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 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.