A lot has been made of EPA’s proposed greenhouse gas rules, but a quotation from Cecil Roberts, President of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) will likely grab the most headlines.
The Navy SEALs shot Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan and Lisa Jackson shot us in Washington. – Cecil Roberts, 4/3/12
Sure, it’s pretty offensive, but let’s just focus on how overblown and wrong the statement is.
First of all, the proposed rule would only apply to future coal fired power plants that have not broken ground for construction within the next 12 months. In other words, all of the 1,226 coal fired power plants across the country will have to do exactly nothing under the proposed rule. They will continue to burn the same amount of coal as they would without the rule.
We’ve heard an uproar from the UMWA but there’s a reason environmental groups offered such tame applause. In practice, this rule would not change all that much. According to the proposal, EPA anticipates the rule “will result in negligible changes in GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions over the analysis period (2020).” Hardly worth popping the champagne over. Keep in mind that the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) calls for a 25%-40% reduction of GHGs below 1990 levels by 2020 in order to avoid catastrophic impacts from climate change.