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California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard Accelerating Transportation Electrification

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Published on December 4th, 2020 | by Guest Contributor

December 4th, 2020 by Guest Contributor 


Courtesy of Union Of Concerned Scientists.
By Jeremy Martin, Senior scientist

Earlier this month California utilities launched the California Clean Fuel Rewards Program, a statewide point-of-sale electric vehicle rebate program worth up to $1,500 per vehicle (depending upon battery size). This program is funded by credits from California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), which are quickly becoming a major source of support for transportation electrification, complementing other state climate and clean air programs. Incentives are good way to accelerate the electric vehicle (EV) market, especially rebates available at the time of purchase. These incentives are different than past state and local efforts because they are funded by producers of carbon-intensive fuels.

Image courtesy Southern California Edison.

Clean fuel standards are a large and stable source of support for electrification

In 2019, LCFS credits earned by electric cars, trucks, buses, trains, and even forklifts had a market value of more than half a billion dollars. These credits result from the low lifecycle carbon intensity of electricity compared to gasoline and diesel (see our new factsheet for more details on how this all works). This makes the LCFS one of the largest sources of support for EVs in California, matching the low carbon transportation investments funded by the cap and trade program[i]. Moreover, funding support from the LCFS does not come from taxpayers and is not subject to an annual appropriation or allocation process, which will likely be constrained by tight state budgets over the next couple years as the economy recovers from the coronavirus pandemic. The government regulator’s role is to determine how clean or polluting each fuel is, and the value comes from private market transactions with require producers of more polluting fuels like gasoline and diesel to support the increased use of cleaner fuels like electricity.

LCFS EV credits fund the Clean Fuel Rewards rebates and targeted programs for disadvantaged communities and support transit fleets, electric trucks and

Nissan LEAF charging in California at an EVgo charging station, by Kyle Field, CleanTechnica.

Under the LCFS electric utilities handle credits for residential charging of EVs (commercial fleets and EV charging operators generate credits directly). Prior to the Clean Fuel Rewards program, utilities each ran separate programs using the LCFS credit value to support transportation electrification within their service territories, often through rebates that would be delivered only after a buyer purchased an EV. These programs were streamlined by the 2018 amendments to the LCFS, which directed electric utilities to use a portion of their credits to fund a single statewide point-of-sale rebate program[ii]. California Air Resources Board vice-chair Sandra Berg was key to working with all the relevant stakeholders to pull this program together.

The new $1,500 Clean Fuel Rewards rebate is available to all California residents that buy or lease new electric vehicles with a battery capacity greater than 5 kWh. Because all residents are eligible for the rebate, car dealers can deduct the rebate from the sale price of the vehicle. This point-of-sale incentive can help pull new car buyers towards EVs, which CA will rapidly need to do to meet its air quality and climate targets and hit the Governor’s EV sales target of 100 percent by 2035.

The remainder of LCFS credit proceeds is used by utilities to support other transportation electrification programs, and over time the majority of these programs must be targeted to disadvantaged communities[iii]. Targeted programs include rebates for used cars, transit and school bus electrification, and programs to help cover the cost of charging equipment at home or away from home for people in multi-unit dwellings (apartments or condo).

And while clean cars are important, the LCFS can have an even bigger impact on other larger vehicles that use more fuel and produce more pollution. While utilities handle LCFS credits on behalf of EV drivers, EV fleets can generate and sell their own credits. For example, a single transit bus can earn credits worth more than $10,000 each year, ensuring that electric buses are both cleaner and lower cost to operate than diesel. As electric delivery vans and electric trucks come to market, LCFS credits will make sure the environmental benefits they offer the broader world are reflected in a lower operating costs for the fleets that adopt them. LCFS credits are also earned by EV charging stations, which helps speed the deployment of charging infrastructure, addressing another barrier to greater EV deployment.

