Reducing Air Pollution is Well Worth the Cost

Fri, 2011-07-08 13:03Josh Nelson
Josh Nelson's picture

Reducing Air Pollution is Well Worth the Cost

Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA is required to protect states from sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide pollution emitted from coal plants in other states. After dragging its feet for a while, the Bush administration introduced the Clean Air Interstate Rule in 2005. Due to its over-reliance on emissions trading, the Clean Air Interstate Rule was shot down (PDF) in December 2008 by the U.S. Court of appeals for the District of Columbia. One year ago today, the Obama administration proposed a plan – the Clean Air Transport Rule – to replace the Bush administration’s flawed Clean Air Interstate Rule.

Finally, today, the EPA finalized an updated version of this rule, now appropriately named the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (large PDF), which requires power plants in 27 eastern states and the District of Columbia to significantly reduce sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide pollution.

The public health benefits of this rule, which goes into effect at the beginning of 2012, promise to be enormous (PDF, p. 12):



The air quality improvements will also be tremendous, with the number of counties in violation of federal standards expected to drop from 207 to just two as soon as 2014. Here are the counties that violated air quality standards between 2003 and 2007 (PDF, p. 30):


And here are the two counties that are projected to be in violation by 2014 (PDF, p. 31), as well as the six that are projected to have maintenance problems:

Justifiably, the rule was praised today by countless respected people and organizations. Here’s a joint statement released this afternoon by Environment America, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the League of Conservation Voters, Environmental Defense Fund and the Sierra Club:

Stronger limits for power plant pollution will mean healthier, longer lives for millions of Americans. Smokestack emissions from power plants threaten public health by delivering harmful pollutants like sulfur dioxide, greenhouse gases and toxic mercury into the air we breathe and the water we drink, posing a particular threat to children and vulnerable populations like seniors. This much-needed update to clean air standards will significantly reduce the threat from this pollution and save lives.

Here’s Delaware Senator Tom Carper:

The EPA has developed a sensible approach that will reduce smog and particle pollution and in turn, give us cleaner air and prevent thousands of deaths and billions of dollars in healthcare costs. In the end, this rule will help us achieve better health care results for less money.

And here’s Dr. Georges C. Benjamin, Executive Director of the American Public Health Association:

Today’s ruling is an important and long overdue step to protect the health of Americans and clean up our environment. It’s a huge win-win. We praise EPA for its continued efforts to help create stronger, healthier and more productive communities for ourselves and our families.

Care to guess who criticized the rule? That’s right – Republican politicians and the coal industry. Here’s Texas Governor, potential GOP presidential candidate and former Al Gore supporter Rick Perry, who told Glenn Beck last week that he didn’t think the federal government should enforce clean air laws at all:

Today’s EPA announcement is another example of heavy-handed and misguided action from Washington, D.C., that threatens Texas jobs and families and puts at risk the reliable and affordable electricity our state needs to succeed.

Here’s the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, which was caught sending fraudulent letters to members of Congress in August 20009:

America’s coal-fueled electric industry has been doing its part for the environment and the economy, but our industry needs adequate time to install clean coal technologies to comply with new regulations. Unfortunately, EPA doesn’t seem to care.

And here’s Pat Hemlepp, spokesman for American Electric Power:

Taking power plants out of service like this pulls tax dollars out of the communities, pulls jobs out of communities, in addition to increasing electricity costs

One side says this new rule will save tens of thousands of lives and improve air quality for 240 million Americans. They’re absolutely right. The other side says the rule is costly and unnecessary and will kill countless jobs. While this is mostly coal-industry spin, there is a kernel of truth to it. Implementing pollution controls on out-of-date coal-fired power plants is somewhat expensive, and if some plants choose to close down rather than modernizing, jobs will be lost. But as Harvard economist Robert Stavins explains, this is a more than worthwhile tradeoff. “It doesn’t mean that there are no costs, but the benefits of the transport rule in terms of human health protection tremendously outweigh the costs of this,” he told NPR.

Ultimately, that is what this rule comes down to. There are unintended consequences to nearly every action the government takes, but as a society, we’ve decided that saving thousands of lives and making it easier to breathe for hundreds of millions of Americans is a higher priority than protecting the profits of an unscrupulous industry. I think that’s a pretty wise decision, and I’m proud of the EPA for having the courage to go through with it while facing a seemingly endless onslaught of hysterical attacks.

Previous Comments

This is the truth: The WTC was destroyed by 3 underground thermo-nuclear explosions. They were detonated by the US government which used this as an excuse to lead the US and its allies into invading Afghanistan and Iraq. All these wars and deaths were based on a lie.

