Jeff Brady

U.S. greenhouse gas emissions rose by 6.2% last year compared with 2020, new data released Monday shows.

The spike was attributed to a slew of causes, including behavior changes after COVID-19 vaccines became widely available, the research firm Rhodium Group reported. But it also means governmental goals to combat climate change may now be in jeopardy, an outcome that environmental advocates say is alarming.

After four years of near-silence about climate change in the White House, 2021 brought an abrupt shift. President Biden turned it into one of the defining issues of his presidency, proposing ambitious efforts to replace fossil fuels with clean energy sources and lead a global campaign to cut greenhouse gases.

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With the U.S. Senate split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, the White House could not afford to lose even one Democratic senator to advance its major social spending and climate change legislation. Well, on Sunday, it lost one.

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President Biden campaigned on this climate promise.

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PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: And I'd stop giving to the oil industry. I'd stop giving them federal subsidies.

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Today, President Biden said the U.S. will release 50 million barrels of crude oil from the nation's Petroleum Reserve. It's a response to rising gasoline prices, which have added to the inflation that Americans are experiencing.

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As the United Nations climate summit enters its last hours, there is modest progress on reducing reliance on fossil fuels and giving aid to countries most at risk from extreme weather. But stubborn divisions over the details of key issues remain.

In what would be a first in decades of such negotiations, nations could call for an end to using coal and subsidizing fossil fuels. Despite some weaker language, those two elements remain in the most recent draft being circulated for consensus agreement among the more than 100 participating countries.

Countries' latest pledges to cut their greenhouse gas emissions are still not enough to avoid the most devastating consequences of a changing climate, according to a new analysis.

Updated November 2, 2021 at 2:36 PM ET

The Biden administration is proposing stricter regulations to reduce leaks of methane from oil and gas industry operations. It comes as world leaders at the U.N. climate meeting in Glasgow are pushing countries to join a global pledge to cut methane, a climate-warming gas that's even more potent than carbon dioxide.

The U.S. may be on the verge of passing the most consequential climate change legislation ever. President Biden is expected to tout it at a big climate change meeting in Glasgow this week. But that won't change one of the country's major sources of greenhouse gas emissions: fossil fuel exports.

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Americans love their gas stoves. It's a romance fueled by a decades-old "cooking with gas" campaign from utilities that includes vintage advertisements, a cringeworthy 1980s rap video and, more recently, social media personalities. The details have changed over time, but the message is the same: Using a gas stove makes you a better cook.

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President Biden wants his climate plan to be a reality, but this all depends on a big $3.5 trillion budget package that is stalled in Congress. Jeff Brady is part of NPR's climate team. He's been looking into all this. Good morning, Jeff.

President Biden's ambitious climate change plan could soon become a reality if Democrats in Congress succeed in passing a $3.5 trillion budget package. But first Democrats, who are crafting the legislation without Republican support, must overcome powerful opposition, some of it within their own party.

This legislation would bring extraordinary changes to the country's energy sector. It would lead to huge reductions in the climate-warming greenhouse gases the U.S. emits and change the kind of car many Americans drive.

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Climate change already is making wildfires, hurricanes, heat waves and droughts more frequent and intense. The devastating effects are in the headlines regularly.

A warming climate also changes lives in subtler ways. NPR asked how more extreme weather is affecting summer plans.

The $3.5 trillion budget blueprint Democrats agreed to this week includes a key part of President Biden's climate plan: a national "clean energy standard." It's aimed toward zeroing out greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector by 2035.

Federal and state wildlife officials in the Mid-Atlantic region are asking people to stop feeding birds and providing water in bird baths amid dozens of reports of mysterious songbird deaths.

Indiscreet comments made by an Exxon Mobil lobbyist to undercover activists may figure prominently in upcoming congressional hearings about the role of oil companies in the battle against climate change.

Poor people and people of color use much more electricity per square foot in their homes than whites and more affluent people, according to new research. That means households that can least afford it end up spending more on utilities.

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The company behind the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline said Wednesday it's officially terminating the project. TC Energy already had suspended construction in January when President Biden revoked a key cross-border presidential permit.

Updated June 8, 2021 at 11:50 AM ET

Capitol Hill lawmakers Tuesday questioned one of President Biden's top picks for the Department of Energy, a woman with a history of activism who will help shape the administration's focus on environmental justice.

Climate change activists have won a big legal victory against oil giant Royal Dutch Shell. A Dutch court ruled Wednesday that the company must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 45% by 2030, based on 2019 levels.

The case could set a precedent for similar lawsuits against huge oil companies that operate across the globe.

Updated June 30, 2021 at 6:00 PM ET

President Biden has signed legislation that will more vigorously regulate climate-warming methane leaks from the oil and gas industry, a move supporters say is key to achieving his ambitious climate goals.

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