Reactions to the Proposed EPA Rules on Carbon Emissions

Matthew Yglesias believes that “Monday June 2 is overwhelmingly likely to go down in history as the single most important day of Barack Obama’s second term in office.”

“The White House can’t unilaterally change the wage structure of the United States or create a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants, but it really can revolutionize the environmental practices of the electricity sector — a sector that, as seen below, is responsible for about 38.4 percent of America’s total carbon dioxide emissions.”

Epa-nsps-co2-sector-1

Brandon Keim of Wired points out that states are already taking action on curbing emissions: “Some fear the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations will be catastrophic, a heavy-handed big-government overreach that will drive up the price of energy. Yet some energy policy experts say those misgivings are unfounded.”

“Over the last decade, as federal climate efforts stagnated, some states pursued ambitious strategies of their own. They quietly put prices on greenhouse gases, harnessing market forces to cut carbon pollution.”

Ben Geman writes that Obama makes it personal by stressing the health implications of increased pollution:

“‘In just the first year that these standards go into effect, up to 100,000 asthma attacks and 2,100 heart attacks will be avoided—and those numbers will go up from there,’ Obama said in his weekly address.”

“Obama’s address suggests that touting these near-term ‘co-benefits’ of reducing carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants will be a big part of the campaign promoting the climate change regulation.”

Justin Gillis and Henry Fountain of the New York Times believe that “Mr. Obama’s effort is aimed not just at charting a new course inside the United States, but at reclaiming for the country the mantle of international leadership [emphasis added] in battling climate change.”

Megan McArdle is skeptical of substantive change: “with our fraught political and economic environment. This seems like another way for Obama to do something without actually doing anything that might make real voters angry. As we head into the final two years of his term, expect to see a lot more of that.”

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