Published on December thirty first, 2020 |
by Rocky Mountain Institute
December thirty first, 2020 by Rocky Mountain Institute
As we enthusiastically bid 2020 farewell, for many causes 2021 is beginning to really feel like a 12 months to be hopeful. While the rollout of vaccines sign an impending slow-down to the pandemic, latest exercise in DC is providing the same glimpse to options on the horizon for the local weather disaster.
Specifically, Congress has handed what will be the most formidable power laws in a number of years. Two different payments launched sort out vastly completely different points of local weather change and power transition. We anticipate these to be indications of an formidable 12 months for local weather motion, given ongoing work in Congress and alerts from President-Elect Biden’s new cupboard appointments.
What’s Happening in Congress
Passed: Coronavirus and Climate Relief
While a lot of the media consideration on the bill which President Trump not too long ago signed focuses on coronavirus aid measures, the omnibus laws additionally included a major power bundle. Notable elements embrace:
- A two-year extension of the Investment Tax Credit for photo voltaic and one 12 months extension of the Production Tax Credit for wind. This means a continued incentive for funding in wind and photo voltaic know-how, decreasing emissions and decreasing prices for ratepayers.
- Establishing a wind technician coaching grant program and superior photo voltaic manufacturing initiative to boost home manufacturing capabilities, constructing capability for well-paid jobs in the clear economic system.
- $14 billion for struggling transit businesses, in determined wants of life assist because the pandemic decimates their revenues.
- Research and growth funding for power storage, carbon seize and elimination, renewable power, and grid modernization– as a lot as $35 billion over 10 years. If appropriated, this funding can be catalytic for key areas of innovation to make sure US management on local weather applied sciences.
- Expansion of weatherization packages to assist power effectivity and renewable power tasks for low-income households, which can cut back power burdens, incentivize constructing restore and development work in each state, and improve occupant well being and luxury.
From a local weather perspective, one of an important provisions of this laws is well missed. The bundle features a dedication to scale back the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by 85% over the subsequent 15 years. These “super polluter” refrigerants are hundreds of instances extra damaging to the local weather than carbon dioxide. The impact of this effort reveals phasing out HFCs might cut back world warming by as much as 0.5 diploma Celsius, or one third of the 1.5° C restrict on world warming. With HFC-alternatives broadly obtainable and cost-effective, this laws alerts a serious alternative for innovation and funding in American manufacturing of fridges, air conditioners, warmth pumps, and different home equipment.
Introduced: Trillion Trees and Natural Carbon Storage Act
The omnibus laws will not be the one Congressional effort “across the aisle” on local weather points. The bipartisan Senate Climate Solutions Caucus, launched in late 2019, brings collectively an equal quantity of Republican and Democrats who “consider Congress ought to play a central position in creating methods to sort out the impacts, causes, and challenges of our altering local weather.
Co-chairs Mike Braun (R-IN) and Chris Coons (D-DE) introduced the Trillion Trees and Natural Carbon Storage Act in December, with Senators Todd Young (R-IN) and Angus King (I-ME) cosponsoring. The laws, the primary from the Caucus, invests in insurance policies and packages to plant bushes and cut back deforestation to soak up atmospheric carbon dioxide. The laws follows President Donald Trumps’s executive order establishing the One Trillion Trees Interagency Council.
This laws has bipartisan assist in congress and constituent assist with 90 p.c of Americans supporting tree planting as a local weather change mitigation measure. While we acknowledge these efforts symbolize solely a small fraction of what must be accomplished, the invoice nonetheless represents a transparent step towards compromise on local weather coverage.
Introduced: American Renewable Energy and Efficiency Act
The American Renewable Energy and Efficiency Act is one other encouraging piece of federal power laws not too long ago launched in December. While the Biden-Harris local weather platform targets one hundred pc clear electrical energy by 2035 nationwide, and 30+ states have their very own type of a renewable power goal, there stays no nationwide clear or renewable power commonplace. This invoice consists of each a nationwide renewable power commonplace (55 p.c by 2030) and a nationwide power effectivity financial savings objective (22 p.c financial savings for electrical energy and 14 p.c for pure gasoline by 2035).
Renewable power requirements usually use renewable power certificates (RECs) that represents “ownership” of produced renewable electrical energy. One REC is created for every megawatt-hour of renewable power generated. Unlike different renewable power requirements, this invoice would provide double RECs — in different phrases, extra compensation — for renewable power tasks in environmental justice communities.
Eligible renewables tasks would come with these on the lands of Native Americans, communities adversely impacted by environmental air pollution, or “economically distressed areas affected by high unemployment due to a decline in coal mining or the closure of a coal-fired power plant.” If signed into legislation, this method incentivizes new renewable power tasks in, and would direct extra funding towards, communities transitioning from fossil fuels and people traditionally impacted by native air pollution.
