Obama to unveil power plant emission standards

President Barack Obama is soon to roll out a package of climate change measures, according to numerous media reports. Obama is committing to a plan that would cap greenhouse gas emissions from power plants that already exist.

The Obama administration and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have already begun steps to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from newly built power plants, but regulation the nation’s existing power generation fleet could prove a more contentious battle.

In the absence of energy policy legislation from Congress, White House officials are telling media outlets that because of the time-consuming nature of such rules, the president wants to begin the process soon, and is examining ways in which the executive branch could pursue energy policy without the need for legislative action or the approval of Congress.

The new rules for power plants appear to be just one facet of a wider climate change push. According to the White House, the new set of policies will also include new initiatives on renewable energy and energy efficiency.

During a recent trip to Germany, Obama praised the country’s leadership for confronting climate change by investing in renewable energy and working to cut carbon emissions.

“This is the global threat of our time,” Obama said in Berlin. “We have to get to work.”

While the Supreme Court has supported the EPA’s legal authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, Republicans and some Democrats have not historically supported legislation that would set a nationwide limit on emissions.

In Obama’s first term, bills to establish a carbon cap and trading system failed to earn enough support to pass. Legislation to create a federal renewable energy standard faced the same fate.

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