Under President Trump, the United States led the world in reducing carbon-dioxide emissions in 2019, but don’t expect Greta Thunberg to give him a hug any time soon.
International Energy Agency data released earlier this month showing that U.S. emissions dropped by 2.9% last year failed to make an impression with Democrats, environmentalists and climate activists, who either shrugged off the data or argued that Mr. Trump’s climate-denialism was somehow thwarted.
“U.S. carbon emissions declined last year in spite of every effort by the Trump administration to prop up dirty energy,” said David Doniger, senior strategic director of the Climate & Clean Energy Program at the National Resources Defense Council, in an email.
Such responses drew an eye-roll from Republicans.
“Have they given the President credit for anything since taking office? It’s not surprising,” said Austin Hacker, spokesman for the Republicans on the House Natural Resource Committee.
“The facts speak for themselves,” he added. “Under President Trump, the United States has finally become an energy exporter and a global leader in emissions reductions.”
At the same time, the climate skeptics who have backed Mr. Trump’s push to boost coal, bring back manufacturing, and pull out of the Paris agreement warned against doing backflips over the continued U.S. decline in greenhouse gases.
Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and the Environment at the free-market Competitive Enterprise Institute, said that cheering the reduction surrenders the field to the climate-change movement.
“I have very contrary feelings about it,” Mr. Ebell said. “I understand why various people want to take credit for it because it annoys and challenges other countries, which are not making reductions in carbon-dioxide emissions. But on the other hand, it concedes the point that there’s something good about lowering carbon-dioxide emissions.”
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