Conservative groups bid to wreck Obama’s proposals on carbon emissions

The Guardian reports: Business lobbies and conservative thinktanks have carried out a series of pre-emptive strikes aimed at wrecking Monday’s launch of Barack Obama’s historic climate plan.

The new rules – the first to cut carbon pollution from power plants – will define Obama’s environmental legacy and could break open negotiations for a global deal on climate change.

But well before their release, they set off duelling spin campaigns on the costs and benefits of the new rules, and their impact on climate change.

The new rules, which were written by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), will for the first time cut carbon pollution from the country’s power plants – the single biggest source of carbon dioxide emissions that cause climate change. [Continue reading…]

Scientific American notes: Media reports have suggested that EPA will implement the standards over two phases, starting out slowly and then requiring more aggressive cuts—up to 25 percent—past 2020. But a key component to how hard states have to work could be in the base-line year EPA uses. If the agency chooses to count reductions against a high-emissions year like 2005, a 25 percent reduction could be much easier than if it’s counted against 2012, said Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of geosciences and international affairs at Princeton University.

No matter how ambitious the standards are, the move is unlikely to do much for climate change on its own, say scientists. For that, there needs to be coordinated global action to reduce greenhouse gases. [Continue reading…]

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