Many global climate change talking heads warn that we need to dramatically transform our energy usage right now to avoid real catastrophe.
Not a slow-and-steady approach.
But one that completely overhauls our energy use and changes the entire landscape (literally and figuratively) of the US.
What does that actually look like though? And what needs to be done?
Here’s what many leading thinkers say needs to happen to hit net-zero in the US by 2050:
1. Reduce Dependence on Fossil Fuels
Currently, fossil fuels create 40% of the carbon emissions needed to produce the energy you use today.
That number must be cut down to practically zero.
And the US Department of Energy has a plan for making that happen: deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy within the decade and cut the cost of solar energy by 60% by 2030.
This would also create tens of thousands of high-paying jobs.
The result would be that 10% of all the land in the United States would be dedicated to wind turbines or solar collectors.
And you’d see a part of the ocean the size of Belgium dotted with wind turbines, per The Guardian.
Inarguably, it’s a great place to start.
2. Use Low-Carbon Emission Electricity in Our Transportation, Buildings, and Industry
By 2030, the United States will need to have 50% of all vehicles to create zero emissions.
20% of fossil fuel furnaces in buildings will need to be replaced by zero emissions heat pumps.
All new building construction must be powered by low-carbon electricity, except in the coldest areas of the United States.
For industrial processes which cannot operate on electricity, we must identify methods for transitioning to low-carbon heat sources.
All this comes from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.
3. Remove Carbon Dioxide from the Atmosphere And Store It Permanently
Plants already do this. And we can assist them in their work.
Honestly, we’re already doing this on a miniscule scale.
So, it’s simply a matter of implementing this technology on a much wider basis.
For right now, this technology is slow and expensive.
All that happens is a large air filter grabs carbon dioxide and transports it for storage deep underground.
Additionally, land management practices like planting carbon-reducing crops (such as rye) helps to keep carbon in the soil.
However, these practices should only be implemented and used after minimizing the amount of carbon created in the first place.
Can we hit net-zero by 2050?
But will we?
Only time will tell.
Closed on Sunday
Closed on Sunday