Wind and solar already avoid 52 million cars’ worth of CO2 emissions a year, representing highly affordable, reliable solutions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. As the Biden administration seeks to set and attain ambitious clean-energy goals, it will likely work with Congress in shaping carbon policy, which could include options like enacting a federal Clean Energy Standard (CES) and/or an economy-wide carbon tax.
Fortunately, support for carbon policy has become increasingly bipartisan. In the 116th Congress (2019-2020), Democrats continued touting the importance of comprehensive carbon policy and, increasingly, so did Republicans. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have continued to express an openness and desire for passing climate legislation.
Executive Orders, administrative actions, and budget priorities can also play a role in setting carbon policy. The Environmental Protection Agency, using its authority under the Clean Air Act, can set carbon-reduction regulations, while the Department of Transportation can help drive electrification measures forward. The Office of Management of Budget can set a social cost of carbon to ensure all government regulations limit carbon impacts, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission can play a critical role by encouraging regional transmission organizations (RTOs) to incorporate a carbon price into their markets, as well as ensuring infrastructure can support carbon targets.
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