By asking the EPA to set new CO2 standards that would be unreachable by any coal-fired power plant and, I'm guessing, any oil fired plant either, new power plants will be running on natural gas or not at all. Of course if the economy slides any further there will be that much less demand for the power so our carbon emissions will fall even further.
At some point however, the overall power supply is going to run up against power demands. At that point we can look forward to rolling blackouts. A nuisance in Summer, but not so much fun in Winter. Too that add this: Natural gas, produced by fracking, costs about twice as much per MWh delivered as coal, so while you're sitting around freezing, your power bill will be doubled. Ban fracking and the price of gas goes up even further.
Not to worry, the president will be golfing in Hawaii.
Cleaning up the coal plants to where they are now wasn't cheap, but up till recently was probably worth it. Removing particulates with separators and non-carbon gasses by burning cleaner coal did wonders but after a while you reach a point of diminishing returns.
Here’s the tragedy: If we had run the gas fleet at a constant fuel efficiency from 1960-present, we would have emitted an additional 1.3 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. That’s 1.3 billion tons not in the atmosphere today thanks to energy efficiency.
On the other hand … if we had run the coal fleet at a constant fuel efficiency from 1960-today, we would have emitted nearly 9 billion fewer tons of CO2 into the atmosphere over the last fifty years.
1,300,000,000 steps forward, 9,000,000,000 steps back.