Obama Aide Calls Carbon Rule First Important Step

Sept. 17 (Bloomberg) — Obama administration officials said
their signature effort to combat climate change will make only a
modest dent in global greenhouse-gas emissions even as they
called it an important first step.

With Republicans such as Representative Lamar Smith
blasting a proposal from the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency to curb emissions from existing power plants, White House
science adviser John Holdren defended it as an important step.
Holdren said that India, China and Germany already are taking
measures to curtail their emissions, too.

“The point is, that this is a start,” Holdren told the
House Science Committee today. “The carbon-action plan is a
start, and if we do not make a start, we will never get there.”

The proposed regulation, issued in June, would let states
meet goals for cutting carbon pollution by promoting renewable
energy, encouraging greater use of natural gas, employing energy
efficiency technologies or joining carbon trading markets.

The EPA said that the rule would cut electricity costs for
consumers because added efficiency steps will reduce overall
use. Republican lawmakers questioned that analysis, and said the
rule could cause a jump in rates as older coal-fired plants
close.

Higher Bills

“EPA mandates will be difficult for states to meet even
under ideal circumstances,” said Smith, of Texas. “If energy
prices or energy demand escalate, the costs of meeting those
mandates will soar and American families will be forced to pay
the bill.”

Holdren said that the EPA proposal has helped spur nations
to consider further action to cut greenhouse gases, which
scientists blame for global warming. The U.S. is pushing China
to limit its emissions by 2030, and is pushing the world’s
largest emitter to reach the goal sooner, he said.

“China finds it in its own interests to reduce greenhouse
gases,” he said.

His analysis is set to be tested as soon as next week, as
world leaders gather at the United Nations for a climate summit.
Nations and companies are set to outline pledges to reduce
emissions, protect forests and spur renewable energy generation.

While 125 world leaders are scheduled to attend, including
President Barack Obama, the leaders of India and China won’t
address the gathering.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Mark Drajem in Washington at
mdrajem@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Jon Morgan at
jmorgan97@bloomberg.net
Steve Geimann

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