Obama: Power plant rule will shrink power prices

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy: "This is not just about disappearing polar bears or melting ice caps. This is about protecting our health and our homes. This is about protecting local economies and jobs"
Associated Press
Jun 2, 2014

In a sweeping initiative to curb pollutants blamed for global warming, the Obama administration unveiled a plan Monday aimed at cutting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by nearly a third by 2030. But it delays the deadline for some states to begin complying until long after President Barack Obama leaves office.

The 645-page plan, expected to be finalized next year, is a centerpiece of Obama's efforts to deal with climate change and seeks to give the United States more leverage to prod other countries to act when negotiations on a new international treaty resume next year. Under the plan, carbon emissions are to be reduced 30 percent from 2005 levels, in what would amount to one of the most significant U.S. actions on global warming.

Obama, in a conference call hosted by the American Lung Association, said the plan would both shrink electricity prices and protect the health of vulnerable Americans. He scolded critics who he predicted would contend anew that the limits would crush jobs and damage the economy.

"What we've seen every time is that these claims are debunked when you actually give workers and businesses the tools and the incentives they need to innovate," Obama said.

The proposal sets off a complex regulatory process, steeped in politics, in which the 50 states will each determine how to meet customized targets set by the Environmental Protection Agency, then submit those plans for approval.

"This is not just about disappearing polar bears or melting ice caps," said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. "This is about protecting our health and our homes. This is about protecting local economies and jobs."

Some states will be allowed to emit more pollutants and others less, leading to an overall, nationwide reduction of 30 percent.

Many states that rely heavily on coal will be spared from cutting a full 30 percent. West Virginia, for example, must reduce the pollution it puts out per amount of power by 19 percent compared to the rate in 2012. Ohio's target is 28 percent less, while Kentucky and Wyoming will have to find ways to make 18 percent and 19 percent cuts in their electricity generation's efficiency.

On the other extreme, New York has a 44 percent target, EPA figures show. But New York already has joined with other Northeast states to curb carbon dioxide from power plants, reducing the baseline figure from which cuts must be made. States like New York can get credit for actions they've already taken, lest they be punished for taking early action.

Initially, Obama wanted each state to submit its plan by June 2016. But the draft proposal shows states could have until 2017 — and 2018, if they join with other states.

That means even if the rules survive legal and other challenges, the dust won't likely settle on this transformation until well into the next administration, raising the possibility that political dynamics in either Congress or the White House could alter the rule's course.

Although Obama doesn't need a vote in Congress to approve his plans, lawmakers in both the House and Senate have already vowed to try to block them — including Democratic Rep. Nick Rahall, who faces a difficult re-election this year in coal-dependent West Virginia. Scuttling the rules could be easier if Republicans take the Senate in November and then the White House in 2016.

Another potential flash point: The plan relies heavily on governors agreeing to develop plans to meet the federal standard. If Republican governors refuse to go along, as was the case with Obama's expansion of Medicaid, the EPA can create its own plan for a state. But the specifics of how EPA could force a state to comply with that plan remain murky.

S. William Becker, who heads the National Association of Clean Air Agencies, said it was good that the rule will give states more time to develop strategies and will grant credit for previous steps to cut emissions.

"Still, the regulatory and resource challenges that lie ahead are daunting," Becker said.

Power plants are the largest U.S. source of greenhouse gases, accounting for about a third of the annual emissions. EPA data show power plants have already reduced carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 13 percent since 2005, meaning they are about halfway to meeting the administration's goal.

The EPA projected that carrying out the plan will cost up to $8.8 billion annually in 2030, but the actual costs will depend heavily on how states choose to reach their targets. The administration argued that any costs to comply are far outweighed by savings in health expenses that the U.S. will realize thanks to reductions in other pollutants such as soot and smog that will accompany a shift away from dirtier fuels.

Environmental groups hailed the proposal, praising both the climate effects and the public health benefits they said would follow. Former Vice President Al Gore, a prominent environmental advocate, called it "the most important step taken to combat the climate crisis in our country's history."

But energy advocates sounded alarms, warning of economic drag. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called the proposal "a dagger in the heart of the American middle class."

"If these rules are allowed to go into effect, the administration for all intents and purposes is creating America's next energy crisis," said Mike Duncan of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, which represents the coal industry.

