An Economist’s Case for Restrictive Supply-Side Policy: Ten Policies to Manage the Fossil Fuel Transition is a great new analysis by economists Mark Paul and Lina Moe. The report details why relying on clean energy investments won’t get the U.S. to its decarbonization goals—let alone to a just transition—without an intentional phase-out of oil and gas development.
Read the full report here: https://www.climateandcommunity.org/economists-case-end-fossil-fuels
The new report describes how policies investing in clean energy and stepping down fossil fuels in tandem can guarantee that workers and communities reliant upon fossil fuel jobs receive support, secure a more liveable planet, and ensure the U.S. economy weathers the energy transition without harmful volatility. Please read it and share!
As Amy Westervelt wrote so clearly in the March 17th issue of Drilled:
“Thinking you can add solar panels to the grid to offset fossil fuel emissions is exactly the same as thinking a carbon offset reduces emissions. The accounting moves around, emissions might get slightly reduced on the whole, but the problem remains the same. Adding renewable energy while also adding fossil fuels cancels out whatever emissions reductions the renewables might deliver. Not to mention the fact that throwing any energy tech at the problem without tackling our unnecessarily high energy consumption is unlikely to deliver meaningful emissions reductions.
There is no way to effectively tackle the climate crisis without reducing the extraction and refining of fossil fuels. But the Biden administration has been hesitant to do anything that would address this, opting for spending bills like the IRA rather than legislation that would require emissions reductions. It’s a classic neoliberal approach: if there’s an equal or greater amount of money to be made in renewables, fossil fuel companies will just transition, no regulation required. Except that’s not how the industry has ever worked. When Americans got good at conserving energy in the 1970s, the industry actively looked for ways to increase consumption as supply increased in the 1980s. When the bottom fell out of natural gas prices due to the fracking boom, fracking companies looked for new markets (especially petrochemicals and plastics). As Global North countries have shown a lack of interest in single-use disposable plastic, the production of the material has actually increased. 100 years ago, energy was a demand-driven industry, and in some parts of the world it still is, but in most of the world it is supply driven; it’s a product looking for a market, an industry that spends billions to manufacture demand and ensure it never drops. The idea that it will suddenly start responding to demand signals now is ridiculous.”