More of a call to arms than a standard report; NRDC has thrown down the gauntlet and declared war on climate change inaction and lethargy. And it does so with an achievable action plan laid out in its America’s Clean Energy Frontier: The Pathway to Safer Climate Future. While other reports have reached the same conclusion that its feasible for the U.S. to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050, what makes the NRDC’s “80 by 50“ report groundbreaking is the path it developed to get there. Specifically, the NRDC uses “more aggressive—but achievable—assumptions on the potential to scale up energy efficiency, renewable energy, and clean electrification, with a more robust technical analysis incorporating grid reliability impacts.” This also allows them to maximize the co-benefits of energy efficiency like “consumer bill reduction, reduced stress on the electricity grid, reduced air and water pollution, and fewer land use impacts.”
By emphasizing “bold, strategic investment in energy efficiency, renewable energy, clean vehicles, and a stronger electricity grid” rather than relying on the costlier and riskier technologies such as new nuclear energy, biomass and natural gas, NRDC shares a vision of how to do better using the tools at hand. If that isn’t convincing enough, the scenario modeled even costs $30 billion less in 2050 than a no-action scenario. It is hard not to agree with Roland Hwang, director of NRDC’s Energy and Transportation program, who says, “The world is telling us in every way possible that it’s time to cut the fossil fuel pollution driving climate change and threatening our future. We have the solutions in hand, as NRDC’s report shows.” We just can’t fail to act. Join the clean energy revolution. For those wondering how to get to scale, efficiency-as-a-service provides a launching pad.