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Earth Democrats Government

Obama Reveals Climate Change Plan 577

Posted by Soulskill
from the it-ain't-easy-being-green dept.
Today President Obama gave a speech outlining the administration's plan to take on climate change. (Video of the speech available on YouTube, and the White House published an infographic as well.) Most significantly, Obama's plan would have the EPA set limits on carbon pollution from all U.S. power plants, a goal already meeting resistance from Republicans. The plan also sets the goal of funding enough solar- and wind-based energy projects on public lands to power over 6 million homes by 2020. By 2030, it aims to use efficiency standards to reduce carbon pollution by 3 billion metric tons. Obama called for new efforts to deal with extreme weather like Hurricane Sandy. He also pointed out the difficulty in getting emerging industrial economies to be environmentally conscious. To that end, the plan calls for the end of U.S. support for financing coal power plants in foreign countries, unless those plants use carbon capture and sequestration technologies. The speech addressed the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry up to 800,000 gallons of oil per day from Canada into the U.S. Obama indicated that approval for the pipeline would be tied to emissions goals.
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Obama Reveals Climate Change Plan

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @03:48PM (#44104291)

    I have absolutely no respect anymore for Obama. Everything i hear from him is a lie, after the NSA scandal. So i fully believe that this plan is going through.

  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot AT hackish DOT org> on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @03:53PM (#44104369)

    Not to mention that reducing our use of oil might be a good way to stop sending piles of our cash to places like Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. I'd rather spend $2 on R&D to improve technology than $1 on importing oil: the latter is cheaper in the short-term, but not really in the long-term.

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @03:54PM (#44104377)

    >> Obama called for new efforts to deal with extreme weather like Hurricane Sandy.

    Like move coastal populations so we aren't always on the hook for rebuilding people's beach houses?

    >> the plan calls for the end of U.S. support for financing coal power plants in foreign countries

    We're doing what? And they wonder why taxpayers hate the federal government...

  • Re:Washington D.C. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @03:55PM (#44104389)

    What power shortage would be cause by government regulation?

    Sounds more like because people failed to meet a regulation.

    I don't get a check from the IRS when I screw up my taxes. I don't understand how someone who supposedly supports capitalism is ok with externalities.

  • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @03:57PM (#44104407)
    Ah, a radio show transcript. Isn't it funny how the wisest people on earth all have radio shows rather than jobs where they have to do so much as put on clothing for the camera?

    You'd think a FEW of them would, I dunno, work as scientists or something.

    DP: So you feel that a lot of scientists have sold their souls?

    It's that line specifically that makes me feel comfortable totally ignoring anything else he says. I feel a lot of radio talk show hosts never had any souls to begin with.

  • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @04:03PM (#44104495)

    So a radio talk show host, along with a single scientist well known in the community for his outspoken opinions on climate change, on one side of the argument, and then a vast, vast body of peer-reviewed work and many hundreds of disparate and inter-arguing (ie, non-colluding) scientists on the other. Oh, and facts.

    Yeah, my mind is open. A talk radio host is not going to change it.

  • It's clever, no? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @04:03PM (#44104505)

    Tying the Keystone XL to emissions is clever. Sure the tar sands are amongst the filthiest forms of oil , but if emissions are limited, it really doesn't matter since emissions is the point of the sword that kills and everything else is, in the final analysis irrelevant.

    If XL is not built, there is nothing stopping the oil from coming in on rail and it's not clear how punishing that would be to the industry.

    Emissions are the business end of all policy. Going after emissions is exactly the right thing to do. It creates the environment where innovative technologies that cut emissions are differentially rewarded by the marketplace. Nothing like enlisting greed in your cause.

    If big oil and coal want to develop a zero emission technology then they can light this shit on fire until there's none left and it wouldn't matter one bit.

    Another great thing about this policy is it will force the retirement of some of the dirtiest fucking coal plants around the country and stop the creation of new dirty ones since investors aren't going to invest in them if they're never going to see the light of day.

