US Crackdown on CO2 Emissions Proposed

According to the EPA, the Clean Power Plan will trigger a drop in carbon pollution.

 

“New rules from the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signal a green shift in US policy,” The Economist claims (“The president calls for a greener America”).

According to the EPA, the Clean Power Plan will trigger a drop in carbon pollution from power stations by 870m tons by 2030, a 32% decline when measured against 2005 levels.

States will be able to decide for themselves how and when they cut their emissions but need to submit their plans by 2018 and start acting on them by 2022.

A new incentives program encourages states to turn to wind and solar power instead of simply swapping coal for gas. Pollution points will be awarded to states that in- crease energy efficiency and generate power from renewable sources.

These credits can then be used to o set emissions released at a later date. US power generated by renewables is projected to swell to 28% by 2030, up from 13% now.

Some think the standards show a puny level of ambition, given that the boom in natural gas from shale has already reduced emissions by 15% in the past decade. Coal groups and many Republicans reject the standards outright.

In any event, the EPA’s proposals suggest the US wishes to occupy a bigger role at the climate negotiations in Paris this December (The Economist). “The new rules are an important step forward but certainly not without their laws,” Michael Levi ex- plains (“Five takeaways on the EPA’s clean power plan” -Council on Foreign Relations-).

Here are the five takeaways:

1) Given legal and political realities, this is an impressive ‘save’ particularly on the International front: compliance with the rule has been delayed to 2022 but the emissions target for 2030 has been strengthened.

2) No one really knows whether the US will meet its 2020 target.

It is unlikely that all the states will fully utilize the incentive program.

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