America Will Meet Its Emissions-Cutting Targets Regardless Of Trump's Actions


Robin Andrews

Science & Policy Writer

Wind and solar are in; coal is out. Johan Swanepoel/Shutterstock

Trump and his climate change-denying cronies are set to oversee the wholesale destruction of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) next year. Their prime objective is to ax Obama’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), a genuinely groundbreaking initiative designed to switch America over to low-carbon energy sources and reduce the country’s emissions output.

Due to action at the Supreme Court, the CPP isn’t actually active at the moment, so it has no legal basis and likely never will. However, as Politico notes, it’s already achieving its goals way ahead of schedule.


As it turns out, the energy industry has already seen the writing on the wall for increasingly expensive fossil fuels, and is investing in renewables at record pace. Already, the US has slashed its emissions by 27 percent compared to 2005.

This means that the CPP’s official target of reducing emissions to 32 percent of 2005 levels by 2030 is certain to be achieved years ahead of schedule.

A previous report found that the US was just going to miss its 2025 targets for slashing emissions. This new data, provided to Politico by the Sierra Club, suggests that it will in fact exceed these targets.

The increasingly lackluster industry interest in coal has led to a rapid nationwide shutdown in coal-fired power plants. Subtracting these plants’ emissions from models suggests that the CPP final emission goals have actually been reached 15 years early.


America is an independent nation, but it cannot escape global economic trends – and the worldwide trend away from coal is clear to see. With few exceptions, coal is being shunned, from Europe to Asia.


China currently makes up for around 50 percent of the world’s coal production, but even this influential country is keen to adhere to the pledges it made in the Paris agreement. In fact, coal use in China right now has stalled, and many hope that this may represent the peak before the decline.

Right now, China is engaging in a wind turbine installation fury, mostly thanks to how cheap it is to do so. Indeed, the cost-effectiveness of renewables has clearly filtered through to America.

Under Obama’s two terms in office, wind and solar power prices have dropped by two-thirds. Just last year, two-thirds of all new electricity generating capacity came from these two clean commodities. They will be as common in the near future as coal was 20 years ago.


At this rate, America will be completely coal-free by 2022, no matter what Trump tries to do to change that. Ironically, under his pro-coal administration, the US may join other nations like the UK and France in becoming completely without coal-fired power plants by the mid-2020s.

So even if the CPP is axed, it may already be too late.

[H/T: Politico]


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