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Our Clean Power Plan Will Spur Innovation and Strengthen the Economy

2014 June 2
Gina McCarthy

June 2, 2014
1:15 pm EDT

It’s an important day.  Today, at the direction of President Obama and after an unprecedented outreach effort, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is releasing the Clean Power Plan proposal, which for the first time cuts carbon pollution from existing power plants, the single largest source of carbon pollution in the United States. Today’s proposal will protect public health, move the United States toward a cleaner environment and fight climate change while supplying Americans with reliable and affordable power.

By leveraging cleaner energy sources and cutting energy waste, this plan will clean the air we breathe while helping slow climate change so we can leave a safe and healthy future for our kids. And we don’t have to choose between a healthy economy and a healthy environment–our action will sharpen America’s competitive edge, spur innovation, and create jobs.

Here are the top four things to know about the proposed plan.  The Clean Power Plan:

  1. Fights climate change: Our climate is changing, and we’re feeling the dangerous and costly effects today.
  2. Protects public health: Power plants are the largest source of carbon pollution in the U.S. Although there are limits for other pollutants like arsenic and mercury, there are currently no national limits on carbon. Americans will see significant public health and climate benefits now and for future generations.
  3. States leading with proven approaches: States and businesses have already charted a course toward cleaner, more efficient power.  Our plan doesn’t prescribe, it propels ongoing progress
  4. Key is flexibility and putting states in the driver’s seat: With EPA’s flexible proposal, states choose the ways we cut carbon pollution, so we can still have affordable, reliable power to grow our economy.

Watch a video from Administrator McCarthy on the Clean Power Plan here:

Power plants account for roughly one-third of all domestic greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. While there are limits in place for the level of arsenic, mercury, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particle pollution that power plants can emit, there are currently no national limits on carbon pollution levels.

With the Clean Power Plan, EPA is proposing guidelines that build on trends already underway in states and the power sector to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants, making them more efficient and less polluting. This proposal follows through on the common-sense steps laid out in President Obama’s Climate Action Plan and the June 2013 Presidential Memorandum.

Interested in more detailed information on the benefits of the rule?  View the Whiteboard video by Joe Goffman, EPA Associate Assistant Administrator for Climate.

By 2030, the steady and responsible steps EPA is taking will:

  • Cut carbon emission from the power sector by 30 percent nationwide below 2005 levels, which is equal to the emissions from powering more than half the homes in the United States for one year;
  • Cut particle pollution, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide by more than 25 percent as a co-benefit;
  • Avoid up to 6,600 premature deaths, up to 150,000 asthma attacks in children, and up to 490,000 missed work or school days—providing up to $93 billion in climate and public health benefits; and
  • Shrink electricity bills roughly 8 percent by increasing energy efficiency and reducing demand in the electricity system.

For more information, view the following fact sheets:

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations.

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29 Responses leave one →
  1. M.Andersson permalink
    June 2, 2014

    Good job, hope you can cope with change. Come back U.S. and lead the way, our children will thank us. With love from an emissionengineer in Sweden.

    • Jim permalink
      June 5, 2014

      We’ve already been leading the way, reducing carbon emissions by more than 14% since 2005. And no one is following! In fact, they are taking advantage of the opportunity to surpass us as a world leader. Implementing these extreme changes will have little to no affect on the world’s emissions, less than 1% actually. Former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson even agrees on that fact. Our children will not thank us. They will curse us for ruining the quality of life they were raised on.

      • Gerard G. Vaughan permalink
        June 5, 2014

        So there aint’ a problem in the world’s temperature and climates, it’s all some kind of hallucination ? there is a thing called youtube. You can get it on your PC. There you will find all kinds of information to the contrary. The “information” is also all-over many parts of the world. American mid-west for a start. New Orleans. Crazy Storms all up the so called “Bible belt” . Snow in Florida. Chemtrails – Government papers on such. They have been at it secretly since early 50’s. British little town of Lynmouth was all but washed-away by a freak storm that just happened to occur shortly after the RAF had been experimenting with cloud seeding, in the 50’s. Try waking-up in the morning and removing the blinkers – if you want a dose of pure horror.

