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Biden’s Pledge To Slash Emissions Would Require Big U.S. Changes - Health - Nairaland

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Biden’s Pledge To Slash Emissions Would Require Big U.S. Changes by Terrancal: 3:14am On Apr 27, 2021
Meeting President Biden’s goal of sharply reducing U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions by 2030 would require dramatically reshaping key sectors of the economy.
While U.S. industries are already transitioning to a lower-carbon future, Mr. Biden’s target would require companies in industries from energy to transportation to agriculture to greatly speed the pace of change.
Some segments of the economy appear to be ready. Others would face extraordinary challenges. All would face significant new costs — exactly how much is unknown — and it is unclear how much would be subsidized by government tax policies or incentives, since the Biden administration has yet to detail how it would seek to reach the aggressive new goal.
“This is a real sea change in the degree of ambition by the U.S. government; it is pretty monumental,” said Richard Newell, president and chief executive of Resources for the Future, a nonpartisan think tank. “This is technically feasible but a substantial acceleration of existing trends.”
At an Earth Day climate summit this week, Mr. Biden called for slashing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 50% to 52% compared with the baseline year of 2005, as he seeks to put America at the forefront of world-wide efforts to combat climate change.
Mr. Biden’s target is a significant ratcheting up of the goal articulated by former President Barack Obama — a 26% to 28% cut by 2025 — to help put the U.S. on a path to comply with the Paris agreement, which seeks to limit average global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.
His actions have received support from numerous big businesses, many of which have pledged recently to cut their own emissions. In an open letter to Mr. Biden, dozens of companies including McDonald’s Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google said a more ambitious climate target would “guide the U.S. government’s approach to more sustainable and resilient infrastructure, zero-emissions vehicles and buildings, improved agricultural practices, and durable carbon removal.”
But they have also raised concerns among representatives for some of the large industries that would be most heavily impacted, who have called them unrealistic.
Academics, business consultants and others who study U.S. emissions say that meeting Mr. Biden’s targets would require significant changes in two key areas: how the U.S. generates electricity and how it powers its cars and trucks. Transportation generates 29% of U.S. emissions, followed by electricity generation at 25% and industry at 23%, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s annual inventory of greenhouse-gas emissions.
In the power sector, renewable energy is already on the rise, fueled in part by falling costs for wind and solar farms, but also subsidies and state-level mandates. In 2020, 39.5% of U.S. electricity came from zero-carbon emitting sources such as nuclear, wind and solar, up from 29.9% a decade earlier, according to the federal Energy Information Administration.
Still, reaching Mr. Biden’s goal would require more substantial change. Nathan Hultman, director of the Center for Global Sustainability at the University of Maryland, led a study examining how to halve emissions as Mr. Biden has now pledged. It concluded the easiest way to attain major reductions would be in cleaning up the electricity sector by largely eliminating coal-fired power plants, if they don’t have a way to capture carbon emissions, and curtailing natural-gas-fired power plants.
“We don’t want to be building a lot of new gas infrastructure,” he said. “It is not long-term viable.”
Some large generators are enthusiastic about Mr. Biden’s infrastructure and tax plans to reduce emission

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