Obama proposes carbon limits on power plants

Washington, Sep 20 (IANS) US President Barack Obama has unveiled a plan to limit carbon emissions in new power plants in the US, BBC reported Friday.

"Climate change - caused by carbon pollution - is one of the most significant public health threats of our time," said Environmental Protection Agency chief Gina McCarthy while outlining the proposed plan.

According to the plan, new gas-fired power plants would be limited to 1,000lb (450kg) of carbon dioxide emissions per megawatt hour, while new coal-powered plans would be limited to 1,100lb.

An average coal plant in the US emits about 1,800lb of carbon dioxide per hour.

The plan has, however, met with opposition from the coal industry and congressional Republicans as it would eventually affect existing power plants, which account for around a third of all US greenhouse gas emissions.

To meet the standards set in the plan, coal plants would need to install new carbon capture technology, which the industry finds too expensive.

Coal-powered plants account for around 40 percent of US electricity consumption, a share which has been shrinking recently.

The step would be the first attempt by the federal government to impose limits on the pollution blamed for global warming.

Obama had earlier said that he wanted to end what he termed as "the limitless dumping of carbon pollution" from US power plants.

In his second inaugural address in January, he promised a renewed focus on climate change - a signature of his first election campaign that was essentially ignored during his first term as president in favour of healthcare reform.

The plan will be subject to a 60-day comment period, and officials hope to implement it by the fall of 2014.

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