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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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US House Republicans face unity test with major energy bill

The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on its first major legislation of the year on Thursday, a partisan energy bill that poses an early test of unity for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's majority.
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Nuclear dispute hangs over EU renewable energy talks

The European Union enters the final stage of tense talks over how to treat hydrogen produced using nuclear power on Wednesday, in an effort to end a dispute that threatens to thwart a deal on more ambitious renewable energy goals.
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Rising airline emissions could trigger global caps as early as 2024

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UAE's Jaber urges Big Oil to join fight against climate change

A top oil executive from the United Arab Emirates on Monday urged the energy industry to join the fight against climate change, borrowing a famous line from a U.S. astronaut aboard a damaged spacecraft during the Apollo 13 mission in 1970.
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 warns of more extreme weather in 2023

China's regions have been warned to prepare for more extreme weather this year after record-breaking temperatures and a lengthy drought played havoc with the country's power supplies and disrupted harvests last summer.
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