Industry calls Cost of Reductions Prohibitive

In 1997, more than 2,500 economists, including six Nobel Laureates, said the U.S. could cut emissions -- up to 30 percent by some estimates -- simply through efficiency and conservation -- at a net gain in jobs and productivity to the U.S. economy.

In Clean Energy Blueprint:

The Union of Concerned Scientists, The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and the Tellus Institute found in 2001 that:

The United States can:

  • Meet at least 20 percent of its electricity needs by renewable energy sources -- wind, biomass, geothermal, and solar -- by 2020.
  • Save consumers a total of $440 billion by 2020, with annual savings reaching $105 billion per year or $350 for a typical family.
  • Reduce the use of natural gas by 31 percent and coal by nearly 60 percent compared to business-as-usual by 2020, and save more oil in 18 years than can be economically recovered from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in 60 years.
  • Simultaneously avoid the need for 975 new power plants (300 megawatts each), retire 180 old coal plants (500 MW each), retire 14 existing nuclear plants (1,000 MW each), and reduce the need for hundreds of thousands of miles of new gas pipelines and electricity transmission lines.
  • Reduce carbon dioxide emissions by two-thirds from business-as-usual by 2020, while also reducing harmful air emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides by more than 55 percent