New EPA Rules: How Significant Are They?
Posted at 7:06 a.m. on June 2
Jonathan Cohn believes “the administration’s new rules on greenhouse gas emissions are going to be a big deal. The mystery is how big.”
“The Administration has said its goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by enough to meet targets that President Obama set in 2009, just before international negotiations in Copenhagen. If the U.S. can accomplish that, the thinking goes, Obama will have the credibility and leverage he needs to push for another, more significant international agreement on greenhouse gases—the kind of agreement that is necessary, most scientists believe, in order to avert the most catastrophic effects of global warming.”
“Unless I’m missing something—which is entirely possible—the targets that the media outlets are reporting would fall short of that goal. Although experts and environmental groups have stated publicily they believe the U.S. needs to reduce power plant emissions by 25 percent to hit the Copenhagen targets, that was 25 percent from current levels … Remember, emissions today are lower than they were in 2005—thanks mostly to the recession, the sudden supply of cheaper and cleaner-burning natural gas, and the impact of existing regulations.”