The Climate Yawns: Donald Trump is no more a planet wrecker than Barack Obama

 (as measured to the third decimal).

Steve Heins writes:

While many people seemingly have forgotten that Clean Power Plan was a legalistic nightmare, I think it is important to remember the CPP was opposed by 31 states (out of 50) in court. Ultimately, it was a poorly-written, over-politicized document in search of a political cause.

Now that it is just another example of a failed federal over-reach, I wanted to make certain that the Clean Power Plan is not over-romanticized or eulogized.

When testifying in front of Congress, even Gina McCarthy admitted that the CPP had no measurable climate impact: one hundredth of a degree or so. Her major rationale was that CPP had some symbolic value.

If Trump is a planet wrecker, then so was Obama’s White House and McCarthy’s EPA.


The Climate Yawns

Donald Trump is no more a planet wrecker than Barack Obama (as measured to the third decimal).

By Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., Wall Street Journal, March 31, 2017 6:43 p.m. ET

Then why, if you’re a Democrat, put yourself in that position in the first place to take blame for killing coal jobs? Why enact a costly regulation to do what the market was doing for free? When everybody else wanted to blame the Florida recount for his 2000 defeat, Al Gore was smart enough privately to blame gun control. When you lose your home state as presidential candidate, something is wrong. The same blundering ineptitude explains how the Obama alliance with the

Of course the news reports are right: “The regulatory changes are entirely outweighed by these technological changes, not to mention the price of natural gas or renewables,” Mark Muro of the Brookings Institution was quoted telling the New York Times.

So potent and large are these global forces that repealing the Obama rules, costly as they are, not only won’t affect coal jobs, it won’t affect climate.

Gina McCarthy, Mr. Obama’s EPA administrator, admitted as much when confronted, during a 2015 House hearing, with the fact that, by the agency’s own climate models, the effect would be only 1/100th of a degree Celsius. Instead, she said success should be measured in terms of “positioning the U.S. for leadership in an international discussion.”

Even so, many climate activists felt the need to walk back Ms. McCarthy’s concession by insisting Obama policies would have a measurable effect—on the amount of CO 2 released. Yes, the relative decrease would be tiny but measurable, though the climate effect would be zip. This is akin to medical researchers claiming a drug a success because it’s detectable in the bloodstream, not because it improves health.

And don’t get us started on the “social cost of carbon,” a mechanism of policy justification created by the Obama EPA to assign a dollar-value benefit to carbon abatement rules that, in total, will produce zero impact on climate.

Pile up all the government policies enacted or seriously on the table, and their net effect is zilch. A new McKinsey study, that would be hilarious if it weren’t so sad, points out that Germany’s switch to renewables has been a success by almost every metric except CO 2 output—which is up instead of down.

Rising energy prices to support this energy transition have had one measurable effect—more than 330,000 German households have had their electricity shut off in the past year from nonpayment of bills almost three times as high as those paid by U.S. households.

Germany, needless to add, is many greens’ idea of a country “positioned for leadership in international discussions.”

No rational consideration, however, will abate the torrent of priestly imprecations hurled by green activists this week at Mr. Trump. The New York Times insists that Trumpian action “risks the planet”—plainly false since nothing either Mr. Trump or Mr. Obama did will make a difference to the planet.

Literally no amount of money dissipated on climate policy is excessive to such people, because their shamanistic status is directly proportional to the social waste they can conjure. In the realm of religion are we called upon to perform symbolic actions whose purpose (and cost) is aimed at testifying to our membership in the elect.

The most poignant question, however, is what happened to Democrats? They were once a party whose members cared whether policy was efficient and produced benefits for the American people.

Democrats deserve a large share of the credit for the rescue of the failing U.S. economy of the 1970s by throwing out a host of perverse regulatory policies, not that they embrace or even acknowledge this legacy today—which is the problem.

Airline deregulation was born in Ted Kennedy’s administrative practice subcommittee. His aide, Stephen Breyer, now a Supreme Court justice, recalled a working-class Boston constituent asking why the senator was focused on airline issues when this voter could never afford to fly. “That is why,” said Kennedy.

The Democratic Party once had a brain where regulation was concerned, understanding that the ultimate purpose was a net public good, not an in-gathering of power to Washington for the benefit of lobbyists and influence peddlers.

It was not yet today’s Democratic Party of Chuck Schumer, who isn’t stupid and yet is associated with no body of policy thought or analysis. If he even has anybody on his staff deputized to think about the results of policy, it probably is the lowliest intern.

A wrecking ball of a president was the Trump electorate’s answer to this problem. It’s hard even now to say they were wrong. If he delivers nothing in the next four years, it is alarming to suspect that this likely would still be a better result than we would have gotten under Hillary Clinton.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-climate-yawns-1491000224

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29 thoughts on “The Climate Yawns: Donald Trump is no more a planet wrecker than Barack Obama

  1. Yeah, I saw that testimony by Ms. McCarthy at the time. I always thought it was the “Environmental Protection Agency,” not the “Environmental PR Agency.” It still frosts my cookies.

