Dec 4, 2019

House Dems' proposed tax incentives could reduce carbon emissions

Ben Geman, author of Generate

An oil refinery in Whiting, Indiana, on Jan. 8. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

A new note from the Rhodium Group helps explain why environmental groups and renewables trade associations are throwing their weight behind House Democrats' legislation to extend a suite of tax incentives.

The big picture: Compared to current policy, U.S. emissions would be 37 million to 99 million tons lower in 2030 if the wide-ranging draft bill unveiled recently were enacted, the research firm projects.

  • "That’s 16 to 19% below 2005 levels compared with a 15-17% reduction under current policy," they note.
  • That's still off track for meeting the Obama-era Paris Agreement pledge to reduce national emissions by 26%-28% by 2025.

By the numbers: Here are a couple key findings from the note by Rhodium, which conducts foundation-funded work on energy tax policy:

  • Installations of non-hydro renewable generating capacity, largely wind and solar, would be higher in 2025, and then the difference compared to the no-extension scenario widens a lot.
  • "In the latter half of the 2020s, the [legislation] can catalyze a surge in cumulative capacity additions to 354-491 [gigawatts] in 2030, an increase of 15-59 GW compared to 339-432 GW under current policy," they note.
  • On electric vehicles, expanded credits mean that up to 5.7 million more EVs would be sold between now and 2030.

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