US seeks to cut power plant carbon by 30 p.c

Updated - December 04, 2021 11:37 pm IST

Published - June 03, 2014 12:53 am IST - WASHINGTON

The Obama administration unveiled a plan on Monday to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by nearly a third over the next 15 years, in a sweeping initiative to curb pollutants blamed for global warming.

Under the plan, expected to be finalised next year, carbon emissions would be reduced 30 per cent by 2030, compared to 2005 levels. It is a centerpiece of Obama’s plans to tackle climate change and aims to give the United States more leverage to prod other countries to act when negotiations on a new international treaty resume next year.

But the proposal sets off a complex regulatory process, steeped in politics, in which the 50 states will each determine how to meet customized targets set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The policy change, which will further diminish the role of coal in U.S. electrical production, carries significant political and legal risks.

The plan relies heavily on governors agreeing to develop plans to meet the federal standard. If Republican governors refuse to go along, the EPA can create its own plan for a state.

Many states that rely heavily on coal will be spared from cutting a full 30 percent. West Virginia, for example, must cut 23 percent by 2030 compared to what the state was emitting in 2012. On the other extreme, New York has a 44 percent target, EPA figures show.

“This is not just about disappearing polar bears or melting ice caps,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “This is about protecting our health and our homes. This is about protecting local economies and jobs.”

Initially, Obama wanted each state to submit their plans by June 2016. But the draft proposal shows states could have until 2017 and 2018, if they join with other states to tackle the problem.

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