Posted by mb50
James Taylor, Contributor
Anti-energy crusaders are in a celebratory mood this week as the EPA effectively banned the construction of coal-fired power plants, and thus completed the federal government’s trifecta beat-down on affordable energy.
First, new obstacles to energy production resulted in oil production on federal lands dropping 11% in Fiscal Year 2011 vs. 2010. Second, President Obama announced earlier this year that his administration was blocking construction of the Keystone XL pipeline that would deliver large quantities of valuable oil from neighboring Canada. Third, the EPA announced this week its severe global warming restrictions on power plants.
For all the talk of an “all of the above” federal energy policy, this administration is imposing “none of the above,” unless we choose to celebrate our imminent burning of dung for fuel, like they do in the utopian economic powerhouse of Bangladesh.
Coal is our nation’s leading source of electricity for a reason; it is less expensive than all other sources except large-scale hydropower, which environmental activists had already taken off the table. By definition you cannot ban the least expensive power sources without creating a jump in electricity prices. If you have been a fan of our rapidly rising gasoline prices, you are going to love what is about to happen to our electricity prices, too.
There is at least one theoretical scenario whereby banning the construction of coal-fired power plants will only cause a modest rise in electricity prices. That scenario would occur if natural gas filled most of the void for future power plant construction and government refrained from punishing natural gas production. However, the same environmental extremists who successfully pushed for the end of new coal-fired power plants are just as adamant about shutting down natural gas production.
The EPA is already targeting natural gas production from lucrative shale formations, and is likely to soon impose unprecedented restrictions that will raise costs and throttle natural gas production. Tripling down on “none of the above” appears poised to become quadrupling down on “none of the above.”
Oh, and I forgot to mention this administration’s pulling the plug on the Yucca Mountain repository for spent nuclear fuel. Make that quintupling down on “none of the above.”
Those who claim humans are causing a global warming crisis argue that expensive energy is necessary to stop the growth in our global warming emissions. The facts, however, tell a different story.
U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have fallen since the beginning of the century, and the U.S. Energy Information Administration does not anticipate any appreciable rise in emissions for at least the next several decades. True, global emissions have risen by approximately one-third this century, but the United States has had no part in that global increase.
The reason why global carbon dioxide emissions continue to rise is nations such as China and India continue to ramp up their industrialization. China, for example, emits more carbon dioxide than the entire Western Hemisphere and is increasing its carbon dioxide emissions by an average of 10 percent per year. Even if the United States theoretically eliminated all of its emissions today, such action would be rendered moot in less than a decade merely by the corresponding increase from China.
What we are left with, even if we assume for the sake of argument that humans are causing a global warming crisis, is tremendous self-induced economic pain for absolutely no real-world environmental impact.
All of the Above is now None of the Above. Welcome to the return of “That 70s Energy Policy.”
- New U.S. power plants must meet first-ever limits on carbon pollution (oregonlive.com)
- EPA to reduce new power plants’ carbon pollution (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- New EPA rule will block all new coal-electric generation (wattsupwiththat.com)
- EPA Limits Power Plant Emissions (myfoxny.com)
- The EPA Wrecking Ball (papundits.wordpress.com)
Tags: Anti-energy, Barack Obama, China, coal fired power plants, crusaders, Energy policy, environmental extremists, EPA, Fossil fuel power station, Global warming, None of the Above, power plant construction, shale formations, Triples Down, United States, United States Environmental Protection Agency