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Craig Pirrong at Streetwise Professor posts on EPA’s new CO2 rules.
Acting under the aegis of its most malign agency, the EPA, in its unbending effort to hamstring the US economy, the Obama administration today released its long dreaded CO2 rule. The Rule mandates a 32 percent decrease in CO2 emissions by 2030. This outcome will be achieved by a dramatic reduction in the use of coal powered generation, and its replacement by renewables.
The administration touts its generosity by pointing out that compliance with the Rule has been extended by 2 years.
Great. We get screwed in 7 years, instead of just 5. Gee. Thanks. How thoughtful. You really shouldn’t have.
The Rule is tarted up with a cost-benefit analysis which purports to show massive benefits and modest costs. The benefit is in the form of improved health, in particular through the reduction in respiratory ailments.
But every step of this analysis is literally incredible. Consider the steps. First is an estimate of how the regulation affects climate. The second is an estimate of how climate affects health. The third is an estimate of the value of these health benefits. None of these calculations is remotely plausible, or even is it plausible that they can be made realistically, given the incredible complexity of climate and health.
And note the bait and switch here. The Rule is touted as a solution to the Phenomenon Once Known As Global Warming. But the Rule itself admits that the effect on temperature will be point zero one eight degrees centigrade by 2100. This is effectively zero, meaning that the “Climate Change” benefit of the Rule is zero.
The health benefits come from reductions in particulates from coal generating plants. So why not regulate particulates specifically?
This all points out that cost benefit analysis for large federal rules is basically Kabuki theater. …
… This new Rule is a piece with the last 6 plus years of grotesquely inefficient legislation and regulations. Frankendodd. Obamacare. Net Neutrality. Each of these add huge amounts of new weight that the Atlas of the American economy must bear. An economy subjected to such burdens will survive, but it will not thrive. The EPA’s new Rule will provide no meaningful benefit, and any benefits that it does generate will be gained at excessive cost. But that is the Obama way. That is the leftist way.
Betsy McCaughey calls it “climate hubris.”
This week President Obama is hailing his Clean Power Plan as “the single most important step America has ever taken in the fight against global climate change.” Obama is posing as the environment’s savior, just as he did in 2008, when he promised his presidency would mark “the moment when … the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” Seven years later, that messianic legacy is in doubt. Obama’s Clean Power Plan has never had legislative support, even when his own party controlled both houses of Congress. Now he’s trying to impose it without Congress, an audacious ploy his old Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe condemns as “burning the Constitution.”
As his presidency wanes, Obama is desperately burnishing his eco-credentials with environmental zealots like Pope Francis and the leftists at the U.N. and in the European Union. But here at home, his plan would be a disaster economically, which explains its failure in Congress. Hillary Clinton is pledging to support the plan, while Republicans vying for their party’s presidential nomination are vowing to oppose it. The Clean Power Plan will be a fiercely debated issue in coal-consuming swing states like Ohio, Illinois, and Pennsylvania — where the race for the White House is usually decided. …
WSJ Editors call it a ”Climate-Change Putsch” and says it’s up to the states to push back.
… When the EPA rule does arrive before the Justices, maybe they’ll rethink their doctrine of “Chevron deference,” in which the judiciary hands the bureaucracy broad leeway to interpret ambiguous laws. An agency using a 38-year-old provision as pretext for the cap-and-tax plan that a Democratic Congress rejected in 2010 and couldn’t get 50 Senate votes now is the all-time nadir of administrative “interpretation.”
Meantime, states can help the resistance by refusing to participate. The Clean Air Act is a creature of cooperative federalism, and Governors have no obligation to craft a compliance plan. The feds will try to enforce a fallback, but they can’t commandeer the states, and they lack the money, personnel and bandwidth to overcome a broad boycott. Let’s see how much “clean power” the EPA really has.
The states have good reason to avoid collaborating in a scheme that will result in higher prices for consumers and business as the EPA mandates are passed down the energy chain. The plan also endangers electric reliability, and the strains to the grid could lead to brownouts or worse. The EPA added a reliability “safety valve” in the final rule as a concession that these risks are real, but this offers little protection in practice.
This plan is essentially a tax on the livelihood of every American, which makes it all the more extraordinary that it is essentially one man’s order. Mr. Obama’s argument is that climate change is too important to abide by relics like the rule of law or self-government. It is an important test of the American political system to prove that he is wrong.
According to Investor Business Daily’s editors the costs for new EPA regs will fall heavily on GOP states.
When candidate Barack Obama boasted back in 2008 that his radical climate change policies would “bankrupt” coal-fired power plants, he was for once telling the wretched truth.
On Monday Mr. Obama accelerated the timetable in his war on coal, with new EPA regulations to reduce carbon emissions from power plants by 32% below 2005 levels by 2030. The White House openly admits that the goal is to use much less coal and force utilities to consume far costlier and less reliable “renewable” electric power.
Whether these feel-good regulations imposed on America’s domestic industries will impact global carbon emissions and climate change appears highly doubtful, given the massive increase in the use of coal and other fossil fuels in nations like China and India.
Yet the costs of these new rules for highly suspect benefits are gigantic. The Heritage Foundation, for example, estimates about 500,000 lost jobs, close to $100 billion a year in lost output (about half a percentage point of GDP), and more than $1,000 a year in higher costs to families. In other words, all pain, no gain.
But the dirty little secret here is that these costs aren’t uniform across the country. Not even close.
It turns out coal-using and producing states are predominantly Republican red states. Meanwhile, the more Democratic a state is, the less the cost of the new coal rules to local rate payers and taxpayers.
The top seven states — those getting at least 70% of electric power from coal — are all solidly red states. But states ruled by Democrats — Rhode Island, Vermont, Oregon, California, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut — get away practically unfazed. …
And the cartoonists continue to enjoy Donald Trump.