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Blog Posts: energy efficiency

  • How the US Can Save Billions by Reducing Electricity Use

    Homes and commercial buildings account for 74 percent of electricity demand in the United States, making them a critical part of any plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    The good news is that policies put into place over the last three decades—including appliance efficiency standards, voluntary labeling programs like ENERGY STAR, and state energy-savings targets—have already helped offset rising demand for electricity and saved consumers billions of dollars. New research shows that with the right policies in place, consumers and the environment can capture even greater benefits.

  • By the Numbers: The New Climate Economy

    How should politicians prioritize between robust economic growth and solving the problem of climate change?

    A new report reveals an encouraging answer: There’s no need to choose. Better Growth, Better Climate, finds that low-carbon investments—if done right—could cost about the same as conventional infrastructure, but would deliver significantly greater economic, social, and environmental benefits in the long-run.

  • 5 Ways Arkansas Can Reduce Power Plant Emissions

    Arkansas has already taken steps to reduce its near-term power sector CO2 emissions by implementing energy efficiency policies. And the state has the opportunity to go even further. In fact, new WRI analysis finds that Arkansas can reduce its CO2 emissions 39 percent below 2011 levels by 2020 by implementing new clean energy strategies and taking advantage of existing infrastructure. Achieving these reductions will allow Arkansas to meet moderately ambitious EPA power plant emissions standards, which are due to be finalized in 2015.

  • Watching for Signs of Climate Action in the State of the Union Address

    When President Obama addresses the nation later today, climate change is expected to be featured. The president recently said that one of his personal passions is “leaving a planet that is as spectacular as the one we inherited from our parents and our grandparents.” The next two years will determine if his administration can meet this standard.

  • How Civil Society Groups Can Help Expand Energy Efficiency

    Energy efficiency programs in world's major developing countries could save 1,500 Terawatt hours of energy and save consumers US$ 1.5 trillion by 2030.

    But despite their “win-win” nature, the purchase of energy efficient appliances remains low in some countries—including in India. This is in part due to low levels of involvement by local civil society organizations (CSOs) in the energy efficiency standards and labeling (S&L) process.

  • 5 Ways Wisconsin Can Reduce Power Plant Emissions

    Wisconsin has already taken strides to reduce its near-term power sector CO2 emissions by implementing cost-effective clean energy policies. And the state has the opportunity to go even further. In fact, new WRI analysis finds that Wisconsin can reduce its CO2 emissions 43 percent below 2011 levels by 2020 by extending its existing clean energy policies and taking advantage of existing infrastructure. Achieving these reductions will allow Wisconsin to meet even ambitious EPA power plant emissions standards, which are due to be finalized in 2015.

  • 5 Ways Illinois Can Reduce Power Plant Emissions

    Like all U.S. states, Illinois will need to reduce its power sector carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in order to alleviate climate change impacts and comply with future EPA standards. The good news is that the state has already taken steps to reduce its emissions, including saving energy and increasing its use of renewable energy sources. And, Illinois has the potential to go even further. New WRI analysis finds that Illinois can reduce its CO2 emissions 35 percent below 2011 levels by 2020 just by complying with current policies and taking advantage of existing infrastructure. Achieving these reductions will allow Illinois to meet or exceed moderately ambitious EPA power plant emissions standards, which are due to be finalized in 2015.

  • 5 Ways Pennsylvania Can Reduce Power Plant Emissions

    Pennsylvania is generating more electricity than it has in the past, but the good news is that it’s doing so while emitting less carbon dioxide pollution. In fact, new WRI analysis finds that Pennsylvania can reduce its CO2 emissions 21 percent below 2011 levels by 2020 just by complying with current policies and taking advantage of existing infrastructure. Achieving these reductions will allow Pennsylvania to meet moderately ambitious EPA power plant emissions standards, which are due to be finalized in 2015.

  • New Climate Action Report: U.S. Can Reach its Emissions-Reduction Goal, but Only With Ambitious Action

    Yesterday, the Obama Administration released the sixth U.S. Climate Action Report (CAR6) for public review, to be submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in January 2014. The report, which all developed countries are required to complete, outlines U.S. historical and future greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, actions the country is taking to address climate change, and its vulnerability to climate change impacts. This report follows the President’s recently announced Climate Action Plan, which, as the CAR6 report shows, could enable the United States to meet its international commitment of reducing emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020—if it acts ambitiously, that is.

    However, as the report acknowledges, U.S. government agencies will need to propose new rules and take other steps to implement the Climate Action Plan. CAR6 factors in this uncertainty and shows that implementation of the Climate Action Plan will result in reductions in the range of 14 to 20 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 (not taking into account land use). As WRI found in our report, Can The U.S. Get There From Here?, the Obama Administration can achieve a 17 percent emissions-reduction target only by taking ambitious “go-getter” action.

    Now is a good time to reflect on what the United States has done over the past four years and what still needs to happen across the major emissions sources in order meet the national emissions-reduction goal and curb the effects of climate change.

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