Carbon Pollution Standards
Carbon Pollution Standards
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued final rules in August 2015 to limit carbon pollution from existing and new power plants. Electric power generation accounts for 40 percent of U.S. carbon emissions, making it the largest source.
Reducing power sector emissions is a key part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, which aims to reduce overall U.S. greenhouse gas emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. In addition, the U.S. contribution to the international climate agreement in Paris sets an economy-wide target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.
Under the Clean Power Plan for existing power plants, each state has its own target (due to regional variation in generation mix and electricity consumption). Overall, the rule is designed to cut emissions 32 percent from 2005 emission levels by 2030.
In February 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay halting implementation of the Clean Power Plan while a legal challenge is resolved in a lower court. Some states may suspend their planning efforts, given the court’s stay, but others will press on with preparations. If the plan is ultimately upheld, the implementation timeline may have to be extended.
EPA's “Carbon Pollution Standard for New Power Plants” finalizes a standard first proposed in March 2012 that was modified and proposed again in September 2013. States would apply the standards for new coal- and natural gas-fired plants (measured as tons of greenhouse gas emissions per megawatt-hour of electricity produced) at each regulated plant.
Explore the issues and options involved in reducing carbon pollution from power plants through the following resources:
C2ES Resources on the Clean Power Plan
- Q&A on the Clean Power Plan, EPA Greenhouse Gas Standards for Existing Power Plants (Updated February 2016)
- Statement: Bob Perciasepe on the Supreme Court stay of the Clean Power Plan
- Map: State action on the Clean Power Plan
- Map: State emission rate targets
- Clean Power Plan Timeline
- Q&A: EPA's Federal Implementation Plan
- Blog Post: EPA’s Clean Power Plan puts states in the driver’s seat
- C2ES comments on the Clean Power Plan
- Insights on implementing the Clean Power Plan from the C2ES Solutions Forum
C2ES Resources on the Clean Energy Incentive Program
- Fact Sheet: The Clean Power Plan's Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP)
- Key Insights from Stakeholders on the Clean Energy Incentive Program
- C2ES comments on the Clean Power Plan's Clean Energy Incentive Program
- C2ES Comments on Proposed EPA Rule for New Power Plants (May 2014)
- Cornerstone Article: Carbon Pollution Standards for New and Existing Power Plants and Their Impact on Carbon Capture and Storage
- Event: Carbon Pricing: State and Federal Options (May 2014)
See presentations by Dallas Butraw, David Bookbinder, Brian Turner, and Jon Brekke
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Carbon Pollution Standards web page.
- U.S. Environmental Protetction Agency, Clean Power Plan Toolbox for States
- Presidential Memorandum, Power Sector Carbon Pollution Standards