Obama’s New Powerplant CO2 Rules: Guaranteed to Succeed (Retroactively)

June 2nd, 2014 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

It’s hard to find anything new to say about the new EPA rules being announced by the Administration today that seek to lower CO2 emissions from coal-fired power plants by 30% by 2030.

Job-killing, poverty-exacerbating, electricity rate-raising, unmeasurable temperature-benefitting. And with no demonstrable technology for carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), there is no way to make coal-fired plants meet the new rule.

But these objections are just, so, you know…old school. I mean, we need nice shiny new energy technologies that don’t pollute. Technologies that aren’t promoted by tobacco scientists like me. That make our roadways clean, Green and hi-tech. Without all of that nasty “carbon pollution” (sounds dirty, doesn’t it?).

As some of us try to list all of the reasons why such regulations are not just a waste of time, but also damaging to human health and welfare, there is a sizeable fraction of people who are easily duped by what sounds good to them.

Carbon dioxide, contrary to what you might have learned in school many years ago, is now a pollutant. It doesn’t matter that recent warming and CO2 increases have also led to greening of the Earth since CO2 (now standing at 4 parts per 10,000 of the atmosphere) is necessary for life on Earth. No, rather than real, demonstrated benefits of more atmospheric CO2, we instead have to worry about theoretical risks of more CO2.

I’ve met a whole new batch of these easily-duped people in the last few days who have left over 700 comments on my blog posts (here and here) where I pointed out that sane people shouldn’t be taking perfectly good solar collectors, normally tilted toward the sun to increase energy generation and kept reasonably clean and protected, and putting them in road surfaces to be repeatedly run over by heavy, dirty cars and trucks.

Apparently, I’m part of the problem rather than the solution. Part of the old, discredited way of doing things. Time to embrace the future, Dr. Roy.

So, I’ve been thinking about how this new EPA power plant rule will play out.

First of all, after an obligatory EPA 1-year comment period and then even more time for the states to decide how they might want to achieve the goals of the rule, it’s going to be after the next presidential election before we actually see substantial changes in coal-fired generation resulting from the rule.

How convenient. Old plants are already being shuttered in favor of gas-fired plants, which are currently cheaper. So what’s the point of the new regulations?

Well, what might well happen is this. Ten years down the road, “global warming” will turn out to be (surprise!) much weaker than predicted. Since we know the climate models that predicted much greater warming can’t be wrong, it must be those new EPA regulations back in 2014 that solved the problem!

We really can control the climate system! We did something…and it worked…retroactively!

It doesn’t really matter which came first, or what-caused-what. It didn’t matter for the ice core record of temperature changes coming before CO2 changes, and it won’t matter for this, either.

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