There has been a barrage of attacks against the Trump administration for replacing the previous administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) with the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule. Last week, for example, the American Public Health Association and the American Lung Association announced that attorneys representing them from the Clean Air Task Force are filing a lawsuit challenging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for repealing the CPP and bringing in ACE in its place. The three organizations issued a press release in which they asserted, “EPA’s decision to repeal the Clean Power Plan and replace it with the ACE rule continues to disregard the vast health consequences of climate change and puts more lives at risk.”
That is nonsense, of course. But that didn’t stop other groups from taking a similar stance. Carter Roberts, President & CEO of the World Wildlife Fund, said, “This rule [ACE] enables dirty power plants to keep polluting – grounding federal energy policy firmly in past and saddling future generations with the costs of unchecked climate change.” Michael Brune, head of the Sierra Club said, “This is an immoral and an illegal attack on clean air, clean energy, and the health of the public, and it shows just how heartless the Trump administration is when it comes to appeasing its polluter allies.”
If Trump administration advisors thought they could appease their opponents by bringing in a rule focused on the useless, and ultimately dangerous goal of limiting carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, they were sorely mistaken. But, as long as they did not contest the scientifically flawed idea that CO2 is a dangerous pollutant that must be controlled, they really had no choice but to bring in some form of CO2 reduction regulation.
As long as the the Supreme Court allowed EPA to declare carbon dioxide a pollutant thereby leading to what is known as the Endangerment Finding [EF] the the courts will order them to come up with plans to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. So the administration decided not to question it and came up with ACE as an improvement over CPP.
Regardless this was a big mistake for our nation. There is ample evidence that mankind is not causing catastrophic climate change. In any case human societies have thrived during warmer periods in the past relative to colder periods.”
It is hard to believe that the attacks that would ensue against the Trump Administration for opening the Green House Gas Endangerment Findingto re-examination would be any more severe than what they are already being subjected to for proposing the ACE rule. So, what was the advantage of bringing in a weaker version of Obama’s misguided CPP? If you are going to infuriate your opponents to the extent that they will take out lawsuits against you and publicly label you “the worst president in U.S. history for protecting the air and our climate,” as Brune did after Trump’s environment speech on July 8, you might as well do what you really wanted to instead of taking half measures. ACE is a bad idea because it places the administration on the side of carbon dioxide being a pollutant that needs to be regulated.
It’s time for the Trump administration to call a spade a spade. They should clearly explain that CO2 endangers no one and order that the EF be reopened. And, when the re-examination inevitably reveals that effectively classifying CO2 as a pollutant was a mistake, they should not be quiet about it. Instead they must follow Winston Churchill’s advice. “If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time—a tremendous whack.”