By 8/8/16 12:01 AM
It has been just over three years since President Obama announced his extensive climate change agenda, called the Climate Action Plan.
The plan was his answer to Congress’ failure to pass comprehensive climate legislation, after action stalled in the Senate during his first term. Instead of relying on Congress, with its increased Republican opposition, Obama decided to enact regulations using his executive authority to meet his climate goals.
The Climate Action Plan directed the Environmental Protection Agency, the Energy Department and other Cabinet-level agencies to begin working on new regulations, while speeding up existing programs to reduce greenhouse gases, which many scientists blame for driving man-made climate change.
The most notorious piece of the president’s plan is the rules for existing power plants, called the Clean Power Plan. The regulations for the first time use the EPA’s authority to hold states accountable for regulating carbon dioxide emissions, rather than just the owners and operators of power plants. While the EPA says it is not the most expensive of Obama’s climate rules, many critics beg to differ.
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Meanwhile, the Department of Energy was charged with expediting energy-efficiency standards for appliances, placing more stringent requirements on manufacturers.
Increasingly stringent regulations for building low-emission vehicles are also a big part of the president’s agenda, including new rules that go into effect when model-year 2017 cars hit showroom floors.
The cost of the regulations is high, with critics arguing that the rules won’t do much to keep the Earth’s temperature from rising.
Other rules outside of the president’s climate plan, such as those for smog-forming ozone emissions, have been criticized by business groups as the most costly regulations in history because of their potential far-reaching impact on cities’ and regions’ economic growth. But there is no government pricetag for the rules, because the EPA said in the final 2015 rule that it does not have to assess their cost.
1. Vehicle rules, $156 billion