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Clean Power Plan

The Clean Power Plan is a policy aimed at combating anthropogenic climate change (global warming) that was first proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency in June 2014, under the administration of US President Barack Obama.[1] The final version of the plan was unveiled by Obama on August 3, 2015.[2]


  • Aims 1
  • Requirements 2
  • 2015 announcement 3
  • Reception 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


The final version of the plan aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from electrical power generation by 32 percent within fifteen years relative to 2005 levels,[2] which is 2 percent more than the original proposal released in 2014.[3] The plan is focused on reducing emissions from coal-burning power plants.[4] White House officials also hope that the plan will persuade other countries that emit large amounts of carbon dioxide to sign up to reduce their emissions at a conference to be held in December 2015.[5]


The plan will require individual states to meet specific standards with respect to reduction of carbon emissions, depending on their energy consumption.[4] States are free to reduce emissions by any means they want, and must submit emissions reductions plans by 2018.[6] If a state has not submitted a plan by then, the EPA will impose its own on that state.[6]

States are to implement their plans by focusing on three building blocks: increasing the generation efficiency of existing coal plants, substituting lower carbon dioxide emitting gas generation for coal powered generation, and substituting generation from new zero carbon dioxide emitting renewable sources for coal powered generation.[7]

States may use regionally available low carbon generation sources when substituting for in-state coal generation and coordinate with other states to develop multi-state plans.[7]

2015 announcement

Obama announced the plan in a speech given at the White House on August 3, 2015. In his announcement, Obama stated that the plan includes the first standards on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants ever proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency.[8] He also called the plan "the single most important step that America has ever made in the fight against global climate change."[8] Obama called his plan "a moral obligation", making a reference to the encyclical Laudato si' by Pope Francis.[9]


The policy has been described as "[Obama's] most ambitious climate policy to date."[6] In response to Obama's 2015 announcement, hundreds of businesses voiced support for the plan, including eBay, Nestlé, and General Mills.[10]

The plan is also proving to be highly controversial, with a number of states first requesting a delay to the rule,[11] and suing the EPA over the action.[12] The states involved in the suit, led by West Virginia, include Alabama, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, South Carolina, and Wyoming.

Public opinion of the law suit is divided, with many believing that these states are actually already on track to meet the goals of the 2020 requirements laid out in the plan.[13][14]


  1. ^ "Clean Power Plan for Existing Power Plants". EPA. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Climate change: Obama unveils Clean Power Plan". BBC News. August 3, 2015. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  3. ^ Foster, Peter (3 August 2015). "Barack Obama unveils plan to tackle greenhouse gases and climate change". The Telegraph. Retrieved 3 August 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Malloy, Allie (August 3, 2015). "Obama unveils major climate change proposal". CNN. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  5. ^ Roberts, Dan (August 3, 2015). "'"Obama unveils sweeping cuts to power plant emissions: 'We have to get going. The Guardian. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c Plumer, Brad (August 3, 2015). "Obama just released his most ambitious climate policy yet — the Clean Power Plan". Vox. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b "FACT SHEET: Overview of the Clean Power Plan". United States EPA. Retrieved 1 September 2015. 
  8. ^ a b Perkins, Lucy (3 August 2015). "'"President Obama Unveils New Power Plant Rules In 'Clean Power Plan. NPR. Retrieved 3 August 2015. 
  9. ^ Davenport, Coral; Davis, Julie Hirschfeld (August 3, 2015). "Move to Fight Obama’s Climate Plan Started Early".  
  10. ^ Vaughan, Adam (3 August 2015). "Obama's clean power plan hailed as US's strongest ever climate action". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 August 2015. 
  11. ^ States seek delay of EPA climate change rule TheHill
  12. ^ 12 states sue the EPA over proposed power plant regulations - LA Times
  13. ^ States Sue the EPA Over Clean Power Plan, Disprove Their Own Argument with Existing Efforts to Reduce Carbon Emissions - The Equation
  14. ^ Clean Power Rule Challenges Will Proceed Sooner Or Later, But Its Goal May Already Be Close At Hand « Breaking Energy - Energy industry news, analysis, and commentary

External links

  • How dirty is your air? This map shows you. (Yale)
  • Could Obama’s Clean Power Plan Lower Your Electric Bill?
  • How Obama’s New Clean Power Plan Might Be Just Enough To Stave Off A Climate Catastrophe
  • The White House climate change page
  • EPA clean power plan page
  • Whitehouse Fact Sheet on 2015 carbon pollution standards
  • EPA clean power plan – final rules for modified and reconstructed power plants
  • EPA clean power plan – final rules for existing power plants
  • EPA: Regulatory impact analysis of the final standards (Modified and reconstructed electric utility generating units)
  • EPA webinar
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