On June 2, 2014, The Environmental Protection Agency unveiled new rules that are said to be the centerpiece of President Obama’s climate action plan. Could it be that Washington is taking climate change seriously? It seems that just might be the case but it won’t happen without a fight.
The new rules represent the first time Barack Obama, or any other president, has moved to regulate carbon pollution from power plants – the largest single source of carbon dioxide emissions that cause climate change. The new EPA rule bypasses Congress, relying on Obama’s executive authority and supreme court decisions, to propose new rules under the Clean Air Act.
“Today, climate change-fueled by carbon pollution-supercharges risks not just to our health-but to our communities, our economy, and our way of life,” EPA Chief Gina McCarthy said. “That’s why EPA is delivering on a vital piece of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.” You can read McCarthy’s full speech here.
As stated by the EPA Fact Sheet:
- That 30% reduction is equal to the annual emissions from more than 150 million cars or almost 2/3s of the United States passenger vehicles.
- The Clean Power Plan will reduce pollutants that contribute to the soot and smog that make people sick by over 25 percent in 2030.
- The Clean Power Plan has public health and climate benefits worth an estimated $55 billion to $93 billion per year in 2030, far outweighing the costs of $7.3 billion to $8.8 billion.
The following is a statement by Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council:
“The EPA’s proposal to limit carbon pollution from power plants for the first time ever is a giant leap forward in protecting the health of all Americans and future generations. It sets fair targets for each state and empowers the states with the flexibility to craft the best local solutions, using an array of compliance tools. And if states embrace the huge energy efficiency opportunities, consumers will save on their electric bills and see hundreds of thousands of jobs created across the country. EPA now begins seeking comment on the range of carbon reductions that can be achieved.
As it finalizes the carbon pollution standards in the year ahead, we will work for the strongest, most ambitious standards possible to ensure that President Obama’s carbon reduction goals are met. Strong carbon pollution standards will be good for our health, good for our economy and good for our children and all future generations.”
Naturally, we have lobbies and industry already up in arms to fight these new rules. Historically, they have been able to dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into the air. As said by President Obama, “It’s not smart, it’s not safe, and it doesn’t make sense.” Coal-mining companies, some power companies and Republican state officials have accused the EPA of overstepping its authority, and will be studying the bill closely for possible legal challenges.
The fact that anyone would fight for the continuation of such foolishness demonstrates how flawed our socio-economic system is. Being more concerned about jobs and money than the very well-being or existence of man is short-sighted. According to a new study released by Stuart Pimm of Duke University and team, species are now disappearing at a rate of up to 1,000 times faster than they did before humans started walking the earth. “The Biodiversity of Species and their Rates of Extinction, Distribution, and Protection” was published Thursday in the journal Science, and it warned that the world is on the brink of its sixth great extinction.
This decision by the EPA is a step in the right direction when looking at the big picture.
Watch this video about the new EPA announcement