In an effort to curb emissions, the Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to limit CO2 from coal power plants to 1,500 parts per million, a level the agency says can be achieved by 2025.
The plan, which is being called the Clean Power Plan, is part of the federal government’s Clean Power Challenge, a $5 billion effort to reduce CO2 emissions by 2026.
In an interview, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said the plan “is one step in a multi-year process to reduce emissions.”
“We want to have a carbon reduction plan that will be in place in 2020,” McCarthy said.
The new plan would take effect in 2022.
The EPA says the plan will have a major impact on how power plants operate, how much pollution they release into the air, and the impact on local communities.
Coal plants produce about 85 percent of U.S. CO2, and about half of the CO2 emitted from power plants in the U.K. and Canada.
The U.N. estimates that coal plants are responsible for about 70 percent of global CO2.
McCarthy said she would push the U,S.
to meet the 2020 goal, but she also said the country would be better off if it had not reached it.
“If you are looking at CO2 as a pollutant, that’s an enormous amount of CO2,” McCarthy told reporters.
“The best way to reduce the emissions is by making sure we get to the lowest emissions possible.
If we are doing that, then it will be much easier to achieve the other emissions reductions goals we have.”
McCarthy also said that the EPA has worked to reduce greenhouse gases by more than 25 percent from 1990 levels.
The agency is trying to limit methane, a greenhouse gas that is 40 times more potent than CO2 and is released when coal-fired power plants burn coal.
The Environmental Protection Bureau is proposing a cap-and-trade system, in which emissions from power facilities would be capped.
In addition, the agency wants to create a carbon pricing system that would help companies with low emissions to switch to cleaner sources of energy.
The cap- and-trade plan will be put forward in the Senate in the coming weeks.
McCarthy told a Senate committee that the proposal would help reduce COII emissions by up to $2 billion per year, a significant portion of which would come from the coal industry.
She said that if the EPA were to make the cap-the-trade proposal, it would also reduce the amount of pollution coming out of power plants.
“We can’t continue to run a business that burns coal for power, and that’s a big part of what’s going on in the coal sector,” McCarthy explained.
“It’s a very expensive business.”
McCarthy said there was a chance the cap and trade plan would be passed, but that the president would have to sign it before it could go into effect.
“I’m confident that he would sign that if it was in his interest,” McCarthy added.
“And that’s the bottom line.”
The EPA’s plan would reduce CO₂ emissions from coal by more that 25 percent by 2025 and 20 percent by 2040.
McCarthy did not provide any numbers on how much the EPA could achieve the target by 2035.
However, the EPA estimates that it would reduce annual emissions by more the equivalent of removing the coal from the U to the U and then burning the remaining coal in a power plant.
McCarthy also told reporters that she would work to reduce methane emissions from electricity generation, and she said the agency is working with states and other stakeholders to develop an agreement to reduce them.
“So there’s no doubt we are going to work with the states to see how to get these emissions down,” McCarthy concluded.
“But we have to do that in a way that makes sense.”