Barack Obama has gone on the offensive as climate change talks stall in Congress. This week, the President established new standards for power plant emissions, particularly for coal – a fossil fuel that is reponsible for significant greenhouse gas emissions.
The Protection Agency (EPA) announced Monday its proposals for a drastic reduction in CO2 emissions for all existing power plants: 30% reduction by 2030 compared to emissions in 2005.
The EPA director, Gina McCarthy, described the idict as a moral obligation, explaining that promoting cleaner energy and reduced energy waste will make the air cleaner and slow climate change.
Power plants generate about one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions greenhouse United States.
Although natural gas is gaining momentum, coal remains an essential component of the U.S. energy landscape. Hundreds of coal power plants spread across the country provide about 37% of its electricity, compared to natural gas (30%) and nuclear (19%).
The program, hailed as a major step by environmental NGOs but contested by many Republicans, should lead in part to the closure of many coal plants, more than half of which are at least 40 years.
The EPA expects to finalize its regulations within a year. Each State will then propose its detailed action plan enabling it to achieve the goal by June 2016.