Options for states to meet the targets include making power plants more efficient, reducing the frequency at which coal-fired power plants supply power to the grid, and investing in more renewable, low-carbon sources of energy. States could also enhance programs aimed at reducing demand by making households and businesses more energy-efficient. Each of those categories will have a separate target.

Coal once supplied about half the nation's electricity, but has dropped to 40 percent amid a boom in natural gas and renewable sources such as wind and solar. Although the new emissions cuts will further diminish coal's role, the EPA predicted that it would remain a leading source of electricity in the U.S., providing more than 30 percent of the projected supply.

Obama has already tackled the emissions from the nation's cars and trucks, announcing rules to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by doubling fuel economy. That standard will reduce carbon dioxide by more than 2 billion tons over the lives of vehicles made in model years 2012-25.

Comments

Darwin's choice

" If you like your plan/doctor/life...."

More hot air from the liar-in-charge.

obama/failing....still

JMOP

I agree Darwin. Too bad there's so many gullible people out there still.

Truth2u

Obama HIMSELF while interviewed said that energy prices under his plan will "SKYROCKET' He PERSONALLY said this here: http://youtu.be/HlTxGHn4sH4

Contango

Re: "If you like (snip)"

Spot on!

Re: "shrink power prices"

Yea, how many are saving that $2,500.00 annually in health ins. premiums he blathered about?

downthemiddle

More nonspeak...

8ballinthesidepocket

Another worthless,useless, over reaction by Obozo!!! As long as the rest of the world keeps using fossil fuels, ala China and Russia, we are grasping at straws if we think what we do matters. Say goodbye to affordable electric power and the rest of our steel industry. Just another tactic to make more and more people dependent upon the government. This guy is by far, not even close, the worst president ever. PERIOD!!!

downthemiddle

Think of the U.S.A. as a forest of 100 beautiful tall, solid trees.. planted in orderly rows and nourished with the blood of patriots. Each tree is a basic tenet of the Founding Fathers.

Liberals all have chainsaws, axes, knives, broken glass... in the 60's they used to chop at one tree at a time... now they have multiplied and dispersed and are chopping and damaging several trees at once, gleefully cutting into the bark and at least weakening it and rendering it susceptible to the poisons they exhale. Sometimes they are stopped in Congress by Conservatives. Undeterred, they slither back into the forest and start on an new tree in a dark corner.. until they are found out again and exposed.

The idea is to turn the forest into an uninhabitable wasteland that can sustain only the lowest forms of life.

jazzbo

bs

downthemiddle

... Ah... The first inhabitant of the forest has identified itself.

jazzbo

Your fanciful little story IS bs and you are one of the nuts ( right wing variety ) in that forest.

downthemiddle

slugs inhabit decayed trees and are blind, and you are blind to the obvious.

jazzbo

Your little forest specifically depends upon what you are referring to.

Until then, your light is darkness.

The Big Dog's back

The koch brothers spend a lot of money for people like rush to keep you right wingnuts ill-informed.

Darwin's choice

Everything he can throw out there to keep the Benghazi scandal, VA scandal, IRS scandal, obamacare scandal, Solyndra scandal, and the thousands of his other failures out of the headlines!!!

But, you keep polishing away dog! That terd isn't going to shine itself!

downthemiddle

dog... how are things in uaw paradise? There's a dues increase coming... 25% if you haven't heard.

It was the first item of business for the new uaw president and his lackeys.

wasthere

How much do unions spend for clowns like you?

downthemiddle

it used to b 2 hrs/ month... but rates are going 25% up later today.

A bargain at twice the price....

Just keep payin' those dues, boys... just keep payin' those dues.

doglegright

douche

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Headline: Unproved claim of a possible result from a favorable model
Subtitle: Expanding the specific topic to grasp every possible thing that exists
Body: Nothing to support or explain the headline's claim nor to offer counterpoint to it or the subtitle

Context: How many of these Congressional/Presidential claims have come true over the past ten years since they all like to add that as a suffix to things. Isn't it awesome to just be able to say things with no need to support them, elaborate, etc.? Then when it doesn't work the blame just goes to a convenient scapegoat which includes browbeating the general population as being too dumb to understand such advanced, enlightened thought in order to carry through the plans.

Aren't you all tired of basing massive, sweeping laws on infinite "could possibly", "up to", "over the next X years", or unspecified citations of supposed "top economists/scientists/etc."?

