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Making America Carbon Neutral Could Cost $1 Trillion a Year

Published by Slashdot on Tue, 14 May 2019


An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Democrats have introduced a host of plans designed to make the U.S. carbon neutral. Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke outlined a $5 trillion scheme to reach that target by 2050, and other candidates are expected to follow suit. New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other backers of the Green New Deal are calling for an even more aggressive timeline: net-zero emissions by 2030. Meanwhile, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, who's basing his run for the Democratic presidential nomination on fighting climate change, has released a "100% Clean Energy for America Plan." Any U.S. effort to cut net emissions to zero would "be a massive project over decades," says Alex Trembath, deputy director of the Breakthrough Institute, an Oakland, California-based environmental research group. The goal of 2050 is "a reach, but it's perfectly feasible in terms of technological innovation and scaling," Trembath adds, but 2030 "is functionally impossible." It would also be costly. Cleaning up U.S. industries may require investments amounting to more than $1 trillion annually by 2050, according to the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project, a global collaboration of energy research teams led by the Paris-based Institute for Sustainable Development & International Relations and the United Nations-backed Sustainable Development Solutions Network. That's in line with an estimate by BNEF that found achieving the Green New Deal's goals of de-carbonizing the U.S.'s energy, transport, and agriculture sectors would cost roughly $980 billion a year. Critics say the costs would be even higher, and would unfairly penalize the U.S. economy given that China, India, and other carbon dioxide-emitting countries in the world aren't doing their share. The report goes on to note that doing nothing to mitigate the effects of climate change could cost companies $1.2 trillion during the next 15 years, "and if everyone does nothing, everyone's economy will be penalized."Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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