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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Also posted in Cars and Pollution, Energy, Innovation, Policy / Read 2 Responses

The scoop on the Scoping Plan: California’s plan relies too heavily on emerging technologies (Part 3)

This post was co-authored by Caroline Jones, analyst for U.S. Climate, and Katie Schneer, High Meadows fellow for subnational climate policy.

Industry

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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.

While California already has most of the tools it needs to meet its climate goals, there are still hard-to-tackle areas of the economy – like industry – that will demand new climate solutions not yet widely available on the market. This is where newer technologies like hydrogen and carbon capture & sequestration (CCS) may help address those emissions. Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) is another solution needed to address legacy carbon pollution in the atmosphere, but all of these approaches need more innovation investment now to reach scale safely, affordably and reliably.

Currently, CARB is over-relying on these emerging solutions for critical emission reductions and removals in California’s Draft Climate Change Scoping Plan, rather than maximizing proven solutions we have right now – like reducing more pollution from the power and transportation sectors, and tightening the state’s cap on emissions. As a result, this strategy leaves reductions in climate pollution that can and should be achieved this decade up to chance. And as we’ve explained in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, near-term ambition is essential for minimizing the most devastating climate damages in the long run, like wildfires and droughts.

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Also posted in California / Comments are closed

How RGGI cuts carbon and costs

This summer, electricity bills across the U.S. are poised to climb higher as a consequence of volatile fossil fuel costs and climate change impacts like extreme heat.

Rising natural gas prices, affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, are expected to drive up costs in the U.S., including in places like Pennsylvania and Virginia where a significant number of households and businesses are reliant on natural gas for electricity. On top of this, extreme heat around the country is expected to drive up demand as people work to cool down with more air-conditioning use while heat, storms and other climate change-fueled impacts continue to increase the risk of blackouts.

In short, this summer is showing us the value of moving toward a clean, reliable and resilient power sector. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a market-based, multi-state climate program throughout the Northeast and mid-Atlantic, has been driving progress on a cleaner power sector for over a decade now. Since the program began in 2008, RGGI states have reduced carbon pollution from power plants by over 50% and increased renewable energy generation by 73%.

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Also posted in Carbon Markets, Cities and states, News / Read 2 Responses

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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Also posted in California / Read 1 Response

May brings another record auction for the Western Climate Initiative, as California considers how to ramp up climate action

Results of the May Western Climate Initiative auction were released today, and again they demonstrate strong demand for allowances and generate revenue that will deliver meaningful investments for California communities. Earlier this month, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) also outlined the role of its cap-and-trade program in its draft Scoping Plan, which intends to chart the path to California’s 2030 and 2045 climate targets. However, there is major room for improvement: CARB needs to do more to ensure the emissions cap is an effective backstop and can provide certainty of near-term emission reductions.

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Also posted in California, Carbon Markets / Comments are closed

The latest IPCC report unpacks the role of innovation. Here are five key takeaways.

Wind energy

Photo credit: Pexels.

Last week, the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world’s leading body on climate science, issued another stark warning on the state of the climate crisis. With every fraction of a degree at stake, the world needs to speed up the clean energy revolution as quickly as possible to secure a safer future.

This sixth assessment report lays out a variety of pathways and solutions that can limit global climate warming and stymie the most harmful impacts of the climate crisis. The top takeaway: We need to swiftly and equitably transition to a global clean energy economy through rapid and wide-scale deployment of existing solutions like solar, wind, batteries and heat pumps. For the first time, however, the report also dedicates a chapter to innovation – the process of developing, testing and scaling new climate solutions. In all pathways studied, these new solutions will be important for addressing emissions in sectors where today’s clean energy solutions are not enough.

Here are 5 key takeaways about climate innovation in the IPCC report that policymakers should know.

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Also posted in Innovation / Read 1 Response