Groundbreaking Report Shows the United States Can Lead the Way Toward Climate Recovery Without Economic Hardship
“This study shows that the remedy we’re asking for
in Juliana can be done. It’s technically and
economically possible to limit global warming
to 1 degree Celsius by 2100. “
~ Juliana v. United States plaintiff Nick, 17
A team of energy experts, including Juliana v. United States expert witness Jim Williams, released a groundbreaking report that details multiple technically and economically feasible pathways to transition the United States off of fossil fuels.
We’ve known that the U.S. government needs to take bold action on climate to avoid irreversible catastrophic impacts. Now we have even more evidence that there are economically and technically achievable pathways to decarbonization.
This new report shows that it is feasible to stop using deadly fossil fuels and still fully power the U.S. economy. It provides detailed scenarios to place all sectors of the U.S. energy system on an emissions path consistent with returning global atmospheric CO2 to 350 ppm by 2100, which means global heating of 1 degree Celsius, not 2 degrees.
Evolved Energy Research energy experts Ben Haley, Ryan Jones, and Jim Williams co-authored the report.
The Juliana plaintiffs are asking the Court to order the federal government to develop and implement a science-based national plan that will place the U.S. on an emissions cutting pathway consistent with a 1 degree Celsius and 350 ppm CO2 target. The report illustrates that the remedy sought by the Juliana plaintiffs is undeniably feasible, that the scale and speed of emissions reductions being sought is entirely possible. The report also provides crucial analysis and insights for advocates of a Green New Deal.
➡️ Read the overview.
➡️ Read the executive summary.
➡️ Read the full report.
➡️ Read the press release.
Key findings of the report include:
It is entirely possible to transition the U.S. off of fossil fuels at a pace consistent with returning global atmospheric CO2 to 350 ppm by 2100.
Placing the U.S. energy system on a pathway to 350 ppm is affordable and would increase the total cost of the energy system in the U.S. by 2-3% of GDP. This level of cost increase is modest in comparison to recent (2005-2012) spikes in energy prices (see graph). Eliminating fossil fuel dependence will also eliminate the potential for economic disruption caused by volatile oil prices.
Rapidly falling prices for renewable energy technologies and conservative assumptions used in this research mean the transition off of fossil fuels may well cost less than the estimates found in this report.
Any further delay in beginning the transition will result in dramatically increasing costs. The U.S. must act now.
There are multiple technical strategies for achieving this scale and pace of reductions. Even if one of the strategies is not pursued, for example expanding nuclear power or increasing biomass use, the necessary emissions reductions can still be achieved.
Final research results provide detailed timelines for uptake of electric vehicle technology, electrification of buildings, build out of solar, wind, and other low carbon generation, and much more.
Achieving this level of decarbonization creates an increase in demand for electricity. Deep decarbonization relies on investments in energy efficient technologies, electrification of everything that is practical to electrify, generating electricity from renewable sources, and some measure of carbon capture for utilization and/or storage. Electrifying and integrating energy systems across all sectors is essential and requires systemic planning at the national level.
These research results will be submitted for peer review in 2019.