As everyone knows by now, the Obama Administration unveiled its ambitious new plan to reduce greenhouse emissions from coal-fired plants on Monday. Much needed and way overdue, this attempt to head off increasingly inevitable climate catastrophe immediately drew the scorn of coal lovers and climate change deniers everywhere. Especially, but certainly not limted to Congress.
Here's a quick round up of some of the more absurd reactions:
1. Sen. Jim Inhofe: Greenhouse gases are harmless, maybe even good for you.
The Republican Senator from Oklahoma has never met a carbon emission he doesn't like, and thinks the whole "global warming thing" is a power-grabbing hoax that the United Nations invented.
The EPA's new rules, he wasted no time in saying, is “a green agenda that has been dreamed up by the environmentalist community for decades.” He also repeated a deliberate misunderstanding of the science by saying that even the EPA admits greenhouse gases “do not cause direct adverse health effects.” Of course, that's because the problem they cause is indirect, by getting trapped in the earth's atmosphere, and casuing it to heat up, melt icecaps, raise sea level, cause smog, breathing problems, etc...
2. Fossil-fuel industry-funded Heartland Institute: The new regulations will kill people.
Like Senator Inhofe, this brazenly partisan Koch-funded group willfully misconstrues the dangers of carbon emissions by idiotically pointing out that: “Carbon dioxide is essential to plant growth – more carbon dioxide makes for a greener planet … CO2 emissions boost the economy and don’t hurt the planet – in fact they most likely benefit the biosphere.”
Their reaction to the new regulations was predictably hysterical: Obviously, Obama and the EPA want to kill people.
“Lives will be lost as people forgo heating and air conditioning in times of extreme cold or heat. All this loss for naught.” This brilliant thought was attributed to James H. Rust, Professor of nuclear engineering (ret.), Georgia Tech, Policy Advisor, The Heartland Institute.
3. Right-wing EPAFacts: The EPA is a terrorist group.
A group called EPAFacts immediately ran a full-page ad in Politico Tuesday calling the EPA a "radical" organization that threatens "to shut down 25 percent of the electric grid.”
As ThinkProgress points out EPAFacts.com, "is a site run by right-wing PR flack Rick Berman, which is "dedicated to exposing the EPA’s 'agenda-driven science.'" Its other enlightened positions include the absurd claims that mercury pollution and smog are not harmful, and sunlight hitting wind turbines can cause seizures.
4. Mitch McConnell: Similar to zombie-killers, climate rules will stab you in the chest with a dagger.
Republicans and Fox News love accusing scientists and environmentalists of using “scare-tactics” when they present the admittedly scary facts about what unbridled climate change will do to the planet and its inhabitants.
Of course, the GOP never resorts to overblown language to get their points across. Least of all Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell, who said in a press release about the new EPA rules: “Today’s announcement is a dagger in the heart of the American middle class.”
"All pain, no gain,” chimed in Sen. David Vitter (R-LA).
“It’s a sucker punch for families everywhere,” John Boehner wrote.
So, no hyperbole on that side of the aisle.
5. House Comittee on Science: Well, just 'cause scientists say it doesn't mean it's science.
The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology headed by climate change denier Lamar Smith is, of course, a very big joke. They already decided a report from the International Panel on Climate Change isn’t science. Smith said: “Both the IPCC and the White House’s documents appear to be designed to spread fear and alarm and provide cover for previously determined government policies. The reports give the Obama Administration an excuse to control more of the lives of the American people. The IPCC’s goal is an international climate treaty that redistributes wealth among nations. The Administration’s goal is to impose greenhouse gas regulations, which will stifle economic growth and lead to hundreds of thousands of fewer jobs each year."
So, essentially, the new regulations are a socialist plot to redistribute wealth.
6. John Boehner: The President just wants to pick your pocket with these new regulations. He said so himself.
Obama, according to House Speaker John Boehner and a number of others, has personally promised that these new regulations will make electricity rates “skyrocket,” — and they can prove it with this 2008 video.
“Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket,” then-Senator Obama told the San Francisco Chronicle in the 30-second clip, part of a larger interview on coal.
Never mind that the proposal at hand is not cap-and-trade, but simply carbon regulations for coal plants. Plus, the new regulations are designed to save consumers money with the aggressive use of energy efficiency. The EPA predicts that there will be an average decrease of about 8 percent on electricity bills by the time the program is fully implemented in 2030.
7. Former Virginia A.G. Ken Cuccinelli: Wah, wah wah. Congress had no say in this.
Climate denier (and would-be oral sex prohibitor), former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli does not give up easily. He already lost in his witch hunt against leading climatologist Michael Mannhis. But he's still at his denying—or, really, lying—ways, posting on his Facebook page: “The President is sidestepping Congress with a 645-page EPA rule that will destroy jobs and devastate our struggling Southwest Virginia economy.”
Let's just dispense with this B.S. with this simple fact: The EPA regulations are mandated under a law that was passed by Congress in 1970 and amended in 1990.
8. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce: But this obsolete report says it will cost too much.
Surprise, surprise, the Chamber of Commerce does not like the new regulations. In anticipation of Obama's announcement the pro-business group released a report projecting that the regulations would cost American industry $28.1 billion annually, that as many as 224,000 jobs would be lost between now and 2030, that the economy would average $50.2 billion lower a year.
Sorry to interrupt your hysteria Chamber of Commerce, but your facts are off.
According to ThinkProgress:
That report, however, was released before the regulations were actually unveiled, and were based off a much higher emissions reduction standard. The Chamber’s report was based off the assumption that the new regulations would require states to cut carbon emissions 42 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, while the actual regulations only require a 30 percent cut from those levels.
Even if the regulations were as aggressive as the Chamber’s report estimated they would be, though, it still wouldn’t be that much of a burden on the American people. As Jonathan Chait notes, if the Chamber’s report were true, it would only increase the cost of the average American’s electric bill by $100 per year.