With today’s Clean Power Plan final rule, President Obama has shown what clean energy leadership looks like. The Clean Power Plan establishes the first-ever nationwide limits on dangerous carbon pollution from power plants—providing a huge push for the investments in clean, renewable energy that will create a healthier, more prosperous and more sustainable future for our kids.
Accelerating the shift to clean energy will lower electricity bills, add well-paying jobs right here in the United States, and strike a major blow against climate change. The Clean Power Plan presents a tremendous opportunity for Americans to come together—just as we have done so many times before—and turn a huge threat into a success story for American innovation. Even more, the Clean Power Plan is a valuable investment in Americans’ health and well-being, protecting our families from the asthma attacks and heat-related illnesses that climate change and dirty energy cause.
Many states have already stepped up and embraced this opportunity—and they’re successfully proving that economic growth and cutting carbon pollution go hand in hand. Now, states and their governors should seize the opportunity they have to lead the nation in innovation, job creation, and public health protections by completing their state plans well in advance of the deadline and then implementing them effectively to cut emissions further and faster than required.
Under the Clean Power Plan, each state now has a carbon pollution target that it must meet starting in 2022 (expressed either as an emission rate in tons of CO2 per megawatt-hour of electricity generated or even more simply as a total mass in tons). Each state is free to meet its target any way it wants, and there is no reason for states to wait seven years to reap the benefits of clean energy. In fact, once states have a final plan, they can get extra credit for renewable energy and low-income energy efficiency projects completed before mandatory compliance begins. This is yet another reason governors should reject Mitch McConnell’s bad advice (in addition, if a state refuse to develop its own plan the Clean Air Act requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to directly regulate power plants within its borders).
Now, more than ever, our country needs bold leaders who will lay out clear plans to achieve more than 50 percent clean or carbon-free energy by 2030—putting us on the pathway to a 100 percent clean energy economy by 2050. And this groundbreaking Clean Power Plan is a critical foundation for reaching that goal.