Biden administration promises to buy 'clean' industrial materials

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration will set out a strategy on Tuesday to purchase low-emitting “clean” steel, cement, aluminum and ot...


WASHINGTON — The Biden administration will set out a strategy on Tuesday to purchase low-emitting “clean” steel, cement, aluminum and other industrial materials for federal agencies and projects, as part of its efforts to reduce carbon emissions from industrial manufacturing.

The industrial sector is responsible for about a third of the greenhouse gases produced by the United States – pollution that helps heat the planet to dangerous levels. White House officials said they would use federal purchasing power to encourage the industrial sector to develop low-carbon alternatives.

A new Buy Clean task force will be created to ensure that federal agencies buy building materials that are made in a way that produces fewer emissions. The Department of Energy will spend $9.5 billion to encourage the commercial-scale development of clean hydrogen, a zero-carbon alternative to natural gas that is currently expensive and complicated to produce. The White House will also release new guidelines on Tuesday on deploying technology that can capture pollution from sources such as smokestacks or the air and then store it permanently.

“Focusing on industry is a really big deal,” said David M. Hart, a professor of public policy at George Mason University in Virginia. He said the federal government had “neglected” for years to address climate pollution from the industrial sector because there was no single agency charged with urging manufacturers of steel, aluminum, cement and concrete to reduce their emissions.

“It’s an important step forward,” Hart said of the new policies.

President Biden has made tackling climate change a top priority; he pledged to cut the country’s emissions by nearly half from 2005 levels by the end of this decade. But its most important tool — billions of dollars in tax incentives to boost wind and solar power and accelerate the adoption of electric cars — is stalled in Congress. Later this year, the Supreme Court could restrict the government’s ability to regulate emissions in the electricity sector. And on Friday, a federal judge blocked the administration from using a tool to calculate the impact of climate change in creating federal rules.

Michael Greenstone, an economist at the University of Chicago, called the new policy measures targeting industrial emissions “small bites” – but said they were needed in the absence of congressional action.

“The country is now in a position where it has to pursue climate change on a very thin reed,” Mr Greenstone said.

But the Biden administration has run into problems tackling climate change, even when it has the power to do so. For example, the president has ordered federal agencies to phase out the purchase of gas-powered vehicles by 2035, but the United States Postal Service, an independent agency run by a board of directors, is defying that order by moving forward with the purchase of approximately 165,000 gasoline trucks.

A senior administration official said Monday that talks about the purchase were continuing between the White House and the U.S. Postal Service.

The federal government is the largest consumer in the world, spending more than $650 billion on goods and services each year. According to a White House fact sheet, the Buy Clean task force will prioritize products and pollutants, help manufacturers better report emissions data, and set up pilot projects to increase federal procurement of materials. own construction.

The American Institute of Steel and Construction, a trade group, could not be reached Monday for comment.

Industrial emissions are on track to become the biggest source of climate pollution in the United States by the end of this decade, said Sasha Stashwick, a senior adviser at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group.

“If we don’t find ways to deeply decarbonize the sector, we won’t be able to meet our North Star climate goals,” she said.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Biden administration promises to buy 'clean' industrial materials
Biden administration promises to buy 'clean' industrial materials
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