A Biden administration plan to force the rapid absorption of renewable energy would rapidly reduce global warming emissions and save hundreds of thousands of lives from deadly air pollution, according to a new report amid mounting pressure on the House. Blanca to strike a great blow against the climate crisis.
Of several climate policy options available to the new administration, a clean energy standard would provide the largest net benefits to the US, according to the report, in terms of costs and lives saved.
A clean energy standard would require utilities to increase the amount of clean energy, such as solar and wind, they use, through a system of incentives and penalties. The Biden administration hoped to include the measure in its main infrastructure bill, but it was dropped after compromise negotiations with Republicans.
But new report, conducted by a consortium of researchers from Harvard University, the Georgia Institute of Technology and Syracuse University, suggests that it would be the most effective tool to reach the White House goal of 80% renewable energy use by 2030 Joe Biden said he wants all the electricity. it will be renewable by 2035.
A clean energy standard to reach the 80% target by the end of the decade would save approximately 317,500 lives in the US over the next 30 years, due to a sharp reduction in air pollution from burning coal, oil and gas. In 2030 alone, 9,200 premature deaths would be prevented once emissions reductions are achieved. The number of lives saved would be “immediate, widespread and substantial,” the report states.
A total of $ 1.13 trillion in health savings from cleaner air would be achieved between now and 2050, and improvements in air quality would be most acutely felt by black people who currently face disproportionate harm from living. near roads and power plants.
All US states would get better air quality, according to the report, although the biggest benefits would go to Ohio, Texas, Pennsylvania and Illinois, all states with substantial fossil fuel infrastructure.
The rapid switch to renewables would cost around $ 342 billion through 2050, through capital and maintenance costs, although fuel costs would decline as renewables are cheaper to operate than fossil fuels. However, the study added that the financial benefits of addressing the climate crisis would dwarf this figure, by nearly $ 637 billion.
“The cost is much lower than we expected and the deaths avoided are much higher; There really is a great opportunity here to address climate change and air quality, ”said Kathy Fallon Lambert, study co-author and expert at Harvard’s TH Chan School of Public Health.
“This would be a huge leap in ambition and we would see that in health impacts, there would be millions of fewer asthma attacks, for example. And this doesn’t even consider the health impacts of heat and other weather-related causes. “
Lambert said a clean energy standard would be “extremely effective” in reducing emissions, far more than other proposals, such as a carbon tax.
Biden faces pressure from environmentalists, as well as large companies like Apple and Google, to implement the new standard after it was removed from the infrastructure bill. The president has said the measure will be included in a new reconciliation bill that can be passed along party lines, though that will require all Democratic senators to vote for it, which will be challenging.
However, the White House is determined to see this happen, and Gina McCarthy, Biden’s top climate adviser, said the measure is “non-negotiable” in the next infrastructure package.
“We need to make sure that we are sending a signal that we want renewable energy and that it is going to win,” McCarthy told Punchbowl News last week.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism