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Research Shows Strong Renewable Energy Laws Reduce Climate Change Pollution

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Research Shows Strong Renewable Energy Laws Reduce Climate Change Pollution

U.S. Energy Information Administration

The Extended Policies case, released yesterday as part of the U.S Energy Information Administration (EIA)'s Annual Energy Outlook 2013 (AEO2013), shows that extending certain federal energy efficiency and renewable energy laws and regulations could reduce annual energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. in 2040 by roughly 6 percent relative to a reference case projection that generally assumes current laws and policies. Between 2013 and 2040, this reduction adds up to a cumulative emission savings approaching 5 billion metric tons.

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Outlook 2013.

 

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Outlook 2013.

Projected emissions reductions result from decreased energy consumption as well as additional energy production from low-carbon resources. In 2040, the extended policies case projects 4 quadrillion Btu lower annual U.S. energy consumption than the reference case. The cumulative amount of energy use is 55 quadrillion Btu lower between 2013 and 2040.

The extended policies case differs from the reference case, which generally reflects policies as they exist in spring 2013, including the assumption that any sunset dates (for example, scheduled expirations for tax credits) or other scheduled milestones occur as specified in law. In the extended policies case, EIA explores the possible effects of the indefinite continuation of certain provisions that have expiration dates and the expansion of certain energy laws and regulations.

The extended policies case includes key assumptions affecting:

  • Electric power
  • Residential and commercial buildings
  • Transportation
  • Industry

The continuation of the production tax credit for wind, biomass, geothermal and other renewable resources and the investment tax credit for solar generation technologies exemplify the policy extensions included in this case.

For a discussion of assumptions and results, see the full Issues in Focus article on the No Sunset and Extended Policy cases in AEO2013. The full article also features a discussion of a special case investigating the effects of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 passed by Congress on Jan. 1, 2013.

Visit EcoWatch’s RENEWABLE ENERGY page for more related news on this topic.

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Click here to tell Congress to Expedite Renewable Energy.

 

A plume of smoke from wildfires burning in the Angeles National Forest is seen from downtown Los Angeles on Aug. 29, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

California is bracing for rare January wildfires this week amid damaging Santa Ana winds coupled with unusually hot and dry winter weather.

High winds, gusting up to 80- to 90 miles per hour in some parts of the state, are expected to last through Wednesday evening. Nearly the entire state has been in a drought for months, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which, alongside summerlike temperatures, has left vegetation dry and flammable.

Utilities Southern California Edison and PG&E, which serves the central and northern portions of the state, warned it may preemptively shut off power to hundreds of thousands of customers to reduce the risk of electrical fires sparked by trees and branches falling on live power lines. The rare January fire conditions come on the heels of the worst wildfire season ever recorded in California, as climate change exacerbates the factors causing fires to be more frequent and severe.

California is also experiencing the most severe surge of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with hospitals and ICUs over capacity and a stay-at-home order in place. Wildfire smoke can increase the risk of adverse health effects due to COVID, and evacuations forcing people to crowd into shelters could further spread the virus.

As reported by AccuWeather:

In the atmosphere, air flows from high to low pressure. The setup into Wednesday is like having two giant atmospheric fans working as a team with one pulling and the other pushing the air in the same direction.
Normally, mountains to the north and east of Los Angeles would protect the downtown which sits in a basin. However, with the assistance of the offshore storm, there will be areas of gusty winds even in the L.A. Basin. The winds may get strong enough in parts of the basin to break tree limbs and lead to sporadic power outages and sparks that could ignite fires.
"Typically, Santa Ana winds stay out of downtown Los Angeles and the L.A. Basin, but this time, conditions may set up just right to bring 30- to 40-mph wind gusts even in those typically calm condition areas," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll.

For a deeper dive:

AP, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Weather Channel, AccuWeather, New York Times, Slideshow: New York Times; Climate Signals Background: Wildfires, 2020 Western wildfire season

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for daily Hot News, and visit their news site, Nexus Media News.

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