climate legislation 2014President Obama is taking on climate change – big time.   Sources with direct knowledge of the situation have told the New York Times that the president will soon use his executive authority to put fourth a proposed global warming regulation to cut pollution from American’s coal-powered power plants by up to 20 percent, the boldest move that any President has ever taken on climate change thus far.   Here’s a closer look at the potential positives and negatives, should this take effect:

The Good

  • Reduced greenhouse gases: According to the New York Times story, coal plants are the No. 1 contributor to the greenhouse gases that are wreaking havoc on the environment. The measure is seen as a big part of the Obama administration’s goal to reduce pollution over a six-year period.
  • Clean energy: In order to comply with the regulation, coal plants will have to adopt more clean energy options, such as wind and solar power, or other energy-efficient technology.
  • It’s worked before: A similar initiative and cap-and-trade program has been previously adopted by manufacturing facilities in northeastern states. Power plant pollution in such states has been reduced by 40 percent and $1.6 billion in new revenue has also been generated.

The Bad

  • Cap-and-trade: Republicans aren’t in favor of this, namely because they fear that energy prices may soon rise. Why? Because of a cap-and-trade plan, which essentially would be pollution taxes in this case, forcing plants to pay for the pollution that they create. But the effect that this cap-and-trade program will have on power plants and the economy depends on what political party you listen to, as evidenced by the example of it under the prior section.
  • Many coal plants may be forced to shut down across the country if they fail to meet the regulations set forth and long-term goals of President Obama’s initiative, which translates directly to job loss. And job growth, not job loss, is key to growing to the economy.
  President Obama’s move is a bold, potentially administration-defining tactic that has good intentions for the environment but questionable intentions for the economy and manufacturing. It could have a direct effect on mining, specifically, as this industry could be greatly reduced in the United States as more clean energy begins to take over in the manufacturing sector. However, the carbon emissions rule appears to be inevitable, as the President is expected to use his executive order on it.
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  • Amy Donahue

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