WASHINGON—U.S. President Barack Obama has unveiled what he called the “single most important step American has ever taken in the fight against global climate change.”
The U.S.’s Clean Power Plan establishes the first-ever national standards to limit carbon pollution from power plants, and takes into account a wide range of input solicited by the Environment Protection Agency. The plan’s central goal is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions at power plants by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.
“Over the past six and a half years, we’ve taken on some of the toughest challenges of our time… but I’m convinced that no challenge poses a greater threat for our future – for future generations – than a changing climate,” Obama said in an Aug. 3 press conference.
The administration noted the Clean Power Plan significantly reduces carbon pollution from the electric power sector while advancing clean energy innovation, development, and deployment. The White house said it ensures the U.S. will stay on a path of long-term clean energy investments that will maintain the reliability of our electric grid, promote affordable and clean energy for all Americans, and continue United States leadership on climate action.
Obama noted “there is such a thing as being too late when it comes to climate change,” and said his administration has taken on the challenge for future generations.
Among its benefits, the administration said the plan will provide a significant boost to public health, reducing premature deaths from power plant emissions by nearly 90 percent in 2030 compared to 2005, and decrease the pollutants that contribute to the soot and smog and can lead to more asthma attacks in kids by more than 70 percent. The plan is also expected to drive investment in clean energy technologies and continue to drive down the cost of renewable power.
The EPA’s plan will provide flexibility for states in regards to how they meet the new standards and offer incentives for early-adopters.
With the 32 per cent carbon dioxide reduction target, the plan puts coal power plants – which currently power more than one-third of the U.S. – in the cross hairs.