With a new government report projecting that America's carbon footprint is on pace to be slightly larger in 2050 than it is now—a prediction that partially takes into account President Donald Trump's attack on environmental regulations—green groups are arguing that only a rapid move away from fossil fuels and toward 100 percent renewable energy will be enough to avert climate catastrophe.
"Time is not on our side, but the growing mass movement to get off fossil fuels is our best hope."
—Wenonah Hauter, Food and Water Watch
The alarming findings, compiled in Energy Information Association's (EIA) Annual Energy Outlook, are further evidence that incremental solutions to the climate crisis must be ditched in favor of "bold, aggressive plans like the Off Fossil Fuels For a Better Future Act, which calls for 100 percent clean energy by the year 2035," Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food and Water Watch, argued in a statement on Wednesday.
"The time for tepid market schemes and corporate-friendly clean energy baby steps is over," Hauter added. "Likewise, the transition from coal to natural gas has not helped reduce carbon emissions. Those approaches have failed miserably. Time is not on our side, but the growing mass movement to get off fossil fuels is our best hope."
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In addition to finding that the U.S. carbon emissions will remain relatively steady or slightly increase over the next three decades—meaning that "the U.S. would almost single-handedly exhaust the whole world's carbon budget by midcentury," as Inside Climate News notes—EIA's report also predicts America will be a net exporter of energy by 2022.
While this projection is cause for celebration for America's oil barons and Trump, who has committed to increased fossil fuel production while moving to gut funding for renewable energy programs, Hauter argued that it offers a "grim" outlook under the president's so-called "energy dominance" approach.
But, Hauter concluded, this possible future "is not an inevitability."
"This report has one clear message: we must move quickly to transition away from fossil fuels," Hauter said. "Policy choices can be made right now to fend off climate disaster."