Opinion

New York Times: Obama's new executive actions won't have much of an impact on global warming

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Barack Obama,Climate Change,Ashe Schow,Global Warming,Solar Energy,Air Pollution

President Obama unveiled a new plan to combat global warming via executive actions — a new plan that, according to the New York Times, “will not amount to much.”

The executive actions, the administration says, include commitments from more than 300 public- and private-sector partners to create new jobs in the energy-efficiency industry and reduce carbon pollution. These commitments, the administration says, would deploy 850 megawatts of solar electricity, reduce carbon pollution by more than 380 million metric tons and reduce energy costs for businesses by nearly $26 billion.

Those seem like big numbers, but 850 megawatts will power 130,000 homes, which represents 0.11 percent of U.S. households, according to Census data from 2008-2012.

And 380 million metric tons would represent a 7 percent decrease in emissions from 2013 levels. The decrease would come from a 158 million metric ton-reduction in appliances and a 230 million metric ton-reduction from buildings by 2030.

A 7 percent reduction over 16 years? Actually, that might be the most accurate prediction this administration has ever put out, considering that U.S. emissions dropped 12 percent between 2007 and 2012. But still, a 7 percent reduction from the U.S., as the Times said, "will not amount to much."

But actually doing something to combat global warming isn't the goal of Obama's executive actions, apparently. Along with another $2 billion to favored contractors to make federal buildings more energy-efficient, the goal of Obama's latest executive actions is to "build public support for an Environmental Protection Agency rule that the White House will unveil in June," according to the Times.

That rule is no surprise — it's the EPA's plan to severely limit carbon emissions from existing coal plants that was originally announced last year.

Obama's latest executive actions are also supposed to create 50,000 jobs in the solar industry by 2020.

But while a solar energy progress report claims massive gains in the solar industry under Obama, what's left out is that solar electricity only accounts for 0.3 percent of the nation's energy.

So while the administration is doing everything it can to boost the industry, it still isn’t anywhere near being competitive with coal, which the administration is trying to seriously curb.

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