A new plan of US President Barack Obama to tackle climate change includes slashing emission from the power sector by ambitious 32 per cent as well as a more aggressive shift towards renewables.
The final version of the Clean Power Plan, to be released on Monday, is set to become Obama’s climate change legacy. Compared to an earlier version, the plan increases the emission reduction target from the energy sector by further 9 per cent based on 2005 levels, requiring a faster phase-out of coal-fired power plants.
"My administration will release the final version of America's Clean Power Plan, the biggest, most important step we have ever taken to combat climate change," Obama said in a video posted by the White House.
However, opponents, mostly industry groups from coal-reliant states, have already voiced their protest against the proposed measures and said they will challenge the plan in the courts. They said the rule would only drive up energy prices for consumers.
Obama defended the plan, stating it is the first time ever there will be a federal limit on carbon pollution from power plants, which present the biggest source of US greenhouse gas emissions.
The plan will be central to the United States' contribution to a United Nations agreement to tackle climate change, in which the Obama administration has vowed to play a leading role.
According to the plan, each state will be obliged to submit a strategy to the US Environmental Protection Agency detailing how it wants to meet the requested emission reduction goals.
Five governors who have opposed the rule have already said they will not comply.
The plan expects faster deployment of renewable energy generation capacity that should achieve 28 per cent of the US energy mix by 2030 and warns against an ‘early rush to gas away from coal’.
The rule will reward states that take early action to deploy renewable energy generation before 2022 and put energy efficiency measures in place to help low-income communities.