Catalyst Fall 2015


Together, We Strengthened the Clean Power Plan

UCS President Ken Kimmell

On behalf of UCS, I attended a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in which President Obama unveiled the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) final Clean Power Plan. The most ambitious measure to reduce U.S. global warming pollution in history, the plan aims to cut carbon dioxide emissions from our nation’s power plants by approximately 32 percent.

When the draft plan was announced, we at UCS praised it as a good first step—but we knew it could be stronger and we submitted detailed comments (111 pages long) to show how. We emphasized that the EPA had underestimated the role renewable energy could play, that the rule’s renewable energy goals could be strengthened based on the track record of the last five years, and that the rule needed to avoid encouraging overreliance on natural gas as a means of driving down emissions.

I am pleased to report that virtually all our recommendations are incorporated in the final plan. It is a remarkable achievement and a testament not only to our shared efforts and the efforts of climate activists across the country, but also to the president’s bold and visionary leadership. I am proud of the outstanding work our staff of scientists, economists, and analysts did on this important rule—efforts that were reinforced by the thousands of UCS supporters who urged the Obama administration to strengthen it. Together we made a difference in improving this landmark policy.

Ken Kimmell is president of UCS.