  2. Good commentary but the MSM are still tip-toeing around on this subject — to timid! The fright-mongers still do not have the facts on their side and the point needs to be made much more loudly!

    • Good to see some glimmer of sanity but it would be more effective in making a supposedly mathematical rejection of something if they new what “third decimal” meant.

      A hundredth of a degree is 0.01 that is the SECOND DECIMAL place.

  3. Good stuff. Recalling the MSM hair pulling about “gridlock” after we took The House in 2010. A lefty friend reproached me about this. I reminded him that folks like me were very comfortable with a minimally functioning central government. It was in fact our goal.

    On climate change we have a huge stick. I say we use it freely to smash the green temple idols.

    • Just as dissent is either patriotic or treason depending on whether or not there is a Democrat in the White House, so to gridlock is either the greatest good or the greatest evil depending on whether there is a Democrat in the White House.

  4. In the realm of religion are we called upon to perform symbolic actions whose purpose (and cost) is aimed at testifying to our membership in the elect.
    In a false, primitive, one ritualistic religion, maybe. Otherwise, this toss-off line is rather insulting to those of us who understand our religious beliefs to be transcendent instead of crass virtue-signaling. Your point could be made another way.

  5. Oh, yeah?? Well if that’s true, why did the oceans begin to recede under Obama and are now rising again under Trump? Answer that, space-boy!

      • /sarc? I just saw yet another “news” article about how Miami is being washed away because of “the accelerating rise of sea level” caused by Globall Warmining. First saw it yesterday at BBC, today at cnn and Fox. Clearly Trump is going to drown us all in a Fiery Flood.

  6. The difference is Barri wanted to do damage, Donald wants to build. Being a builder that just comes naturally to DJT, just as damaging things comes naturally to BHO. Barri has never built anything, spent his entire adult life breaking what works and replacing it with, well, nothing. Oh, except money in his pocket, other people’s money, not a pay check.

  7. So I googled the definition of sleazy and the first link on the search results was Chuck Schumer U.S. Senator.

  8. The first paragraph of the Jenkin’s quote ends in “The same blundering ineptitude explains how the Obama alliance with the”

    Something is missing.

  9. Its a nice editorial. It overlooks that the CPP is almost certainly unconstitutional. That is more important than that itbis largely useless.

  10. From Wikipedia, which I cite because, if it is willing to admit this much, you know there was much more credit due conservatives:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airline_Deregulation_Act

    “History of airline regulation and the CAB[edit]
    Since 1938, the federal Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) had regulated all domestic interstate air transport routes as a public utility, setting fares, routes, and schedules”….

    “In 1970 and 1971, the Council of Economic Advisers in the Richard Nixon administration, along with the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice and other agencies, proposed legislation to diminish price collusion and entry barriers in rail and truck transportation. While this initiative was in process in the Gerald Ford administration, the United States Senate Judiciary Committee, which had jurisdiction over antitrust law, began hearings on airline deregulation in 1975. Senator Ted Kennedy took the lead in these hearings.

    The committee was deemed a more friendly forum than what likely would have been the more appropriate venue, the Aviation Subcommittee of the Commerce Committee. The Gerald Ford administration supported the Judiciary Committee initiative.”
    ———————————————————————–

    Note that Dems set up the airline regulations in the first place, then when pressure from conservatives reached a tipping point, Dems then claimed deregulation as their baby so that they could take the credit.

    I see no reason to think that “…what happened to Democrats? They were once a party whose members cared whether policy was efficient and produced benefits for the American people.” was ever the case for Democrat leadership.

    SR

  11. “So potent and large are these global forces that repealing the Obama rules, costly as they are, not only won’t affect coal jobs, it won’t affect climate.”

    The part about coal jobs is provably false. When Trump got rid of the Obama rules on coal, that meant that some coal power plants which would have been closed instead will remain in service longer. This means that the associated mines are not closed.

    The Obama coal rules were making coal mining more and more expensive. This means that as coal prices go up, the demand for that coal goes down. Although the US right now has abundant natural gas, it is likely that over time, the price of natural gas will increase. In the mean time, many countries are building large numbers of coal power plants because they don’t have the abundant natural gas. This will likely result in a an increasing global demand for coal. Therefore, the US has the opportunity to export more coal especially if some of the regulations are removed that drove up the price of US coal.

    I don’t have an economic crystal ball and therefore, I don’t know how all the forces will work out. I do know it is likely that Trump’s removal of regulations on coal already resulted in saving some coal jobs. In the future, it is likely it will help create more coal jobs. What is impossible to predict is just how many jobs that will be.