        • Ted permalink
          June 13, 2014

          Mr. Vaughn,
          Your frustration is understandable. There certainly is an enormous amount of information and opinions on various media sources, like YouTube, but not all of it is legitimate, and with all these conflicting statements, it’s hard to know which information to trust. But there have been many informed experts saying for a long time that CO2 emitted from human society has already started and will continue to warm the climate due to the increased greenhouse effect which it causes.
          With regard to the unusually cold weather seen in various parts of the world recently, I recently saw Neil Tyson very clearly explain the difference between Climate and Weather. In short, just because one winter is cold in certain parts of the world does not mean that the climate is not warming up on the global scale.

          • Phil Fishman permalink
            March 5, 2015

            Ted, You are absolutely right about the enormous amount of disinformation on the internet. One has to be very careful in separating fact from fiction or opinion. So what is a person not an expert in a field to do? The obvious answer is to listen to the experts. But what if the experts disagree? Then it comes down to a numbers game. How many say this is so vs. how many say it’s not so. We hear that 97% of the scientists around the world agree with the theory of anthropogenic global warming. But how do we know that that statement is true? Well, the media says so, and it has been repeated so many times it must be so. And then all one must do is look at the evidence, ie., melting of the Arctic and glaciers around the world; all the severe storms; the high temperature records of recent years: and the apparent correlation of atmospheric CO2 levels to temperature rise since the industrial revolution, when coal started to be used in tremendous quantities, followed by the invention of the automobile and the large consumption of gasoline, etc, etc, Professor Mann’s Hockey Stick Graph showing essentially level temperatures and CO2 levels until 1850 and the curve accelerating until it looks like it is going off the scale. How can any honest and sane person disagree? Well, Ted, I have some news: I and a very large number of scientists disagree, including with the statement of “97% of scientists agree”. The main problem with the theory is that it does not follow the procedure that every true scientist acknowledges is the process for validating any theory. The scientific method requires a scientist to test his hypothesis. Testing does not mean looking for confirmation; on the contrary, it means looking for evidence that would reveal a flaw, At which point the scientist revises the theory and then tests again. This process really never ends since the true scientist is forever skeptical even of his own theories. Ask one of the proponents of the AGW theory what would disprove it and you will not get a definitive answer. How about 15 years of essentially no global warming? No, that is only a “pause”. Kevin Tremberth, one of the leading AGW scientists states that the pause will end in nine or ten years. Ted, if you are really interested in deciding for yourself, read some skeptic literature.

    • Gerard G. Vaughan permalink
      June 5, 2014

      The U.S. has certainly lead the way so far ! Sadly, we need leading in a totally different direction !!

  2. Arman.- permalink
    June 2, 2014

    More progressive than -‘Kyoto Protocol’ or the others, Madam….
    Good Luck !!!!

    • Gerard G. Vaughan permalink
      June 5, 2014

      From what I gather, the famous, and long-forgotten Kyoto Protocol” is just that . Forgotten. It is EFFECTIVE Action that is required after the laborious talking.
      So far, apart from all else, further millions of tons of CO2 have been added to The Atmosphere from the creation of “Wind farms”. These things return – annually – only a fraction of one percent of the energy that was invested in them. One major reason for this is that the so-called “Turbines”, must needs be a Turbine coupled to an Alternator. These two components happen to have Opposite “economy of size”, I.e. a T of twice the diameter, to replace 4, will require EIGHT times the weight of materials, so the cost per watt, or sq. M of weather faced is Twice that of the 4. Meanwhile One big A to replace 4 costs about only twice as much as any One of the 4 it replaces. Its cost per watt is about half that job the 4.
      This causes the Total cost. T+A, to be a necklace-shaped curve when graphed against (log.) Size, or diameter. The lowest region on this curve will be – is – for sizes where the T costs about the same as the A. This occurs use fully between 0.5m, and 2metres diameter. It is counterproductive to make them in sizes much outside this range.
      There are two or three other reasons which account for why wind farms supply energy at about 40 – 50 ? times the cost that is possible from a sensible design.

