Climate 411

The Inflation Reduction Act: A breakthrough for lower energy costs and climate progress

This post was authored by EDF policy experts.clean energy

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Joe Manchin on July 27 announced the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 — an agreement that will improve Americans’ lives by fighting inflation, lowering healthcare costs, and making significant down payments on energy security and climate progress.

If passed by both the Senate and the House, this bill will be the largest investment in combating climate change ever passed by Congress — driving down carbon pollution 40% below 2005 levels by 2030. This will bring the U.S. substantially closer to President Biden’s goal of cutting climate pollution in half by 2030 and return the U.S. to a leadership role in the global fight against climate change.

These fiscally responsible investments will create good-paying clean energy and manufacturing jobs and boost U.S. energy security — all while saving families and businesses money. The bill also makes a historic down payment on environmental justice.

While the bill does contain some trade-offs, taken together, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 will greatly benefit our economy and our climate fight – now and for generations to come. Here are the key investments you should know and why they matter.

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Posted in Cars and Pollution, Energy, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Innovation, Policy / Read 2 Responses

Carbon Markets Can Drive Revenue, Ambition for Tropical Forest Countries, New Studies Show

This post was co-authored by Pedro Martins Barata, Senior Climate Director, and Julia Paltseva, Senior Analyst, Natural Climate Solutions.

Aerial view down onto vibrant green forest canopy with leafy foliage. Source: Getty Images

Global climate mitigation requires rapid action to protect ecosystems, particularly Earth’s tropical forests. Once ecosystems are lost, wide-scale restoration takes time. Recognizing the importance and urgency of taking action to protect intact forests, more than 100 global leaders, representing nations that account for 85% of global forests, pledged at COP26 to halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030.

We know that tropical forest jurisdictions which have implemented results-based payment programs on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation have been successful at reducing deforestation while bringing co-benefits and buy-in from Indigenous and local forest communities. These programs need to be scaled up to meet the urgency of the climate crisis. Carbon markets are one promising means to do so.

Now two new studies suggest that tropical forest jurisdictions that engage in emissions trading for conserving their forests at large scales could generate significant revenues, and promote more ambitious, but attainable, climate goals.

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Posted in Carbon Markets, Forest protection, Indigenous People, International, News, Paris Agreement, REDD+ / Comments are closed

The scoop on the Scoping Plan: CARB is not on track to achieve a zero-emission transportation sector (Part 4)

This post was co-authored by Sam Becker, Electric Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicle Advocate, and Lauren Navarro, Senior Manager, Regulatory and Legislative Affairs.

Medium- and heavy-duty vehicles

In May, the California Air Resources Board released the draft 2022 Climate Change Scoping Plan, a roadmap that will guide the state toward meeting its 2030 emissions target and achieving net-zero emissions no later than 2045. This four-part series will unpack several key aspects of the plan and evaluate whether they raise California’s climate ambition to the levels needed to protect communities from the worst climate impacts.

CARB’s draft Scoping Plan represents a significant opportunity for the state to reassess its methods for reducing climate and air pollution from the transportation sector. The recently released draft, however, undermines the state’s efforts to achieve a key climate goal outlined in Gov. Newsom’s executive order, which calls for 100% of medium- and heavy-duty trucks on the road to be zero-emission vehicles by 2045 everywhere feasible.

Statewide, about 12 million Californians live in communities that exceed the federal ozone or PM2.5 standards. Transportation generates nearly half of the state’s climate pollution and is the state’s largest producer of health-harming nitrogen oxide emissions and toxic diesel particulate pollution.

To chart an equity-focused path toward achieving net-zero emissions and ensure needed near-term ambition in the transportation sector, CARB’s Scoping Plan must rapidly eliminate emissions from the transportation sector by attaining 100% MHD ZEV sales by 2035.

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Posted in California, Cars and Pollution / Read 1 Response

The scoop on the Scoping Plan: California’s plan falls short in ensuring equitable access to an affordable, clean and safe energy system (Part 2)

This post was authored by Michael Colvin, Director, California Energy Program at EDF.

