Obama administration killing jobs pointlessly (New York Post)

CPS Research Fellow Rupert Darwall describes in the New York Post how the Obama administration is pointlessly killing jobs. 

To view the original article, visit the New York Post website. 

Rupert Darwall“After announcing his environmental program in 1970, President Richard Nixon confided to an aide: “In a flat choice between smoke and jobs, we’re for jobs.” Last Friday’s announcement by EPA head Gina McCarthy of impossible-to-meet emissions standards for new coal power plants shows that the Obama administration is not for jobs.

The EPA’s move — the start of a long-term effort to effectively outlaw the burning of coal — is all of a piece with the stalling over the Keystone XL pipeline and sends a similar message to blue-collar workers: The Obama administration is prepared to sacrifice your jobs even when it can’t show any benefit to the United States.

The environmental laws of the 1970s aimed to clean up America’s air and waters. They were about curbing local pollution and making the environment better for Americans. Cutting carbon-dioxide emissions is completely different. Unless the rest of the world joins in, it’s pointless for America to act by itself. Remember, we’re talking about global warming.

Acting alone, the sacrifice of blue-collar jobs is entirely about political symbolism and appeasing wealthy green activists.

Coal has long been a green target. Former NASA scientist James Hansen, whose 1988 Senate testimony launched global warming into US politics, once compared trains carrying coal to power stations to those carrying Jews to the Nazi concentration camps. In 2008, on the 20th anniversary of his testimony, Hansen called for the chief executives of coal and oil companies to be tried for “high crimes” against humanity and nature.

Yet even if the standard global-warming narrative turns out to be correct — and with global temperature rises stalled for a decade and a half, that’s a mighty big “if” — its anti-warming prescriptions are unlikely to make America better off, even if the world unites.

On this, President Obama should talk to the White House head of regulatory affairs in his first term, Cass Sunstein.

In a 2007 paper, Sunstein analyzed the costs and benefits to the United States of world action to preserve the ozone layer and from participating in the Kyoto Protocol on global warming. He concluded that of all the nations of the world, America had the most to gain from global action on the ozone layer, but also had the most to lose from ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. His figures suggested that each $1 billion the United States spent complying with Kyoto would yield it only $37 million in benefits.

And without an effective international agreement, there are no benefits. Any cuts in emissions from the EPA’s war on coal will be outweighed by the fast-growing carbon footprints of developing nations.

Obama should know. He was there in December 2009 when India and China vetoed the Copenhagen attempt to reach global agreement. Before and since, the big developing economies made clear that they saw global warming as a problem created by industrialized nations, and thus theirs to solve. They simply aren’t prepared to stop raising their people out of poverty, as capping emissions would force them to do.

Today, even as Obama’s EPA starts to shut down US coal plants, China is building around 40 coal-fired power plants a year. Coal provides India with over half its electricity. Even green Germany is burning more coal and its emissions of carbon dioxide have been increasing.

President Bill Clinton also aimed to save the planet from global warming — but he was pragmatic. His efforts were in the context of the Kyoto Protocol, which US negotiators crafted with escape hatches so the United States could buy its way out if the “solution” threatened the economy. By contrast, Obama is acting unilaterally when the prospects of a global accord to cap emissions are as distant as ever.

Politically, the president can afford the pain. He has fought his last election, so is not directly threatened by the economic sacrifice he wants Americans to make. But the effect of the EPA regulations may well be to ensure that many others in his party are also enjoying their final term in elective office when they can’t explain why Americans should lose their jobs for a cause that makes no sense.”

To view the original article, visit the New York Post website. 

Date Added: Thursday 26th September 2013