On Tuesday, former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter was in Washington, D.C. to unveil a report, titled Powering Forward, that offers more than 200 suggestions for how President Obama can circumvent Congress to “move America toward a clean energy future that curbs climate change.”
I don’t quite understand why, but authoritarianism is all the rage in climate policy circles these days. Last week, the top UN climate diplomat endorsed Communism as a global warming solution. This week, a former U.S. governor is trumpeting policies that can be imposed by a second term President unaccountable to the electorate, in the face of inaction by Members of Congress, the government branch most responsive to voters.
Whatever the case, Ritter’s report, an effort which grew out of energy meetings at the White House and which, moreover, included input from former White House climate and energy advisor Heather Zichal, actually undercuts the President’s signature regulatory agenda to fight climate change.
Talk about your all time backfires!
In early January, EPA proposed the Carbon Pollution Standard, a regulation that would effectively ban the construction of new coal-fired power plants by requiring them to install a technology, known as carbon capture and sequestration, that isn’t yet market ready. As I’ve explained here, the Clean Air Act stipulates that EPA cannot require a technology that is not “adequately demonstrated.” This is key distinction; courts will strike down the rule if carbon capture and sequestration is not commercially viable.
EPA, of course, insists that CCS is ready for prime time; others, myself included, dispute EPA’s claim. Evidently included among our ranks are Bill Ritter and Heather Zichal. On page 134 of the report (which I’ve reposted below), in a section titled “Recommendations for Presidential Action,” it is explained that CCS is “commercially unavailable.”