Earth News Journal 12: EPA Greenhouse Gases Limit

The Environmental Protection Agency is looking to initiate restrictions on carbon emissions from new power plants located in the United States, according to The New York Times’ Michael Wines.

President Obama urged the E.P.A. to address several issues concerning global climate change at a summit meeting in June 2013.

In early September, the Protection Agency announced its first plan is to limit greenhouse gas emissions from newly built power plants. A limit of 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour would be emplaced on clean gas plants, while a limit of 1,400 pounds per megawatt-hour would be set for coal-fired plants.

The coal industry is planning a counter-attack in court, according to some analysts, because these power plants feel that the restrictions are set at an unfeasible level. Other experts believe the new rules would force coal plants “to use carbon-capture technologies before they are ready” to convert to eco-friendly models.

On the other side, those who support strict limits on greenhouse-gas pollution believe that carbon-capture principles have been widely used for decades in other fields, without a loss in revenue. Megan Ceronsky, a lawyer with the Environmental Defense Fund’s climate and air program argues that power companies are likely to find it far easier and cheaper to adopt new technologies than they now believe.

Mr. Obama urged the E.P.A. to create restrictions on power plant emissions currently in use by June 2015.

Reflection

Power plants fueled by coal shouldn’t even be built nowadays, in my opinion. Coal is a non-renewable resource that, when burned, emits heavy concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. These gases, in turn, disrupt the natural protection of the ozone layer in the stratosphere, allowing more harmful ultraviolet radiation to penetrate the Earth’s surface. Coal power plants are also notorious for being unsafe in terms of working conditions. With all of the soot and smog wafting through the air, lung diseases and other dangerous side effects are bound to appear among the staff. Instead of curbing the amount of carbon emitted from coal-fueled plants, we as a society should be investing our energies into a more sustainable energy source, one that will last us until the end of time. Natural-born energy providers, such as water, air, and solar are perpetual and infinitely bound in cycles – why aren’t we harvesting these technologies, yet relying on resources that have been depleting for years now? It’s up to the current generation, a group of individuals who have been continually reminded of the threats posed to our fragile environmental state, to actively set this change in motion. Americans who believe that exploiting the environment is a necessary precaution for energy means are completely disregarding the reality of the current situation. But those who have grown up with the warnings, the hazards, and the dangers of environmental unconsciousness must take the discipline upon themselves to curb this addiction to non-renewable fuels. Because if they don’t, we don’t, do anything to positively reinforce renewable sources of energy – who will? 

Wines, Michael. “E.P.A. Is Expected to Set Limits on Greenhouse Gas Emissions by New Power Plants.” The New York TImes. N.p., 13 Sept. 2013. Web. 24 Sept. 2013.

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