Obama to make appliances cost more to save planet from global warming, Obama's climate plan seen putting heat on power plants, appliances:
The president will soon outline the climate plan in a highly anticipated speech, and though official details are still under wraps, a top White House official said this week the president’s agenda will focus broadly on EPA regulations, energy efficiency and renewable power.
While the climate speech isn’t likely to touch on the Keystone XL oil pipeline, the controversial project that has spawned a massive opposition campaign among the president’s liberal base, it is expected to involve these measures:
POWER PLANT CLAMPDOWN
All eyes are on the EPA, the federal agency in charge of writing and implementing what are likely to be some of the most controversial regulations in the president’s second term: limiting carbon emissions from both new and existing power plants.
Heather Zichal, the White House energy adviser, suggested Wednesday that the EPA is committed to moving forward with climate regulations for power plants, particularly from the fleet of coal-fired plants that have traditionally provided the bulk of the country’s electricity. Power plants are the biggest source of U.S. carbon emissions.
“Going forward, obviously the EPA is going to be working very hard on rules that focus specifically on greenhouse gas emissions from the coal sector. They’re doing a lot of important work in that space,” she said in a speech in which she promised “meaningful action” in Obama’s second term.
(Also on POLITICO: Boehner: More energy regs ‘absolutely crazy’)
While Zichal did not offer details, observers and former Obama administration officials say the plan will call for EPA to go beyond its current efforts to limit carbon emission from new power plants to implement rules on power generating stations that are already in operation.
One leading environmentalist who has been in contact with the White House is “totally confident” that the administration is preparing to move forward with regulations for existing plants — a move that green groups see as crucial in the fight against climate change.
The plans for EPA regulations aren’t entirely new – regulators, lawyers, lobbyists and Washington insiders have been parsing the Clean Air Act’s options for regulating carbon emissions from power plants since cap and trade went down in flames in Congress. But the government’s efforts have been on hold since early last year, when EPA officials abruptly shut down talk of new regulations.
Any new restrictions will surely trigger a legal fight. Power companies and states that will be hit hardest by the regulations are certain to drag the rules through the courts and could delay their implementation for years.
But Obama doesn’t appear to be backing away from the contentious issue, as his speech at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin Wednesday showed. “Our dangerous carbon emissions have come down, but we know we have to do more, and we will do more,” Obama told the crowd.
And despite the lack of action so far in his second term, many climate action advocates remain hopeful Obama is now ready to make a move.
“I think the president does genuinely care about making progress on climate change. He thinks it’s an urgent priority for him and the world,” said Jason Bordoff a former top energy adviser to Obama.
A Democrat close to the president said Obama had lots he would like to do on climate, but faced significant political hurdles.
“The question is, what’s the most he can do with executive mechanisms like the EPA? I think he’s being very pragmatic about it,” the Democrat said.