The Daily Scoop: Why EPA’s new carbon rules won’t have much impact


Much has been made of late about new EPA rules regarding coal-powered powerplants and an apparent ban on any new facilities in the future. The article here dispells some of inaccuate claims and rumors.

Washington Post: On Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Agency unveiled its first-ever rules on carbon-dioxide emissions from new power plants. These rules are part of the EPA’s program to tackle global-warming pollution. But what sort of impact will they actually have? Not a whole lot — at least for the foreseeable future.

First, a quick refresher: These latest carbon rules are the third step in the EPA’s ongoing effort to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. The first two phases involved setting stricter fuel-economy standards for cars and light trucks. Today’s rule, which falls under the New Source Performance Standard portion of the law, sets rules for power plants that haven’t been built yet.
Read more…

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2 Comments to “The Daily Scoop: Why EPA’s new carbon rules won’t have much impact”

  1. Is your post really only 2 paragraphs long, or is the ‘Read more…’ link supposed to expand it? Not for the first time, the latter takes you to a third party website (i.e. your source)!

    Why is Obama making such a fuss about new plants? Surely, as with older cars, it is the plants with the longest service record that are the most inefficient/polluting.? Of course, if he really wanted to have some significant effect, he should end the political interference in the EPA that the likes of Dr S Fred Singer continue to have; and allow the EPA to have proper regulatory control over CO2 by unambiguously declaring it to be a pollutant.

    However, over and above that, people must be given an incentive to modify their behaviour and, as we have learnt with alcohol and all other drugs, prohibition does not work. Where it is known to damage health and/or the environment, drug use must be accepted as being socially unacceptable and irresponsible. This is what must happen to our collective addiction to fossil fuel (i.e. Earth abuse) as well; attempting to modify behaviour by market forces alone will never work.

    However, we no longer have the luxury of choice. Either we make the necessary choice now or Nature will choose our destiny for us. The collapse of the USSR and the fall of the Berlin Wall over 20 years ago may have bought us some time but, the rapid economic growth of China, India and all other emerging economies (and the legitimate aspirations for self-improvement of people all around the World) means that time has now run out: Civilisation is now at a cross roads – economic development must be decoupled from environmental degradation; or we will be confronted with what Herman E Daly called uneconomic growth. In fact, I think we have already been assaulted by it.

  2. Martin, the “Daily Scoop” is a daily, or almost daily posting, of articles of interest that I feel readers may want to read. I don’t post original postings everyday so these kind of fill that void so to speak. So, the “read more” takes you to the full story, this one is through the Washington Post. Sometimes I may give a little bit of my opinion or reasoning for posting the article which is what I did here as an introduction.

    “Of course, if he really wanted to have some significant effect, he should end the political interference in the EPA ”

    Well that would be a great way to have the EPA function but that’s not how agencies work here unfortunately. Congress has to approve the EPA’s and other agency heads with each new administration or appointment and that person can be a very political figure or someone who pays attention more, in the EPA’s case, to the science. Obama did try to set up a politically isolated Consumer Financial Protection Bureau but the Republicans in Congress went crazy. See my post on this here; http://mashedpotatobulletin.com/2012/01/10/why-does-gop-want-to-ko-the-cfpb/
    So yes, it’d be nice if the EPA was isolated like that but it’d take an act of Congress to change. And while the new regs do focus on new plants there have been regs applied to older, existing plants in the past.

    “Where it is known to damage health and/or the environment, drug use must be accepted as being socially unacceptable and irresponsible.”

    Yes, I agree but in terms of the science behind the regulations many people are forming a distrust of science. Apparently, educated conservatives are linking science to regulations and are being turned off by the science, resulting in a dismissal of its findings. This is discussed a bit here; http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/study-trust-science-among-educated-conservatives-plunges-133908205.html
    So if there is a growing distrust of science, then the reasoning behind changing the paradigm will also be dismissed.

    “However, we no longer have the luxury of choice.”

    I am in complete agreement with much of what you’re saying here but unfortunately, there are political divides that aren’t bridged with logic that are keeping us from focusing on what needs to be done.

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