Staying within a 1.5°C global warming limit will require transformation of our economy to net-zero emissions by 2050, which seems like an enormously ambitious goal. And yet, with new in-depth modeling analysis, Williams et al.  illuminate several technologically and economically feasible pathways to this required deep decarbonization. All pathways require enhanced energy efficiency, decarbonized electricity, electrification, and carbon capture. Interestingly, a modest role for natural gas in 2050 to ensure continuous reliability of electricity supplies is part of the least-cost pathway that still meets the emissions goals. Demonstrating the feasibility of these urgently needed transitions could not come at a more important time, as discussions on appropriate policy instruments to speed the journey to climate stabilization will be front and center as the U.S. rejoins the Paris Climate Accords.
Citation: Williams, J., Jones, R., Haley, B., Kwok, G., Hargreaves, J., Farbes, J. & Torn, M. . Carbon-Neutral Pathways for the United States. AGU Advances, 1, e2020AV000284. https://doi.org/10/1029/2020AV000284
—Eric A. Davidson, Editor, AGU Advances
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