Month 12, Day 29: I Came For The Waters. I Was Misinformed.

The Orange County Register fumes about the EPA’s intention to step up its regulatory regime. It’z FASHIZM, I TELZ YA, FASHIZM!

They bring in a Pollution lobbyist, a former Bush apparatchik, to spew forth his particular brand of noxious nonsense:

“If the regulations actually force companies to make meaningful emission reductions, they will drive up energy costs and be very expensive,” observed Jeffrey R. Holmstead, who headed the EPA’s air and radiation office under President George W. Bush and now represents utilities and other greenhouse emitters that would be affected.

So I thought I’d unpack that quote a bit.

Jeffrey Holmstead’s statement that forced emissions reductions will increase the cost of energy is misleading, and his clients (greenhouse gas emitters) pay him well for his obfuscation. Let’s examine his words closely. First, it is only in a short-term sense that fossil fuels are cheap; if we factor in the costs of cleanup, health effects, and the costly wars we wage to protect our sources, it’s clear that oil and coal were never inexpensive to begin with. Second, energy companies have never been particularly reluctant to pass along higher prices to the consumer; they’re worried about their profits, not our savings. Third, the costs of failure on climate change will dwarf the costs of action. The EPA’s regulatory initiatives are essential elements of a robust and meaningful climate policy, which could save us trillions over the next century. When floodwaters are rising, only fools complain about the price of sandbags.

Warren Senders

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