President Barack Obama's plan to cut greenhouse-gas emissions will be ineffective and represents an affront to democracy, according to a Wall Street Journal editorial.
While the economy endures a sluggish recovery and 75 percent of Americans are concerned about making ends meet, "there was the president in tony Georgetown [Tuesday], threatening more energy taxes and mandates that will ensure fewer jobs, still lower incomes and slower growth," Journal editors write.
"Mr. Obama's 'climate action plan' adds up to one of the most extensive reorganizations of the U.S. economy since the 1930s, imposed through administrative fiat and raw executive power," the editorial said. The president proposed in his speech to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent by 2020.
"Most striking about this Obama legacy project is its contempt for democratic consent. Congress has consistently rejected an Obama-style 'comprehensive' anti-carbon energy plan," the editorial states.
So Obama is bypassing Congress to implement policy through unaccountable bureaucracies, and without debate, the editorial says.
"Mr. Obama might have at least announced his war on carbon before the election and let voters have a say," Journal editors write. "Instead he posed as the John the Baptist of fossil fuels in locales such as Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia — taking credit for the shale fracking boom he had nothing to do with and running ads attacking Mitt Romney as anti-coal."
Obama's plan hits many industries, but particularly utilities with coal-fired electric plants. As of last year, coal accounted for 37 percent of U.S. electric generation, down from more than 50 percent only four years earlier.
"In part this tumble has been due to cheap natural gas, but now the EPA will finish the job and take coal to zero percent. The higher costs will ripple through the energy chain, which is precisely Mr. Obama's goal. Only by artificially raising the cost of carbon energy can he make even heavily subsidized 'renewables' competitive," the editorial states.
Meanwhile, Obama's plan won't have an impact on the global carbon buildup, Journal editors write. "Emissions are already falling in the U.S., thanks primarily to the shale gas boom, but emissions are rising in the developing world," they say.
China in particular represents a fly in Obama's climate-change ointment. "While the administration may be able to work around Capitol Hill on this issue, the same cannot be said of China," writes Jordan Weissmann of The Atlantic
"The painful truth is that without cooperation from the world's largest carbon dioxide emitter, any effort the United States makes to slow global warming likely won't amount to much."
China accounted for more than 25 percent of global emissions in 2011, compared to less than 17 percent for the United States, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
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