LCFS funded support for transportation electrification complements other programs with separate funding sources

The Clean Fuel Rewards and other LCFS funded support for transportation electrification complements a broader set of programs funded from a variety of sources. Lower and moderate-income households face greater barriers to accessing EVs and need more support. Additional rebate programs that offer higher levels of support in a more targeted manner are important for ensuring more households in California are participating in, and benefiting from, the transition to electric transportation[iv]. For example, the Clean Vehicle Rewards Program (funded by the cap and trade program) provides an additional $2,000 for eligible vehicles, but excludes the most expensive EVs and the highest income EV buyers. Low- and moderate-income people are also eligible for an additional $2,500, which brings the total purchase incentive to $6,000 total (including both Clean Vehicles Rewards and the Clean Fuel Rewards programs). Programs like Clean Cars for All adds additional support for used or new EVs when purchased in conjunction with scrapping an older more polluting vehicle and also offers transit vouchers as an alternative to car ownership. The Clean Mobility Options program is supporting a wider range of mobility options from zero emission car-sharing to bike sharing and on-demand rides.

Clean fuel standards are a key tool in the transportation electrification toolkit

Clean fuel standards like the California LCFS are helping to accelerate transportation electrification and are a model other states and the federal government should consider as part of their own efforts to decarbonize transportation. By requiring sellers of more polluting fuels to buy credits from users of cleaner alternative fuels like electricity, a clean fuel standard holds polluters accountable to help clean up the problems they have created. A clean fuel standard complements requirements for vehicle manufacturers to improve efficiency and increase the sale of EVs and policies requiring electric utilities to cut pollution and increase the use of renewable power. Taken together these policies make sure all of these industries are pulling in the same direction, sharing the load and accelerating progress to a cleaner, lower carbon future.

Image, Kyle Field, CleanTechnia, BYD ART, Anaheim

[i] 70 percent of the LCFS electricity credits were for on-road EVs, with the largest share issued to electric utilities for residential EV charging. Utilities in turn must use these funds to support transportation electrification, including the CCRP.

[ii] The minimum share of credit proceeds utilities must contribute varies by category of electric distribution utility, with investor owned utilities contributing two thirds, and publicly-owned utilities (POUs) contribute on a sliding sale from zero for small POUs, 20 percent for medium POUs and 35% for large POUs. In 2023 this increases to 2, 25 and 45 percent respectively.

[iii] Based on 2019 LCFS amendments, by 2024 at least 50 percent of holdback credits must be used to support transportation electrification for the primary benefit of or primarily serving disadvantaged communities and/or low-income communities and/or rural areas. More information, including a list of eligible projects is on page 15 of final regulation.

[iv] California EV buyers are also eligible for a $2,000 rebate for an eligible battery EV (and $4,500 for a fuel cell EV) and low- and moderate-income buyers are eligible for another $2,500 increase to the rebate. The different programs cover different cars and have different eligibility criteria so that a wealthy person buying a luxury EV would qualify only for the CCFR $1,500 credit, a person with taxable income of $100K and shopping for an EV around $50K would be eligible for a total of $3,500 of rebates (from CCFR and CVRP) while a low or moderate income buyer would be eligible for $6,000 of rebates. Utilities also run other programs some funded by LCFS credits held back from CCFR and other sources. 
 


 


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Tags: California, California Air Resources Board (CARB), California Clean Fuel Rewards, California EV incentives, California EV subsidies, Clean Cars for All, Clean Fuel Rewards, co2 emissions, EV incentives, EV subsidies


About the Author

Guest Contributor is many, many people. We publish a number of guest posts from experts in a large variety of fields. This is our contributor account for those special people. 😀



Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2020/12/04/californias-low-carbon-fuel-standard-accelerating-transportation-electrification/

Cleantech

One key to moving the Biden agenda: Bring all three sectors to the table

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The incoming Biden administration unquestionably will bring new focus to sustainable development goals at home and abroad. Joe Biden has produced plans in an array of key areas — environmental protection, clean energy and racial equity among them — and has promised action in his first 100 days as president. His administration will be playing catch-up in all these key areas, and the best way to make rapid progress is one that doesn’t get talked about enough: building three-sector collaboration into every major initiative.