Congress Continues a Long-View on Climate Issues
These payments improve ranges of future-oriented policymaking, accepting the fact of local weather change and transferring proactively to handle it.
In July, we analyzed a report that outlined one of the most comprehensive federal responses to local weather change in latest reminiscence, developed by the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. Committee Chair Kathy Castor of Florida noted final month, “Over the past two years, our Select Committee on the Climate Crisis brought together a historic coalition of scientists, union leaders, faith advocates, farmers, tribal leaders, business leaders and environmental justice champions to deliver a comprehensive, just and actionable plan for Congress to act on climate.”
The Committee will return in the subsequent session of Congress, with Castor on the helm, and we must always anticipate extra exercise in 2021. As Castor put it, they’ll work “to turn these climate solutions and clean energy investments into a reality.”
Signs and Signals from the Incoming Administration
As President-Elect Biden begins to call his cupboard appointments, the emphasis these appointments place on local weather change and the range of the appointments is notable. As local weather wonks, it’s simple to learn local weather and power into every little thing, in all places, on a regular basis. But it’s clear that local weather and clear power are core values throughout businesses and personnel in the subsequent administration.
New Cabinet-Level Positions have been Created to Address Climate Change
John Kerry will serve in the newly created put up of US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate. Gina McCarthy will probably be John Kerry’s stateside counterpart and can function the first-ever National Climate Advisor, heading up the newly fashioned White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy. Both nominees are former cupboard members who’ve sturdy relationships with policymakers at house and overseas. These newly created cupboard positions show emphasis and significance positioned on local weather change like we haven’t seen earlier than.
New Nominees Bring Fresh Perspectives
Jennifer Granholm, nominated for Energy Secretary, performed a key position in rescuing the auto trade as Governor of Michigan throughout the 2008 recession. Her expertise main financial restoration in coordination with the federal authorities affords scalable classes for future financial and industrial coverage over the approaching years, the place native and federal coordination is important. Between her nomination and Pete Buttigieg’s nomination for Department of Transportation, it’s clear the electrical automobile trade has rather a lot to be hopeful for in 2021.
Michael Regan, nominated for Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, obtained Biden’s consideration through his work on environmental justice throughout his time as secretary of North Carolina’s division of Environmental Quality. This work included creating the primary Environmental Justice and Equity Advisory Board in North Carolina. We anticipate him to carry this identical deal with environmental justice to his new position.
Climate Becomes a Cross-Agency Priority
Biden is pursuing nominees who prioritize local weather motion in positions that aren’t usually tied to the surroundings. For occasion, Brian Deese, nominated as director of the National Economic Council. When introducing him, Biden said “he’ll be the first [NEC director] who is a true expert on climate policy. If we’re going to tackle the climate challenge, we need to make sure solutions are woven into every output of our policy making.”
Another instance is Xavier Becerra, nominated as the top of the Department of Health and Human Services. Becerra signaled out the surroundings as his concern of alternative when he served as California lawyer basic, and now we anticipate he’ll use his new place to address climate change as a public health issue.
Unprecedented Diversity in Representation
Cabinet appointments have by no means extra carefully resembled the demographics of the U.S. citizens. To date, there’s a good gender break up in cupboard positions. There are additionally some historic firsts: Deb Haaland (nominated for Secretary of Interior) can be named the primary Indigenous member of a presidential cupboard in US historical past and Brenda Mallory (nominated for Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality) can be the primary African-American to carry her place.
Rep. Deb Haaland may turn out to be the first-ever Native American Cabinet Secretary.
I wrote in regards to the little-known historical past that has positioned her as each a pathbreaker and a unifier, and what her nomination would imply for Indian Country, in @POLITICOMag:https://t.co/IzSSpHiYhH
— Julian Brave NoiseCat (@jnoisecat) November 30, 2020
Finally, it’s notable that Pakistani-American Ali Zaidi (nominated for the brand new position of Deputy National Climate Advisor) has been appointed to 1 of an important home advisory roles in the US authorities. In efforts to combine fairness and environmental justice into local weather coverage, illustration at senior ranges issues.
A Pakistani-born American, Ali Zaidi has been named because the Deputy Adviser on US’s Domestic Climate Change Policy! pic.twitter.com/dqMDUMmWp0
— Khaleej Mag (@KhaleejMag) December 16, 2020
2030 is a globally-recognized milestone for local weather motion; to carry temperatures to secure ranges we have to be greater than midway towards web zero-emissions by midcentury. 2030 is 9 years away — 108 months — at greatest 1,500 days of Congress in session between at times. Two-and-a-half presidential administrations. We’re hopeful these lawmaking days will probably be well-spent.
The Endangered Species Act was handed 47 years in the past, immediately.
In his closing days in workplace, Trump is rolling again protections listed in this invoice. We should do all we will to guard our public lands & all those that inhabit them. https://t.co/ycrytccbze
— Rep. Deb Haaland (@RepDebHaaland) December 28, 2020
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