Massive clean energy incentives in US law signed by President Joe Biden on Tuesday should reduce future global warming “not by much, but also not insignificant,” according to a climate scientist who led an independent analysis of the package.
Even with nearly $375 billion in tax cuts and other renewable energy financial temptations in law, the United States is still not doing its part to keep the world within a few tenths of a degree of warming, a new Climate Action analysis says. tracker. The group of scientists examines and assesses each country’s climate goals and actions. It still rates US action as “inadequate,” but welcomed some progress.
“This is the biggest thing that has happened to the US in terms of climate policy,” said Bill Hare, the Australia-based director of Climate Analytics, which is releasing the tracker. “If you think back to the past few decades, you know, don’t want to be rude, there’s a lot of talk, but not a lot of action.”
This is action, he said. Not as much as Europe, and Americans still spew out twice as many heat-trapping gases per person as Europeans, Hare said. The US has also released more heat-trapping gas into the air over time than any other country.
Before the law, Climate Action Tracker calculated that if every other country made efforts comparable to those of the US, it would lead to a world with catastrophic warming – 5.4 to 7.2 degrees (3 to 4 degrees Celsius) above pre-industrial times. At best, which Hare said is reasonable and likely, US actions, if imitated, would lead to just 3.6 degrees (2 degrees Celsius) of warming. If things didn’t work out as optimistically as Hare thinks, it would warm 5.4 degrees (3 degrees Celsius), the analysis said.
Even that best-case scenario falls short of the overarching internationally accepted goal of limiting warming to 2.7 degrees (1.5 degrees Celsius) since pre-industrial times. And the world has already warmed 2 degrees (1.1 degrees Celsius) since the mid-19th century.
Other countries “that we know have been reluctant to come forward with more ambitious policies and targets” are more likely to act now in a “significant spillover globally,” Hare said. He said officials from Chile and a few Southeast Asian countries, which he would not name, told him this summer that they were waiting for US action first.
And China “won’t say this out loud, but I think it will see the US as something to emulate,” Hare said.
Climate Action Tracker scientists have calculated that without any other new climate policies, carbon dioxide emissions in the US will shrink to 26% to 42% below 2005 levels by 2030, which still falls short of the country’s goal of to halve emissions. Analysts at the Rhodium Group think tank calculated a 31% to 44% reduction in pollution from the new law.
Other analysts and scientists said Climate Action Tracker’s numbers make sense.
Scientists say new climate law will likely reduce warming. #USPoli #ClimateChange #ClimateAction #GlobalWarming
“The US’s contributions to greenhouse gas emissions are huge,” said Princeton University climate scientist Gabriel Vecchi. “So reducing that will definitely have a global impact.”
Samantha Gross, director of climate and energy at the Brookings Institution, called the new law a down payment for US emissions reductions.
“Now that this is done, the US can celebrate a little bit and then focus on implementation and what needs to be done next,” Gross said.
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