Deep Decarbonization

Published in November 2015, the Executive Summary of the Policy Implications of Deep Decarbonization states that:

“Deep decarbonization of the U.S. energy system is defined  as reducing CO2 from fossil fuel combustion to 1.7 metric tons per capita in 2050, an order of magnitude below recent U.S. levels.(p 5)…

…Our analysis shows that deep decarbonization is both technically feasible and economically affordable.(p6)”

The full report (which is 91 pages) includes analysis of “policy frames in context.” They state that there are significant drawbacks to carbon pricing being the principal or only policy instrument.(p81)

One of these risks is contributing to a negative public opinion by suggesting that it is only the cost of energy that needs to be dealt with, and not “a physical transformation that can provide widespread economic benefits and a hopeful vision of the future.” (p.81)

This is not one of the many conceptual papers about the transition to a low carbon future. Addressing transformation, it includes not only concepts but a practical focus on implementation, which is what we need now.

(This paper is based on the research of an international consortium studying pathways to deep decarbonization in sixteen countries. In the U.S., the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory collaborated with Energy and Environmental Economics (E3) for this report.)



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