Global briefing: US rolls back coal plant emissions rules

US rolls back CO2 rules for new coal plants

The Trump administration has made yet further moves to roll back Obama-era green regulations, with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) yesterday announcing plans to relax emissions restrictions on new fossil fuel power plants, including coal facilities.

The Obama rules came into force in 2015 and placed heavy restrictions on the construction of new coal plants in the US, by requiring them to meet stringent emissions standards experts suggested could only by achieved with carbon capture and storage.

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Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler – a former coal lobbyist – said the rollback would remove “excessive burdens on America’s energy providers” and “level the playing field” in the country’s energy sector.

The EPA’s announcement also makes numerous references to “clean coal”, arguing that its plans are commensurate with “our responsibility to protect public health and the environment in a manner consistent with the requirements of the Clean Air Act”.  

Green campaigners criticised the move. “Any administration which is looking at reality would not be repealing this requirement, it would be looking at ways to extend it,” said David Doniger, senior strategic director of climate and clean energy at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “They are going exactly backwards.”

American poll uncovers strong support for climate action

In contrast to the EPA’s actions, almost three quarters of Americans think climate solutions should be a ‘bigger’ or ‘top’ priority in the US, according to a new survey released this week.

The latest American Climate Perspectives Survey 2018, carried out by ecoAmerica in October, garnered almost over

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