Electricity

Photo credit: Pexels

In May, the California Air Resources Board released the draft 2022 Climate Change Scoping Plan, a roadmap that will guide the state toward meeting its 2030 emissions target and achieving net-zero emissions no later than 2045. This four-part series will unpack several key aspects of the plan and evaluate whether they raise California’s climate ambition to the levels needed to protect communities from the worst climate impacts.

The draft Scoping Plan released by CARB last month attempts to address important climate issues across many sectors in California, including equitable access to an affordable, clean, and safe energy system. As the plan appropriately notes, “a clean, affordable, and reliable electricity grid will serve as a backbone to support deep decarbonization across California’s economy.”

Unfortunately, the recommended actions for the electricity sector are insufficient. CARB needs to increase its ambition in order to fulfill the promise of an affordable, clean and reliable energy system. This includes clearly setting a goal of 0MMT or zero emissions from electricity generation no later than 2045 with direction for planning agencies to establish interim targets and front-loaded actions to measure that progress.

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Posted in California, Greenhouse Gas Emissions / Read 1 Response

What’s next for the LEAF coalition? An outlook for tropical forest protection in 2022 and beyond

This post was authored by Rocio Sanz Cortes, Managing Director of Supply at Emergent. In 2019 EDF set up Emergent, the group facilitating LEAF, because we saw the need for a new, innovative financing facility that could catalyze a high-quality market for forest carbon/jurisdictional REDD+ credits. EDF’s Ruben Lubowski is a senior advisor for Emergent.  

Amazon Canopy. iStock.

Last year’s COP26 UN climate summit was referred to as “Nature COP,” as forests and nature took a protagonist role. Financial pledges to protect forests and reduce deforestation reached unprecedented volumes. In the first major formal deal of COP26, 100 leaders representing 85% of the world’s tropical forests pledged to end deforestation by 2030. This agreement was backed by the Global Forest Finance Pledge with $12 billion in public funds and $7.2 billion in private money. This funding will support actions such as restoring degraded land, tackling wildfires and advancing the rights of Indigenous people in tropical forest countries.

Another key success of last year’s global climate summit was the historic $1.7 billion pledge from governments and private funders to support Indigenous peoples and local communities. Direct financing for these groups underscores their essential role in forest stewardship. Other commitments announced at COP26 included the Congo Basin Pledge. Signed by more than 10 countries, the Bezos Earth Fund and the European Union, the pledge seeks to mobilize $1.5 billion to protect forests, peatlands and other critical carbon stores.

Natural climate solutions include conservation, restoration and management of forests, grasslands and wetlands – which could provide at least 20% of the emissions reductions and removals needed for the world to achieve net zero. Not only that, but they could also deliver socio-economic and environmental benefits beyond carbon. We are at a critical point for the future of the planet, and the pledges made at COP26 are game changers in keeping the planet’s temperature increase from reaching catastrophic levels.

LEAF’s breakthrough commitments

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Posted in Carbon Markets, Forest protection, International, News, Paris Agreement, REDD+, United Nations / Read 1 Response

Oregon is finalizing a key pillar of its climate strategy. Will DEQ deliver the climate ambition that Oregonians are demanding?

This post is authored by Kjellen Belcher, Senior Analyst for U.S. Climate at EDF.

Oregon wildfire.

Photo credit: US Bureau of Land Management.

This past summer, the Pacific Northwest endured record-breaking high temperatures, with Portland reaching 116 degrees F. Hundreds of Oregonians are still reeling from the wildfires of 2020 —  one of the most destructive seasons on record for Oregon. And a new study just revealed that Mt. Hood, an iconic Oregon landmark, will have low to no snowpack within the next 35 to 60 years, impacting Oregon’s water supply, winter sports season and other treasured natural resource industries.

Climate change is impacting every part of Oregon, and every action we take (or don’t take) will either solidify a very grim climate future or stop the ever-accelerating impacts of climate change and the immeasurable human suffering that goes with it.

But Oregon regulators have the power to take immediate action to address the climate crisis.

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Posted in Cities and states, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, News / Comments are closed