With the Obama administration leaving office and the Trump administration about to enter the White House, what happens to the Clean Power Plan that aims to cut carbon dioxide emissions? With that, the current Environmental Protection Agency is issuing a paper and saying that carbon releases are a quarter less now than they were in 2005.
In a blog post, EPA’s top air regulator Janet McCabe says that businesses across the country are interested in keeping the rule and in staying in compliance. While the Clean Power Plan is now being challenged, one of the ideas to reduce those releases has been cap-and-trade — a free market approach that sets a ceiling and then gradually lowers it. Entities that stay within the limit are able to sell credits to those that are unable. It has worked in the Northeast and in California.
“We believe that the work we have done so far may be useful at this time to the states, stakeholders and members of the public who are considering or are already implementing policies and programs that would cut carbon pollution from the power sector,” writes McCabe. “These drafts may be especially helpful to states considering the use of emissions trading programs or the expansion of existing trading programs, since one of the chief areas of focus of the draft Model Rules is emissions trading.”
Critics have called cap-and-trade a burden on businesses, saying that it places a tax on the production of electricity and thereby raising the cost of running operations. Setting aside the argument of manmade carbon releases and the effect they are having on climate change, opponents of the policy also argue that carbon is a universal problem and that regional efforts won’t do any good.
EPA’s docket will remain open, the EPA air chief adds, with the potential for completing the agency’s work on these materials and finalizing them at a later date.