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Four Ways the United States Can Still Fight Climate Change

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Washington — The White House can help the country reduce global warming pollution, as President Biden has now removed the largest and most powerful tool he wanted to use to combat climate change. , Building smaller, less powerful policies. The level that Mr. Biden once promised.

The apparent death of the Democratic Senate’s climate change bill, which was supposed to be central to Mr. Byden’s greenhouse gas emission reduction program, will occur weeks after the Supreme Court’s decision to significantly limit the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency. .. To regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, the second largest greenhouse gas source in the country.

Legal scholars say the judge’s decision sets a precedent that may limit the federal government’s ability to establish future climate regulations for other major sources of heat traps, including cars and trucks.

Experts say that the guts of these policies make it nearly impossible for the United States to meet Mr. Biden’s goal of reducing national emissions by 50% from 2005 levels by 2030. Emissions to play its role in avoiding the most catastrophic short-term effects of climate change.

And if the world’s largest economy fails to keep its promise to reduce emissions, analysts say it will lose the power to force other countries to cut their own.

“Manchin’s decision and the Supreme Court’s decision destroyed the building that the Biden administration was building to achieve this highly ambitious climate goal,” said Michael Walla, a climate policy expert at Stanford University. Said.

“And they have only a few parts left, and are now trying to assemble the structure with these few, smaller, inconsistent parts,” Walla added. “It’s a lot harder. Even with all the tools Biden had, the 50% goal was very ambitious. But what they left behind, they still achieved a significant portion of it. can.”

Here are some of the ways federal and state leaders can reduce greenhouse gas emissions:

Vehicles are the country’s largest source of global warming pollution, and experts say it is important to stop using gasoline vehicles quickly to avoid the worst effects of climate change. Biden has instructed the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation to create innovative new regulations to control tailpipe pollution and accelerate the country’s transition to electric vehicles.

In its most ambitious form, the new regulations, which are most likely not completed until 2023 or 2024, will allow automakers to have half of all vehicles sold in the United States meet Mr. Byden’s goals. You will be forced to double the sales of electric vehicles. However, after the Supreme Court’s decision to limit the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, authorities have curtailed their ambitions, fearing that such a bold new move could also be overthrown by the court. There is likely to be.

Coal and gas-fired power plants are the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the country. The Environmental Protection Agency has been blocked by the Supreme Court from issuing bold and ambitious rules to close coal and gas-fueled power plants, but forces power companies to reduce their electricity slightly. Will issue more conservative rules. Its expensive technology is not yet widely available, but to install greenhouse gas emissions, and perhaps technology for capturing and isolating carbon dioxide pollution.

Authorities are also planning stricter restrictions on other types of pollution from power plants (mercury, smog, soot, etc.) that are not greenhouse gases. Cracking down on these contaminants could force utilities to clean up or shut down the dirtiest facilities, such as coal-fired power plants, which produce more carbon dioxide than gas-fired power plants. It’s an idea.

Carbon dioxide produced by burning fossil fuels is the most abundant and dangerous greenhouse gas on the planet, but methane released into the atmosphere by oil and gas leaks from drilling sites is in the immediate vicinity. It remains in the atmosphere for a shorter period of time than carbon dioxide, but stuffs larger punches for as long as it lasts. According to some estimates, methane has the ability to trap 80 times more heat than carbon dioxide in the first 20 years of the atmosphere.

Within the next few months, the EPA plans to issue stricter new regulations to curb methane leaks from oil and gas wells. This has the potential to remove a significant portion of greenhouse gas pollution across the country. Legal experts say that, unlike power plant and automobile rules, methane rules are more likely to withstand legal issues.

Without federal action on climate change, state-level climate policy would play a more important role. A little less than half of the states have already enacted important climate policies. The leader is California, and in the coming weeks, it will finalize the country’s first regulation requiring all new vehicles sold in the state to be electric or zero-emission vehicles by 2035. .. It will be adopted by 17 other states. The same rules when it goes through Sacramento.

California also requires that 100% of its electricity be generated from zero-carbon sources by 2045. Twenty-one other states have versions of their clean power standards, and some are advancing even stricter versions of the law.

Experts say that if enough states continue to pursue aggressive carbon reduction programs, they may help the United States reduce emissions, although not close to the level achievable by federal action. It states.

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