Climate 411

One year later: What’s next for the bipartisan infrastructure law’s historic investments in new climate tech?

A year ago, President Biden signed the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law, the largest investment in infrastructure since the New Deal.

Among the many key climate investments included, the infrastructure law put a long-awaited down payment on several new and promising climate solutions including carbon dioxide removal, hydrogen, long-term energy storage and technologies to support clean industry.

We spoke with Natasha Vidangos, Senior Director for Climate Innovation and Technology at Environmental Defense Fund, about what’s next for these investments and how they can help us tackle the climate crisis.

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Also posted in Innovation, News / Comments are closed

COP 27: The 3 issues we’re watching as the world gathers in Sharm El-Sheikh

Co-authored by Angela Churie Kallhauge, Executive Vice President, Impact; Maggie Ferrato, Manager, Global Climate; and Julia Ilhardt, High Meadows Fellow 

It’s been a year since countries and companies announced new climate pledges in Glasgow. 

Since then, war and economic disruption, on top of a still-raging pandemic and increasingly destructive natural disasters, have complicated those commitments – and arguably made them even more urgent. The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change underscores that we have very little time left to meet even the upper limit of the Paris Agreement’s temperature goals. 

COP27 is expected to be a “working COP,” meaning we’re likely to see incremental progress on key issues rather than major announcements. But that doesn’t make it any less important. This COP is a chance for countries to take meaningful steps toward tackling the climate crisis.  

Here are the three issues to watch in Egypt both in the negotiations and on the sidelines to ensure we implement our existing commitments while raising our ambition.   Read More »

Also posted in Carbon Markets, News, Paris Agreement, United Nations / Tagged | Comments are closed

North Carolina needs to build a clean and equitable power sector. Here’s how RGGI could be a tool for the job.

This blog was co-authored with William Barber III, Founder and CEO at Rural Beacon Initiative.

solar panels in field

Photo credit: Pexels.

With the recent passage of the Inflation Reduction Act elevating the importance of state implementation of climate action, North Carolina is well-positioned to make critical progress to reduce climate-warming pollution from the electric power sector. Last year, the state took two steps to move towards a cleaner energy future. In July 2021, North Carolina initiated a rulemaking process to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) — a regional market that caps emissions from the electricity sector across 11 participating states, reinvesting revenues from the sale of allowances into programs that reduce electricity costs and boost the amount of energy generated from clean sources like solar and wind. Then, in October 2021, Governor Roy Cooper signed House Bill 951 (HB 951) into law, calling for a 70% reduction in carbon emissions from the electricity sector by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050.

Reaching these important goals demands that North Carolina move further and faster with new programs and intentional policies to drive energy sector transformation and catalyze investment in clean technologies necessary to cut emissions. It also demands that policies better prioritize benefits for environmental justice communities, ensuring that disparate pollutant burden is reduced and that RGGI revenues help advance energy justice by investing in historically disadvantaged communities. Executive Order 246, signed by Governor Cooper earlier this year, acknowledges that “responsible solutions to climate change must equitably reduce GHG emissions, increase community resilience, advance sustainable economic recovery and infrastructure investment efforts, promote public health and health equity, and ensure fair treatment and meaningful engagement in decision-making and implementation.” RGGI, with proper protections, offers a way to do this.

In July, EDF and Rural Beacon Initiative (RBI) released a report evaluating the interplay between the two policies: RGGI and HB 951. The analysis showed that by joining RGGI, paired with a robust rulemaking process that directly prioritizes equitable benefit and adoption of a strong Carbon Plan as required by HB 951, North Carolina can reap the benefits of a multi-pronged approach to decarbonizing the electric sector while ensuring climate benefits are maximized in the near-term, when they are most impactful. 

HB 951 lays the regulatory framework to make this combination of beneficial policies a reality, and RGGI is an important tool that can be leveraged to achieve emissions reductions in a way that is durable, cost-effective and environmentally just.

Here are three key takeaways from the report:

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Also posted in Cities and states / Comments are closed

9 recommendations for getting US hydrogen hubs right from the start

This post was co-authored by Akin Olumoroti, Senior Analyst, Federal Climate Innovation

Photo of hydrogen tanks at sunrise

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Over the last year, hydrogen has gained significant momentum as a pathway to reduce pollution, create jobs and drive economic growth. Billions of dollars of private sector investment and tax credit support have been announced, and hydrogen build-out is already ramping up.

Earlier this summer, the Department of Energy (DOE) outlined its process for allocating $8 billion of investment for regional clean hydrogen hubs (i.e., close-proximity networks of clean hydrogen producers, consumers and connective infrastructure) from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), and states and companies across the country are actively developing project plans and proposals.

But before we go all-in on deploying hydrogen, it’s essential we understand – and prepare for – its potential risks. EDF has been conducting research around the environmental and climate impacts of hydrogen and has identified several key considerations, including the indirect climate warming potential of hydrogen leakage, the steep energy requirements associated with hydrogen production, and the impacts that hydrogen build-out may have on local communities’ health and environment.

These considerations will be critical to apply as hydrogen hub planning gets underway, so that we not only support hydrogen deployment – but dedicate just as much energy to getting it right.

As hydrogen hub proposals come together, here are nine initial recommendations for federal and state policymakers and hydrogen hub developers to follow:

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Also posted in Energy, Innovation, News, Policy / Comments are closed

Key climate finance programs in the Inflation Reduction Act could unleash 10 times more private investment

This blog was co-authored by Nicole Buell, Director for Federal Climate Innovation at EDF.

The Inflation Reduction Act puts a nearly $370 billion down payment on clean energy and climate progress, making it the most significant climate action ever taken by Congress. But this federal funding only scratches the surface of the law’s transformative impact on our economy.

A new policy brief from Environmental Defense Fund shows that investment in a few of the law’s key climate finance programs could pack an even greater punch, catalyzing 10 times greater investment from the private sector. Finance programs, including a new federal green bank, a program to reinvest in energy infrastructure and additional support for existing Department of Energy loan programs, could translate $38.7 billion of federal spending into $385 billion of private investment. 

key climate finance programs unlock 10X more private investment

Here are some of the main ways the law can unleash more private dollars.

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Also posted in Innovation / Read 1 Response

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