All you lucky folks not tethered to a computer may not have heard that Obama is announcing, today, the administration’s Clean Power Plan. Depending on when you read this, you may still have time to view the live engagement at 2:15 Eastern (t-minus 14 minutes from publication of this blog): https://www.whitehouse.gov/live/president-obama-speaks-clean-power-plan.
If you missed the live announcement – here’s the administration’s propaganda: https://www.whitehouse.gov/climate-change. It doesn’t say anything substantial about the plan, but that’s what propaganda is for – simple marketing to bolster public support, and they’re gonna need it.
Since this plan calls for energy companies and states to make adjustments in order to cut greenhouse gas emissions, it will, of course, spawn a huge debate between those that believe we should continue to pay for dirty energy (ie the dirty energy companies and therefore most of our politicians who are counting on their support to maintain their cushy jobs) and those who believe we need to shift investments to cleaner sources (ie everyone else – well, everyone else who knows scientists are smarter than them when it comes to – ya know, science). Needless (but sad) to say, it’s going to be an uphill battle to get our country to commit to clean air.
Some of our presidential candidates and federal legislators have already begun spinning their chosen soundbite: this will raise energy rates, and our low-income single moms can’t afford that, yadda yadda yadda. This bothers me on so many levels:
1). If rates are raised, that’s because the energy suppliers raised them (to ensure their profits and salaries remained plush) – not because they were required to shift investments under this plan – energy companies’ huge profits and salaries should not keep rising while the earth boils; and from what I’ve read, this plan doesn’t even touch the oil and gas tax subsidies that the single mom is providing them through her paycheck.
2). According to the administration (to include the EPA), the plan will reduce rates by $7/month once fully implemented.
3). Even if the estimated lower cost doesn’t pan out, I’m betting most of the low-income folks living next door to power plants whose kids have asthma and can’t play outside wouldn’t mind paying a couple bucks more to get the stink out of their neighborhood and the sick out of their kid and the warming out of the globe.
For a quick summary of the plan – link here: http://epa.gov/airquality/cpp/fs-cpp-preview.pdf. If you don’t want to click there – here’s a ‘quicker’ summary:
- Fossil fuel-fired power plants make up 32 percent of U.S. total greenhouse gas emissions.
- There are 1,000 fossil fuel fired power plants in the U.S., with about 3,100 units covered by this rule.
- The average age of coal units is 43 years, oil units – 46 years, natural gas combined cycle units – 15 years. p.s.: this is why we call them non-renewable energy sources – fossil fuels should live up to their namesake and be a thing of the past. p.s.s. – check out my last blog (Oil’s Spoils) for info on why we need to keep reserves underground.
- By 2030 – if the Clean Power Plan is fully in place, carbon pollution from the power sector will be 32 percent below 2005 levels.
- The plan projected to reduce electric bills by about $7 per month by 2030.
- States may choose between two plan types to meet their goals: Emission standards plan or a State measures plan. Emissions trading is an option being made available by EPA
- States will be required to submit a final plan, or an initial state plan with an extension request September 6, 2016; those that extended must submit final plans by September 6, 2018.
- Environmental Justice is being addressed by way of enforced community monitoring and involvement in state plan-making by communities living near plants.
In related news today – our nation’s first wind farm broke “ground” in the ocean!!! http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/24/business/offshore-wind-farm-raises-hopes-of-us-clean-energy-backers.html?ref=earth.
On a clear day, you can see forever (Barbara said so: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nz5DLO8fclA). Let’s hope we get to work ensuring our grandkids don’t have to Google images of a what a “clear day” looks like.