New research by an OARDC scientist and a former Ohio State University graduate student finds that state-level implementation of renewable portfolio standards (RPSs) in the U.S. reduced national carbon emissions by 4 percent in 2010, with more substantial reductions expected in the future.
RPSs are directives from state legislatures that require a state to produce more of its energy from renewable sources, such as wind or solar energy.
The study, released in April as a discussion paper by Washington, D.C.-based Resources for the Future, is the first to look at the link between RPSs and carbon intensity — measured in carbon emissions per dollar of gross state product — and energy prices. Carbon intensity reflects an economy’s reliance on carbon-based energy, taking into consideration the types of energy used, overall efficiency and economic output.
“These results are really important for states like Ohio. The law has helped reduce our state-level carbon emissions.”—Samantha Sekar
‘Significant’ cuts already, even more possible
- The authors of the study were Samantha Sekar, who holds master’s degrees from Ohio State in agricultural economics and environmental science and is a research assistant with Resources for the Future; and Brent Sohngen, professor of environmental and resource economics in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics and director of Ohio State’s Environmental Policy Initiative.
- Sekar and Sohngen said the 4 percent nationwide emissions reduction figure is significant, especially considering that not all U.S. states have adopted RPSs and those that have are only in their initial years of implementation.
- To contact the researchers: Brent Sohngen at firstname.lastname@example.org; Samantha Sekar at email@example.com.