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Achieving Low-Carbon Electricity

Electricity is responsible for about 30 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

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Electricity is responsible for about 30 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Currently coal fuels nearly 50 percent of U.S. power generation, while natural gas and nuclear account for about 20 percent each, with non-hydro renewables hovering around 3 percent. Coal-fired power plants and motor vehicles are the two largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions. New nuclear power plants are simply too expensive and slow to build, and they consume too much water in operation to provide much of a solution to greenhouse gas pollution.

In the electricity sector, natural gas is already cheap, available, and ready to meet the nation’s power needs while improving climate security. It emits about half the carbon dioxide and far fewer of the heavy metals associated with coal, which has traditionally been relied upon for base power. And gas is even more appealing for peak-power needs because it can be turned on and off easily and immediately.

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