Post image for EPA’s “Carbon Pollution” Standard for Power Plants: Four Ways Weird

Yesterday, EPA proposed its first-ever “carbon pollution standard rule” for power plants. The rule would establish a new source performance standard (NSPS) for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil-fuel electric generating units (EGUs). The proposed standard is an emission rate of 1,000 lbs CO2 per megawatt hour. About 95% of all natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) power plants already meet the standard (p. 115). No existing coal power plants do. Even today’s most efficient coal plants emit, on average, 1,800 lbs CO2/MWh (p. 134). EPA is effectively banning investment in new coal electric generation.

Like the rest of EPA’s greenhouse agenda, the proposed rule is an affront to the Constitution’s separation of powers. Congress never voted to prohibit the construction of new coal power plants. Indeed, Congress declined to pass less restrictive limits on coal electric generation when Senate leaders pulled the plug on cap-and-trade. Congress should reassert its constitutional authority, overturn the rule, and rein in this rogue agency. [click to continue…]

Post image for China Has No Plans to Limit Carbon Emissions

There have been a few news stories out of Durban suggesting that China (the worlds largest CO2 emitter) has turned a corner on carbon emissions and has tentatively agreed to limit them, with Bloomberg running an article titled “China Climate Plan Makes ‘Excited Buzz’ as U.S. Lags: UN Envoy.” What did China actually say?

Ron Bailey, Reason magazine science correspondent reports:

So here’s what China apparently wants the rest of the world to do: (1) agree that China’s greenhouse gas targets can be different from those imposed on rich countries, (2) agree that for the next 9 years rich countries will continue to cut their greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol while China’s continue to grow, (3) agree that no negotiations take place on targets until a scientific review is finished in 2015, and (4) agree that rich countries begin showering poor countries with $100 billion in climate reparations annually. If the rich countries will just do that, China will consent to begin negotiating some kind of “legally binding” treaty after 2020. Frankly, with these preconditions, it seems that China’s current position actually remains pretty much what it has always been: It will accept legally binding limits on its greenhouse gas emissions when Hell freezes over.

China’s best offer is to consider limiting emissions after 2020, still almost a decade away, and only if all the other countries continue to play this game until then. Who can blame them — they are rapidly industrializing and getting wealthier, which requires massive amounts of fossil fuels.

What if future negotiations aren’t successful? China is currently ‘negotiating’ with other countries regarding their annual emissions, it just so happens they are offering zero emissions reductions. Where is the evidence that they will agree to anything sufficient in 2020, when their per capita incomes will still be markedly lower than other developed countries?

Has the EU met its emission reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol? Not if emissions associated with goods Europe imports from Asia are taken into account. So finds a study published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The study, Growth in emission transfers via international trade from 1990 to 2008, calculates the net increase in global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions resulting from developed countries’ imports of goods produced in developing countries. The study provides additional evidence of Kyoto’s futility, although the authors, a team of Norwegian, German, and U.S. researchers, don’t draw this conclusion and would likely deny it.

Some key findings: [click to continue…]

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