The New Carbon Plan, Renewable Energy Certificates, Carbon Tax, and Other Ways to Reduce Emissions

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The new carbon plan of the U.S. administration aims to restrict emissions by 30 percent to improve air quality. The use of renewable sources of energy is encouraged to slow global warming and climate change. To this end, carbon targets have been adopted by legislators in some states, and these are the first steps toward reducing energy waste and pollution.

Sources of Energy

There are proposals to combine nuclear power and renewable energy. However, energy efficiency is a prime consideration. The use of low emission technologies is encouraged while fossil fuel plants should be modernized to make them more efficient. States are given different options to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions. One is to use solar and wind technologies as a way to harness renewable sources. Solar technologies offer multiple benefits, and one is that they help reduce particulate, methane, and carbon dioxide emissions and the waste associated with drilling and mining operations. Similar to solar technologies, wind power also helps reduce our carbon footprint while the revenues can be used to build hospitals, libraries, schools, and roads in local communities. The new carbon plan sees wind and solar technologies as reliable sources that will diversify the country’s energy portfolio. The plan is also seen as ambitious but working and flexible. One option for states is to upgrade their electricity systems. Another is to use natural gas. Ultimately, the goal is to reduce pollution and pollutants such as sulfuric acid mist, fluoride, and lead. Other pollutants are sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and ozone. Particulate matter is also a source of concern.

Carbon Tap and Trade Programs and Alternatives

There are carbon tap and trade programs in place that help reduce emissions. Under such programs, the authorities set limits on carbon emissions and issue permits to businesses. Emissions can be traded and companies that choose to reduce the volume of their emissions are allowed to sell permits. There are alternative solutions such as command-and-control regulations and carbon tax. The former are less flexible and differ from tap and trade programs. The latter are in the form of incentive-based programs. Besides, trading systems are different in Australia, Japan, the European Union, New Zealand, and elsewhere. In addition to these tools, there are other options to reduce pollution, and energy certificates are one of them. They are also known as green tags. Renewable energy certificates are one way to shape the market and improve cost-effectiveness. Certificates serve as a proof that electricity is generated by a renewable source. Such sources are hydrogen fuel cells, diesel, and other bio fuels, wind power, hydro power, and geothermal and solar technologies. Speaking of carbon tap and trade programs, they offer plenty of benefits, but critics point to issues associated with distribution effects, auctioning, incentives, supply of permits, and others. Grandfathering is one issue that critics point out. When businesses are given permits, there are no incentives to reduce their emissions.

The Plan and Different Programs

Regardless of the program in place, renewable sources are seen as a sound investment and a green alternative to conventional technologies. The new carbon plan adds to the efforts at climate change mitigation and many see it as a step toward a cleaner future. The plan asks states to develop and implement their own set of measures that reduce greenhouse emissions. Thus the authorities can choose from different options that will help them to meet their pollution reduction targets. States are free to adopt cap and trade programs, install energy-efficient technologies (i.e. wind and solar-powered), or close existing coal plants. Carbon tax is another option as part of the carbon plan.

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