Obama announces climate change plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

by Sarah Thamer

President Obama announced a plan on Monday to mandate reduced greenhouse gas emissions from the United States’ coal-burning power plants in an effort to combat climate change.

"Today after working with states and cities and power companies, the EPA is setting the first ever nationwide standards to end the limitless dumping of carbon pollution from power plants," said Obama, according to CNN.

The Clean Power Plan is part of the Environmental Protection Agency which will require states to meet specific carbon emission reduction standards based on the states’ energy consumption.

The plan is to cut nationwide carbon dioxide emissions 32 percent by 2030, the Star Tribune reports.

“States have until 2018 to submit their final emission reduction plans to the EPA. After that, the reductions begin in gradual step-down phases beginning in 2022 through 2029, with the final targets to be met in 2030,” according to the Star Tribune.

States that do not file for a plan will be forced to use a federal model.

USA Today reports that the plan raises concerns – “Democratic presidential candidates praised the plan as a good way to confront the challenges of climate challenge; Republicans cast it as over-regulation that will reduce jobs and inflate utility bills, and vowed to change it if elected.”

“Coal supplied 37% of U.S. electricity in 2012, compared to 30% from natural gas, 19% from nuclear power plants, 7% from hydropower sources such as dams and 5% from renewable sources such as wind and solar, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration,” reports CNN.

Obama will soon travel to Nevada to speak at the National Clean Energy Summit.