Obama to unveil new climate change plan

Updated: 2015-08-04 07:42

By Reuters in Washington(China Daily)

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US President Barack Obama will announce on Monday the final version of his plan to tackle greenhouse gases from coal-fired power plants, kicking off what is expected to be a tumultuous legal battle between federal environmental regulators and coal industry supporters. The White House has said its revised Clean Power Plan will increase the required cuts in carbon emissions from the power sector, demanding they be slashed 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. The administration's draft regulation, released a year ago, had required cuts of 30 percent.

The regulation will also encourage an aggressive shift toward renewable energy away from coal-fired electricity, pushing utilities to invest even more heavily in wind and solar energy.

Industry groups and some lawmakers from states that have relied on coal-based energy have vowed to challenge the new requirements in the courts and through congressional maneuvers, accusing the administration of a regulatory assault that will drive up energy prices.

The National Mining Association said on Sunday it will seek to block the plan in federal court. "These will burden Americans with increasingly high costs for an essential service and a less-reliable electric grid for delivering it," said Hal Quinn, president of the NMA.

Critics are expected to argue that lower-income Americans will bear the heaviest burden of compliance.

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, which represents co-ops that deliver energy to poor rural communities, said it projects the Clean Power Plan will raise electricity prices by at least 10 percent, a rise that would be disproportionately felt by "the country's most vulnerable populations."

The administration has rejected that characterization and said the plan is intended to accelerate a transition toward producing more electricity from renewable fuels. The White House said release of the plan was "the starting gun for an all-out climate push" by the president and his Cabinet.

(China Daily 08/04/2015 page12)