Wespath Supports Power Plant Performance Standards

Wespath Investment Management has joined nearly 50 institutional investors in supporting performance standards for new power plants in the U.S. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the proposed standards on September 20.

According to the EPA, power plants “are the largest concentrated source of emissions in the United States…accounting for roughly one-third of all domestic greenhouse gas emissions.” The new standards will set limits on the amount of carbon emissions that power plants may release into the atmosphere. Under the proposed standards, new coal-fired generating plants would be limited to carbon emissions of no more than 1,100 pounds per megawatt-hour. (Currently, coal-fired plants emit anywhere from 1,800 to 2,100 pounds per megawatt-hour.)

The EPA’s Regulatory Impact Analysis indicates the standards are expected to have no―or negligible―impact on electric power companies or electric power prices. In addition, the standards provide regulatory certainty regarding carbon emissions of new coal-fired plants and are expected to encourage research and development into carbon-reducing strategies for the future.

Investors representing more than $900 billion in assets sent a letter to President Obama in support of the new standards. According to the letter, “The need for such standards is urgent. Climate change could add as much as 10% to portfolio-wide risk in the next two decades, putting trillions of dollars of institutional investors’ assets at risk.”

The Social Principles of The United Methodist Church recognize that “’greenhouse gas’ emissions threaten to alter dramatically the earth’s climate for generations to come with severe environmental, economic, and social implications.” (¶160D, The Book of Discipline 2012.)

Ceres, a coalition of investors, companies and public interest groups working for the adoption of sustainable business practices, helped coordinate the letter of support.

The EPA is accepting public comments on the proposed standards. Instructions how to submit comments can be found here.

A copy of the letter of support is available here.



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