President Joe Biden promised to push all corporations that provide electricity to American households to reduce carbon emissions by 2035.
The government said it would be the first phase towards the US achieving its climate targets. Numerous environmental organizations urged governments worldwide to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in light of the deteriorating climate. Although the Biden administration promotes using renewable energy sources, the nation’s power sector is hesitant to abandon fossil fuels.
To power houses, a lot of businesses now use natural gas. As a result, the nation will build natural gas plants capable of supplying more than 12.8 million homes with electricity, according to the US Energy Information Administration. Although natural gas produces fewer emissions than coal, large-scale plant operations may release enormous volumes of methane into the air.
“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.
Bigger carbon cuts needed
Scientists reaffirmed the necessity for considerable carbon emission reductions. However, small and gradual reductions, they said, would not aid in the environment’s recovery. On the contrary, it will cause more damaging storms, heat waves, and flooding in the future.
Experts applauded the initiative to invest in solar energy, with 45 gigawatts of solar and wind facilities being built in 2019. But the environment will still unavoidably be impacted because additional emissions are anticipated in the next year.
“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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An echoed call to end emissions
Environmental groups stressed the need to cut carbon emissions as leaders gathered for Egypt’s United Nations climate summit. It is intended to stop the rise in global 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.
Photo Credit: Tatiana Grozetskaya