August 02, 2015

Obama tights up energy plans more to fight #climatechange

It all sounds good — as far as it goes. He's toughened up draft proposals by the EPA on the next steps in power plant regulation. His goal is not only to move coal-fired electric plants to natural gas, but get electric companies to do more, more quickly, with renewable fuels.

However, while this is an important part of controlling carbon emissions, it's only one part. This doesn't touch transportation. Nor, unlike my dream of a carbon tax plus carbon tariff, does it force the rest of the world to play along.

The story notes after the inevitable suit by wingnuts in red states (cue Greg Abbott's "I wake up and I sue Obama" line from his days as Texas AG), many states that accept the regulations may go to some sort of cap-and-trade system.

Problem? Cap-and-trade, as the European Union has shown, is the Obamacare of meaningful battles against climate change.

Carbon tax + carbon tariff, on the other hand, is the equivalent of national health care.

Dear Leader says this:
Mr. Obama intends to use the new rules to push other countries to commit to deep reductions in their own carbon emissions before a United Nations summit meeting in Paris in December, when a global accord to fight climate change is expected to be signed.
But, that’s toothless.

Specifically, as toothless as this:
Mr. Obama’s pledge that the United States would enact the climate change rules was at the heart of a pact that he made last year with President Xi Jinping of China, committing their nations, the world’s two largest carbon polluters, to substantially cut emissions.
Which I noted was toothless at the time it was inked.

It’s all neoliberal at end … yes, it involves regulatory controls, but the regulations are designed, in part, to be a Cass Sunstein-type “nudge.” Pure neoliberalism.

And, per the story, if Durwood Zaelke, president of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, really believes this gives Obama a "lever," then I've got a date with Greg Abbott to sell him.

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