Energy Efficiency

Donald Trump’s major overhaul of climate policy

New plan for coal emissions

United States President Donald Trump plans to unveil a proposal that would empower states to establish emission standards for coal-fired power plants rather than speeding their retirement, Energy Central informs.

It’s a major overhaul of the Obama Administration’s signature climate policy and one that could significantly increase the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s own impact analysis, which runs to nearly 300 pages, projects that the proposal would make only slight cuts to overall emissions of pollutants — including carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides — over the next decade. The Obama rule dwarfs those cuts by a factor of more than 12. The new proposal, which will be subject to a 60-day comment period, could have enormous implications for dozens of aging coal-fired power plants. EPA estimates the measure will affect more than 300 US plants, providing companies with an incentive to keep coal plants in operation rather than replacing them with cleaner natural gas or renewable energy projects.

By 2030, according to Administration officials, the proposal would cut CO2 emissions from 2005 levels by between 0.7 per cent and 1.5 per cent, compared with a business-as-usual approach. Those reductions are equivalent to taking anywhere from 2.7 million to 5.3 million cars off the road.

By comparison, the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan would have reduced carbon dioxide emissions by roughly 19 per cent during that same time frame. That is equivalent to taking 75 million cars out of circulation and preventing more than 365 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.

Under the EPA’s new plan, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides that help form smog would be cut between 1 per cent and 2 per cent by 2030 compared to 2005 levels. Under Barack Obama, the agency projected its policy would reduce those pollutants by 24 per cent and 22 per cent, respectively, by the end of the next decade.

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