I have a new article in Lifezette this morning in anticipation of the EPA’s actions to scrap Obama’s Clean Power Plan. Here’s a taste:
It doesn’t say a lot for the Clean Power Plan (CPP) that 27 states filed legal challenges against it in 2015. Or that the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay of it in February 2016. Former President Obama issued the CPP more than two years ago in an effort to demonstrate U.S. leadership in reducing power-sector carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. A majority of states subsequently opposed the plan’s intrusive overreach, though — and argued that it granted the EPA broad new powers never before identified in the Clean Air Act.
Thankfully, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt is announcing a repeal of the CPP today, and will be seeking comments from the energy industry on a potential replacement rule. Americans should hope that Pruitt will take his time in formulating a new plan, however, since it’s questionable whether any amount of CO2 reductions would actually have a meaningful impact on global climate.
What the U.S. should be doing is leading the global charge toward a higher-efficiency fleet. Boosting the average global efficiency rate of coal-fired plants from 33 percent to 40 percent would remove the equivalent of India’s annual CO2 emissions. Overall, the U.S. should embrace advanced coal plants as a reliable means of achieving baseload power, and thus set an example for developing nations as they build their own fleets.
Industrialized nations will continue to use coal to power their economies. And coal will also be lifting developing countries out of energy poverty. So when Scott Pruitt repeals the CPP, he should use the opportunity to encourage greater U.S. investment and deployment of new emissions technologies. This would ensure continued affordable, reliable power in the U.S. and aid the proliferation of smarter, cleaner plants overseas.