Interactive: Meeting Obama’s 2035 Clean Energy Goals

In order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve America's energy security, President Obama has laid out a goal for the U.S. to generate 80 percent of its electricity from “clean” energy sources by 2035. To replace coal, which is currently the dominant source of electricity, we would need to rely on other energy sources. By Obama's definition, “clean” energy options include burning natural gas and combining carbon capture and sequestration with current coal-burning operations (but recent research shows that burning natural gas may not reduce greenhouse gas emissions as much as previously thought, compared to burning coal). 

This interactive graphic shows how much of any one resource the U.S. would require in order to meet the 80 percent clean energy goal, if we were to rely on only one clean energy technology. The graphic demonstrates how difficult it would be to meet the 80 percent goal by expanding the use of only one clean energy source, and points to the need to pursue a portfolio of clean energy sources.

This graphic does not indorse any particular energy source over others, but is instead only intended to illustrate how substantial the contribution from any of these would be to replace traditional coal power.