Obama’s ideological war on coal unnecessary, is wasteful, costly, inept, and pure political theater.
Guest essay by Larry Hamlin
China’s energy consumption is climbing so rapidly that it’s energy use, which already exceeds ours, will be double U.S. levels by 2040 as shown from EIA data below. (1)
Furthermore the astounding growth in China’s energy consumption is dominated by coal fuel energy resources.(2)
Coal fuel use provided more two thirds of China’s 2012 total energy consumption requirements.(2)
This massive growth in both energy use consumption and coal fuel resources have driven China’s CO2 emissions to the highest level in the world and far above U.S. levels with continued large future increases expected.(3)
Obama’s EPA proposal seeks to reduce U.S. CO2 emissions by mandating reductions in our use of coal fuel in the production of electricity. But the U.S. is already in the process of reducing the use of coal fuel for the production of electricity with free market energy forces driving the increased use of natural gas with declining use of coal to meet both our present and future growing needs for electricity as shown in EIA data below. (4)
This is not the case for electricity production in China where coal fuel is used in even greater abundance than it is used in providing total energy consumption. (2) In 2012 China’s electricity from coal accounted for 76% of the countries total electricity production.(5)
While the U.S. is expected to have little increase in future coal use (see EIA Figure ES-5 above) for electricity the same cannot be said for China. China is expected to see about an 80% increase in its 2012 level of coal fuel use for electricity by 2030 as shown below from EIA data. (5)
Compare China’s huge growth in use of coal fuel above with U.S. estimated coal fuel use (absent Obama’s EPA proposed schemes) shown in the EIA data below. (5)
This increased coal fuel use by China results in its CO2 emissions climbing from 2012 levels of 8,994 million metric tons to 14,029 million metric tons in 2030 (EIA data shown below) which is an increase of 5,014 million metric tons of CO2. The Obama EPA CO2 reduction proposal amounts to a maximum reduction of about 500 million metric tons of CO2 by 2030 which is overwhelmed by the China’s increase which is 10 times larger than Obama’s EPA proposed reduction. (5), (6)
The EPA cost assessments for the costs of complying with its CO2 reduction mandates are erroneous. The EPA assumes that by 2030 U.S. electricity growth can be reduced by more than 11% from its present rate of growth. But the EIA 2014 AEO report estimates that to achieve modest GDP growth of about 2.4% per year means that electricity growth between now and 2030 needs to increase by more than 16%. The difference between the EPA’s 11% reduction in growth by 2030 versus the EIA GDP economic growth needed increase of more than 16% amounts to tens of billions of dollars of increase costs to electricity consumers. (4),(7)
While the climate alarmist press here in the U.S. provide erroneous and misleading stories claiming that China is going to agree to emissions reduction targets in the future (8) the reality is quite different. China is struggling to continue to grow its economy and the latest intentions announced by their government are that future emissions growth will occur consistent with achieving the desired growth of their economic objectives. (9)
The monumental climate impact futility of Obama’s EPA proposal is demonstrated by estimates of so called global temperature reductions which would be achieved by complying with the EPA demands even using flawed climate model projections which grossly overestimate global temperature impacts based on atmospheric CO2 emissions.
Estimates of the global temperature “benefit” from Obama’s schemes vary between less than a hundredth of a degree by 2050 and less than 2 hundredths of a degree by 2100. (10), (11) With the reality of global CO2 emissions growing hugely between the present and 2030, despite Obama’s EPA dumb CO2 reduction schemes, as demonstrated by the material discussed above even the trivial, miniscule, pathetic and grossly overestimated global temperature “benefits” suggested are completely wiped out.
Other nations from around the world are growing in number and rebelling against the absurd climate fear political ideology that is wasting massive national resources and pushing scientifically unsupported climate alarmist claims trying to falsely impose the need for measures to clamp down on reasonable future energy use growth, use of diverse fuel resources including fossil fuels and economic growth needed to create better futures for disadvantaged peoples. Countries engaged in this growing rebellion against misguided climate fear politics include Australia, New Zealand, Canada and India. (12)
Meantime the great global temperature “pause” continues with the RSS satellite global temperature measurements showing no increases in global temperatures occurring in 17 years and 9 months.(13)
(6) http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2014-06/documents/20140602ria-clean-power-plan.pdf Pages ES-6 and ES-7