It’s 2021, and many hope that the United States will return to a path of reducing its carbon emissions. The Biden administration is expected to propose a flurry of executive orders and support congressional activity to address climate change and undo environmental rollbacks from the previous administration. But what would indicate true climate progress? In this Q&A, Jesse Jenkins and Elke Weber chime in on what they are looking out for and hope to happen in 2021, and what would convince them that the United States is really moving forward on climate.
Jenkins is assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment. He is an author of a recent study that outlines five distinct technological pathways for the United States to decarbonize its entire economy by 2050, Net-Zero America. The study describes, at a highly detailed, state-by-state level, the scale and pace of technology and capital mobilization needed across the country, and highlights the implications for land use, existing energy industries, employment, and health.
Weber is a Gerhard R. Andlinger Professor in Energy and the Environment, professor of psychology and public affairs, and associate director for education at the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment. Her work has focused on the social aspects and psychology behind environmental decision making.