Ports reveal unprecedented surge in harmful emissions; officials blame COVID-19 logjam
U.S. Coast Guard cutters conduct a port security operation in Montauk, New York, June 21, 2019 from in Montauk Bay to Port Beach by U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Jason P. Roberts. U.S. Coast Guard cutters conducted a port security operation in Montauk, New York, June 21, 2019 from in Montauk Bay to Port Beach by U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Jason P. Roberts. Photo: Cpl. Michael Pritchard/U.S. Coast Guard Photo: Cpl. Michael Pritchard/U.S. Coast Guard Image 1 of / 1 Caption Close Ports reveal unprecedented surge in harmful emissions; officials blame COVID-19 logjam 1 / 1 Back to Gallery
The American government is facing an unprecedented surge in harmful emissions – from its cars and trucks that release carbon dioxide and nitrous oxides, and from its power plants that release particulates and soot – during the nationwide lockdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a government internal data analysis released Friday.
The report, prepared by the Energy Department’s office of energy independence and co-authored by the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality, found that the rate at which the nation’s power-sector power demand was increasing and its capacity was shrinking is expected to continue. Between the beginning of March and mid-April, new emissions jumped by more than 24 percent, surpassing every other category except those produced by aircraft, the report noted.
By comparison, emissions from human activities stayed constant between March and April, the report found.
“The surge in energy demand and the contraction in US energy and energy efficiency sectors have increased America’s harmful emissions more than ever seen,” U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said, calling for more action on the part of both the private and public sectors.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is driving this unprecedented surge, and I have directed the Department of Energy to prepare a report on the impact of this event on energy demand,” Perry said. “We will release the report this week.”
The Energy Department’s Office of Energy Independence and Climate Change, which is housed in the U.S. Department of Energy, released the data in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by Bloomberg News, which the Energy Department has not yet responded to. As a result, the data is