President Obama's ambitious climate change initiative

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Magical Realist, Jun 3, 2014.

  1. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    "The Obama administration unveiled historic environment rules cutting carbon pollution from power plants by 30% on Monday, spurring prospects for a global deal to end climate change but setting up an epic battle over the environment in this year's mid-term elections.

    The new rules, formally announced by the Environmental Protection Agency, represent the first time Barack Obama, or any other president, has moved to regulate carbon pollution from power plants – the largest single source of carbon dioxide emissions that cause climate change.

    The EPA said the regulations, which would cut carbon pollution from power plants 30% from 2005 levels by 2030, would “fight climate change while supplying America with reliable and affordable power”.

    The EPA administrator, Gina McCarthy, said the new rules would be critical to Obama's efforts to deliver on his promise – to Americans and the international community – to fight climate change.

    "The EPA is delivering on a vital piece of President Obama's climate action plan by proposing a clean power plan that will cut harmful carbon pollution from our largest source – power plants," she said in a statement.

    “This is not just about disappearing polar bears and melting ice caps,” McCarthy said in a speech at EPA headquarters. “This is about protecting our health and protecting our homes. This is about protecting local economies and this is about protecting jobs.”

    The new rules were not as ambitious as some environmental groups had hoped. America is already a third of the way towards meeting the national average of a 30% cut in emissions. Some states, especially those in the north-east, have already exceeded the standard.


    Even so, reaction from environmental groups to the new power plant rules ranged from “momentous” to “historic”. Al Gore said the new rules were “the most important step taken to combat the climate crisis in our country's history”.

    Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, said "today, the president made good on his promise to American families that his administration would tackle the climate crisis, and clean up and modernize the way we power our country."--
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jun/02/obama-rules-coal-climate-change

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  3. Giambattista sssssssssssssssssssssssss sssss Valued Senior Member

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    Do any of these actions actually combat "climate change" or do they just make energy that much more expensive?
    Has there been any actual replacement, or is this just getting rid of alleged offending energy sources while not replacing it with anything viable, therefore driving up prices?

    I have doubts about any of these so called climate saving solutions.
     
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  5. Giambattista sssssssssssssssssssssssss sssss Valued Senior Member

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    Unless this is the goal, make everything prohibitively expensive, and claim that shutting off resources is the real progress.
     
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  7. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    Maybe time to start thinking about solar power?
    Wrong.
    US has set new duties on cheap Chinese Solar products.
    So that will be more expensive too.

    The U.S. arm of German solar manufacturer SolarWorld AG filed a petition complaining that Chinese manufacturers are sidestepping duties imposed in 2012 by shifting production of the cells used to make their panels to Taiwan and continuing to flood the U.S. market with cheap products.

    The new complaint seeks to close that loophole by extending import duties to also cover panels made with parts from Taiwan. In a preliminary determination, the Commerce department imposed duties of 35.21 percent on imports of panels and other products made by Wuxi Suntech Power and five other affiliated companies, 18.56 percent on imports of Trina Solar and 26.89 percent on imports from other Chinese producers.


    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/06/04/us-usa-trade-solar-idUSKBN0EF08A20140604
     
  8. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    How would reducing power plant emissions by 30% NOT help in fighting global climate change?


    Look at the amount of greenhouse gases that come from power plants:

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    Will the new plan make a real difference in America's and the world's energy landscape? You bet it will. A change that by 2020 will actually reduce energy costs due to switching over to more efficient and renewable sources:

    "Coal-dependent power companies from American Electric Power Co. to Duke Energy Corp. face billions of dollars in added costs from the Obama administration’s proposed climate rules. Renewable-energy backers and nuclear generators like Exelon Corp. stand to gain from the effort to shift the foundations of the U.S. energy industry.

    The regulations will be felt from the coal mines of West Virginia to natural gas wells in the Marcellus Shale as the U.S. moves toward cleaner fuel sources. A clampdown on emissions from coal-fired plants, the largest source of electricity, will force state regulators to determine whether consumers will foot the bill for reducing gases that contribute to climate change.

    The redrawing of the U.S. energy map stems from the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal yesterday to cut power-plant emissions — the nation’s single largest source of carbon dioxide — by 30% from 2005 levels. The reductions give the Obama administration ammunition as it seeks to convince developing nations from India to China to join a global agreement needed to avert dangerous climate change that’s affecting cities worldwide.

