Trump ditches sole climate rule that aimed to reduce coal plant pollution

(The Guardian, 19 Jun 2019) Donald Trump’s administration is finalizing plans to roll back the US government’s only direct efforts to curb coal-fired power plant pollution that is heating the planet.

Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency will replace an Obama-era climate change rule with a regulation that experts warn could help some of America’s oldest and dirtiest coal plants to keep running.

Obama’s Clean Power Plan would have pushed power companies to shift away from coal and toward natural gas and renewable power. Trump’s rule instead sets out ways for states to direct coal plants to increase their efficiency, with hardware fixes or operational changes.

Trump’s rule will not significantly tackle the heat-trapping gases entering the atmosphere that cause extreme heatwaves, floods and other disasters. And it will lead to higher levels of air pollution, compared with the Clean Power Plan.

“I believe this is the first rule in EPA’s history that acknowledges the existential threat of climate change but by the agency’s own admission does absolutely nothing to stop it,” said Obama’s EPA chief Gina McCarthy. “The Trump administration has made painfully clear that they are incapable of rising to the challenge and tackling this crisis. They have shown a callous disregard for EPA’s mission, a pattern of climate science denial, and an inexcusable indifference to the consequences of climate change.”

But the Trump administration is defending the change, arguing it is limited by law in how it can regulate the emissions that cause rising temperatures.

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The Guardian, 19 Jun 2019: Trump ditches sole climate rule that aimed to reduce coal plant pollution