President Joe Biden’s new pledge for the U.S. to cut its economy-wide emissions 50% to 52% by 2030 — unveiled at his climate summit this morning — means largely eliminating coal from electricity, reducing natural gas use significantly, and definitely no new gas plants without carbon capture, according to various recent analyses we’ve reviewed.
We’d also have to increase clean energy sources to more than double today’s share.
Policy details are sparse, for a reason: Owing to that challenge, the administration is not yet providing a detailed road map for how it plans to reduce emissions from each economic sector to achieve its goal and is instead claiming that broad “multiple paths” could do it.
That’s because the administration doesn’t know what it can count on without cooperation from Congress.
Biden’s $2.3 trillion green infrastructure spending proposal, if enacted as is, would certainly do a big chunk of the work in the electricity and transportation sectors.
The electricity side will need to account for the largest chunk of reductions this decade — providing over half of the cuts needed — researchers from the University of Maryland found in an analysis modeling a 51% emissions cut released in February.
Passing the infrastructure plan would be huge: Biden’s package would extend and expand tax subsidies for renewables, storage, transmission, and carbon capture.
On its own, Biden’s proposed clean electricity standard requiring utilities to use 100% carbon-free power by 2035 could achieve nearly half of the nation’s progress toward Biden’s 2030 NDC goal, the environmental group Evergreen has projected.
Emissions reductions in transportation would account for a smaller slice of reductions (11% of 51%) by 2030, the UMD research showed, but play a more important role later on because the gas-powered vehicle stock will be slow to turn over.
Here, too, Biden is leaning on his infrastructure proposal to contribute, by expanding tax credits for EV purchases, giving cash-for-clunker style rebates, and building charging stations. But the Biden administration can also act on its own here by making stronger fuel efficiency standards.
Other sectors, such as buildings, heavy industry, and land, will play less of a role this decade, but changes there could set the stage for deeper reductions beyond 2030.
The Biden administration is also counting on reductions in non-carbon gases, by imposing strong regulation of methane from oil and gas operations, and phasing down hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, by 85% by 2035 as required by an energy bill passed by Congress late last year.
Read rest at Washington Examiner
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