Coal

How the EPA's climate rule rollback could reach beyond coal

illustration of a pipeline in a jigsaw
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

A big question now that EPA has finalized climate regulations for power plants is how much they'll constrain a future president — especially a potential Democrat that wants to act way more aggressively.

Driving the news: Yesterday EPA issued modest rules requiring state plans to make coal-fired units more efficient over time, but lacks binding CO2-cutting targets.

Expert Voices

Coal projects face higher investor hurdles as climate risks mount

smoke billowing out from a coal-fired power plant
A coal-fired power plant in Hamburg, Germany. Photo: Markus Scholz/picture alliance via Getty Images

The growing risks associated with financing new coal projects have driven European and American institutional investors to seek returns up to 4 times greater than those for other sources of energy, according to a survey by the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies.

Why it matters: The cost of capital is a key determinant of whether new coal plants will be built. If costs rise relative to those of competing sources, the construction, expansion and even ongoing operation of coal plants could become prohibitively expensive.