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EPA

The U.S. EPA has proposed standards to limit power sector emissions, which, once adopted, are expected to reduce carbon pollution from power plants by 25 percent by 2020. But as we recently noted in our public comment on the proposal, increasingly cost-effective efficiency and renewable energy opportunities mean that the EPA can and should require even greater emissions reductions.

A new WRI study finds that there are many “win-win” opportunities for the United States to reduce emissions and save money for consumers and businesses.

Over the coming weeks, our blog series, Lower Emissions, Brighter Economy, will evaluate these opportunities across five key areas—power generation, electricity consumption, passenger vehicles, natural gas systems, and hydrofluorocarbons—which together represent 55 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

U.S. climate action received support yesterday from four former EPA administrators who served Republican presidents. William D. Ruckelshaus, Lee M. Thomas, William K. Reilly, and Christine Todd Whitman testified before the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee at a hearing entitled “Climate Change: The Need to Act Now.”

They delivered a clear message for Congress: Climate change is one of the greatest threats to America’s economy, environment, and communities—and it need not be a partisan issue.

On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency announced its Clean Power Plan, the first time the United States has set standards to limit carbon pollution from existing power plants. The Plan sets emissions reduction goals for individual states; once the goals are finalized next year, states will develop plans to achieve the necessary reductions. EPA’s modeling indicates that the standards will reduce national carbon pollution from power plants by 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

The EPA's proposed rule to cut carbon pollution from power plants is a critical step in avoiding the worst consequences of global warming. Without significant reductions from the power sector—America’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions—the country cannot meet its goal of reducing its emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. EPA’s proposal provides a flexible framework that puts those reductions within reach.

Here’s a look at how the proposed rule would impact states and the future of U.S. climate action.

To this day, carbon pollution—the main driver of climate change—has not been controlled from power plants.

That’s why the U.S. EPA’s new rules are so momentous, putting federal limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants for the first time. With the power sector representing a third of America’s carbon footprint, these rules are the biggest single action the administration can take to drive down greenhouse gases.

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