The Environmental Protection Agency’s new Clean Power Plan (CPP) requires that states reduce their electric utility sector carbon dioxide emissions an average of 32% below 2005 levels by 2030. EPA twisted 80 words in the Clean Air Act into 1,560 pages of regulations (plus appendices) demanding that utilities return CO2 emissions almost to 1975 levels, while our population grows by 40 million.
Some 30 states will have to slash their power plant CO2 emissions by more than 32% and at least 12 will have to implement 40-48% reductions. That is a tall order, since all those states now get 50-96% of their electricity from coal, and all of them depend on coal plus natural gas for nearly all their electric power. Imposing that transition and a conversion to 20% or more expensive and unreliable wind and solar energy by 2030 will be disastrous. It will bankrupt families, businesses, industries, communities and even states.
Electricity rates will rise not merely to the 15-17 cents/kWh in “green energy” states like California, from the 8-9 cents per kilowatt-hour currently paid in coal-reliant states. They could skyrocket to the 36-40 cents/kWh now paid in Denmark and Germany (70-80 cents when taxpayer subsidies are included).
That will hammer everything we make, grow, ship, eat and do. It will impair our livelihoods, living standards, liberties and life spans. And these destructive rules are being imposed by callous, imperious, unelected, unaccountable federal bureaucrats who are circumventing our laws and Constitution; disregarding the clear will of Congress, which has rejected nearly 700 climate bills; and colluding regularly with radical Big Green pressure groups on sue-and-settle lawsuits and new regulatory edicts.
Under the CPP, everything business owners, workers, families and communities strived for their entire lives will be at risk. Millions of workers will lose their jobs, leaving more families destitute and welfare dependent, their sense of self-worth destroyed. Many will have to choose between buying food and gasoline, paying the rent or mortgage, going to the doctor, giving to their church, or saving for retirement.
Families will face severe sleep deprivation, greater stress and depression, and more drug and alcohol abuse, spousal and child abuse, theft and robbery. Nutrition and medical care will suffer. More people will have strokes and heart attacks. More will die prematurely or commit suicide. More elderly people will perish from hypothermia, because they cannot afford to heat their homes properly.
Instead of acknowledging any of this, EPA employs a “social cost of carbon” scheme that places arbitrary inflated costs on damages it claims result from alleged climate risks from using carbon-based fuels. It includes every imaginable and imaginary cost of using fossil fuels – even absurd claims that its anti-energy plan will reduce asthma rates, which have been increasing while pollution rates are going down.
Meanwhile, the EPA and White House ignore even the most obvious benefits of using fossil fuels.
The Obama EPA keeps its questionable data and analyses secret, refusing to share them even with Congress or governors. It ignores the fact that global temperatures haven’t budged in 18 years, and no category 3-5 hurricane has hit the USA in a record 9-3/4 years – contrary to all climate alarm predictions. About the only thing EPA does admit is that slashing America’s CO2 emissions, and causing all this economic havoc, will prevent less than less than 0.03 degrees F of global warming 85 years from now.
These green dictators refuse to debate any of this. Indeed, they do not want anyone to talk about it.
The intolerant Left is “killing free speech,” says liberal commentator Kirsten Powers. It is committed to tolerance, pluralism and reasoned debate only for itself, and only to advance its agenda. Otherwise, it applies “authoritarian demands for intellectual conformity,” and relentlessly vilifies and tries to silence anyone who speaks up, asks inconvenient questions or challenges the “progressive” worldview.
“Free speech,” says George Will, “has never been … more comprehensively, aggressively and dangerously threatened than it is now. Today they are attacking the theory of free speech … the desirability of free speech … and indeed the very possibility of free speech….”
As if on cue, the IRS targeted numerous conservative groups – and the Milwaukee prosecutor and police monitored emails, invaded homes, seized computers and records, and threatened jail for anyone who disclosed these abuses, to intimidate and silence Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s supporters.
Their actions destroy our fundamental First Amendment rights of free speech, assembly, association and debate. Worse, they severely impair the unalienable rights of people to enjoy affordable, reliable energy and the quality jobs, living standards, health and welfare it brings.
“The ruling class demonizes any questioning of its demands,” says Boston University professor emeritus Angelo Codevilla. “The pretexts differ” from issue to issue,” he notes. “But the reality is the same: Bow or be persecuted.… Consequently, if we wish to remain who we are in the face of threats and declamations meant to force us to honor intellectual and moral falsehoods, we have no alternative but clearly and loudly to distinguish between true and false, and fully make the case for what we believe to be right.”
We must not mince words regarding the evils that energy and climate totalitarianism inflict on families, industries, communities and nations. We must confront the deceit and deceivers, abuses and abusers – and present the hard, ugly realities of what life would be under conditions imposed by eco-extremists.
Right now, we have too many taxes and regulations, too much secrecy and fraud, too many extremists, and far too little accountability in EPA. There is too much eco-religious fervor, too little science and humanity. Poor and minority families are hurt most of all. Our governors, state and federal legislators, attorneys general, courts, next president, and citizen, industry and scientific groups need to take action.
- Refuse to comply with the CPP. Curb the excessive power and representation of environmentalists and bureaucrats in our government. End the constant collusion and the sue-and-settle lawsuits between government agencies and radical environmentalist pressure groups. Cut agency budgets, especially the billions of dollars that EPA and other agencies give to anti-energy advocacy organizations and biased advisory panels.
- Gain access to thus-far secret EPA, NOAA, IPCC and other data, computer codes, models and studies – and subject them to full review by independent experts, to determine which assertions, policies and regulations are valid, and which are based on serious error, deceptive claims or outright fraud.
- During the review process, suspend and defund implementation of regulations and programs that raise serious questions about their honesty and validity. Terminate rules and programs found to be based on fraud, junk science, doctored data, collusion or concocted evidence – and penalize or terminate agency personnel who have engaged in deceptive or fraudulent practices.
- Ensure that regulatory agencies and their advisory councils are honest and transparent; that they represent a broader spectrum of expertise, viewpoints and interests than they do now; and that they fully assess evidence for and against proposed regulations, and their true benefits and costs.
- Restore federalism and the separation of powers for Congress and state governments, and end the deference that courts too often give to agency discretion and authority for even outrageous actions and power grabs by federal agencies.
- Present true stories of workers and families whose jobs and businesses have been threatened or destroyed by EPA and other government policies, programs and diktats; how these citizens have fought back; and their victories over energy, environmental and economic totalitarianism.
These vital actions will almost certainly be opposed by President Obama, Democrats, environmentalist pressure groups, and other members of the Climate Crisis and Renewable Energy Complex. But they are absolutely essential if the United States is going to have an economic and employment revival, and poor, minority and blue-collar families are to be protected from fraud, regulatory excess and ruling elites.
Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow, author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death, and coauthor of Cracking Big Green: Saving the world from the Save-the-Earth money machine.