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.
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.
The average American currently eats over a pound of beef each week (roughly equal to 4 burgers), and beef is between five and ten times worse for the climate than chicken.
The U.S. produces one-fifth of the world's beef, which is responsible for nearly 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Thus, reducing beef consumption to 1 burger per week (the maximum amount consistent with a sustainable global emissions level) would eliminate 1.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
A 2015 study finds that reducing global greenhouse gas emissions can save nearly half of Hawaii's coral reefs, whereas failing to reduce emissions will result in a complete loss of Hawaii's coral reefs.
About 38% of the ocean around Hawaii is covered by coral reef—if we don't reduce emissions, Hawaii will risk losing all of its coral reefs by 2100, but if we do cut emissions, Hawaii would keep about 15% coral reef cover.
Reducing global emissions would provide between $10 and $30 billion in benefits to Hawaii between today and 2100 due to increased tourism and sustained local fisheries.
Takeaway: while it may be the case that hybrids are better for the climate than electric cars in some places today, electric cars have more potential than hybrids to reduce emissions from oil in the long run.
A 2015 report measured that two-thirds of Americans live in regions (including California, Texas, Florida, New York, New England, and the entire Northwest) where driving an electric vehicle (EV) produces fewer greenhouse gases (GHGs) than the most efficient gas-powered vehicle.
Even in regions where electricity used to charge EVs is the dirtiest, an EV pollutes 21% less than the average new gasoline-powered vehicle.
If the U.S. moved to a grid supplied by 80% renewable energy, an EV would emit roughly 90% less GHG pollution than the current average new gasoline-powered vehicle.