"The administration argued that any costs to comply are far outweighed by savings in health expenses that the U.S. will realize thanks to reductions in other pollutants such as soot and smog that will accompany a shift away from dirtier fuels." - What? According to whom? How is this even measured or predicted? Against which constants and using which methodologies? It is also ridiculous to somehow tie the two in a broad aggregate when the prices to/from each aren't related.

What irks me even more is the Republican response. Someone apparently woke up Sen. McConnell who managed to wipe away some drool and burp up idiotic hyperbole instead of addressing the issue thoughtfully and with lucid, factual counterpoints. If ever there were a case for term limits it is he and Sen. Reid.

As long as Republicans continue to support people and standards like that they will lose and I will stand off to the side and watch as the GOP is consumed in its own incendiary nonsense.

http://favim.com/orig/201103/26/...

jazzbo

Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Carl Sagan had something to say about pollution ,global warming , and greenhouse effect tonight on:

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey
"The World Set Free"

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

That something being what and how does anything that is said on that show affect the breakdown of the story I provided?

In the mean time here's the EPA's own words: “To be clear, ambient concentrations of carbon dioxide and the other greenhouse gases, whether at current levels or at projected ambient levels under scenarios of high emissions growth over time, do not cause direct adverse health effects such as respiratory or toxic effects.”

https://www.federalregister.gov/...

If you'd like to read an interesting article that invokes this, check it out: http://www.americancommitment.or...

The quote at the end can sum up much of this discussion on climate cooling/warming/change/disruption pretty well: “But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. A bad usage can spread by tradition and imitation even among people who should and do know better.” - George Orwell

jazzbo

No,
You misunderstand.
It's not about Co2 being toxic (ie. directly).
Its about Co2 raising the Earth's temperature that causes problems (ie. indirectly).
Co2 is making the climate change.
Read a little bit more of that paragraph.

"To be clear, ambient concentrations of carbon dioxide and the other greenhouse gases, whether at current levels or at projected ambient levels under scenarios of high emissions growth over time, do not cause direct adverse health effects such as respiratory or toxic effects.
All public health risks and impacts described here as a result of elevated atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases occur via climate change.
The pathway or mechanism occurs through changes in climate, but the end result is an adverse effect on the health of the population. Thus these effects from climate change are appropriately denoted public health effects.-
.........
-The Administrator simply means to recognize, with the scientific community, that concentrations of greenhouse gases endanger public health through a wide range of pathways."

If you'd like to to watch an interesting show that invokes this, check it out: http://www.cosmosontv.com/watch/...
(The World Set Free)

The quote at the end can sum up much of this discussion on climate cooling/warming/change/disruption pretty well:

"There are none so blind as those that will not see.”
-Matthew Henry

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I appreciate you taking me up on the offer to talk about things and offer resources for me to change my mind/opinion on something. I respect that greatly. That said, and in the interest of continuing the discussion I have a rebuttal for you, submitted respectfully:

I read the link I wrote as quotes are often cherry-picked. Context means a lot to me. But the context here is that even as you expanded upon is that these are just extremely broad extrapolations that conveniently fit whatever someone wants it to fit into. For example if we get one more day of spring earlier in winter due to "warming" we can just say "Oh so if a flower produces X amount of pollen and we get X+1 pollen that equals an aggregate Y amount of pollen. If we divide out Y pollen among Z population then take the percentage of a population that is allergic we get some increased amount of "suffering". We then assign to this the average cost of a Zyrtec as you'll need that extra one for the day (or the like) and come up with a completely reached-for "health cost" of warming.

How is it that the gas we are talking about, carbon dioxide, is a pollutant at all when it is a natural emanation from animals and a gas that is crucially needed for plants to live and our spinning rock in space to host life itself? I'm not advocating for coal plants to pump their smokestacks through orphanages to filter their emissions as they dump raw sewage into the local fishing pond. I'm just wishing that these conversations were more contextually honest and/or forthcoming.

By and far the largest in volume and in impact greenhouse gas is...water vapor. Clouds. Mist. Fog. Rain. Humidity. Water vapor is the largest contributor of greenhouse warming than even CO2 and we're piddling around with a distant second place chemical?

Compound - Formula - Contribution (%)
Water vapor and clouds - H2O - 36–72%
Carbon dioxide - CO2 - 9–26%
Methane - CH4 - 4–9%
Ozone - O3 - 3–7%

I'll also put out there that the phrase is man-made climate change. So what's being done about mankind? We're urinating in the wind if we accept that premise and then do nothing to cull our species. So now not only are we picking at the scraps of a second-place non-pollutant but we are also not even addressing the stated cause of the climate change itself!

