Climate 411

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 Greenhouse Gas Emissions, News, Policy / Comments are closed

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, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, News / Read 1 Response

California Accelerates Toward Zero-Emission Vehicle Standards That Will Save Lives, Save Money, Create Jobs

California just moved further down the road toward cleaner cars and vital air pollution reductions.

The state’s Air Resources Board hosted a public workshop on the development of its Advanced Clean Cars II (ACC II) program last week, where it announced that it intends to propose multipollutant standards that will ensure all new cars sold in California are zero-emitting vehicles by 2035.

At the workshop, the Air Resources Board for the first time laid out a proposed trajectory for the ACC II program, charting a course for ensuring 60% of new vehicles sold in 2030 are zero-emitting and 100% of new vehicles sold by 2035 are zero-emitting.

Slide from Air Resources Board workshop presentation, available here

The ACC II program will build from California’s long history of advancing vehicle pollution reductions under Clean Air Act authority. If adopted, the draft standards described at the workshop will reduce health-harming pollution and climate emissions from new passenger vehicles beyond the 2025 model year and increase the number of zero-emission vehicles for sale. They will also reduce climate pollution, deliver jobs, save Californians’ money, and – most important – save lives.

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Also posted in California, Cars and Pollution, Cities and states, Green Jobs, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Health, News, Policy / Comments are closed

Driving the electric vehicle transition: auto companies and states step up to lead

If you watched any major televised sporting events this year, from the NCAA Final Four to the Super Bowl, you saw ad after ad showcasing American auto companies’ new electric cars. It’s proof that electric vehicles (EVs) are ready for a mainstream market – you don’t pay Will Ferrell and LeBron James to promote your car just to niche buyers.

Momentum is clearly building. Companies are prepared to capitalize on the economic benefits of EVs, for both consumers and autoworkers, as well as the climate and health benefits that all Americans will see.

In the last three months, some of the largest automakers in the U.S. and the world have committed to dramatically expanding their EV lineup. They have announced plans to invest billions of dollars in EV development, and plans to transition to an all-electric future by 2035 or earlier.

The Biden administration made a commitment last week to reduce U.S. climate pollution by at least 50 percent by 2030 – a commitment that was supported by major automakers and that will require significant emission reductions from the transportation sector.

States are also playing a leading role in driving progress. Last week, a bipartisan group of 12 governors detailed the important role that states have played in deploying zero-emitting vehicles and urged the Biden administration to move forward with ambitious standards that would eliminate pollution from all motor vehicles. And next week, the California Air Resources Board will hold a workshop related to its development of Advanced Clean Car II standards – standards that are expected to help the state ensure all new vehicles sold in California are zero-emitting by 2035.

The transportation sector is responsible for over a quarter of U.S. climate pollution – more than any other sector. The transportation sector also emits a slew of health-harming pollutants, including oxides of nitrogen and particulate pollution. The transportation sector is key to meaningful climate action.

To achieve meaningful reductions in transportation pollution, it will be key for the administration follow automakers’ commitments and state leadership with bold, decisive air pollution standards that put the U.S. on a path to ensure all new vehicles are zero-emitting no later than 2035 for passenger cars and trucks, and no later than 2040 for freight trucks and buses.

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Also posted in Cars and Pollution, Economics, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Health, Policy / Comments are closed

Offshore wind benefits are within North Carolina’s reach if we act with urgency

This post was authored by Michelle Allen, Project Manager for the North Carolina Political Affairs team.

Offshore wind is taking off in the U.S., and the opportunity to be a key player is within North Carolina’s reach. A recent report commissioned by the NC Department of Commerce demonstrates North Carolina’s unique position to serve the industry’s needs and reap the economic benefits that new manufacturing and other necessary infrastructure will bring. Properly sited offshore wind is easy to get behind. It is reliable, pollution-free power from an established technology that’s already transformed energy economies in Europe and across the globe. The environmental benefits are significant, too. As a lifelong North Carolinian, I’ve seen first hand the impacts of climate change already taking its toll from the mountains to the coast. To make sure we’re doing our part to combat climate change, North Carolina leaders need to swiftly replace polluting power sources with clean energy. With strong winds blowing day and night off the North Carolina coast, adding offshore wind to the state’s generation mix would boost the resilience of our power system, create jobs and help make real progress toward North Carolina’s climate goals.

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Also posted in Cities and states, Energy / Read 1 Response

These key policies in Biden’s infrastructure plan can deliver big wins on jobs and climate

This blog was co-authored with Danielle Arostegui, Senior Analyst, U.S. Climate.

This week, President Biden unveiled a far-reaching infrastructure package to build back the economy in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, while protecting existing and future generations from the most severe consequences of climate change and addressing historic inequities in access to clean air and water.

This is the kind of strong leadership we need on the economy and on climate.

The American Jobs Plan is packed full of promising investments that can generate millions of new, good-paying union jobs, revitalize our nation’s aging infrastructure, lessen economic and environmental inequalities and drive progress on our urgent climate goals. In fact, the plan declares “every dollar spent on rebuilding our infrastructure during the Biden administration will be used to prevent, reduce, and withstand the impacts of the climate crisis.”

While Biden’s plan has no shortage of important policies with massive potential to lift up communities from coast to coast—including policies that deliver clean drinking water, quality housing, broadband internet, and more—the proposals aimed at transforming America’s power and transportation sectors are particularly critical for their ability to simultaneously combat climate change while creating a stronger, more equitable clean economy.

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Also posted in Green Jobs, Greenhouse Gas Emissions / Comments are closed