Landmark Analysis for the United States to Achieve Net Zero Emissions

Source: 5/25/2021, Location: North America

A new analysis of US greenhouse gas emissions and a framework for the United States to achieve Net Zero emissions is announced today. The study is the first of its kind to reverse engineer the latest emission data from the Environmental Protection Agency and present an integrated framework and pathway for the US to decarbonize its economy.

The findings will be presented during a virtual event on Wednesday, May 26th at 10 AM PDT/1 PM EDT and will be co-hosted by the study’s principal author, former Wall Street analyst and CEO of Common Energy, Richard Keiser, climate advocate and leader of, Bill McKibben, and lead Partner in Allen Overy’s renewable energy practice, John Marciano.

“As the world’s second largest emitter, it is imperative that the US demonstrate leadership on climate change,” said Richard Keiser. “To achieve Net Zero emissions, the cornerstone of US strategy must be a massive expansion of clean electricity infrastructure. This is because all other GHG mitigation strategies are dependent on abundant clean electricity.”

Mr. Keiser continued: “The vast majority of US GHG emission reductions can be achieved today, without significant breakthroughs, using existing technologies. Accordingly, the country’s top priority should be decreasing bottlenecks to deployment, in particular accelerating the permitting and interconnection of renewable energy resources, and incentivizing the rapid electrification of the transportation sector.”

Some of the analysis’ key findings are as follows:
• The centerpiece of US strategy should be a massive expansion of clean electricity, in particular wind, offshore wind, and all-scale solar, as all other GHG migration strategies require large increases in clean electricity. 2.4 PWh of existing coal and natural gas generation will need to be replaced, in addition to significant additional electricity for transportation and heating buildings. 3-5 TW of new renewable energy capacity is needed. This investment and requisite grid upgrades alone will cost at least $3 trillion.
• Renewable energy generation intermittency in the grid is best solved by a combination of overbuilding renewables, vehicle-to-grid battery technology, and expanding grid interconnections. The East, West, and ERCOT sub-grids should be interconnected, and expanded to include parts of the Canadian grid.
• No credible GHG reduction can be achieved without electrifying transportation, requiring the replacement and/or ICE substitution of approximately 300 million vehicles. Doing so will increase US annual electricity demand by 900 TWh (+22% versus current generation).
• The vast majority of residential and commercial building emissions can be solved today with known electrification solutions, and will require an additional 1,000 TWh of clean electricity (+24% versus current generation).
• Any credible reduction in agriculture emissions must address cattle and beef consumption, through a combination of change in cattle diet, genetic engineering, poultry-for-beef substitution, and plant-based alternatives.
• Achieving the Biden administration’s pledged 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 must rely exclusively on known solutions, as there is not time to scale new innovations for them to have meaningful impact.
• Industrial sector emissions are the most difficult to address and will require a rethinking of product supply chains and manufacturing infrastructure. The U.S. government should support a complete mapping of production chains with relevant industry experts, and support these efforts with ambitious innovation and research and development programs.

The analysis will be presented in a free webinar on Wednesday, May 26, 2021 at 10 AM PDT/1 PM EDT. Industry and sustainability leaders as well as policy makers are invited to attend. Following the presentation there will be an open question and answer session.

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