The Biden administration plans to roll out executive orders and climate mandates affecting automobiles and trucks to reach a 50% reduction in emissions by the end of the decade, according to Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry
During an interview with Yahoo News last week, Kerry spoke on President Biden’s plans, but also on lifestyle changes people may have to make to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
At the beginning of the interview though, Kerry was asked about Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, or IRA, noting that it is only projected to reach a 40% reduction in carbon emissions by the end of the decade, shy by about 10% of the president’s goal.
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“Well, we’re doing a lot more than just the IRA. The IRA is a package that in and of itself can get the 40%,” Kerry said. “But in addition to that, the president is issuing executive orders. There’ll be changes on automobile, on light truck, heavy truck, heavy duty, a number of initiatives that are being taken by states, subnational, cities…”
He added that when the U.S. pulled out of the Paris climate agreement, the U.S. still saw 75% of the new energy that came online, came from renewable resources.
“So, we have a lot of other options, tools if you will, in the toolkit besides the IRA,” Kerry said.
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The former presidential candidate also said achieving the goal is not dependent on federal government mandates, though it is critical. He explained that corporations also must do their part.
He gave the example of the airline industry doing their part to meet a net-zero 2050 target in two separate phases, or scopes to reduce emissions that the industry is responsible for.
“So, there are a lot of things happening, and nobody can guarantee this,” Kerry said. “Right now, we’re behind. I mean, we’re seriously behind.”
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In terms of electric vehicles, General Motors said by 2035 it only plans to make vehicles that operate on electricity.
Kerry was also asked about people who do not want to change their lifestyles for things like switching from gas to electricity for cooking.
“Unless somebody were able to provide that with zero carbon intensity, I mean, if you can do that. Now that’s not doable today,” he said. “So yes, gas at a certain point becomes a serious challenge here.”
“It would be like taking a coal plant offline and switching to gas. Yes, you got rid of the coal emissions, but generated gas emissions.”
“You’ve got to be able to reduce the gas emissions also,” he said. “That’s the challenge for the industry.”
Kerry’s camp did not immediately respond to questions concerning the interview and the Biden administrations’ future mandates.
In February, Biden faced severe backlash when a regulatory plan to ban most gas stoves surfaced.