The Obama administration recently announced a proposed rule for reducing emissions from existing power plants that would amount to about a 15% reduction in power plant emissions and a 5% reduction of total U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. While something like a nationwide carbon tax would be more cost-effective than this sector-specific approach that relies on the Clean Air Act’s regulatory mechanisms, the proposal does a good job of providing compliance flexibility, which is the key to containing costs.
With this in mind, it’s important to focus on how much flexibility states will have to reduce emissions over time, how these emission reductions will be measured, and whether adopting state-level carbon taxes would be permitted.
Read more about these issues in the Fortune op-ed “3 Questions for Obama’s Fight Against Climate Change.”
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[On the politics of climate impacts in the U.S.] The political alignment around climate impacts is almost the exact opposite of the political alignment around emissions control.
[On the geographic distribution of climate impacts in the U.S.] The damages to the Republican-electing congressional districts is almost double what it is for the Democratic-voting districts.