From his first days in office, President Biden has promised — threatened — to activate the administrative state at every level to address and solve the “climate crisis.” In the orthodoxy of the Biden/Democrat climate cult, this is to be accomplished by reducing U.S. carbon emissions into the atmosphere.
Now, even if you believe that a little more CO2 in the atmosphere is some kind of a problem (it isn’t), there is nothing that the United States can do to have any meaningful impact on that situation, given that countries with populations a large multiple of ours (China, India, Africa) are building coal-fired power plants as fast as they can. Even if we closed our economy entirely and reduced ourselves to eating grass and bugs, the effect on the climate would be zilch.
Meanwhile we have waited through the first two plus years of Bidenism to find out exactly what punishments the administrative state has in mind for us for our sins of prosperity and enjoyment of life. In the last few weeks, we have learned at least part of the answer, in the form of a series of gigantic new regulatory proposals emanating from EPA and other agencies. The answer is, the federal government will become a suicide bomber seeking to blow up and destroy the American economy and the well-being of the American people.
Here are three major regulatory initiatives from the past few weeks, each one supposedly somehow addressing this “climate crisis” thing:
- On April 12, EPA released its proposed rule titled “Multi-Pollutant Emissions Standards for Model Years 2027 and Later Light- Duty and Medium-Duty Vehicles.” This rule essentially makes it impossible for automobile manufacturers to produce anything but fully-electric vehicles within a few years.
- On May 5, the Department of Energy released proposed new “efficiency” standards for dishwashers.
- And then on May 8, EPA released the mother of all regulations, with the endless title “New Source Performance Standards for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from New, Modified, and Reconstructed Fossil Fuel-Fired Electric Generating Units; Emission Guidelines for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Existing Fossil Fuel-Fired Electric Generating Units; and Repeal of the Affordable Clean Energy Rule.” This is the long-awaited regulation that seeks a complete transformation of the electricity-generation sector of the economy, toward something that has never been demonstrated to work and whose cost is without doubt a large multiple of the system we now have.
I previously covered the new vehicle rule, really an EV mandate, in this post on May 5. True to form of regulators who treat their subjects with contempt, the rule never explicitly states that the cars we now use are henceforth to be banned. Rather, it is some 262 pages of impenetrable text, which has buried somewhere deep inside a formula (82 g/mile CO2 emissions) that only an industry professional would know effectively bans internal combustion vehicles. All manufacturers are to be forced to comply, irrespective of whether they can do so profitably.
What is the probability that the new EV mandate will put all large U.S. and European automakers out of business in favor of Chinese competitors who have an advantage in the EV segment? The regulators neither know nor care. From Engineering & Technology, May 9:
According to insurers Allianz Trade, China’s decision to invest heavily in EV production over the last 15 years has made it the global leader in this sector. . . . Chinese brands have seen their global market shares climb from less than 40 per cent in 2020 to close to 50 per cent in 2022. This is heavily bolstered by an 80 per cent market share in their densely-populated home country.
In the world of dishwashers, we already have dishwashers that don’t work very well. The reason is regulator-imposed restrictions on use of energy and water. Today, due to these restriction, dishwashers run for more than two hours, and still don’t get the dishes very clean unless you pre-wash them by hand. Well, with the new Energy Department rule, it’s about to get a lot worse. From the WSJ, May 12:
The proposal requires manufacturers to slash water use by a third, limiting machines to 3.2 gallons per cycle, down from the current federal limit of five gallons. New appliances must simultaneously cut estimated annual energy usage by nearly 30%.
And then there is the new power plant rule. This one is 682 pages. Again, it never explicitly says that fossil fuel power plants are banned; it’s just that the emissions standards that they set cannot be met by any fossil fuel plant. The WSJ on May 11 calls the rule a “death sentence” for fossil fuel power plants.
Supposedly the fossil fuel plants can continue to operate if they adopt some means to capture the carbon emissions from their exhaust. I have previously described this idea of carbon capture as a “war against the second law of thermodynamics.” Trying to capture CO2 from power plant emissions requires energy, and the higher the percentage of the emissions you want to capture, the more energy it takes. If you insist on capturing all of the emissions and somehow storing them permanently, it’s going to take more energy than the power plant produces. There has been endless talk about carbon capture for more than a decade, and there is almost nothing in the way of functional carbon capture systems, because as they capture enough carbon to be meaningful, their cost soars out of control.
Will there be any functional replacement for the fossil fuel plants by the time they are forced out of business? This rule doesn’t trouble itself with such matters. That’s for the low status people to figure out. Over here at EPA, we are much too important for that. Our job is to save the planet.
So the regulatory onslaught continues. We are told to expect yet more such regulations, notably in the area of home appliances, in the near future.
Put it all together, and the term “war against the economy” no longer does justice to what is going on. This is a full-blown attack by suicide bombers. They are so crazed with the righteousness of their cause that they couldn’t care less about the destruction and devastation they might cause to the innocent people around them, let alone even about their own death. Who ever thought our federal government would get into such a role?