Mar 13, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Trump's power-plant carbon rule has conflicting impact

President Trump. Photo: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / Contributor

The Environmental Protection Agency's rule controlling power plants’ carbon emissions cuts C02 but preserve more coal electricity, according to a recent analysis by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Why it matters: It’s believed to be the first such EIA analysis of the regulation, putting meat on the bones of one of President Trump’s biggest regulatory moves to scale back rules from his predecessor.

Where it stands: The conclusion, tucked away near the end of an EIA analysis released last week, found that the rule would preserve more existing coal electricity, but drop coal consumption due to increased efficiency at power plants. That increased efficiency would still result in a (slight) drop in C02 emissions.

The big picture: The rule would slow (slightly) America's overall decline in coal electricity, but it wouldn't revive coal like Trump has promised.

By the numbers: The timelines range between 2025 and 2050 (light-years away compared to the minute-by-minute corona crisis…)

  • Nine gigawatts less coal-fired electric capacity is closed by 2025 under the rule compared to without the rule.
  • Coal consumption averages 5% more than without the rule, due to greater efficiency, between 2040 and 2050.
  • Therefore, power-plant carbon emissions are 5% more without the rule than with it in 2025, and 2% more in 2050.

The bottom line: The impact is, on an aggregate, minimal in any direction, but these details will likely matter as the regulation slogs its way through the court.

Go deeper: Trump swaps sweeping Obama-era climate rule for narrow one

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Trump administration finalizes health data rule

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The Trump administration finalized a rule Monday that would make it easier for patients to share their health data with apps, hospitals and doctors, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Between the lines: The rule is likely to benefit the growing health data industry, which uses the information to develop health care services. But opponents of the rule argue that it could also create data privacy issues.

Go deeperArrowMar 10, 2020 - Health

The environmental impact of China's coronavirus shutdown

Reproduced from Rhodium Group; Chart: Axios Visuals

One complicated dimension of the unfolding coronavirus tragedy is what it ultimately means for carbon emissions in China, by far the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter.

Driving the news: A Rhodium Group analysis shows China's emissions grew by another 2.6% last year.

Go deeperArrowMar 18, 2020 - Health

Utah hydrogen hub inches closer to reality

Photo: Bruno Vincent/Getty Images

A Utah power plant could run at least partially on hydrogen within the next five years, according to a contract awarded today between an energy-technology manufacturer and a Utah power agency.

Why it matters: Governments, companies and experts around the world are increasingly looking to renewable hydrogen as a long-term pathway away from oil, natural gas and coal while still using infrastructure initially made for them.