The Climate Impact of Repealing the Clean Power Plan Is Less Than Half of What the DOE Thought It Was In 2016

Takeaway: if Americans continue to demand further policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the negative climate impact of repealing the Clean Power Plan can be further reduced.
  • In 2016, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) projected that repealing the Clean Power Plan would increase carbon dioxide emissions by 424 million tons.

  • In 2017, DOE revised that number downward by more than half, projecting that repealing the Clean Power Plan would increase emissions by 199 million tons.

Increases in Carbon Emissions from Repealing CPP (Million Tons)

In just one year, DOE reduced its estimate of the projected impact of repealing the CPP by more than half.

In 2016, Power Plants Used 40% Less Coal Than 2010's Prediction

Takeaway: while there is no guarantee that power plants will continue to be below expectations of coal use in the coming years, these data should give us hope that future progress could be greater than mainstream predictions.

Projected vs. Actual Electricity from Coal (Trillion kWh)

Electricity from coal is 40% lower in 2016 than the DOE thought it would be based on 2010 projections.

California Analysis Shows Market-Based Climate Policy Is Over 80% Cheaper Than Regulation-Based Policy

  • Economic analysis released by the California Air Resources Board in 2016 shows that achieving their 2030 carbon reduction target with market-based policies costs $1.7 billion, while a regulation-based approach costs $9.7 billion.

  • The analysis shows that market-based policies can achieve the same carbon reduction target as regulatory policies, but at an 80% cheaper cost.

2016 Report: Phasing Out All Federal Fossil Fuel Leases Would Reduce Carbon Emissions, But Not Nearly by Enough to Avoid Worst Climate Risks

Takeaway: while limiting U.S. fossil fuel production can reduce carbon emissions, achieving the vast majority of reductions needed to avoid the worst climate risks requires reducing fossil fuel consumption.
  • A 2016 report calculates that a U.S. Federal Government phase-out of all fossil fuel leases would reduce carbon emissions by an amount (100 million tons by 2030) roughly equal to recent Federal fuel efficiency regulations.

  • As the figure below shows, this phase-out would close the gap by 9%, in 2030, between where U.S. emissions are trending and where they must be to avoid the worst climate risks.

New York Times Poll: Two-Thirds of Americans Support a Carbon Tax if the Revenue is Rebated to All Americans

% of Americans That Support a Carbon Tax if the Revenue is Used to Lower Income Taxes

Most Americans support a carbon tax if the revenue is given back to families in the form of lower income taxes.
  • A January 2015 poll by the New York Times, Stanford, and Resources for the Future found that 67% of Americans support a carbon tax if the revenue is rebated equally to all Americans by reducing income taxes.

  • The poll showed less support (61%) for a carbon tax that did not specify use of the tax revenue.

Report: Taxing Carbon and Giving the Revenue Back to Families Can Boost the Economy, Lower Carbon Emissions, and Save Lives

  • A 2013 report from REMI, a consulting firm commissioned by Citizens Climate Lobby, shows that taxing carbon and rebating all of the revenue back to families is a net benefit for the U.S. economy (in each year, economic output is higher than in a scenario without the policy).

  • The report finds that this "carbon fee and dividend" approach reduces five times as much carbon emissions in 2030 than the Clean Power Plan.

  • The report also shows that the policy can prevent over 13,000 premature deaths and give the average family of four a $350 monthly check to compensate them for higher energy prices by 2030.

Oil Is the Biggest Source of Greenhouse Gas Pollution in the U.S.

Takeaway: we need to focus not just on coal and gas, but also on reducing carbon pollution from vehicles.
  • Oil accounted for 43% of U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution in 2015, exceeding both coal and natural gas, which each accounted for 28%.

  • In 2016, natural gas is expected to emit more GHGs than coal for the first time since 1978.

The Paris Climate Agreement Does Not Impose Any Penalties If Countries Fail to Achieve Climate Pledges

Takeaway: Because there are no penalties for missed targets, we need to pass additional policies to ensure emissions are reduced.
  • The December 2015 agreement does not contain any penalties if countries fail to meet announced targets.

  • The Paris agreement requires countries to increase the stringency of their climate pledges every five years (with no specific amount required).

  • The agreement requires countries to report on progress towards meeting climate pledges.

The U.S.'s Climate Change Target Is Way Weaker than Europe's

Takeaway: the U.S. needs to pass stronger policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The U.S. and Europe's climate targets (% below 1990 levels)

The U.S.'s percentage reduction is far smaller than Europe's for both 2020 and 2025.

The U.S.'s Climate Change Commitment is Not Strong Enough to Avoid the Worst Climate Impacts

Takeaway: because emissions reductions in 2030 are far below what's needed, we need to put a bigger focus on long-term policies to reduce emissions.