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State-by-state energy-water-land-health impacts of the US net-zero emissions goal

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wind turbines, land, and water, sunset

Ou, Y., Iyer, G., McJeon, H., Cui, R., Zhao, A., O'Keefe, K. T., Zhao, M., Qiu, Y., & Loughlin, D. H. (2023). State-by-state energy-water-land-health impacts of the US net-zero emissions goal. Energy and Climate Change4, 100117.


As decision-makers at various scales begin to design strategies to implement the US net-zero goal, a holistic understanding of its broader economic and sustainability implications at subnational scales is important to shape public support and facilitate implementation. Here, we use an integrated assessment model to explore four different pathways toward the US net-zero goal and investigate their energy-water-land-health implications at the state level. We show that achieving the net-zero goal implies significant capital turnover (170–200 billion USD/year capital investment and 16–29 billion USD/year stranded assets in the power sector), reduced water withdrawal (120–210 km3/year), avoided air pollution damages (220–300 billion USD/year), and expanded forests (300–500 thousand km2). However, the economic and sustainability implications of achieving the net-zero goal at the state-level may not be correlated to a state's contribution to national emission reductions. Our study lays the foundations for a deeper understanding of the broader implications of the US net-zero goal to facilitate cost-effective and environmentally sustainable transitions toward that goal.

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