The corporate world and governments are awash in ambitious climate pledges, but two new reports underscore how the on-the-ground policy reality has not yet begun to spur steep emissions cuts, Ben writes.
Driving the news, part 1: The Rhodium Group consultancy is out with new projections of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions cuts under current federal and state policies.
As you can see above, the country is nowhere near on track to meet the recent White House pledge of 50%-52% U.S. cuts by 2030, while the longstanding 2025 target of 26%-28% reductions is a nearer miss (but the uncertainty band is large).
Driving the news, part 2: New International Energy Agency analysis shows that fossil fuels will be used to meet almost half of this year's projected 5% rebound in global electricity demand.
- They see CO2 emissions from electricity, the largest global emissions source, rising 3.5% this year and another 2.5% in 2022.
- Coal-fired generation, especially fueled by China, is slated to rise by 5% this year. "It will grow by a further 3% in 2022 and could set an all-time high," IEA notes (emphasis added).
Why it matters: This isn't the hottest take (it's Friday!), but the upshot is that it's important to watch the specifics and implementation efforts that flow from headline-grabbing long-term commitments.
- For the U.S., the biggest question right now is the fate of huge new investments and incentives the White House wants to move through Congress, as well as executive steps.
- Globally, keep watch on the fate of aggressive new proposals in Europe, as well as how China fills in the blanks on its pledges, among other efforts.
What they're saying: "To shift to a sustainable trajectory, we need to massively step up investment in clean energy technologies — especially renewables and energy efficiency," Keisuke Sadamori, IEA's director of energy markets and security, said in a statement alongside the power report.
What we're watching: One thing on our U.S. radar is Rhodium's follow-up analysis coming this fall.
It will explore "emissions impacts of a suite of federal and subnational actions that can help close the gap between the current U.S. emissions trajectory and ambitious decarbonization goals."