president obama’s climate initiative

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President Obamas Climate Initiative Congressional Gridlock Executive ActionWhen he came to office in 2008, The President asked Congress to take action on Congress.

In his first term, Congress tried to pass a Cap & Trade bill, which would have for the first time, put a price on carbon pollution

The bill passed in the House but failed in the Senate.

Since then, Congress has been increasingly unable to get things done.

So, the President, who feels that action on the climate it is a top priority, has taken executive action


CLOSING THE POWER PLANT CARBON POLLUTION LOOPHOLE:SMART WAYS THE CLEAN AIR ACT CAN CLEAN UP AMERICASBIGGEST CLIMATE POLLUTERSWe limit the amount of toxic chemicals like mercury and sulfur and arsenic in our air or our water, but power plants can still dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into the air for free. Thats not right, thats not safe, and it needs to stop.

President Obama, June 25th, 2013


Clean Air Act of 1970Authorizes EPA to reduce air pollution So far, 70 pollutants have been regulatedNow, carbon pollutionCleared by Supreme CourtSo far, 70 pollutants have been regulated by the EPA under the Clean Air Act.

Heres just seven of them

Ozone Particulate Matter Nitrogen Oxides Sulfur Dioxide Lead MercuryCarbon Monoxide

In 2007, the Supreme Court decided that Carbon DI-oxide could also be regulated under the Clean Air Act3

Section 111 of the Clean Air Act111(b) = new power plants111(d) = existing power plantsThe largest source of CO2 pollution in the U.S. comes from electricity generating, power plants that burn fossil fuels.

U.S. power plants emit approximately 2.3 billion tons of heat-trapping carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution each year, accounting for 40% of the CO2pollution emitted in the United States. The average coal-fired power plant emits 3.5 million tons of CO2into the atmosphere every yearand operates for an average of 50 years.

Yet, in spite of their significant contribution to the climate crisis, the U.S. currently has NO national limits on carbon pollution from fossil fuel fired power plants.

What are our LOCAL power plants Emitting?

in 2011, Amerens Labadie power plan, in St. Louis emitted 18.5 million tons4

The Action Timeline1/20/13:President Obama takes office11/2013:Proposed rules for new plants6/2014:Proposed rules for existing plants6/2015:Final rules for new and existing plants6/2016:State Implementation Plans (SIPs)But all of that could soon change.

2013January 20th Start of President Obama's second termJune 25th He lays out a comprehensive Climate Action PlanSeptember 20th Three months later, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released draft carbon pollution standards that willfor the first time in American historylimit carbon dioxide pollution from future fossil-fuel power plants.

2014May 9th End of comment period for future power plant proposal. But limiting emissions from future power plants isn't enoughnot when America's oldest and dirtiest coal plants are doing most of the damage.Just 1% of U.S. power plantsthat's only the 50 highest carbon dioxide emitting coal plantsproduce 12% of America's total CO2emissions.

June 1st So, on June 2, EPA will propose pollution standards for existing plants. Simply put,we can't solvethe climate crisis if we don't limit carbon pollution from existing power plants. And, In June2014, the EPA is expected to take this next essential step by proposing the first national carbon pollution limits on existing fossil-fuel power plants. These standards are a necessary, common sense step that will ensure cleaner energy and help protect our communities from climate catastrophe. They will drive innovation, so America can continue to lead the world in the race to develop safer, smarter energy technologies.JuneSeptemberPublic comment period on existing power plant proposal.

2015June 1st EPA to finalize power plant carbon pollution standards. Each state will have 1 year to come up with a plan, called a State Implementation Plan or S.I.P., to meet the standards.

2016June 30th States submit implementation plans for existing power plants to EPAJulyDecemberEPA reviews state plans for compliance with guidelines

2017January 20th End of President Obama's second term

The sooner we get these protections in place, the sooner power plants will begin to do their fair share in addressing the heavy burden of carbon pollution on human health and the environment.


Standards & PlansEPA Releases StandardsCO2 Emission TargetsCompliance GuidelinesStates submit Implementation PlansHow they will meet the targetsThe EPA Standards will have two parts: 1. Emission targets for each state will be different.2. Compliance guidelines

The Clean Air Act is designed so that in 8 years or so, the standards will be reviewed, and new targets be set.

