If you think the economy is bad now, just wait. President Obama’s energy policies are going to make Americans “hungrier, less prosperous and more likely to be unemployed,” according to the Detroit News.
President Barack Obama, in presenting his strident new plan to reduce carbon emissions, is touting the health benefits of cleaner air. And there’s little doubt shutting down one-third of the nation’s coal plants will make America’s air cleaner and some people healthier.
But it will also risk making them hungrier, less prosperous and more likely to be unemployed as the nation’s economy slows and jobs disappear. The tough, new restrictions on smokestack emissions are the latest in a series of battles in the administration’s war on coal.
And while the power industry has achieved substantial reductions in carbon emissions over the past decade, the new standards would greatly accelerate the pace. The Environmental Protection Agency, which drafted the mandates, is targeting a 30 percent cut in greenhouse gases by 2030 based on the peak emissions year of 2005.
The power industry estimates that up to one-third of its 1,000 coal-fired facilities will have to close. Those plants produce 40 percent of the nation’s energy.
The Wall Street Journal has a related editorial today about how the new rules (which were put in place after a Congress controlled by Democrats rejected this policy in 2010) will hurt the lower and middle classes the hardest. So much for Obama’s claims that he cares about the poor or inequality.
The EPA claims to be targeting “polluters,” but the government is essentially creating an artificial scarcity in carbon energy. Scarcities mean higher prices, which will hit the poor far harder than they will the anticarbon crusaders who live in Pacific Heights. The lowest 10% of earners pay three times as much as a share of their income for electricity compared to the middle class. If you want more inequality, this is an ideal way to ensure it.
The EPA plan will also redistribute income from economically successful states to those that have already needlessly raised their energy costs. The New England and California cap-and-trade programs will get a boost, while the new rule punishes the regions that rely most on fossil fuels and manufacturing: the South, Ohio River Valley and mid-Atlantic. Think of it as a transfer from Austin to Sacramento.
Even worse, it’s all for nothing!
The irony is that all the damage will do nothing for climate change. Based on the EPA’s own carbon accounting, shutting down every coal-fired power plant tomorrow and replacing them with zero-carbon sources would reduce the Earth’s temperature by about one-twentieth of a degree Fahrenheit in a hundred years. (Read More)
For that we’re getting higher prices, a less reliable grid and more wealth transfers. But I’m sure it will help Democrats raise funds from the green wing of their party. Great.