  3. Ralph permalink
    June 2, 2014

    I think there is a win win solution for this industrial CO2 waste issue. Mantra Venture Group (MVTG) has a patented process called ERC “electro-reduction of carbon dioxide”, Industrial CO2 exhaust is converted into valuable products instead of being released out of smokestacks into the atmosphere. Coal burning companies can help save the environment from greenhouse gas emissions and make a profit for their efforts to help save our environment.

    ERC Technology

    ERC, or the “electro-reduction of carbon dioxide”, is one of the few existing carbon utilization technologies. ERC employs electrochemistry to convert carbon dioxide into valuable products. The chemicals that can be produced in this way include formic acid and its salts, carbon monoxide, methanol, formaldehyde, and hydrocarbons. While Mantra is exploring all of these options, the formic acid/formate salts technology is the company’s most developed.

    • Gerard G. Vaughan permalink
      June 5, 2014

      Sure, there is no shortage of “people making a profit from their efforts..”. In fact, that’s about All there is !!.
      These “efforts”, I notice, usually involve the burning of far more oil than they prevent from being burned.
      Food for thought here. Suppose a ton of oil came from a ton of forest which was growing millions of years ago. This is not a silly assumption. Now multiply-out how many square miles of paleolithic forest has been burned since, say, 1900. Seem to me pretty clear that that is the area of re-planting that will complete the mop-up operation. Should I seek help ? Can anyone provide suchlike ?

  4. Bruce Tromp permalink
    June 2, 2014

    I’d like to see young people start wearing “Gina McCarthy “on the back of their football jersey. You’re the real hero!

  5. Nathan Hale permalink
    June 2, 2014

    Fake numbers and projects abound.

    How about killing 200,000 jobs annually, coupled with skyrocketing electricity prices?

    A revolt is a-coming.

    • Andrew permalink
      November 30, 2014

      Latest BLS estimates put the number of people employed in fossil fuel electric generation and coal mining at around 170,000.

      Are you telling me that we’re going to go down to negative jobs in those industries in the first year alone?

    • The Children permalink
      March 26, 2015

      As a child, I would like to comment.

      1) As long as people continue to hide from the facts and choose not to believe in climate change, we, as a country, will continue to argue without acting.

      2) Just to clear this up, your children (or this child) are considerably worried about what is being done.

      3) Please, all of you non-believers, look at the science, and try to keep an open mind.

      4) Extreme weather is happening due to climate change. Climate and weather are different, but still effect each other.

      5) Thank you for reading this comment, and I hope that you consider the facts. (Remember, 97% is a big portion of 100%. I also recommend that you research the companies that support the other 3% of scientists, I think that you will have to question their motives for publishing their skepticism of climate change…)

  6. Nathan Hale permalink
    June 2, 2014

    Comments moderated, because the left cannot handle opposition.

    A revolt is a-coming.

    • Gerard G. Vaughan permalink
      June 5, 2014

      @nathanhale. Yep, I shall get in a hole and stay there while you go and be revolting. Then I will be a member of “the left”. How nice of you !

    • The Children permalink
      March 26, 2015

      Also, “left” or not, it doesn’t matter. Climate change is a fact, not an opinion.

  7. savino permalink
    June 3, 2014

    It is a beautiful step forward.
    I wish you good luck
    from Italy

  8. Nick permalink
    June 3, 2014

    This is great news! As technology advances so should we. New energy sources mean new jobs being created. Fear not, change is constant!

    • Gerard G. Vaughan permalink
      June 5, 2014

      Oh nick ! Your assurance must be such a comfort ! Do you live in New Orleans, or what ?

  9. James permalink
    June 4, 2014

    this is a one of the graeat news ! we all know the what is the power of the latest technology .

    • Gerard G. Vaughan permalink
      June 5, 2014

      yer, right ! The watt is the (unit of) power. Well done !

