The purpose of such models is to predict future outcomes. The problem for the alarmists is that that the gap between their models, which continues to predict that the earth’s temperature will rise because of increased carbon emissions, is so great as to call into question the models themselves. The New Republic, a long-time bastion of global warming alarmism, gets to the heart of the issue when it notes that “scientists themselves aren’t entirely sure what the evidence [of lower than predicted global temperatures] means. If scientific models can’t project the last 15 years, what does that mean for their projections of the next 100?”
Nonetheless, the president forges ahead with his plan to save humanity. In implementing its salvation, his main target is coal. President Obama certainly warned us at the beginning of his first term when he said “Go ahead and build a coal-powered plant — but it will bankrupt you.” In conjunction with the president’s speech at Georgetown, his climate adviser, Daniel P. Schrag, stated unequivocally that the administration needs to start shutting down conventional coal plants.
“Politically,” he said, “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."
Thus the centerpiece of his speech was a directive to the EPA to establish, by administrative fiat, carbon emission standards for power plants, making it unlikely that new power plants will be built. Meanwhile, existing plants, which will have to be retrofitted to comply with new standards, are likely to close. New federal regulations will also affect the construction of factories, commercial buildings, and private homes. In addition, new restrictions on heavy trucks will affect the movement of freight and goods across the country.
The economic costs to the United States will be immense. The Wall Street Journal recently observed that “in general every $1 billion spent complying with an EPA rule threatens 16,000 jobs and cuts GDP by $1.2 billion.” In other words, the net effect of the president’s plan will be to make Americans poorer.
But while the president’s program will drive up the cost of electricity it will have no effect on global climate. Why? Because, even if the climate models were correct in postulating a causal link between increased carbon emissions and higher global temperatures, neither China nor India, countries that rely on coal to generate energy, have any incentive to reduce their emissions, thereby reducing their peoples’ standards of living on behalf of Barack Obama’s policy preferences.
So why would the president insist on forcing such onerous policies upon the United States? One purpose comes to mind: by artificially raising the cost of carbon energy, he can make his beloved, but heavily subsidized, “renewables” competitive. He gave the game away when he said in his Georgetown speech, “the year that I took office, my administration pledged to reduce America’s greenhouse gas emissions by about 17 percent from their 2005 levels by the end of this decade. And we rolled up our sleeves and we got to work. We doubled the electricity we generated from wind and the sun.”
But of course, the reduction in U.S. emissions has little, if anything to do with the miniscule energy derived from wind and solar energy sources. Instead, it has everything to do with something that occurred despite the president’s best efforts: the natural gas revolution, enabled by fracking and multi-directional drilling.
The best commentary on President Obama’s energy policy comes from a mainstream Democrat, Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by the League of Conservation Voters — Biden, Xi talk climate at UN forum Election reform in the states is not all doom and gloom Manchin presses Interior nominee on leasing program review MORE (D-WV). “It’s not just a war on coal; it’s a war on jobs, it’s a war on America.”
Owens is the editor of Orbis, Foreign Policy Research Institute's quarterly journal of international affairs.