(by Stephan Moore, The Daily Signal) -- If you think President Obama’s unilateral exercise of executive powers granting near-blanket amnesty to illegal immigrants was an abuse of power, get a load of what this administration is doing over at the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan regulations are the most expansive and economically disruptive rules in four decades from an agency that is notorious for its reckless disregard for the financial consequences of regulation under the Clean Air Act.
The EPA’s rule aims to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions from U.S. power plants by 30 percent. That’s an enormous and costly burden on our power generating utilities. According to Energy Ventures Analysis, an energy research firm, the annual costs for residential, commercial and industrial energy customers in America would be about $173 billion higher in 2020 — a 37 percent increase. Average annual household gas and power bills would increase by $680 or 35 percent.
However, the overall reductions in the planetary volume of carbon-dioxide emissions would be microscopic — like trying to reduce the rise of the oceans with a syringe. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s own official number crunchers say that we must reduce global carbon-dioxide emissions by 80 percent over the next several decades to avert catastrophic warming. The EPA’s proposed cut would yield an immeasurable 0.018 degree Celsius cooling.
This is going to save the planet from catastrophe? Good luck.
For this imperceptible step forward, the new rule would expand federal control over electric power on a scale comparable to Obamacare’s transformation of health care but with a disturbing difference. At least Congress passed the Affordable Care Act — albeit without a single Republican vote — to overhaul the nation’s health care system.
By contrast, Congress has repeatedly rejected legislation to give the EPA the power to control carbon dioxide. Congress has rejected carbon taxes, the Kyoto Treaty, cap-and-trade schemes, and other regulatory measures that would harm jobs and the economy. Regardless of how one feels about global warming, this is hardly the way the Constitution intended for the really big decisions affecting our economy and livelihoods to be decided.
Most amazing of all is that we have here is an extraordinarily expensive rule, but the EPA can’t tell us what it hopes to accomplish.
Consider how the EPA almost comically keeps changing its story. Originally, the agency claimed that the power plan rule would prevent dangerous warming. The futility of even more unilateral and draconian carbon cuts while the rest of the world’s increasing emissions dwarf the symbolic reductions in the United States is almost universally recognized as having no impact on any global warming trends. Even more problematic for the EPA has been the 18-year lull in rising temperatures, which has turned “global warming” into “climate change.”