U.S. Will Meet Climate Goals With New Rules on Methane, Vehicles

The Environmental Protection Agency expects to introduce new regulations on power plants, vehicles and natural gas wells to help the U.S. meet carbon-emissions targets announced this week with China, the agency’s top official said.

Administrator Gina McCarthy said she’s working with energy industry leaders to find cost-effective ways to meet President Barack Obama’s tighter emission goals. That may include better designs for gas well-heads to prevent methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases, from escaping, she said today at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton school annual energy conference.

With Republicans winning control of Congress in elections last week, Obama will face a stiff battle for any legislation related to curbing carbon emissions. He’s likely to lean instead on regulatory agencies like the EPA that can impose rules on industry.

“We have a methane strategy that we’re going to be putting out,” McCarthy said. “The EPA is looking at new regulations.”

McCarthy also expects new rules for heavy duty vehicles and hydroflourocarbons, and she’s working with states to find ways to cut emissions.

U.S. President Barack Obama this week pledged to cut emissions by at least 26 percent from 2005 levels in 2025, double the current pace. His Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, agreed that China’s emissions should peak by 2030, and the share of low-carbon energy in the country should expand to about 20 percent.

“We’re facing the most significant health crisis of our time,” she said “When the U.S leads, other countries listen.”

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