How the Trump Administration’s ACE Rule Affects Emissions

Host Daniel Raimi talks with RFF Research Associate Amelia Keyes about her recent research on the Trump administration’s Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule.

Amelia and several colleagues have estimated the effect of the rule on emissions of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrous oxide, but they think that ACE could actually increase these emissions rather than reduce them.  You be the judge.

Each week on Resources Radio we talk to leading experts about climate change, electricity, ecosystems, and more, making the latest research accessible to everyone.

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On August 21, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule which would establish emission guidelines for states to develop plans to address greenhouse gas emissions from existing coal-fired power plants. The ACE rule would replace the 2015 Clean Power Plan, which EPA has proposed to repeal because it exceeded EPA’s authority. The Clean Power Plan was stayed by the U.S. Supreme Court and has never gone into effect.

The ACE rule has several components: a determination of the best system of emission reduction for greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants, a list of “candidate technologies” states can use when developing their plans, a new preliminary applicability test for determining whether a physical or operational change made to a power plant may be a “major modification” triggering New Source Review, and new implementing regulations for emission guidelines under Clean Air Act section 111(d). 

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Curious George
May 22, 2019 10:13 am

Remember that devil is usually in the details? We should not base our judgments on an overview.

J Mac
Reply to  Curious George
May 22, 2019 11:24 am

We can reject this drivel immediately, because it is based on the false premise that CO2 gas is ‘pollution’. It isn’t. Atmospheric CO2 is the fundamental food for all plant life on Planet Earth. 400 ppmv is barely adequate.

Reply to  Curious George
May 22, 2019 12:01 pm

Yes but what detail?

plans to address greenhouse gas emissions from existing coal-fired power plants.

They are still chasing a non existent demon. CO2 is NOT “dirty ” and is NOT “pollution”. Go fix some pollution issues.

May 22, 2019 10:28 am


Just replace the big red “X” with the word markets.

Reply to  ResourceGuy
May 22, 2019 11:35 am

Is monotonic and unqualified. This is a positive development, surely.

A C Osborn
May 22, 2019 10:31 am

Nothing New.
Just leave Renewables out of the Clean Power Plan and you have the best plan.
Just don’t spend too much cash on Energy Efficiency, let the markets sort it.

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
May 22, 2019 10:36 am

I wonder what the margin of error is on these emission targets. Somehow I suspect the Trump plan will be a whole lot cheaper, better for industry and growth, while the alternative would be very costly and accompanied by a whole load of eco-whining.

I’m also delighted that Trump is going to punish the German-Russian gas pipeline project which betrays every other EU ally and shows that – if anyone ever thought otherwise – what poor Europeans and bad neighbours the Germans really are. They’re pretty crap at delivering green as well come to think about it.

May 22, 2019 11:05 am

ERemember the plants are desperate for more CO2 and the more that we can get to them the faster they will grow and the less water the will need. Go, Trump.

May 22, 2019 11:14 am

The baseline is the problem… that it is agreed we need to combat carbon emissions AT ALL. They made carbon emissions the problem that must be addressed, and expensively to US consumers especially, and more taxes!… but it is completely arguable that carbon emissions , much less CO2 , affect jack squat that we should be worried about. The planet is one comet away from making this a mute endeavor, much less a few large volcanic eruptions… and neither are in our control… no, not ever.

Joel O'Bryan
May 22, 2019 12:34 pm

CPP needs to be formally withdrawn so that in case a Democrat gets the WH in 2021 it would take a monumental effort to resurrect it.

May 22, 2019 3:09 pm

There’s still an unhealthy obsession with the effects on CO2 emissions.

Much of what’s off the list happens without regulation when it makes sense. Efficiency is the classic case. The LED replacement for a 40W 4′ fluorescent bulb is cheaper and lasts longer. Replacing 8000 hour 119 Watt bulbs in traffic signals with 20 Watt LED modules that last 100K hours is another no brainer, especially since the cost of replacing the bulb in a traffic signal is many times larger than the cost of the bulb itself.

Reply to  co2isnotevil
May 22, 2019 4:28 pm

Very true unless you buy from a manufacturer with “issues” as Detroit is learning they did.

Detroit’s LED streetlights going dark after a few years – Detroit News…/detroit…/detroits-led-streetlights…/3650465002/

Reply to  KcTaz
May 22, 2019 7:32 pm

Detroit’s last Republican mayor left office in 1962. What else would you expect from a city run for over 50 years by Democrats?

Carbon Bigfoot
May 22, 2019 4:47 pm

As I have suggested repeatedly on these pages— we need to reset the NARRATIVE.

CO2 is NOT an EMISSION. This is a Climate Cabal expression.

CO2 is a NATURAL BY-PRODUCT OF THE ENERGY OF COMBUSTION—-as we correctly called it in the 60s.

Call it an ENCOMB or other genius term and it will drowned out the lie.

Thank you Prometheus for the fire—-FU Zeus.

May 22, 2019 5:10 pm

The paper referenced in the podcast is economic models all the way down.
They are about as reliable as climate models. Notice that there are no ranges or error bars provided.
Its quite easy to make a model that gives exact answers, as long as the results don’t have to include “correct”.

Robert of Texas
May 22, 2019 7:56 pm

Government regulations do little to change CO2 emissions (at least to date). The Fracking Revolution to release natural gas from tight formations and horizontal drilling have done all the hard lifting. Left to liberals, the U.S. would never have had a fossil fuel Renaissance and would now be paying out the nose for energy, be less competitive, and have far more people dependent on government (which is what they seem to want).

If you want to lower gasoline emissions, use a tax. It is far more efficient then a regulation. This is how capitalism works – through money, not through government regulations.

You want to lower fossil fuel emissions for electricity, build nuclear power plants – reduce the regulations and licensing reducing the build time, thus reducing the costs. This is so dang straight-forward, only a liberal or socialist would not get it.

Why do people think they have to control every nuance of everything?

May 24, 2019 2:37 pm

Seems similar to the politicians in the newly elected Morrison Government here in Australia.
While pushing hard for the vast coal deposits in the Queensland Gallie Basin
to be developed, such as Adani , they are still working with the 26 % emissions
target from the original Kyoto.

All that is required by Morrison is to ask the “Chief Scientist” appointed by
the Federal Government, to clearly state that CO2 is a minor trace gas,
essential to all life on Earth, and no way is it harmful.

So why don’t they. ?

We have a old expression from the UK, two Bob each way”. Meaning that
one has to consider all sides of a particular situation, in other words its all
about votes, the concept of the so called “Broad Church.”” Promise the
Greenies that you will look after their concerns, but at the same time promise
the pro CO2 people like us likewise.

Trump needs to get that gathering of scientists together to sort this mess out
once and for all. Then the rest of the Western World will also follow suit.


Johann Wundersamer
May 24, 2019 7:47 pm

“ACE Rule Affects Emissions.”

Take care.

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