June 2, 2014

U.S. Already Has Achieved Half of EPA-Mandated Carbon Reductions

Statement of Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen

Here’s the one thing Americans need to know to put in perspective the hysterical, trumped-up industry-backed attacks on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) carbon emissions rule:

The United States is already halfway to achieving the rule’s proposed 30 percent reduction in carbon emissions. According to U.S. Energy Information Administration data, carbon emissions from the energy sector have fallen from 2,417 million metric tons in 2005 to 2,053 in 2013.

This reduction was achieved without a federal standard and with none of the apocalyptic effects predicted today by industry spokespeople and industry-affiliated spokespeople. While the economy did shrink in 2009 because of the Wall Street-induced Great Recession, it is far larger now than it was in 2005.

The fact that the United States already has achieved half of the carbon reduction that the EPA mandates be achieved by 2030 shows how easily this threshold can be met, and how modest is the EPA standard.

If our policy debates were guided by science and evidence, rather than Big Money and partisan positioning, the noisy criticism of the EPA rule would come not from those bemoaning a tyrannical mandate, but those demanding much more aggressive action.

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See statements from Public Citizen experts on the EPA's proposed rule.

Read a coalition release on the proposed rule.