On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled a proposal that would cut power plant emission by 30% before 2030. If implemented, the proposed rule could very well be the most ambitious environmental initiative in U.S. history.
The energy sector accounts for about one-third of all carbon emissions in the United States, according to the EPA. Trimming the pollution from that sector of the economy could be accomplished through a number of means, and the proposed rule would allow states to take advantage of many of them: Cap-and-trade, investment in alternative energy sources, and so on.
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy had previously hinted that the EPA would soon be proposing a "controversial" rule. However, she also said the rule would provide states with considerable flexibility in implementation. In a Monday speech, McCarthy reiterated that view in a speech unveiling the rule's full details.
"This plan is all about flexibility. That’s what makes it ambitious, but achievable," she said. "That’s how we can keep our energy affordable and reliable."
Over the past several months, the White House has made clear that President Obama wants implement climate change mitigation as a major component of his second-term legacy.