Click to view video fo U.S. President Barack Obama announcing the final version of the Clean Power Plan. Photo by the White House.

Click to view video of U.S. President Barack Obama announcing the final version of the Clean Power Plan. Photo by the White House.

A bold strategy released yesterday by the White House and Environmental Protection Agency addresses climate change by reducing carbon pollution from power plants across the nation.

President Barack Obama and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy announced the final rule of the Clean Power Plan, which aims to reduce carbon pollution from power plants by 32 percent by the year 2030. Power plants are the leading contributor to climate change and are responsible for the largest source of carbon emissions in the United States.

“No challenge holds a greater threat to our future and future generations than a changing climate,” said President Obama in his announcement of the plan.

Harmful effects of climate change, including air pollution, have led to increased cases of asthma, injury and cardiovascular disease. The plan is projected to prevent 3,600 premature U.S. deaths, avoid 90,000 asthma attacks among children and result in 300,000 fewer missed school and work days.

“Thanks to the Clean Power Plan, communities together will boldly tackle the harmful effects of climate change and ensure cleaner air to breathe and a healthier environment for our nation’s future,” said APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD, in a press statement.

Added McCarthy: “Climate change is one of the most important issues we face as a country and as citizens of this world. It affects everything we know and everyone we love.”

The Clean Power Plan was initially proposed in 2014, and received more than 4 million comments including those from APHA which encouraged the “strongest possible restrictions on carbon pollution in its final version.”

The plan outlines standards for existing power plants, while states will develop tailored plans, fitting for their communities, to meet standards and better enact efficient energy options. States that are early investors in clean energy will be rewarded and an incentive program encourages states to focus on the value of clean and renewable energy in low-income communities.

Visit APHA’s climate change page to see how the public health community can help reduce climate’s health impacts.