Scientists say new climate law will likely reduce warming

Scientists say new climate law will likely reduce warming

WASHINGTON (AP) – Massive clean energy incentives in US law signed Tuesday by President Joe Biden are expected to reduce future global warming “not by much, but also not negligibly,” according to a climate scientist who led an independent analysis. of the package.

Even with nearly $375 billion in tax credits and other financial incentives for renewable energy in law, the United States is still not doing its part to help the world stay within a few more tenths of a degree of warming, a new analysis by Climate Action tells the tracker. The group of scientists examines and evaluates each country’s climate goals and actions. He still calls the American action “insufficient” but praised some progress.

“This is the biggest thing that has happened to the US in climate policy,” said Bill Hare, director of Climate Analytics in Australia, which launches the tracker. “When you think back over the last few decades, you know, not wanting to be unkind, there’s a lot of talk but not a lot of action.”

This is action, he said. Not as much as Europe, and Americans still expel twice as much heat-retaining gases per person as Europeans, Hare said. The US has also put more gas into the air over time than any other nation.

Before the law, the Climate Action Tracker calculated that if all other nations made similar efforts as the US, it would lead to a world with catastrophic warming – 5.4 to 7.2 degrees (3 to 4 degrees Celsius) above the times. pre-industrial. Now, in the best-case scenario, which Hare said is reasonable and likely, US stocks, if imitated, would lead to just 3.6 degrees (2 degrees Celsius) of warming. If things don’t work out as optimistically as Hare thinks, it would be 5.4 degrees (3 degrees Celsius) of warming, the analysis said.

Even this best-case scenario falls short of the internationally accepted overarching goal of limiting warming to 2.7 degrees of warming (1.5 degrees Celsius) since pre-industrial times. And the world has already warmed 2 degrees (1.1 degrees Celsius) since the mid-19th century.

Other nations “who we know are holding back on moving forward with more ambitious policies and goals” are now more likely to act to “significant effect globally,” Hare said. He said officials in Chile and some Southeast Asian countries, which he declined to name, told him this summer that they were waiting for US action first.

And China “will not say that out loud, but I think they will see the US move as something they need to match,” Hare said.

Climate Action Tracker scientists have calculated that without other new climate policies, US carbon dioxide emissions in 2030 will decline to 26% to 42% below 2005 levels, which is still short of the country’s goal of reducing emissions. half. Analysts at the think tank Rhodium Group have calculated pollution cuts of 31% to 44% under the new law.

Other analysts and scientists said the Climate Action Tracker numbers make sense.

“The US contributions to greenhouse gas emissions are enormous,” said Gabriel Vecchi, a climate scientist at Princeton University. “So reducing that will definitely have a global impact.”

Samantha Gross, director of climate and energy at the Brookings Institution, called the new law an advance on US emissions reductions.

“Now that this is done, the US can celebrate a little, then focus on implementation and what needs to happen next,” Gross said.

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Follow AP’s climate and environmental coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/climate-and-environment

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Follow Seth Borenstein on Twitter at @borenbears

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