Guest essay by Steven Capozzola, CAP Media
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is preparing to finalize its Clean Power Plan, which aims to reduce power plant carbon dioxide emissions by 30% from 2005 levels over the next 15 years.
Looking at some of the best-case scenarios for CO2 reductions, the plan could potentially cut roughly 300 million tons of CO2 annually.
Because global man-made CO2 emissions reach roughly 30 billion tons annually, it’s estimated that the EPA plan could result in a possible 1% reduction in annual man-made CO2.
Overall, man-made CO2 accounts for only 4% of total atmospheric CO2. So the true atmospheric reduction in CO2 from the EPA plan would be approximately 0.04%.
These high costs have prompted diverse criticism.
Dr. Charles Steele, Jr., the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), is troubled by the higher utility rates that consumers will face.
“The EPA’s plan will do next to nothing for global warming but will raise the cost of electricity for both homes and businesses,” said Dr. Steele. “As a person who has spent a lifetime fighting on behalf of poor people, this concerns me greatly.”
Terry Jarrett, who has served on both the Missouri Public Service Commission and the National Association of Regulatory Utilities Commissioners, says the potential risk to the U.S. electrical grid in term of lost generating capacity is significant.
“Under the EPA’s ‘Clean Power Plan,’ consumers will undoubtedly pay higher electricity bills,” said Jarrett. “But the more tragic problem is the possibility of widespread power outages during the coldest parts of winter. The EPA’s regulatory plan amounts to very reckless toying with the nation’s power grid.”
As the U.S. contemplates climate issues, one has to ask whether the EPA plan represents a sound approach, both logistically and financially.