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Obama Administration Climate Change Plan announced

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

On 25th June 2013, President Obama announced his new Climate Action Plan. Its three main sections describe the planned regulations, rules and standards aimed at cutting releases of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from power plants, heavy vehicles and buildings; new steps to cut vulnerability to climate and coastal hazards; and a summary of international initiatives the administration plans to pursue with other countries.

The Obama Administration has additionally recommitted itself to its 2009 goal to reduce America’s greenhouse gas emissions in the range of 17% below 2005 levels by 2020.

Key areas targeted by the plan include:

  • Carbon pollution standards for both new and existing power plants. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been directed to complete carbon pollution standards for both new and existing power plants.
  • Doubled renewable energy generation by 2020.
  • Expansion and modernisation of the electric grid. Obama has directed federal agencies to streamline the siting, permitting and review process for transmission projects across federal, state and tribal governments.
  • Investment in fossil fuel projects. The Department of Energy (DOE) is directed to announce an US$ 8 billion loan guarantee program for a wide array of advanced fossil energy projects such as the avoidance, reduction, or sequestration of anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases.
  • Energy efficiency standards. Improved energy efficiency standards for appliances and federal buildings are targeted to reduce carbon pollution by three billion t.
  • Expansion of the President’s Better Buildings Challenge, with the aim of helping commercial and industrial buildings to become at least 20% more energy efficient by 2020.
  • Reducing methane emissions. The EPA and the Departments of Agriculture, Energy, Interior, Labor, and Transportation are directed to develop a comprehensive methane strategy.
  • Natural gas infrastructure and generation. The new Unconventional Gas Technical Engagement program has been established in order to facilitate the sharing of best practice in regards to water management, methane emissions, air quality, permitting, contracting, and pricing.
  • Natural gas vehicles. The administration is to encourage the adoption of heavy duty natural gas vehicles.

American Public Gas Association (APGA) comments:

The APGA has outlined its disappointment that the proposal does not take advantage of benefits that direct use of natural gas can bring to the nation. The APGA insists that the increased use of natural gas in homes and business should be part of the climate change plan.

However, the APGA is cautiously optimistic about the administration’s continued commitment to alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs).

Adapted from press release by Emma McAleavey

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