What are the best strategies for stopping global warming? Carbon pricing? The Green New Deal? Here's a brief list of sustainability priorities that the United States should implement in order to avoid contributing to the most catastrophic consequences of anthropogenic climate change:
- Permanent moratorium on new coal plants.
- Permanent ban on all offshore drilling off the continental United States and Alaska.
- Ban all tar sands oil imports via TransCanada- so that means ban all trains and pipelines that transport crude oil from Canada to the U.S., and stop the development of the Keystone XL pipeline and the Dakota Access pipeline; as well as pipelines like Line 3.
- Before trying to put into United States law (through Congress) parts of dramatic new policies like sections of the Green New Deal, or even less dramatic policies like the various federal carbon pricing proposals circulating Congress, first the United States must rejoin the Paris Climate Accord, and maintain its commitments to vital measures like GHG reduction goals (this article was written when Trump was still president. Biden is not only rejoining the international community, but will try to pull its own weight on climate, energy, the environment, sustainability goals, etc...)
- The United States must also restart all ambitious goals to meet the climate targets set by the United States at the Paris Climate Accord. All regulations for fossil fuel developments that were mandated under President Obama's Clean Power Plan (CPP), which mirror GHG reduction targets set at the Paris Climate Accord, must be enforced. Greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. power plants will need to meet the standards set by the Paris Climate Accord and the Clean Power Plan.
There were a few significant events which showed strong signs of global progress in addressing anthropogenic climate change in 2014-2015, leading to the Paris Climate Accord:
These events represented true progress. We must get back to this momentum.
The new climate envoy and related staff, John Kerry and his staff for the new executive climate department of the U.S. government; and the new Biden Administration picks for EPA, Energy, Interior, and other climate related cabinet positions - should get the U.S. back on track as far as ambitious climate policies.
Big Oil (and gas) and Big Coal, in the United States as in much of the rest of the world, finance the campaigns of many politicians, and have successfully been able to slow down progress on some major climate goals. How much of the Clean Power Plan has the Trump administration Congressional Republicans, and the EPA under Trump been able to stop? The EPA under the Trump administration has been able to stop or reverse the ambitious goals of the CPP and Paris Climate Accord in some, Republican-controlled, states. However, many states and cities in the United States are on track to meet the initial requirements of the Clean Power Plan and the Paris Climate Accord, as individual states can remain committed to the climate goals of the CPP and Paris Climate Accord.
Some U.S. states have even more ambitious strategies to reduce GHGs and fight climate change than put forth in the CPP, or at Paris. Examples of states with ambitious climate mitigation plans include: states like California, Hawaii, Washington, New Mexico, as well as several states in the Northeast U.S. (all states which have passed bills through their states' legislatures that mandate 100% renewable energy within the next 25 years for their entire states). New York City is even planning a congestion levy for cars in the city center of NYC), and is investing substantial support for electric vehicles; like development of extensive EV charging stations, as well as other EV infrastructure.