In brief: the EPA’s emissions guideline equation

Under the Clean Power Plan, the EPA aims to reduce the carbon intensity of our nation’s electricity production on a state-by-state basis. To do this, the EPA calculated each state’s fossil fuel CO2 emissions from 2012 (the year with the most recent data available) and divided that number by the sum of the MWhs of electricity generated by fossil fuels, renewable energy (not including hydropower), nuclear power, and the savings of MWhs from energy efficiency measures. The resulting number is the EPA’s emission guideline for each state to achieve by 2030. CO2 emission equation (1)(1)On average, the EPA estimates that the CPP will cut emissions in the U.S. by 30% by the year 2030 (from 2005 levels). While a lot of the discussion about the CPP tends to focus on the particular numbers states must reach by 2030, keep in mind that the purpose is to decrease our country’s carbon dioxide emissions intensity output, not to cap our overall output. In fact, Bloomberg New Energy Finance found that Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, and Rhode Island’s absolute emissions output could even increase by 2030 while still complying with the CPP. Written by Maren Mahoney, EPIC