The Trump administration debuted its “Affordable Clean Energy” rule this week, with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler signing off on the move Wednesday, but according to researchers, the rule is a massive misnomer.
Tom Yulsman pointed out in a piece for Discover Magazine that CO2 emissions will actually increase under the new rule, and the amount of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide pollution will likely go up in many states, causing a negative impact on human health.
According to research published in April in the journal Environmental Research Letters, the increased emissions would be the result of a “rebound phenomenon”.
Yulsman writes: “Thanks to the efficiency improvements anticipated by the ACE plan, coal plants will operate more frequently, and for longer periods of time. That, in turn, will lead to increased CO2 emissions by 2050 compared to what would happen if there were no rule in place at all.”
And compared to former President Barack Obama’s 2015 Clean Power Plan, “national CO2 emissions are projected by the EPA to be 3.5% higher, sulfur dioxide emissions are projected to be 6% higher, and nitrogen oxide emissions are expected to be 5% higher under ACE in 2030.”
Rather than “set specific greenhouse gas emissions cuts for each state,” as did Obama’s plan, President Trump’s rule “allows state regulators to determine how utilities can improve efficiency and will not force companies to switch from coal to lower-carbon energy sources,” The Washington Post reported.
Study study co-author and Senior Advisor at Harvard’s Center for Climate, Health and the Global Environment Kathleen F. Lambert summed it up thusly: “The key takeaway is that ACE is a free pass for carbon emissions.”
Rather than a true clean energy plan, Trump's rule is a gift to the ailing fossil fuel industry.