The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced proposed emissions standards for new power plants. According to the EPA, electricity generation represents one-third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. These rules are one of the important steps the EPA can take to reach the U.S. goal of reducing greenhouse gas emission by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.

Following is a statement by Kevin Kennedy, Director, U.S. Climate Initiative at the World Resources Institute:

“Today’s announcement delivers a strong signal that the administration will use its authority to tackle climate change. These new rules will limit carbon pollution from all future U.S. power plants. That’s good news for people and the environment.

“While the new standards are relatively stringent, they provide power plants with options for compliance, including phasing in the use of carbon capture and storage. While not yet used on a wide scale, CCS is technically feasible and could be further deployed under the right conditions.

“Furthermore, it is clear that market dynamics, including the emergence of low-price natural gas, have been driving U.S. power suppliers away from coal production. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, over the next three years, utilities plan to build only eight new coal-fired generators compared with 91 new gas-fired generators.

“Putting in place standards for new and existing power plants are some of the most important actions the administration can take to reduce U.S. emissions. Today’s proposal on new power plants also sends a clear message that the U.S. is serious about meeting its international commitment.”

To read WRI's analysis on how the United States can reach its target of a 17% reduction in emissions from 2005 levels by 2020, click here.

To read WRI's fact sheet series on state-specific opportunities for reducing carbon emissions, click here.