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Obama's Crazy Climate Change Plan

Politics / Climate Change Jun 27, 2013 - 11:56 AM GMT

By: Andrew_McKillop

Politics

NO TIME FOR FLAT EARTHERS
Saying he had no time for Flat Earth Society meetings, but in fact running one himself, US President Barack Obama laid out his so-called climate action plan to 2017, which is subtitled “Taking Action For Our Kids” on the White House website.

Plenty of commentators, including the Wall Street Journal said Obama's pitch was above all “surreal”, in fact the WSJ said that unreality was the “particular hallmark” of Obama's climate plan. Noting that 12 million Americans still can't find work, real wages have fallen for five years, three-quarters of Americans now live from paycheck to paycheck, 48 million Americans depend on food stamps and the economy continues to struggle after four years of so-called recovery, critics including the Wall Street Journal slammed President Obama for getting his priorities wrong. However, for reasons that are perhaps “surreal”, that is political, Obama has soldiered along with vintage and extremist global warming fear, using it to justify a radical increase in energy taxes and energy regulatory mandates that will ensure fewer jobs – analysts suggest as many as 160 000 -  will reduce incomes, and will slow down economic growth. Why did he do this?


The top Republican in the House of Representatives, House Speaker John Boehner called the plan "absolutely crazy".

Obama's climate plan gives more than they might have hoped or dreamed  to the “warmists” in a package of measures claimed to be needed, and claimed able to curb climate change. His plan hurries the death - not just the decline - of coal energy in the US, and further tightens limits on emissions from power plants, as well as imposing new, sometimes costly low-impact energy efficiency regulations for domestic, office and industrial equipment and lighting. He also unveiled plans for an expansion of renewable energy projects, improved flood resilience “to fight bad weather', and renewed his previous calls for an international climate deal, despite this being totally unlikely.

In the run-up to Obama unveiling his plan, his Administration's officials had toyed with proposals for a "carbon tax", but this was so certain to rouse political opposition that it was excluded in the final version that Obama delivered in the swank Georgetown suburb of Washington, June 25.

Speaking at Georgetown University, Obama said: "As a president, as a father and as an American, I am here to say we need to act."

EXIT THE STRAW MEN
President Obama mocked “climate sceptic” critics who say they have all the proof needed to show that if there is climate change, it has little or nothing to do with “anthropogenic” CO2 emissions. He brushed aside any doubt on the CO2 warming theory. He said: "I don't have much patience for anyone who denies that this challenge is real"."We don't have time for a meeting of the Flat Earth Society."

The president repeated the well-known, well-rehearsed message of the IPCC and climate change showman Al Gore, that global warming poses “an immediate threat”. He said the 12 hottest years on record all occurred in the past 15 years, but ignored the coldest winter in 46 years across Europe, and record cold in North America's winter of 2012-2013. He forget to say that the IPCC has been forced to admit – by facts – that its six-times-previously published “Hockey Stick” graphs and charts of “runaway” rising global average temperatures, were a simple lie.

He did say he was satisfied that energy prices would be hiked in the US and seemed unconcerned that jobs would be destroyed to pursue his climate action chimera. He added: "While we may not live to see the full realisation of our ambitions, we will have the satisfaction of knowing that the world we leave to our children will be better off for what we did."

In his Georgetown speech, the president reaffirmed his 2009 commitment to reducing US greenhouse gas emissions by 17% below 2005 levels by 2017 or at latest by the end of the decade. On the extreme “warmist” end of the flat earth scale in American politics, however, critics exist who find Obama's proposed reductions “too modest”. These climate commissars say that Obama's already unreal climate action plan targets should be moved up to match – or even surpass – present official emission reduction target of the European Union. These Flat Earthers forget to note, or didn't notice that European climate-energy plans are now under severe attack across the continent, even in the hearth of Europe's climate-energy binge – Germany - in major part because of their unworkability and high cost.

Obama's plan in fact draws mightily on Europe's now controversial climate-energy legislation and regulations, for example placing regulatory limits on carbon emissions from all new and existing US power plants. These are the single biggest source of carbon pollution, accounting for a third of US greenhouse gas emissions and 40% of its carbon output. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, spelled out what this European-inspired legislation means, saying that carbon rules for all power plants amounts to a "war on coal".