Government partnerships are nothing new, but they’re usually binary: Government agencies work with nonprofits or with businesses or gather feedback separately from each. Collaborations across all three sectors are less typical, but they generate more deeply informed, comprehensive solutions and yield wider support.

The clearest way to illustrate the value of cross-sector collaboration is to contrast what happens when one sector isn’t at the table with what’s possible when all sectors are present. The following examples of initiatives related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals show the consequences of leaving out or engaging key stakeholders — and point to how the Biden administration can do better.

When the nonprofit sector isn’t at the table: the lost opportunity in Opportunity Zones

The Trump administration’s Opportunity Zones were a good idea on paper but were more effective at creating massive tax benefits for already wealthy investors than at creating new jobs and economic opportunities in disinvested communities. That’s largely because communities were left out of program design and implementation, which resulted in capital flowing into projects that didn’t target community needs and sometimes usurped preferred community uses.

Working alongside government and corporate actors, community-based nonprofits could have ensured that the investments promoted equitable opportunity and contributed rather than extracted value from communities.

A couple of successes show what’s possible: The Economic Equity Network, a pop-up Multiplier project, created a network of more than 300 people committed to equitable community transformation and wealth building and brought them high-impact investment opportunities in three cities. The project helped broaden female and minority investor and entrepreneur networks, and promoted the use of Opportunity Zone funds not only for real-estate investments, but also to scale up minority- and women-led businesses.

The clearest way to illustrate the value of cross-sector collaboration is to contrast what happens when one sector isn’t at the table with what’s possible when all sectors are present.

Moving into 2021, national community development organization LISC is collaborating with local investment platform Blueprint Local on projects across the Southeast that will align small businesses loans, federal programs and community plans to build community wealth.

The Biden administration has indicated support for Opportunity Zones, as well as acknowledged the need for fixes. The first action should be to look at these models and restructure the program with a new priority: bringing community-rooted organizations together with investors committed to creating public as well as private returns.

When the for-profit sector isn’t at the table: The sidelining of sustainable fishing

Environmental NGOs have been lobbying for the 30×30 initiative to conserve 30 percent of the world’s ocean habitat by 2030, and the Biden administration is embracing that goal.

Sounds great, right? The problem is, the legislation on deck was created without meaningful input from the small-scale fishermen who have helped make U.S. fisheries the most sustainable in the world. This proposal would ban commercial fishing in at least 30 percent of U.S. marine areas, overturning the successful fisheries management system, harming coastal communities and cutting off consumer access to sustainable local seafood. The end result could be to increase long-distance imports from far less sustainable sources.

Contrast that with an example of what can happen when all three sectors work together: The nonprofit program Catch Together partners with fishing communities to create and launch community-owned permit banks, which purchase fishing quota (rights to a certain percentage of the catch in a fishery) and then lease that quota to local fishing businesses at affordable rates.

The centerpiece of the program is a foundation-supported revolving loan fund that capitalizes the permit banks and allows communities to invest in tradable quota. That makes it easier for small-scale fishing businesses to access capital and compete against larger players for the ability to fish in their own local waters.

So far, the Catch Together team has helped fund quota acquisitions and leasing in Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico and New England. The goal is to build a nationwide network of next-generation fishermen who are strong advocates for sustainable fisheries and ocean stewardship.

This network and other local fishermen — especially Indigenous fishing communities — deserve a seat at the table to explain how their sustainable fishing techniques contribute to climate resilience and conservation. By insisting on collaborative approaches such as the Catch Together model, the Biden administration could ensure that the effort to mitigate the harm caused by large-scale fishing doesn’t undermine responsible small fishermen. It is possible to reach the 30×30 goals by working with fishing communities — in fact, that may be the only way it will happen.

When government hides under the table: A power player blocks renewable energy

Pacific Northwest residents and wildlife are caught in the grip of a self-funding federal power marketing entity holding fast to an antiquated model that forces consumers to buy more expensive, less environmentally friendly energy. The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) produces supposedly clean hydroelectric energy from the dams it owns — but its high-maintenance, high-cost infrastructure damages salmon habitat and produces pricier power than solar and wind installations.

