This week, the Obama administration and the Environmental Protection Agency put the finishing touches on their “Clean Power Plan.”
The finalized version is both more and less ambitious than the initial proposal released last year. The plan will now cut carbon emissions from U.S. power plants by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, instead of 30 percent. At the same time, states now have until 2022, rather than 2020, to meet their first set of midway targets.
Moreover, Mike Grunwald’s dissection of the plan in Politico pointed out that the U.S. is already 15.4 percent below 2005 levels. So we’re well on our way to hitting the target. A lot of that drop was due to the recession, so there’s no guarantee it would continue without regulatory intervention. But what the plan largely does is lock in trend lines the U.S. economy was already on — and maybe nudge us slightly past them.
Another bit of evidence the plan is actually pretty weak tea: It almost certainly won’t raise energy prices. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates the average American utility bill will actually go down $85 as a result of the Clean Power Plan.