While the Obama administration’s new climate regulations target carbon emissions from power plants, they are also setting the stage for negotiations on a global climate pact scheduled for next year.
On June 2, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled the “Clean Power Plan,” which aims to cut carbon emissions from U.S. power plants by 30 percent compared to 2005 levels. “Although we limit pollutants like mercury, sulfur and arsenic,” said EPA administrator Gina McCarthy in remarks announcing the new rules, “there are no limits on carbon pollution from power plants, our nation’s largest source” of such pollution.
Ultimately, she said, “our climate crisis is a global problem that demands a global solution.” The new power plant rules are one aspect of the administration’s Climate Action Plan, launched last year. At the United Nations Climate Change Conference scheduled to be held in Paris in 2015 the United States “will be seeking an agreement that is ambitious, inclusive and flexible,” the summary of the plan stated. “There is no way to meet that challenge unless all countries step up and play their part.”