President Biden Intends to Reduce GHG Emissions by 50 Percent by 2030

On April 22, 2021 (Earth Day), President Biden announced his intent for the United States to reduce economy-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 50-52 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. President Biden announced the goal during the Leaders Summit on Climate, a virtual summit convened by the President and attended by 40 world leaders. According to the administration’s summary Fact Sheet, it will initiate a variety of new initiatives:

  • Electricity: Achieve 100 percent carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035. Develop “thousands of miles of transmission lines for a clean, modern, resilient grid.”
  • Efficiency upgrades and electrification in buildings: Support efficiency upgrades and electrification in buildings through support for job-creating retrofit programs and sustainable affordable housing, wider use of heat pumps and induction stoves, and adoption of modern energy codes for new buildings. Invest in new technologies to reduce emissions associated with construction, including for high-performance electrified buildings.
  • Transportation: Reduce tailpipe emissions and boost the efficiency of cars and trucks; provide funding for charging infrastructure; and spur research, development, demonstration, and deployment efforts that drive forward very low carbon new-generation renewable fuels for applications like aviation, and other cutting-edge transportation technologies across modes.
  • Forests and agricultural: Reduce emissions from forests and agriculture and enhance carbon sinks through a range of programs and measures including nature-based solutions for ecosystems ranging from our forests and agricultural soils to our rivers and coasts. Develop ocean-based solutions to reduce GHG emissions.
  • Industrial processes: Target industrial processes by supporting carbon capture as well as new sources of hydrogen—produced from renewable energy, nuclear energy, or waste—to power industrial facilities.
  • Short-lived climate pollutants: Reduce non-CO2 greenhouse gases, including methane, hydrofluorocarbons and other potent short-lived climate pollutants.
  • Investment in innovation: Invest in innovation to improve and broaden the set of solutions to deploy the affordable, reliable, and resilient clean technologies and infrastructure available today.

Many of the Biden initiatives mirror or expand on GHG reduction policies introduced in California. For example, the state’s Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act (Senate Bill 350) set a goal of reducing GHG to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 and to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. California’s SB 100 sets a 2045 goal of powering 100% of retail electricity sold in California with renewable and zero-carbon resources. California’s Cap-and-Trade and Low Carbon Fuel Standard programs incentivize GHG reduction in the industrial and transportation sectors, and California has created a comprehensive strategy to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants pursuant SB 1383.

On Earth Day 2021, Governor Newsom issued climate policy directives building on earlier directives to phase out gasoline powered cars and trucks. Governor Newsom also directed the California Geologic Energy Management Division to cease issuing permits for new hydraulic fracturing wells by 2024 and required the California Air Resources Board to study how oil extraction can be completely phased out in the context of the next AB 32 Scoping Plan.

Many Ellison Schneider Harris & Donlan clients have pioneered clean energy technologies and projects. We are proud of providing legal support for these efforts to reduce and mitigate CO2 emissions in California. We will continue to support California’s role as a leader and innovator and carefully monitor the changing federal regulatory landscape for new issues and opportunities.

For more information, contact: Christian Briggs or Brian Biering.