When President Barack Obama unveils his broad plan for combating climate change on Tuesday, he is expected to tout new rules to clamp down on greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants…
But analysts on Monday noted that despite the White House’s fanfare, any change is likely years away.
After all, a December 2010 settlement between conservationists and the Environmental Protection Agency already obligated the federal government to set new standards governing carbon emissions from power plants and refineries. But while deadlines for imposing those standards has passed, even last year’s proposal for limits on existing power plants has not been finalized. And refinery rules are even further off.
“An announcement of the intent to conclude ongoing regulatory efforts is not the same thing as proposing or finalizing a regulation,” said Kevin Book, an analyst with ClearView Energy in Washington.
And it’s likely to take a while. “The fuse is longer than media coverage may suggest,” Book said in a note to clients Monday.
The entire process of rolling out new regs — and perhaps developing a tradable credit system for utilities to comply — could take years.