Clean Energy is Cutting Carbon, But North Carolina Could Do More

Media Contacts
Graham Givens

Environment North Carolina Research and Policy Center

Raleigh, NC – North Carolina is emerging as a leader in solar energy, but it still lags far behind other states when it comes to cutting carbon pollution, the leading cause of global warming. According to an new Environment North Carolina Research and Policy Center report, “Moving America Forward”, North Carolina’s 2007 renewable energy law and federal energy efficiency laws have allowed the state to reduce as many carbon emissions as taking 562,500 cars off the road each year. 

“By using energy more efficiently, and by generating more power from clean, renewable sources, we could dramatically reduce the carbon pollution that is fueling climate change,” said Graham Givens, clean energy associate with Environment North Carolina. “North Carolina has done a lot to promote solar power, but given our history of innovation, we can do even more.”

Environment North Carolina pointed to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) plan to move forward with limits on carbon pollution from power plants as the next step to fight climate change and shift to clean energy. Right now EPA limits arsenic, lead, soot and other pollution from power plants—but not carbon pollution. Power plants are America’s largest source of the pollution fueling climate change, accounting for about 40 percent of total emissions.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Federal energy efficiency policies have helped avoid as much carbon pollution as 304,167 cars produce in a year.
  • Renewable electricity standard that has helped North Carolina develop renewable energy throughout the state have only offset as much carbon pollution as 14,583 cars produce in a year.

Givens pointed to opposition from power companies, the coal industry, and other big polluters as a roadblock to action. Already, groups from the American Petroleum Institute to the National Mining Association have launched campaigns to block or undermine federal carbon limits.

“With enough willpower, North Carolina can rise to any challenge. We’ve seen that climate solutions work – now it’s time for us to implement those solutions,” Givens concluded. “Our leaders can start by supporting the EPA’s plan to limit carbon pollution from power plants.”


Environment North Carolina Research & Policy Center is a statewide, research and public education organization, working to protect the places we love and the values we share.