This report describes the economic and policy implications of deep decarbonization in the United States. “Deep decarbonization” refers to the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over time to a level consistent with limiting global warming to 2°C or less, based on the scientific consensus that higher levels of warming pose an unacceptable risk of dangerous climate change (IPCC, 2013). The analysis builds on results from an earlier report, Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States (DDPP, 2014), conducted by Energy and Environmental Economics (E3) in collaboration with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) for the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP), an international consortium of research teams studying pathways to deep decarbonization in sixteen of the world’s highest-emitting countries.

The 2014 report assessed the technical feasibility and cost of different technology options for reducing net U.S. GHG emissions (CO2e) 80% below the 1990 level by the year 2050, the long-term target set by the U.S. government (USG, 2009). While evaluating reductions in all types of GHG emissions, the main focus of the analysis was on the deep decarbonization of the U.S. energy system, defined as reducing CO2 from fossil fuel combustion to 1.7 metric tons per capita in 2050, an order of magnitude below recent U.S. levels.

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Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP)