WASHINGTON—A new rule mandating the first-ever federal limits on power-plant carbon emissions aims to change the way Americans make and consume electricity, accelerating a shift already under way toward cleaner fuels, renewable energy and consumer-generated power.
The regulations, which will be unveiled by President Barack Obama at a White House event Monday, are part of a broader push by the administration to position the U.S. as a leader in tackling climate change. The Environmental Protection Agency regulations are central to the administration’s submission to an international climate conference set for December in Paris.
White House officials say Mr. Obama views addressing climate change as part of his legacy. He announced an aggressive climate deal with China in November and has put the issue high on the agenda in meetings with world leaders in recent months. The president also will discuss climate change with Pope Francis during his visit to the U.S. next month, following the pope’s release of an encyclical on the issue in June.
“This rule enhances in important ways our ability to achieve the international commitments that we have made,” Brian Deese, a senior adviser to Mr. Obama, told reporters Sunday.
But divisions at home cast some doubt on the administration’s ability to fully implement the regulations, which were released in draft form a year ago.
Industry officials say they are worried about the plan’s cost and timetable. Republicans in Congress and states hardest hit by the plan say they will fight it. More than a dozen states and the coal industry have vowed to sue the EPA, and several states have threatened to refuse to comply with the rule.
The rule would require a 32% cut in power-plant carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 from 2005 levels, an increase from the 30% target proposed last year. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said Sunday the rule would result in an estimated annual cost of $8.4 billion by 2030 and have total benefits, including public-health benefits, of $34 billion to $54 billion per year by then. Continue reading