The United States has set an ambitious goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 50% by 2030. Are we on track to succeed?
A new study by a team of scientists and political analysts from across the nation suggests that there are several ways to achieve this goal, but major commitments will need to be made immediately.
“This study should give politicians and another energy concerned a bit of comfort, showing that everyone in the field is pointing in the same direction. The case for clean energy is stronger than ever before and our study shows that the 2030 emission target can be achieved, “said Nikit Abhyankar, one of the study’s authors and a scientist in the Electrical Laboratory and Policy at Lawrence National Laboratory. He notes that the most urgent action will be to double the amount of renewable capacity built each year and move primarily to electric vehicles within the next decade or so.
“With the right policies and infrastructure, we can reduce our emissions while saving US consumers billions of dollars and generating new jobs,” he said.
Reducing GHG emissions by 50% by 2030 would put the United States on track to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, according to scientists, the worst consequences of the climate crisis need to be avoided.
The study, published in Science, consolidates results from six newly released techno-economic models that simulate the U.S. energy system operations in extensive detail. According to the authors, the separate models all agree on four main points:
- Most of the country greenhouse gas emissions come from electricity generation and transportation, thus reducing total emissions by 50%, the power grid needs to run on 80% clean energy (more than today’s 40%), and the majority of vehicles sold by 2030 must be electric. Other major sources of GHG emission reduction include electrification of buildings and industries.
- The main barrier to increased use of alternative energy will not be cost, it will be implementing new policies. A coordinated policy response between states and the federal government will be needed to succeed.
- Thanks to advances in wind, solar, and energy storage technologies, operating the grid with renewables will not be more expensive; and electric vehicles could save every household up to $ 1,000 a year in net benefits.
- A pure energy a transition would reduce air pollution, prevent up to 200,000 premature deaths and avoid up to $ 800 billion in environmental and health costs by 2050. Many of the health benefits will occur in communities of color and frontline communities that are disproportionately exposed to vehicle, power plant. , and industrial pollution.
“Our study provides the first detailed roadmap on how the United States can reach its 50% greenhouse gas emissions“A reduction target by 2030,” said lead author John Bistline, program manager in the Energy Systems and Climate Analysis Group at the Electric Energy Research Institute. across all sectors. By comparing results across six independent models, we give greater confidence in the policies and technology deployment needed to achieve short-term climate goals, laying the groundwork for an affordable, reliable and fair net zero future. “
According to Abhyankar, who led the development of one of the six models, “By 2030, wind, solar, coupled with energy storage can provide most of the 80% pure electricity. The findings also show that generation of the remaining 20% of power will not require the creation of new fossil fuel generators. ” He noted that existing gas plants, rarely used and combined with energy storage, hydropower and nuclear power are sufficient to meet demand during periods of extraordinarily low renewable energy or exceptionally high electricity demand. “And if the right policies were in place, the country’s coal-fired power plants, which currently supply the majority of the nation’s electricity, would regain their initial investment, thus avoiding the risk of cost-recovery for investors.”
“Since announcing the pledge to reduce the nation’s emissions at the 2021 United Nations climate conference, the United States has taken steps in the right direction,” Abhyankar said. “But much remains to be done. What we hope is that this study will provide some level of planning on how it could be done.”
John Bistline et al, Actions to reduce US emissions by at least 50% by 2030, Science (2022). DOI: 10.1126 / science.abn0661
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Quote: Study shows that 50% emission reduction by 2030 can be achieved (2022, June 2) taken on June 3, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-06-reduction-emissions.html
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