While the U.S. is second only to China in onshore wind power capacity — which is neither as reliable nor as efficient as offshore, but a lot cheaper to build — it lags behind China, Germany, the U.K., and other countries in taking advantage of the stronger, steadier gusts at sea.
Rival developer teams filed formal proposals with Connecticut regulators to build massive new wind farms off New England’s southern coast, with the state having mandated that 40% of its electricity be generated from renewable sources within a decade’s time.
The policies explored in this series, taken together and adopted at national scale, would allow the United States to do its part in limiting global warming to 1.5°C. Can it be done? The final installment of “Look to the States” concludes with an outlook and some tools — drawing once more from state-level successes — for putting a decarbonization plan into practice.
To support decarbonization efforts, we will have to overhaul our transportation system. Over the course of the past century, we used fossil fuels to revolutionize the way we move from place to place — creating unprecedented mobility, but substantially contributing to climate change. About 30% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation. But we can look to key states for a glimpse of what climate leadership on transit looks like.
States across the country have led efforts to revamp the electric grid: modernizing century-old systems, promoting energy efficiency, and investing in distributed energy generation that replaces central grids. Through smart investment and incentives, the federal government has the ability to usher in this new energy future nationwide, and ensure that all share equitably in the benefits — and that those who suffer from the highest energy burden receive the most help.
For years, red and blue states across the country have been building the policy architecture for ambitious national climate action. Part II of "Searching for a New Deal on Climate" explores how the federal government can follow the states’ lead on setting economy-wide greenhouse gas targets, establishing renewable energy requirements for electric utility portfolios, and building out new renewable energy generation.
Is there a version of decarbonization somewhere out there that is aggressive enough to meet the bar set by the scientists, yet pragmatic enough to work politically and as a matter of law and policy? Yes, there is. We should look no further than the blue and red states that are currently leading on climate to see the strategies in action that would achieve the swift and far-reaching emissions reductions we require.
A study by the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) shows how through cost reductions, rural mini-grids can quickly scale as a commercially viable business model to provide access to millions of people and businesses across sub-Saharan Africa.
"Despite a rise in Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing, the financial services industry still has a lot of work to do to assist in the global effort against climate change. As with all things, this brings both social responsibility and business opportunity."