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How can the federal government support cities in a just and rapid decarbonization of the power sector?

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New report analyzes and recommends federal actions to help cities rapidly phase out fossil fuels

CGS Experts

Claire Squire, Research Assistant

Jake Meisel, Research Assistant

Alicia Zhao, Research Manager

Grace Deye, Research Assistant

Ryna Cui, Research Director

Shannon Kennedy, Senior Manager of Strategic Engagement

Squire, C., Meisel, J., Zhao, A., Deye, G., Cui, R., & Kennedy, S. (2023). ”How can the federal government support cities in a just and rapid decarbonization of the power sector?” Center for Global Sustainability, University of Maryland. 25 pp.

  • Cities within the United States experience many of the adverse environmental, economic, and social impacts of fossil fuel plants, but they also face challenges in phasing out fossil fuels.
  • While past regulatory actions, recent legislation, and market forces have incentivized a clean energy transition, additional federal action is needed to ensure that necessary policies and actions are enacted to accelerate this transition, though new and old challenges to such actions persist.
  • Despite challenges posed by Congressional gridlock, a recent Supreme Court decision, and states with preemptive laws, the federal government can still further promote renewables and phase out fossil fuel power in cities through financial incentives, refinancing and securitization, and regulatory reform.
  • To ensure a lasting clean and just transition, the federal government can follow state examples and create a permanent Just Transition Bureau to allow for information sharing and coordination with cities across the country, provide additional funding for local just transition initiatives, and help finance early coal plant closures.
  • Coupled with federal actions, cities can craft locally specific policies, share with other localities, and collaborate with state agencies and the federal government to bring about fossil fuel phaseout and just transition.

This new report from the Center for Global Sustainability (CGS) at the University of Maryland provides strategies and policies to implement a rapid and just decarbonization within the power sector and discusses how federal and local—specifically city—governments can both contribute to fossil phaseout with complementary efforts

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