On April 12, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced vehicle emissions standards that would require auto companies to lower the average carbon dioxide emissions from their tailpipes to 82 grams per mile by 2032. Then, on May 11, the EPA announced emissions standards for coal and natural gas power plants, requiring that natural gas plants capture 90 percent of their emissions by 2035 and coal plants capture 90 percent by 2030 unless they plan to retire the plant. Both of these emissions standards came with major announcements from the EPA, followed by news stories stressing their historic significance. But while these new rules are important, the EPA was less so trailblazing and more so just doing their job. And since they did their job and nothing more or less, it feels unlikely that any court challenge against these standards would find success. Ethan explores what the EPA’s legal obligations are with regard to carbon emissions, the pros and cons of these new regulations, and why it would be strange for them to be struck down in court in this week’s “Tip of the Iceberg.”
The Sweaty Penguin is presented by Peril and Promise: a public media initiative from The WNET Group in New York, reporting on the issues and solutions around climate change. You can learn more at pbs.org/perilandpromise.
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Writer: Ethan Brown, Velina Georgi, Mo Polyak, Madeleine Salman
Fact Checker: Hallie Cordingley
Editor: Megan Antone
Producers: Ethan Brown, Hallie Cordingley, Shannon Damiano
Ad Voiceover: Megan Antone
Music: Brett Sawka
The opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the host and guests. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of Peril and Promise or The WNET Group.