Industrial emissions aren’t falling fast enough to meet US climate goals

Source: Canary Media


The U.S. industrial sector could claim an especially undesirable title in the coming years: It’s set to become the country’s number one source of planet-warming pollution.

The designation currently belongs to the U.S. transportation sector. Heavy industry overtook electricity as the second-highest emitter in 2023. But whereas battery-powered vehicles and renewable energy projects are proliferating nationwide, and starting to edge out fossil fuels, the nation’s factories are making only plodding progress toward slashing greenhouse gas emissions, a new report says.

On Thursday, the research firm Rhodium Group released its latest decarbonization outlook for industrial activities, including chemical refining, food processing, oil and gas production, steelmaking, and cement manufacturing.

It estimated that, under current policies, industrial emissions could decline by just 5 to 10 percent by 2040, with a reduction of 81 million to 132 million metric tons of net greenhouse gas emissions.

“It’s not nothing — but it’s also not putting us on a path toward deep decarbonization of that sector by any stretch of the imagination,” said Ben King, the report’s lead author and an associate director with Rhodium Group’s energy and climate practice.

Read more: Industrial emissions aren’t falling fast enough to meet US climate goals