- CEOs from coal-heavy utilities Southern Company and AEP say the historic U.S.-China climate accord could seriously compromise electric reliability, Bloomberg reports.
- Nit Akins, CEO of American Electric Power, said the EPA's timeline for cutting emissions from power plants threatens to close coal generation facilities before alternative sources are available.
- Meanwhile, a director at the World Resources Institute told Bloomberg BNA the EPA emissions targets may not be enough to comply with the U.S.-China accord. He said the agency may need to regulate methane emissions from oil and gas drilling to meet the targets in the agreement.
EPA targets for emission reductions under the clean power plan may not be enough to cut greenhouse gasses to the level stipulated in the U.S.-China accord, World Resources Institute (WRI) U.S. Climate Initiative Director Kevin Kennedy told Bloomberg BNA.
More stringent reductions from power plants and stronger vehicle efficiency standards will also be necessary, he said.
EPA is currently studying the regulation of methane emissions from oil and gas drilling. WRI concluded more emissions reductions from power plants can be obtained because the falling cost of renewables and the increased potential in energy efficiency will allow more coal plant closures.
Thomas Fanning, CEO of Southern Company, said the proposed plant regulations are already too much.
“I don’t think we have the ability to maintain a reliable system” under the Clean Power Plan, he told Bloomberg.
Both President Obama and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy say getting more emissions reductions is “ambitious but achievable” through oil and gas sector methane emissions regulations, which the EPA plans to rule on this fall in response to a White House directive.
The President’s 2025 target follows an “interagency review of the available tools.” It is lower than the European Union’s goal of cutting emissions 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.The President’s 26% below 2005 levels translates to a 13% to 16% reduction from 1990 levels.
White House climate and energy adviser John Podesta said the new U.S. target is a 2.3% to 2.8% annual decrease in emissions between 2020 and 2025 and keeps the country on track to cut emissions 80% by 2050. That means "the U.S. is doing our part to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius,” he said.
The recent China, U.S., and EU emissions cut commitments suggest the world is moving toward international consensus.