US climate package: USA takes the lead, China will (again) follow

US climate package passed
Top climate researcher Michael Mann: The USA is leading the way and China will follow

Aftermath of a flood in Death Valley

Consequences of an unprecedented flood in Death Valley (August 5): The US is investing more than ever in climate protection

© National Park Service/AFP

It could have been more, but the key is that the US is investing in the fight against climate change like never before. It remains unclear how reliable this is in view of the narrow majorities. The example set by the USA is considered important.

Finally, it took the Vice-President to bring everything to a good conclusion. After weeks of tough inner-party persuasion, the Democrats, thanks to the qua office, brought the decisive vote Kamala Harris their climate decisions by the US Senate. It is considered certain that the House of Representatives will follow suit. There, the democratic majority is a little more comfortable.

Joe Biden spoke of a “big deal”, but the issues of inflation, taxes and health make the billion-dollar package a really big deal for the US President. Especially domestically. Internationally, the focus is naturally on the climate decisions. The US produces the second highest CO2 emissions in the world. If it is possible to reduce these emissions, a lot will be gained in curbing global warming.

The key points of the US climate package are:

  • $370 billion is the largest investment in clean energy and climate protection in US history.
  • According to the Democrats, the resolutions enable a 40 percent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030. With the strict climate regulations of the Biden government and the states, a reduction of 50 percent also seems achievable.
  • Tax credits for the clean energy transition in homes – including rooftop solar panels, heat pumps and small wind turbines.
  • $7,500 tax credit when purchasing an electric car (provided the battery components come from North America or states that have free trade agreements with the United States)
  • Credit for clean energy investments is becoming cheaper and gradually being phased out.
  • Tax breaks for energy efficiency in commercial premises are being expanded.
  • New solar and wind systems on public land will be subject to the requirement to invest less in oil and gas sites. The cost of producing fossil fuels on public land is increasing.
  • Supporting companies in reducing emissions of climate-damaging methane. Excessive methane emissions are subject to charges.
  • Relief for communities exposed to high environmental pressures, including monitoring air pollution in poorer communities.

US climate package: No solution to the problem, but progress

The decisions come at a time when United States the effects of climate change are becoming increasingly noticeable due to heat, drought and persistent, large-scale forest fires. Recently, a previously unrecorded rainstorm in California’s Death Valley, one of the hottest and driest areas in the world, caused a sensation. 75 percent of the usual amount of rain for a whole year fell on a single day.

The Biden administration’s new climate package “will not solve the problem, to put it bluntly,” said Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University, one of the world’s most renowned climate researchers, on CNN. But it is progress that the measures could reduce climate-damaging CO2 emissions in the USA by 40 percent by 2030. The aim must be to bring emissions to zero by the middle of the century in order to limit global warming to below three degrees plus compared to the pre-industrial age. Because beyond that mark, the effects of the climate change so strong that our ability to adapt is not sufficient, Mann refers to the current state of research.

Climate change: China has followed the US example so far

For the climate researcher, it is essential that the United States take on a pioneering role for other major climate sinners such as India or China. That China because of the Taiwan crisis just last week climate-Has terminated cooperation with the USA, does not scare Mann. This is daily politics. At the climate summit in Glasgow, China also agreed to stop its emissions and ultimately reduce them to zero. When the Obama administration made the United States a pioneer in climate protection, China eventually followed suit, and Trump then backed away from the Paris Climate Agreement, prompting China to be less strict with itself as well. “And now we’re back,” said Michael Mann.

However, it remains to be seen whether the climate researcher’s analysis will be correct. The stock market for renewable energies was initially unimpressed by the US resolutions on Sunday evening (local time). There were no higher price gains. Analysts pointed out that the positive effect had already occurred at the end of July, when blocker Joe Manchin, the Democratic Senator from West Virginia, made his approval of the slimmed-down climate package public.

Sources: US Democrats in the Senate; CNN; The Hill; CO2 online; Ecoreporter

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