Full Title: The Energy System Transformation Needed to Achieve the US Long-Term Strategy
Author(s): Russell Horowitz, Matthew Binsted, Morgan Browning, Allen Fawcett, Claire Henly, Nathan Hultman, James McFarland and Haewon McJeon
Publisher(s): Elsevier, Inc.
Publication Date: July 20, 2022
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After years of hiatus from international climate policy discussions, the US reclaimed its seat at the table with the announcement of a net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions target by 2050. A comprehensive strategy toward this ambitious goal was then released at COP26 in Glasgow. The US long-term strategy (LTS) details the decarbonization strategy with supporting analyses from integrated assessment modeling (IAM), individual sector modeling, and land modeling. These tools were previously used for quantitative research that supported the development of ambitious climate goals and now complete the circle by evaluating the policy they helped guide. In this commentary, we describe the IAM modeling that underlies the quantitative analysis laid out in the US LTS. We detail the lessons learned and highlight the value that collaborative scenario modeling can bring to developing robust long-term strategies around the world.
The US LTS was developed to describe how the US can reach its newly announced national targets: 50%–52% reductions from 2005 levels of GHG emissions in 2030, and an economy wide net-zero GHG emissions target no later than 2050. In the US and other countries, commitments like these are important steps to prevent the worst consequences of climate change, but reaching them will require a rapid and ambitious transformation of the energy system. Given this challenge, IAM modeling provides crucial support to anchor policy making to scientific knowledge and ensure that plans are quantitatively coherent.