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Thursday, March 6, 2014

CATF: Natgas can achieve lasting cuts in US CO2 emissions if used strategically

The US can achieve “significant and affordable reductions” in greenhouse gas emissions by displacing power from coal-fired power plants with power from natural gas plants, according to a report from the Clean Air Task Force.

Power Switch: An Effective, Affordable Approach to Reducing Carbon Pollution from Existing Fossil-Fueled Power Plants says that if the EPA sets power plant performance standards so that electricity generated by coal-fired power plants is displaced with generation from more efficient and currently underutilized natural-gas power plants, the US can realize significant, near- term reductions in carbon pollution at a minimal cost.

CATF says that its proposal will:  
  • Decrease CO2 emissions from 2005 levels by 27% by 2020;
  • Avoid 2,000 premature deaths and 15,000 asthma attacks annually;
  • Result in health and climate benefits of $34 billion - over three times the cost of compliance; and
  • Increase average nationwide retail electric rates by only 2% in 2020 and result in no net increase in monthly electric bills.

The CATF study should be viewed in tandem with the PJM study that I blogged about yesterday. What synergies in renewable energy deployment, and in climate, public healthand other benefits could be achieved with minimized methane emissions and a strategic coal-to-gas push?

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