President Obama’s Clean Power Plan is a step in the right direction, which he advocates with his usual eloquence and which is blindly opposed by most of the Republican leaders. Sadly it is insufficient to significantly mitigate global warming.
The plan is intended to reduce the burning of coal in electric power plants. This is a good thing because, of all the possible sources of energy, coal is the most destructive to the environment, to the health and safety of workers and to public health, and is the worst contributor to greenhouse gasses.
Even so, under the plan, the United States would still be burning a lot of coal by 2030. The chart at right is by Kevin Drum of Mother Jones, and it shows that the reduction of power plant emissions from 2005 to 2030 will be less than half.
The plan is intended to
reduceincrease the use of renewable energy, which is a good thing. Sadly it also is based on an energy strategy of fracking for natural gas and of Arctic and other ocean drilling for oil. This is in the context of a national economic strategy based on exporting raw materials rather than reviving manufacturing.
Obama’s plan is intended to increase energy efficiency, which is a good thing. The drawback is that making energy use more efficient makes it cheaper, and making it cheaper encourages people to use more.
The goals of the plan are to be achieved after Obama leaves office, so its success depends on whether his successors carry through with it.
I hate to think that Obama’s plan is the best that is economically and politically feasible, but maybe it is. Too bad for future generations that we couldn’t do more.
Here’s a 2-Minute Video Explaining Obama’s New Plan to Fight Global Warming by Tim McDonnell for Mother Jones.
Why Obama’s epic climate change plan isn’t such a big deal by Michael Grunwald for Politico.
Hidden in Obama’s new climate plan, a whack at red states by Michael Grunwald for Politico.
Obama climate change plan: The clean power plan is supposed to be bold, but it isn’t by Eric Holthaus for Slate.
The Last Defining Court Battle of Obama’s Presidency by Rebecca Leber for The New Republic. The whole thing could be overturned by Chief Justice Roberts’ Supreme Court.