Monday, April 20, 2009

Climate Change in the Media; A Bit of Realism Please!

With Friday's EPA ruling that CO2 should be regulated under the Clean Air Act, every media outlet in the country has been talking about the impacts this will have from legislation/regulation to economics. Most of the articles I've read including The Wall Street Journal have been quoting dire consequences from both coal and electric producers. They claim that passing such legislation will be an "atomic bomb... to the U.S. economy".

From the WSJ article, "American Electric Power, a utility giant with 5.2 million customers in states from Texas to Michigan to Virginia, is already considering what coal plants would have to be shuttered and how high rates would have to go to comply with either a regulatory or legislative mandates to curb carbon dioxide. AEP spokesman Pat Hemlepp said rate increases stretch from 25% to 50% and beyond, depending on the climate change strategy that finally emerges from Washington." Talk about scare tactics!

No one believes that whatever legislation or regulation that gets passed is going to be enacted overnight. Coal-fired plants are not going to be running one day and shut down the next. As much as these spokepeople will try to have you believe, it's just not going to happen.

It's going to be an ongoing process - limits are going to achieved over time. What will happen is that jobs will be created here in this country not lost. We need further research on how we can still use existing plants and reduce emissions. There is already a great site, U.S. Climate Change Technology Program, that outlines ongoing research and technologies being considered led by The Department of Energy.

This administration also has already pledged further funding for research on renewable energy. We already have commercial operations for wind, solar, and fuel cell technologies. With the recent collaboration of FERC and MMS, we should be seeing more research and testing in offshore wind and wave energy. The result - more jobs created and less CO2 released in the atmosphere.

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