Supporters of CPP lauded its timing – five months ahead of the UN climate summit in Paris – in the hope that it will inspire other international governments to follow suit. Some critics argue that its plan to cut emissions by 32 per cent only targets coal power and doesn’t go far enough to stall climbing temperatures.
The plan’s real impact, however, will be tested on the battleground of domestic politics in the US. It will take Federal muscle, via the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to ensure that each state submits a plan for emission reduction by 2018. The upside is that this will force states to find solutions and could encourage innovation in electricity generation and efficiency. Kenneth Richards, Professor of Environmental and Energy Policy at Indiana University, said ‘if the states are the laboratories of policy, then this will encourage experimentation’. The downside, is that the CPP will be under the jurisdiction of the Clean Air Act, which has been praised for helping the US with regional pollutants like sulphur dioxide, but has been criticised when addressing global pollutants such as carbon dioxide.
This article was published in the October 2015 edition of Geographical Magazine