WASHINGTON — Clean energy incentives in the new spending package signed this week by President Joe Biden will trim America’s emissions of heat-trapping gases by about 1.1 billion tons (1 billion metric tons) by 2030, a new Department of Energy analysis shows.
Known as the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the measure includes a myriad of incentives for green energy production.
“The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 has a number of policies that support zero-emission vehicle deployment, including tax credits for the purchase of medium-and heavy-duty zero-emission vehicles and the construction of electric vehicle charging stations,” Sean Waters, vice president of product compliance and regulatory affairs at Diamler Trucks North America (DTNA), said. “The provisions for zero-emission commercial vehicles are a great investment in the country’s climate goals…. Further incentives at both the federal and state level will remain necessary to help narrow the total cost of ownership gap for commercial vehicle buyers and must be complemented by a robust charging infrastructure for commercial vehicles.”
There are also other measures being taken to target big rig emissions.
As previously reported on by The Trucker, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration has announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for states and municipalities to track and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, including reducing idle time for big rigs at America’s ports.
Also, some states, such as Connecticut, are taking bold measures against the trucking industry to fight climate change.
Among the measures the law Connecticut law contains, it authorizes the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to adopt more stringent emissions standards for medium-and heavy-duty vehicles, which, officials contend, account for as much as 53% of nitrogen oxide emissions, despite being only 6% of the on-road vehicle fleet.
Freight transportation alone provides the means for more than 70% of goods to arrive to market in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, while more than 500,000 school buses on American roadways transport children to and from school every day.
The decision to offer up to $40,000 in tax credits to the buyers of medium-and heavy-duty zero-emissions vehicles, and up to $100,000 in tax credits for the construction of electric vehicle charging stations, “reflects sound and prudent investment in the country’s domestic supply chain and its long-term climate goals,” Waters said.
The IRA will also direct spending, tax credits and loans to bolster technology like solar panels, consumer efforts to improve home energy efficiency, emission-reducing equipment for coal-and gas-powered power plants, and air pollution controls for farms, ports and low-income communities.
For consumers, that means tax rebates to buy electric vehicles — $4,000 for used vehicle purchase and up to $7,500 for new ones, eligible to households with incomes of $300,000 or less for couples, or single people with income of $150,000 or less.
Not all electric vehicles will fully qualify for the tax credits, thanks to requirements that component parts be manufactured and assembled in the U.S. And pricier cars costing more than $55,000 and SUVs and trucks priced above $80,000 are excluded.
There are also tax breaks for consumers to go green.
One is a 10-year consumer tax credit for renewable energy investments in wind and solar.
For businesses, the bill has $60 billion for a clean energy manufacturing tax credit and $30 billion for a production tax credit for wind and solar, seen as ways to boost and support the industries that can help curb the country’s dependence on fossil fuels.
The bill also gives tax credits for nuclear power and carbon capture technology that oil companies such as Exxon Mobil have invested millions of dollars to advance.
The bill would impose a new fee on excess methane emissions from oil and gas drilling while giving fossil fuel companies access to more leases on federal lands and waters.
The first official federal calculations, shared with The Associated Press before its release Thursday, say that between the bill just signed and last year’s infrastructure spending law, the U.S. by the end of the decade will be producing about 1.26 billion tons (1.15 billion metric tons) less carbon pollution than it would have without the laws.
That saving is equivalent to about the annual greenhouse gas emissions of every home in the United States.
The Energy Department analysis finds that with the new federal law signed by President Biden this week, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 should be about 40% lower than 2005 levels, which is still not at the U.S. announced target of cutting carbon pollution between 50% and 52% by the end of the decade.
But that 40% reduction is similar to earlier calculations by the independent research firm Rhodium Group, which figured cuts would be 31% to 44% and the scientists at Climate Action Tracker, which said the drop would be 26% to 42%.
Most of the projected emissions reductions in the nearly $375 billion spending package would come in promoting “clean energy,” mostly solar and wind power and electric vehicles, the federal analysis said. More than half of the overall projected emission drops would come in how the nation generates electricity, the analysis said. About 10% of the savings in emissions come from agriculture and land conservation.
The new law’s provisions that call for oil and gas leasing on federal land and water “may lead to some increase” in carbon pollution, the federal analysis said, but the other provisions to spur cleaner energy cut 35 tons of greenhouse gas for every new ton of pollution from the increased oil and gas drilling.
Outside experts, such as Bill Hare of Climate Action Tracker, say the new law is a big step for the United States, but it’s still not enough considering that America is the biggest historic carbon polluter, had done little for decades and lags behind Europe.
“At this point anything going in that direction you count as a win, right? I mean after so long a time of total inaction and knowing how difficult politically it is to get the country moving in a direction like this due to politics and economics and all the other things involved with this issue,” National Center for Atmospheric Research climate scientist Gerald Meehl, who wasn’t part of the analysis, said about what the new law will do. “You can argue that’s not nearly enough, but I think once you start seeing motion, you hope that then we can build on that and kind of keep the ball rolling.”
The Trucker Staff contributed to this report.
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New climate law targeting greenhouse gasses offers incentives for zero-emission big rigsComment
I can see it now. A connestoga wagon with a sail attached.