    This is exactly the right message to send. Make carbon emission expensive and prohibit the worst of it. Spend big on R and D.

  • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @04:04PM (#44104529)

    Consider where the money ends up. Those foreign power plants are frequently very lucrative for large corporations that buy senators. It's a handy way to milk money out of the government and add it to the coffers. Bonus: everyone blames it on the government!

  • by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @04:07PM (#44104577)

    Having to pay much more for electricity will mean having less money left over for food, which means less obesity! Now we just need to increase gasoline taxes so they will get more exercise as well. On top of that, high energy consumers, such as, you know, factories, will have to cut down production, perhaps even close down completely, further reducing the pollution! There is just no end to the benefits from artificially inflating the cost of energy.

  • by thule (9041) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @04:09PM (#44104597) Homepage
    Coal plants have already been shutting down due the fact that natural gas is cheaper. Since we've been building natural gas plants, our carbon emissions are down to 1990's levels. Funny thing, we didn't even sign Kyoto, yet we did better than most (all?) countries in reducing carbon.
  • Why cap emisions? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Intropy (2009018) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @04:11PM (#44104637)

    The hypothesis to base limiting carbon dioxide emissions on is that they cause damage to the commons.

    Fine, if that's so then limiting them is a bad solution. I understand that it may be worth it for the benefits of the activity. That's fine too. Why is any harm allowed free of cost? Publicly fund research to put a dollar figure on the current marginal damage done by carbon dioxide emissions as well as on the cost to cleanup. Take the minimum of those two values and just tax the emissions at that rate, plus maybe a small percentage markup, right from the start. That way costs are borne by the people causing the harm. They are incentivized to minimize harm even at rates under what would have been the cap. Market forces will determine whether it's worth it and by how much and what amount should be prevented versus cleaned.

    The two weaknesses here are monitoring, which is just as much a problem with capping, and determining the cost. The research wont come to a perfect solution, but we can improve it over time. It'll have to be reevaluated periodically anyway since the cost is probably non-linear. In any case I don't see how that's more questionable than coming up with the cap figure. Liberals should be happy with this solution since it more strictly limits than what we have today. Conservative should be happy because everyone pays his fair share and the market gets to work. In reality liberals would hate it because it murders the Earth, and conservatives would hate it because it murders jobs. Both hating it seems just as good as both loving it.

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @04:12PM (#44104651)

    Why not?
    I see no mention of any science degrees, he is a political hack.

  • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @04:13PM (#44104671)

    What, that the mean average temperature would continue to rise, the ocean level would increase, the ice sheets would recede and the [CO2] would increase?

    Sure, some of the wildest "worst case" predictions might not have happened, but the overall thing that science has been pointing to for the past 30 years? It has happened as predicted. You can measure that, and we do.

    The effects are also measurable, and again, we note those down.

    It's only controversial because the answers are incompatible with big businesses making vast profits from coal, oil and other fossils, so they've paid a great deal of money to make sure people *know* it's controversial, because they say it is. Not because it actually is.

  • by iggymanz (596061) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @04:14PM (#44104683)

    saying pipeline can't be completed unless it cuts greenhouse emissions, Obama has shown himself to be a moron of the highest caliber.

    Energy use drives progress and has lengthened human life and quality of life. This fake "environmentalism" is just mask on religion of man-haters.

    Real environmentalism and the best thing for the human race is to go to clean and powerful energy sources that are superior to the polluting fossil fuels, such as advanced nuclear reactor designs that can't melt down and have no long-term waste products.

  • by the computer guy nex (916959) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @04:18PM (#44104733)
    Too many middle-income families already struggle paying for gas, raising those taxes wouldn't solve anything. Cycling infrastructure should be setup by local governments, not federal. High-speed rail should be setup by the private sector, not public. 0 for 3
  • by Dave Emami (237460) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @04:20PM (#44104755) Homepage

    It's just business sense.

    1) Those technologies and data center locations save the company money through energy costs and government subsidies. 2) They get to spin it as good PR -- Hey Look at us all green and eco-friendly and carbon neutral!

