SocraticGadfly: EPA says: Get the carbon out ...

June 01, 2014

EPA says: Get the carbon out ...

Of old power plants, that is.

The Environmental Protection Agency is announcing a plan to require 30 percent cuts in carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. The wingnuts are already up in arms about it; wonder what they're thinking about the current episode of Cosmos, in which Neal deGrasse Tyson entirely focused on the issue of global warming.

Here's the key graf:
The rule, which is expected to be final next year, will set the first national limits on carbon dioxide, the chief gas linked to global warming from the nation's power plants. They are the largest source of greenhouse gases in the U.S., accounting for about a third of the annual emissions that make the U.S. the second largest contributor to global warming on the planet.
Yes, wingnuts, I know we're No. 2 after China.

I also have known, long before Paul Krugman said so, that the World Trade Organization appears to allow carbon tariffs on imports as long as a country has a similar rate on an internal carbon tax.

Not that I think for a minute Obama is actually thinking about such a move, "free but not fair" trader that he is. But, if he were? It would be great if he'd already started US power plants down the road to being at least somewhat greener. This would give us a head start on China when implementing such a tariff.

And, this shouldn't be that hard. We're partway there already:
EPA data shows that the nation's power plants have reduced carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 13 percent since 2005, or about halfway to the goal the administration will set Monday. The agency is aiming to have about 25 percent cut by 2020.
ABC references unnamed "experts" as saying the rest could be a lot harder.

Really? Why don't we identify a few of these "experts"?

Here in Texas, because of the amount of old, dirty coal-fired plants, the emissions cuts requirements (which vary by state) are 39 percent. Hey, wingnuts, there's a simple answer. Tricky Ricky Perry likes to tout Texas' progress on wind power. Where's the similar progress on solar?

And, speaking of Tricky Ricky, he's not this stupid. He knows the regulations are about CO2, not generic "pollution":
“President Obama’s decision to impose drastic new restrictions on America’s energy industry is the most direct assault yet on the energy providers that employ thousands of Americans, and fuel both our homes and our nation’s economic growth. Americans have seen the disastrous results of federal mandates with Obamacare, and these rules will only further stifle our economy’s sluggish recovery and increase energy costs for American families. If President Obama is truly interested in an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy, he would do well to look to states like Texas that have seen tremendous success at diversifying energy sources while protecting the environment from harmful pollutants.”

The air Texans breathe today is cleaner than it was in 2000, even as our population has grown by nearly 5.2 million people. Furthermore:

• Over the last 10 years, Texas has added more than twice the jobs of any other state;
• Statewide, from 2000-2012, nitrogen oxide levels from industrial sources were reduced by 62.5 percent; and
• From 2000-2012 ozone levels were reduced by 23 percent, a 12 percent greater reduction than the national average.
First, if you were really interested in positioning Texas for the future, and avoiding the possibility of Houston being partially underwater in 50 years, you'd support this move and push to ramp up solar power.

Second, as noted, this isn't about pollution in general.

Third, on ozone, congratulations. That's because Texas had a worse starting point than a lot of states.

Fourth, none of this has to do with the primarily minimum-wage, no-benefits jobs you've "created."


Update, June 17: It appears that, beyond nearly half the goal already being baked into the plan, there was other Team Obama EPA flim-flammery. In other words, the EPA once again removed the false teeth from its proposal. Not surprising for an agency that, even as part of "the most non-transparent administration in history," has a problem with lack of transparency.


Simon said...

While I see glimmers of hope with this and in China

-and lets not fool ourselves what you 2 decide everyone else will need to follow- but I just don't see any happy endings.

Your wingnuts are a cut above everyone elses -we do have a prime minister trying his best to keep up- and the others are either too rich or stupid to want to change either.

I imagine Australia is very much like Texas in many ways: lots of sun, not much water and makes too much money from fossil fuels.

Pity that we might not have enough money to try to convert, by the time we are actually forced too.

BTW our Prime wingnut is headed your way and have just raised our minimum wage by $18 a week.

Gadfly said...

West Texas is that way on climate. Steppe-type plains, transitioning to semi-desert, then desert in the southwest. East Texas is like the US South -- live oak trees, Spanish moss, humidity.

And, yes .... as I recall, Australia is actually No. 1 per capita in carbon emissions in the world.


A carbon tariff forces others to follow, unless they figure the price is cheap enough not to bother. Hence, if the US cleans up its own power plants first, it can set an internal carbon tax high enough to create a high carbon tariff.

Simon said...

We can hope but what happens if Hilary doesn't win? Will the same thing happen as did here and conservatives gut any moves on the right direction.