(3BL Media/Justmeans) - Even as the Supreme Court remains deadlocked over the future of the Clean Power Plan (CPP), the U.S. appears likely to achieve the CPP goals a full 14 years ahead of schedule. That’s according to a story by Daniel S. Cohan and Leah Y. Parks in The Hill. According to the authors, this early arrival will come courtesy of a combination of energy efficiency and alternative sources of energy.
Let’s take a look at the numbers. The CPP is looking for a 32% reduction in electric power generated emissions, relative to 2005, by 2030. As of 2015, emissions had already dropped by 15%. Although we don’t have numbers yet for 2015, we do know that coal use, by far the largest emissions source, dropped by another 12%. However, EIA has projected coal consumption to stabilize and increase slightly in 2017. The reason for this is unclear, but it’s worth noting that EIA has been fairly consistently wrong in their “long run projections.” At present, coal production is down 30% compared to the same period last year.
If the intent of the CPP executive order could be compared to a steady process of moving material from the top of a mountain to the bottom, in this case, moving from coal and other fossil fuels to cleaner sources, market forces have produced the equivalent of an avalanche.