New climate law to cut carbon pollution by 40%

Clean energy incentives in the new spending package signed this week by President Joe Biden will reduce U.S. emissions of heat-trapping gases by an estimated 1.1 billion tons (1 billion metric tons) by 2030 , according to a new analysis from the Department of Energy.

The first official federal calculations, shared with The Associated Press ahead of its release on Thursday, indicate that between the bill just signed into law and last year’s Infrastructure Spending Act, the U.S. by the end of the decade will produce about 1.26 billion tonnes (1.15 billion metric tons) less carbon pollution than it would have without the laws. This saving is equivalent to approximately the annual greenhouse gas emissions of each household in the United States.

Analysis by the Department of Energy finds that with the new law by 2030, greenhouse gas emissions in the United States are expected to be about 40% lower than 2005 levels, which does not is still falling short of the stated US goal of reducing carbon pollution between 50% and 52% by the end of the decade. But that 40% reduction is similar to earlier calculations by independent research firm Rhodium Group, which thought reductions would be 31% to 44% and scientists at Climate Action Tracker, who said the drop would be 26%. at 42%.

Most of the emissions reductions planned 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 overall emissions declines would come from how the country generates electricity, according to the analysis. About 10% of emissions savings come from agriculture and land conservation.

Provisions of the new law that call for the leasing of oil and gas on federal lands and water “could result in some increase” in carbon pollution, according to federal analysis, but other provisions aimed at boosting cleaner energy reduce 35 tons of greenhouse gases for every new ton of pollution due to increased oil and gas drilling.

Outside experts, such as Climate Action Tracker’s Bill Hare, say the new law is a big step for the United States, but it’s still not enough given that America is the biggest carbon polluter in history. , which it has done little for decades and which is lagging behind Europe.

“At this point, anything that goes in that direction counts as a win, right? I mean after such a long period of total inaction and knowing how politically difficult it is to move the country forward in such a direction because of politics and economics and all the other things involved in this issue,” said National Center for Atmospheric Research climatologist Gerald Meehl, who was not part of the analysis, explained what the new law will do. “You can argue that it’s not enough, but I think once you start to see movement, you hope that then we can build on that and continue to do get things done.”


The Associated Press’s climate and environmental coverage receives support from several private foundations. Learn more about AP’s climate initiative here. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

About the author