June 2, 2014 (San Diego) The Environmental Protection Agency announced today the release of a new set of Carbon standards that will apply to plants, current and to be built, across the United States. According to the news release the plan will:
“Climate change, fueled by carbon pollution, supercharges risks to our health, our economy, and our way of life. EPA is delivering on a vital piece of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan by proposing a Clean Power Plan that will cut harmful carbon pollution from our largest source–power plants,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “By leveraging cleaner energy sources and cutting energy waste, this plan will clean the air we breathe while helping slow climate change so we can leave a safe and healthy future for our kids. We don’t have to choose between a healthy economy and a healthy environment–our action will sharpen America’s competitive edge, spur innovation, and create jobs.”
It is also part of the national Climate Action Plan released by the White House. It is being done through an Executive Order since our Congress is utterly paralyzed. We have also already heard from The US Chamber of Commerce:
“Americans deserve to have an accurate picture of the costs and benefits associated with the administration’s plans to reduce carbon dioxide emissions through unprecedented and aggressive EPA regulations,” said Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the Energy Institute. “Our analysis shows that Americans will pay significantly more for electricity, see slower economic growth and fewer jobs, and have less disposable income, while a slight reduction in carbon emissions will be overwhelmed by global increases.”
The objective of the new rules is to cut down Carbon production by 30% by 2030. It is well within the goals set in California with the Renewable Portfolio Standard. In fact, California intends to cut down Carbon emissions by 33% by 2020, quite the ambitious plan. What we should be aware off, is that this is not happening in a vacuum, and the United States is not leading in this field, In fact, we are actually dragging our feet.
I keep pointing at Mexico, which as of 2012 had a total renewable production of over 20% in green energy. We are following our neighbors to the south in this regard. Mexico passed a law through the Mexican Congress in 2008, that is quite sweeping. Each year the Department of Energy is ordered to:
Cada año la Secretaría llevará a cabo la actualización de la Estrategia y presentará una prospectiva sobre los avances logrados en la transición energética y el aprovechamiento sustentable de las energías renovables, incluyendo un diagnóstico sobre las aplicaciones de las tecnologías limpias y las energías renovables, así como sobre el ahorro y uso óptimo de toda clase de energía.
Each year the Department of Energy will review the strategy and present a report regarding the advances in the energy transition, and the use of renewables, including a diagnosis of the current state of the technology, as well as the savings and optimal use of all types of energy. (My translation)
Our neighbors are aware that replacing the current carbon based energy will require a basket of energy types. What is astounding is that when our leaders say we must lead, we are not even close. We must be aware of what is the state of technology and policy, and how the worst case scenarios presented by the Chamber and some of our political class have not occurred in other nations. In fact, renewables had produced jobs, not killed them.
While we fight renewables in our backyard, and mitigation needs to happen for local populations, nations who have been living though the early effects of climate change before it got a name are currently leading. They are much smaller economies than the American economy. While our Congress is still arguing over how many angels are on the head of a pin, and doing nothing, other nations are acting. If we want to lead, we need to lead.