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Environmental Effects of the Clean Power Plan

What will the environmental effects of the Clean Power Plan (CPP) be? Recall that the stated media driven, post-Kyoto Protocol (to which the US did not subscribe), goalis to reduce the Earth's temperature increase between now and 2100 to less than 2 .

The short answer is: zilch.

NERA Economic Consulting estimates that CPP by 2030 will reduce the global temperature by at most 0.003 ℃. Separately, American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) estimated a reduction of 0.009 by 2050.

Bjorn Lomborg, using the default settings of the IPCC's MAGICC climate model, estimatesThe impact of the US Clean Power Plan (USCPP) is a reduction in temperature rise by 0.013°C by 2100.

All of those numbers are down in the noise of global temperature estimates. Let's put this in perspective. Willis Eschenbach, a frequent contributor to Anthony Watts' Watts Up With That climate blog, puts the 2100 reduction in perspective:

[O]ther things being equal, the air at your head is about 0.017°C cooler than the air at your feet. And recall from above that the “impact of the US Clean Power Plan (USCPP) is a reduction in temperature rise by 0.013°C by 2100” …
Which means that after spending billions of dollars and destroying valuable power plants and reducing our energy options and making us more dependent on Middle East oil, all we will do is make the air around our feet as cool as the air around our heads … I am overcome with gratitude for such a stupendous accomplishment.

CPPwas in preparation for the COP21 climate summit in Paris in December. CPP is one of several proposals the US brought to that table. Lomborg estimated that the US Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) total contribution to the reduction of global temperature increase will produce between 0.008 and 0.031 ℃. Adding up all of the various INDCs, Lomborg arrives at a total reductionfrom all of the COP21 commitments of 0.048 to 0.170 ℃.

Lomborg's conclusion:

As Wigley (1998) found for the Kyoto Protocol, the emissions reductions promised until 2030 will do little to stabilize the climate and their impact will be undetectable for many decades. This clearly indicates that if we want to reduce climate impacts significantly, we will have to find better ways than the ones currently proposed.

Lomborg estimates the CPP will reduce carbon emission by some 535 million tons (Mt) of CO2 from 2015 to 2030. Let's put that in context. India's Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, following China's example, expects to expand India's GDP by 8% a year for the next generation. The Economist tells us “Government planners think that, with economic growth of 8-9%, India’s total emissions of carbon dioxide would more than triple by 2030, from 1.7 billion tonnes in 2010 to 5.3 billion tonnes.” In other words, India's increase in CO2 alone will be almost an order of magnitude greater that the CPP's carbon reduction.

India's figures are included in India's INDC. But India has not committed to an absolute peak for its emissions. India will only commit to reducing its carbon emission per unit of GDP. Which means that the wildly optimistic goal of reducing absolute carbon output was sheer fantasy. COP 21 failed on its own terms before it even convened.

The fact is that even if every American citizen biked to work, carpooled to school, used only solar panels to power their homes, if we each planted a dozen trees, if we somehow eliminated all of our domestic greenhouse gas emissions, guess what – that still wouldn’t be enough to offset the carbon pollution coming from the rest of the world.
If all the industrial nations went down to zero emissions –- remember what I just said, all the industrial emissions went down to zero emissions -– it wouldn’t be enough, not when more than 65% of the world’s carbon pollution comes from the developing world.
John Kerry, at COP 21, Dec. 9, 2015

Christiana Figueres, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), styled by the UN as the “Top UN Climate Change Official”, agrees: “Ms Figueres went on to say that the sum total of the national contributions are not expected to be enough to limit the increase of world temperature to 2ºC.”

What are the environmental costs if we are going to shift to wind and solar? According to James Taylor, to replace one typical 1000 MW coal fired power plant with solar will require covering some 40 square miles with solar power collectors, with the attendant destruction of habitat and hazards to flying and ground animals. Solar power is very water intensive – and best sited where there is little water. Wind? According to Taylor, citing the American Wind Energy Association, 300 to 600 square miles. With the attendant destruction of habitat. And that does not include the transmission lines.

So would someone please explain why we should commit to a vastly expensive and environmentally destructive exercise in central planning and federal and international bureaucracy run amok for absolutely no demonstrable benefit?

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Sunday, 23 April 2017
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