The Obama administration’s renewed effort to curb U.S. carbon dioxide emissions 17 percent by 2020 with a new rallying cry on Friday: “It’s for the children.”
“By taking commonsense action to limit carbon pollution from new power plants, we can slow the effects of climate change and fulfill our obligation to ensure a safe and healthy environment for our children,” said Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy on Friday, announcing new emissions limits for coal plants.
The EPA has just proposed emissions caps for new power plants that would effectively ban the construction of coal-fired power plants unless they use carbon capture and storage technology — which is not commercially available.
Following this announcement, the White House published a blog post by Obama energy and climate advisor Heather Zichal celebrating the the effective ban and listing Obama’s global warming accomplishments. The list’s title? “Progress Report: President Obama’s Climate Action Plan — Taking Action for Our Kids.”
A slew of environmental groups have echoed the administration’s invocations of “the children.”
“Today, the Environmental Protection Agency and President Obama have taken the first major step towards fulfilling the president’s Climate Action Plan and protecting our children’s future,” Nia Martin-Robinson, Beyond Coal organizer with the Sierra Club.
“The standard makes clear that tomorrow’s power plants won’t be built at the expense of our children’s future,” said Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “It signals that we’re moving, as a country, to the clean energy solutions we need. And it will help safeguard the most vulnerable among us — our children and elderly people — from smog worsened by climate change.”
“This is a major step toward meeting our obligation to our children and future generations to address the challenge of climate change,” said a coalition of North Carolina environmental groups that includes Environment North Carolina, North Carolina Conservation Network, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, the Sierra Club, and North Carolina Interfaith Power and Light.
Even the endangered species advocacy group, the World Wildlife Federation, invoked “the children” in support of the EPA’s emissions caps — making no mention of saving wildlife in their remarks.
“Our nation’s dirty electrical system is bad for our kids’ health, bad for the communities who live near coal and gas mines, and — as the leading source of carbon pollution in the US — bad for our future,” Lou Leonard, WWF’s head of climate change programs.
However, the moral argument that curbing carbon emissions will preserve the planet for future generations may be a bit premature. The EPA did not actually calculate the effects that its actions would have on global warming: EPA administrator Gina McCarthy was unable to quantify the agency’s impact on global warming in front of a House committee.
“[T]he EPA administrator admitted to me during a hearing that the agency doesn’t — and cannot — measure whether any of the regulations it promulgates are effective in combating climate change,” said Kansas Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo, who pressed McCarthy on this point during a House hearing on Wednesday.
In its current proposal for the emissions limits, the agency admits that it does “not anticipate any notable CO2 emission changes resulting from the rule. Therefore, there are no direct monetized climate benefits in terms of CO2 emission reductions associated with this rulemaking.”
“If the rule will ‘help the children’, where are the climate benefits?” Dan Simmons, director of regulatory and state affairs at the free-market Institute for Energy Research, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“They’re not there,” he added. “They have no ground to stand on when they say it will ‘protect the children.’”
However, previous drafts of the EPA’s emissions cap also noted that the benefits could not yet be quantified. The agency instead argues that the benefits will come further down the road as less carbon intensive fuels are used to generate electricity.
“As communities across our country struggle with terrible floods, droughts, and wildfires, these standards will finally put a limit on the carbon pollution that new power plants emit into our skies,” said Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp. “Cleaner power generation will protect our children from dangerous smog, extreme weather, and other serious climate impacts, and ensure that America leads the world in the race to develop cleaner, safer power technologies.”
Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact email@example.com.