The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued its long-awaited draft regulations on carbon emissions from U.S. power plants, which would require a 30 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from 2005 levels by 2030. Just days before Monday’s announcement, scientists from Harvard and Syracuse universities released a study highlighting the potential health benefits of such changes.
While the federal regulations, to be finalized next year, are aimed at reducing the emission of globe-warming carbon dioxide, since they would decrease pollutants from power plant smokestacks, there is a significant ancillary benefit for human health.
Studies have indicated that air pollutants like sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, mercury, and fine particulate matter that penetrate deeply into the lungs not only harm people with pulmonary conditions such as asthma, they also affect the cardiovascular system and can lead to thousands of premature deaths, along with thousands of days lost from work and school because of illness...
In Q&A, Harvard analysts assess new EPA rules cutting power plant emissions http://t.co/BX0qHPnHH2— Sustainable Harvard (@GreenHarvard)
Barclays this week downgrades the entire electric sector of the U.S. high-grade corporate bond market to underweight, saying it sees long-term challenges to electric utilities from solar energy, and that the electric sector of the bond market isn’t pricing in these challenges right now. It’s a noteworthy downgrade since electric utilities which make up nearly 7.5% of Barclays’ U.S. Corporate Index by market value. From Barclays credit strategy team:
Electric utilities… are seen by many investors as a sturdy and defensive subset of the investment grade universe. Over the next few years, however, we believe that a confluence of declining cost trends in distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) power generation and residential-scale power storage is likely to disrupt the status quo. Based on our analysis, the cost of solar + storage for residential consumers of electricity is already competitive with the price of utility grid power in Hawaii. Of the other major markets, California could follow in 2017, New York and Arizona in 2018, and many other states soon after...