The Massive Pollution Behind The Fight To Overturn The Clean Power Plan
Almost exactly three years ago, President Obama stood in the summer heat of Washington, DC to deliver a speech outlining a Climate Action Plan for the United States. In this 2013 address, the president said, “Someday our children and our children’s children will look at us in the eye and they’ll ask us – did we do all that we could when we had the chance to deal with this problem…?” And President Obama has done just about all he could to deal with the problem of climate change.
Central to President Obama’s Climate Action Plan is the Clean Power Plan, the rule that limits dangerous carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants. In addition to avoiding thousands of premature deaths and resulting in thousands fewer asthma attacks and hospitalizations, the Clean Power Plan is expected to lead to $54 billion in climate and health benefits and reduce carbon pollution from the power sector by 35 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
Unfortunately, a group of 27 attorneys general from conservative states, along with electric power producers, trade associations, and coal companies are suing the Environmental Protection Agency to block the implementation of—and ultimately undo—the Clean Power Plan.
Now, a new analysis from the Center for American Progress shows that the power producers involved with the lawsuit have a vested interest in undoing the Clean Power Plan: the power producers affiliated with the legal fight to block the Clean Power Plan pumped out more than 1.2 billion metric tons of carbon pollution annually—that’s one-fifth of the country’s total carbon pollution.
The analysis also found that the top electric power producers affiliated with the lawsuit emitted as much carbon dioxide as 129 countries combined. In fact, if the power producers affiliated with the case were their own country, they would be the sixth-largest carbon dioxide emitter in the world. And their carbon pollution is greater than six of the top ten economies in the world. For perspective, it would take more than 30 billion trees growing for 10 years to offset the carbon pollution that these companies emit in a single year.
BOTTOM LINE: It’s no surprise that some of the biggest power producers are trying to get out of cleaning up their act by dismantling the Clean Power Plan. But this new analysis highlights just how important the Clean Power Plan is. The threat of climate change is affecting Americans right now. It’s time lawmakers stopped standing up for polluters who want to delay much needed action.
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