Monday, March 14, 2016

Clean Energy Is Win-Win for the US

Simply implementing its Paris climate conference commitments on reducing greenhouse gas emissions could save the US billions of dollars – and save hundreds of thousands of lives.

Figure 1: Radiative forcing due to clean energy and clean transportation. Values are shown for 2030 for the energy (left column) and transportation (right column) policy scenarios relative to the baseline for aerosols (top two rows) and net forcing in 2030 and 2050 (bottom two rows) based on the model version (Credit: Click to Enlarge.
Scientists have worked out how the US could save as many as 300,000 lives by 2030, and get a tenfold return on its investments at the same time.

It’s simple.  All the nation has to do is what it promised to do at the Paris climate conference last December − launch clean energy and transport policies, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two-thirds or more, and pursue the international goal of keeping global warming to below 2°C.

Drew Shindell, professor of climate sciences at Duke University, North Carolina, and colleagues report in Nature Climate Change that the climate policies agreed by 195 nations at the latest UN summit on climate change deliver a winning scenario for the most powerful nation on Earth.

If the US pursued the switch to electric cars and renewable energy, hundreds of thousands of premature deaths could be prevented − not just by containing global warming and limiting the extent of climate change, but by the consequent reduction in soot, aerosols and ozone, all of which are pollutants with consequences for health.

Implementation costs
And although such policies would cost considerable sums to implement, the money saved in the long run would exceed expenditure by between fivefold and tenfold. Even in the short term, benefits of up to $250 billion a year are likely to exceed implementation costs.

“Achieving the benefits, however, would require both larger and broader emissions reductions than those in current legislation or regulations,” the scientists warn.

Read more at Clean Energy Is Win-Win for the US

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