    I'm not disagreeing that they're doing potentially good things, but you're deluded if you think the motives are altruistic.

    Someone wrote something about that a couple hundred years ago: "But man has almost constant occasion for the help of his brethren, and it is in vain for him to expect it from their benevolence only... It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity, but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities, but of their advantages."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @04:26PM (#44104817)

    If the US doesn't want a pipeline that's fine, China has been stroking the Feds dicks up here in Canada for years.

    The environmental question is which superpower would make cleaner use of the fuel?

    Not to mention if disaster falls somewhere off the West coast as crude is shipped to China/Russia/etc what kind of impact is there going to be to the Pacific Northwest coastline vs a land-based pipeline breach?

    Either way, the Oil will flow

  • by tirerim (1108567) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @04:32PM (#44104901)
    There will be angst from the Republicans no matter what. Heck, if he proposed sticking to the status quo, they'd still angst that he wasn't doing enough to support business. But setting loftier goals might result in a better compromise when the Democrats inevitably cave to Republican demands.
  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @04:39PM (#44104959) Homepage Journal

    Why not?
    I see no mention of any science degrees,

    Huh, wasn't aware that "science degree holder" was a requirement for holding a valid opinion.

  • Re:Washington D.C. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sycodon (149926) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @04:43PM (#44105023)

    When the feds put a coal plant out of business because of more stringent emissions standards make it uneconomical to operate, then regulations put it out of business.

    Plants that are economical now will not be soon solely due to actions of the Feds.

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @04:43PM (#44105033)

    You can have all the opinions you want. If you want me to seriously consider them you might want to have some actual credentials or education, or even a functional understanding of the topic.

  • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @04:49PM (#44105109)

    Obama called for new efforts to deal with extreme weather like Hurricane Sandy.

    Like move coastal populations so we aren't always on the hook for rebuilding people's beach houses?

    Are you suggesting that only beach houses were damaged by Hurricane Sandy, or are you suggesting we move NEW YORK FUCKING CITY and every other city that happens to lie in the danger zone, rather than switch to cleaner energy?

    Because the first is not true. The second is either insane or ridiculously under-informed.

    The plan calls for the end of U.S. support for financing coal power plants in foreign countries

    We're doing what? And they wonder why taxpayers hate the federal government...

    Does "financing" mean "Here, Foreign version of Koch Brothers! FREE MONEY! Just promise to build a fossil fuel plant near Paris!" or does it mean "Here's a loan, underdeveloped country struggling to keep the lights on, to build a cheap power plant. We're going to expect you to play ball when it comes to fighting terrorists. And by that we mean you won't allow cheap versions of HIV drugs into your country."

  • by fastgriz (1052034) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @04:53PM (#44105169)
    This has nothing to do with saving the planet. It's a totally transparent (!) and cynical attempt to change the subject away from the web of scandals entangling Obama.
  • Re:Washington D.C. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sycodon (149926) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @04:57PM (#44105231)

    Then you should be the first fucker to sit in the dark.

  • Re:Washington D.C. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pdabbadabba (720526) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @05:00PM (#44105285) Homepage

    True. But if you agree that emitting CO2 is a bad thing -- a bad thing that may be thought of as a cost -- and that the regulation more or less accurately captures that cost, (I appreciate that these are a lot of assumptions, but they're necessary to isolate the issue that we're talking about) then all the regulation does is to capture a previously external cost as an internal economic one. The plants that go out of business in this environment will be the ones that the regulations reveal to have been a net consumer, not a producer, of value all along. I wouldn't lose much sleep about that.

  • by haruchai (17472) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @05:18PM (#44105511)

    The stupidity of their stubborn resistance is that a project like this would be a huge boon for states that are solidly Republican.

  • by JWW (79176) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @05:44PM (#44105879)

    Because building your house so that its more than 500 yards away from a Tornado or an Earthquake is impossible to do, but making sure to build your house more than 500 yards away from the Ocean or the Flood Plain is very easy to do.

