Skip to comments.Obama’s climate change plan tackles power plants — not refineries
Posted on 06/25/2013 5:14:35 AM PDT by thackney
President Barack Obama on Tuesday is set to unveil a sweeping plan to combat climate change, including setting in motion the stalled first limits on greenhouse gas pollution from existing power plants and accelerating renewable projects on federal lands.
During a speech at Georgetown University, Obama also is expected to announce an $8 billion loan guarantee program to support investments in advanced fossil energy technologies and efficiency projects, including carbon capture and sequestration systems that hold the promise of cleaning up coal-fired power.
Obamas move delivers on his second-term inaugural vow to tackle climate change and his State of the Union promise to use executive powers to take action if Congress doesnt address the issue. None of the initiatives that will be announced Tuesday require congressional action, senior administration officials said Monday.
But they will take time, even without expected legal challenges. Under a presidential memorandum set to be issued Tuesday, Obama is directing his Environmental Protection Agency to propose new carbon dioxide emissions standards for existing power plants within a year, with a final rule expected no sooner than mid-2015. Even then, states will have time to establish their own compliance plans, a process that analysts said could stretch 18 months or more.
Obama also will direct his EPA to re-propose a stalled plan to limit greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants, following the introduction of an initial draft rule last year that would have effectively ruled out new coal-fired power, unless it was combined with stilll-developing carbon capture technology.
The efforts could stretch beyond Obamas tenure in the White House, potentially putting the initiatives in the hands of a less-supportive administration.
We know that we have to get to work quickly to not only propose but ultimately finalize the rule, a senior administration official said. While it will take time, the point here is that we are beginning a process.
Kevin Kennedy, director of the U.S. climate initiative at the World Resources Institute, said an EPA start soon could mean plans are in place five years from now.
Still, environmentalists who were briefed on the plan Monday hailed the move as a major step forward, given that the United States existing fleet of more than 5,000 power plants is responsible for about 40 percent of the nations carbon dioxide emissions.
This plan takes aim at the heart of the problem: the dangerous carbon pollution from our power plants, said Dan Lashof, director of the climate and clean air program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. Reducing that pollution is the most important step we can take, as a nation, to stand up to climate change.
Eileen Claussen, president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, said going after existing power plant pollution is the best alternative to a congressionally imposed, economy-wide price on carbon. But the EPA should be work aggressively with states and power utilities to devise a flexible strategy that allows a variety of state-level policies, including market-based approaches, and allows utilities to cut emissions at the lowest possible cost, Claussen said.
Administration officials vowed to work closely with states to develop plans for limiting power plants emissions. The EPA has been obligated to tackle carbon pollution from power plants and refineries since a December 2010 settlement with conservationists. However, Obamas plan Tuesday will not touch on refineries.
The eventual emissions limits could propel a move away from coal in the electricity sector, and further encourage utilities to switch to natural gas, which producers fewer emissions when burned.
Ned Helme, president of the Center for Clean Air Policy, said a flexible EPA rule could encourage both natural gas and combined heat and power technologies that produce electricity along with useful heat.
Still, Obama is likely to face a fight with Republicans, electric utilities and other interests over aspects of his plan. Last week, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said it would be absolutely crazy to clamp down on power plants carbon pollution.
While the focus is on climate change Tuesday, Obama is not expected to offer any hints about his State Departments plans for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would transport oil sands crude from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries. The State Department is reviewing public comments on an environmental assessment of the project and could determine whether the pipeline is in the national interest late this year.
Obamas top energy and climate adviser, Heather Zichal, said last week that the president understands that climate change is a legacy issue and the U.S. can play a leadership role. When he took office four years ago, Obama vowed to cut U.S. carbon emissions by 17 percent over 2005 levels by 2020.
Though reigning in power plant emissions is the signature item, Obamas climate change plan also will include:
- directing the Interior Department to permit enough wind, solar and other renewable energy projects on public lands by 2020 to power 6 million homes.
- setting a goal of installing 100 megawatts of renewable power on federally assisted housing by 2020.
- establishing a goal of using efficiency standards for appliances and federal buildings to pare carbon pollution by at least 3 billion metric tons cumulatively by 2030. That would be equivalent to more than half of the annual carbon pollution from the U.S. energy sector.
- directing agencies to develop a comprehensive strategy for dealing with methane, a greenhouse gas that does not remain in the atmosphere as long but is roughly 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide at arming the atmosphere.
Obama is also set to roll out climate adaptation programs designed to help communities adjust to more unpredictable weather patterns, warmer temperatures and more frequent floods. For instance, flood-risk reduction standards will be updated for all federal funded projects. A new national drought resilience partnership is envisioned to help communities and farmers prepare for drought and wildfires.
It is about NEW taxation and money for the DNC.
And Congress will not halt this because THEY will make
more secret money off it.
Carbon's got nothing to do with it, except as a means to that end.
I wonder how many utility companies donated to Obama in the last election cycle.
Bet they are regretting that decision now.
This is linked to the immigration bill.
Where does the 8 Billion dollars come from?
I have always thought the House spent the money.
But it seems Obama spend it appropriates it, and does what he damned well pleases with it.
The House is nothing. Especially with Boehner leading it.
“Last week, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said it would be absolutely crazy to clamp down on power plants carbon pollution.”
No such thing as “carbon pollution” no matter what the left or the black robed tyrants think.
As usual though, the Republicans will allow the left to control the narrative and the language on this issue.
It’s hard to find criminals with integrity.
Wonder if his GE pal wants to sell more nuclear power plants?.
METHANE is natural gas. Going after the oil companies to shake them down for emitting this "natural" gas claiming it causes global warming by being "roughly" 21 times as potent a polluter than evile Co2.
More junk AGW "science" tollogy.