BPA has maintained the status quo despite these deficits by pacifying environmental NGOs with funding to develop environmental solutions (which have no chance of working unless the dams come down) and using its control of the grid to keep cheaper, greener renewable energy out of the market.

Another thread runs through the success stories: science, scientists and diverse perspectives.

In this case, a public agency essentially has gone rogue, using its monopoly power to privilege its own perceived interests. Collaboration with the nonprofit and for-profit sectors could create solutions that serve the public interest, but neither the Department of Energy (the BPA’s overseer) nor Congress has come to the table to demand it.

Columbia Rediviva, a network of citizen activists, is working to change that by engaging Congress members in a plan to reimagine the Pacific Northwest power grid and bring salmon back to the Columbia River. One focus is freeing NGOs to be independent voices by shifting control of conservation funds to a different government agency (so that the BPA is not funding their operations). Another is building support for newer, better clean energy supplies by sharing research that shows taking down dams would deliver both cheaper energy and more jobs.

The Biden administration can promote progress in the Pacific Northwest and on clean energy goals nationally by putting government on the side of innovation and aligning the players’ incentives with the public good.

When everyone is at the table: The emergence of the first carbon-neutral U.S. city

Menlo Park, California, is on its way to becoming the first carbon-neutral city in the U.S., thanks to Menlo Spark’s work to activate stakeholders in pursuit of that vision. The nonprofit program has collaborated with local government, businesses, residents and experts to institute proven sustainability measures designed to not only reduce the Silicon Valley hub’s carbon emissions but also increase the prosperity of the entire community.

Menlo Spark created community buy-in to the carbon-neutral initiative by outlining how it would allow Menlo Park to continue to thrive economically. This support brought the corporate and government sectors on board as well.

The city adopted groundbreaking codes requiring that all new buildings operate entirely on electricity, and the Menlo Spark coalition spurred other Silicon Valley cities to do the same, creating a regional effect. The coalition also catalyzed 20 cities to commit to pursuing 100 percent carbon-free power for all customers by 2021. Solar installations for low-income families, improved transit tools and stops, an infrastructure initiative that paves the way for apartment dwellers to own electric vehicles, the Menlo Green Challenge for households, and educational tools all contribute to progress. 

This example illustrates a key advantage of bringing all sectors into the conversation: the nonprofit sector is highly skilled at taking the pulse of a community and figuring out effective ways to gain support from all sectors for innovative ideas. Biden’s climate agenda will require all-sector support to succeed, and the administration should center the nonprofit sector as a valuable partner in building community support.

The upshot: We need bigger tables

As the examples above illustrate, three-sector engagement is crucial. And another thread runs through the success stories: science, scientists and diverse perspectives. Biden already has taken steps on the crucial task of bringing scientific assessments and ongoing research back into policymaking, but there’s a lot of catching up to do in this area. At the same time, we need to be sure we’re involving a true cross-section of the community in initiatives that affect us all.

The National Science Policy Network is addressing both needs: this network catalyzes early-career scientists to take an active role in policymaking at all levels of government. It also focuses on racial justice and diversity in science, with initiatives to promote women and people of color and model inclusive and successful science communication.

Having all the right people at the table is the essential first step in creating lasting solutions to our long-running environmental and social challenges. That means involving all three sectors, a cross-section of our communities and scientific advisers who themselves represent diverse perspectives and are committed to translating science into policy.

In short, we need bigger tables where everyone gets a seat. The Biden administration would be wise to incorporate this principle throughout its policy agenda. That is how it will truly achieve Biden’s goal of uniting America.

Source: https://www.greenbiz.com/article/one-key-moving-biden-agenda-bring-all-three-sectors-table

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5/3 Bank Achieves Carbon Neutrality

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Published on January 19th, 2021 | by Zachary Shahan

January 19th, 2021 by Zachary Shahan 


CleanTechnica switched to Fifth Third Bank (5/3 Bank) in 2019. Two big factors for us were 1) it had the most ambitious clean energy achievements and plans of any bank, and 2) it won’t invest in private prisons. In fact, it was already 100% solar powered back then. That actually made it special well beyond the banking sector. The company noted back then that it was “the first publicly-traded company to commit to purchase 100% renewable energy through solar power alone.” At that time, 5/3 Bank (Nasdaq: FITB) was the 10th largest corporate purchaser of solar power in the United States, with the companies above it being giants like Apple, Google, Amazon, Target, and Walmart, companies that use far more electricity than 5/3 Bank.

