EPA Proposes Plan to Cut Carbon Emissions 30 Percent by 2030, And That's a Big Deal for Coal

Lovers of all things green, rejoice: the U.S. plans to unveil its biggest step yet toward tackling climate change on Monday. An EPA proposal would cut carbon emissions 30 percent by 2030 at the country's power plants, and it's sure to raise the hackles of the industry that would be the most affected by the new rules: coal.

It's also probably a pretty good idea, given that pretty much all of science agrees that we are essentially already careering toward total environmental disaster thanks to human-caused global warming and resultant climate change. President Obama plans to use executive authority to put the rules in place thanks to gridlock in Congress and a huge lobbying effort intended to derail additional regulations aimed at the industry.

Obama hinted at the measures, which The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal reported will be announced tomorrow, in his weekly address on Saturday.

Today, about 40 percent of America’s carbon pollution comes from power plants. But right now, there are no national limits to the amount of carbon pollution that existing plants can pump into the air we breathe. ... The shift to a cleaner energy economy won’t happen overnight, and it will require tough choices along the way. But a low-carbon, clean energy economy can be an engine of growth for decades to come.
Christof Koepsel/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The plan will be based on emissions levels from 2005. States will have differing reduction standards, with a national average of 25 percent by 2020 and 30 percent by 2030, the Journal reported. The coal industry will be the most affected by the plan, both the Journal and the Times reported, because coal-fired power plants are the largest source of greenhouse gases that speed up global warming.

The rule would be put in place in a year and states would have to submit plans for how they'll cut the carbon by 2016.