Skip navigation
Share via:

Pitch

The World Resources Institute proposes reductions in US greenhouse gas emissions using existing federal and state law.


Description

Summary

This seed proposal is a summary of the World Resources Institute's working paper, Delivering on the US. Climate Commitment: A 10-Point Plan Toward a Low-Carbon Future. This summary was created by the Climate CoLab team. We invite other CoLab members to link to this proposal or to use it as a starting point for creating a new proposals of their own. WRI has not reviewed or endorsed this summary.

A comprehensive solution to climate change in the United States will likely require legislative action from Congress. Given the unlikely prospect of such legislation in the near term, WRI recommends options feasible under current federal and state legal regimes as a way of initiating action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

  1. Strengthen the Clean Power Plan both in the near term and over time to fully reflect cost-effective renewable energy and energy efficiency potential.
  2. Scale up programs for residential and commercial energy efficiency.
  3. Continue and expand programs to reduce hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) emissions.
  4. Use emissions standards and voluntary programs to improve industrial energy efficiency.
  5. Set methane emissions standards for new and existing natural gas and oil infrastructure.
  6. Extend and strengthen GHG and fuel economy standards for passenger cars while reducing travel demand.
  7. Extend and strengthen GHG and fuel efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.
  8. Accelerate air travel management and establish standards for new aircraft.
  9. Reduce methane emissions from landfills, coal mines, and agriculture through standards or other measures.
  10. Reduce emissions from other sources while increasing carbon sequestration from forests and other land types. 


Which proposals are included in your plan and how do they fit together?

1) Strengthen the Clean Power Plan both in the near term and over time to fully reflect cost-effective renewable energy and energy efficiency potential. 

The EPA should periodically review and revise the state GHG reduction standards to maximize each state's potential to legally and effective reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

2) Scale up programs for residential and commercial energy efficiency. 

Strengthen efficiency standards and guidelines for appliances/products/processes, expand federally-driven R&D, improve incentives to adopt efficiency technologies, and enhance labeling and promotion efforts.

3) Continue and expand programs to reduce hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) emissions. 

Encourage a shift from HFCs toward chemical alternatives with lower global warming potential.

4) Use emissions standards and voluntary programs to improve industrial energy efficiency. 

Strengthen emissions standards for commercial and manufacturing equipment and promote benchmarking and labeling efforts to encourage greater efficiency in the industrial sector.

5) Set methane emissions standards for new and existing natural gas and oil infrastructure. 

Develop clear standards and encourage the use of already available technologies to reduce methane waste and leakage in existing natural gas systems.

6) Extend and strengthen GHG and fuel economy standards for passenger cars while reducing travel demand. 

The federal government can strengthen fuel economy standards. State and local government should pursue policy and regional planning that encourages and supports alternatives to travel by car.

7) Extend and strengthen GHG and fuel efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. 

Strengthen fuel standards to encourage the adoption of currently available technologies that reduce fuel use.

8) Accelerate air travel management and establish standards for new aircraft. 

Improve air travel processes to reduce fuel use and encourage greater fuel efficiency in new aircraft.

9) Reduce methane emissions from landfills, coal mines, and agriculture through standards or other measures.

10) Reduce emissions from other sources while increasing carbon sequestration from forests and other land types. 


Explanation of the emissions scenario calculated in the Impact tab


What are the plan’s key benefits?

This plan offers actionable strategies that local, state, and federal government agencies can pursue to reduce greenhouse gas emissions without changes to existing law. The plan estimates 26-30% reductions in GHG emissions below 2005 levels by 2025 and 34-38% reductions by 2030.

Additional benefits include potential for economic innovation and improvements in public health.


What are the plan’s costs?

The cost of implementing specific policies is not given, but WRI estimates GDP losses of about 0.3% in 2030 as a result of pursuing action. 


What are the key challenges to enacting this plan?

This plan requires significant initiative from both federal agencies to develop new rules and standards in the short term and for state and local governments to pursue policy change in the short- and medium-terms. The proposals will likely necessitate engagement with and support from private actors and other stakeholders. The plan does not offer a "silver bullet" solution, as a carbon pricing scheme might.


Timeline

Timeline for each action varies, though each should be implemented by 2025. A quicker implementation timeline would improve reductions. 


Related plans


References

Review the WRI full Working Paper or the Executive Summary.