EPA Begins Phasing in Carbon Rules, Nation's Economy Somehow Fails to Collapse


Photo: Richard Harrison, Geograph, CC BY-SA

I've written a variation of this post before, in order to address the unwarranted fears that our nation's Environmental Protection Agency would for some reason be bent on destroying private industry. But this time, I'm getting a little help from EPA head Lisa Jackson herself, who has set out to assuage misplaced public fears that regulating carbon pollution will cripple the nation's economy. She announced the following at an energy conference earlier today, according to the Hill: "I believe there is nothing to fear from common-sense use of the Clean Air Act to begin to put this country in the direction of moving towards addressing our greenhouse gas emissions."

And you know what? She's right. The EPA has "begun phasing in greenhouse-gas standards for new and modified power plants and refineries," the Hill explains, and those regulations "have come under attack from Republicans and some moderate Democrats, who argue the rules will harm the economy."

But those regulations are going to come online slowly, over years and years, and in such small steps that it will be quite some time before any real impacts are felt. It certainly won't derail the economy. What it will do is force utilities to think twice about the sort of power sources they choose to bring online in the future, and it will give them ample time to consider installing upgrades to their existing dirty power plants.

In fact, the EPA will be so busy not destroying the economy that they'll hardly put a dent n emissions reductions, either -- despite the fact that scientists are urging us to begin taking drastic action to reduce the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere from the current 393 or so parts per million to a target of 350 ppm in order to preserve a livable climate.

If anything, the implementation of these regulations will mark the moment a barely-noticeable, ever-subtle shift towards cleaner power occurred in the American energy sector. Eventually, power companies may choose to pass on some of the higher costs of cleaner energy -- until that cleaner energy becomes cheaper, that is -- to consumers, and Americans' electric bills may be a tad steeper for a bit. But only a tad.

That's hardly what I'd call a doomsday scenario.

So don't be afraid of the big bad EPA -- here are some more reasons you shouldn't be scared if you need them.

More on the EPA
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With EPA & Labor Unions Under Fire, So is US Democracy
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Tags: Carbon Emissions | EPA | United States

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