March 3, 2013

Next Step: Existing Electric Power Plants

Electric power plants spew about 40 percent of the carbon dioxide pollution in the United States, but, amazingly, there are no federal limits on utility emissions of this potent greenhouse gas. The Obama administration plans to remedy this situation by drafting rules that would curtail these discharges from existing plants. The president should make sure they are tough. Nothing he can do will cut greenhouse gases more.

To achieve these reductions, the rules should favor making homes, buildings and power plants more energy efficient over the more costly conversion of coal-fired plants to natural gas. Expanding energy efficiency will reduce electricity demand and eliminate the need for the coal plants. Closing them is better than converting them to gas.

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