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Obama Working On Plan That Limits Power Plant Emissions

smoke stacks at power plant

The smoke stacks at American Electric Power's Mountaineer coal power plant in New Haven, W.Va. (Saul Loeb /AFP/Getty Images)

President Obama will soon unveil a plan that will put limits on the carbon emissions of existing power plants, the administration's top energy adviser said on Wednesday.

The New York Times reports this is the most consequential part of a bigger plan to curb climate change. The Times adds:

"Electric power plants are the largest single source of global warming pollution in the country, responsible for nearly 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. With sweeping climate legislation effectively dead in Congress, the decision on existing power plants — which a 2007 Supreme Court decision gave to the executive branch — has been among the most closely watched of Mr. Obama's second term.

"The administration has already begun steps to restrict climate-altering emissions from any newly built power plants, but imposing carbon standards on the existing utility fleet would be vastly more costly and contentious."

Bloomberg reports that the plan will include other actions that don't require congressional action, including "pushing energy efficiency standards for appliances [and] clean-energy production on public lands."

According to Bloomberg, the details of the new plan came from energy adviser Heather Zichal, who was speaking at a forum sponsored by The New Republic magazine.

Zichal said that Obama "is serious about making it a second-term priority."

Obama himself hinted at the coming changes when he spoke in Berlin yesterday.

"For the sake of future generations, our generation must move toward a global compact to confront a changing climate before it is too late," Obama said.