The Trump Administration could declare war on clean cars by freezing existing federal fuel economy standards and eliminating California’s ability to set its own tailpipe emissions standards. These moves would constitute grievous harm to the environment, public health, and U.S. economy – but how much?
There is no way to seriously study climate change without having a very sobering moment: It is extremely difficult, but not impossible, to land this planet at a reasonable climate future – and solutions exist to meet the challenge.
China launched a national carbon market in December and it’s already going to be the world’s largest cap-and-trade system. Here are three ways policymakers can ensure it succeeds.
Abating climate change requires committing to “four zeros” in the world’s energy-consuming economic sectors, starting with the top 24 GHG-emitting nations.
Electric vehicles are accelerating faster than ever, but that doesn’t mean the death of internal combustion engines just yet. To truly cut transportation emissions, we need both EVs and more efficient internal combustion engines.
Offshore wind, in contrast to the widespread cost declines and capacity additions we’ve seen with onshore wind and solar PV, has historically been more of a ‘boutique’ resource—a great idea in theory, but still expensive and concentrated in certain parts of the world. That is now changing, as offshore wind becomes mainstream for three reasons: location, advancing technology, and declining price.
Trump’s announcement that the United States will withdraw from the Paris Agreement is an unmatched abdication of climate responsibility. This decision needs to be kept in perspective, though. Important reactions and trends will continue to add momentum to decarbonizing the world.
California has the most successful carbon cap program in the world. Many state actors have expressed their support for the program’s extension to at least 2030. in order to serve its intended purpose of reducing emissions while generating revenue and accounting for disadvantaged communities, California’s next carbon cap program would benefit from four crucial elements: set price collars, intelligent use of auction revenues, clear strategy for disadvantaged communities, and constraints for carbon offsets.
New technology has tipping points—defined by functionality, consumer preference, and price. Clean energy is passing a huge one. It is now cheaper, in many parts of the country, to build a brand-new wind farm or solar plant than simply to pay the operating costs of coal, and sometimes even natural gas. That is the kind of tipping point worth paying attention to. There is clean energy, and cash, on the table—let’s use them to accelerate our low-carbon energy transition.
The Fletcher Forum interviewed Mr. Hal Harvey, CEO of Energy Innovation (a San Francisco-based energy and environmental policy firm) at the 2017 Tufts Energy Conference, where he discussed energy R&D, the political landscape for energy technologies, energy infrastructure challenges, and financial opportunities for energy innovation.