This week at the COP22 climate meetings in Marrakech, Morocco, the Obama Administration unveiled the United States Mid-Century Strategy for Deep Decarbonization and submitted the plan to the United Nations. The document lays out numerous plans for using renewable energy to grow the economy while reducing the US’s emissions to 50 percent of its emissions in 2005, going well beyond it requirements under the Paris Climate Agreement.
“Our mid-century strategy is built around a set of scenarios aimed at an 80 percent reduction in emissions from 2005 levels by 2050,” said White House Advisor Brian Deese, speaking at a panel at COP22. “There are six scenarios within the mid-century strategy.” They range from high- to low-emissions that will allow the US to meet its commitments under the Paris Agreement.
The new plans would rely on sharply increasing renewable energy like wind and solar power in the US. When compared to 2014 wind and solar deployment levels the scenarios show solar would increase between 21 and 83 times and wind would increase between 4 and 25 times by 2050.
“The low-emissions pathway is the unambiguously pro-growth, pro-jobs, pro-income and pro-American family strategy in the long-term,” Deese said. “That may be the most important takeaway from the mid-century strategy.…When you model out other strategies, the economics rack up in very real and concrete terms.” He said they result in lower economic growth, fewer jobs and less income growth for middle-class income families in the US.
“We in the United States are now living through the first sustained period where economic growth and carbon emissions have decoupled,” Deese said. “Since 2008 our carbon pollution from the energy sector is down about 9 percent while economic growth has increased by about 10 percent.”
The document and its ambitions were celebrated by environmental advocates, like Environment America. “This plan takes America in the right direction to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement,” said Anna Aurilio, Global Warming Solutions Program Director for Environment America. “Climate change is a clear and present danger. 2016 is going to be the warmest year on record and is trailing ahead of previous records set in 2014 and 2015.”
“We now have a national goal to limit the damage,” Aurilio said. Her organization wants to further. “To make sure we achieve and go beyond this goal, Environment America is working to shift us off of fossil fuels and towards a 100 percent renewable energy future and a carbon-free transportation system."
One of the emerging and key messages that’s emerging is, it’s not just governments that want to fight the impact of climate change anymore. Increasingly businesses are stepping up to make changes, sourcing more of their energy from renewable resources and reducing their waste and emissions streams are just a couple of the ways they’re doing it. Environment America also observed that major companies have committed themselves to 100 percent renewable energy, including Google, Facebook, Apple, Johnson and Johnson, and Coca Cola.Tweet