Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) today hailed the Clean Power Plan, a groundbreaking proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the current fleet of U.S. power plants.
"This historic Clean Power Plan would, for the first time, place meaningful limits on climate pollution from power plants," said EDF President Fred Krupp. "It's the single largest step our country has yet taken to address the threat of climate change, and the kind of leadership we need to meet this urgent challenge. Right now we set limits for pollutants such as mercury and arsenic, yet power plants can put an unlimited amount of carbon pollution into the air. A smart, strong limit on that pollution will be a great stride toward protecting public health and building a prosperous clean energy economy. And the good news is that by deploying cleaner, more efficient energy, states and power companies across America are already well on the way to achieving the proposed targets -- carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector are 14% lower today than they were in 2005."
To help ensure that America forges a strong and prosperous clean energy economy, the Clean Power Plan proposed today provide states with the flexibility they need to design tailored plans to secure carbon pollution reductions. They offer states a wide variety of options to meet their compliance targets, allowing them to determine the path that works best for their economy, their citizens’ needs, and their regional climate. Power plants are responsible for 40 percent of total U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from energy. Reducing carbon pollution from power plants is an idea that already has widespread support, with 64 percent of Americans supporting “strict limits.” The idea has already been endorsed by a wide range of stakeholders.
"This groundbreaking proposal recognizes many cost-effective ways to reduce emissions, and we will work hard to make the case that deep reductions can be secured in the near term by deploying clean energy and energy efficiency," Krupp added. "We need a final rule next summer that is both smart and strong. This proposal is smart, because it provides flexibility to states and power companies to innovate and design plans that make the most sense for them, including the type of market incentives that allow greater pollution reductions at less cost. This design will work best when paired with clear, strong targets that protect public health and the environment, so we will need to make sure that the final standards are strong enough to put us on a pathway to the low-carbon power sector of the future. In the days ahead EDF will be pushing to strengthen them in order to ensure that they offer the maximum protection possible from the dangers of climate change."
The Third National Climate Assessment, released a month ago, found that Americans across the country are already feeling the health and public safety impacts of climate change – through increased heat waves everywhere, intense drought and more wildfires in the Southwest, more flooding in Midwest, and sea level rise along the coasts. In the past three decades, the percentage of Americans with asthma has more than doubled, and climate change is putting those Americans at greater risk of landing in the hospital. The Clean Power Plan is a critical step toward reducing the pollution that causes climate change.