The Obama administration on Monday unveiled sweeping new regulations to limit carbon emissions, but some in the environmental community say the plan is not aggressive enough.
Within minutes of the Environmental Protection Agency’s release of the proposal — which calls for a 30 percent reduction in carbon pollution by 2030 and tasks states with figuring out how to meet that goal — some environmental groups cast the rules as merely a modest starting point in the fight against climate change.
“The proposed carbon pollution standard is just one step. To keep our climate stable, we must rapidly shift our energy production away from the highest-polluting fossil fuels and accelerate our transition to truly clean, renewable energy generation,” said Amanda Starbuck, climate program director at the Rainforest Action Network. “The proposed rule is not yet enough to slow global warming and not yet enough to inspire the world to make the necessary deep cuts in climate pollution. That is why we will be working hard the next year to include much deeper cuts in the final rule.”
The proposal won’t be finalized until next year.
Other organizations still believe a nationwide cap-and-trade system is the best option for reducing carbon. Such a plan was rejected by Congress in 2010.
“We, like many others, continue to believe that economy-wide carbon pricing is the best approach. But as long as this Congress won’t act, the law and the science demand that the administration use the tools at its disposal,” said Eileen Claussen, president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. “In our view, EPA’s proposal is a good starting point.”
Other powerful environmental groups lauded President Obama for sticking to his promise to take dramatic action on climate change.
“Today, the president made good on his promise to American families that his administration would tackle the climate crisis, and clean up and modernize the way we power our country,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club.