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The Pandemic, the Clean Power Plan, and the Paris Agreement

The drop in greenhouse gases from energy generation will be key to keeping the U.S. on track to meet multiple climate goals.

Santee Cooper Cross Generation Station As Global Coal Power Plant Construction Falls
Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

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U.S. greenhouse gas emissions have been trending downwards for the past 12 years, thanks to a power sector transforming through more gas, less coal, more renewable generation, and greater efficiency. Prior to this year—i.e., prior to Covid-19—the U.S. was on track to exceed the emissions pathway outlined in the Clean Power Plan, a late-Obama era attempt to regulate emissions that was stifled by the Trump administration.