Federal Study: New Climate Law to Reduce Carbon Pollution by 40%

Clean energy incentives in the new spending package signed this week by President Joe Biden will cut US emissions of gases that trap heat at about 1.1 billion tons (1 billion metric tons) by 2030, new analysis from the Department of Energy shows.

The first official federal estimates, shared with The Associated Press ahead of publication Thursday, indicate that between the newly signed bill and last year’s infrastructure spending law, the US by the end of the decade will produce about 1.26 billion tons (1.15 billion metric tons) less carbon pollution than it would without the laws. That savings is roughly equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of every household in the United States.

Department of Energy analysis finds that under new law by 2030, US greenhouse gas emissions should be about 40% lower than 2005 levels, still not on target announced by the US to reduce carbon pollution by 50% to 52% by the end of the decade. But that 40% reduction is similar to earlier calculations by the independent research firm Rhodium Group, which estimated the cuts would be 31% to 44% and scientists from Climate Action Tracker, who said the drop would be 26% to 42%.

Most of the projected emissions reductions in the nearly $375 billion spending package would come from promoting “clean energy,” primarily solar and wind power and electric vehicles, according to the federal analysis. More than half of the projected emissions drops overall would come from how the nation generates electricity, according to the analysis. Around 10% of emissions savings come from agriculture and land conservation.

Provisions in the new law requiring the leasing of oil and gas on federal lands and waters “may lead to some increase” in carbon pollution, according to the federal analysis, but other provisions to stimulate cleaner energy reduce 35 tons of greenhouse gases for each new ton. pollution from increased oil and gas extraction.

Outside experts, like Bill Hare of Climate Action Tracker, say the new law is a big step for the United States, but it’s still not enough considering the United States is the biggest carbon polluter in history, has done little for decades, and is going to die. behind Europe.

“At this point, anything that goes in that direction counts as a win, right? I mean, after so long of total inaction and knowing how difficult it is politically to get the country to move in a direction like this because of politics, economics and all the other things involved with this issue,” said the scientist at the climate from the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Gerald Meehl, who was not part of the analysis, spoke about what the new law will do. “You can argue that that’s not enough, but I think once you start to see movement, hopefully we can build on that and keep the ball rolling.”

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Follow Seth Borenstein on Twitter at @borenbears

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