Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Study Shows Multiple Paths to Cut US Emissions in Half by 2030

A new study maps out several pathways for the United States to fulfill its pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% by 2030, but authors say success depends on making big commitments—now.

“Since announcing the nation’s emissions reduction pledge at the 2021 United Nations climate conference, the US has taken steps in the right direction,” said study co-author Nikit Abhyankar, a scientist in the Electricity Markets & Policy Department at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

“But a lot still needs to happen. What we are hoping is that this study will give some level of a blueprint of how it could be done.”

Abhyankar said the most urgent actions are to double the amount of renewable capacity built each year, along with a large-scale transition to electric vehicles within the next decade or so, reports EurekAlert.

Published late May in the journal Science, the study was the result of a collaboration by energy and environmental researchers who pooled their knowledge to come up with a set of recommendations for the US energy transition. Together, the team analyzed findings from six techno-economic models that simulate US energy system operations in detail.

The researchers found that the models all agree on four main points.

  • The electricity grid needs to run on 80% clean energy—up from the current 40%—and the majority of vehicles sold by 2030 need to be electric, because power generation and transportation account for the majority of US emissions.
  • Increased alternative energy use is more likely to be obstructed by slow enactment of policies than by high costs, so state and federal governments will need to coordinate efforts to succeed.
  • Advances in renewable energy technologies will lower energy costs rather than raising them, and EVs could save households up to $1,000 per year.
  • By reducing air pollution, a clean energy transition could prevent up to 200,000 premature deaths and avoid up to $800 billion in environmental and health costs through 2030, with communities of color and front-line communities that are disproportionately exposed to pollution seeing the greatest benefit.

“With the right policies and infrastructure, we can reduce our emissions, while saving American consumers billions of dollars and generating new employment,” Abhyankar said.

This article is from The Energy Mix.

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