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Policy: Environment & Energy

Obama's war on coal will cost U.S. $1 trillion in new technology growth

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Opinion,Op-Eds,Barack Obama,EPA,Energy and Environment,Coal,Carbon Capture and Storage,Clean Air Act

As the Fourth of July nears, summer officially swings into full gear, and Main Streets across the country will be home to legions of parades featuring community members coming together to celebrate our independence.

In the nation's capital, however, our president appears to be leading a one-man parade of his own to force an ill-conceived emissions-reduction plan onto the American people in hopes other nations will follow.

Unfortunately, as the president tosses his own ticker tape, world leaders are refusing to follow, as they recognize the consequences associated with the president’s plan are simply too steep to risk.

Even the leaders of our country’s closest allies have denounced the president’s costly and overreaching plan.

During a meeting last month, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper both made it clear that they will not sacrifice economic competitiveness and the well-being of their people in order to join a politicized climate crusade that promises questionable benefits.

It is important to understand that U.S. power plants produce a scant four percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, compared to China and India, which together emit more than 20 percent of all GHG emissions.

Shuttering all U.S. coal plants would have a negligible effect on the environment: equivalent to decreasing sea level rise by less than the thickness of three sheets of paper.

That's because the industry has put its money where its mouth is in making investments to use coal more cleanly and efficiently, and U.S. power plants are leading the way in developing clean-coal technologies.

Despite these hard truths, however, the Environmental Protection Agency’s is mandating new carbon regulations that if enacted will cost Americans up to $8.8 billion in 2030.

It seems that the only sacrifices being offered will come at the unwilling expense of American industry, American workers and American families.

Even in the face of mounting dissatisfaction with his climate agenda stateside and a cold shoulder from his fellow world leaders, Obama is marching ahead.

He's wholly ignored the industry’s $118 billion investment, so far, and another $27 billion through 2016, to reduce emissions at U.S. power plants.

Likewise, his EPA's proposed New Source Performance Standards, released last year, place a de facto ban on the construction of new cutting-edge clean-coal plants; jeopardizing America's leadership in developing Carbon Capture and Storage technology and ceding an estimated $1 trillion in economic benefits resulting from the technology to countries like China.

Meanwhile, the demand for coal continues to grow globally, particularly among burgeoning economic powers.

China’s percent of world coal consumption is expected to increase from 47 percent in 2010 to 57 percent in 2025, and its economic and industrial activity has been synchronous with this growth.

And Germany, which quickly reversed its path after a costly experiment with over-reliance on renewable fuel sources, is now building new coal power plants to restore affordable, reliable electricity to the country.

Both China’s and Germany’s leaders recognize the great potential of low-cost energy from coal in fueling their future growth, and both are leading the way in developing technologies that will harness this potential — all while achieving clean energy leadership and protecting their economic interests.

The American people have spoken time and again about their priorities: creating jobs, rebuilding our economy, creating a meaningful legacy for the future.

I hope that as we all celebrate the Fourth of July, our president will see the folly of his parade of one and begin working to develop energy policies that will allow America to continue to be the greatest nation in the world.

Mike Duncan is president and CEO of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.

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