State-by-State Resources to Better Understand EPA's Carbon Pollution Rule

June 2, 2014

In the wake of the EPA's proposed rule to limit carbon pollution in the power sector, the Georgetown Climate Center has compiled a number of state-by-state resources and relevant information to help improve understanding of the new rule.  For a full list of Georgetown Climate Center resources about the EPA rule, click here.

Gubernatorial Statements and State Fact Sheets

Following the rollout of the EPA's proposed rule, a number of states provided fact sheets about their own carbon reduction and clean energy programs. Governors across the country have also made statements in support of the rule. 



State Fact Sheets:

Some states have also developed fact sheets that describe how their states are achieving carbon pollution reductions in the power sector using approaches that are providing economic and health benefits to the their residents.


New Guide Highlights EPA Goals for Each State

The Georgetown Climate Center has compiled data from EPA's supporting documents to help states, reporters, and stakeholders better understand what the new carbon pollution limits in the power sector mean for each state.

While the proposed rule is intended to reduce carbon pollution 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 nationwide, each state will be expected to meet different targets. States are given individual carbon intensity goals to meet in 2030.

This quick reference guide compares current state carbon dioxide intensity levels with EPA's proposed state goals.  It also identifies the percentage change necessary to achieve state goals.
As has been widely reported, the EPA is providing states and regions significant flexibility to meet the targets in a way that makes the most sense for their communities.

Click here to download the reference guide.


High-Level Summary of EPA’s Proposed Carbon Pollution Standards

The EPA has proposed carbon pollution standards for existing power plants that would allow states flexibility to build on existing programs and recent market trends.  The regulations are projected to achieve an overall average nationwide reduction of 30 percent by 2030 from 2005 through proposed individual rate-based carbon intensity goals for each state.

EPA will take comments on the proposal this summer, and will issue the final rule in June 2015.

According to EPA, the proposed rule would yield net climate and health benefits of $48 billion to $82 billion, and prevent 2,700 to 6,600 premature deaths and 140,000 to 150,000 child asthma attacks in 2030.  Power plants are the leading source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the United States, accounting for approximately 32 percent of emissions.

The proposed rule, which was issued June 2, would set individual rate-based carbon intensity goals for each state, based on a state's mix of energy sources and opportunities to achieve reductions.

EPA calculated the goals by taking into account four categories of potential emission reductions: heat rate improvement at fossil fuel power plants; shifting dispatch from coal to natural gas; increasing renewable and nuclear generation; and increasing demand-side energy efficiency. States may translate the rate-based goal established by EPA to a mass-based emission budget, and EPA seeks comment on possible analytic approaches states may use do so.

The proposal would require states to meet an interim goal expressed as an average annual emissions rate for years 2020 to 2029, and to meet a final, more stringent, emission-rate goal by 2030. States can meet the goal through a flexible combination of measures, including energy efficiency and renewable energy generation, and states can choose to collaborate and develop plans on a multi-state basis. EPA notes that states may build upon their existing programs, including the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, Colorado’s Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act, and California’s Global Warming Solutions Act, as the basis for compliance.

States will have until June 30, 2016 to submit plans for compliance; states that need additional time may request an additional year, while states participating in a multi-state program may have an additional two years to submit either separate plans or one joint plan.

The EPA is proposing the regulations under its authority to regulate carbon pollution under the Clean Air Act, which was affirmed by the Supreme Court in Massachusetts v. EPA. The standards are a key piece of President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan, which was announced in a speech at Georgetown University last June.

EPA conducted intensive outreach with states and other stakeholders over the past year to inform development of the proposed rule. In December 2013, state energy and environment leaders from 15 states urged EPA to propose a flexible federal framework that would allow states to build on existing state programs and achieve meaningful reductions in carbon pollution in a letter facilitated by the Georgetown Climate Center. 

The Georgetown Climate Center’s State Energy Analysis Tool provides data, maps, and graphs that may help illustrate how the new EPA rules may affect different states, and includes state-by-state breakdowns of the change in carbon pollution from 2005 to 2012. 

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