Full Title: Building Blocks for a Low-Carbon Economy: Catalytic Policy and Infrastructure for Decarbonizing the United States by 2050
Author(s): Devashree Saha, Greg Carlock, Rajat Shrestha, John Feldmann, Haley Leslie-Bole
Publisher(s): World Resources Institute (WRI)
Publication Date: December 15, 2021
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Decarbonizing the U.S. economy to achieve a 50–52% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and net-zero emissions by midcentury will require the accelerated deployment of existing low-carbon technologies as well as new technologies that are not yet commercially available. Furthermore, even as low-carbon technologies continue to become more cost-competitive, their pace of deployment needs to increase rapidly. Federal policies and investments are needed to drive technology deployment and market transformation, change consumer behavior, and encourage investment in infrastructure and key technologies needed for a net-zero economy. This working paper identifies near-term policies and federal investments that can catalyze emissions reductions this decade and set up the economy for deeper emissions reductions in later decades. The analysis compares the progress toward a net-zero goal offered by different policy packages that overlap and build on one another, which are modeled under three mitigation scenarios. The paper focuses on the role played by tax incentives, infrastructure investments, targeted spending, and sector-specific performance standards as building blocks for a successful decarbonization strategy.