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Don Bain

President Obama's Announcement on the Clean Power Plan

2 min read

Moments ago I watched President Obama announce the Clean Power Plan. I happen to know a lot about climate change and the Clean Power Plan, including attending an EPA public hearing on the plan in Atlanta in July, 2014.

My immediate impressions from the announcement:

  1. This announcement seems to be positioned, by the media anyway, as something new. This plan has been in the works for years and available for public comments, including mine, for over a year.
  2. The speech's words were consistent with a grand and significant action on climate. The scope of the Clean Power Plan is modest in the context of needed action on climate. This is consistent with the notion that climate is a legacy issue for Mr. Obama, as it was for the previous CEO of Wal-Mart by the way. This is a good thing.
  3. Public health featured prominently in the presentation as one of the many benefits. This is a trend occuring across the world. Look for more of this across board and look for the metrics to be in health terms, as in incident rates of asthma referred to by President Obama, as well as in health costs.
  4. No mention was made that several states have already stated, prior to today's announcement, that they can achieve the goals of the Clean Power Plan.
  5. Some states vow not to comply. If true, that will set up debate about the respective power of federal and state governments. Pity we have no time for this. Besides, conflict has not worked out well for the people in the past.
  6. The words were carefully chosen, for example "carbon pollution" not carbon emissions or greenhouse gas emissions, to keep this action consistent with The Clean Air Act and the Supreme Court's ruling on same that EPA has the authority to address greenhouse gases as pollutants. All correct here.
  7. The President is quick to attempt to pre-empt political opposition in his comments. In my opinion, this further reinforces the flawed idea that climate is a partisan and political issue. It should not be. However, the speech seems to invite a fight and media is all-to-happy to sell seats to the venue. Shame on politicians in both parties for perpetuating this crime of misdirection.