In the United States, the conversation around decarbonization generally centers around the same handful of options. In large part, the policy approaches include tax, subsidy, grants, or favorable regulatory emphasis. The technological and industrial tools for decarbonization often include wind and solar as the popular energy generators, batteries as the backup and facilitating asset, electric vehicles for transportation, and electrification of the entire economy as the end goal. Hidden within these popular paths to decarbonization are certain assumptions, social and economic costs, and varying degrees of political, economic, and logistical feasibility.
To get a better handle on the paths to decarbonization, we surveyed the top 10 most discussed decarbonization pathways. While this brief does not rank the strategies as most or least effective, we do lay out some costs and benefits for each that may go unnoticed by proponents and adversaries alike.
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The Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure (Aii) is an independent, national research and educational organization. An innovative think tank, Aii explores the intersection of economics, law, and public policy in the areas of climate, damage prevention, energy, infrastructure, innovation, technology, and transportation.