Obama Announces Plan to Combat Carbon Emissions Without Effective Timeline

| by Amanda Schallert
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President Barack Obama announced a plan to curb carbon pollution from U.S. power plants Tuesday, but his proposed restraints lacked the necessary detail and deadline that accompany a comprehensive plan for immediate change. 

Obama’s proposed efforts to control climate change included the first-ever pollution limits on power plants, as he noted the government already regulates pollution from mercury, arsenic and lead, but not carbon, according to the Huffington Post. He outlined his plan during a speech at Georgetown University. 

Obama failed to disclose in his speech how he will address much of the 2.1 billion tons of carbon dioxide emitted by U.S. power plants last year, according to the Columbus Dispatch. 

The push for restrictions on carbon pollution is not new and has not been effective in the past. 

Two months ago, the Environmental Protection Agency chose to delay a controversial proposal — brought up more than a year ago — forcing new power plants to limit their carbon emissions to 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide for every megawatt hour of electricity produced, according to the Washington Post. 

U.S. natural gas plants emit less carbon on average than the agency’s rule would allow, but the average U.S. coal plant emits about 1,800 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour, far surpassing the agency’s proposed limit. 

This distinction between coal-fired and gas-fired power plants influenced the EPA’s decision to postpone the rule, and no specific timeline was set for its implementation. 

Without much progress on legislation that addresses global warming in Congress, Obama’s move for carbon emission limits appears important, but the delivery of real restrictions will determine its true value. 

Sources: Huffington Post, Washington Post, Columbus Dispatch