Policy: Environment & Energy

EPA admits new coal regulations won't reduce global warming

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Beltway Confidential,Climate Change,EPA,Ashe Schow,Gina McCarthy,Energy and Environment,Coal

An Environmental Protection Agency proposal designed to reduce CO2 emissions and reduce global warming will actually have no “notable CO2 emission changes.”

So, a rule that will essentially ban new coal-fired power plants will actually have no impact on global warming. Got it.

“The EPA does not anticipate that this proposed rule will result in notable CO2 emission changes, energy impacts, monetized benefits, costs, or economic impacts by 2022,” the EPA writes under the comments section of its proposal.

The EPA also admits that “the owners of newly built electric generating units will likely choose technologies that meet these standards even in the absence of this proposal due to existing economic conditions as normal business practice.”

So, a rule that will make it nearly impossible to built an effective, new coal plant wasn’t even necessary in the first place? The rule has nothing but downsides.

What’s interesting is that in the paragraph immediately preceding the admission that the regulation will do nothing, EPA claimed that the rule would “contribute to the actions required to slow or reverse the accumulation of [greenhouse gas] concentrations in the atmosphere.”

But if the rule does absolutely nothing, how does it contribute to reducing global warming?

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy gave the answer last week, saying that this proposed rule, along with the Obama administration's other global warming rules, “positions the U.S. for leadership on this issue.” That, she said, would “prompt and leverage international discussions and actions.”

Lisa Miller, spokeswoman for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, said that the EPA’s “piecemeal” approach to global warming is an “ineffective and expensive way to reduce CO2 emissions.”

She added that “without comparable actions by other countries to reduce emissions, the U.S. is at a competitive disadvantage.”

The EPA’s rule appears to not actually be about impacting global warming, but all about making the U.S. look good on the issue in the international community. That, and the elimination of coal.

“Even if the entire U.S. coal fleet was somehow eliminated, the decrease in projected sea level rise would be less than the thickness of a dime,” Miller said.

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