President Obama’s Climate Initiative—The Bad News and Good News

President Obama’s Climate Initiative—The Bad News and Good News
June 27, 2013

Steve Goreham

Steve Goreham, a policy advisor to The Heartland Institute, is a speaker, author, and researcher on... (read full bio)

In his speech at Georgetown University on Tuesday, President Obama announced, “So today…I’m directing the Environmental Protection Agency to put an end to the limitless dumping of carbon pollution from our power plants and complete new pollution standards for both new and existing power plants.” This is the first proposal in the President’s new climate initiative. The President also called for expanded efforts to use “clean energy” and for the US to lead the world in bold actions to “combat climate change.”

For the last decade, an obsession with global warming has dominated a wide array of US government policies. Climatism, the belief that man-made greenhouse gases are destroying Earth’s climate, skews federal automobile, transportation, energy, and infrastructure policies. Billions are spent in the ongoing effort to fight climate change.

Today, US policies toward the automobile industry are “driven” by Climatism. In his speech, the President praised new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards that rise to 54.5 miles per gallon by year 2025 and that are designed to achieve reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Plug-in electric vehicles are promoted and subsidized as a solution to global warming.

Transportation is shaped by climate policy. Ethanol mandates result in the consumption of 40 percent of the US corn crop in vehicle fuel. Biodiesel is promoted as a way to reduce emissions. Even high-speed rail is proposed as a solution to move citizens from airplanes to trains to reduce emissions.

US energy policy is dominated by Climatism. Earlier this week, Dr. Daniel Schrag, an advisor to the president on climate, stated that “a war on coal is exactly what’s needed.” Despite the fact that more than 30 percent of US electricity is produced from coal today, regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency will make it impossible to build a new coal-fired plant. At the same time, the Obama administration provides loans and subsidies that promote wind, solar, and other forms of renewable energy.

At Georgetown, the President addressed the proposed Keystone Pipeline, which has been delayed for almost five years, stating, “…the pipeline’s impact on our climate will be absolutely critical to determine whether this project will be allowed to go forward.” When operating, the Keystone Pipeline can replace 45 percent of Persian Gulf oil imports with oil from Canada and the northern United States. But our President considers emissions to be a larger issue than reducing OPEC oil imports.

US infrastructure policies are heavily impacted by global warming fears. Reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is at the core of LEED building standards. Urban planning aims to reduce emissions by replacing private automobile transit with public transit. The current administration proposes tens of billions for a “smart electrical grid”  to promote renewable energy and residential “smart meters” to promote energy efficiency, both pushed forward by the ideology of Climatism.

The bad news is that US citizens pay twice for the President’s war on climate. First, taxpayers subsidize green energy. The Production Tax Credit for wind energy will cost over $12 billion this year. Department of Energy loan guarantees to more than 20 bankrupt renewable energy companies, including Abound Solar, Beacon Power, Evergreen Solar, Solar Trust, and Solyndra have cost taxpayers billions. Taxpayers also pay for US military efforts to make biofuel out of algae at exorbitant prices.

Second, citizens pay higher costs for electricity, automobiles, and housing from green policies. The Department of Interior offshore wind program will deliver electricity to homeowners at three times the price of conventional power. Fuel economy mandates will raise the price of automobiles. Consumers must pay for smart meters that can curtail electricity usage.

The good news is that, despite fears, man-made emissions have very little effect on Earth’s climate. Water vapor, not carbon dioxide, is Earth’s dominant greenhouse gas. Emissions from human industry cause only about one percent of Earth’s greenhouse effect. And contrary to predictions by all 73 of the world’s top climate models, global temperatures have failed to rise over the last 15 years.

Someone needs to inform the president.

[First Published in The Washington Times]

Steve Goreham

Steve Goreham, a policy advisor to The Heartland Institute, is a speaker, author, and researcher on... (read full bio)