September 25 2013
Carrie L. Lukas
The Obama Administration isn’t waiting for the new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. That might be a good thing: As Donna Lafromboise writes in today’s Wall Street Journal, the process used to compile this report is far from unbiased. Those writing the report have deep ties to organizations committed to raising alarm bells about global warming and pushing for deeper regulations of modern life. Whatever comes out of the IPCC, it won’t merely be a reflection of the best science, but a highly political document from those in the green movement with much at stake in maximizing concern about climate change.
Alas, Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency isn’t acting out of skepticism, instead it’s simply embracing the idea that we must move forward to reduce carbon emissions at all costs, even if the case for man-made, catastrophic warming is increasingly weak. The EPA is issuing new regulations that will effectively outlaw the creation of new coal–fired electric plants.
As the Wall Street Journal explains:
The rule does not yet apply to existing coal plants that still provide about 40% of U.S. electricity, though that day will come soon. The meaning of Friday's rule is that the EPA is banning coal—the second largest source of carbon emissions after petroleum—from the future energy mix.
Americans seem to have become increasingly used to a federal government breeching its authority. The Administration can merely decree that it isn’t going to enforce a major section of ObamaCare, so I guess it’s really not that shocking when the EPA decides to issue new regulations that will effectively wipe away an industry without bothering with Congress.
The impact of these actions won’t be felt tomorrow, but they will have a real impact on Americans’ economic futures.
Americans should take note, these regulations (for now, at least) apply solely to new plants, which means the biggest impact will be on entities that won’t be created. That’s harder for people to see: These are businesses that will never open up rather than existing ones that have to close down. But the impact is just as real.
Moreover, it isn’t just the energy industry itself that will be impacted by these regulations and the squeezing out of coal. Restricting the supply of energy means higher energy costs in the future. That’s another roadblock for would-be entrepreneurs and all those businesses that are struggling today.
Americans should wonder why exactly the government is making it harder for business to do business. The Administration admits that these regulations will have little impact on U.S. carbon emissions. More fundamentally, if the alarmist version of global warming is really correct, than such measures will be far too modest to impact the trajectory of the environmentally changes. Why then is our government today creating more barriers to economic growth and job creation when so many Americans are out of work and suffering?
We need a robust economy to deal with whatever challenges lie ahead, be they environmental or from foreign aggressors. Too bad, that’s a factor that doesn’t seem of much importance to our short-sighted EPA.