Today, in Europe, coal-fired power production is on a tear – increasing at double digit annual rates in several countries, including Germany and the UK – because Europe's failed attempt at “monetizing carbon”, through its ETS emissions permit trading scheme, has been a grotesque failure. Due to permit prices being so low and natural gas prices so high, in Europe, only coal is economic for increasingly intermittent baseload-type power generation, as Eurogas (the continent's gas industry association) never fails to underline, saying that gas-fired power generation is now completely uneconomic.

Obama is a lucky man. Cheap US shale gas, which will soon be exported to Europe for European hypocrites to buy and burn – but not produce in Europe – enables the US to rapidly back out coal-fired power plants. As a direct result the USA's 3 967 gas fired power plants are profitable while coal, despite being cheap and increasingly exported to Europe, is unable to compete. Also as a direct result, US emissions of CO2 are declining – and European emissions are rising.

OBAMA IS ALSO A HYPOCRITE
Nowhere in Obama's proposed “war on climate change” is there any mention of cutting US shale gas and oil production to cut climate changing gas emissions from shale energy output. Obama wants his shale-topped cherry pie, and eat it too. In Europe however, the loud last ditch attempts at trying to thwart shale energy development all gargle the “climate change card”. This music comes from the well-heeled, well-connected lobbyists working the now tired genre of climate change fear.

Obama at no point in his climate action plan talks about shuttering the US coals industry – only the use of coal to produce electricity. Obama's trade balance is improved by rapidly increasing coal exports, to buyers like the Europeans, which partly compensates the radical decline in US domestic coal demand. Obama doesn't want America to burn coal – but feels fine about anybody else importing and paying for US coal. Perhaps our surreal Climate Hero Obama wants buyers of US coal to keep it in a “fossil energy museum”, to show where China obtains 70% of its national energy from – producing the iPads and laptops that Carbon Free Americans run around with because America destroyed its industry.

Seven US governors, immediately following the Georgetown speech, asked President Obama to abandon his proposal, which they say would "effectively shutter" coal-fired power plants and prevent building new ones, notably for German-design, low emission coal power plants with heat recovery for local and district heating and cooling. While Obama claimed that his plan – if approved by Congress – would have its most powerful impacts towards and beyond 2017, negative political response and reaction to the plan was immediate and is rapidly growing. Recurring criticism of the plan is that it makes a huge step in the wrong direction, for the US whose economic recovery, at most, is only “tepid” following the deepest recession in anyone's memory.

President Obama has however warmed to his crusade against coal to the extent that he wants the US to use its aid programs “to stop supporting new coal-fired plants” in lower income countries receiving aid. He however added that he would exempt plants in the poorest nations “if the cleanest technology available is used in those countries”, supplied of course by the US.

Surprising to some, given the climate change focus, Obama also broached the subject of the $7billion, 2 500 kilometre Keystone XL oil pipeline for shipping crude oil from the tar sands of Alberta in Canada to refineries in Texas and the US Gulf Coast, saying it should only proceed if it was in the nation's interest. He actually felt able to say: "The net effects of the pipeline's impact on the climate will be absolutely critical to deciding whether this project goes forward", totally ignoring the simple fact this oil will be shipped by rail (or even in road tankers!) to Canada's Pacific ports and exported to China and other Asian buyers – if the US does not take it. The impact on global greenhouse gas emissions of whatever action Mr Obama might choose or not choose on this issue is absolutely zero.

Likewise his climate plan, which is a vintage slice of climate do-good pie in the sky. The US is already emitting less carbon – due to a mix of recession cutting energy demand, cheap shale gas, renewable energy, and constantly improving energy efficiency. Any attempt by Obama to do a shoddy remake of Europe's now very troubled “climate energy package” will however soon hit the rocks of economic and political reality.

Obama should try taking an interest in the plight of his own citizens and the economy.

By Andrew McKillop

Contact: xtran9@gmail.com

Former chief policy analyst, Division A Policy, DG XVII Energy, European Commission. Andrew McKillop Biographic Highlights

Co-author 'The Doomsday Machine', Palgrave Macmillan USA, 2012

Andrew McKillop has more than 30 years experience in the energy, economic and finance domains. Trained at London UK’s University College, he has had specially long experience of energy policy, project administration and the development and financing of alternate energy. This included his role of in-house Expert on Policy and Programming at the DG XVII-Energy of the European Commission, Director of Information of the OAPEC technology transfer subsidiary, AREC and researcher for UN agencies including the ILO.

© 2013 Copyright Andrew McKillop - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisor.

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