Climate Change Policy
Statement of Steven Nadel, executive director
The Affordable Clean Energy Rule (ACE), announced today by the US Environmental Protection Agency, misses a large opportunity to slash carbon emissions, reduce air pollution, and save money. The rule recognizes that energy efficiency measures at power plants can reduce both carbon emissions and consumer utility bills, but it will deliver relatively few savings.
Across North America, efforts to put a price on greenhouse gas emissions are growing, creating a market-based incentive to reduce emissions and energy use. Currently 14 US states and Canadian provinces plus one US city have done so, with seven additional states and provinces in active pursuit, according to ACEEE’s new white paper.
Recent major climate reports highlight public interest in addressing climate change. There is broad agreement that we won’t achieve carbon reduction goals without cutting emissions from the industrial sector, which accounts for more than a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Energy-saving efforts continue to deliver vast gains, but their progress is slowing and will need at least a doubling of investment in order to reach global sustainability goals, according to the International Energy Agency’s new Energy Efficiency 2018 market report, released last week.
More than 600 days into the Trump administration, amid constant reports of regulatory rollbacks, there’s been surprisingly little damage to energy efficiency…yet. But now the administrative winds are starting to blow, rulemakings are under way—with a couple open comment periods—and we are working hard to hold onto the energy savings we have been helping to build.
Electrification is gaining a lot of attention as efforts mount to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and address climate change. ACEEE sees an important role for energy efficiency in these efforts. In fact, we see beneficial electrification – that which reduces total energy, costs, and emissions – as a form of energy efficiency. It can complement traditional efficiency approaches, and together, they can help meet energy, GHG, and economic goals.
California’s official push toward a carbon-free electricity system, now awaiting the governor’s signature, will need dramatic contributions from energy efficiency to succeed.
At the North American Climate Summit this month in Chicago, city officials from several countries recognized energy efficiency as an important emissions reduction strategy. Many described how they are making it part of their climate action plans.
Spring is peak season for allergies and asthma. As a result, May has been declared National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. While our air is getting cleaner overall, the number of people with asthma keeps growing.
Energy efficiency is a proven and cost-effective strategy to reduce pollution and can help states comply with environmental regulations, including EPA’s Clean Power Plan. Even with the Supreme Court stay of the rule, there are many reasons to move forward with energy efficiency.