Vox discusses how to drive fossil fuels out of the US economy, quickly. The US has everything it needs to decarbonize by 2035.
In the runup to World War II, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt enlisted the entire US economy in an effort to scale up production of war material. All of the country’s resources were bent to the task. In 1939, the US had 1,700 aircraft and no bombers; in 1945, it had 300,000 military aircraft and 18,500 B–24 bombers.
By the time the war was won, the economy was up and humming with a massively expanded workforce (drawing in women and African Americans) and turbocharged productive capacity. Investments made during the war mobilization yielded a robust middle class and decades of sustained, broadly shared prosperity.
A similar mobilization will be necessary for the US to decarbonize its economy fast enough to avert the worst of climate change. To do its part in limiting global temperature rise to between 1.5° and 2° Celsius, the US must reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest. To achieve this, the full resources of the US economy must be bent toward manufacturing the needed clean-energy technology and infrastructure.