Clean Power Policy in the United States

22 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2016

See all articles by Joseph P. Tomain

Joseph P. Tomain

University of Cincinnati - College of Law

Date Written: May 1, 2016


Within the last year, the Obama administration has taken two significant and dramatic steps addressing the challenges of climate change and demonstrating a renewed leadership role for the US. First, as a signatory to the Paris climate agreements, the US has stepped forward to participate in that global effort after years of recalcitrance. The US, for example, signed the Rio Declaration in 1992 but five years later would not ratify the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. Now, though, the US has reversed course and has reentered the international climate conversation.

The second significant climate initiative came on the domestic front as the Obama administration issued its Clean Power Plan (CPP), which promises to transform US energy policy and facilitate the ongoing transition to a clean power economy. Indeed, President Obama has called the CPP “the biggest, most important step we’ve ever taken to combat climate change.” His administration has now committed the federal government to engaging this global problem.

A new narrative is developing that is attentive to emerging energy technologies, cognizant of environmental consequences of the fuel cycle, and is committed to developing a wider range of energy resources, markets, and participants on both the supply and demand sides of the meter. The CPP, then, promises to be major chapter in that new narrative.

Keywords: Paris climate agreements, Kyoto Protocol, Clean Power Plan, CPP, energy policy, clean power economy, emerging energy technologies

JEL Classification: K2, K23, K32

Suggested Citation

Tomain, Joseph P., Clean Power Policy in the United States (May 1, 2016). U of Cincinnati Public Law Research Paper No. 16-13, Available at SSRN: or

Joseph P. Tomain (Contact Author)

University of Cincinnati - College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 210040
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0040
United States
513-556-6805 (Phone)
513-556-6265 (Fax)

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