25x’25: Clean Energy for America’s Future
By embracing the 25x’25 Vision – meeting 25 percent of the nation’s energy needs with renewable resources from our farms, ranches and forestlands by 2025 Americans can enjoy the benefits of cleaner air to breathe and healthier water to drink. Parents can be better assured that their children will grow up healthy and unimpaired by local pollution. And sportsmen can hunt and fish in undisturbed land.
Achieving the 25x’25 goal will benefit the environment and human health in diverse and significant ways. By avoiding the pollution that fossil fuels create when burned for electricity generation and transportation, we reduce the risks associated with greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), ozone and the elements that create acid rain. Renewable energy sources are much cleaner and using more wind energy, solar power and biomass to generate electricity reduces harmful air pollutants from power plants, like carbon dioxide, mercury, soot and smog. Using renewable energy protects natural areas from mining and oil drilling and reduces water pollution. It is good for our air, our water, and our health:
- Renewable energy reduces or eliminates carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to climate change:
A lifecycle analysis done by researchers at the Argonne National Laboratory and published in 2013 in the journal Environmental Research Letters, found that corn ethanol produced between 2008 and 2012 reduced GHG emissions by an average of 34 percent compared to gasoline, including hypothetical indirect land use change (ILUC) emissions. Cellulosic ethanol made from crop residues and other non-food crops has been shown to reduce greenhouse gases by 85 percent.
Biodiesel is designated by EPA as an “advanced” biofuel because it produces at least 50 percent fewer GHGs than oil-based diesel.
Wind, solar, and hydroelectric electricity generation facilities do not produce any greenhouse gases. Geothermal facilities produce very small greenhouse gas emissions when compared to fossil fuel powered facilities.
- Renewable energy improves air quality:
Replacing oil with renewable biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel can reduce pollutants such as carbon monoxide, particulate matter, and toxic emissions. Biofuels greatly reduce toxic air pollutants and eliminate sulfur emissions, which contribute to acid rain. Removing these pollutants from the air reduces respiratory disease and smog.
Fossil fuel electricity generation facilities that use coal and natural gas produce emissions such as sulfur and nitrogen oxides that cause acid rain, and toxic emissions like mercury that compromise child development and threaten public health. Renewable electricity generation facilities are free of these emissions.
- Harvesting energy from America’s working lands is more sustainable than drilling or mining fossil fuels.
Drilling and transporting oil has many landscape and land use impacts. Drilling sites are often in sensitive environmental areas, pipelines divide habitat and ecosystems, and tankers and storage facilities raise the risk of spills that pollute coastlines and groundwater. In contrast, growing biofuels can increase wildlife habitat and be done sustainably by using native plants, existing crops, and agricultural and forestry waste. Additionally, ethanol is biodegradable, eliminating the danger of spills and storage facility leakage.
Renewable electricity sources can enhance the value of America’s working lands, whereas fossil fuel extraction typically has significant adverse impacts on the land. Wind turbines provide additional and diversified income to land owners without disturbing ongoing agricultural or forestry operations, and solar facilities are typically installed on existing buildings.
To find out more about renewable energy resources, please visit our Why Renewables page.