Trump’s EPA just replaced Obama’s signature climate policy with a much weaker rule

The Environmental Protection Agency killed President Obama’s signature climate change policy, the Clean Power Plan. It’s one of the few definitive wins in the Trump administration’s full-court press to undo and weaken environmental regulations.

With the release of a replacement plan before an audience that included coal miners wearing reflective shirts and hard hats, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler finalized the end of the Clean Power Plan (CPP). The plan required states to meet targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and aimed to reduce US power sector emissions 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

The CPP’s replacement, the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule, is drastically weaker. The ACE rule would lower emissions between 0.7 percent and 1.5 percent by 2030. It also cements an alarming reversal in US greenhouse gas emissions trends. US greenhouse gas emissions are on the rise after years of decline.

According to some researchers, the new policy itself could actually increase greenhouse gas emissions, even compared to business as usual. And according to the EPA’s own assessments, the proposal will lead to thousands more deaths from air pollution.

According to a study published in April in Environmental Research Letters, the ACE rule would lead to 28 percent of the power plants modeled in the study to emit more carbon dioxide by 2030 compared to a scenario with no policy at all.

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