Friday, November 14, 2014

Economists:  EPA CO2 Plan May Be Too Weak

Urban air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. (Credit: United Nations/flickr) Click to Enlarge.
On one hand, the Obama administration’s plan to slash carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants may have been the move the Chinese needed to see from the U.S. in order to agree to the climate pact the two countries struck this week.

On the other, the Clean Power Plan may not have what it takes to cut the CO2 emissions it’s setting out to slash.

That’s the conclusion of 13 economists from the University of Chicago, Stanford University, Yale, Harvard, MIT, and the University of California-Berkeley and Davis in an analysis of the Clean Power Plan published Thursday in the journal Science.

The Clean Power Plan, proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in June, aims to cut CO2 emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired power plants by 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

One of the weaknesses of the plan is that it doesn’t set specific CO2 emissions caps for each state, instead requiring each state to reduce its emissions intensity, a measure of how many emissions are generated relative to electricity produced.

“The problem with emissions intensity goals — what the planet cares about are emissions, not emission divided by electricity,” economist Michael Greenstone of the University of Chicago and analysis co-author told Climate Central.

The analysis recommends that the EPA adopt specific emissions caps for each state, helping to ensure the effectiveness of states' actions to reduce emissions.

Read More at Economists:  EPA CO2 Plan May Be Too Weak

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