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Data: Rhodium Group; Chart: Axios Visuals

Greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and tailpipes get lots of attention, but a new analysis offers a proposal to cut emissions from another huge source — heavy industry.

Why it matters: The Rhodium Group estimates that industry will overtake transportation as the largest source of U.S. emissions sometime in the middle of this decade (you can see the biggest sources above).

  • And it comes as the incoming Biden administration is vowing new efforts to curb heat-trapping gases across the economy.

The big picture: Their study proposes a "clean products standard" that would cover both goods manufactured and imported into the United States.

  • The topline idea is that it would "establish the maximum amount of [greenhouse gases] per unit of material produced that can be emitted in the production of covered industrial products."

The intrigue: Manufacturers would have lots of leeway to employ methods to meet the standards, such as through the use of low-carbon power and manufacturing feedstocks, efficiency improvements, and carbon capture.

The odds: New mandates — even ones that envision market-friendly mechanisms like credit trading — face immense hurdles in Congress, especially if the GOP retains the Senate.

  • But the analysis also suggests that legislation focusing on government procurement could be an initial step toward wider introduction of the idea.

Read the analysis

Go deeper

On Day One, Biden will move to rejoin Paris Climate Agreement

Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

President-elect Biden on Wednesday will begin the formal process for the U.S. to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, making good on a highly touted campaign promise.

Catch up fast: President Trump first announced his intention to abandon the accord in June 2017, angering countries worldwide. The U.S. became the only country to pull out of the pact on Nov. 4, 2020, the day after the election and the first possible day for the country to withdraw under the agreement's terms.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 19, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Federal court strikes down key Trump power plant rule

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

A federal appeals court this morning vacated EPA carbon emissions regulations for coal-fired power plants, a victory for opponents of the Trump administration policy who criticized the rule as too weak.

Why it matters: The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will remove one hurdle for the incoming Biden administration as it seeks to implement new and wider-ranging policies.

Updated 29 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Ransomware attack forces shutdown of major U.S. fuel pipeline

A police officer stands guard inside the gate to the Colonial Pipeline Co. Pelham junction and tank farm in Pelham, Alabama, in 2016. Photo: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A major U.S. fuel pipeline running from Texas to New York has been taken offline by its operator because of a ransomware attack, Colonial Pipeline said Saturday.

Why it matters: It's a significant breach of critical infrastructure and comes on the heels of multiple other major cyberattacks on both U.S. companies and the federal government.