Net Worth

Cutting Carbon Emissions in the US

President Joe Biden promised to require all businesses that provide electricity to American homes to reduce all carbon emissions by 2035.

The government claims it will be the first step towards the US achieving its climate goals. In light of the deteriorating climatic circumstances, several environmental organizations urged governments worldwide to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, despite the Biden administration’s promotion of cleaner energy sources, the nation’s power sector is hesitant to move away from fossil fuels.

Today, many businesses use natural gas to power residences. The US Energy Information Administration estimates that the US will build enough natural gas plants to power more than 12.8 million homes. Although natural gas emits fewer pollutants than coal, large-scale plant operations might cause enormous environmental methane emissions.

“If you’re going to kick that 20% of coal off the grid by 2030 or 2035, there is zero chance you can do that without increasing gas,” said Andy Devries, an analyst from CreditSights.

“After the coal’s off the grid, how much longer does it take to kick the gas off? That’s at least another ten years. And that’s aggressive,” he added.

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Small carbon cuts will not contribute

Scientists reiterated the necessity to reduce carbon emissions dramatically. However, they emphasized that even tiny, gradual reduction would not aid the environment’s recovery.

As a result, future storms, heat waves, and flooding will be more devastating. Experts applauded the initiative to invest in solar energy, creating 45 gigawatts of solar and wind facilities in 2023. However, as there will likely be an increase in emissions in the next year, emissions will unavoidably impact the environment.

“The consensus is that we need to be at zero greenhouse gas emissions economy-wide by about 2050. To avert the worst impacts of climate change,” said Ben King from the Rhodium Group.

“There is no reason to take any utility’s net-zero commitment seriously. Especially if they are investing in anything that emits new CO2 or has any new emissions,” added Daniel Tait from the Energy and Policy Institute.

“The more we accelerate and keep putting greenhouse gasses into the climate now, the more we have a chance of reaching tipping points in the Earth’s system. If you start to get to these tipping points, our climate starts to change in ways that are possibly irreversible. And possibly self-perpetuating,” explained Lisa Dillling, an environmental studies professor at the University of Colorado Boulder.

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A strong call

Environmental groups underlined the need for governments to stop emitting carbon during the United Nations climate summit in Egypt. The objective is to stop the rise in the world temperature.

“We need to rapidly plan out the phase down and phase out of coal, oil and gas. Especially in rich, large countries,” said Manish Bapna, the CEO of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“I don’t think [people] quite understand how unprecedented, how monumentally challenging the task is to remake the energy system essentially,” added Ryan Sweezey from Wood Mackenzie.

“Developers are taking a second look at natural gas and saying, ‘Is this going to be a prudent, long-term investment, given both expected higher gas prices into the future as well as just how inexpensive it is to deploy technologies like wind and solar and batteries?” asked King, a member of the Rhodium Group.

Opinions expressed by Net Worth contributors are their own.