Apr 1, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Where Biden is starting on his quest to cut carbon emissions

Reproduced from Rhodium Group; Chart: Axios Visuals
Reproduced from Rhodium Group; Chart: Axios Visuals

The White House faces a big challenge as it promotes sweeping plans to steeply cut U.S. emissions this decade — and works to convince other countries it'll happen.

The big picture: Electricity sector emissions have been on a general downward trend as natural gas and renewables have shoved aside coal.

  • But reaching 100% carbon-free power by 2035 — a major pillar of Biden's agenda — is another matter entirely.
  • And until COVID-19 sent emissions down for tragic reasons, trends in other sectors were largely flat or moving up, per Rhodium Group data.

What we're watching: The Washington Post reports that top White House climate aides will meet today with the Edison Electric Institute, a big lobbying group for investor-owned utilities.

  • Biden's plan calls for a federal "clean electricity standard" — a mandate aimed at greatly expanding zero-carbon generation.
  • But its prospects in Congress are highly uncertain.
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