US President Barack Obama has released the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan that establishes standards to curb CO2 emissions from power plants in the country.
The plan envisages carbon emission reductions from power plants by 870 million tons or 32% below 2005 levels in 2030.
This includes reduction of sulfur dioxide emissions by 90% and nitrogen oxides by 72%.
The new measures, which expand the role of renewable energy, are expected to help accelerate the US’ transition to clean energy.
The power plants account for approximately one-third of all carbon pollution emissions in the US, EPA said.
The plan provides guidelines for the states to follow while developing their respective plans. The EPA is proposing a model rule for the states to adopt, and also a federal plan that will be implemented if the states fail to submit an adequate plan.
EPA administrator Gina McCarthy said: "The valuable feedback we received means the final Clean Power Plan is more ambitious yet more achievable, so states can customize plans to achieve their goals in ways that make sense for their communities, businesses and utilities."
Standards to cut carbon pollution from new, modified and reconstructed power plants have also been finalized.
EPA said that a final plan from the states is expected by 6 September 2016.
According to the agency, implementation of the plan will help avoid up to 90,000 asthma attacks and provide Americans up to 300,000 more days in the office or the classroom.
Obama said: "We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science — and act before it’s too late.
"We are the first generation to feel the impacts of climate change, and the last generation to be able to do something about it."
Image: Power plants account to about one-third of all carbon emissions in the US. Photo: courtesy of worradmu / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.