    “The rule is going to speed the transition away from coal into natural gas and renewables and potentially increase the role nuclear electricity plays in the U.S.,” said Christopher Knittel, director of the Center for Energy & Environmental Policy Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “Twenty or thirty years from now, we should expect coal to play a more modest role.”

    State Regulators

    Supporters of the regulations say they will help public health and cut power bills an average of US$103 per household annually in 2020 because of more energy efficiency. Opponents say the measures will threaten reliable grid operations by forcing the shutdown of additional coal-fired power plants, which have historically been among the cheapest sources of U.S. electricity.

    The proposed regulation will permit states to achieve reductions in climate-warming pollutants by promoting renewable energy, encouraging greater use of natural gas, embracing energy efficiency technologies or joining carbon trading markets. The regulations will apply to existing power producers. Separate regulations governing new plants have already been proposed."

    All of this is in addition to the plan Obama announced in June of last year:

    Reducing Carbon Pollution in the United States

    "The President’s Climate Action Plan directs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish the first ever restrictions on carbon pollution from power plants, the largest source of unregulated emissions in the United States. The Administration’s plan for developing these standards, a hallmark of the President’s climate agenda, is outlined in more detail in a separate Presidential Memorandum. Also, the President’s Climate Action Plan fast-tracks permitting for renewable energy projects on public lands, increases funding for clean energy technology and efficiency improvements, and calls for improved efficiency standards for buildings and appliances, as well as heavy trucks. The plan additionally establishes the first-ever Federal Quadrennial Energy Review to encourage strategic national energy planning and outlines plans for cutting greenhouse gas emissions from hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and methane, two pollutants that trap even more heat than carbon dioxide in the near term. These initiatives will save lives, prevent illnesses, and reduce climate change, all while bolstering the economy with investments in clean energy and new technologies that put Americans to work. To learn more about reducing carbon pollution from power plants, click here."

    And let's not forget wind energy. As of 2012, what has Obama accomplished here?

    "Before President Obama took office, the U.S. had 25 gigawatts of wind power, and the government’s “base case” energy forecast expected 40 GW by 2030. Well, it’s not quite 2030 yet, but we’ve already got 50 GW of wind. We’ve also got about 5 GW of solar, which isn’t much but is over six times as much as we had before Obama. Mitt Romney has suggested that wind and solar are “imaginary” sources of energy, but they can now power 15 million homes, and their industries employ more than 300,000 Americans. That’s real."--source Time Magazine

    Offshore windfarms:

    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news...02/midatlantic-offshore-wind-farms/52940438/1

    "The National Renewable Energy Laboratories estimates that all of the USA's offshore wind resources could produce 4,000 gigawatts of electricity, which is four times the nation's current electricity capacity."
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2014
  9. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Well, given that cost has fallen by a factor of 10 in the past 20 years (and a factor of 4 in the past 5 years) increasing the price of Chinese panels alone by 30% will reduce overall system costs by less than 5%.
     
  10. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    If implemented they will certainly combat climate change.
    If implemented they will increase power costs in areas with a lot of coal power, and will not increase power costs in areas that use hydro/natural gas/nuclear/renewables.
    Natural gas has steadily been replacing coal, and this will accelerate under these rules.
     
  11. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

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    There is no real solution they way people want there to be. "Solution" means "how can we use technology to keep our high energy lifestyle going while avoiding it's necessary repercussions". It's a choice between increasing greenhouse gasses and enjoying the prosperity that fossil fuels have made possible. We can use solar for electrical purposes, but there are so many other uses of fossil fuels that the reduction will be negligible. If it decreases fossil fuel use and makes it cheaper, the lower price will only encourage more fossil fuel use. So we can't win unless we prepare for a low energy future, which the public is presently incapable of accepting.
     
  12. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Keep in mind that this only applies to coal fired power plants, not (for example) petroleum.
     
  13. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

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    We still depend on oil powered container ships for international trade.
     
  14. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    There have been at least four nuclear powered commercial vessels - cargo ships and icebreakers primarily. That's a good option (although separate from any CO2 limits for land based power plants.)
     
  15. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    You should be a politician.
     

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