Beyond the political implications, the administration will also be looking at how any moves they make impact consumers and the environment.
Andrew Light, director of George Mason University's Center for Global Ethics, says consumers shouldn't be facing an added burden when it comes to the rule impacting future energy plants.
"We're going to see, essentially, the phasing out of the oldest, dirtiest coal-fired plants in the system," he says. "It's not a big problem so far and the power industry is already kind of simply banking on these rules coming into place so they are already diversifying their portfolios, not only to natural gas but to renewable as well."
When it comes to achieving carbon reduction goals, Light says the United States is on its way to meeting current goals.
"If we measured it by the target that the United States currently has to reduce its emissions 17 percent of the 2005 levels by 2020, then these rules can do most of the work toward hitting that target," he says. "We've already dropped 9 percent over our 2005 levels."
Other tools available to Obama to unilaterally curb climate change would be to further modernize federal government buildings and car fleets to increase energy efficiency. Even directing specific departments, such as Defense, to hit energy efficiency goals would move the needle because of the vast size of the federal government, Light says.
And Obama himself made a pitch to the public during his State of the Union address on how individuals can contribute.
"I'm also issuing a new goal for America: Let's cut in half the energy wasted by our homes and businesses over the next 20 years," he said. "The states with the best ideas to create jobs and lower energy bills by constructing more efficient buildings will receive federal support to help make it happen."