Trump's New Plan Upends Obama Emissions Policy

And the coal industry won't be complaining
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 19, 2018 3:23 PM CDT
Trump's New Plan Eases Rules on Coal-Burning Plants
President Trump speaks to reporters before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Friday, Aug. 17, 2018.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

For President Trump, federalism and climate policy just don't mix—a fact that has environmental experts in a state of high anxiety, the Washington Post reports. Trump plans to announce this week that each state can set its own own coal-emission standards (pending EPA approval) rather than follow the Obama administration's rule that emissions be significantly reduced nationwide. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that Trump's plan, which affects over 300 coal-fired power plants, will lower CO2 emissions by up to 1.5% from 2005 levels by 2030; Obama was aiming for a 19% cut by the same year. But the Supreme Court had stayed Obama's plan, leaving the whole thing in limbo.

Now environmental experts and utility-industry honchos are dueling over the value of Trump's plan. "The science is just getting clearer and clearer every day," former EPA chief Janet McCabe tells the New York Times. "I don't know how many times people need to hear that we’re having the warmest summer on record or how many storms people need to see. This is no fooling." But Jim Matheson, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, says Trump's plan gives "electric co-ops the certainty and flexibility they need to meet their consumer-members' energy needs." Meanwhile, a new essay arguing that Earth's climate may soon enter a cataclysmic "hothouse" state—beyond saving, in other words—has been downloaded a surprising 270,000 times, the Guardian reports. (More climate change stories.)

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