Tuesday, June 10, 2014

#ActOnClimate = Protecting property rights, public health, and bringing more efficiency to energy markets

I was at lunch in the district today (I'm running for State House) and was asked about my thoughts on the new steps to #ActOnClimate by the White House. 

Taking action on climate-disrupting carbon emissions will protect property rights, public health, and bring more efficiency to energy markets as true costs to consumers can lead to better allocation of resources and smarter investments in the energy sector. This is a win for public health and economic productivity.
These clean air safeguards will spur innovation and accelerate the clean energy economy to create good jobs here in Georgia-- protecting the health our children, protecting our property rights from polluters, and protecting our state's long term economic security in a tough global economy. 

Georgia Power’s Plant Scherer is America’s single dirtiest power plant–it dumped over 21 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the air we breathe in 2012 alone. 

While my opponent spends his time defending policies that have delivered neither prosperity nor fiscal stability I'm focused on our future.  (If you would like to help elect a progressive in Georgia chip in $5, $25... $250(???) today!

Here is President Obama on new steps to #ActOnClimate by reducing carbon pollution from power plants:

I also liked what The Economist Magazine had to say on the new EPA rules: Climate change: In praise of second best | The Economist 
Assuming the plan is carried out (and it will doubtless suffer multiple legal challenges), it would reduce total American carbon emissions by around 5%. That is a lot for one measure, though tiny compared with the overall cuts required to rein in climate change. American power plants have already reduced their emissions by 15% since 2005, so requiring them to cut the same amount over a longer period is not too arduous. The plan will raise electricity prices and kill some jobs, but it will also save lives, most immediately by cutting particulate pollution.
It is far from the best policy. Ideally, Congress would have passed a carbon tax or created a carbon market, putting a price on emissions and letting buyers and sellers decide on the cheapest way to reduce them. Instead, the government is telling a particular sector (electricity providers) how much to cut and when—and then adding layers of complexity by allowing different states different ceilings. As a method of dealing with a problem, this has all the attractions of a blackout in a blizzard.
But it became inevitable once Congress rejected a better approach—cap-and-trade legislation—during Mr Obama’s first term. The current approach is at least better than nothing, the most likely alternative. In climate policy, delay is rarely good. The more carbon is in the atmosphere, the more expensive it is to cut back and the more damage it does in the meantime. Anyway, Mr Obama’s command-and-control approach does not forestall setting up a carbon market later.
The second-best approach is dearer but not dramatically worse than the best would have been. Power plants and electricity consumers would bear the main burden either way. And the plan’s benefits (over $50 billion according to the administration, mostly from improving people’s health) still outweigh its costs (less than $9 billion, mostly from higher prices). One hitch is that the costs are all incurred in America whereas many of the benefits are spread round the world.
In short, the proposal is a net gain as it stands—but the international response could make its benefits bigger. China’s government is mulling over a national cap on carbon emissions, which would mean it is going further than Mr Obama. The regime in Beijing will, and should, impose such a cap in its national self-interest. But China’s leaders like diplomatic cover. If Mr Obama’s new rules help cajole the world’s largest polluter to do more to cut emissions, then second-best would be much better than nothing.