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Republican governors who boycott the Obama administration’s new power-plant regulations may instead get an offer they can’t refuse: a cap-and-trade system many of them also oppose.
Five years after Republicans in Congress shot down President Barack Obama’s plan for carbon trading, his administration unveiled rules to combat climate change. They include a provision for carbon trading, which Republicans had criticized as a government intrusion in the workings of the free market.
“It’s clear that what they’re trying to do — without establishing a federal cap-and-trade program — is set up a plan that has a very strong likelihood of becoming a de facto federal cap-and-trade program,” said Andre Templeman, managing director of the carbon-markets consultancy Alpha Inception LLC.
After a year of being pummeled by opponents, Obama’s final carbon reduction plan emerged this week with an even stronger push for renewable energy.
Wind and solar energy are centerpieces of the Clean Power Plan, the United States’ first ever rule to reduce carbon dioxide from power plants.
The rule not only makes renewables one of the plan’s three central building blocks, but also creates special incentives to spur communities to build renewables more quickly than required.
The revised version of the rule comes after a year of review, hundreds of meetings and 4.3 million public comments delivered to EPA. It requires that states come up with plans to cut carbon pollution from power plants by 870 million tons, or 32 percent below 2005 levels, in 2030.
Some businesses that back President Barack Obama’s plan to curb greenhouse gases are making a late lobbying push to add an element similar to a cap-and-trade program.
With the administration set this week or next to unveil its final rules to cut emissions from coal and natural gas plants, groups for companies such as Johnson Controls Inc., Alstom SA and AES Corp. have pressed officials to include a carbon market so that costs don’t surge.
Those programs — a slimmed-down version of a plan Congress debated and failed to pass early in Obama’s tenure — would apply to states that balk at putting rules in place.