- New energy efficiencies in the transportation, building and industrial sectors can reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the United States by 50%, according to a report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).
- ACEEE said emissions reduction can be led by a "significant shift" to electric vehicles (EVs) and improvement in fuel economy; the use of cleaner electricity and better design in new homes and commercial buildings; and the use of smarter manufacturing practices, process improvements and strategic energy management.
- Those changes and others would cut nearly 2,500 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, the nonprofit said, equivalent to all emissions from cars, trucks, homes and commercial buildings in 2050. It acknowledged the changes are "ambitious," but can be done.
The effects of climate change are putting increased pressure on city leaders. Long-term local level strategies have called for an 80-100% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and this report found that 11 opportunities and policies could get U.S. cities well on the way toward achieving those goals.
The impact of electrifying the transportation sector would be felt most keenly, the report says. ACEEE found it would deliver 46% of the emissions reductions outlined and result in 32% of the planned energy savings. Meanwhile, the buildings sector would also deliver major cuts in emissions (33%).
As cities look to advance their own ambitious climate plans and goals, the transportation and buildings sectors have been repeatedly highlighted as major culprits for greenhouse gas emissions. And while plans to reduce their impacts have been the subject of some concern over being too ambitious, there is already real investment in those areas.
Several associations and groups have pledged to invest heavily with time and resources in decarbonizing the transportation and buildings sectors. Earlier this year, the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) announced a partnership with five cities to design and implement "high-quality" bike and transit projects, while Bloomberg Philanthropies' American Cities Climate Challenge identified the two sectors as needing the most help.
If cities are to hit their ambitious climate goals and stay in step with the targets outlined in the Paris climate agreement, as many desire, they will need bold actions. This report further emphasizes that need.