Utilities’ climate goals have little impact on emissions

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<header><h1>Utilities’ climate goals have little impact on emissions</h1><a href="" rel="author"></a><span class="title"></span><time rel="pubdate" datetime="2022-02-09T00:00:00-05:00">Feb 9, 2022</time></header><div><p>U.S. carbon dioxide emissions would be 12% lower by 2050 if electric utility companies achieve their climate goals compared to a business as usual scenario, according to <a href="https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/aeo/corporate_goal/?utm_source=hs_email&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;_hsenc=p2ANqtz-82JrgxMxEH0-OU51x8dYWClP9OFQOpmCBnzNXU2o0G_uM4opVPz_yZ5iTmVvTR2thbUQgg" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-ac-default-color="1" data-hs-link-id="1">a new report</a> by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).</p><p>Utilities have been at the forefront of a corporate-wide move in pledging new goals to slash carbon emissions. But many of these goals lack integrity, according to <a href="https://newclimate.org/2022/02/07/corporate-climate-responsibility-monitor-2022/?utm_source=hs_email&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;_hsenc=p2ANqtz-82JrgxMxEH0-OU51x8dYWClP9OFQOpmCBnzNXU2o0G_uM4opVPz_yZ5iTmVvTR2thbUQgg" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-ac-default-color="1" data-hs-link-id="0">a new study</a> by the NewClimate Institute.</p><p>Although 12% isn’t nothing, it’s also a far cry from zero emissions, which is where the <em>entire </em>U.S. economy needs to be by 2050 if the world is to meet goals in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.</p><p>That limited emissions reduction reflects the fact that although corporate goals are important, more systemic change is needed, likely prodded by government policy.</p><p>Overall CO2 emissions from the energy sector would be just 3% lower by 2050 with these corporate goals achieved.</p><p>Such a small reduction reflects the fact that the electricity sector accounts for just <a href="https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/sources-greenhouse-gas-emissions?utm_source=hs_email&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;_hsenc=p2ANqtz-82JrgxMxEH0-OU51x8dYWClP9OFQOpmCBnzNXU2o0G_uM4opVPz_yZ5iTmVvTR2thbUQgg" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-ac-default-color="1" data-hs-link-id="0">a quarter</a> of U.S. emissions.</p><p>A primary factor driving the 12% reduction in electricity emissions is utilities’ plans to keep operating nuclear power plants.</p></div><p><div class="pullquote"><div role="separator"><svg width="64" height="20" viewBox="0 0 64 20" fill="none" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg"><path d="M18.2915 4.9476L1.15253 14.8428"/><path d="M29.4302 4.9476L12.2912 14.8428"/><path d="M40.5693 4.9476L23.4304 14.8428"/><path d="M51.708 4.9476L34.569 14.8428" /><path d="M62.8472 4.9476L45.7082 14.8428"/></svg></div><blockquote><span>This outcome occurs in part because our model identifies existing nuclear generation as being among the lowest-cost options for meeting clean energy or carbon-reduction goals. Existing nuclear plants typically have operation and maintenance costs that are less than the cost of building new low-carbon capacity.</span><footer>U.S. Energy Information Administration</footer></blockquote><div role="separator"><svg width="64" height="20" viewBox="0 0 64 20" fill="none" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg"><path d="M18.2915 4.9476L1.15253 14.8428"/><path d="M29.4302 4.9476L12.2912 14.8428"/><path d="M40.5693 4.9476L23.4304 14.8428"/><path d="M51.708 4.9476L34.569 14.8428" /><path d="M62.8472 4.9476L45.7082 14.8428"/></svg></div></div><span class="apple-converted-space"> </span></p><p>The reference case EIA is comparing the corporate goals against reflects current laws and regulations, including state-level mandates for renewable and zero-emitting electricity.</p><div></div>
Utilities’ climate goals have little impact on emissions

by -
February 9, 2022
U.S. carbon dioxide emissions would be 12% lower by 2050 if electric utility companies achieve their climate goals compared to a business as usual scenario, according to a new report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Utilities have been at the forefront of a corporate-wide move in pledging new goals to slash carbon emissions. But many of these goals lack integrity, according to a new study by the NewClimate Institute. Although 12% isn’t nothing, it’s also a far cry from zero emissions, which is where the entire U.S. economy needs to be by 2050 if the world is to meet goals in line with the Paris Climate Agreement. That limited emissions reduction reflects the fact that although corporate goals are important, more systemic change is needed, likely prodded by government policy. Overall CO2 emissions from the energy sector would be just 3% lower by 2050 with these corporate goals achieved. Such a small reduction reflects the fact that the electricity sector accounts for just a quarter of U.S. emissions. A primary factor driving the 12% reduction in electricity emissions is utilities’ plans to keep operating nuclear power plants. This outcome occurs in part because our model identifies existing nuclear generation as being among the lowest-cost options for meeting clean energy or carbon-reduction goals. Existing nuclear plants typically have operation and maintenance costs that are less than the cost of building new low-carbon capacity. U.S. Energy Information Administration   The reference case EIA is comparing the corporate goals against reflects current laws and regulations, including state-level mandates for renewable and zero-emitting electricity.