Local Actions are Required to Effectively Address the 68% of Annual Carbon Emissions that Come from the Buildings and Transportation Sectors
Want to know where America is in the Clean Energy Transition? Looking at how the utility scale electric power sector is switching technologies and fuels to low- and no-carbon sources indicates the transition has momentum in reducing the one-third of annual domestic carbon emissions. Natural gas utilities are replacing coal-fired utilities, and they have a 44% lower carbon emission than coal units. But where are we in terms of reducing the 68% of annual carbon emissions in our cities that don’t come from the electric utilities? The transportation sector emits more carbon from non-electric energy use (gas and oil) than all of the utility scale electric generators in the nation. A new report lays out the quantitative comparisons describing how coal is declining, natural gas is rising and clean energy including renewables is slowly growing; and what energy consumer enduse groups are responsible for carbon emissions. Mayors an use this information to target resources and programs to get early carbon emission reductions.
The top-down command and control policies pushing electric utilities away from carbon based fuels is effective, but does not have either the reach into our communities or the flexibility needed to change our cities to clean energy consumers. Recent experience with the EECBG Program demonstrated the ability of local government to make and guide investment decisions that favor efficiency, conservation and renewable energy, with a long reach into the community to provide the support needed to succeed. The EECBG was successful because the grant program recognized that local actions need to be strategic but also be flexible and match local priorities to address the vast number of hard to get at carbon emission sources in our communities. The EECBG program performed groundbreaking work demonstrating what needs to be done to reduce carbon emissions in our communities and how to do it.