Beyond renewables: How to reduce energy-related emissions by measuring what matters

| June 10, 2019

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Despite the uptick in renewable energy usage, global emissions have steadily increased. World Resources Institute’s John Woolard argues that commitments to 100% renewables will not alone curb the worst impacts of climate change. In the 27 years since the 1992 Rio Climate Summit, the use of renewable energy has increased dramatically and the efficiency of energy use and production has soared. Yet global carbon emissions continued to rise. What happened? Why has no progress been made in reducing carbon emissions despite huge improvements in efficiency and rapid growth in the use of renewable energy? What can be done to achieve meaningful reductions in energy-related emissions of the carbon dioxide heating the planet? To achieve the rapid emissions reductions needed to avert the worst effects of climate change, policy makers, market regulators, utility companies, corporate energy buyers and climate activists must focus relentlessly on driving down a simple metric: the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per unit of electricity.

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