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  • After four years of environmental rollbacks under the Trump administration, the US is

  • back in the global charge to tackle climate change.

  • President Joe Biden has ambitious goals.

  • By the end of the decade, he wants to cut US greenhouse gas emissions to half of what

  • they were in 2005, and set the nation on a path to net zero by 2050.

  • No easy feat for a country that spews more than 6.5bn tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents

  • into the atmosphere each year, or around 15 per cent of the global total.

  • Analysts say the quickest way to cut US emissions is to decarbonise electricity, which accounts

  • for around a quarter of the problem.

  • About 60 per cent of America's power generation comes from burning fossil fuels, mostly coal

  • and natural gas.

  • The president wants tax breaks to reward greater investment in renewables like wind and solar.

  • And a proposedClean Electricity Standardwould force suppliers to be 80 per cent carbon-free

  • by 2030, before the complete removal of emissions from the grid by 2035. 

  • Transport is another big polluter.

  • The president wants to encourage more drivers to go electric, with financial incentives

  • and by expanding the number of charging points from 43,000 to half a million nationwide.

  • Sales of plug-in cars capable of running on electricity alone peaked at over 360,000 in

  • 2018.

  • The production of some popular models ceased in following years, coinciding with a dip

  • in new buyers.

  • Biden has framed his automotive push as a question of winning the market back from China,

  • the world leader in electric vehicle manufacture.

  • Tackling the third major problem sector, carbon intensive industry like cement and steel,

  • will not be simple.

  • There is hope that potential solutions like clean hydrogen or carbon capture can play

  • a significant role, but neither is currently developed at a commercial scale.

  • Even the president's climate envoy John Kerry has suggested that half of the required

  • reductions would have to come from technologies that do not yet exist.

  • And then there is the political problem.

  • Biden's Democratic party has only a narrow majority in both the House of Representatives

  • and the Senate.

  • In the House, Democrats cling to a slim lead with 220 seats, compared to the 211 in Republican

  • hands, while the Senate is split 50-50 with the vice-president holding the deciding vote.

  • To get far-reaching legislation through the upper house he will also need the backing

  • of 10 Republicans.

  • The president may have big plans to create a net zero United States, but getting Congress

  • on board with the huge changes necessary to get there will be tough

After four years of environmental rollbacks under the Trump administration, the US is

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B1 FinancialTimes president biden carbon cent electricity

President Biden’s net-zero revolution? | FT Energy Source

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    洪子雯 posted on 2021/07/22
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