But 100% solar power wasn’t a stopping point for the bank. Fifth Third announced today that it has now achieved carbon neutrality for its 2020 operations. That doesn’t just including building-related energy use and emissions. That also covers business travel.

“This achievement was accomplished by directly reducing the Company’s corporate carbon footprint, purchasing renewable power and utilizing carbon offsets from a project in its retail footprint for remaining emissions.”

There’s ESG in the banking sector, and then there’s 5/3 Bank. And that’s why we are happy to call 5/3 CleanTechnica‘s bank. This achievement also gives the bank another 1st to nobly brag about.

“Becoming the first regional US-based commercial bank to achieve carbon neutrality demonstrates Fifth Third’s unequivocal commitment to environmental sustainability leadership in the financial services industry,” said Fifth Third Chairman and CEO Greg D. Carmichael. “Achieving and maintaining carbon neutrality ensures that our operations minimize impact to the environment and is beneficial to all of our stakeholders.”

But how much did 5/3 Bank really work to achieve this? Didn’t it just invest in some solar projects and a bit of carbon offset work? No — it did much more than that. Well, it’s a bank, so it certainly spent more resources than you or I could dream about, but it’s still impressive to see that this is the result of a 5-year, $8 billion sustainable finance goal that it just announced in September 2020.

Aside from the 100% solar powered milestone noted above, the company has also achieved a “20% reduction in water usage and a 25% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.”

Fifth Third has won several awards and acknowledgements for its climate and cleantech leadership. For more, you can use this press release as a starting point.

“Fifth Third aligns its work in environmental sustainability to the United Nations Sustainable Finance Goal No. 13 Climate Action. More information is available in the 2020 ESG Report. Fifth Third expects to publish its 2020 ESG Report in mid-2021.” 
 


 


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Tags: banks, Fifth Third Bank


About the Author

Zachary Shahan is tryin’ to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in NIO [NIO], Tesla [TSLA], and Xpeng [XPEV]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.



Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/01/19/5-3-bank-achieves-carbon-neutrality/

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Tesla Hiring For 500 Positions In Florida — Many Solar Related

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Published on January 19th, 2021 | by Johnna Crider

January 19th, 2021 by Johnna Crider 


Tesla is hiring for 500 positions in Florida, the Bradenton Herald reports. CareerSource Tampa Bay is partnering up with Tesla to host a virtual hiring event on January 27, from 10 am through 2 pm, in hopes of filling positions available for both Tesla’s solar and automotive positions. Tesla’s initiative, Build Your Future, is expanding jobs while accelerating sustainability efforts, and the hiring event is a part of this initiative.

These 500 positions include solar installers with a pay range of $16 to $26 per hour (86 positions available), licensed solar electricians with a starting pay of $24 per hour (15 positions available), solar roofers with pay starting at $16 per hour (57 positions available), and automotive service technicians with pay starting at $16 per hour (28 positions available).

Although Tesla will hire only 186 at this event, it plans to add a total of 500 positions across the state of Florida. John Flanagan, CareerSource Tampa Bay CEO, shared his excitement in a press release. “We are excited to team up with Tesla, Inc. to help employ job seekers in our region and community,” he said. “We are proud to help fill the positions created by their goals of sustainable job creation.”

If you are in the area and would like to apply, click here.

Tesla Is The #1 Place To Work For Students

Tesla Solar Roof going up. Photo by Kyle Field/CleanTechnica.

In 2020, Universum, an employer branding specialist, released its list of most attractive employers for US students. Tesla ranked at the top of the list at number one, Teslarati reported back in November of last year.