Goebbels: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”

Will you help to tell the truth to the world?

www.mathaba.net/news/?x=625926

www.911-truth.net/
Be sure to watch the 26 part video there.
#4 is on the built-in nuclear demolition scheme of the WTC
www.911-truth.net/911_WTC_nuclear_demolition_Dimitri_Khalezov_part04.mp4
#14 in on Building 7, which collapsed even though no plane hit it.
www.911-truth.net/911_WTC_nuclear_demolition_Dimitri_Khalezov_part14.mp4
#24/25 is on the chronic radiation sickness of the WTC responders
www.911-truth.net/911_WTC_nuclear_demolition_Dimitri_Khalezov_part24.mp4
www.911-truth.net/911_WTC_nuclear_demolition_Dimitri_Khalezov_part25.mp4

www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNh1Isb20tw&feature=player_embedded careandwashingofthebrain.blogspot.com/2011/05/911-comparing-building-implosions.html

Well that note seems to have just the right amount of credibility to get a desmog endorsement.

Right up your ally isnt it?

Two years ago, U.N. researchers were claiming that it would cost “as much as $600 billion a year over the next decade” to go green. Now, a new U.N. report has more than tripled that number to $1.9 trillion per year for 40 years.

So let’s do the math: That works out to a grand total of $76 trillion, over 40 years – or more than five times the entire Gross Domestic Product of the United States ($14.66 trillion a year). It’s all part of a “technological overhaul” “on the scale of the first industrial revolution” called for in the annual report. Except that the U.N. will apparently control this next industrial revolution.

The new 251-page report with the benign sounding name of the “World Economic and Social Survey 2011” is rife with goodies calling for “a radically new economic strategy” and “global governance.”

Throw in possible national energy use caps and a massive redistribution of wealth and the survey is trying to remake the entire globe. The report has the imprimatur of the U.N., with the preface signed by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon – all part of the “goal of full decarbonization of the global energy system by 2050.”

Make no mistake, much of this has nothing to do with climate.

The press release for the report discusses the need “to achieve a decent living standard for people in developing countries, especially the 1.4 billion still living in extreme poverty, and the additional 2 billion people expected worldwide by 2050.” That sounds more like global redistribution of wealth than worrying about the earth’s thermostat.

That’s because it is. The report goes on and says “one half of the required investments would have to be realized in developing countries.” In other words, $38 trillion would go to the developing world.

The survey details where that money would go. “Survey estimates that incremental green investment of about 3 percent of world gross product (WGP) (about $1.9 trillion in 2010) would be required to overcome poverty, increase food production to eradicate hunger without degrading land and water resources, and avert the climate change catastrophe.”

So eradicating hunger and overcoming poverty are now part of the climate debate.

It’s also interesting to notice the escalating scale the U.N. is using for its costs. This is a 200 percent increase from the previous Stern Report, which called for 1 percent of global WGP. But that wasn’t enough so Stern revised his claim in 2008, warning there were “many ways of acting to make it more costly” and said 2 percent was needed. Apparently so. Now it’s 3 percent.

It wasn’t that long ago – Nov. 11, 2009 to be exact – when lefty writer Naomi Klein, author of “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism,” told readers the cost of going green was going to be $600 billion a year.

Eighteen months later, the price of our “one last chance to save the world” has increased $13 trillion – and that’s just over the next decade.

The Klein piece was controversial because she admitted the left was looking for the first world to pay a “climate debt,” what she described as “the idea that rich countries should pay reparations to poor countries for the climate crisis.” The new U.N. report doesn’t use those terms, but they are there in spirit.

The U.N. calls for a push toward the “green economy” even though it freely admits “there is no unique definition of the green economy.” The survey’s introduction rationalizes the massive cost by explaining “the green economy concept is based on the conviction that the benefits of investing in environmental sustainability outweigh the cost of not doing so.” So, by that rationale, any cost is sustainable.

And, as in all things from the U.N., government is the solution: “Governments will have to assume a much more central role” in making the change to a green economy. Where there’s government, there must be control and “active industrial and educational policies aimed at inducing the necessary changes in infrastructure and production processes.”

Educational policies? They are just a start. Try energy caps “if, for instance, emission reduction targets cannot be met through accelerated technological progress in energy efficiency and renewable energy generation, it may be necessary to impose caps on energy consumption itself in order to meet climate change mitigation targets in a timely manner.”

That would lead naturally to “the prospect of ‘prosperity without growth,’” and even the U.N. admits that “may not be very appealing.” No matter. We’ll all have to accept that and the “major structural transformations of economies and societies.”

Some of those “societal transformations” include living in more urban areas, as the report went on to discuss the wonders of “Japan’s compact urbanization” and bemoan the cost of individual homes filled with furniture.

The report noted that all of this $76 trillion in spending in based on the “precautionary principle” decided at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. According to that principle, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Sha Zukang wrote, “in the absence of scientific consensus that a particular action or policy is harmful to the public or to the environment, the burden of proof that the suspect action or policy is not harmful rests with the party or parties implementing it.” In other words, even if the U.N. is wrong on climate change, we should still spend $76 trillion to fight it.

Ironically, the report came out just one day after climate scientists were complaining that Chinese coal use was driving a temporary bout of “global cooling.” As the liberal Huffington Post explained, the cooling is from “all that sulfur pollution in the air from China’s massive coal-burning, according to a new study.”

