The Obama Administration Formally Releases The U.S.’s Strongest Action Ever To Combat Climate Change
Undeniably, the climate is changing and human activity is causing it. Today, President Obama released a finalized version of the Clean Power Plan, a first-of-its-kind plan to cut carbon pollution from the nation’s power plants. The Clean Power Plan is the most ambitious action yet taken in the United States to slow global warming, and is a key part of the president’s strategy in the global fight against climate change. A draft version of the plan was released last summer and the final version responds to more than 4.3 million comments from states, utilities, communities, and more. Here are a few key things to know about the finalized rule:
- 40 percent: Carbon-dioxide pollution is the leading contributor to climate change and power plants produce the largest amount of carbon-dioxide emissions in the United States, making up about 40 percent of all carbon pollution in the country.
- 32 percent: Under the finalized version of the Clean Power Plan, states will be required to reduce carbon pollution by 32 percent from 2005 levels—a nine percent increase from the previous target.
- $93 billion: The projected benefits far outweigh the costs of implementing the plan. The Clean Power Plan will lead to climate and health benefits of up to $93 billion by 2030.
- $85: The average American family will see annual savings of $85 on their energy bill in 2030, and between 2020 and 2030 consumers will save a total of $155 billion.
- 3,600: By 2030, the reduction in power plant pollution will prevent up to 3,600 premature deaths a year.
- 870 million: When the Clean Power Plan is fully in place in 2030, there will be 870 million tons less carbon pollution—that is the equivalent of the annual emissions of more than 166 million cars, or 70 percent of cars in the country.
The EPA has the legal authority to regulate carbon pollution because of the danger it poses to public health and the environment. The finalized plan offers an opportunity for each state to take a leading role in how it meets carbon reduction and renewable energy targets. “We’ll reward states that take actions sooner, rather than later, because time is not on our side,” Obama said at a press conference earlier today.
Unsurprisingly, the rule has been met with much criticism from conservatives. Promises of non-compliance and lawsuits challenging the rule have been flowing consistently since the draft rule was released more than a year ago. One of the chief conservative complaints against the law is that it will raise energy prices and kill jobs—two things that just aren’t true: a recent report by Georgia Tech last week found that the Clean Energy Plan will lower energy bills, and several studies project a net increases of tens of thousands jobs across the country.
BOTTOM LINE: The Clean Power Plan is more than just an initiative. It is a responsibility. It is the path forward to a cleaner, safer, and healthier country and is the greatest action on climate change ever taken in American history.