Environment

Transportation Produces More CO2 Than Any Other Industry in the U.S. and It's Getting Worse

Transportation is now the leading cause of air pollution and greenhouse gases in the USA. Republicans and Trump want to make it far worse.

The old days of smoking power plants and smog-belching smokestacks are becoming a thing of the past. That is thanks to a combination of tougher pollution regulations, the increased use of cleaner energy options such as natural gas plants, and the emergence of renewable energy such as solar and wind as a major competitor in the energy industry.

This is why, for the first time in over four decades, transportation – in the form of planes, trains and cars -- has overtaken electricity production as the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).

In another era, with consistent government policies guiding emissions and energy production, this would be a major cause for cheering. Getting the long-polluting energy generation industry under control is a major step forward. Knowing that transportation, an area which has been tough to regulate and clean up, is also on its way to a much cleaner industry sector, has also been good news.

But not for long.

Since Donald Trump came in as U.S. President and Scott Pruitt was named administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. government has systemically dismantled every possible rule and edictunder direct control of the Executive Branch of the governmentrelated to emissions standard tightening for planes, trains and especially automobiles. It also pulled out of the Paris Climate Accords to deal with emissions in general, as the sole nation left which just pulled out of that deal to save the planet.

Then there is the Republican-led Congress, which is directly advocating new fuel economy rules for cars sold in the U.S. The idiotic pitch being made with the changes is to save money for America’s driving public by increasing their fuel costs and oil industry profits. The pitch to the fossil fuel industry is to keep using more fuel. And the pitch to those concerned about Climate Change is to tell them this whole global warming thing is just a made-up story and the obvious freakish climate change is perfectly normal.

Average emissions per vehicle will be worse than ever, and with increasing numbers of cars on the road, the amount of pollution will increase even more rapidly.

As Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board and a former EPA assistant administrator said about the situation in a recent interview, “This Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t seem to have met an air regulation that it likes”.  She went on to say that, “I’ve not seen any evidence that this administration knows anything about the auto industry, they just seem to be against anything the Obama administration did.”

With new cars and trucks responsible for over 80% of all transportation-related GHG emissions, easing of rules could have a devastating effect on overall carbon dioxide emissions in this country.

With the U.S. still being a strong #2 behind China in overall CO2 emissions on a nation-by-nation basis, this is also even more disastrous news for the world.

Studies show that air pollution in the United States already kills about 200,000 people each year. The death count is going up under Trump.