The U.S. Can Do Better Than the Clean Power Plan

The U.S. Can Do Better Than the Clean Power Plan

(Full op-ed is in The Hill)

Opposition to the Clean Power Plan (CPP) isn’t synonymous with opposition to science. In my case, it’s opposition to bad policy.

When introduced, the CPP was promoted as “the result of unprecedented outreach to states, tribes, utilities, stakeholders and the public”. It’s objective was to reduce carbon emissions from the U.S. power sector to levels 32% below 2005 levels and provide an example for the world to follow. To do so, it proposed three building blocks: 1) Improve heat rates at coal-fired power plants; 2) Increase generation from lower-emitting natural gas combined cycle plants; and 3) Incorporate more renewable energy.

Tens of millions of dollars (federal, state and industry actors) were likely expended in this unprecedented two-year outreach effort only to conclude with a rule mandating that the U.S. electric power sector carry on with what it was already doing.

The CPP was simplistic and misdirected, and the U.S. can do better than this with a more coordinated approach to cooperative federalism that empowers our states and national energy labs to collaborate with other federal agencies and state universities in the development of advanced energy technologies, particularly nuclear and CCS, in order to really impact carbon emissions at the global scale.

The issue is global climate, and it will require high-tech global solutions.


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