Editorial: Smarter shifts toward a cleaner energy solution


A proposed plan to rein in carbon emissions from power plants will mark a major step forward for the U.S.’s role in creating a cleaner energy future.

The rule, known as the Clean Power Plan, was unveiled by the Environmental Protection Agency, in June 2014, and is set to be formalized in the next few weeks after the agency garnered thousands of public comments. The proposed change requires each state to submit a plan to cut carbon-dioxide emissions by a nationwide average of 30 percent by 2030.

While a slim minority still has doubts, virtually every climate scientist indicates global climate change can threaten our way of life. For instance, floods can destroy our homes and communities. Drought can disrupt our food production and water supplies. And severe weather can cause costly damage to our nation’s economy and infrastructure. If the U.S. sits by idly on this issue, these problems will not only intensify, but the country will miss out on a much needed sustainable energy future, which will also carry economic benefits.

The best and the cheapest way to cut carbon pollution is to produce more power from the cleanest sources and use that energy more efficiently. Coal, natural gas, hydro-power, nuclear, wind and solar already supply the electricity that’s used everyday in homes and businesses. But by looking across our whole power sector, the country can use this as an important step to boost our economy, protect our health and environment and curb the ill effects of climate change. Each of part of our energy portfolio offers opportunities to reduce the pollution that leads to climate change. Those include making improvements to existing power plants, expanding renewable energy production, generating more energy through cleaner sources and increase energy efficiency programs. This latest plan from the Environmental Protection Agency can help ensure that’s a reality.

This is an issue that’s garnered bipartisan and widespread concern. Seven in ten Americans see global warming as a serious problem facing the country, according to a 2014 ABC News/Washington Post poll, which should fuel support for federal efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions and curb problems associated with climate change.

Ensuring that each state comes on board, including South Carolina, is a must, as the U.S. looks to be the leader in creating a cleaner energy future for the next generation.