USA Election 2016 | How the next President could expand Obama’s climate policies or dismantle them

USA Election 2016 | How the next President could expand Obama’s climate policies or dismantle them

This month, President Obama basically ensured that climate change will be one of the major issues at stake in the 2016 election. Whether candidates choose to talk about it or not, whoever gets elected president next year will have enormous influence over US climate and energy policy.

The reason is simple. Back in 2007, the Supreme Court gave the Environmental Protection Agency unprecedented authority to regulate US greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. In the years since, Obama has used that power to enact sweeping new climate rules. That includes stricter fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks. It also includes the Clean Power Plan, an ambitious EPA rule to cut CO2 emissions from the nation’s power plants, which was finalized in August.

These regulations were all enacted without Congress. And their ultimate fate rests with the next president. If a Republican gets elected in 2016 and wants to weaken the Clean Power Plan or relax those fuel economy rules, he’ll have a lot of leeway to do so (though total repeal could prove difficult, as we’ll see). By contrast, if Hillary Clinton or someone else wants to come in and massively expand what the EPA’s done, she’ll have plenty of options — such as extending carbon regulations to refineries, chemical plants, or aircraft.

“Any future administration will have a lot of room to be either more ambitious or less ambitious,” explains Michael Wara, an expert on energy and environmental law at Stanford. And unlike with tweaks to Obamacare or federal tax policy or a host of other issues, this won’t require Congress’s approval.

 

Source: Vox

Date: August 2015

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