President Barack Obama announced his “signature” regulation on climate change this afternoon, mandating drastic cuts in emissions from power plants. The White House announced a target of 32% reduction in CO2 emission from U.S. power plants by 2030 — a target no existing coal-fired power plant can meet.
In his seventh year in office, Obama seems determined fulfill his 2008 campaign promise of making the cost of electricity “necessarily skyrocket.”
The press secretary this morning said that he fully expected opponents to “squeal” over the new emissions rule.
.@PressSec full expects opponents to “squeal” over the new emissions rule “including the members of Congress in their pocket.”
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) August 3, 2015
The official rollout of the president’s regulation on climate change isn’t due for four more weeks, but opponents have been “squealing” about it for months.
Fourteen states had joined in a lawsuit seeking to block the rule even before it became final. Then came a blow from the Supreme Court: a surprise June 29 decision blocking the White House’s previous attempt at curbing pollution from coal-burning power plants.
By July 7, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency was testily deflecting questions over whether the Clean Power Plan — a pillar of the White House’s climate-change strategy — could survive the gantlet of legal and political challenges it faced.
“We certainly know how to defend against lawsuits, for crying out loud,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told reporters at a Washington news conference.
In March, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., wrote a letter to all 50 governors urging them to ignore the EPA rule, calling it “extremely burdensome and costly” and on “shaky legal grounds.” Six states vowed to boycott and Democratic governors joined Republicans in lawsuits to block its implementation.
“This is the most substantial step the United States has ever taken to fight Climate Change,” Earnest said on Fox News Monday. “And we know that the biggest carbon polluters are the energy power industry, and that’s why we want to work with states and work with the industry to try to bring some change to that industry so we can make sure that we’re fighting the causes of climate change, but we’re also doing it in a way that protects the health of the American public and lowers costs for consumers.”
Continuing current carbon dioxide (CO2) emission trends throughout this century and beyond would leave a legacy of heat and acidity in the deep ocean. These changes would linger even if the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration were to be restored to pre-industrial levels at some point in the future, according to a new Nature Climate Change paper from an international team including Carnegie’s Ken Caldeira. This is due to the tremendous inertia of the ocean system.
“Interestingly, it turns out that after business-as-usual until 2150, even taking such enormous amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere would not help life that exists deep in the ocean very much. After large-scale ocean circulation has transported acidified water to great depths, it is out of reach for many centuries, no matter how much carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere,” Caldeira said.