Only two days old, the Clean Power Plan could possibly be the most ambitious and far-reaching environmental action ever taken by the U.S. The impressive new plan was announced by President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Monday, August 3, and is a momentous step forward in the fight against climate change.
The historic plan will work to cut emissions derived from power plants, approximating over 870 million tons of carbon pollution (32 percent below 2005 levels) to be eliminated by 2030 through ambitious but achievable standards for U.S. plants. Based upon data provided by the EPA, this reduction is estimated to be the equivalent of taking more than 166 million cars or 70% of the nation’s vehicles off the roads.
The new Clean Power Plan will curb the effects of climate change through reduced power plant emissions.
The federal plan was developed after over two years of research and over 4 million public comments on the proposal. Prior to its release, there were no national limits on carbon pollution from power plants despite the fact that they account for nearly one third of emissions in the country. The new rule will provide an unprecedented level of accountability and mutual goals to decrease pollutions, covering the 1,000 fossil fuel fired power plants currently in the U.S., or any plant that began construction on or before January 8, 2014.
The goals will be customizable, allowing for state-specific CO2 plans, taking into consideration varying energy needs. Each state will be required to submit their carbon goals plan by September 6, 2016, with 15 years to meet the goals by 2030, and a mandatory reduction to start in 2022.
The EPA is confident the plan will not only have a positive effect on climate change, but also positively benefit public health with the expected decrease in harmful air pollution. In the EPA’s “By the Numbers” fact sheet, they estimate that reducing exposure to pollutants will avoid:
- 1,500 to 3,600 premature deaths
- 90,000 asthma attacks in children
- Up to 1,700 heart attacks
- 1,700 hospital admissions
- 300,000 missed school and work days
To read the entire EPA rule, click here.
Finally, view a message from President Obama below discussing the new Clean Power Plan and how it will impact climate change: