Plugging into the electric climate future
The United States rejoined the international effort to limit global temperature increases caused by greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, what is the domestic plan to reduce GHGs. One certainty is that it will take bold action after years of inaction that contributed to extremely destructive weather patterns. Only twenty-six of these strategies achieved the 2100 goal without a large interim exceedance of the 1.5°C threshold prior to 2100 (an overshoot). Any interim overshoot of 1.5°C risks catastrophic climate impacts. Most of these strategies involved very challenging transformative change. One such transformative strategy includes the widespread electrification of energy systems and near elimination of fossil fuel usage. Since approximately 75% of GHGs emanate from energy usage, achieving the 1.5°C goal makes a renewable-centered electrification strategy an essential part of any climate strategy. The Biden administration plans for an economy-wide fifty percent reduction in GHGs (from 2005 levels) in 2030. Unfortunately, domestic GHGs are increasing and currently stand at 15.5% below 2005 levels, leaving the nation with an uphill climb towards meeting its end-of-decade goal. Alfredo Rivera, et al., Preliminary US Greenhouse Gas Emissions Estimates for 2022, Rhodium Group, January 10, 2023. The cornerstones of this ambitious GHG reduction plan are to mobilize all executive agencies in a whole-of-government effort and utilize funding from the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).