Guest post by Alec Rawls
The upcoming rule:
… will require any new power plant to emit no more than 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt of electricity produced. The average U.S. natural gas plant, which emits 800 to 850 pounds of CO2 per megawatt, meets that standard; coal plants emit an average of 1,768 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt.
Can this stand, after Obama’s big energy-policy tour last week included not a single mention CO2, greenhouse gases, climate or global warming?
EPA’s endangerment ruling on CO2 is being challenged in the courts right now. In particular, the world’s largest coal company, Peabody Energy Company, is challenging the ruling specifically on the grounds that EPA improperly relied on the IPCC’s bogus claims that CO2 is causing dangerous global warming. Obama’s retreat from any mention of CO2 or climate, never mind global warming, would seem to be an official admission that Peabody is right and the IPCC is wrong. How can global warming be important enough to warrant shutting down coal, by far the largest source of electricity in the country, if it is not important enough for the president to even mention during his big energy-policy extravaganza?
Obama did mention “clean energy” several times in his Nevada speech, but there is nothing unclean about CO2, certainly not that can hold up in court. CO2 is the beginning of the food chain, the essential nutrient from which all life on earth is constructed. Animals get their carbon building blocks from plants which get it from atmospheric or oceanic CO2 through photosynthesis, and current levels of CO2—about 0.039 percent of the atmosphere—are alarmingly close to the minimum required to sustain life.
From Lawrence Livermore Labs CO2 “fact sheet“:
Carbon dioxide is necessary to sustain life in concentrations of about 0.04 percent of the earth’s atmosphere …
The biosphere craves more of this healthful gas, not less.
The ONLY concern about CO2 is the idea that its greenhouse warming effect might be dangerous, and no such concern is being voiced by Obama. Apparently it is off the table, which ought to clear off all of his green energy plans as well, because their expressed rationale was the greenhouse threat from CO2. That is especially true with the EPA’s endangerment finding for CO2, which explicitly relies on the IPCC reports.
Oral arguments in the consolidated Peabody case took place at the end of February, but if the entire basis for the endangerment finding is no longer operative, the court ought to admit a motion to include that information. It will be a travesty if Obama is allowed to unplug ultimately half the grid on a rationale that he himself now considers too toxic to mention.