June 25, 2013

Obama's non-new climate speech

Hey, did you hear that President Obama wants to have his Environmental Protection Agency implement new emissions standards for existing power plants? Yaaaaaay, right?

Well, did you also notice that he's not calling for action in that area until 2015?

Sure, it's easy to say, "That's the regulatory time process" or something.

But, here's the reality.

Obama did largely kick the can down the road. That's sad, but in no way unexpected. Just as "Gang Green" environmental groups hitting up my inbox for money after the speech was in no way unexpected.

As for the EPA and stiffening CAFE standards? This is the same EPA now allowing 15 percent ethanol fuel, the same EPA who's had the rules for new power plants ready to go, but not promulgated, for 2 years, and the same EPA that has flex-fuel loopholes in those new CAFE standards.

And, the stuff it does OK? That's Dear Leader's Office of Management and Budget that quashes them. No GOP doings there. Just like Dear Leader's OMB has quashed any tighter EnergyStar proposals or anything else.

And, it's not just me saying some of that. So did Mother Jones, in its pre-speech analysis.

So, folks, get real. This wasn't anything majorly new.

Meanwhile, we got another dodge on what will happen with Keystone XL. Smart money continues to say, "Bet on it being built." Note, as The Atlantic does, Obama's weasel words supporting approval if it "does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution." The State Department's result claims that's the case, while EPA says no. So, in other words, nothing's changed, and Obama has just kicked this can down the road, too.

He's Obamasplaining, in other words.

He did, as The Atlantic notes, also talk about adaptation as well as mitigation. However, it appears specifics were few. And, he didn't challenge the GOP here. That's bad, because challenging denialists on adaptation is just as important as on mitigation. Both will involve regulatory issues and money, mitigation just as much or more so than adaptation.

And, as for the claim that Gina McCarthy's nomination to head the EPA being on hold by the Senate GOP is part of what's tied Obama's hands? Tosh. See "OMB" above, first. Second, just because EPA doesn't have an official administrator doesn't mean that it can't be implementing things, anyway. Third, before the issue of recess appointments went to legal battles and eventually the Supreme Court, Obama could have been using more recess appointments in general. Or, the threat of them.

Meanwhile, in your doh/deliberate distortion of the day, the Center for Progress attacks cable media for not covering the speech more, even though Team Obama made it explicitly private! Yes, it deserved more time. But the private nature of the speech could have readily been interpreted as a "signal."

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