President Obama's 2030 target for greenhouse gas reductions in the electricity sector can be met with energy efficiency and smart agricultural practices, according to a new analysis.
Efficiency techniques and methods employed by leading states today can cut emissions in the sector by 73% by 2030, according to a report by Synapse Energy Economics, a firm based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The report, entitled "No Need to Wait," examines the impact of improving efficiency in all 50 states to the level achieved by leading states today. Several leading states already have energy efficiency savings of 2% per year. If all 50 states ramped up programs to this level, these savings alone would help to achieve 73% of the President's GHG targets by 2030.
"The most committed states have shown us that we can implement energy efficiency today," said Chris James, Senior Associate at Synapse. "If every state moved towards cutting energy waste today, we could make significant headway towards reducing emissions."
Added James, "Efficiency and better agricultural practices that store carbon in the soil are low-cost and quick paths to the emissions reductions we need while renewables are ramped up and carbon capture and storage technologies are developed and deployed."
Energy efficiency means reducing energy consumption while maintaining the level of service. Existing efficiency programs provide energy audits, rebates to consumers for high efficiency lighting and appliances, and financial assistance for weatherization, retrofits, and equipment upgrades.
The report also found that improving agricultural and forestry practices could achieve the equivalent of an additional 19% of reduction targets. Opportunities to hold carbon dioxide in soils and plants are found in improved management of soils, manure and fertilizer, and industrial forests. Already, several states have implemented greenhouse gas offset programs designed to leverage better practice in agriculture.
"There are tremendous opportunities to cut emissions, help electricity consumers save money, and generate skilled engineering, manufacturing, installation and other energy efficiency jobs domestically when we start looking at the full range of options," said Dr. Jeremy Fisher, a researcher at Synapse. "If we can engage farmers and foresters through carbon offset activities, then we can really make significant inroads towards the President's aggressive greenhouse gas targets."
The full report can be found at the link below.