America is poised to become the “no pee” section of the global swimming pool, and the useless actions will cost us a bundle—raising energy costs, adding new taxes, and further crippling the economy.
On June 2, the EPA released its new rules for CO2 emissions from existing electricity-generating plants—which the New York Times (NYT) states “could eventually shut down hundreds of coal-fueled power plants across the country.”
When the plan was released, there were two key aberrations. Much can be gleaned from what didn’t happen.
It was widely believed that President Obama would make the announcement himself. On May 10, regarding the proposed rule release, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said: “The president has indicated his intent to announce himself.” The Hill reported: “McCarthy called the move by Obama to announce the proposal ‘a strong indication of how important he sees this.’” But when it came right down to it, McCarthy made the announcement while Obama, according to the NYT, played “a supporting role by making a telephone call to the American Lung Association.”
The White House’s own website, in November 2009, announced Obama’s plans: “In light of the President’s goal to reduce emissions 83% by 2050, the expected pathway set forth in this pending legislation would entail a 30% reduction below 2005 levels in 2025 and a 42% reduction below 2005 in 2030.” Many media outlets, including the left-leaning Daily Beast, have indicated that “The EPA rules issued Monday are largely modeled on a March 2013 blueprint from the NRDC [Natural Resources Defense Council].” The NRDC plan projects 35-40 percent cuts in CO2 emissions over 2012 levels by 2025. As a result, it was reasonable to expect reductions in the 40 percent range.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce did an extensive analysis of the impacts of carbon cuts of 42 percent—and the results aren’t pretty. But when the draft regulations came out, the goal was 30 percent, not 42, or even 35-40.
Bloomberg calls the new rule “politically painful” for Democrats from coal-producing regions “as it forces power-plant closures and threatens to increase electricity rates for consumers.”
It is clear that the administration has received pushback over the reported economic impacts of the regulations—which tells us why Obama didn’t make the announcement himself and why the required reduction was lower than expected. (It is important to note that within the proposed rule is an acknowledgement that the final number could be much higher—likely, closer to the expected 40-42 percent range.)
The Chamber reported that global emissions are expected to rise by 31 percent between 2011 and 2030; yet all the pain—economic and political—the new regulations, based on the reductions in the 40 percent range, would inflict “would only reduce overall emissions levels by just 1.8 percentage points.” Now, with the 30 percent reduction number, the global impact will be much smaller.
Bloomberg states: “The administration and its Democratic allies are bracing for a political fight over the rule, which is critical to Obama’s legacy on climate and his efforts to coax other nations to agree.”
Australia has already walked away from its previous administration’s stringent climate policies due to economic pain and public backlash. Germany is becoming more dependent on coal-fueled electricity. Wood is the number one renewable fuel in Europe. China and India have repeatedly refused to stop their economic growth by cutting back on their fossil fuel-based energy usage.
All the regulations the administration may impose will not “coax” the rest of the world to follow. Just because we declare that we won’t pee in the pool won’t stop the others.
Photo credit: Matthew Paulson (Flickr)
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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom