Thursday, November 21, 2019

Administration’s Clean Power Plan Goes Further Than Expected on Climate Change

Obama EPA Announcement

The Obama Administration has unveiled what is to date the most aggressive measures yet by the United States government to tackle the issue of climate change, and goes further than what was first anticipated when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation was previewed last year.

The Clean Power Plan sets emissions caps on a state-by-state basis and is slated to save approximately $45 billion annually thanks in part to the reduced energy consumption that the rule will bring about in addition to the negative affect it will have on air quality related illnesses and hospital visits including asthma. What’s more, the new EPA rule is projected to bring down emissions by 30 percent by the year 2030 which represents a 2 percent increase in the initial target figure released last year by the administration. To accommodate the change in targets, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy noted that companies affected by the rule will have an additional 2 years to implement these emissions cutting practices. McCarthy also commented that “the accelerating trend toward clean power, and the growing success of energy efficiency efforts, mean carbon emissions are already going down, and the pace is picking up.”

McCarthy noted that the EPA estimates that the Clean Power Plan will cut an estimated $85 per year from the average American’s utility bill. Also outlined in the new rule are regional cap-and-trade programs that allow companies to cross state lines to reduce their carbon footprint.

Critics, namely fossil fuels groups and some Congressional Republicans, have asserted that the new regulations will have a negative impact on reliability for the nation’s energy sector due to the fact that the rule heavily impacts the coal industry above all else, from which 37 percent of the nation’s energy supply originates but is responsible for approximately 77 percent of emissions according to the EPA and the Energy Information Administration.

McCarthy, responding to those critics and those in the business community waved off suggestions that new environmental rules would be detrimental to economic growth saying, “a safe environment is the foundation of a strong economy.”

 

U.S. News & World Report