The power sector is the second-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, and it will be the most important sector to decarbonize if the United States is to achieve the Biden administration’s goal to halve emissions by 2030 and reach 100 percent clean electricity by 2035. Congress is currently considering a budget reconciliation proposal that would enact historic levels of federal support to accelerate the clean energy transition in the electricity sector.
Recent research from the Clean Energy Futures project quantifies the carbon emissions, costs, and air quality outcomes of a policy that requires the grid to run on 80 percent clean electricity by 2030 (“80x30”). The report finds that such a policy would generate $1.5 trillion in climate and health benefits, with the resulting improved air quality saving an estimated 9,200 lives in the year 2030 and more than 317,000 lives by 2050.
Resources for the Future (RFF) hosted an RFF Live event on Friday, September 24, on the costs and benefits of policy to achieve the 80x30 goal and other emissions-reduction policies relevant to current national discussions. Our panel of experts—including researchers from the Clean Energy Futures project—discussed what’s at stake in the decisions before Congress.
This event was part of the global digital activations for Climate Week NYC 2021.
The Clean Energy Futures project is a multi-institutional research initiative with collaborators from Syracuse University; the Center for Climate, Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; RFF; and Georgia Institute of Technology.
- Lindsey Baxter Griffith, Clean Air Task Force
- Kathy Fallon Lambert, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
- Leah Stokes, University of California, Santa Barbara
- Peter Wilcoxen, Syracuse University Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs
- Kevin Rennert, Resources for the Future (moderator)
Clean Energy Futures Data Explorer
The Clean Energy Futures Project has created an interactive data tool of the project's findings. It includes impacts on electricity generation, electric generating capacity, emissions of carbon dioxide, emissions of conventional air pollutants, air quality, and overall system costs. Click here to explore.