The Clean Power Plan, will Canada follow suit?

Today, President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) released the Clean Power Plan (the “Plan”), a 645-page rule created to curb global warming.

Amongst other things, the rule seeks to cut carbon emissions by 30% from 2005 levels by 2030. Under the rule, States must submit initial compliance plans by June 2016. Each state will be left to develop its own strategy for complying with the new guidelines. To read the Plan, if you have time, click here.

A summary of the Plan is can be gleaned directly from the Plan itself:

“Nationwide, by 2030, this rule would achieve CO2 emission reductions from the power sector of approximately 30 percent from CO2 emission levels in 2005. This goal is achievable because innovations in the production, distribution and use of electricity are already making the power sector more efficient and sustainable while maintaining an affordable, reliable and diverse energy mix.

“This proposed rule would reinforce and continue this progress. The EPA projects that, in 2030, the significant reductions in the harmful carbon pollution and in other air pollution, to which this rule would lead, would result in net climate and health benefits of US$48 billion to US$82 billion.”

Will the Plan result in legal challenges? Quite probably. One such challenge could be whether the EPA has overstepped its authority. A public comment period could also result in changes to the Plan.

Finally, will Canada follow in the footsteps of our southern neighbours? After all, didn’t Mr. Harper state that he would be acting “in concert” with the US on these matters? In the wake of the Copenhagen Summit on climate change (2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference), Mr. Harper announced that:

“[i]f the Americans don’t act, it will severely limit our ability to act. But if the Americans do act, it is essential that we act in concert with them.”

I’m on the edge of my seat…

By James Early