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August 06, 2015
Sustainable Investors Praise Obama's Clean Power Plan
    by Robert Kropp

The Plan, which will reduce carbon emissions from the power sector by 32% below 2005 levels in 2030, is praised by Mindy Lubber of Ceres as a blueprint for the low carbon transition.

On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the final Clean Power Plan, which will reduce carbon pollution from the power sector by nearly one-third by 2030.

“Power plants are the single biggest source of the harmful carbon pollution that contributes to climate change,” President Obama said. “But until now there have been no federal limits on the amount of that pollution those plants can dump into the air.”

In a
letter organized by Ceres, 365 corporate signatories voiced their support for the plan, describing EPA's Carbon Pollution Standards as “critical for moving our country toward a clean energy economy.”

“Clean energy solutions are cost effective and innovative ways to drive investment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” the letter continued. “Clear and consistent policies can send market signals that help businesses and investors plan for the future. We are seeking long-term policies that provide businesses the certainty needed to transition to a clean energy economy.”

In addition to reductions in carbon pollution, the plan will lead to dramatic reductions in sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides.

“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 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.”

Utilities, trade associations, and even some states are expected to file lawsuits to block implementation of the plan; however, six challenges to the draft rules were rejected by the US Court of Appeals in Washington DC. And,
in an article published in Forbes, Jim Marston of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) described three ways in which the Clean Power Plan will strengthen the US economy:
1. It will pave the way for hundreds of thousands of clean energy jobs;
2. It will lower household electricity bills; and
3. It will spur greater technology innovation and entrepreneurship.

Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres, was at the White House when the final plan was announced. “Consumers could save up to $41 billion in electricity costs in the next 15 years under the plan,”
she wrote.

“Investors and corporate executives know full well that climate change is a dire threat, and that unchecked global warming pollution threatens economic growth and prosperity,” she continued. “It’s clear that business support for this game-changing plan is grounded in the economic opportunity associated with limiting carbon pollution.”

In the days leading up to publication of the final Clean Power Plan, the Obama administration also announced the launch of the
American Business Act on Climate Pledge. Thus far, 13 major corporations have joined in stating their support for strong international action on climate change.

Rev. Seamus Finn of the
Inte rfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) stated, “The companies that have helped to launch this climate pledge have laid out their commitments quite specifically, raising the bar for their sector peers and, hopefully, helping to steer the private sector on a more sustainable course.”

“As long-term shareholders we recognize the value of this initiative in helping to secure the health of our investments and, as people of faith, we realize its potential to help secure the health of the planet and its people,” Finn continued.


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