The Environmental Protection Agency’s sweeping Clean Power Plan, which is supposed to save the planet by putting the coal industry out of business, is currently on hold. The U.S. Supreme Court made the unusual move earlier this year of issuing a “stay” on implementation while West Virginia and two dozen other states have a chance to challenge the rule in federal court.
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and his fellow attorneys general will try to show that the EPA does not have the authority under the Clean Air Act to implement rules forcing states to reduce CO2 emissions 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, a goal that can only be met with less coal and lots more reliable wind and solar power.
There’s also the issue, however, of whether the benefits of such a dramatic reduction are worth the cost. A new paper by economist Dr. Jonathan Lesser, president of Continental Economics, Inc., suggests the federal agency’s numbers are skewed.
Lesser, in the study conducted for the free market think tank Manhattan Institute, concludes the “EPA’s estimates of billions of dollars in annual benefits from (a reduction of) CO2 emissions are unsupportable, not because of the arbitrariness of SCC (social cost of carbon) values, but because CPP (Clean Power Plan) will have no physically measurable impact on world climate.”
Lesser says that using the EPA’s own models, the Clean Power Plan would reduce global temperatures by less than 0.01 degrees Celsius by the year 2100, a statistically insignificant change that the EPA bills as integral to stopping global warming and protecting the health and well-being of the population.
Where the impact of the regulation will be felt, however, is in the pocketbooks of rate payers. “The CPP will require U.S. consumers, businesses, and taxpayers to incur billions of dollars in higher costs for their electricity (along with the ripple effects that higher electricity prices have on other goods and services),” Lesser writes.
The Obama administration maintains that the United States must set an example on carbon reduction that the rest of the world will follow. Lesser says it’s unknown whether this approach will work, “but the EPA never considers the economic implications if its view is wrong and if implementation of the CPP does not lead to other nations imposing their own CO2 reduction policies.” In fact, Lesser points out that other nations will benefit by not following the U.S. lead and securing an economic advantage.
Lesser maintains the EPA’s cost-benefit analysis relies “on multiple layers of unrealistic, arbitrary, and inconsistent assumptions.” For many, however, the EPA’s word is taken as gospel, especially by the anti-carbon crowd that finally has a sympathetic ear in the White House and an emotional hook upon which to hang its argument for getting fossil fuels out of the energy mix.
Instead of throwing up our hands and accepting the end of coal and bans on hydraulic fracking, we should be asking more questions about the EPA’s dubious climate control plan.
See the article here.
- On June 23, 2016