Climate change is an enormous environmental, social, and economic threat to the United States. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from burning fossil fuels and other industrial processes are a major driver of this threat. Even if the world stopped emitting CO2 today, the huge quantities of CO2 generated by human activity to date would continue to sit in the atmosphere and cause dangerous climate effects for at least another 1,000 years.1 The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has reported that keeping average global warming below 1.5°C is not possible without the use of carbon dioxide removal (CDR).2 While funding and legislative support for CDR has greatly increased in recent years, the United States does not yet have a coordinated plan for implementing CDR technologies. The Department of Energy’s CDR task force should recommend a governance strategy for CDR implementation to responsibly, equitably, and effectively combat climate change by achieving net-negative CO2 emissions.
Common frameworks for evaluating proposals leave this utility function implicit, often evaluating aspects of risk, uncertainty, and potential value independently and qualitatively.
The Biden-Harris Administration should facilitate the transition to a clean grid by aggressively supporting utility-scale renewable energy resources in rural areas that are connected to urban centers through modernized high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission.
A just transition from coal to nuclear energy production requires developers to listen and respond to local communities’ concerns and needs through the process of planning, siting, licensing, design, construction, and eventual decommissioning.
Programs across the federal government are working to increase American health by making physical activity safer and more accessible, but most Americans still fail to get enough physical exercise, which has social and economic consequences.