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Policy: Environment & Energy

Examiner Editorial: Obama's latest 'war on coal'

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Editorial,Environment,Barack Obama,Jobs,Energy Department,Analysis,Energy and Environment,Coal

President Obama released an extensive new plan to address climate change on Tuesday that included a range of costly executive actions that will eliminate jobs, raise energy prices and do nothing to change global temperatures.

Obama has never been a friend to coal, or to American energy consumers. In 2008, then-candidate Obama told the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board that under his energy plan, "electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket." That plan couldn't even pass a Democrat-controlled House and Senate, so the president has since begun using the Environmental Protection Agency to implement his plan through backdoor regulations.

Now that the Obama administration is mired in scandal, the president conveniently returns to a campaign promise he long ago abandoned. His latest effort includes plans to increase standards for carbon dioxide emissions from new and existing power plants, more fuel standards for heavy-duty trucks and efficiency targets for appliances and buildings. The plan also increases subsidies for clean energy technologies (like the program that wasted tax dollars on the bankrupt solar energy firm Solyndra) by 30 percent to $7.9 billion.

Reducing coal's share in American energy production would eliminate 500,000 jobs (not just in the coal industry) and increase electricity prices by 20 percent, according to a forthcoming analysis from the Heritage Foundation. In response to Obama's new plan, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the president was engaging in a "war on jobs." His military metaphor was echoed by White House science panel geochemist Daniel Schrag who told The New York Times, "Politically, the White House is hesitant to say they're having a war on coal. On the other hand, a war on coal is exactly what's needed."

Obama also punted on the Keystone XL pipeline, which is still awaiting final approval from the State Department before it can connect the oil rich sands of Alberta, Canada, to American consumers. The State Department has already completed an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the Keystone project, which concluded the pipeline would create tens of thousands of new American jobs. But Obama again declined to make a final decision on the matter, instead saying he would not approve the pipeline if building it would generate more carbon emissions than not constructing it.

But the same State Department report that concluded Keystone would create thousands of jobs also found that, on net, the project would not add significant amounts of carbon to the atmosphere. Senior White House officials later declined to say if the existing State EIS conclusion on carbon emissions meant Obama would eventually approve the project.

It is important to keep in mind that even if Obama's latest carbon crackdowns are successful, they will do little to combat so-called climate change. Obama's plan has a goal of reducing carbon emissions by only 17 percent below 2005 levels. Even if U.S. carbon emissions were reduced to 0, the global temperature would only drop by about 0.08 degrees Celsius, according to the Science & Public Policy Institute. Climate alarmists claim that in a worst case scenario, the Earth could heat up by 4 degrees Celsius by they year 2100. So Obama's plan will do next to nothing to change that.

The bottom line is that Obama's plan will crush an already struggling economy while doing almost nothing to achieve his supposed goal of fixing climate change.

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