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Lower EPA fuel efficiency standards threaten U.S. energy dominance

traffic jam on highway outside Chicago
Chicago traffic. Photo: Patrick Gorski / NurPhoto via Getty Images

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has issued a draft plan to weaken greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy standards for automobiles. If approved by President Trump, the policy will create a conflict with California and the 12 states that follow its rules. They will likely keep the current tighter standards on the books while other states opt to follow the new, weaker rules.

Why it matters: The fuel economy standards for automobiles were a key pillar in the U.S. pledge to reduce greenhouse gases to 26–28% of 2005 levels by 2025 under the Paris Agreement. They would provide carbon savings equivalent to 272 million tons of CO2.

Ben Geman 14 hours ago
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U.S. and 8 other countries form new coalition to push nuclear power

Photo: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. is heading a newly formed alliance with several other nations that will "promote nuclear power and encourage investment in new nuclear technologies," Reuters reported Thursday.

Why it matters: The announcement at an energy summit in Denmark comes as nuclear power faces headwinds in the U.S. and elsewhere, despite the need for zero-carbon electricity sources to help meet challenging international climate goals.

Ben Geman 17 hours ago
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The economic case for CO2 cuts that aren't happening

Smoke rises from stacks
Power plants in Klitten, Germany. Photo: Florian Gaertner/Photothek via Getty Images

The economic rationale for deeply decarbonizing the global economy is getting stronger even as evidence mounts that the worldwide energy system is nowhere near on pace to make that happen. Axios' Andrew Freedman reports on a new, peer-reviewed paper, which shows that meeting the more stringent global temperature targets in the Paris climate deal would save countries trillions of dollars in economic output, outweighing the costs of reducing emissions.

But, but, but: The same day that paper came out, the International Energy Agency released its latest data on global growth of low-carbon energy technology deployment. While IEA sees progress, they said that just four of 38 energy technologies and sectors they track are on pace to create a pathway that achieves a temperature rise of well below 2°C.