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How the Clean Air Act lets closed coal plants keep polluting for years

A loophole allows power plants to collect emissions allowances after they close, and there is a huge volume of credits on the market that will take years to work their way through the system.

In a nutshell:

A loophole in clean-air regulations allowed a coal plant to collect emissions allowances for five years after it shut down and then sell those credits to other plants, including the largest emitter of smog-causing gas in the U.S. power sector. This practice has raised concerns about the effectiveness of cap-and-trade programs in reducing air pollution. The Environmental Protection Agency has recently reduced the number of years that retired facilities can collect allowances from five to two, but a large volume of credits from closed plants is still in circulation, leading to a glut in the market and potentially encouraging pollution.

What they said:

Elena Krieger, who oversees scientific research at PSE Healthy Energy, a California-based policy institute, was shocked when she learned about the retired-plant credits. “I was unaware of the practice and am somewhat horrified,” Krieger said.

Big picture:

A provision in a proposed climate change policy could provide a credit windfall to companies closing down polluting plants. This provision allows these companies to sell their allowances for emissions, as they are no longer generating pollution themselves. This has raised concerns among environmentalists who argue that it could undermine the effectiveness of the policy in reducing overall emissions and combating climate change.

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Biden's clean energy factory jobs may elude U.S. union workers

In the six months since passage of Biden's signature climate change law, a majority of the $50 billion of announced investments in domestic manufacturing to support the clean energy transition has been in states with laws that make it harder for workers to unionize.

India's economy - and emissions - primed for big jumps in 2023

India's economy - and emissions - primed for big jumps in 2023

If overall industrial activity does increase as expected in 2023, then energy use and pollution from production lines and smokestack plants across India can also be expected to climb, undermining global efforts to reign in fossil fuel pollution.

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China's power sector emissions set to jump as economy reboots

Pollution levels from China's mammoth power sector are set to climb to new highs in 2023 as Beijing's efforts to spur growth across the economy result in increased burning of fossil fuels.
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'Burn everything': Poland chokes on the smog of war

While a number of European countries besides Poland, such as Germany and Hungary, are burning more polluting brown coal, or lignite, to keep the lights on, experts say it's the use of the fuel at home that will have the biggest impact on health.

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U.S. seeks allies as split emerges over global plastics pollution treaty

The United States is seeking to form a coalition of countries to drive negotiations on a global plastic pollution treaty, weeks after a similar group involving several other G7 nations was launched, according to a document seen by Reuters.
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Drought-hit Kenyan herders save wildlife - and their livelihoods

Kenyan farmers are converting some of the farmland into sustainably managed rangeland to create a wildlife conservancy where cattle and wild animals can co-exist and eco-tourism provides jobs for local people.

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