All Pain, No Gain

Posted in Weekly Newsletter on by .

commonsenseAs much as we obsess over global warming political charades, we haven’t said much about the Obama administration’s “Clean Power Plan” to save Planet Earth from the ravages of carbon dioxide.

This mish-mash of contradictory strategies to reduce CO2 from U.S. power plants directs Wisconsin to cut emissions 34 percent by 2030—with almost all of that to be achieved in less than five years, by 2020.

Last Monday’s Wall Street Journal featured an op-ed by Warner Baxter, CEO of St. Louis utility Ameren. It’s mostly the deck-chair rearranging you’d expect from an industry that’s averse to confronting its regulators, but Baxter raises one telling point: If state compliance plans direct utilities to build new, non-coal-fired plants to meet the EPA’s demanding 2020 target, regulatory permitting will need to be completed in 2017—while the state plans won’t even be submitted for EPA approval until 2017 or ’18 and the EPA says it might spend a year reviewing them. If nothing else, the agency’s bland assurance about how easy this will be spreads a feast for connoisseurs of EPA high-handedness.

Did we mention the Public Service Commission estimates costs to Wisconsin consumers as high as $13 billion?

Some or even all of that might conceivably be justified by serious evidence of a planetary threat, and warming has almost certainly occurred since the mid-1800s—though what’s rarely mentioned is that all the recorded warming in those roughly 170 years is about equal to the error margin climate science allows itself in measuring the average daily temperature on Earth.

And your $13 billion? It’s supposed to prevent a tiny fraction of future warming predicted by computer modeling that strays farther from reality every year.

 

The linked article is almost two years old. Time has only reinforced its conclusions.

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