Climate 411

As Congress makes big budget decisions, new polling shows bipartisan support for climate innovation investment

Every Spring, Congress starts the process of deciding on next year’s federal budget, which contains funding for agencies and departments that help drive climate and clean energy progress.

Stepping up investment in climate innovation – the creation of new or enhanced climate solutions that lower pollution, create jobs and cut energy costs – should be a priority for next year’s budget. The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act injected new funding for climate innovation this year, including for projects to pilot carbon removal technology, battery storage and low carbon fuels, but we need innovation funding to continue growing in the coming years.

Despite the escalating challenges brought on by climate change, recent EDF analysis found that the U.S. is still under-funding key climate solutions and technologies, including clean transportation, clean industry and manufacturing, and some renewable energy programs in the Department of Energy. Meanwhile, other countries have raced to increase the pace and scale of their innovation investments, competing with American leadership in clean energy technology.

Lawmakers have an opportunity to help get the country on track by ramping up U.S. investment in climate innovation in next year’s budget. And recent national polling by Morning Consult, commissioned by EDF, makes clear that a bipartisan majority of voters support bolstering federal funding.

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A revamped cost curve showcases the biggest carbon-cutting opportunities

President Biden has raised the bar for U.S. climate ambition, setting targets to cut economy-wide emissions 50-52% by 2030 and achieve net-zero by 2050. As the administration, federal lawmakers and state and local leaders work to make these goals a reality with strong climate policies and investments — including in climate-focused infrastructure and reconciliation packages being negotiated in Congress — they are faced with many questions. What are the cheapest ways to cut carbon right now? How will a particular policy affect emissions? How much should we be investing in new clean technologies that are not widely available yet?

A new and improved ‘cost curve’ tool developed by EDF and Evolved Energy Research shows that the electricity and transportation sectors offer the most impactful carbon-cutting opportunities at the lowest cost right now — with potential to get us nearly halfway to net-zero emissions from energy and industry by 2050. This tool, which offers a new take on what is known as a Marginal Abatement Cost (MAC) curve, gives policymakers an economic roadmap to net-zero emissions and beyond by revealing greater insights into the costs, impact and optimal sequencing of different carbon-cutting actions.

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