Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Climate change: The US acts

The US is finally acting on greenhouse gas emissions, with new rules under the Clean Air Act requiring states to reduce emissions from power plants by 32% by 2030:

The final rules propose a 32% cut in carbon emissions from power plants by 2030 on 2005 levels, up from the initial proposal of 30%. However states will only have to comply by 2022 rather than 2020 as originally proposed, and will be able submit their plans on meeting the targets by 2018 instead of 2017.

CO2 emissions from power plants fell 15% between 2005 and 2013, meaning the country is halfway to the target.

Monday’s version of the rules also gives an explicit boost to wind and solar power, angering the natural gas industry which will still be a large beneficiary of the switch from coal to gas-fired power plants, which produce much lower emissions.

Which is good, but is also verging on being too little, too late, with a new study showing that we now need net emissions to go negative (either through carbon capture and storage, or extensive reforestation) if we want to limit ourselves to two degrees of global temperature rise. Meanwhile, US republican polluters are naturally planning to sue to try and overturn the law so they can keep on profiting by destroying the global climate. Hopefully they'll lose, but they'll probably delay implementation and snatch a few more years of profits, which is all these sociopaths care about. And then they'll complain that no-one will ensure their beachfront condo against floods or hurricane damage...