  10. Roy permalink
    June 4, 2014

    Question–Could someone tell the amount by which temperatures will be reduced and over what time period relative to baseline as a result of this regulation?

  11. Doug L Hoffman, PhD permalink
    June 4, 2014

    This is a true sign of intellectual and scientific failure. You are trying to pull and end run around Congress by declaring CO2 a pollutant, which is ludicrous. All this will do is further hobble American companies with more mindless government regulations. The pendulum is swinging. Enjoy your little reign of eco-terror because it will come to an end in a year or three.

  12. Enviro Equipment, Inc. permalink
    June 6, 2014

    As a supplier to environmental consultants all over the country, we’ve been pleasantly surprised by the positive reactions to the EPA’s carbon cutting recommendations by those in the environmental remediation industry. This is especially surprising since these recommendations (if fully implemented) will probably result in less remediation jobs and therefore less work for environmental consultants in the long term.

  13. Frank Joseph permalink
    June 6, 2014

    Besides investing in more cleaner, renewable and natural resources like solar, wind and hydroelectric to cut carbon emissions which I think is awesome; another feasible answer to our problems could be Industrial Hemp. Power Plants run on coal, oil or natural gas but what about biofuel? Industrial Hemp can be made into a biofuel that cars and even kitchen appliances like stoves can run on. Which is a healthier alternative for the environment and humans as a whole. Just type into your google search bar “industrial hemp turned into biofuel.” This could cut our dependence on importing oil and even stop fracking for other resources, which most find to be an awful practice to begin with. We have more than enough farmland within the United States to successfully grow and produce industrial hemp, which will create new jobs! Besides that, Industrial Hemp can even be made into paper, which saves us from cutting down trees. We all know that trees take in carbon and produce oxygen, which is also the air we breathe.

    Food For Thought

  14. George Kanev permalink
    June 7, 2014

    Most promising approach is this:About the future development of human civilization in economic and environment through physical knowledge, deciding the present debt problem of advantage countries in the world. If we track the historical development of the human civilization by research and knowledge achievement we can see that we are in the crossroad as it was many times in the past, when the money debt reflection becomes brake but not engine. That is result of profile of the made up investments in the past: if this investment is with little GDP result then the percentage of debt become unacceptable. So there is needed investment with large GDP result, or how often was in the past – war and extermination of all made up so far. However the last is already impossible (almost impossible!) despite that the world gradually is slips in this direction nowadays. So there is necessary cause about all over the world which can decide the environment problems as well. That proposal is super machine which I call Joromachine which will produce so needed supmaterial where we can directly ignite thermonuclear synthesis if we make from this material rocket chamber, so we will have space craft which can move with speed close to the speed of light long enough, thus the between stars traveling becomes reality! USM also call us that our living time in our solar system and in our galaxy it isn’t so smoothly and insure how it is looks like now. The huge challenges lie ahead and they are matter of dead or live for us and all animals and plants about which we have responsibility! For example this machine – joromachine can produce electricity which will be more than enough about all Earth consummation and for the consummation of the machine itself and all this through clean energy producing – solar panels. It is truth that this machine will cost around 100 trillion dollars, but at the same time only as producing electricity the GDP will be around millions of trillions of dollars each year, if the price of the one kwhour costs no more than 1 US cent! Moreover this machine can act like air conditions about all the Earth if the climate is becomes hot or cold respectively! G.Kanev

  15. James Michael permalink
    February 3, 2015

    If we open up drilling on our east coast the drill rigs will be left vulnerable to the Canary Islands,specifically Tenerife and a probable collapse of the western half of the Island,very possible due to ocean rise and saturation of the soil.

  16. Jimmy permalink
    March 8, 2015

    People will not go solar as long as company like REMC are allowed to steal power from customers that invest there money to try to cut power bills and pollution. It is not worth the spending of your money. I make power to run 2 to 3 houses and still get billed from REMC. It cost me 50 thousand for my system and they profit from it.

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