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Carbon EmissionsOn Monday, June 2, President Barack Obama announced a new EPA regulation that requires existing power plants to cut their carbon emissions by 30 percent.

After a divided Congress failed to reform energy policies in Obama’s first term, the President is now using his executive authority to do it himself. Utilizing the 1970 Clean Air Act, previously enacted to regulate toxic gases like soot, mercury and lead, Obama is demanding that carbon dioxide be added to the pantheon of toxins that contribute to global warming.

This is a landmark moment in American environmental policy and is already stirring controversy. If it becomes law, the EPA rule will affect the country’s 600 coal-fired power plants currently in operation and may cause several to close. Scott Segal, a lawyer with the firm Bracewell & Giuliani, is preparing to sue on behalf of coal companies. In an email to the New York Times, Segal wrote, “Clearly, [the rule] is designed to materially damage the ability of conventional energy sources to provide reliable and affordable power, which in turn can inflict serious damage on everything from household budgets to industrial jobs.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is equally apprehensive about the rule, stating that it could lower the GDP by $50 billion annually and cut 224,000 jobs every year through 2030.

Under the EPA rule, states will have until 2017 to submit plans to cut their power plant pollution. This deadline is extended to 2018 for states that join together to create collective plans. To ease the transition, the rule will also allow for states to set up pollution-trading markets.

Though ambitious, the rule promises a rocky road in the months ahead. Forty percent of the United States’ electricity is currently generated from coal. But this plan intends to set the country on track to meet the 2009 United Nations’ greenhouse gas accord, for which the President pledged to cut greenhouse gas pollution 17 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050.

Planet Experts will have more details on this story as it develops throughout the days ahead.

The full 645 page EPA rule can be read here.

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12 Responses

  1. […] makeover. Climatologist David Hastings also pointed out that because the state will be mandated to cut 38 percent of its carbon dioxide emissions by 2030, incentivizing renewable energy now will make the transition much […]

  2. […] Past documents leaked to the Center “underlined the [fossil fuel] industry’s urgent need to mobilize state public officials, including legislators, attorneys general, environmental and public utility commissioners, and energy officials in many states” to come out against the EPA’s new carbon emission standards. […]

  3. […] politicians believe to be true is a serious obstacle to global climate change reform. To propose a 30 percent cut in carbon emissions, President Obama had to bypass Congress with his executive authority. Republicans hated him for it, […]

  4. […] governors sent a letter to President Obama voicing their concern over the EPA’s new plan to reduce carbon emissions: Namely, that it is […]

  5. […] This doesn’t quite jibe with Robert Murray’s opinion that the Earth has cooled over the last 17 years, but perhaps it may change his mind. Murray is the CEO of Murray Energy, America’s largest privately-owned coal company, and is currently suing the EPA over its recent proposal to cut national carbon emissions by 30 percent. […]

  6. […] Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency are “science deniers” because they want to impose restrictions on carbon emissions without considering how bad for business that will be for “job-creating” businesses that […]

  7. […] was convened to discuss President Obama’s climate action plan, including the EPA’s proposal to reduce carbon emissions in the U.S. by 30 percent. Even if past hearings hadn’t devolved into Republicans mocking Holdren and the […]

  8. […] and energy efficiency standards, and has joined 11 other states to sue the EPA over its proposal to reduce national carbon emissions by […]

  9. […] to sidestep his intractable Congress by using his executive authority to propose a nationwide 30 percent reduction in carbon emissions. Republicans lashed out at Obama en masse, with Senator Minority Leader Mitch […]

  10. […] June, President Barack Obama proposed a landmark cut in carbon emissions and, despite experts saying that the reduction doesn’t go far enough, Republicans castigated the […]

  11. […] Christine Shearer, in reference to the agency’s proposed regulation to cut carbon emissions 30 percent by 2030. “But we do think that our study does have some caution for what they’re […]

  12. […] their power to try and make progress in cutting carbon emissions here in the U.S. – the new coal-fired power plant standards that the EPA passed, new fuel efficiency standards. So the U.S. can go into these negotiations with […]

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