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Going carbon neutral in the US may cost a trillion dollars annually by the year 2050

June 17, 2019; 10:56 AM

Several lawmakers in Washington, D.C., have outlined plans to make the United States carbon neutral (net-zero emissions) within the next 30 years.

Net-zero emissions is when the amount of carbon dioxide (greenhouse gas) released into the atmosphere is offset by the removal of carbon dioxide by natural or man-made sources.

Key excerpt from the Bloomberg News article...

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."

On the other hand, inaction could cost companies $1.2 trillion during the next 15 years.

Clearly, the process of achieving a carbon-neutral U.S. would be a costly one, according to at least two sources.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration projections for U.S. greenhouse gas emissions is not very optimistic.

What are some of the things that the U.S. must do in order to achieve carbon neutral, according to the article.

All of these must occur in order to achieve this goal.....

-- Cars, trucks and buses would have to be electrified and converted to green energy.

-- Cities would have to greatly increase mass transit and encourage walking and bike riding, which would greatly reduce the number of cars and trucks.

-- Air travel would have to use fossil fuel-free synthetic jet fuel, which would be expensive.

-- The U.S. energy sector would have to go totally away from coal and natural gas or combine it with costly carbon capture systems.

-- Power grid would have to double in size to accommodate more power from far-removed renewables. This would also require new battery storage.

-- Nuclear power will need to be commercialized.

-- There would have to be significant changes to farming, especially land use.

-- Humans would have to consume much less beef, lamb and dairy (significant emissions from farm animals), and eat more plant based food.

-- Carbon removal facilities would be critical for the manufacture of steel and cement, which produces a large amount of greenhouse gas.

Many of the above actions would also create new jobs.

Keep in mind, we are just talking about the U.S. Large countries such as China and India will need to do their share if we are going to put a real dent in global greenhouse gas emissions.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com



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