Obama’s Plan Won’t Improve Public Health

It will have no direct impact on pollution, human health or climate change

By Tom Harris

Montanans should not be surprised that President Barack Obama is “moving the goalpost” on emission cuts for the state with his final Clean Power Plan (CPP) rule.

Obama believes that Americans support expensive action to protect their children from dangerous climate change and dirty air. And he also thinks that most of the public believe that the CPP will do both.

According to this month’s Morning Consult poll, the president is right: 63 percent of registered voters say they support the CPP. The largest fraction, 46 percent, say the plan will improve public health and 49 percent say the plan will have a positive effect on air and water pollution; only 27 percent think it will have no effect.

But the CPP does not regulate pollution. It only regulates carbon dioxide (CO2), which is in no way unclean and so has no impact on human health. Using the word “clean” in the rule’s title is a rhetorical trick to encourage the public to think of it as a pollution plan.

The CPP is based on the hypothesis that dangerous climate change is being caused by humanity’s CO2 emissions. Yet in her September 18, 2013 testimony before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy admitted that the CPP will not affect climate. The impact of developing countries will swamp anything the U.S. does, and those nations have made it clear that they will not curtail their growth because of a theory about climate.

In pursuing “all available legal options” to oppose the CPP, Montana Attorney General Tim Fox must bring up the fact that the plan is all pain, no gain. While it will have enormous impact on thousands of Montana workers and their families, it will have no direct impact on pollution, human health or climate change.

Tom Harris, executive director
International Climate Science Coalition
Ottawa, Ontario

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