U.S. Carbon Dioxide Emissions Trends and Projections: Role of the Clean Power Plan and Other Factors [May 31, 2017]   [open pdf - 861KB]

"In December 2015, delegations from 195 nations, including the United States, adopted an agreement in Paris that creates an international structure for nations to pledge to abate their GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions, adapt to climate change, and cooperate to achieve these ends, including financial and other support. Pursuant to that agreement, the United States pledged (in 2015) to reduce GHG emissions by 26-28% by 2025 compared to 2005 levels. At the date of this report, U.S. involvement in the Paris Agreement remains uncertain. However, some recent reports indicate that President Trump is expected to withdraw from the agreement [...] Multiple factors generally impact CO2 emission levels from the electric power sector. Some factors are listed below in no particular order: [1] Economic growth/recession, [2] Relative prices of energy sources for electricity--particularly natural gas and renewable energy sources, [3] Electricity generation portfolio (i.e., the ratio of electricity generation from coal, natural gas, and renewable energy sources), [4] National and/or state policy developments (e.g., CPP [Clean Power Plan] implementation), and [5] Demand-side efficiency improvements (e.g., commercial and residential electricity use) [...] Accurately forecasting future CO2 emission levels is a complex and challenging endeavor. A comparison of actual CO2 emissions (from energy use) between 1990 and 2017 with selected emission projections illustrates this difficulty. In general, actual emissions have remained well below projections. As the future of the CPP is uncertain, some have questioned whether existing policies and trends in electricity generation would continue to lower CO2 emissions. Modeling results indicate that CO2 emissions in the electricity sector are expected to continue declining. However, modeling results indicate that the declines would be substantially greater if the CPP were implemented."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R44451
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html
Media Type:
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