There’s no way around it: we need a price on carbon in order to rapidly reduce emissions. But absent that necessary policy, putting the investment structure in place to promote renewables can also have a substantial impact on lowering emissions.
A new analysis from the Energy Information Administration of a Clean Energy Standard (CES) proposed by New Mexico Senator Jeff Bingaman finds that strong clean energy targets would reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the electricity sector by 44 percent over the next two decades.
The Bingaman CES would require utilities to procure 85 percent of their electricity from a mix of renewables, nuclear and natural gas by 2035. According to the EIA analysis, the targets would help decrease coal generation by 54 percent by the 2035 target date — all without a price on carbon.
There’s no substitute for putting a price on greenhouse gas emissions. But establishing a national target for clean energy can also be an effective tool in our arsenal for reducing global warming pollution.