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Scientists Say New Climate Law Will Likely Reduce Warming

Workers of NY State Solar, a residential and commercial photovoltaic systems company, install a series of solar panels on a rooftop, Aug. 11, 2022, in the Long Island hamlet of Massapequa, NY Huge clean energy incentives into US law signed on Tuesday, Aug. 16 , by President Joe Biden, should reduce future global warming “not by much, but not insignificantly,” according to a climate scientist who led an independent analysis of the climate package. Credit: AP Photo/John Minchillo, File

Huge Clean Energy Incentives in US Law Tuesday signed by President Joe Biden should reduce future global warming “not by much, but also not insignificant,” according to a climate scientist who led an independent analysis of the package.

Even with nearly $375 billion in tax credits and other renewable energy financial temptations in law, the United States is still not doing its part to keep the world within a few tenths of a degree of warming, a new analysis from Climate Action Tracker says. The group of scientists examines and assesses each country’s climate goals and actions. It still rates US action as “inadequate,” but welcomed some progress.

“This is the biggest thing that has happened to the US in terms of climate policy,” said Bill Hare, the Australia-based director of Climate Analytics, which is releasing the tracker. “If you think back to the past few decades, you know, don’t want to be rude, there’s a lot of talk, but not a lot of action.”

This is action, he said. Not as much as Europe, and Americans still spew twice as much heat-trapping gases per person as Europeans, Hare said. The US has also released more heat-trapping gas into the air over time than any other country.

Before the law, Climate Action Tracker calculated that if every other country made efforts comparable to those of the US, it would lead to a world with catastrophic warming – 5.4 to 7.2 degrees (3 to 4 degrees Celsius) above pre-industrial times. At best, which Hare said is reasonable and likely, US actions, if imitated, would lead to just 3.6 degrees (2 degrees Celsius) of warming. If things didn’t work out as optimistically as Hare thinks, it would warm 5.4 degrees (3 degrees Celsius), the analysis said.

Even that best-case scenario falls short of the overarching internationally accepted goal of limiting warming to 2.7 degrees (1.5 degrees Celsius) since pre-industrial times. And the world has already warmed 2 degrees (1.1 degrees Celsius) since the mid-19th century.

Scientists Say New Climate Law Will Likely Reduce Warming

Wind turbines operate in Livermore, California, Wednesday, August 10, 2022. Huge clean energy incentives in US law signed by President Joe Biden on Tuesday, August 16, should reduce future global warming “not by much, but not insignificantly either.” not,” said a climate scientist who led an independent analysis of the climate package.Credit: AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez, File

Other countries “that we know are reluctant to come forward with more ambitious policies and targets” are more likely to take action now in a “significant global spillover effect,” Hare said. He said officials from Chile and a few Southeast Asian countries, which he would not name, told him this summer that they were waiting for US action first.

And China “won’t say this out loud, but I think it will see the US as something to emulate,” Hare said.

Climate Action Tracker scientists have calculated that without any other new climate policies, carbon dioxide emissions in the US will shrink to 26% to 42% below 2005 levels by 2030, which still falls short of the country’s goal of halving emissions. Analysts at the Rhodium Group think tank calculated a 31% to 44% reduction in pollution from the new law.

Other analysts and scientists said Climate Action Tracker’s numbers make sense.

“The US’s contributions to greenhouse gas emissions are huge,” said Princeton University climate scientist Gabriel Vecchi. “So reducing that will definitely have a global impact.”

Samantha Gross, director of climate and energy at the Brookings Institution, called the new law a down payment for US emissions reductions.

“Now that this is done, the US can celebrate a little bit and then focus on implementation and what to do next,” Gross said.

Report: Most countries fall far short on plans to curb warming

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Quote: Scientists say new climate law likely to reduce warming (2022, Aug 17) retrieved Aug 17, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-08-scientists-climate-law.html

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