A new report out from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) shows a blueprint of the how the US can reduce its greenhouse gasses with wind, solar, energy efficiency and clean vehicles while reaping benefits worth seven times the cost of the transition. Among other things the report shows how the country can cut energy consumption by 50 percent, while increasing the amount of energy coming from renewable energy to 80 percent.
“Across our country, climate-fueled hazard and harm is getting worse every day. The inescapable fact is we must fight climate change today to protect people from even greater suffering tomorrow,” said NRDC President Rhea Suh. “Our pathway report offers a far-reaching, realistic and low-cost solution for how we, as Americans, can reach a safer climate future.”
The study, “America’s Clean Energy Frontier: The Pathway to Safer Climate Future,” was conducted by consulting firm Energy + Environmental Economics. The report relies on using existing technologies. It would require raising the fuel efficiency of gasoline-powered cars to 80 miles per gallon (and 100 mpg across fleets). It also would require expanding the amount of wind and solar energy 13-fold and retiring nuclear power plants.
The report shows what’s needed to hold the US to the goals of the Paris Climate agreement, which would keep the global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius. That’s despite President Trump’s (R) controversial move to remove the US from the global pact to reduce climate change.
The plan has a number of economic benefits. Energy costs in the US would be held to a 1 percent rise through 2050—about $22 billion. But it would result in more than $154 billion annually in health and environmental benefits, including a reduction of extreme weather, heat waves and illnesses caused by climate change.
“This call to arms seeks nothing less than a clean energy revolution—in energy efficiency, renewable wind and solar power, clean cars and the nation’s electric grid—to shield our kids and future generations from climate chaos,” Such said. “That’s unquestionably a goal that can unite us. And when have Americans ever shied away from revolution?”
The report said that three strategies alone will get the country to 90 percent of the goals. Expanding the amount of wind and solar power installed to supply at least 70 percent of the nation’s energy production, renewable energy will account for 80 percent of the nation’s energy use. By dramatically increasing the efficiency of electric vehicles, appliance, buildings and industrial plants the US can shrink the need for fossil fuels. Using the renewable energy to replace fossil fuel power plants and to power electric vehicles will take the US further toward NRDC’s goals.Tweet