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Electric Regulation: Profitability of CO2 Emissions Depends on Available Markets


  • Nicholas S. Bowden

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    • Nicholas S. Bowden is a lecturer in the Economics Department and regulatory policy research associate for the Institute for Regulatory Policy Studies at Illinois State University. He can be reached at The opinions herein are not necessarily those of Illinois State University or the Institute for Regulatory Policy Studies.


The White House's June 2013 Climate Action Plan stated, in part, “the Obama Administration is putting in place tough new rules to cut carbon pollution—just like we have for other toxins like mercury and arsenic—so we protect the health of our children and move our economy toward American-made clean energy sources that will create good jobs and lower home energy bills.” In April 2012, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions standards for future electric-generating units. After receiving more than 2.5 million sets of public comments, this first proposal was rescinded and replaced with a revised proposal on September 20, 2013. However, the proposal itself claims that it will do little to nothing to reduce CO2 emissions, as the standards only apply to generating units constructed in the future.