US energy policy is at a crossroads and policy options for addressing carbon emissions from the electricity sector are front and center in national conversations about climate change. At the same time, electrification of the transportation, building, and industrial sectors has emerged as a central strategy for decarbonizing the US economy. With this transition, electricity sector policy will strongly influence US carbon emissions, air quality, and related impacts on human and ecosystem health.
The Clean Energy Futures Project
The Clean Energy Futures Project aims to quantify the carbon emissions, costs, and air quality outcomes of contrasting electricity sector policies that are relevant to current national discussions. The results will provide policymakers with rigorous and timely research for decision making.
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; Resources for the Futures; and Georgia Institute of Technology.
- Clean energy policies that reach low- or zero-carbon emissions in the electricity sector by 2040 to 2050 are achievable at a cost of about 15% above baseline and generate climate and health benefits that far exceed the moderate policy costs.
- By comparison, the existing Affordable Clean Energy rule does little to address carbon dioxide emissions nationally and is projected to increase carbon and co-pollutant emissions in many states.
- National policy design matters to the timing and magnitude of carbon emissions reductions, costs, and air quality in individual states.