INSTITUTE INDEX: New power plant pollution rules won't save the planet, but they will save lives

The Environmental Protection Agency proposed a new rule this week that aims to force power plants to stop using the Earth's atmosphere as an open sewer for dumping carbon pollution. (Photo of the Big Bend Coal Power Station in Apollo Beach, Florida by Wknight94 via Wikipedia.)

Under a new rule unveiled this week by the Environmental Protection Agency, percent by which existing U.S. power plants must cut climate-disrupting carbon pollution from 2005 levels by 2030: 30

Number of fossil-fuel-burning power plants that are covered by the Clean Power Plan, with most of those burning coal: 1,000

Percent of total U.S. carbon dioxide emissions that come from coal-fired power plants: 38

Percent by which the proposed rule will also cut health-damaging particle pollution, nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide: 25

Number of premature deaths the rule is expected to avoid: up to 6,600

Number of asthma attacks in children it's expected to prevent: up to 150,000

Percent by which EPA predicts electric bills will drop on average once the rule is fully implemented due to efficiency gains: 8

Degrees centigrade by which climatologists say we must limit further global warming to avoid widespread and costly weather events, which the EPA power-plant rule alone will not achieve: 2

Percent by which the U.S. would have to cut greenhouse gas emissions from coal plants in order to meet the 2-degree target: 42

Rank of China among the world's biggest emitters of greenhouse gas pollution: 1

Days after the EPA unveiled the power plant pollution rules that China announced its intention to limit its total carbon emissions for the first time: 1

Year by which all U.S. states must submit plans for cutting emissions to the EPA: 2018

Of the 10 states that consume the most coal, number in the South: 3*

Under a provision of the EPA rule that gives greater leeway to coal-reliant states, percent by which West Virginia power plants will have to cut the pollution they emit per amount of power generated compared to 2012 levels: 19

Percent power plants would have to cut their emissions in coal-dependent Kentucky, where U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) called the EPA proposal "a dagger in the heart of the American middle class": 18

Percent in South Carolina: over 50

Estimated cost of complying with the rule, according to EPA estimates: $8.8 billion

Estimated savings in health and other social costs due to cleaner air: $55 billion

Margin by which the American public supports steps to limit carbon pollution: 2 to 1

Percent of all voters in key U.S. Senate battleground states -- including Arkansas, Louisiana, North Carolina and Virginia -- who support EPA limits on carbon pollution from power plants: 67

Percent of those states' Republican voters who support them: 53

Date on which a Louisiana official called for a lawsuit to block the rule, which is also expected to face legal challenges from other states including Texas and West Virginia: 6/2/2014

* Texas consumes more coal than any other state, while Kentucky and West Virginia respectively rank seventh and ninth overall. Looking at the other Southern states, Alabama ranks 11th, Georgia 15th, North Carolina 16th, Florida 18th, Tennessee 20th, Arkansas 22nd, Louisiana 25th, South Carolina 29th, Virginia 31st, and Mississippi 33rd.

(Click on figure to go to source.)