Biden moves to tackle industrial decarbonization
Big announcements coming out of the White House today on decarbonization of the industrial sector.
It’s the clearest indication yet the US will not only reduce imports of dirty steel, but will also push domestic industry to green its production. (whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/…) The deal to cut dirty imports was announced last year, as part of the joint US-EU commitment to negotiate the world’s first carbon-based sectoral arrangement on steel and aluminum trade by 2024. (whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/…) At the time, some observers questioned how green the agreement would be, noting that the initial announcement did not seem to include any domestic decarbonization undertaking. Yet a holistic assessment involves looking at the entirety of the policy regime. (ielp.worldtradelaw.net/2021/11/respon…) Indeed, already it appears that some countries’ unwillingness to undertake domestic green commitments impeded their access to the duty-free steel club.
Today’s announcement also shows that the US will be actively creating and shaping markets for clean steel through adding a Buy Clean Task Force to their existing efforts to expand Buy American preferences.
Notably, the US will be using the technology transition from current dirty production methods to hydrogen and carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS) as an opportunity to build industry back better and reduce other pollutants harming frontline communities.
Moreover, this is not only about US industry. The US will be putting its foreign policy and development aid apparatus in service of deeper decarbonization of industry around the world.
Finally, you gotta love an “environmental policy announcement” that mentions creating “jobs” 14 times and “union jobs” four times.
Focusing on reducing the costs of inputs like steel to green industries like solar panels are a smart way to keep prices down during the energy transition and reshoring, and could be used in conjunction with a range of federal authorities, and complements other incentives included in the America Competes Act that will help build out (today virtually nonexistent) capacity in the US to produce utility-grade solar.
Read @LFFriedman @SashaLyutse of @NRDC and @ProfDavidHart on why tackling emissions from the hard-to-abate industrial sector will become our biggest climate challenge, as emissions decrease from relatively low hanging fruit in electricity and transport.
(Adapted from this thread.)