Coal Initiative Series: A Performance Standards Approach to Reducing CO2 Emissions from Electric Power Plants

Coal Initiative Series

A Performance Standards Approach to Reducing CO2 Emissions from Electric Power Plants

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Prepared for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change
June 2009

By: Edward S. Rubin, Carnegie Mellon University


A Performance Standards Approach to Reducing CO2 Emissions from Electric Power Plants continues the series of Pew Center papers that explore strategies for addressing CO2 emissions from using coal to provide electricity.


The CO2 emission performance standard policies outlined in this paper could complement a cap-and-trade program that puts a price on carbon and serve to significantly reduce the CO2 emissions from coal use for electricity generation. Emission performance standards have a long history in the United States and have been successfully used to control emissions of various air pollutants from electric generators. This paper explores the rationale for using emission performance standards and describes the various types of performance standard policies. Emission performance standards that address CO2 emissions could promote the deployment of carbon capture and storage technology coupled with new and existing coal-fueled electric power plants.