Posts tagged “climate legislation”
EPA’s Proposed “Clean Power Plan” Would Require 50 State Plans
Last week the US Environmental Protection Agency released for comment its proposal for regulating the CO2 emissions from existing power plants. It follows EPA’s emissions rule for new power plants published late last year but takes a different, more expansive approach. If implemented, the “Clean Power Plan” would reduce US emissions in the utility sector by around 25% by 2020 and 30% by 2030.
One of its most surprising features is that instead of setting emissions standards for each type of power plant or mandating a single, across-the-board emissions-reduction percentage, it imposes distinct emissions targets on each state. Based on analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, some states could actually increase emissions, while others are required to make deep cuts. The resulting disparities have apparently triggered new interest in state and regional emissions trading as a means of managing the rule’s cost.
Trading Emissions Is Hardly A New Idea
Although emissions trading has become more controversial in recent years, it proved its worth in holding down the cost of implementing previous environmental regulations, such as the effort to reduce sulfur pollution associated with acid rain. It works by enabling facilities or companies with lower-than-average abatement costs to profit from maximizing their reductions and then selling their excess reductions to others with higher costs. The desired overall reductions are thus achieved at a lower cost to the economy than if each company or facility were required to reduce its emissions by the same amount. CONTINUE»
Bringing together climate policy and innovation to form a cohesive carbon tax proposal reframes U.S. climate advocates’ near-myopic focus on carbon pricing, mandates, and subsidies and expands the discussion on how we can use those tools to spur innovation, writes Matthew Stepp.
This is a guest post from my friends Katherine Hamilton, Jeff Cramer, and Patrick Von Bargen at 38 North Solutions (one of my best resources on energy policy developments in Washington). I get updates from them on emerging energy and related policy news, and I am excited to be able to share their follow up to the State of the Union here as I thought this was a great summary of the President’s energy focus.
Following up on the President’s largely unexpected statements on climate policy in his inaugural speech, the 2013 State of the Union highlighted accomplishments to date on clean energy deployment and GHG reductions, and outlined five focus areas for his second term climate and clean energy agenda. We have included our prognosis for each of these areas.
1) Challenging Congress to pass legislation addressing climate change through “market-based solutions,” referencing Republican John McCain’s past support for his own cap and trade bill, last introduced in 2007, and threatening executive action to regulate carbon through the Clean Air Act.
Prognosis: Dems in both Houses are expected to introduce climate legislation, perhaps as a Clean Energy Standard (CES) that the President has promoted in the past and that was introduced in Senate Energy and Natural Resources in the last Congress; perhaps through introduction of a carbon tax that has the dual purpose of raising revenues; perhaps through a smaller package of provisions like Master Limited Partnerships for renewables or innovation incentives for clean technology. EPA will also continue regulating greenhouse gas emissions through its Clean Air Act mandate.
Yesterday I wrote about 90 leading scientists calling on Congress and the Obama administration to carefully account for the greenhouse gas emissions from burning biomass. I want to underscore again that now is the time for Congress to pass a climate bill, and the House ACES bill and Kerry-Lieberman APA provide a solid framework. (You can link here, here and here for more information on the bill’s various provisions,) Today I’m digging into some DOE data that gives a measure of how important it is to get the biomass accounting right and casts some light on how final legislation can ensure the treatment of biomass supports the carbon reduction goals. It’s easier to understand why the biomass loophole is wrong… Continue»