Climate Change Policy
Carbon pricing has gained ground worldwide but has also drawn increased pushback in recent years, becoming a political issue, as illustrated in the current Canadian election. To accelerate its success, more evaluations are needed to understand the economic impacts of existing policies and the promising role of energy efficiency.
Washington DC — As international leaders gather next week to discuss climate action during Climate Week NYC, new research shows that energy efficiency can slash US energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2050 and get the United States halfway toward its climate goals.
As the United States swelters from yet another heat wave, much greater utility transformation — with energy efficiency at its core — will be needed to address the rise in extreme weather events and other factors linked to climate change. Yet state efforts to develop the utility of the future seem to be falling short.
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.