by Dr. Roy Cordato
Senior Economist, Emeritas
Search high and low on the EPA web site, including their boastful “By the Numbers” document where all the alleged benefits of their new CO2 reduction regulations are tallied, and you will not find any reference to the amount by which temperatures will actually be reduced as a result of implementing the plan. Indeed, amidst all the hoopla surrounding these new regulations and the claims that they are necessary in order to save us from coming climate change disasters, one would be hard pressed to find any reference in the news coverage to the amount by which temperatures will actually be reduced.
There is a reason for this. The amount is so tiny, so close to zero, that it is not worth mentioning. Indeed, for advocates of these new regulations, to mention it is to acknowledge that the policy is, in terms of climate change, meaningless. This is in spite of the fact that the stated purpose of following through on these drastic cuts in carbon dioxide emissions (not carbon emissions as they are often misleadingly labeled) is to alter the future climate relative to its current trajectory.
As a reminder, the EPA’s regulations limit carbon dioxide emissions from electricity production to 30 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2030.
In a recent blog post, climatologists Patrick Michaels and Paul Knappenberger note that:
For some reason, [the EPA] left off their Fact Sheet [regarding the new CO2 emissions targets] how much climate change would be averted by the plan.
They further observe that it:
Seems like a strange omission since, after all, without the threat of climate change, there would be no one thinking about the forced abridgement of our primary source of power production in the first place, and the Administration’s new emissions restriction scheme wouldn’t even be a gleam in this or any other president’s eye.
So, since the EPA was not going to come clean, Knappenberger and Michaels decided to do the calculations themselves. So,
[u]sing a simple, publically-available, climate model emulator called MAGICC that was in part developed through support of the EPA, [they] ran the numbers as to how much future temperature rise would be averted by a complete adoption and adherence to the EPA’s new carbon dioxide restrictions.
And here’s what they discovered. (Drum roll please.) Global temperatures will be 18/1000ths of 1 degree Celsius cooler by the year 2100 than they would be otherwise, without the policy. As the two climate scientists note,
We’re not even sure how to put such a small number into practical terms, because, basically, the number is so small as to be undetectable. Which, no doubt, is why it’s not included in the EPA Fact Sheet.
My observation is that actual climate mitigation has nothing to do with why this administration is imposing these new regulations, just like improving health outcomes, insuring the uninsured, or reducing health care costs had nothing to do with the Affordable Care Act. In both cases the ultimate goal is to put industries that are essential to the US economy, energy and healthcare, under government control. If the government can control these two industries, it can control every aspect of our lives.
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