What the EPA reduction plan looks like

Under President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposes a 30% reduction in carbon pollution from power plants by 2030. By any account this is a significant announcement. Inevitably with plans like this there is complex data behind the rationale. And the numbers are big.

A 30 percent reduction by 2030 amounts to about 730 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. Such a huge number can seem completely abstract to members of the public - so we wondered if we could show the actual volume of CO2 saved in a way that would be more meaningful for everyone.

The Plan puts our nation on track to cut carbon pollution from the power sector by 30 percent by 2030 - that’s about 730 million metric tons... 

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

It turns out that if you divide 730 million tons by the number of US households (132 million) you get almost 14,000 lbs. As 1lb bubbles of pure carbon dioxide, this would be a pile about 53 feet high. And what better place to illustrate this pile size than the White House, home to the most well-known US household.

We’re not saying this is the answer to the communication challenge. But we hope it helps the conversation.

Download images from Flickr here

EPA Fact Sheet here

Full EPA Proposal is here.

Household numbers from US Census Bureau here

It's important that people realize that the EPA plan relates to real ‘stuff’ – not just numbers.

Antony Turner CEO, Carbon Visuals