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.
Takeaway: the U.S. needs to pass stronger policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The U.S.'s 2020 greenhouse gas reduction target is 17% below 2005 levels, equivalent to only 2% below 1990 levels (the reduction relative to 2005 is bigger because emissions in that year were far higher than in 1990).
Europe's 2020 reduction target is 20% below 1990 levels.
The U.S.'s 2025 reduction target is 14% below 1990 levels, while Europe's is about 30%.