Twice a month, we’re compiling the most relevant news stories from diverse sources online, connecting the latest environmental and energy economics research to global current events, real-time public discourse, and policy decisions. Keep reading, and feel free to send us your feedback.
Here are some questions we’re asking and addressing with our research chops this week:
How could an expansion of federal tax credits in the Inflation Reduction Act improve the future of offshore wind energy in the United States, given the headwinds facing the industry?
Last week, the Biden administration announced that underwater power cables and onshore substations—auxiliary components of many offshore wind energy projects—will qualify for the clean energy tax credit in the Inflation Reduction Act. The announcement follows the cancellation of a major offshore wind project off the coast of New Jersey. Wind energy developers have struggled with increasing project costs: inflation, shipping delays, and supply-chain issues have contributed to these increases. On a recent episode of the Resources Radio podcast, E&E News reporter Ben Storrow discusses these challenges and how the clean energy tax credit and other subsidies in the Inflation Reduction Act may affect the offshore wind industry. “How those [tax credit] rules, and the fine details of those rules, are administered are really going to determine which of these projects are probably going to move forward and which ones won’t,” says Storrow.
Evergreen Time Machine
RFF research from our archives offers historical background and possible solutions for the challenges in today’s news.
Labor organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and the United Nations are pushing for gender-sensitive policies to tap into women’s burgeoning environmental awareness and raise their earning potential in the workforce.
Last week: US Vice President Kamala Harris announced $900 million in pledges to support women in green sectors of the economy, such as conservation and clean energy, in countries around the world. Governments, civic organizations, and companies have contributed funding as part of the Women in the Sustainable Economy Initiative. “By supporting women’s work and leadership in the sectors critical to the future of our planet, we promote women’s economic security, and we advance work to address the causes and effects of climate change and bolster economic prosperity,” the White House said in a statement. In 2009, RFF Research Associate Aysha Ghadiali published a blog post that discusses the gender gap in some green sectors and how to support women in these sectors.
In Focus: Sustainable Aviation
Commercial aviation contributes a significant share of US transportation-sector emissions each year. Yet the US Transportation Security Administration predicts that 30 million travelers—a record number—will pass through American airports between November 17 and 28. As airports brace for this burst of holiday traffic, RFF Fellow Nafisa Lohawala discusses technologies that could help decarbonize the aviation industry.
The number of electric vehicles (EVs) on the road in the United States has increased rapidly in recent years. This increase has highlighted the importance of a national charging network for EVs. In an event in RFF’s Policy Leadership Series on November 29, Cathy Zoi will sit down with RFF President and CEO Richard G. Newell to discuss her insights about current and future US strategies to electrify the transportation sector. Zoi is the former CEO of EVgo, one of the nation’s largest developers of fast-charging EV stations, and served as an Assistant Secretary and Acting Under Secretary at the US Department of Energy during the Obama administration. RSVP to attend the event in person or online.
Data: US Department of Agriculture. Chart: Axios Visuals.
Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and roasted, basted turkeys will sit at the center of many dining room tables across the United States. Consumption not only of turkeys, but of all meat, steadily has grown since 1960; today, the average American eats 60 more pounds of meat per year than 60 years ago. (The most recent decrease in meat consumption in the late 2000s and 2010s may have been due to the diverted use of corn for ethanol instead of livestock feed, low corn yields, and the Great Recession.) Worldwide, meat consumption is expected to continue to grow—and, with it, the greenhouse gas emissions from meat production.