The findings, published Tuesday by the independent economic research firm Rhodium Group, mean that the United States now has a diminishing chance of meeting its pledge under the 2015 Paris climate agreement to dramatically reduce its emissions by 2025.
The figures, based on data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration and other sources, remain an estimate because some data from past year is not finalized. The group said its figures are estimates because some 2018 data is not final. Between 2007 and the end of 2015, emissions declined by an average of 1.6 percent each year, the report shows.
"I don't think you would have seen the same increase", Houser said, referring to the electric power sector in particular.
Like the utility sector, those industries also saw their emissions increase in 2018. But it also served the vast majority of load growth for electricity past year, the report said.
All this presents something of a problem for the Trump administration which has been happy to point to declining U.S. emissions as a reason to roll back numerous environmental protection regulations put in place by his predecessor. The Rhodium analysis found emissions from transportation rose 1% previous year. President Trump has said he plans to officially withdraw the nation from the Paris climate agreement in 2020 and in the meantime has rolled back Obama-era regulations aimed at reducing the country's carbon emissions.
Coal plants are shutting down, but electricity demand is growing.
The EPA in a statement on December 28 said it is "providing regulatory certainty by transparently and accurately taking account of both costs and benefits". They said new government rules would "give consumers greater access to safer, more affordable vehicles, while continuing to protect the environment". Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, on Tuesday in a statement said: "While Trump is trying to manufacture a crisis on the border to swindle the public into paying for his unpopular, destructive wall, the climate crisis is getting more unsafe before our eyes". The agency contends that Donald Trump's agenda is driving energy innovation that could help cut emissions.
The spike occurred even though 2018 brought a record number of shutdowns of power plants fired by coal, the fuel richest in carbon output when burned.
In the 2015 climate accord, then President Barack Obama committed to reducing U.S. emissions to at least 26% under 2005 levels by 2025.
As the report notes, there are "the forgotten sectors", too, that are also responsible for the increase - the buildings and industry sectors, which are estimated to make up for largest emissions growth in 2018. It is the second largest gain in more than two decades. In addition, the myriad of small refinery exemptions the U.S. EPA-the administrating agency of the RFS-has handed out to oil companies, releasing them from their obligation to blend biodiesel under the RFS, has further reduced the role of low-carbon biodiesel in mitigating GHG emissions.
Michael Mehling, deputy director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told the Post: "It's not an isolated phenomenon".
The data shows the USA is unlikely to meet its pledge to reduce emissions by 2025 under the Paris climate agreement. President Trump announced in 2017 that the US would leave the agreement, and Rhodium reported the nation was already behind the pace to meet its targets - a 26% to 28% carbon emissions reduction by 2025 - before previous year.
Under President Donald Trump, the United States is set to leave the Paris accord in 2020 while his administration has ended many existing environmental protections.
The result is that - despite expansion of solar and wind power and some movement to alternative-fuel vehicles - the USA will have to do even more in the coming years to come close to meeting previous global commitments for greenhouse gas reductions.