Last week President Obama announced his Clean Power Plan, in what has been widely regarded as America’s strongest ever action on Climate Change. Here are the important bits…

Malek Murison

What is it?…

Issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Clean Power Plan sets limits on carbon emissions from America’s power plants. Burning fossil fuels to generate electricity is the single largest American contributor to greenhouse gases, and the flexible plan gives individual states the power to devise their own emission reduction timelines, with clean energy incentives encouraging action on carbon dioxide sooner rather than later.

The Aim…

The Clean Power Plan aims to cut carbon pollution from America’s power plants by 32% in the lead up to 2030. Enforceable carbon limits will kick in in 2022, giving energy companies and state governments plenty of time between now and then to work out how to achieve their targets in a cost effective way. The EPA’s aim is to sharply reduce carbon pollution and shift America’s electrical power system toward greener energy sources.

Why…

No matter what the Republicans might say Barack Obama, along with over 97% of Climate Change scientists, firmly believes the threat is real and man-made. America is second only to China in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, so to be seen leading the way on the issue is important, especially in the run up to the Climate Summit in Paris later this year. The EPA have also estimated that the plan will, through encouraging investment in green energy and reducing pollution related health problems, benefit the American economy by more than $30 billion come 2030.

Opposition…

Although the Clean Power Plan is overdue and little more than a step in the right direction, many in America view a 32% reduction in emissions by 2030 as a radically optimistic, especially in states such as Wyoming and Pennsylvania which rely heavily on the coal industry. There are likely to be legal challenges from both energy companies and state legislatures unhappy with the federal restrictions about to be placed on local industry. The plan is likely to add fuel to the fire of Republican Climate Change denial, as the only way to deal with the greatest threat to our generation is to do things that go directly against non-conservative values. Ring fencing the green energy industry and imposing strict regulations and taxes on fossil fuel companies are sure ways to agitate the right wing of American politics.

Paris 2015…

Obama’s Clean Power Plan lays down a marker for the UN Climate Change Summit in Paris later this year. If one of the world’s biggest polluters can get on board and set drastic emission reduction targets, there is great hope for a consensus on the next steps to be taken when delegations from all around the world meet in December.

Written by Malek Murison

Malek Murison is a freelance tech journalist working closely with clients in the drone industry.

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