Today, Nick Loris joined C-SPAN’s Washington Journal to discuss the many solutions and innovations that are available to address climate change and reduce its risks. Loris was joined by Christy Goldfuss, Senior Vice President for Energy and Environment Policy at the Center for American Progress (CAP).
Loris and Goldfuss, both leading experts on energy and environmental issues, talked about a wide range of topics including nuclear energy and waste, the Biden administration’s climate targets, and pathways to reduce emissions in the United States and abroad.
Last year Biden set several clean energy and climate goals. These include cutting U.S. carbon emissions in half by 2030, producing exclusively clean electricity by 2035, and net-zero emissions by 2050. Loris noted:
“There has been some positive development that will probably have longer-term payoffs. For instance, there have been about $60 billion-plus allocated to the Department of Energy through the Bipartisan infrastructure bill that will have longer-term payoffs for clean energy technologies.”
This includes funding for the newly created Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations. It would bridge the gap for new and emerging technologies to reach the market. While this is important, Loris also identified things the administration has done that have set back immediate climate progress. These include environmental activism and burdensome regulations.
“That’s the important question here; not the targets themselves, but how you get there. There’s a much more pragmatic way to get to those targets [such as] open access to investment and innovation and [reducing] regulatory roadblocks so we can get those clean energy technologies deployed in a manner that is sensible to [Biden’s] targets. But part of the problem we are running into is environmental activism that slows the deployment of clean energy technologies.”
Encouraging economic freedom, Loris says, is the best way to reach climate goals everywhere.
“Part of the priority [should be] to expand economic freedom. Both in the United States and around the world. We need more energy innovation, natural climate solutions, and adaptive and resilient solutions, not just in the United States but around the world. A lot of our future growth will come from developing countries like India and China. The best way to have them meet their clean energy targets and emissions reductions, and for global decarbonization to happen, [is getting] costs down to be able to deploy technologies. Expanding economic freedom through private innovation and a number of other practical solutions can get us there.”
One immediate step the Biden White House could take to expand economic freedom would be allowing solar tariffs to expire, as they are set to do next month. Since their enactment in 2018, solar tariffs have cost the U.S. economy 60,000 jobs and $19 billion in investments, according to industry estimates. Additionally, solar tariffs have led to consumers paying an additional $1.3 billion in higher costs and have made America one of the costliest nations in the world in which to buy solar.
The conversation between Goldfuss and Loris was cordial and respectful. This shows that bipartisan solutions are possible on environmental issues. As the United States looks to reduce emissions within its own borders and lead the world in decarbonization efforts, pragmatic bipartisan solutions will be needed.
Watch the full discussion here.