President Donald Trump plans to unveil a new plan this week that will allow states to establish emissions standards for coal-fired power plants, reversing another key Obama-era climate policy.
What are the details?
According to the New York Times, Trump’s plan will allow individual states the freedom to decide how to regulate coal-fired power plants and carbon dioxide emissions.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates the plan will affect more than 300 U.S. coal-fired power plants, the Washington Post reported.
The plan would roll back restrictive regulations implemented by former President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Act, which imposed strict federal emissions standards on coal-fired power plants, in turn hurting an already ailing coal industry. Obama’s plan sought to sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions while phasing out coal-fired plants in favor of those fueled by wind, solar power, and natural gas.
Obama crafted the policy ahead of entering into the Paris Agreement on climate change. However, the Supreme Court in 2016 blocked the policy from taking effect after utility companies sued, arguing the EPA had overstepped its boundaries. The policy remains blocked today.
Trump will unveil the plan on Tuesday during a rally in West Virginia, the Times reported.
How will the proposal affect greenhouse gas emissions?
According to the Post, Trump’s proposal will severely hamper efforts to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases believed to drive climate change.
In fact, the Post found that Trump’s plan will result in the release of at least 12 times more carbon dioxide over the next 10 years compared with Obama’s Clean Power Act.
From the Post:
By 2030, according to administration officials, the proposal would cut CO2 emissions from 2005 levels by between 0.7 percent and 1.5 percent, compared with a business-as-usual approach. Those reductions are equivalent to taking between 2.7 million and 5.3 million cars off the road.
By comparison, the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan would have reduced carbon dioxide emissions by about 19 percent during that same time frame. That is equivalent to taking 75 million cars out of circulation and preventing more than 365 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.
The policy change follows another rollback of Obama-era climate policy.
Earlier in August, Trump unveiled a plan that would freeze regulations Obama placed on tailpipe emissions from cars and trucks. The change was also aimed at giving states more power over climate regulations.