The Trump administration has announced plans to repeal Obama’s policy to tackle greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. The Clean Power Plan aimed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from electrical power generation by 32 percent by 2030, relative to 2005 levels. This meant that traditional forms of energy such as coal were to be ousted by more renewable generation. This would in turn help to reduce deaths and health problems from poor air quality, resulting in economic benefits of $25-$45 billion per year in 2030.
The current administration, which focussed much of its campaigning in traditional coal mining areas, argues that the CPP is an overreach of central government as it “picks winners and losers” rather than letting the market decide. They believe that the coal industry has been unfairly treated and Scott Pruitt announced that “the war on coal is now over”.
This view is strongly rebuffed by supporters of the CPP who see this outlook as denying climate change and at best not taking strong enough measures to tackle this critical issue and will see the U.S. fall well short of CO2 reduction targets. Further to this the CPP was predicted to help boost clean energy production as the industry looks to diversify, have great health benefits, strengthen energy security and provide economic benefits.
This move is another blow for the United States’ efforts to tackle climate change, coming after the withdrawal from the Paris Climate Change Agreement in a time when creating a greener and more sustainable economy is imperative to the success of the country on a national and global scale.