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Meeting the emission reduction goals of states within the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) will yield billions of dollars in savings and tens of thousands of new jobs each year for over a decade, according to a Synapse study released today. A more stringent RGGI cap, complemented by individual state renewable resource and efficiency standards, will help states achieve their climate goals, which cluster around a 40 percent reduction from 1990 emissions levels by 2030.

As state agencies and other stakeholders begin to explore options for compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, critical questions are emerging regarding the costs of compliance to consumers and the role of energy efficiency in reducing both emissions and bills. Synapse modeled various compliance options to determine how big an impact strong energy efficiency policies can have on the achievability and affordability of Clean Power Plan compliance.

Energy efficiency is widely recognized as an abundant and low-cost option for complying with the requirements of EPA’s Clean Power Plan. However, not all electric customers have equal access to customer-funded efficiency programs. Concerns about fairness between customers—those who participate in programs and see greater benefits than those who do not—create a barrier to widespread implementation of energy efficiency programs.

Among those attending side events at the Paris climate talks, there was general confidence that the negotiations would result in a signed climate agreement. Rather than ruminating on a worst-case scenario—one where world leaders leave the event without a plan to combat climate change—participants of the side events focused on making sure that what we get will be a “FAB deal”: fair, ambitious, and binding. Indeed, the feeling among parties outside the negotiations was largely that the general shape of the deal is known and therefore the time for debates is over and the time for serious climate action has arrived.

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission denied last week the application of Oklahoma Gas and Electric (OG&E) to spend $1.1 billion on new capital projects—primarily coal plant retrofits to comply with federal environmental standards. The Commission’s decision casts the future of the 1,100 megawatt Sooner Generating Station into doubt.

Vulnerable communities such as low-income communities and communities of color are disproportionately affected by the health and climate impacts caused by power plant emissions. To comply with EPA’s Clean Power Plan, states must engage these communities during plan development and analyze opportunities to counteract these effects.

A handbook released today walks state consumer advocates through EPA’s Clean Power Plan, a complex rulemaking made all the more difficult to unpack due to the degree of flexibility provided to states. Effective participation of consumer advocates in the compliance process is essential to protect the interests of ratepayers.

Yes, it does. Unfortunately, some confusion persists about how energy efficiency measures can be applied to mass-based compliance within the Clean Power Plan. Fortunately, the answer can be summarized in two sentences: (1) In any situation, energy efficiency is a cost-effective way to reduce demand for electricity, both reducing emissions and helping to avoid or defer other mass-based compliance actions. (2) States can take action to develop customized plans to further encourage energy efficiency as a means for meeting mass-based compliance.

At the beginning of this month, the EPA set a new national standard for ozone, nudging the maximum allowable concentration down from 75 to 70 parts per billion (ppb). Industry backlash to the ozone standard continues a long tradition of opposing regulation on the grounds that it is too expensive, despite almost 20 years of rebuttal that shows that estimated costs of federal regulations are overblown.

A strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050 would create hundreds of thousands of new jobs in addition to reducing the total costs of energy services and stabilizing the climate, according to new analysis released today.

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