Trump administration relaxes emissions limits on power plants

Rule for the US Environmental Protection Agency allows states to set their own limits on carbon-emissions levels.

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The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized its plan to relax limits on greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants, eviscerating one of former president Barack Obama’s flagship climate policies. The new policy, announced on 19 June, sparked exasperation and dismay among climate scientists and environmentalists.

The EPA’s Affordable Clean Energy rule allows states to set their own emissions-reduction goals. It focuses on the use of energy-efficiency technologies at individual power plants rather than requiring the use of more aggressive greenhouse-gas reduction methods such as capturing and storing carbon emissions.

By contrast, Obama’s Clean Power Plan, introduced in 2015, would have set broad goals for each state and required them to work with utility companies to collectively reduce emissions to 32% below 2005 levels by 2030. The industry would have had to reduce greenhouse gases by increasing the energy efficiency of power plants and shifting towards using renewables such as wind and solar energy and other low-carbon energy technologies

By: Jeff Tollefson/Nature News

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