Experts: Incentives for Renewables Even More Critical
Thursday, July 7, 2022
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey was at the center of the Supreme Court's recent decision to curb the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
Morrisey brought the case against the agency, and the high court's decision has renewable-energy experts pointing to the federal tax code as a way to further shift the nation away from fossil fuels.
Gregory Wetstone, president and CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy, said tax incentives for clean energy would be a promising path toward reducing emissions, but tax reform has been slow-moving.
"Incentives for fossil fuels have been on the books for more than 100 years, and remain in force," Wetstone pointed out.
The Supreme Court ruling has prompted lawmakers to take a closer look at climate-related legislation. President Joe Biden's Build Back Better plan would allot $300 billion in clean-energy tax credits over the next decade. Its opponents criticize the price tag.
Morgan King, climate campaign coordinator for the West Virginia Rivers Coalition, said it is up to states now to take the lead in efforts to cut carbon emissions. But federal figures say West Virginia still gets 88% of its electricity from coal-burning power plants.
"If at the federal level we can't regulate those greenhouse gas emissions, it is going to be a tremendous challenge to meet those science-based targets," King acknowledged.
According to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, without drastic cuts in carbon emissions, the planet is on track to hit the 1.5 degree Celsius warming mark within the next two decades.
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