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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Also posted in California, Carbon Markets, Cities and states / 1 Response

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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Also posted in Carbon Markets, International, Shipping, United Nations / Read 2 Responses

The key to reaching Biden’s new climate goal: An enforceable clean electricity standard that slashes pollution

Editor’s note: This post was last updated June 29, 2021.

A female engineer standing beside the solar panel.

At the Leaders Summit on Climate in April, President Biden pledged to go all-in to beat the climate crisis, setting an ambitious and credible target to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions 50-52% below 2005 levels by 2030. Now the administration and federal law makers must roll up their sleeves and work to achieve this target. The question is: What policies will they adopt that can secure the necessary cuts in pollution in less than 10 years?

While there are multiple pathways to meeting the target, a wide range of analyses agree on one core theme: The power sector is a critical linchpin to success. We need to cut emissions from electricity generation by at least 80% below 2005 levels by 2030.

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Also posted in Jobs, News, Policy / Comments are closed

Governor Inslee is leading the race against climate change. Other governors should keep up.

This post was co-authored by Katelyn Roedner Sutter, Senior Manager, U.S. Climate at EDF

Washington state just officially became the country’s frontrunner on climate action. On Monday, Governor Inslee signed a landmark cap-and-invest bill, called the Climate Commitment Act, which sets the most ambitious limit on climate pollution of any state in the nation. The bill will rapidly drive down emissions in line with Washington’s science-based, climate goals: 45% below 1990 levels by 2030 and 95% by 2050. And in addition to putting the state on the path to a safer climate, the Climate Commitment Act makes crucial steps toward improving local air quality.

Washington’s game-changing legislation arrives at a critical moment for the climate crisis. President Biden has just pledged to cut national emissions 50-52% by 2030, recapturing U.S. climate leadership on the global stage ahead of a major UN climate convening at the end of the year. But it will take serious work to meet this national commitment — a sharp and unwavering focus on putting a policy framework in place that is capable of fully ensuring that pollution declines at the pace and scale required. Washington state is showing exactly how that is done.

The role of state-led action on climate remains vital in meeting this collective challenge too. While Washington state is one of many states to make climate pledges over the past four years, it is one of the few states that is actually delivering policy action to meet them. With the Climate Commitment Act now signed into law, this legislation should serve as a model for other states and for federal policymakers in crafting strong climate policy that 1) meets the urgency of the climate crisis and 2) is designed to make progress in addressing the disproportionate burden of pollution.

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Also posted in Cities and states / Read 1 Response

The introduction of Ford’s electric F-150 pickup truck is a big milestone in the race to zero-emission vehicles

We’re about to get a glimpse of what Ford Motor Company envisions for the future.

Ford is planning to reveal its electric F-150 Lightning pickup truck tomorrow. President Biden will visit the Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn Michigan ahead of the announcement.

The unveiling of the F-150 Lightning is the latest in a steady drumbeat of announcements about investments in electric vehicle production and new model offerings – by Ford and nearly every other automaker.

Environmental Defense Fund has sponsored the development of an Electric Vehicles Market Report by MJ Bradley and Associates to track the dynamic landscape around vehicle electrification in the U.S. and globally. In the report’s April 2021 update, the authors found that the number of electric models available to U.S. consumers would increase from 64 to 81 between 2021 and 2023, and that globally, automakers had committed to spending $268 billion through 2030 to develop zero-emitting solutions. Announcements in the last month, since the report came out, have further increased those numbers. For instance, at the end of last week Hyundai announced plans to invest $7.4 billion in the U.S. in electric vehicle manufacturing by 2025.

But in this veritable sea of announcements, the electric F-150 Lightning stands out. Ford CEO Jim Farley has compared the significance of the vehicle to the Model T, the Mustang, the Prius and the Tesla Model 3. For good reason. The F-150 has been the best-selling vehicle in the United States for the last 40 years and it has generated more revenue than companies like Nike and Coca-Cola.

And it is a truck. Nothing could more completely shatter any remaining misconceptions about what electric vehicles were in the past, and make clear what they are today:

  • More capable – Ford has said the electric F-150 will be its most powerful in the series and able to power a home during an electrical outage
  • Less costly – EDF analysis shows that someone who purchases a new battery electric vehicle in 2027 will save $5,300 over its lifetime compared to a gasoline vehicle
  • Zero-polluting – These vehicles will eliminate harmful tailpipe emissions that destabilize the climate and harm public health

Ford’s announcement is also an important step toward a future where we have eliminated harmful pollution from cars and trucks. It comes at a pivotal moment when we urgently need ambitious action to protect our climate and public health, to save consumers money, and to safeguard and strengthen the American auto industry.

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Also posted in Cars and Pollution, Economics, Green Jobs, Jobs, News / Read 1 Response

Pennsylvania just reached a critical milestone on the path to a clean energy future

Somerset Wind Farm

Four of the wind turbines on the Somerset Wind Farm, in Somerset, Pennsylvania. PC: Jeff Kubina.

This week, Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) released its final rule to link the state with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) to reduce carbon pollution from the state’s power plants starting in 2022. This is a momentous step, not only for Pennsylvania, but for the country’s fight against climate change: The Keystone state has the fourth dirtiest power sector in the nation in terms of carbon pollution. With this action, Governor Tom Wolf is showing much-needed leadership on cutting carbon pollution from the power sector, which is a critical piece of achieving the state’s climate goals along with a strong and comprehensive rule to cut methane emissions from existing sources of oil and gas infrastructure in the state.

The final rule stems from a 2019 Executive Order issued by Governor Wolf that came after years of inaction by the legislature to address the substantial air pollution coming from the state’s power sector. The next major step is for the rule to be approved by the Environmental Quality Board in the third quarter of this year and it will then move through the final steps necessary before publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. Despite misleading criticisms levied at the program, there is strong support in Pennsylvania for moving forward with limits on carbon, with 79% of Pennsylvanians supporting strict limits on carbon pollution.

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Also posted in Cities and states / Comments are closed