What President Obama’s Clean Power Plan Actually Means

President Obama’s Clean Power Plan has one goal: to cut the carbon pollution that is driving climate change.

To do so, the Plan specifically targets power plants that burn coal. Burning coal releases carbon dioxide, a powerful “greenhouse gas” causing the planet to heat up beyond normal levels. It’s this abnormal warming that is leading to more extreme weather events, increasing the spread of infectious diseases, and worsening health problems like asthma and heart attacks. Because power plants are the largest source of carbon pollution in the U.S., the Clean Power Plan has made them the priority.

In doing so, the U.S. will be on track to cut carbon pollution from the power sector by 32 percent in 2030. That would reduce carbon pollution by nearly 870 million tons below 2005 levels. America has been reducing its use of coal for a while now, but the Clean Power Plan accelerates the process and creates momentum to achieve even bigger reductions while giving states the flexibility to figure out how they will achieve individual clean power goals. Meanwhile, the Plan ensures that we will all enjoy reliable and affordable electricity.

Inherent in the plan is the belief that the benefits of using clean energy like solar and wind far outweigh the cost of transitioning to these safer forms of energy. By 2030, emissions of sulfur dioxide from power plants will be 90 percent lower compared to 2005 levels, and emissions of nitrogen oxides will be 72 percent lower. Says the EPA: “Because these pollutants can create dangerous soot and smog, the historically low levels mean we will avoid thousands of premature deaths and have thousands fewer asthma attacks and hospitalizations in 2030 and every year beyond.”

To get some perspective, reducing polluting emissions from coal-fired plants to the degree required by the Clean Power Plan will be like eliminating the annual emissions from 166 million cars, or 70 percent of our country’s passenger vehicles.

Another big benefit of the Clean Power Plan is that it will help the U.S. avoid long-lasting changes to the climate. Extreme weather events like hurricanes and droughts have taken a significant toll on people and the planet, and unless we reduce the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, these consequences will become not just devastating, but irreversible. We cannot stop climate change unless we stop burning coal.

Practically speaking, consumers won’t be inconvenienced in the least as power plants transition away from coal and towards safer, cleaner energy sources. In fact, just the opposite is true. The Clean Power Plan will lead to double the amount of energy we get from solar and wind, compared to 2013 levels.

Want to learn more? Get all the details about the Clean Power Plan from the EPA here.

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Christine Ko
.3 years ago

Nice to know that

Jim Ven
Jim Ven3 years ago

thanks for the article.

Jim Ven
Jim Ven3 years ago

thanks for the article.

Carole R.
Carole R3 years ago

Thanks for posting.

Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgen3 years ago

Thank you

Quanta Kiran
Quanta Kiran3 years ago


Janis K.
Janis K3 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Bill Eagle
Bill E3 years ago

The President is supporting alternative fuels, and energy independence. For some reason the GOP seems to hate this idea?
Why is this?
Do they really hate the idea or are they in the financial pocket of the fossil fuel industry?
We so need to get big money out of politics.

yvonne garcia rice
Past Member 3 years ago

Now, if he'd stop those drone strikes!!!