David Kreutzer

To reserve its seat in the Paris 2015 climate-con kumbaya chorus, India recently vowed to cut its carbon intensity by 33-35 percent by 2030.  It shouldn’t be a tough promise to keep.

On the surface, the pledge would appear to undercut the skeptics’ argument that U.S. carbon policies will have little impact on world temperatures given the huge growth expected in the developing world, and that the developing world will not cut economic growth to meet first-world carbon targets. You can almost hear the response already, “but India agreed to CO2 cuts…”

Let’s look at those cuts.  The promised cuts are not for CO2 emissions, but, instead, for cuts in the ratio of CO2 emissions to GDP (emissions intensity).  This ratio will go down so long as CO2 emissions rise less rapidly than GDP.  For example, the carbon intensity of the U.S. economy dropped by more than 45 percent between 1981 and 2011 even as CO2 emissions rose 18 percent.

The important question, here, is what would happen to India’s emissions intensity without the pledge?  Of course, projections on GDP and emissions are uncertain, but then so is the commitment to meeting targets. [click to continue…]

imagine damage agency could do to grid

imagine the damage EPA could do to the electric grid

The irony with the Gold King Mine spill may be thicker than the toxic waste.  The same EPA, that apparently didn’t know what happens when you blow a hole in a dam, claims clairvoyance when it comes to predicting the future climate.  Three centuries into the future. And not just big-picture stuff.  For instance they have calculated the dollar impact your current microwave oven’s digital display will have on climate for every year until 2300 (this is not a joke).

However bad will be the impact of the Gold King Mine spill on the Colorado watershed, and on those who live near and depend on that water, the overall impact of the spill will be small compared to the damage that will be done by EPA’s affordable-energy-killing CO2 rule finalized recently.

Acting on their pretend knowledge of the future, the EPA issued the final version of the Clean Power Plan (CPP). The plan targets CO2 emissions but its supporters do a lot of hand waving to make people think CO2 is dirty.  It isn’t.  Carbon dioxide is colorless, odorless, and non-toxic.  Without CO2 there would be no green plants.  That’s right, Simba, without CO2 there would be no circle of life.  CO2 is also a necessary byproduct of getting energy from hydrocarbon fuels like natural gas, coal, and petroleum.

Natural gas and coal provide two-thirds of the electric power generated in the U.S. (petroleum is a non-player in power generation, accounting for about 1 percent of generation).  And there’s the rub.  In the U.S we have centuries of coal and gas reserves, but the CPP forces us to turn away from these most abundant, affordable, and reliable sources of electric power.  Taking a fuel like coal off the menu will only drive up the price of electricity and generate economic ripple effects that will cut income and destroy jobs.

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GM suspends Volt production until April.

Post image for Let’s Level the Playing Field

Want wind to get subsidies just like oil does?  Then, cut the PTC by 99.9%.  Wind’s subsidy is 40% of the wholesale cost.  This would work out to $50 per barrel in the oil industry.  Instead oil gets 5 cents.

Of course the best deal would be to cut them both to zero.

For the details, see my blog today at The Foundry.

On another point: AWEA and its apologists have fallen back on the “we need certainty” argument.  Well here is some certainty: The subsidy will be zero for all time.

David W. Kreutzer, Ph.D. is a Research Fellow in Energy Economics and Climate Change at the Heritage Foundation.