The compliance guidelines are designed to give each state maximum flexibility in meeting its emission reduction target6

State Implementation Plan Flexible 50 States, 50 PlansNRDC PROPOSAL: SYSTEMBASED, STATE SPECIFIC STANDARDSStatespecific fossilfleet average CO2 emission rates (lbs/MWh) for 2020 and 2025Calculated by applying benchmark coal and gas rates to each states baseline (20082010) fossil generation mixAveraging allowed among all fossil units in state (including new units subject to the 111(b) standard)Credit for incremental renewables and energy efficiency. So when a state gets an electricity consumer to reduce consumption (through either efficiency or conservation programs) the state can treat the watts of power saved as if it had generated those watts from 100% renewable sources. In other words, efficiency and conservation are energy sources, just like a power plant.

States may adopt alternative plans, provided they achieve equivalent emission reductions (for example, an alternative plan could include a price on carbon pollution, paid by the polluter)

7SIPs Have Two GoalsKeep Delivering the Power We NeedReduce Emissions

These are Compatible

In general each states implementation plan will have two goals:

Reduce emissions, and keep delivering the power the state needs

These goals are not incompatible8

Energy Yoga Part 1Inflexible approachEmission reductions only Inside the Fence LineImproved efficiency of fuel burningCleaner fuelsCapture or Sequester CarbonNo renewablesYoga, as you may know, is sometimes called the art of wise flexibility.

In designing the carbon pollution standards, the EPA has wisely worked hard to shape the standards so as to give states the maximum flexibility.

Ironically, in some states, the fossil fuel industry has introduced legislation that would limit that flexibility.

For example, there are bills that would restrict power plants from doing anything outside the fence line. That would limit them to using cleaner fuels, burn those fuels more efficiently, and capturing and/or sequestering CO2.

These limitations are a bad idea for several reasons.

Burning cleaner fuels is a temporary fix, because if you burn say gas instead of coal, and it has the emissions, but then you burn it for 4 years, you end up dumping the same amount of CO2 into the atmosphere, where it stays for centuries. SO, NO NET GAIN for the planet.

Burning your fuel more cleanly can only yield a small amount of reduction. Its a good idea, but it also suffers from the previous problem.

CSS is costly. The best way to sequester coal is to leave it in the ground in the first place!

So an inside the fenceline, or source-based approach is not going to help us much

Limiting the methods for reducing emissions doesnt make sense. We need an all of the above approach that includes efficiency and renewables outside the fence line9

Energy Yoga Part 2Flexible approach AKA System-basedReductions both Inside & Outside the Fence LineAnything inside the fence line, PLUSConservation, efficiency & renewablesStates can cooperateMore methods for reductions = more reductionsMost cost-effective wayEPAs approach is system-based

The EPAs approach is to look at the states energy system as a whole, and allow the state to achieve reductions anywhere within that system, using any proven methods it wants to.

That means reductions both inside and outside the fence line

That means including both conservation, efficiency, and renewables

States will be allowed to cooperate, regionally, with each other

It just makes sense to allow the state to use more methods, more flexibility.

This approach generates the most reductions at the lowest cost


Good Cop / Bad Cop, Part 1How much Power Do We Need to Deliver?Bad Cop: Keep wasting power = more $ for ME!Good Cop: Conserve, be efficient = more $ for the rest of us!Given the flexibility built into the EPAs approach, its easy to imagine two kinds of plans, good plans, and bad plans.

The Devil is in the Details!

The first way to differentiate between good and bad plans is their emphasis on efficiency and conservation.

A good plan emphasizes efficiency and conservation because, the cheapest energy is the energy you dont use!


Good Cop / Bad Cop, Part 2Reduce EmissionsBad Cop: Keep burning fossil fuelsSwitch to gasSpend $$ on Clean Coal technologyBad because CO2 emissions persistGood Cop: Go to clean energy, conservation, etcSubstitute renewables for fossil fuelsGet to zero emissions soonerThe second way to differentiate a good State Implementation Plan from a bad one is by how much it lead


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