Climate 411

California needs to raise its ambition to beat the climate crisis. This policy will be key.

This post was authored with Katie Schneer, High Meadows Fellow for subnational climate policy at EDF, and Mayu Takeuchi, intern for U.S. Climate at EDF.

This summer, as Californians face an onslaught of climate-fueled disasters like severe drought and explosive wildfires, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) is launching the development of a roadmap that will outline the next phase of the state’s climate fight.

The 2022 Climate Change Scoping Plan, which will guide the state towards achieving its 2030 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target and its 2045 net-zero emissions target, is a critical opportunity for California to double-down on its climate ambition. State leaders should harness this moment to calibrate California’s suite of climate policies to ensure that the state not only meets its climate goals, but maximizes cuts in emissions this decade.

California’s cap-and-trade program, which launched in 2013, is one of the key policies that should be fine-tuned to respond to the urgency of the climate crisis that Californians are seeing across the state. CARB should act swiftly to ensure that the most important aspect of this program — the emissions cap — is stringent enough to ensure that California meets its 2030 emissions goal of a 40% reduction below 1990 the emissions level and delivers the most reductions in pollution as quickly as possible.

Here’s why CARB should tighten the emissions cap:

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Posted in California, Carbon Markets, Cities and states, Greenhouse Gas Emissions / Leave a comment

Climate change threatens Louisiana’s future, but the state is taking bold action to increase its resilience

Louisiana has lost 2,000 square miles of coastal wetlands in less than a century, threatening communities from sea level rise and more intense hurricanes. Photo: Leslie Von Pless, EDF

Louisiana represents the paradox of a modern state shaped by a history of fossil fuel-supported development and structural racism that is now dealing with the climate-driven and social impacts of those choices.

As it attempts to do so, it has become a center of climate adaptation and resilience practices, and more recently, climate mitigation efforts, while seeking the right balance for its people, economy and environment.

The results so far look like this:

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Posted in Basic Science of Global Warming, Cities and states, Extreme Weather, News, Science / Comments are closed

The EU has the power to bring transformational change to global shipping

Container cargo freight ship with working crane loading bridge in shipyard at dusk.

This post was written by Panos Spiliotis, Global Climate Shipping Manager for EDF, and also appears on EDF Europe.

The European Commission’s “Fit for 55” policy package opens a powerful new opportunity to decarbonise shipping—a sector with a growing share of global emissions (roughly 3%) that is not covered by any EU climate target.

Released last week, the ‘Fit for 55’ package is the most robust policy proposal package set out by any of the world’s economies to date and signals to the international community that the EU is focused on its new target to reduce emissions by 55% by 2030. The Commission’s proposal to include international maritime transport in the EU Emissions Trading System can carry shipping a long way to a zero-carbon future; however, the policy suite fails in other ways to steer shipping entirely away from fossil fuels. Instead of kicking the can down the road, Brussels should chart a course that steers the sector away from liquefied natural gas (LNG) and toward cleaner options.

EU must stop favouring LNG
One key feature of the package, “Refuel EU,” mandates a progressive decrease in the carbon content of marine fuels. Unfortunately, the European Commission has put forward targets that will boost the use of LNG and biofuels in shipping—a pointless half-measure that will not lead to real transformative action. It is a sorely missed opportunity. If appropriately designed, the Refuel EU fuel standard could incentivize zero-carbon fuels.

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Posted in Carbon Markets, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, International, Shipping, United Nations / Read 2 Responses

New study: Four signs of a growing U.S. supply chain for zero-emissions trucks and buses

Transitioning to zero-emissions trucks and buses is necessary for both climate stability and to protect communities from air pollution. With nearly 23 million diesel-fueled medium and heavy duty trucks and buses operating on roads today in the U.S., moving to zero-emissions technology will result in significant investments in manufacturing, infrastructure, operations and maintenance training, research and development and midlife vehicle businesses.

According to a new analysis conducted by EDF and the consulting firm PwC, a significant amount of investments in the electric truck and bus supply chain has already taken place – yielding a strong and growing domestic supply chain for zero-emissions medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. Amidst the findings by EDF and PwC, four indicators stand out most:

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Posted in Cars and Pollution, Jobs, News, Policy / Read 2 Responses

The EU just moved closer to all zero-emission cars. That heightens urgency for the U.S. to act

Electric cars charging in Nice, France

The European Union just released proposed legislation for passenger cars and vans that would move the continent closer to a zero-emission transportation future.

The EU proposal would require a 55% reduction in carbon pollution for new cars and a 50% reduction for new vans by 2030 – and a 100% reduction for both in 2035. That would substantially strengthen standards that the EU adopted in 2019, and would ultimately eliminate harmful tailpipe pollution from new vehicles sold there.

The proposal would save European drivers money on gas while dramatically cutting climate and air pollution from one of the world’s largest fleets of passenger vehicles. It also has profound reverberations around the world – especially here in the U.S.

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Posted in Cars and Pollution, Economics, News, Policy / Read 2 Responses

This Fourth of July, we have an opportunity for independence from harmful vehicle pollution

Photo by Pixabay

As millions of Americans hit the road this weekend to visit loved ones and celebrate the Fourth of July, there is increasing reason for optimism that our road trips of the future will be in vehicles that do not emit any pollution.

This past week, the Environmental Protection Agency sent proposed motor vehicle emissions standards to the Office of Management and Budget for review. The proposed action will include strengthened pollution standards for new passenger vehicles through model year 2026, which will reduce climate and health-harming pollution and help correct the prior administration’s rollbacks to our nation’s clean car standards.

EPA’s proposed standards will be an important, near-term step forward.

But the Biden administration has an even bigger opportunity in front of it – to clearly articulate a bold, long-term vision to eliminate tailpipe pollution from new motor vehicles, one that ensures at least 60% of new passenger cars and trucks sold in the U.S. by 2030 are zero-emitting and that all new vehicles sold by 2035 are zero-emitting.

Realizing this vision would have enormous benefits for Americans’ health, the climate, and our pocketbooks:

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Posted in California, Cars and Pollution, Cities and states, Green Jobs, Jobs, News, Policy / Read 1 Response