Industrial emissions
Electricity generation accounts for about 45% of our total carbon emissions including carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide. These pollutants result from the burning of coal in our factories and 6,500 power plants. This situation has been improved by the emerging use of cleaner-burning natural gas which is replacing coal in some power plants. However, coal pollutants remain a leading cause of climate change and many other environmental and health problems. Besides its effects on global warming, burning coal creates smog, soot, acid rain and toxic air emissions. The dirtiest coal-fired power plants, many of which are older than 45 years, are mostly owned by our biggest energy companies. Removing some pollutants from coal-fired factories and plants can be accomplished with sulfur dioxide scrubber systems which remove harmful particulates and gases from industrial smokestacks. However, these scrubbers have been installed on only about half our power plants. Retrofitting the remaining facilities with this carbon capture technology is not economically feasible because of their age. Health advocates say the only way to reduce pollution from these plants is for utilities to develop adequate scrubbers or to replace these outdated facilities altogether. To this end, advocates feel a carbon tax is appropriate since it will encourage these corporations to reduce emissions one way or another. Supporters also say carbon taxes will make clean energy comparatively cheaper and will help address the problem of industrial polluters not paying the social costs of their emissions. The Obama administration is now requiring coal-fired power plants to reduce emissions by 20%. This will likely spur states to create cap and trade programs, forcing utilities to pay for the pollutants they emit. Critics claim a carbon tax could increase consumer’s utility bills.

Pending Legislation:
S.156 - Energy Consumers Relief Act of 2015

Issue Suggestions

Suggest an important issue not listed in this sub-category (). (Maximum 60 Characters)

Poll Opening Date
May 21, 2020
Poll Closing Date
May 27, 2020

Democracy Rules respects the privacy of your information.