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For Immediate Release, September 20, 2013

Contact:  Bill Snape, (202) 536-9351,  

Obama's Power Plant Pollution Proposal Not Enough to Fight Climate Crisis

Administration Must Strengthen Proposed Rules, Take Further Action to
Address Growing Global Warming Threats

WASHINGTON— The Obama administration’s newly announced power plant emission control standards will not cut greenhouse gas pollution enough to help head off catastrophic global warming, says the Center for Biological Diversity. The Environmental Protection Agency’s New Source Performance Standards for new power plants  — which the administration was already required by law to develop — will make only modest cuts to power plant emissions over the coming years, even as scientists point to alarming new evidence of the growing risks of climate change. 

“If we’re really serious about tackling the climate crisis – and morality dictates that we must be – we just have to do more than this,” said Bill Snape, the Center’s senior counsel. “That means a stronger rule for power plants and other serious measures that lead to deep cuts in greenhouse emissions.”

After years of work, the EPA proposed standards for carbon dioxide emissions from new fossil fuel-fired power plants in April 2012 but, after intense pressure from the coal industry, the agency announced that a new proposed rule would be issued. In June, the president ordered the agency to re-release the rules as part of his new action plan on climate issues.

The measure announced today is aimed at fulfilling the Obama administration’s pledge to put the United States on the path to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 4 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. But such a reduction falls far short of what the U.S. pledged in the Kyoto Protocol and would not be enough to avert catastrophic temperature increases, sea level rise, droughts, floods and other climate disruption.

“These modest measures to cut power plant pollution are not enough to address the worsening climate crisis,” Snape said. “We see the signs of climate chaos around us every day, whether it’s catastrophic storms or shattered temperature records. If we don’t get our act together now and make serious cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, we’ll put our country at risk and damage our climate beyond the ability of future generations to repair.”

The president’s own scientists have predicted more climate chaos to come if ambitious steps aren’t taken to reduce carbon pollution. As temperatures rise, America will face a growing risk of extreme weather. Climate disruption has already increased the risk from some types of weather-related disasters, including last year’s brutal heat wave in America, according to a key scientific report released earlier this month by scientists from around the world.

The Clean Air Act provides proven successful programs to achieve science-based greenhouse pollution reductions, which is why dozens of communities around the country have already joined the Clean Air Cities campaign by passing resolutions urging the Obama administration to implement the Clean Air Act for ambitious greenhouse pollution cuts.  

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 625,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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