Last week, I had the opportunity to hear a representative from the American Coalition For Clean Coal Electricity speak at the Wyoming Mining Association's Annual Meeting in Jackson Hole, WY. One of the primary interests I had in attending the meeting this year was to hear the thoughts from the industry about Obama's proposed carbon regulations.
Interestingly enough, there was a breakout group that had a discussion specifically about this typic where the content from below was provided by the ACCCE. In situations like what the coal industry is experiencing now, I like to think of a quote that a wise man used to say to me: "There are three sides to every story - there is your side, there is their side, and there is the truth."
I am not an expert at political science, but it is part of our business to stay abreast of changing regulatory landscapes as they can impact our business. Below is a summary of the six myths discussed last week, all of which I found interesting. As with everything, there are most likely three sides to this story... If you would like a PDF of the entire six myths, you can download it here.
MYTH #1: The Proposal will prevent global climate change.
FACT: The proposal will have practically no affect on global climate change.
Here is the main reason why the proposal will not prevent global climate change: U.S. power plants are responsible for a small fraction (4%) of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. EPA's proposal will reduce global GHG emissions by a tiny amount (less than 1%) at a cost, according to the EPA, of $4.2 billion per year. This insignificant reduction in global GHG emissions means that:
- Atmospheric CO2 concentrations will be reduced by less than 1%.
- Global average temerapture increase will be reduced by 0.016 Farenheit.
- Sea level rise will be reduced by 1/100th of an inch, which is the thickness of three sheets of paper.
MYTH #2: The proposal will prevent asthma and heart attacks.
FACT: This is a bait and switch tactic.
Because the EPA proposal will have virtually no effect on global climate change (MYTH #1), EPA is claiming health benefits for reducing ozone and particulate matter, pullutants that have been tightly regulated under the Clean Air Act for decades to ensure that air quality is safe. Moreover, EPA is required to revise these existing air quality regulations periodically if they do not protect public health.
MYTH #3: The proposal will reduce energy bills.
FACT: This is misleading, at best
EPA acknowledges that nationwide average electricity rates woould increase by roughly 6% in 2020 and 3% in 2030. (A nationwide average rate increase might look relatively small, but it masks substantially higher increases in individual stats>) At the same time, EPA claims the total cost that consumers pay for electricity will fall udner its proposal. However, this lower total cost is deceptive because it assumes that consumers will reduce their electricity consumption by at least 10%. In short, consumders are forced to pay higher electricity rates, but use less electricity.
MYTH #4: The proposal will create jobs.
FACT: This is a common claim about many EPA rules, but it's not true.
Here are a few of the reasons why this claim about jobs creation is a myth:
- More comprehensive projectiosn of the employment impacts of a program similar to EPA's proposal shows as many as 178,000 lost jobs per year.
- EPA claimis that its proposal will create jobs in the electric power production and fuel extraction sectors of the economy in 2020, but this is due to temporary construction jobs. Closer scrutiny of EPA's analysis shows these sectors are projected to lose an average of 47,000 to 49,000 job-years from 2017-2030.
- EPA did not attepmt to quantify job losses due to higher energy prices, although EPA seems to acknowledge there woudl be job loses.
As you can see, the above four myth's are pretty substantial. To read about the additional two myth's, expound upon the myth's above and access the sources, download a copy of ACCCE's paper here.