The Clean Power Plan is a 1,560-page plan from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency oriented toward cutting carbon dioxide emissions from human activities, which are known to cause the rate of climate change to occur at an alarmingly rapid rate. After years of debates and delays, the U.S. government is starting to catch up–slowly. New York Times called it “the strongest action ever taken in the United States to combat climate change.” The Clean Power Plan is not Earth-shattering, and it won’t come close to solving the global mess of climate change, but it does have the potential to become powerful.
Paris Agreement Marks a Turning Point for Climate
The Paris agreement that was struck this week is a turning point for the world and the climate movement. And today, for the first time in history, the global community has agreed to action to prevent the worst impacts of climate change. A solid foundation has been set for more climate progress, and with continued grassroots action, calls for climate justice, and support for communities that have historically been reliant on fossil fuels we will make a 100% clean energy economy a reality.
The Best System of Emissions Reduction
EPA calculates the emissions reduction targets for individual states through application of a Best System of Emissions Reduction (BSER). The BSER consists of four building blocks which represent approaches to reducing CO2 emissions rates from existing fossil fuel-fired generators as calculated for purposes of compliance:
Building block 1: Improving the thermal efficiency of individual affected sources (heat rate improvement)
Building Block 2: Dispatching the generating fleet to substitute less-carbon-intensive affected sources for more-carbon-intensive affected sources (re-dispatch for reduced emissions)
Building Block 3: Expanding the use of low- or zero-carbon generation in order to displace affected sources (low- and zero-carbon capacity expansion)
Building Block 4: Employing the use of demand-side energy efficiency to reduce overall generation required from affected sources (demand-side energy efficiency)* Read More
It’s Not Over
By 2100, the average U.S. temperature is projected to increase by about 3°F to 12°F, depending on emissions scenario and climate model. A strong Clean Power Plan will set the floor for additional climate commitments in the months and years ahead and speed up our transition to 100% clean energy. While the Paris agreement represents unprecedented progress, it is the beginning, not the end, of what must be done to protect our families and communities.
Ultimately this plan would reduce temperature by 1.8 degrees by 2030. Our planet needs a more substantial decrease. We need something more. But, for us to succeed, the Clean Power Plan must live up to its potential as a climate game changer. With continued attacks from climate deniers and big polluters, the EPA needs to hear from you to make this happen. Tell the EPA you support a strong and just Clean Power Plan that moves us closer to meeting our climate commitments! Success in Paris owes as much to our efforts as it does to the world leaders who gathered for the talks. In the United States and across the globe, grassroots activists aren’t only calling on leaders to act on their behalf, but are creating vibrant local movements that have scored impressive victories.