Washington: The US will cut carbon emission from existing power plants, the single largest source of carbon pollution in the world`s largest economy, by 30 % by 2030, an ambitious target that marks the first-ever attempt at limiting such pollution.
In a major development, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also announced to cut by 2030 particle pollution, nitrogen oxides and sulphur dioxide by more than 25 % as a co-benefit.
The Clean Power Plan released by EPA for the first time cuts carbon pollution from existing power plants, the single largest source of carbon pollution in the US.
The series of steps announced by EPA would avoid up to 6,600 premature deaths, up to 150,000 asthma attacks in children, and up to 490,000 missed work or school days.
It would provide up to USD 93 billion in climate and public health benefits.
By 2030, it would also shrink electricity bills roughly eight % by increasing energy efficiency and reducing demand in the electricity system.
The 30 % reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions by 2030 from plants will be based on emission levels from 2005.
"Climate change, fuelled by carbon pollution, supercharges risks to our health, our economy, and our way of life. EPA is delivering on a vital piece of President Obama`s Climate Action Plan by proposing a Clean Power Plan that will cut harmful carbon pollution from our largest source--power plants," said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.
"By leveraging cleaner energy sources and cutting energy waste, this plan will clean the air we breathe while helping slow climate change so we can leave a safe and healthy future for our kids," McCarthy said.
"We don`t have to choose between a healthy economy and a healthy environment--our action will sharpen America`s competitive edge, spur innovation, and create jobs," McCarthy said.
According to EPA, the Clean Power Plan will be implemented through a state-federal partnership under which states identify a path forward using either current or new electricity production and pollution control policies to meet the goals of the proposed programme.
The proposal provides guidelines for states to develop plans to meet state-specific goals to reduce carbon pollution and gives them the flexibility to design a programme that makes the most sense for their unique situation.
States can choose the right mix of generation using diverse fuels, energy efficiency and demand-side management to meet the goals and their own needs.
It allows them to work alone to develop individual plans or to work together with other states to develop multi-state plans, EPA said.
Senator Barbara Boxer, Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, said the proposal is a win-win-win for the American people, as it will protect health, saving thousands of lives, create thousands of jobs, and America will finally lead on a path to averting the most calamitous impacts of climate change -- such as sea level rise, dangerous heat waves, and economic disruption.
"Today`s Clean Power Plan unites our country in working to take on the largest source of carbon emissions together.? I applaud the president for his leadership for moving forward with this rule," said Senator Tom Carper, a senior member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Ranking Member, Henry A Waxman, described the project as a major step forward.
"Acting now will protect public health, slow global warming, and create new clean energy jobs. Doing nothing will lead to catastrophic changes in the climate and endanger our health and economy. The proposal takes the nation in the right direction at a crucial crossroads," he said.