The Obama administration recently unveiled regulations further limiting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, and some climate scientists are criticizing the rules for doing virtually nothing to reduce global temperature rises — the whole point of reducing CO2.
“Well the one thing you don’t hear President [Barack] Obama mention is how much his proposed emissions reductions will reduce global warming,” wrote Dr. Judith Curry, a climatologist at Georgia Tech. “It has been estimated that the U.S. [climate plan] of 28% emissions reduction by 2025 will prevent 0.03 [degrees Celsius] in warming by 2100.”
“And these estimates assume that climate model projections are correct,” Curry wrote, “if the climate models are over-sensitive to CO2, the amount of warming prevented will be even smaller.”
The EPA’s so-called Clean Power Plan aims to reduce emissions 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. The EPA has touted billions of dollars in public health and nebulous “climate benefits,” but avoids mention of the rule’s impact on global temperatures.
Curry wasn’t alone in her criticism of the Obama administration’s global warming agenda, scientists with the libertarian Cato Institute criticized the plan for doing little for global temperature while increasing energy prices.
Using the EPA’s own policy analysis model, Obama’s Clean Power Plant proposal will prevent a grand total of 0.03C warming by the year 2100.
— Patrick J. Michaels (@CatoMichaels) August 3, 2015
Small details of #CleanPowerPlan may have changed, but big picture is still the same. All pain and no gain. http://t.co/eQRv4ok3DA @CatoCSS — Chip Knappenberger (@PCKnappenberger) August 3, 2015
The EPA, however, argues the Clean Power Plan alone is not meant to address global warming, but instead they say rule will galvanize global support for an international agreement to cut CO2 emissions. The Obama administration has gotten tentative agreements from China and Brazil to curb their greenhouse gas emissions, but they won’t make any immediate cuts.
The agency also justified the Clean Power Plan by claiming it would reduce asthma rates, which they say will be exacerbated by global warming. A White House fact sheet claims the rule will “avoid up to 3,600 premature deaths, lead to 90,000 fewer asthma attacks in children, and prevent 300,000 missed work and school days.”
But claims linking global warming and asthma rates are dicey. So far, there’s no strong link between increasing temperatures and asthma attacks. Cato scientists slammed EPA for making such claims.
Reducing #CO2 emissions from US power plants will have ZERO impact on asthma. Suggesting otherwise is terribly misleading. #CleanPowerPlan
— Chip Knappenberger (@PCKnappenberger) August 3, 2015
“The public health arguments are even weaker,” Curry wrote. “CO2 has absolutely nothing to do with asthma. Extreme weather events are not increasing with increased CO2; extreme weather events are dominated by natural climate variability. Particularly in the U.S., extreme weather was substantially worse in the 1930’s and 1950’s.”
“Trying to sell this plan as economic and public health issue is a ploy to develop political will for President Obama’s preferred energy policies,” Curry wrote.
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