Federal study: New climate law to slice carbon pollution 40%

  • A thunderstorm passes between Midland and Odessa, Texas, just behind an array of pump jacks on Thursday, May 14, 2020. While the Inflation Reduction Act concentrates on clean energy incentives that could drastically reduce overall U.S. emissions, it also buoys oil and gas interests by mandating leasing of vast areas of public lands and off the nation’s coasts. (Eli Hartman/Odessa American via AP)

The first official federal calculations of the new spending package that President Biden signed this week show it will slice America’s carbon pollution by more than 1 billion tons by the end of the decade. Thursday’s Department of Energy calculations show emission reductions by 2030 will be about the same as the amount of greenhouse gases that U.S. homes produce each year. Overall, the analysis says the U.S. will reduce its emissions to about 40% below 2005 levels by the end of the decade. That still does not reach the national goal of cutting carbon pollution in half. Clean energy incentives in the new spending package signed this week by President Joe Biden will trim America’s emissions of heat-trapping gases by about 1.1 billion tons (1 billion metric tons) by 2030, a new Department of Energy analysis shows.

The first official federal calculations, shared with The Associated Press before its release Thursday, say that between the bill just signed and last year’s infrastructure spending law, the U.S. by the end of the decade will be producing about 1.26 billion tons (1.15 billion metric tons) less carbon pollution than it would have without the laws. That saving is equivalent to about the annual greenhouse gas emissions of every home in the United States.

The Energy Department analysis finds that with the new law by 2030, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions should be about 40% lower than 2005 levels, which is still not at the U.S. announced target of cutting carbon pollution between 50% and 52% by the end of the decade. But that 40% reduction is similar to earlier calculations by the independent research firm Rhodium Group, which figured cuts would be 31% to 44% and the scientists at Climate Action Tracker, which said the drop would be 26% to 42%.

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