reduction that would have occurred absent the rollbacks.
- The research is an effort to look more holistically at a several separate policy moves and their effect on the country's long-term emissions.
Threat level: "[T]he rollbacks we consider here are far from exhaustive. The current administration has reversed many more Obama-era rules with climate implications that are difficult to assess," the analysis states.
How it works: Rhodium looked at several different policies, as the chart above shows. They include
- The decision to weaken Obama-era vehicle mileage and CO2 standards through the mid-2020s.
- Stripping California's power to impose tailpipe CO2 rules that a number of other states follow.
- Easing regulation of the potent planet-warming gas methane from oil-and-gas development.
What we're watching: The election and the courts. Joe Biden has pledged to reverse President Trump's moves and impose even stronger emissions standards and policies than the Obama administration.
- Also, a number of states and activist groups are challenging key Trump administration regulatory changes in court.
Go deeper: Trump's climate change rollbacks to drive up U.S. emissions (Politico)