The vast majority of the technology needed to realize a full decarbonization of the U.S. economy exists, and most of the technology is more cost effective than fossil fueled alternatives, according to NASEM. But a committee assembled by the group to study decarbonization says all levels of government must do more to ensure the coming economic transition is just and fair to all.

"Now that the transition is so much more affordable," said Pacala, who headed the 17-person committee behind the report, "the primary concern is the impact on communities that depend on fossil fuels. We recognize that past transitions have been rocky, and that policy approaches that focus only on worker retraining have been inadequate."

The committee also spoke of a need to replace long-lived fossil fuel assets like power plants at the end of their working life, rather than retiring them early, to keep costs manageable.

"What we need to do with the timing of these stock turnovers," said Jesse Jenkins, who leads the Zero Carbon Energy Systems Research and Optimization Laboratory at Princeton University, "is we have to make sure that when someone makes that decision, the no-brainer is to invest in transition technology."

Read the full article about ensuring a just transition by Emma Penrod at Smart Cities Dive.