Did US 'Lead the World' in Reducing CO2 Emissions in 2019?

5 min read
fairly difficult
Right-leaning websites celebrated the findings of a February 2020 report by the International Energy Agency.
In February 2020, we received multiple inquiries from readers about the veracity of articles which claimed that the United States had "led the entire world" in reducing carbon dioxide emissions that, along with other greenhouse gases like methane, contribute significantly to global warming.

On Feb. 13, the right-leaning website The Daily Wire published an article with the headline "United States Led Entire World in Reducing CO 2 Emissions in 2019." That piece reported as follows:

"The United States led the entire world in reducing CO 2 emissions last year while also experiencing solid economic growth, according to a newly released report. 'The United States saw the largest decline in energy-related CO 2 emissions in 2019 on a country basis – a fall of 140 Mt, or 2.9%, to 4.8 Gt,' The International Energy Agency (IEA) reported on Tuesday. 'US emissions are now down almost 1 Gt from their peak in the year 2000, the largest absolute decline by any country over that period.'"

On the same day, the right-leaning website Breitbart published a similar article with the headline "Report: U.S. the Global Leader for Reducing CO 2 Emissions in 2019," writing:

"The United States led the world in tackling CO 2 emissions last year while combining that singular success with solid economic growth, a new report reveals. It has also been confirmed while the U.S. was hitting its climate goals, at the same time '80 percent of the increase in CO 2 emissions came from Asia and that China and India both contributed significantly' to global increases."

On Feb. 11, the right-leaning Washington Examiner wrote that "U.S. emissions fell 2.9%, or by 140 million tons, continuing the trend of the United States leading the world in total emissions decline since 2000." That prompted Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, to tweet:

"FACT you will NEVER see on the 6 o'clock news: U.S. emissions FELL 2.9%, or by 140 million tons, continuing the trend of the United States LEADING THE WORLD IN TOTAL EMISSIONS…
Dan Macguill
Read full article