Clean Energy Standard for Industry: Scoping Analysis

Electrification, hydrogen, enhanced efficiency, and other technological innovations are essential for long term greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions in the industrial sector (Rissman, et. al. 2020). At the same time, greater use of existing technologies already in place in some facilities can yield near-term emissions reductions and help achieve climate objectives. In 2018, the US industrial sector accounted for about one-fourth of total net GHG emissions, including direct combustion of fossil fuels as heat sources or feedstock, electricity use, and the release of non-CO₂ gases via various industrial processes. Within the industrial sector, iron and steel, cement, and petrochemicals are among the largest emitters. Although the electric power and transportation sectors have been the focus of multiple climate policies, the industrial sector has seen relatively little policy action to reduce emissions, particularly at the federal level. Near-term policy options to reduce emissions do exist, however. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could establish clean energy standards for industry under the Clean Air Act (CAA) to bring up the laggards via use of existing technologies; additionally, the US Congress could mandate new emissions standards, as it did in 1990 when it amended the Clean Air Act to more tightly restrict certain air pollutants.