Invisible Dust

London | Sunday 17 February
Pollution level: Moderate

Carbon emission to be reduced by 30%: Obama uses executive authority to tackle climate change


Coal pollution is the largest single source of carbon dioxide emissions that cause climate change.

Leading up to the mid-term elections in November, the Obama administration unveiled historic environmental rules cutting carbon pollution from power plants by 30% from where they were in 2005. Following failed attempts to deal with climate change through Congress, Obama decided last year to use his executive authority to cut carbon pollution. Welcomed by climate groups as a ‘momentous development’ , this is the first time the Obama administration, or any other president, has moved to regulate carbon pollution from power plants.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said the regulations  would “fight climate change while supplying America with reliable and affordable power”.

Unsurprisingly, lobby groups for the coal industry claim the regulations will hurt the economy and lead to America’s next energy crisis.

The EPA administrator, Gina McCarthy, hit back at criticism from industry and conservative groups who say that energy bills will skyrocket.

“Well, they’re wrong,” she said, according to McCarthy the new rules will result in pollution savings that amount to “double what every power plant in America generated in the way of pollution in 2012.” The result, she said, will be lower medical bills and fewer trips to the emergency rooms, especially for kids with asthma, the elderly and infirm.

The 30% national target will be tailored to each state, taking into account the available energy sources in each area, as well as the measures some states have already undertaken to cut carbon pollution.

The EPA rules will now undergo 120 days of public comment before they are finalised a year from now, and will not come into full force in all states until 2020.

If this significant step forward can survive the onslaught from business, conservative groups, and Republicans in Congress, these regulations could transform the landscape of America’s energy economy.


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