PeakNation™, it’s Monday, we’re feeling frisky (had some Taco Bell for lunch), so let’s get a little wonky. You may have heard the Environmental Protection Agency is rolling through tomorrow (if Sen. Mark Udall is such a fan of it, can we expect him to be here in person to personally advocate for them?), and today the top climate advisor to President Obama claimed the tougher EPA regulations would be a boon for Colorado. The only problem for Udall and him is that their statements aren’t based in reality whatsoever.
Gov. John Hickenlooper and former Gov. Bill Ritter have already forced stringent regulations on us Coloradans to expand the use of wind and solar (but, not hydro, because in Hickenlooper’s world, hydro doesn’t count as renewable. Yep, someone tell Isaac Newton gravity just became a finite resource). According to the proposed EPA regulations all that reduction in emissions won’t matter. There has been no indication that the proposed 35% reduction in carbon emissions will factor in reductions already achieved. This means all those states that haven’t done anything to reduce carbon emissions will still have some low-hanging fruit to pick, while we here in Colorado have already snatched up the easy reductions. Any further reductions will be quite painful; thanks Udall.
From this, it is easy to see how some estimates have the price of electricity in Colorado going up a whopping 49% under these Udall-endorsed, EPA regulations. Not to mention, a loss of 2,400 jobs related to Colorado’s coal-industry. Hickenlooper’s war on rural Colorado continues with these proposals, as a full 9,000 auxiliary jobs lost are based in western Colorado. Those jobs only pay $116,000 in wage and benefits; surely, they can just be replaced by increasing the minimum wage to $10.10.
The real kicker for the EPA, is an article The Economist wrote last week that shows even factoring in carbon emission reductions, wind and solar are still a net loser when compared to coal. As it wrote:
If all the costs and benefits are totted up using Mr Frank’s calculation, solar power is by far the most expensive way of reducing carbon emissions. It costs $189,000 to replace 1MW per year of power from coal. Wind is the next most expensive.
… all this assumes a carbon price of $50 a tonne. Using actual carbon prices (below $10 in Europe) makes solar and wind look even worse. The carbon price would have to rise to $185 a tonne before solar power shows a net benefit.
…At the moment, most rich countries and China subsidise solar and wind power to help stem climate change. Yet this is the most expensive way of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.
That’s right, the price of carbon would have to increase by an incredible 1750% for us to see a total net benefit from attacking carbon emission reduction this way, and that’s including all the externality costs of carbon.
Now, if you’re Udall and the faux-hippie bourgeoisie of Boulder, the enormous costs foisted on us by these brutal EPA regulations might amount to just one less kale-fed, karma-injected, locally-grown, Buddhist-massaged, tofu lambchop a week, but for the rest of us that money is our kid’s tuition. The U.S. already leads the world in carbon emissions reduction; it’s ludicrous for us to even consider importing their failed policies. Too bad Udall is too busy hanging out with eco-extremists to recognize that.