President Biden recently released a sweeping infrastructure package that includes billions of dollars for climate-related projects such as increasing electric vehicle sales, building and retrofitting energy-efficient homes and buildings, replacing fossil fuels, and more. Many on the Right have decried this plan as the Green New Deal in disguise.
This package, however, begs the question: what can we do to help protect our climate? Everyone loves the party game/icebreaker “two truths and a lie.” As we look forward to Earth Day this week, can you identify the ways that we’re already working to reduce the effects of climate change?
A. Developing and utilizing carbon capture and storage.
B. We’re not—we need expansive climate packages like Biden’s infrastructure bill.
C. Improving and expanding America’s largest and most reliable source of clean energy.
Let’s take these statements one at a time:
A. TRUE. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a technology that shows incredible promise to help us reduce emissions. With the ability to capture up to 90 percent of the carbon emissions produced by fossil fuels in commercial processes for electricity and industrial use, CCS is already helping to reduce emissions at different natural gas plants across the country. At one CCS facility in Wyoming, the technology is already removing amounts of carbon dioxide equivalent to removing more than 1.5 million cars from the road.
Beyond various government initiatives to support CCS, private industry is also working to support and expand CCS capabilities. Earlier this year, Elon Musk announced an XPRIZE competition offering $100 million in prizes for advancing carbon removal with the full guidelines to be announced this week on Earth Day.
B. FALSE. President Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure package offers billions of spending on proposals that aim to reduce carbon emissions, but is fundamentally unworkable and irresponsible, by seeking to banish fossil fuels from our energy grid and force Americans to rely on energy sources that are not dependable or affordable enough to support our economy.
The proposed infrastructure package has been decried by many as “the Green New Deal in disguise” and indeed takes a similar overly-aggressive approach to addressing climate change. Notably, despite his continued rhetoric of saying his climate policies will “create millions of good jobs,” even Biden recognizes the job loss that will occur as a result of this package and includes $40 billion for a Dislocated Workers Program. This is not the way to help our country and our planet.
C. TRUE. America’s largest and most reliable source of clean energy is nuclear power. Nuclear power produces about 20 percent of total U.S. annual electricity and is our only source of carbon-free, reliable, cheap energy. Despite nuclear power’s proven track record both in the U.S. and abroad, many climate activists discourage the use of nuclear energy. Fortunately, new innovation in nuclear power will help to increase its use—American engineers are currently developing small modular reactors (SMRs) which cut down on upfront capital investment needs and can increase our nuclear energy output in a climate- and economically-friendly way (read this policy focus to learn more about nuclear power).
This Earth Day, let’s celebrate the ways that Americans are leading the fight against climate change and make sure that our legislators take steps to support American innovation and leadership in this space without adopting aggressive policies that will create economic hardship on Americans and fail to meaningfully address climate change.