Report: Going Carbon Neutral Could Cost $1 Trillion Per Year | NTK Network Report: Going Carbon Neutral Could Cost $1 Trillion Per Year

Report: Going Carbon Neutral Could Cost $1 Trillion Per Year

Meanwhile, the actual process necessary to achieve that goal is infrastructural minefield.

By NTK Staff | 05.13.2019 @8:58am
Report: Going Carbon Neutral Could Cost $1 Trillion Per Year

While Democrats both on the campaign trail and in Washington, D.C. continue to promote proposals like the Green New Deal and other carbon-cutting plans, a new report from Bloomberg News explains just how difficult and costly that would be.

To start, Bloomberg’s Ari Natter asks if it’s even possible for the United States to move from products and services that currently emit greenhouse gases to those that do not. In part, this is what it would take:

We’ll have to stop using vehicles powered by internal combustion engines, abandon most electricity produced by coal, and retrofit buildings that use natural gas for cooking and heating. New bio-based fuels for aviation and carbon capture technology for cement factories and chemical refineries will be required. And we’ll probably be eating a lot more vegetarian hamburgers.

And if that sounds ambitious, the price tag is even more alarming. The Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project conducted a study that found it would likely cost more than $1 trillion per year to accomplish:

Cleaning up U.S. industries may require investments amounting to more than $1 trillion annually by 2050, according to the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project, a global collaboration of energy research teams led by the Paris-based Institute for Sustainable Development & International Relations and the United Nations-backed Sustainable Development Solutions Network. That’s in line with an estimate by BNEF that found achieving the Green New Deal’s goals of de-carbonizing the U.S.’s energy, transport, and agriculture sectors would cost roughly $980 billion a year.

Critics say the costs would be even higher, and would unfairly penalize the U.S. economy given that China, India, and other carbon dioxide-emitting countries in the world aren’t doing their share.

Furthermore, to go fully carbon neutral, the U.S. would need to use “technologies that haven’t yet been fully developed, tested, or deployed.”

If all of this is starting to sound a bit too “pie in the sky,” you’re not alone. Critics agree that it’s likely an unachievable goal. One Harvard fellow said one of the only ways net-zero emissions could even be accomplished is for the U.S. government “to intervene on a scale not seen since World War II, when it commandeered factories and rationed gasoline.”

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