That's what frustrates me about how disingenuous all this is. If it weren't enough can you tell me what "normal" climate is, jazzbo? When in the billions-long geological history of our planet have we ever had a normal or static climate? It has never, ever, ever happened. How do we as a species have the hubris to believe we know what the climate is supposed to be then control it to our unfounded whims?

I truly appreciate the discussion and even the quote at the end you provided. But one has to consider if there are those who see but simply have had blinders put on their peripherals to limit what they can see to only what someone else puts in front of them.

jazzbo

You didn't watch the link to Cosmos , did you ?

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I did. Nothing in it addressed the "blinders" that I put forward about total context of the situation. Venus's proximity to the sun was swept under the rug quickly along with the fact its oceans were "lost to space". The two planets are not alike. Venus has no magnetic poles, something along with the lack of oceans that he would refer to as climate affecting parts of our planet in his walking the dog example. The atmosphere of Venus is about 96% CO2. Earth? .035%.

As for the sun's effects on our own climate being dismissed in a sentence or two? It was said later in the show about how massively important it is! Which is it? Though if we want to incorporate the sun into things we can look at an astrophysicist who writes about this topic extensively.

"In other words, after perhaps billions of dollars invested in climate research over more than three decades, our ability to answer the most important question in climate has not improved a single bit!" - Professor Nir Shaviv, PhD Astrophysics (http://sciencebits.com/about)
http://sciencebits.com/AR5-First...

The show didn't even address water vapor, but it mentioned that man at large is chiefly responsible for the increase in the second-place non-pollutant gas. Ok fine, let's buy that. So...where was the plan to reduce man's population? We can convert to solar all we want but if we are accepting that we are THE cause of climate change, the climate will only continue to change as long as there are more and more of us.

Again, urinating in the wind.

On top of that there's the fact that we can only do so much in two ways:

1. China and India each have about three times our populations making what we do a drop in the bucket.
2. Law of Diminishing Returns. "A concept in economics that if one factor of production (number of workers, for example) is increased while other factors (machines and workspace, for example) are held constant, the output per unit of the variable factor will eventually diminish."

Read more: http://www.businessdictionary.co...

There is only so much we can do or spend before any further gains are either negated or so exponentially expensive that they are illogical or unreasonable to pursue.

Please understand, jazzbo, I am not a "denier" and I sure as heck am not making this political. The fact it has been made political is disgusting. But if we're talking the cold hand of science, we need to look at all the data. Simplifying it to "humans and CO2" is disingenuous. Even the way we collect the data isn't consistent either throughout a short amount of time (last 100 years), the location of samples, or the scandals about legit data that was then manipulated to a pre-determined outcome.

For example: http://stevengoddard.wordpress.c...

Let's not even take into consideration the placement of such instruments isn't consistent. What about weather stations placed on poles in parking lots or near exhausts?

http://www.surfacestations.org/o...

I'm not a "climate denier" by any means (not saying you called me one), but I'm a "climate realist" who tries to look at things from many different angles and doesn't support pre-determined outcomes as is the push now. Just because you throw "climate change effects" onto a report I guess you can get more money to research something? But then it becomes a bought study and self-fulfilling prophecy where government agencies give money to people to research things that they will continue to use to a political advantage or point out "where are the studies that say otherwise?" when none are funded, considered, or we have irresponsible people like the President declaring conversations over.

When the hell does that happen in science?!

Climatologist Dr. David Legates tells the U.S. Senate of ‘the silencing of the dissenters’: ‘Young scientists quickly learn to ‘do what is expected of them’ or at least remain quiet, lest they lose their career before it begins’
http://www.epw.senate.gov/public...

Submitted respectfully for your consideration, jazzbo, and the consideration of all others who are following our discussion.

jazzbo

I would love to watch a debate between Neil DeGrasse Tyson and you.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Thank you, these are all points I would bring up. But I doubt he has the time or interest to come to Sandusky for such a thing. What about you though? Refute something I said if you feel it is incorrect. I'm not a perfect person.

jazzbo

Since your rebuttal has refuted Neil DeGrasse Tyson , what chance would I have to try and refute you ?

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I'll toss out a Bushism for your humor and encourage you to not "misunderestimate" yourself. Just think about it. I have layed out the premise of my thoughts. What is the linchpin to it all?

jazzbo

bs ?

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