Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Researchers at Portland State University claim the US could still meet its commitment to lower its carbon emissions agreed to in Paris if it replaced all its coal fired generating stations with a mix of renewables, natural gas, and biofuels by 2024.

Climate Change

Study Finds Dumping Coal Would Bring US In Line With Paris Climate Accord Goals

Researchers at Portland State University claim the US could still meet its commitment to lower its carbon emissions agreed to in Paris if it replaced all its coal fired generating stations with a mix of renewables, natural gas, and biofuels by 2024.

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

A study by the physics, economics, and system science departments at Portland State University claims the United States could meet its commitments to other nations agreed to in Paris in 2015 simply by eliminating coal as a source of electrical energy by 2024. The study appears in the March issue of the journal Applied Energy.


The US and China are responsible for about 40% of all global carbon emissions. Shutting down coal-fired generating stations, transitioning to electric vehicles, and using electricity more efficiently would have the greatest impact on those emissions from both countries the researchers say.

The authors claim the US could make up for the loss of its coal generating stations by building 12 new nuclear power facilities, but go on to say the nuclear option can be sidestepped by ramping up the use of renewables as well as natural gas and biofuel generating plants for very little extra investment. “Given the concerns and controversy surrounding nuclear power, this is significant,” said PSU Economics Professor Randall Bluffstone, one of the co-authors of the study. However, the authors overlook the fact that siting and permitting for a new nuclear power plant generally take about 12 years on average in the United States.

The researchers say eliminating coal as an energy source is the most significant step the US could take to meet its emissions target. but it would need to shift its energy strategy to one based on natural gas, efficiency, wind, solar power, and biofuels, with oil used predominately as a transportation fuel. “The declining costs of both natural gas and renewables is already displacing significant amounts of coal-fired generation,” Professor Bluffstone says.

According to Science Daily, John Anasis, the paper’s lead author, says the research shows a strong push towards energy efficiency and the adoption of electric vehicles would be one of the most cost effective strategies available for meeting the emissions targets the United States agreed to in the Paris accords.

Of course, in the toxic political environment in America at present, where the Environmental Protection Agency is headed by an avowed coal advocate, none of these suggestions have a snowball’s chance in hell of being put into practice. The only hope is that economic considerations take precedence over political rhetoric, something that actually seems to be happening in some areas as the cost of renewables continues to decline.

Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

EV Obsession Daily!

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it!! So, we've decided to completely nix paywalls here at CleanTechnica. But...
Like other media companies, we need reader support! If you support us, please chip in a bit monthly to help our team write, edit, and publish 15 cleantech stories a day!
Thank you!

Tesla Sales in 2023, 2024, and 2030

CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.
Written By

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."


You May Also Like

Cap And Trade

For projects expected to be built in 2030 in the EU, they have to account for the carbon dioxide and equivalent emissions at around...

Clean Power

Fish oil can help boost the efficiency of systems that combine excess heat recovery with solar cells.


The 13 grid storage technologies should be five, and that's why one of the biggest barriers to progress right now is confusion over the...

Clean Power

This new offshore floating wind turbine will conquer the Gulf of Maine, if all goes according to plan.

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.