SpaceX came in at number 2 — playing a bit of musical chairs in comparison with 2019’s report, which held SpaceX as number one and Tesla as number 2. Teslarati noted that it was interesting to see that Tesla was the only automaker to make Universum’s Top 10 lists for both engineering students and business students, for which it ranked number 8. For business students, Tesla is also the only automaker in the top 10. The nearest automaker, Daimler, was listed at 65.

The top 10 for engineering were Tesla, SpaceX, Lockheed Martin, Google, Boeing, NASA, Apple, Microsoft, The Walt Disney Company, and Amazon. For computer science, Tesla ranked at number 5. Google reigned king in this one, while Apple was the queen.

A total of 42,738 students from 323 universities participated in the Universum survey.

Featured image from CareerSource Tampa Bay’s flyer.

 
 


 


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Tags: Florida, Tampa Bay, Tesla, Tesla Energy, Tesla Florida, Tesla jobs, Tesla Service, Tesla service technicians, Tesla solar, Tesla solar roof


About the Author

Johnna Crider is a Baton Rouge artist, gem and mineral collector, member of the International Gem Society, and a Tesla shareholder who believes in Elon Musk and Tesla. Elon Musk advised her in 2018 to “Believe in Good.” Tesla is one of many good things to believe in. You can find Johnna on Twitter at all hours of the day & night.



Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/01/19/tesla-hiring-for-500-positions-in-florida-many-solar-related/

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2020 Ends Hottest Decade On Record

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January 19th, 2021 by Guest Contributor 


Courtesy of Union Of Concerned Scientists.
By Brenda Ekwurzel, Senior climate scientist

It is now official, 2020 ends the hottest decade on record. The top takeaway is the decadal temperature chart has now become as iconic as the “Keeling Curve,” which has recorded atmospheric carbon dioxide at Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii since 1958, and shows a similar upward trend.

Global Decadal Average Temperature

This warmest decade was preceded by the second warmest, which in turn was preceded by the third warmest, which in turn was preceded by the fourth warmest decade, meaning the last 40 years, on average, have been the hottest on record. The pace of heat-trapping emissions from fossil fuel burning and other human activities has not yet slowed this upward trend. Quite the opposite.

Decadal data by definition looks at long-term trends, so we’ll have to wait another decade before another bar can be added to the temperature chart. In the meantime, headlines are tracking how 2020 stacked up on the annual ranking.

2020 Global Annual Average Temperature

Independent analyses around the world use slightly different baseline reference periods and approaches to determine the global annual temperature. Given the confidence range for the final number this often yields slightly different rankings between institutions. No matter how you slice it, 2020 was hot!

NASA (USA) and Copernicus (EU) report 2020 as tied with 2016 as the warmest year and NOAA (USA) reported 2020 as the second warmest in their 141-year record. All the more remarkable since an ocean cycle phase in the Pacific Ocean — La Niña — tended to pull down temperatures toward the end of 2020.

Since this number is a combined land and ocean average, it is worth taking a closer look at where the warmth was most notable in 2020. For this we will report the NOAA Global Climate Report — Annual 2020 rankings which uses the 20th century average for their baseline. 

Breakdown of 2020 land and ocean surface temperature:

 Warmest years:

  • The seven warmest years in the 1880–2020 record have all occurred since 2014.
  • The 10 warmest years have occurred since 2005.
  • 2020 is the 44th consecutive year (since 1977) above the 20th century average.

Hemispheres:

  • 2020 Northern Hemisphere was the warmest in the 141-year record.
  • 2020 Southern Hemisphere was the fifth warmest on record.

Oh yes, and where most of us live — on the global land surface area — ranked as the warmest on record. Since the industrial revolution, the United States has contributed the most to the rise in global average temperature. Rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement would be a welcome commitment to reducing emissions.

  
 


 


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Tags: co2 emissions, Copernicus, heat, hottest decade, hottest year, Hottest Year On Record, Keeling Curve, NASA, noaa


About the Author

Guest Contributor is many, many people. We publish a number of guest posts from experts in a large variety of fields. This is our contributor account for those special people. 😀



Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/01/19/2020-ends-hottest-decade-on-record/

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