The White House announced today that it is retracting the Clean Power Plan, the Obama Administration's signature climate policy. The Clean Power Plan would have represented the first-ever federal limits on carbon emission from power plants, which represent 40 percent of all energy-related greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.
Below is a statement by Carol Werner, Executive Director of the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI).
We are deeply disappointed that the Administration would seek to roll the clock back on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. This flies in the face of the Supreme Court decision that the EPA has authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate such emissions. It also flies in the face of the global community, whose nations have made it clear that taking action to mitigate climate change and address its impacts is a critical responsibility for all governments on behalf of their citizens.
This comes at a time when bipartisan public opinion is strongly in favor of addressing climate change and embracing renewable energy and energy efficiency. It comes at a time when local governments and so many of our universities and businesses have stated their concerns about climate change and committed their own institutions to take the lead in reducing emissions. The trends are clear: a transition is underway as companies and communities move toward a cleaner energy economy.
President Trump's Executive Order directs federal agencies to suspend, review, or retract policies that hinder the use or production of domestic energy resources, unless they promote economic development or are deemed necessary for the public interest. We would submit that the Clean Power Plan clearly makes the grade. Reducing emissions from the burning of fossil fuels is in the public interest: not only do these emissions cause climate change (i.e., extreme weather and rising sea levels), they also release harmful chemicals into the atmosphere that directly impact air quality and public health. The Clean Power Plan also gives a boost to the industries of the future, renewable energy and energy efficiency, which are creating hundreds of thousands of domestic jobs [see www.eesi.org/jobs2017 for more information].
There are enormous costs for failing to act—economic costs, environmental costs, and public health costs. What kind of nation will we be: a leader, or an obstructionist?