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A Climate Gift or a Lump of Coal? The emission impacts of Canadian and U.S. greenhouse gas regulations in the electricity sector

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A Climate Gift or a Lump of Coal? The emission impacts of Canadian and U.S. greenhouse gas regulations in the electricity sector

On June 2, 2014, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released proposed regulations for regulating greenhouse gas emissions from electric utility generating units in the country.

In the wake of its announcement, the EPA has been emphasizing that its proposed electricity rules will reduce emissions from the country’s most significant source of emissions—power plants.  Conversely, the messaging from the Government of Canada has been that Canada took similar action on coal-fired plants in 2012, and that the percentage drop in emissions from those plants is likely to be proportionately greater than those proposed by Washington.

However, both these perspectives leave unanswered the question of how these policies will affect total national emissions and contribute to mitigation pledges. It is this question that this policy brief attempts to answer.