Washington Post asks if the "war on coal" is really a "war on wasting energy"
Lost in all the hype on how the President's clean power plan is part of the "war on coal" is the distinct possibility that the plan would lower carbon emissions and make for more efficient use of energy resources. As Chris Mooney of the Washington Post writes:
But according to a new analysis of how the plan will work, all this emphasis on coal may distract from one of the policy’s key features. The Clean Power Plan, finds the analysis by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), will work most of all by stoking more efficient uses of energy. In other words, wherever electricity comes from under the plan — whether coal, natural gas or renewables — we’ll be giving off less greenhouse gas emissions simply because we’ll be using less of it in total (in some cases, if you will, wasting less).
The article also features the recent exchange between Janet McCabe, the EPA’s acting assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation and our own Representative David McKinley:
Rep. McKinley: I want to make sure I am hearing — you said energy prices are going to go down?
McCabe: Energy bills will go down, congressman.
McKinley: How in the world are they going to go down if we are spending this …
McCabe: With energy efficiency, people will be buying less electricity.
McKinley: And you are serious? You really —
McCabe: I —
McKinley: — believe this?
McCabe: I do. We are seeing it all across the country.
Needless to say, this exchange was not highlighted in a recent Intelligencer editorial.
The New York Times interviews a professor of environmental studies and philosophy and asks "what can we do about climate change?"
Yesterday, the Times featured an interview with Dale Jamieson, author of “Reason in a Dark Time: Why the Struggle to Stop Climate Change Failed — and What It Means for Our Future.” Jamieson believes we must act now and ending our dependence on coal is high on his list:
G.G.: Mightn’t the costs of giving up coal and of using alternative fuels (maybe nuclear) be greater than the costs of continuing to use coal? Is it possible to be reasonably certain about the effects of such a major change?
D.J. Coal seems to be an attractive fuel because there’s so much of it, and our economies are set up in such a way that most of the costs are borne downstream — not by those who produce and consume it. Once you start taking these externalities into account, coal starts losing economically even to other fossil fuels such as natural gas. The environmental and health costs of coal are so overwhelming that it’s not difficult to make the case for its elimination. The problem is distributional. Some people, including many poor people, gain short-term advantages from using coal. But distributional concerns are involved in all social policy decisions. The right response to these concerns is compensation, not inaction.
It's a thought-provoking interview.
Today's New York Times details Senator Mitch McConnell's plan to fight the Clean Air Act
As the Times reports:
Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has begun an aggressive campaign to block President Obama’s climate change agenda in statehouses and courtrooms across the country, arenas far beyond Mr. McConnell’s official reach and authority.
The rest of article explains his plan to accomplish this.