This analysis provides an assessment of reductions in net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions relative to total U.S. emissions that could be achieved by pollution reduction proposals currently under consideration in the 111th Congress. A full description of the methods and assumptions behind this analysis can be found in the Appendix of the PDF document.
- John Larsen, Senior Associate
Previous Versions of This Analysis
- Proposals in the 111th Congress
- Proposals in the 110th Congress
- Comparisons of Proposals in the 109th Congress
This analysis provides an assessment of net reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions relative to total U.S. emissions that could be achieved by pollution reduction proposals currently under consideration in the 111th Congress. This assessment is an update to a previous analysis WRI released on December 17, 2009, and includes an analysis of the American Power Act (APA), introduced as a discussion draft on May 12, 2010 by Senators Kerry and Lieberman. The APA draft is compared against S. 2877, the Carbon Limits and Energy for America’s Renewal Act (CLEARA) as introduced by Senators Cantwell and Collins, and H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACESA) sponsored by Representatives Waxman and Markey, as passed by the House of Representatives June 26, 2009.
To account for the effects of different design elements among the analyzed bills, GHG reduction estimates are divided into three scenarios, which are consistently applied as appropriate to all proposals examined in this analysis:
- Total emissions reductions achieved solely by the proposed emissions caps.
- Total emissions reductions achieved by proposed caps and all other complementary requirements, such as emissions performance standards for uncapped sources, allowances set-asides for cost containment, and required components of supplemental reduction programs, as applicable.
- A range of potential additional reductions that could be achieved through incentives and other measures, such as domestic supplemental reductions and requirements for the use of more than one offset for compliance, as applicable.
To summarize, this analysis depicts reductions within the cap and any additional measures that will achieve emissions reductions through the passage and implementation of each proposal. Reductions that would require additional congressional action to be realized are not included in the analysis.
- The emissions caps in the APA achieve net reductions of 14 percent relative to 2005 levels in 2020. By 2050, the APA achieves reductions of 72 percent relative to 2005 levels.
- The APA’s later start year (2013) and delay of inclusion of some sources until 2016 yields slightly fewer reductions in the first five years of the program than the ACESA. The APA and the ACESA require greater net annual GHG reductions than the CLEARA.
- The APA contains complementary measures in addition to emissions caps that could achieve additional reductions. Specifically:
- When all complementary requirements are considered in addition to the caps, net GHG emissions would be reduced 15 percent relative to 2005 levels by 2020 and 73 percent relative to 2005 levels by 2050.
- When additional potential emissions reductions are considered, the APA could reduce emissions up to 19 percent relative to 2005 levels by 2020 and up to 77 percent relative to 2005 levels by 2050. The actual amount of additional reductions will depend on the quantity and quality of international offsets used for compliance.
- While the APA creates programs similar to those in the ACESA that could yield additional GHG reductions in uncapped sectors as well as internationally, unlike the ACESA, APA’s programs are not funded or are subject to additional congressional action. Thus they are not considered in this analysis.
Net Estimates of Emissions Reductions Under Pollution Reduction Proposals in the 111th Congress, 2005-2050 graphically presents total net GHG reductions achieved by the APA, the CLEARA and the ACESA relative to U.S. historical and projected emissions under the three reduction scenarios.
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Estimates of Total Net GHG Emissions and Emissions Reductions Achieved by Pollution Reduction Proposals in the 111th Congress, 2005-2050 presents a table of total net GHG reductions that could be achieved by these proposals for selected years.
Download the PDF above for a full description of the methods and assumptions behind this analysis.
(Millions Metric Tons CO2eq)
|Business as usual emissions||7,120||7,185||7,390||7,765||8,102||8,379|
|Short-term projected emissions||6,685|
|CLEARA (S. 2877) Emissions caps only||7,185||7,051||5,711||3,981||2,645|
|ACESA (H.R. 2454) Emissions caps only||6,993||6,106||4,556||3,268||1,963|
|ACESA (H.R. 2454) Caps plus all complementary requirements||6,946||5,132||4,292||3,043||1,779|
|ACESA (H.R. 2454) Potential range of additional reductions||6,946||4,757||3,814||2,623||1,383|
|APA Emissions Caps only||7,185||6,106||4,556||3,268||1,963|
|APA Caps plus all complementary requirements||7,185||6,030||4,379||3,154||1,911|
|APA Potential range of additional reductions||7,185||5,780||4,129||2,904||1,661|
|Percent change from 2005 emissions||2010||2012||2020||2030||2040||2050|
|Business as usual emissions||0||1||4||9||14||18|
|Short-term projected emissions||-6|
|CLEARA (S. 2877) Emissions caps only||1||-1||-20||-44||-63|
|ACESA (H.R. 2454) Emissions caps only||-2||-14||-36||-54||-72|
|ACESA (H.R. 2454) Caps plus all complementary requirements||-2||-28||-40||-57||-75|
|ACESA (H.R. 2454) Potential range of additional reductions||-2||-33||-46||-63||-81|
|APA Emissions Caps only||1||-14||-36||-54||-72|
|APA Caps plus all complementary requirements||1||-15||-38||-56||-73|
|APA Potential range of additional reductions||1||-19||-42||-59||-77|
|Percent change from 1990 emissions||2010||2012||2020||2030||2040||2050|
|Business as usual emissions||17||18||21||27||33||37|
|Short-term projected emissions||10|
|CLEARA (S. 2877) Emissions caps only||18||16||-6||-35||-57|
|ACESA (H.R. 2454) Emissions caps only||15||0||-25||-46||-68|
|ACESA (H.R. 2454) Caps plus all complementary requirements||14||-16||-30||-50||-71|
|ACESA (H.R. 2454) Potential range of additional reductions||14||-22||-37||-57||-77|
|APA Emissions Caps only||18||0||-25||-46||-68|
|APA Caps plus all complementary requirements||18||-1||-28||-48||-69|
|APA Potential range of additional reductions||18||-5||-32||-52||-73|
|Bills analyzed include the American Power Act (APA) introduced as a discussion draft by Senators Kerry and Lieberman and S. 2877, the Carbon Limits and Energy for America’s Renewal Act (CLEARA) as introduced by Senators Cantwell and Collins, and H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACESA) sponsored by Representatives Waxman and Markey, as passed by the House of Representatives on June 26, 2009. “Business as usual” emission projections are from EPA’s reference case for its analysis of the ACESA. “Short-term projected emissions” represent EIA’s most recent estimates of emissions for 2008-2010. CLEARA sets economy-wide reduction targets beginning with a 20 percent reduction from 2005 levels by 2020. However, additional action by Congress would be required before these targets could be met. Reduction estimates do not include emissions above the cap that could occur due to the safety valve. Reduction estimates assume all offsets are real, verifiable, additional and permanent. If they are not, emissions would be greater than the estimates provided here, depending on offset quality and the quantity used for compliance.|
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