It’s possible to imagine the United States in 2030, if the country pulls off President Joe Biden’s climate ambitions.
Every last one of the nation’s 191 coal power plants is closed or on its way out, and natural gas in the power sector is rapidly declining. Renewables power more than half of our electricity needs, and offshore wind turbines and large utility-scale solar installations are a common sight. A majority of new car sales are zero-emission electric vehicles, while most or all of the bus fleet has transitioned to electricity. Gas-powered appliances and buildings in new construction are a thing of the past.
So what’s the plan to actually get there?
Biden’s economy-wide target of at least a 50 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels by 2030 doesn’t tell us much about what it will look like sector by sector. As Vox contributor David Roberts wrote, with the new commitment, Biden is only “rallying the troops and pointing them in the right direction.” How his policies can outlast his administration and how Congress responds matter even more.
Fortunately, a lot of smart people have been developing a roadmap they say is very doable.
At least a dozen recent studies published by think tanks, scholars, and activists show how to slash emissions in half by 2030. The White House climate task force will also release a sector-by-sector plan later this year.
While they all make slightly different assumptions, the experts agree that we don’t have to wait for technological breakthroughs to tackle three of the most polluting parts of the economy. “We have solutions readily available” to get to the 2030 target, explained Natural Resources Defense Council international program director Jake Schmidt.
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