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Major Covid-Related Emissions Drop Still ‘No Cause for Cheer’

A new report shows an 18% reduction in greenhouse gases year over year, but at a big economic cost.

Interstate 10 in Santa Monica, California on May 31, 2020.

Interstate 10 in Santa Monica, California on May 31, 2020.

Photographer: David McNew/Getty Images

Greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. fell 18% below last year’s level in the three months ending June 15, reflecting an economy sharply hobbled by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new report by research firm Rhodium Group.

The drop is likely to continue through the year and even the decade, with climate pollution anywhere from 2% to 12% lower than estimated by 2030, depending on the disease’s spread and economic damage. The impact of the pandemic on greenhouse gas emissions will be “far more” than the shift to solar power or more climate-safe agricultural practices, the Rhodium analysts conclude.