Instead of waiting around for Congress to approve the Waxman-Markey climate change bill, Obama has authorized the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to work toward the regulation of large industrial facilities. The announcement comes on the same day as a prediction by European scientists that a two-meter sea level rise is now unstoppable.
So while new regulation might not halt global warming, it will serve as proof at the Copenhagen summit that the United States is serious about climate change. The proposed regulations aren’t that stringent–they affect only facilities that release at least 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide and other pollutants each year, or the equivalent of the annual energy use of 2,200 homes. But the 14,000 coal and industrial plants that fall under the EPA’s scrutiny probably won’t be too happy, as evidenced by their bungled astroturf anti-regulation rallies.
The EPA regulations, which could go into effect by 2011, aren’t a done deal. They still have to go through a period of comments and reviews, and affected industries will probably try to launch legal attacks. Still, the announcement sends the message to the biggest CO2 emitter that it’s time to shape up, or else.
[Via New York Times]