“Two years ago, U.N. researchers were claiming that it would cost “as much as $600 billion a year over the next decade” to go green. Now, a new U.N. report has more than tripled that number to $1.9 trillion per year for 40 years.”

Maybe you should read the report instead of being a copy & paste spam bot of a fox news story.

I did read the report. It says the exact same thing.

Any more questions?

“I did read the report. It says the exact same thing.

Any more questions?”

Why yes, I never thought you would ask.

“Two years ago, U.N. researchers were claiming that it would cost “as much as $600 billion a year over the next decade” to go green. Now, a new U.N. report has more than tripled that number to $1.9 trillion per year for 40 years.”

First of all your copy & paste of the fox articles sleight of hand, bait & switch is admirable, but pathetic. It first tries to distract the reader with $1.9 trillion a year, but only later discusses that this is a world wide figure.

The current WGP figure is $58.26 trillion a year. The U.S alone spends 1 Trillion a year just on its military.

“So let’s do the math: That works out to a grand total of $76 trillion, over 40 years ”

Yes, lets do the math.

$58.26 X 40 = $2330.40 trillion

Does $76 trillion out of $2330.40 still sound like a lot to do the following:

“overcome poverty, increase food production to eradicate hunger without degrading land and water resources, and avert the climate change catastrophe”

We are solving a lot of big problems with that one figure.

“or more than five times the entire Gross Domestic Product of the United States ($14.66 trillion a year). ”

Another sleight of hand bait & switch. We are talking about the world, not the USA.

ZZzzzzzz …

Sorry? Did you say something?

Whatever. Zzzzzzzzz…..

Learn Online English

Learn Online English

Learn Online English

Learn Online English

Learn Online English

Wow the bots & persona management bots are going ballistic on this site desmog. I think you need to change your captcha phrase software.

The denier & ad bots are easily passing it & spamming this site with garbage.

The comment above was posted by someone impersonating me. They are obviously a denier being paid by Koch Industries to persecute me. Please delete their comment.

“The comment above was posted by someone impersonating me. They are obviously a denier being paid by Koch Industries to persecute me. Please delete their comment.”

Lol, back to the tactic of impersonating me? You don’t like me alerting people to the fact that you are using persona management software to spam this site?

Oh & one more thing……I don’t suppose it dawned on you that the mods can look up my comments & see that I have a different email address that the one you are supplying. Man…the stupid, it burns.

Dear Moderators,

Once again, paid deniers like the above are posting comments under my name. As you can see from the above comment, it is clearly an orchestrated campaign to make me look like an idiot.

It seems to be working.

I demand you delete the persons who are impersonating me, at once!

Actually, Phil M never needs any help to look like an idiot.

‘The denier & ad bots are easily passing it [captcha] & spamming this site with garbage.’

They seem to find it easier than me in deciding whether certain characters are upper or lower case, I often hit the ‘pink un’ and wonder WTF! Indeed the present offering below looks like it may cause trouble. Now is that L an L or an l, I guess I am about to find out. Hum! It was an L after all, surprise.

at least one of these Phils forgot his meds - not sure which

Hmmmm

While I agree that Phil is a zealot and has little to contribute to the real debate, I think it really dispicable to do the “impersonate” Crap.

It adds nothing and simply makes the perpitrator look like a low life.

I believe everybody would appreciate it if you stopped.

Wow, a skeptic with some respectability, amazing.

This is the level that deniers are willing to go to shut down debate on this subject. Smear is all in a days work for deniers.

The deniers who are sabotaging my important work here are obviously part of an organized campaign funded by Koch Industries and their Jewish money.

Phil….!!!!

Important Work????

What Important Work…??????

You are just another religious zealot on an opinion blog spreading alarmist nonsense.

You really must get a handle on your ego….

“The deniers who are sabotaging my important work here are obviously part of an organized campaign funded by Koch Industries and their Jewish money.”

That was not me, the real Phil M. It was a paid denier trying to shut down debate & smear. Commenters from the pro side will know Ive never mentioned Koch & jewishness. In fact, Im an atheist, so all religions are abhorrent to me, especially christianity. I am not interested in their religion. I am interested in their manipulation of the system & the public for their own benefit.

“Phil….!!!!

Important Work????

What Important Work…??????

It was probably you that posted that stupid anti semite comment under my name, then answered back under your anonymous name.Nice try.

opps…

I apologize Phil…

Who ever is do that to you really should be ashamed. It is one thing to argue and poke some fun directly but that is just low.

Now that is truely a hilarious comment on a dedicated smear site.

One wonders, do they actually believe their own nonsense? Probably…

[x]

First issued in 2011 but quickly met with numerous legal challenges, the EPA's Cross State Air Pollution Rule is finally cleared for takeoff.

Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit lifted a hold it had placed on the CSAPR, effectively giving the EPA a green light to begin implementing the rule...

read more