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23 Energy Policies That Could Save Americans $5 Billion a Year

Same Climate-Friendly Policies Would Create 2.5 Million Jobs, Study Finds

By SolveClimate Staff

Apr 23, 2010

“You get these benefits if the 23 actions are done in all 50 states. The only way that happens, realistically, is under a national framework with federal support,” he said.

Saving Money and Emissions

For each of the 23 super options, the report calculates the annual greenhouse gas reduction expected by 2020 and the cost or savings per ton of greenhouse gases removed under that option.

Among them, two super options stand head and shoulders above the pack in terms of greenhouse gas reduction in 2020: renewable portfolio standards, which require utilities to derive a percentage of their power from renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, and energy efficiency measures through demand side management. A federal RPS is estimated to reduce greenhouse gases by 508 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent a year by 2020, and the energy efficiency measures would be expected to cut emissions an additional 425 MMtCO2e.

Also high on the list of greenhouse gas reducers are nuclear power (300 MMtCO2e), enhanced recycling of municipal solid waste (249 MMtCO2e), reforestation (179 MMtCO2e), high-performing buildings (193 MMtCO2e), and strong building codes (161 MMtCO2e).

It’s important to remember that these numbers are for the year 2020. Technologies such as carbon capture and storage will still be early in their development stages then, solar will have yet to fully scale up, and nuclear power will still be rebuilding after years of neglect, so their potential contributions to annual greenhouse gas reductions won’t yet be fully realized. The study takes these time frames into account.

“The farther into the future, the more important technologies will be,” Peterson said. “Clearly there is a set that is very critical in terms of stage setting for the next generation.”

In addition, the study broke down the cost per ton of greenhouse gases removed and found huge cost benefits from basic changes in behavior and construction. Anti-idling technologies and practices, for example, save $65.19 per ton of greenhouse gases removed. Appliances standards save $53.21 per ton of greenhouse gases removed, and energy efficiency measures save $40.71 per ton.

Two more policies with big savings that might surprise involve shifting shipping from trucks to rail — a savings of $91.56 per ton of greenhouse gases removed — and vehicle purchase incentives to encourage efficient fleets and cars, with a savings of $66.37 per ton of greenhouse gases removed.

The Senate staffers and advisors working on the Kerry-Graham proposal are aware of the study, but the center hasn’t been working them directly — yet.

The Super Options

Here’s a brief look at the 23 super options and their expected net cost per ton of greenhouse gases removed. The being announced today at a Capitol Hill briefing goes into the specific policy design details, including timing, targets and the parties involved in each element of each option.

Renewable Portfolio Standards — Cost: $17.84 per ton of greenhouse gases removed. About two dozen already require their utilities to get a certain percentage of their electricity from clean, renewable sources through renewable portfolio standards.

Nuclear Power — Cost: $26.98 per ton. Nuclear power is a low-emitting power source, but the industry has lagged in recent decades, in part due to the expense; the last new plant came online in 1996.

Carbon Capture and Storage or Reuse — Cost: $32.92 per ton. CCS is designed to capture and store emissions from power plants before they can enter the atmosphere. The captured CO2 can also be used for enhanced recovery of oil and gas. President Obama supports CCS, but deploying the technology on a wide scale is well over a decade away.


These are great ideas that the American government should be really thinking a lot and putting it into plan and action. I like a lot several ideas such as energy efficiency, anti-idling technologies and practices which could use , forest retention and landfill gas management. Hopefully, some of these ideas would be really put into action.

Transportation policy

Here is an excerpt from the for the new CAFE vehicle emission/fuel-economy standards: "... a new 2016 MY vehicle is estimated to cost $948 more (on average, and relative to the reference case vehicle) due to the addition of new GHG reducing technology ... the present value of the lifetime net savings is greater than $3,100 at a 3% discount rate, or $2,300 at a 7% discount rate." That corresponds to a carbon abatement cost of something like minus $50/ton.

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