Assistant Professor Valerie Karplus
From The Conversation
As the largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world, how much coal China is burning is of global interest.
In March, the country’s National Bureau of Statistics said the tonnage of coal has fallen for the second year in the row. Indeed, there are reports that China will stop construction of new plants, as the country grapples with overcapacity, and efforts to phase out inefficient and outdated coal plants are expected to continue.
A sustained reduction in coal, the main fuel used to generate electricity in China, will be good news for the local environment and global climate. But it also raises questions: what is driving the drop? And can we expect this nascent trend to continue?
MIT Sloan Professor Christopher Knittel
From The Huffington Post
The DC. Court of Appeals began hearing arguments recenlty in an historic session taken “en banc” – with a roster of 10 judges hearing a case that challenges President Obama’s Clean Power plan. Specifically, some industry associations are challenging new targets for coal plants that would require a 32 percent reduction in carbon emission by 2030. More generally, the case highlights challenges to Obama’s use of his executive powers to regulate the electricity industry in a way that will help the US meet international targets for reduction in carbon emissions.
Obama’s use of the Clean Air Act to bring his Clean Power Plan to fruition has been
called “vast legal overreach” by some law professors who have said it is tantamount to burning the constitution.
While it may take weeks or even months for the court to rule, the case highlights the extreme importance of keeping U.S. plans to reduce emissions on track in order to spur continued global cooperation on global warming. With the U.S. election continuing to create its own heat, there are many interlocking and swiftly moving pieces on the global climate change front.
The world needs continued leadership from the U.S. and a ruling by the court that Obama had overreached would impact progress globally.