Environmental Protection Agency takes on climate change with new limits on carbon pollution

stevendamron, flickr

On Sept. 20,  the Obama Administration continued its efforts to combat climate change by proposing new standards that will limit dangerous carbon pollution from new power plants.

The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) new requirements were enacted to fight climate change from carbon pollution, and pave the way for clean energy technologies. The draft rule requires that all new power plants built in the U.S. limit their emissions to less than 1,100 pounds of carbon pollution per megawatt-hour. The rule is part of a comprehensive strategy to address climate change outlined by the president in June, 2013

When the EPA proposed its first draft of the standards last year, it received more than 3.2 million comments in favor of curbing carbon pollution from power plants—the most the agency has ever received on any issue in its history. A July survey conducted by Hart Research for NRDC found that 65 percent of Americans endorse setting limits on carbon pollution from power plants. This includes 49 percent of Republicans, 56 percent of independents, and 84 percent of Democrats.

Although the proposed rule won't immediately affect plants already operating, it is an important step towards limiting emissions from the existing power plant fleet, which accounts for a third of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

The following statement on today’s EPA announcement is from Chase Huntley, Government Relations Director for the energy program at The Wilderness Society.

“This is exciting news for our shared wild places. Forests, prairies and other natural areas are on the front lines of climate change. These areas will feel some of the first effects of drier summers, warmer winters and extreme weather. Our public lands are also the places that can provide refuge and help insulate communities from some of the worst effects of climate change.

We welcome this important step towards realizing the climate goals set forth in President Obama’s climate action plan. The plan is clear – we have to be smarter about how we power our nation and how we manage our public lands. Bringing more clean, renewable, energy sources online will help wean our dependence from these same climate change-causing fossil fuels. By guiding development to places with the least amount of conflict, we can simultaneously protect our irreplaceable wild lands, the very places that will help us absorb the impacts of climate change.

Administrator McCarthy’s leadership in doing what Congress has been unwilling or unable to do – taking steps to reign in carbon emissions- will have a positive impact on our country and its land, air and water for generations to come.”