In Paris late last year, the countries of the world pledged to reduce emissions to keep global warming “well below a 2 degree Celsius” rise in global average temperatures compared with preindustrial levels.
As an advanced economy, the U.S. is expected to lead in making the required emissions reductions, which would be roughly 80 percent by midcentury compared with 2005. This would entail moving a large portion of U.S. power generation off fossil fuels and shifting the majority of our vehicles to electric power. That’s a tall order.
Most existing energy policies focus on the nearer term, and as yet there is no roadmap to achieve this 2°C limit – or even less aggressive targets for emissions cuts in the next 15 years.