President Biden’s declaration at the virtual climate summit at the White House to cut U.S. emissions by as much as 52% by 2030 is an important acknowledgement of the crisis climate change poses to our society. But while the arguments begin over how to get to that reduction in greenhouse gases and which industries will benefit and be hurt by it, it’s worth asking, how could our lives change by hitting that ambitious goal?
Chief among the expected changes would involve the electric car industry taking a much more prominent role in the daily lives of Americans. Biden’s $2.25 trillion Infrastructure bill includes a massive chunk of money to entice more U.S. car shoppers to buy or lease electric vehicles, as well as to build out a network of 500,000 charging stations across the country.
Biden’s proposal would also push for electrifying transit buses, government vehicles and the USPS’s massive fleet of delivery trucks. That would have a significant environmentally-positive impact. So would the road repair work in the bill, which is designed to improve road safety “for all users,” including bike riders. More bike paths will equal more riders, and theoretically, fewer cars on the road.
Putting more cars on the road that run on electricity instead of gas or diesel is perhaps the most obvious ways to address the climate crisis. The challenge is in bringing the prices of electric vehicles down to be on par with gas-guzzling rides, and making it easier to charge them.
Americans love road trips, and the easier it is to find a charging station on your car or smartphone’s GPS, the more appealing they become. If Biden’s bill passes, it could pave the way for electric carmakers like Telsa to ramp up production and make the cars more affordable so that the average car buyer can seriously consider purchasing one. Right now, only about one percent of all vehicles on the road run on electric power. The number of electric cars being driven will almost certainly have to be closer to double-digits for the emissions goal to be met by 2030.
It’s been said for years that buying organic foods is one of the easiest ways to reduce the damage to the environment, because the lack of pesticides and farming methods that involve fuel-based machinery leaves a smaller carbon footprint. However, recent studies indicate that a greater reliance on organic farming may not have the positive impact on climate change as some think. The reason? Organic crop yields tend to be much lower. That means that organic farmers must use more land to grow fewer crops.
More realistically, a cutback on other parts of the food chain, such as packaging and shipping, would have a greater positive impact. For example, if electric vehicles were used to transport food and livestock, it would lessen the carbon footprint.