Clean air coming. Hopefully it will not be too late.

No doubt an excess of conservative weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth in the next few days will mark the aftermath of the Obama administration’s new clean air program.

The Clean Power Plan sets a target of reducing U.S. carbon production by 32 percent — about 870 tons — over the next 15 years. Power plants are the largest contributor of climate change in the country, producing about 1/3 of all carbon emissions. No limits had been set on carbon pollution until today.

The United States is leading by example today, showing the world that climate action is an incredible economic opportunity to build a stronger foundation for growth,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “The valuable feedback we received means the final Clean Power Plan is more ambitious yet more achievable, so states can customize plans to achieve their goals in ways that make sense for their communities, businesses and utilities.”

Have you never seen Dallas ... ? Flying out of D-FW we had to get on up a ways in the air to see the city (below, right.) Photo by EFD
Have you never seen Dallas … ? Flying out of D-FW we had to get on up a ways in the air to see the city (below, center.) Photo by EFD

The plan lets states pick two distinct ways to reduce carbon production. One way would allow specific plants to develop performance rates. States may also pick programs allowing varied measures including incentives based on renewable energy or  through improvement of energy efficiency.

A “cap-and-trade” plan in which companies could bid on pollution is encouraged by the Obama plan but will not be mandated.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton — coincidentally booked today for felony security fraud in Collin County, Texas — has said he intended to sue the federal government over the plan. Other Republicans such as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has pouted about the clean air initiative saying it will drive electric bills sky high and will threaten the power grid reliability. Such claims have been refuted by Obama. The president has said the plan will save the average American family in fuel costs $85 by 2030.

Additionally, Obama said the electrical program has both benefits to the U.S. economy and to human health. The administration pointed out that some 3,600 premature deaths and 1,700 non-fatal heart attacks can be prevented in the country by 2030.

The administration has not backed off on climate change predictions even though conservatives have managed to change some American minds as to whether such changes even exist.

I took the photo in this post on Friday upon flying home via Dallas from Albuquerque. The Dallas area was well masked with smog, haze, ozone whatever one chooses to call it. Hot summer days like the one pictured can influence the hazy air through a number of avenues. Pollution can come from cars blowing smoke down the freeways or waiting in drive-throughs for a taco, lawn mowers and from other sources including power plants.

One only can get up in higher altitudes to see where the visible pollution haze ends. Oh, the regional jet on which I flew was also doing its part to pollute. Still, one has to go a little bit out of this world to see what is dirty in between the pure blue skies and terra firma.

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