    • BobG – What are Coal Jobs? I think you see them as the jobs that get coal from the ground to the power station. But there’s another way of looking at them ….. if you see “Coal Jobs” as all the indirect jobs too – all the jobs that are created by the availability of cheap plentiful reliable electricty – then Donald Trump’s rekindling of the coal industry will create a whole heap of jobs. Ironically, the more jobs it destroys in the subsidised renewables industry, the more jobs it creates overall.

    • To understand the problems facing coal. I linked some articles with brief explanation that was Brought to You by SEPP (www.SEPP.org) and our host. The other side of the coin is that with China’s current, in progress, and future plans, means that cheap coal will be bought. What cheap is depends on the economy and price to deliver.

      A little too positive for me, in that it doesn’t state what the price to delivery is and $20/bbl for delivery seems way low. The $40/bbl seems about right for an advancement. OPEC 3/31/17 at $50.43. If the potential profitable well head price was any lower than $40, it is hard to see that the rigs wouldn’t already be in the field since the market has been relatively stable.
      See: http://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/Shells-New-Permian-Play-Profitable-At-20-A-Barrel.html

      There is an argument about drilling going on. Because of OPEC and the capex bust, after 2014, rigs in field started dropping rapidly. The rigs and specialists cut their prices as much as 75%. Today’s market, new rig technology for fracking has reduced costs, essential services have reduced costs. The improvement is that multiple wellheads can be drilled in a small central matrix that greatly reduces drilling time and costs, plus reduces external costs of linking to field pipelines. Though it is more useful in existing fields, it will decrease costs of new field development. The amount is being argued.

      An example of the positive is below. Negatives are about job loss, cost per bbl oil, etc. indicating shrinkage. The question is does the Bull Market have the money to stave off bankruptcy if costs are higher and prices lower. Some see a repeat of 2014 – 2015 when prices dropped so low from over production by OPEC, and debt servicing by shale fossil fuel companies. Typical of market forces, if OPEC keeps a lid on production, a play that can deliver at below OPEC bbl oil in the USA will be able to make money until the price reaches the point it cannot sustain the investment. Which puts both OPEC and the new units in competition to cause a repeat of 2014 that led to historically low prices. Note that some fossil fuel units, from the last capex, are now coming online.

      “”New production projects and a fresh shale boom could boost oil output by a million barrels per day (bpd) year-on-year and result in an oversupply in the next couple of years, according to Goldman Sachs.
      “2017-19 is likely to see the largest increase in mega projects’ production in history, as the record 2011-13 capex commitment yields fruit,” the U.S. investment bank said in a research note on Tuesday.
      OPEC’s landmark decision to limit output for the first time in eight years in a bid to arrest the existing supply glut reduced price volatility and increased stability, unintentionally helping the shale producers, the bank said.
      “OPEC’s decision in November 2016 to cut production was rational, in our view, and fit into its role of inventory manager of last resort,” Goldman said.”However, the unintended consequence was to underwrite shale activity through a bullish credit market at a time when delayed delivery of the 2011-13 capex boom could lead to record non-OPEC production growth in 2018.””” http://www.reuters.com/article/us-crude-goldman-idUSKBN16S26L

  12. The YSM has lost its marbles – the few it ever had. The sad part is that some who still rely on them for news will also being heading over a cliff as the world is ending for them.

    If ever there is a case for incompetence, this one is clear cut.

  13. Plus, all rhetoric and pandering to interest groups aside, for the past 8 years it’s been drill baby drill.

  14. One detail that is overlooked in these stories, the EPA expected to lose in court. Their plan was to have the coal plants shuttered before the states could win their case. They bragged about how the changes were done after they lost the Utility Air case. Only this time the lawyers pointed it out, and managed to get an injunction from the Supreme Court, halting the plan.
    Why do I think the EPA expected to lose? Because their legal theory was that there were two versions of the bill that had passed and EPA could decide which version to follow.

  15. deliver[ing] nothing in the next four years, it is alarming to suspect that this likely would still be a better result than we would have gotten under Hillary Clinton.

    !!

  16. Germany, needless to add, is many greens’ idea of a country “positioned for leadership in international discussions.”

    German CO2 emissions per capita was 9.2 tons in 2013. At the same time it was 7.6 tons in China, 7.1 tons in the UK, 6.8 tons in Denmark, 6.7 tons in the entire EU, 5.7 tons in Italy and 5.1 tons in France &. Spain.

    Germany is positioned for nothing.

    see: The World Bank — CO2 emissions (metric tons per capita)

  17. When you lose your home state as presidential candidate, something is wrong.

    Of course the news reports are right: “The regulatory changes are entirely outweighed by these technological changes, not to mention the price”
    __________________

    the news reports are right, the regulatory changes are not mentioned with price. Wrong righted. mentionless.

    Unpriced.

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