By Stephen Harper, Global Director, Environment and Energy Policy at Intel
The Biden Administration has taken a number of executive actions to reassert Federal policy leadership on climate change, including rejoining the Paris climate agreement on inauguration day. The US has already made significant progress reducing its own greenhouse gas emissions. That has been due to several factors, including a dramatic fall in the price of renewables, the unexpectedly rapid retirement of old coal-fired electricity generators, the drop in natural gas prices, and widespread corporate efforts to reduce carbon footprints. Policy leadership on climate change in the last four years has come at the state level, largely in the form of renewable energy mandates. That clearly is changing as recent administration actions demonstrate.
How far renewed Federal leadership can go will be determined more by what Congress can agree to than by executive action. The President’s powers, and those of the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), are limited by the Constitution and existing US law. Congress can expand those powers via new legislation.
Intel recently joined several other major companies in signing a letter to the Administration and the new Congress urging agreement on bipartisan climate legislation and administrative policies that can lead us forward. That letter was organized by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), a policy think tank that Intel has supported for over 20 years. Intel and C2ES both believe accelerated climate progress depends on the White House and Congress working together to strike the right balance between policy ambition and policy durability. Given the relatively even partisan lines confirmed in last November’s election, Democrats and Republicans must work together.
C2ES has just released another critical climate policy document with funding and intellectual support from Intel and other companies. This report, Climate Policy Priorities for the New Administration and Congress, outlines a number of actionable policy proposals targeted at virtually every sector of the economy that C2ES believes could bring US policymakers together. Information and communications technology (ICT) and ‘digitalization’ are highlighted as key potential contributors to real climate progress. This report builds on earlier Intel-supported C2ES work, notably their Climate Innovation 2050 report.
Intel believes that innovation-focused climate policies can garner bi-partisan consensus. Support of ICT and digital climate solutions is fundamental to our government outreach worldwide and an integral part of our RISE 2030 strategy and goals. We will continue to support digital-friendly policies via our future work with C2ES and our Digital Climate Alliance (DCA).