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Obama’s Cunning Plan Is Worthless

August 8, 2015

By Paul Homewood 


Politicians and analysts said Obama's Clean Power Plan, which faces fierce opposition in Republican quarters back home, should foster global goodwill and spur the international effort to pin down a climate rescue pact by year-end


Obama has now announced his plan to save the world, but despite the likelihood of his fulfilling his promise that electricity prices would skyrocket, just how much difference will it make?

Much less than at first sight it appears.


Let’s recap what he is planning.



President Barack Obama‘s plan to slash electricity-generated CO2 emissions was welcomed Tuesday as a courageous step towards a lower-carbon future, but not yet enough to brake dangerous planet warming.

Politicians and analysts said Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which faces fierce opposition in Republican quarters back home, should foster global goodwill and spur the international effort to pin down a climate rescue pact by year-end.

But much more was needed, from the US and other nations, to get the world on track to meet the UN goal of limiting average global warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-Industrial Revolution levels, they warned.

French President Francois Hollande said the first plan ever to limit US power plant emissions would be a "major contribution to the success" of the November 30-December 11 UN conference his country will host to ink a new global climate deal.

Hollande hailed Obama’s "courage" in the face of Republican recriminations and the threat of legal action by the lobby group American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.

Obama announced Monday that power plant owners must cut carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.


To emphasise, it is only CO2 emissions from power plants that are targeted. According to the US Energy Administration, the electricity sector only produce about 36% of the country’s total emissions, with the rest coming from the use of fossil fuels by transport, households, industry and commerce.

Furthermore, CO2 emissions from the power sector have already declined since the chosen baseline of 2005, partly because of shale gas and partly through lower demand from industry. As the EIA table below shows, emissions have fallen by 371 million tonnes up to 2013.



Table 9.1. Emissions from Energy Consumption at
Conventional Power Plants and Combined-Heat-and-Power Plants
2003 through 2013 (Thousand Metric Tons)
Year Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) Nitrogen Oxides (NOx)
2003 2,445,094 10,646 4,532
2004 2,486,982 10,309 4,143
2005 2,543,838 10,340 3,961
2006 2,488,918 9,524 3,799
2007 2,547,032 9,042 3,650
2008 2,484,012 7,830 3,330
2009 2,269,508 5,970 2,395
2010 2,388,596 5,400 2,491
2011 2,287,071 4,845 2,406
2012 2,156,875 3,704 2,148
2013 2,172,355 3,609 2,188



So, a reduction of 32% from the 2005 figure, means a drop to 1729 million tonnes, in other words a cut of 443 million tonnes from 2013 levels.

Total CO2 emissions in the US, according to the BP Energy Review, were 5941 million tonnes in 2013, so a cut of 443 million is a paltry 7%. In terms of global emissions, it is only 1%!

Is this really going to save the planet?

Even the greenies, while accepting this as a move in the direction, are damning with their faint praise.

We hear from Obama the same mutterings about improving energy efficiency standards as we do from the EU, whilst ignoring the fact that free markets have steadily brought these for decades without any help from government. At the same time, of course, people’s demand for energy has increased as lifestyles have changed. It is unlikely that his edicts will make much difference.


I’ll leave you with one more table from the EIA.

Since 2005, electricity supply has increased to all sectors, except for industry. Obama may succeed in getting closer to his overall target of a 26% reduction in overall CO2 but it is only likely to happen as a result of the decimation of US industry.



Table 2.2. Retail Sales and Direct Use of Electricity to Ultimate Customers
by Sector, by Provider, 2003 through 2013 (Megawatthours)
Year Residential Commercial Industrial Transportation Total Direct Use Total End Use
Total Electric Industry
2003 1,275,823,910 1,198,727,601 1,012,373,247 6,809,728 3,493,734,486 168,294,526 3,662,029,012
2004 1,291,981,578 1,230,424,731 1,017,849,532 7,223,642 3,547,479,483 168,470,002 3,715,949,485
2005 1,359,227,107 1,275,079,020 1,019,156,065 7,506,321 3,660,968,513 150,015,531 3,810,984,044
2006 1,351,520,036 1,299,743,695 1,011,297,566 7,357,543 3,669,918,840 146,926,612 3,816,845,452
2007 1,392,240,996 1,336,315,196 1,027,831,925 8,172,595 3,764,560,712 125,670,185 3,890,230,897
2008 1,380,661,745 1,336,133,485 1,009,516,178 7,653,211 3,733,964,619 132,196,685 3,866,161,304
2009 1,364,758,153 1,306,852,524 917,416,468 7,767,989 3,596,795,134 126,937,958 3,723,733,092
2010 1,445,708,403 1,330,199,364 971,221,189 7,712,412 3,754,841,368 131,910,249 3,886,751,617
2011 1,422,801,093 1,328,057,439 991,315,564 7,672,084 3,749,846,180 132,754,037 3,882,600,217
2012 1,374,514,708 1,327,101,196 985,713,854 7,320,028 3,694,649,786 137,656,510 3,832,306,296
2013 1,394,890,412 1,344,192,383 978,355,885 7,625,041 3,725,063,721 143,461,937 3,868,525,658



Greenies are hopeful that Obama’s “leadership” on the issue will encourage the rest of the world to start cutting emissions. I suspect that the rest of the world is not as gullible.

  1. August 8, 2015 1:13 pm

    Reblogged this on

  2. August 8, 2015 2:43 pm

    Reblogged this on eliquidassets.

