White House Releases Long-Term Strategy to Reach Net-Zero Emissions by 2050
Last week, President Biden joined other world leaders at the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26). Coinciding with the conference, President Biden released a new long-term strategy for the United States: Pathways to Net-Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2050.
The goals outlined in the report aim to limit global warming to less than 1.5° C before 2050.
According to the White House, “the U.S. 2050 net-zero goal is ambitious and achievable, and supports a more sustainable, resilient, and equitable economy, including the opportunity to create millions of high-quality jobs with the chance to join a union. Achieving our net zero-goals will mean a completely carbon pollution-free society, with strong economic and public health benefits for all Americans – and the world.”
The 65-page report has an entire chapter dedicated to “Transforming the Energy System Through 2050.” The chapter discusses how energy policy and technology must evolve for the United States to reach net-zero emissions. As part of the plan, the administration shows how renewable energy sources must expand energy generation today and continue to rapidly expand over the next three decades. In addition to renewable energy sources, the report shows how nuclear energy generation will also contribute to lowering greenhouse gasses, though it predicts their contribution will slowly increase, seeing more major contributions towards the end of the next three decades and beyond rather than the immediate future.
Rapid decarbonization in the U.S. electricity sector is already underway, crediting federal investment policies, tax credits, regulator actions, and research and development as main contributors. The strategy does address a pressing concern, stating that “one of the challenges to reach the 2050 net-zero goal (as well as the 2035 100% clean electricity goal) is the large amount of new zero-emission capacity (primarily renewables) that will need to be deployed annually to enable an increasingly large
share of clean electricity generation.”
ASME believes policy makers can work to ensure that technological change results in increased affordability and sustainability by guaranteeing the availability of a broader range of renewable energy technologies and by leveling tax incentives across renewable energy technologies to allow the use of the best technological solutions. For more information on ASME’s energy policy guiding principles, visit: