Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan

by Aditya Dabral
(London, United Kingdom)

Carbon Dioxide is the leading greenhouse gas produced through human activity. The Clean Power Plan aims to reduce its emissions quite significantly.

Carbon Dioxide is the leading greenhouse gas produced through human activity. The Clean Power Plan aims to reduce its emissions quite significantly.

Earlier this month, President Obama unveiled his Clean Power Plan in which he set out to reduce carbon pollution from power plants.

Describing climate change (aptly) as a phenomenon which "provides the greatest threat to the future of the planet," his primary aim is to cut greenhouse gas emissions from US power stations by around a third within the next 15 years.

In this article I’m going to talk about the benefits this plan yields, its deficiencies, and what else Barack Obama can do to protect and preserve our environment.

Historical Breakthrough

According to the official White House website, his plan will "set the first ever carbon pollution standards for power plants."

Two years earlier, Bernie Sanders, now running for the Democratic nomination, co-authored a bill along with Senator Barbara Boxer which proposed taxing methane and carbon emissions, and rebating 60% of the revenue made to citizens.

While the legislation was not passed, it points out how a growing number of politicians are now beginning to propose laws which would curtail these emissions.

Economically Viable

With 2014 being the hottest year on record and 2015 closing in on taking that unwanted accolade, it’s evident that unless these measures are taken, a sustained increase in ecological disasters is inevitable.

Hurricane Sandy cost the American economy tens of billions of dollars and so I would argue that not only do we owe a debt to the world we live by taking care of it, but that it’s simply economically viable for us to tackle this issue head on, considering how expensive these natural disasters have been.

Not Nearly Enough

Despite what appears to be a step in the right direction, many believe his plan will not do nearly enough to reduce carbon emissions.

In particular, critics are pointing out that many states will meet their targets without having to do much; coal generation is already declining and with that the number of coal plants, so some of the targets proposed under Obama’s plan are amusingly easy.

Health Benefits

Conversely, the White House argues that the plan will (by 2030) also bring health benefits to the public which would prevent up to 3,600 premature deaths, 1,700 nonfatal heart attacks, 90,000 asthma attacks in children, and 300,000 missed workdays and school days.

Keystone XL Pipeline

Many environmentalists would go one step further and push to stop the Keystone XL pipeline once and for all.

While he did veto a bill calling for the extension of Keystone XL, the fact that over 60% of the senate supports the continuation of this controversial pipeline suggests that the fight is not yet over.

A State Department study ended up concluding that extracting the oil sands petroleum (which is what keystone would do) produces about 17% more planet-warming carbon pollution than conventional oil.

So is his plan going to do enough to avert this worldwide problem? Only time will tell.

I also have a blog on Politics and International Relations.

Thank you for reading!

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