  3. August 8, 2015 5:21 pm

    If we can cool the world
    But as much as a zero degree,
    Then it’s all been worthwhile
    Are we too blind to see?
    The emperor’s new clothes,
    Being worn with such pride,
    As Obama prepares America
    For its suicide!

  4. August 8, 2015 7:48 pm

    There is a background reason that your post title is correct. The average age of US coal plants is between 39 and 42 years. (part of the discrepancy is between utility grid and all coal generation (military bases, etc)). The average age of grid tied coal plant retirements is 48 years. So a lot of older plants are due for economic retirement in the next decade no matter what. They will be replaced by CCGT. CCGT costs less capital ($1250/ Kw versus about $3500 for scrubbed USC), takes less time to construct (3 years bersus 4) and is cheaper to operate at foreseeable US gas prices thanks to abundent fracked shale gas. Average efficiency of US coal 34%. CCGT efficiency 61%. For equal oxidation stoichiometry, methane produces half the CO2 of coal because the hydrogens are combusted into water. Natural gas has about twice the heat energy per pound of average US steam coal. So CCGT produces about 15% the CO2 of what it replaces. (0.5*0.5*[0.35/0.61]) The additional electricity generating emission reductions were going to happen anyway. Obama is just trying to claim credit for political and legacy reasons.
    Other nations (India, Africa, Europe except UK) are not blessed with abundent shale gas. For them, Obama’s faux move is a headfake.

    • August 10, 2015 7:56 am

      Great analysis of the policy. The UK has old coal fired power stations too, but has squandered most of its gas reserves as part of a long-term anti-coal policy, so if sensible policy applied they would buy the surplus american coal and keep the coal fired fleet operating (as Germany are doing). It is cheaper to extend plant life than replace even it he replacements are more efficient (Germany is doing both).

  5. John Lentini permalink
    August 8, 2015 10:12 pm

    The Clean Power Plan will accomplish nothing at great cost. Full implementation will only reduce the temperature by approximately 0.02 degrees C by 2100.This number was calculated by the EPA assuming that reducing carbon dioxide will solve this non-problem. Approximately 97% of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is from natural sources like the ocean, and volcanoes which prompts the question, how can the human’s 3% influence the global temperature? With carbon dioxide increasing there has been no global warming for about 18 years as measured by two satellite systems (NASA,UAH). Cheap energy is required to reduce poverty. the weather? Over eight years since a category 3-5 hurricane hit the United States – longest such period in over a century. Health no effect, carbon dioxide is required for plant life and therefore human/animal life. The states should refuse to implement this outrageous and illegal law.

    • August 10, 2015 7:48 am

      While we are told that that the increase in CO2 is from human activity, there is a question about the partition of CO2 between oceans and air as temperature rises due to natural cycles. The solubility of CO2 falls with temperature and can release a large amount of CO2 into the air (the oceans contain far more CO2 than the air anyway), so as the earth goes into its next cooling cycle this would be expected to fall again. Long term records are long-term averages so do not prove that the atmospheric concentration does not cycle as long-term global temperatures cycle.

      The lack of response to CO2 is entirely in line with the low contribution that CO2 makes to atmospheric heat content and the entirely fictional forcing factor that underpins the “proven science”.

      As rhymeafterrhyme says, it is like the emperors new clothes.

      • August 11, 2015 10:26 pm


        You are simply wrong. The observed dramatic post-World War 2 increase in CO2 is almost certainly due to the increased industrialisation of under developed countries.

        If, as you suggest, it were simply a consequence of the naturally occurring temperature rise, why would the rate have increased dramatically to 1.30ppm per year from its long term pre-war value of 0.26ppm?

        You also engage in another erroneous line of argument, when you mention “the low contribution that CO2 makes to atmospheric heat content”. It is not the heat content of CO2 (i.e. its thermal capacity) that is at issue. It is its behaviour as a radiative gas – an entirely different (and real) physical phenomenon.

        Like you I am skeptical that the observed increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration has had any noticeable effect at all on the world mean temperature but this is an argument that should be debated on its own merits, and not by producing erroneous sideline arguments that, being easily refutable, only serve to bolster the warmist cause.

  6. Paul2 permalink
    August 9, 2015 3:45 pm

    As we draw closer to the Paris talks, scare stories go exponential in their desperation:

  7. August 9, 2015 4:30 pm

    Actually, an unintended consequence of this will be people returning to gasoline cars. Electric costs will skyrocket according to Obama, and that electric car is not going to look so inviting. Plus, gas and oil costs may come down.

    While coal plants are old and being shut down, and only 30 to 40% of power coming from coal, it’s looks like not such a big deal. However, Obama never mentions the thousands who will lose high-paying jobs in coal mines. Guess he figures they are overpaid and better off on welfare.

    • August 10, 2015 7:50 am

      It is more likely that the USA will increase its exports of coal, as it has done in recent years, so gaining on all fronts except honesty and morality: not big factors in USA thinking historically.

      • August 12, 2015 1:05 am

        There have already been numerous layoffs and smaller coal companies filing for bankruptcy. Wyoming is cutting back on its projected revenues, meaning money for schools, etc has to come from other sources or just not get allocated. Exporting coal is difficult when people in Oregon and Washington refuse to let the coal get to the ocean. Activists have been very busy making sure the coal gets delayed or the cost is too high to export it. It may not get reported on, but it is very real.

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