Local Efforts Can Achieve U.S. Climate Goals Even if Republicans Take Congress, Report Says

Local Efforts Can Achieve U.S. Climate Goals Even if Republicans Take Congress, Report Says

Climatewire

A coalition of businesses and local leaders claim that climate progress under the Biden administration will continue if Republicans control the House

U.S. businessman Michael Bloomberg speaks during a meeting with Earthshot prize winners and finalists at the Glasgow Science Center on the sidelines of the COP26 U.N. Climate Summit on November 2, 2021 in Glasgow, United Kingdom. Credit: Alastair Grant/Getty Images

The U.S. can still meet its 2030 climate targets if Republicans are victorious on Election Day.

That’s the message behind a new report by America is All In, a coalition of businesses and local leaders working to address rising temperatures.

The analysis shows that expanded state, local and private sector climate actions combined with federal regulations and recently passed legislation would be enough to reach President Joe Biden’s pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030.

“We know we can’t count on another major bill passing Congress,” said former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, one of the group’s leaders, on a call with reporters Monday. “We can work towards this. It won’t take Congress two decades to act. We can’t wait .”

The report was released as Americans cast their votes in midterm elections that are expected to put Republicans in control of the House, a shift in power that promises to complicate the administration’s efforts to pursue its climate programs. It also comes at a time when a United Nations global conference on climate in Egypt is underway.

The report aims to offer hope that U.S. climate leadership can withstand a Republican takeover of one or both chambers of Congress.

The Inflation Reduction Act that was passed by congressional Democrats this summer would drive the bulk of pre-2030 emissions reductions, according to the report’s 17 authors. It estimates that the climate law will slash U.S. emissions between 37 percent and 42 percent, with a central estimate of 39 percent.

Forthcoming regulations for transportation, electricity, oil and gas and other carbon sources would push emissions reductions farther toward Biden’s goal of a 50-52 percent cut by 2030. The gap could be closed by actions taken by states, cities, and businesses to fulfill his pledge.

Many of the report’s assumptions about the U.S. decarbonization trajectory are aspirational. For example, a combination of climate law incentives, regulatory compliance costs, state policies and market forces spurs its authors to “assume all existing coal plants retire by 2030.”

While the report seeks to give assurance to the international community that the U.S. target remains within reach, the Biden administration has yet to submit its U.S. National Climate Strategy to the U.N. climate body. In multiple submissions to U.N., the formal report was mentioned. Framework Convention on Climate Change last year, would provide a road map for how the U.S. will meet the 50-52 percent commitment.

Asked whether the U.S. would unveil a formal plan, former White House climate adviser Gina McCarthy said, “It’s not as simple as one might think.”

“I know that folks have been collaborating with both the domestic climate office as well as with Secretary Kerry’s team over at State Department,” McCarthy said on the call organized by America Is All In. “I don’t know the timing of that .”

,” McCarthy said on the call organized by America Is All In.

She said the strategy would likely incorporate projections from the Inflation Reduction Act, an infrastructure law and a bill to promote U.S. manufacture of semiconductors.

McCarthy, who served as a White House lead during the effort to pass the climate law, expressed “skepticism” that it could be repealed by a Republican-led Congress. She argued that the climate legislation’s investments and incentives would be popular in both red and blue districts.

“I don’t think that folks on either side of the party have been missing the opportunity to do ribbon cutting at events and announcements that are being made from the expenditures in the bipartisan infrastructure law,” she said. “And I believe you’re going see the same thing” with the climate law.

Reprinted from E&E News with permission from POLITICO, LLC. Copyright 2022. E&E News provides essential news for ener

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