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Cutting Carbon Pollution, Achieving Climate and Consumer Benefits

The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed rules to limit carbon emissions from existing and new power plants

Power plants are the largest source of U.S. climate altering pollution, responsible for nearly 40 percent of our emissions.

For more than a century, fossil fuel-burning plants have been spewing carbon into the atmosphere without limits, raising the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide to dangerous levels. In fact, climate change is already increasing the number of extreme weather events, which will continue to surge if immediate action is not taken to stabilize the climate. That’s why it’s critical that the U.S. government is proposing to put an end to an era of dumping unlimited carbon pollution into our air. Doing so not only will help get our climate pollutants under control, it also sends a message to the global community that the U.S. is serious about addressing the global climate crisis.

At the same time, it offers the long-overdue opportunity to modernize and clean up America’s energy sector, driving both innovation and investment in clean energy and efficiency and giving consumers more choices about how and when they use energy, as well as the type of energy they use.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and states have ample tools to ensure household consumers are protected from unfair price increases during the transition to a clean energy economy. Public Citizen has been working with EPA to identify model state programs that achieve both climate and consumer benefits, and helps implement fair rules that allow families to access cost-competitive rooftop solar and energy efficiency. In fact, the benefits from less carbon pollution are likely to follow the successes of other air-pollution safeguards, which the dirty energy industry falsely predicted would raise energy prices and hurt the economy, rather Clean Air Act safeguards including reduction of sulfur and nitrogen oxides prevents thousands of premature deaths, emergency room visits and asthma attacks each year. The proposed EPA rules for existing and new plants, if written correctly, will be the most important tool we have to reduce climate disruption while protecting consumers’ pocketbook and health.

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