Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Switching to Electric Cars Is Key to Fixing America's 'Critically Insufficient' Climate Policies - by dana1981

US Energy Information Administration data on carbon pollution from the transportation and power sectors since 1973 (2017 estimated from the first 9 months of data)  (Illustration Credit: Dana Nuccitelli) Click to Enlarge.
In order to meet its share of the carbon pollution cuts needed to achieve the 2°C Paris international climate target, America’s policies are rated as critically insufficient by the Climate Action Tracker.  The Trump Administration has taken every possible step to undo the Obama Administration’s climate policies, including announcing that America will be the only world country to withdraw from the Paris agreement, and trying to repeal the Clean Power Plan.

In 2020 the next American president will have to make up the lost ground and come up with a plan to rapidly accelerate the country’s transition away from fossil fuels.  Currently, transportation and power generation each account for about 30% of US greenhouse gas emissions, so those sectors represent the prime targets for pollution cuts. 

Carbon pollution from electricity is already falling fast
But the power sector is already rapidly decarbonizing because coal can’t compete in the marketplace.  In some regions new wind and solar with battery storage have already become cheaper than continuing to operate existing coal plants, and the International Renewable Energy Agency has concluded that by 2020, “all the renewable power generation technologies that are now in commercial use are expected to fall within the fossil fuel-fired cost range.”

American power sector carbon emissions had exceeded those from transportation from 1979 until 2016.  But because coal power plants have rapidly been replaced by natural gas and renewables, US power sector emissions have fallen rapidly since 2007, and are now below 1989 levels.  US carbon pollution from transportation, on the other hand, has been on the rise since 2012.  It remains higher than in 2000, nearly 20% higher than 1989 levels, and has surpassed power sector emissions.

The transportation sector thus represents a prime target for cutting American carbon pollution, with light-duty (passenger) vehicles accounting for 60% of those emissions and medium- and heavy-duty trucks accounting for a further 23%.  These emissions can be significantly reduced by transitioning from the internal combustion engine to electric vehicles (EVs).

Read much more at Switching to Electric Cars Is Key to Fixing America's 'Critically Insufficient' Climate Policies 

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