    I can't really come up with any good reason that I as a taxpayer should be forced to pay to rebuild a house that some millionaire put up on a barrier island on the coast.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @05:58PM (#44106081)

    Tell that to Germany with 32 gigawatts of solar installed and counting.

    You mean the country with enormous economic wealth, that is spending vast sums more money than they should have to after panicking and shutting down nuclear reactors all over?

    I am wondering just what nation in Africa you image can afford what Germany can afford.

    German solar power is the equivalent of a tiny poodle perfectly manicured in a little pink sweater. Pretty to look at but an entirely impractical luxury that most cannot afford.

    If the statement had said "and we're helping Africa fund nuclear stations" that would have been one thing, but we all know that would never be uttered by the same people that claim to want to help the environment.

  • by TheEyes (1686556) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @05:58PM (#44106095)

    Why is it out of line to expect actual expertise from someone giving an expert opinion? I wouldn't trust a climatologist to fix my car; I wouldn't trust my mechanic to treat me if I were ill; and I don't expect a professional demagogue--like this radio host of yours--to be an expert at anything but demagoguery.

  • Re:Washington D.C. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Curunir_wolf (588405) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @06:11PM (#44106273) Homepage Journal

    It used to be legal to dump industrial waste into streams. It no longer is. That likely put some folks out of business.

    It also used to be legal to move dirt from one part of your yard to another to keep a low spot from having standing water for several days after a rain. It is no longer. And it has made some people's land entirely worthless. And it's the same law - they just call dirt "pollution" and standing storm water "navigable waters". And that is how good intentions are used to allow tyrants to rule.

  • by Penguinisto (415985) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @06:25PM (#44106457) Journal

    Let's discuss something a little more pressing, shall we Mr. President?

    At risk of being modded into oblivion as a troll, this speech today happened exactly because of those "more pressing" matters.

    The dude (and many of his acolytes, e.g. Nancy Pelosi) are being slammed with demands that the NSA knock off their rolling 4th Amendment violations program, that the IRS stop targeting political opponents, and a whole host of other scandals that the White House just can't seem to shake.

    So, what do you do when you find yourself in trouble? Go talk about hot-button issues that your supporters love and care about - it makes your supporters love you again, and your opponents go talk about something else until that something else dies down or gets forgotten. Poll number drooping among your supporters due to missteps? Talk about gay marriage. IRS caught targeting groups who oppose you? Make abortion pills OTC for teenage girls. You lose an embassy due to incompetence and you get caught spinning the story badly? Seize a tragedy and bring up gun control. Your NSA and Justice Department get caught violating the crap out of everyone's rights and even the New York Times is hating on you for it? Talk about climate change.

    To be perfectly fair, if Obama had an "(R)" after his name, he'd bring up anti-abortion initiatives, immigration controls, and similar... The point is that there's a whole lot of political moves that are equivalent to a "Look over there!" maneuver, and it's getting pretty blatant. So before you go shouting "flamebait", stop and think about this for a minute. These initiatives and changes comes pretty hot on the heels of any scandal that threatens to wake up (and more frighteningly, enrage) the public en masse...

  • by iggymanz (596061) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @09:09PM (#44107941)

    fail: you missed the $1 frozen pizza specials and $1.50 hotdog packs and the $1.30 gallon of "orange drink"

  • by bondsbw (888959) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @09:23PM (#44108049)

    are you suggesting we move NEW YORK FUCKING CITY and every other city that happens to lie in the danger zone, rather than switch to cleaner energy?

    Are you suggesting that switching to cleaner energy would have prevented Hurricane Sandy?

  • by HiThere (15173) <charleshixsn&earthlink,net> on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @09:57PM (#44108241)

    The timing *does* seem a bit questionable, but unless publishing schedules have changed markedly he must have been planning to make this speech 6 months ago....though I doubt exactly what he was going to say in it was determined until quite recently.

    But the magazine article, in, I believe, the Scientific American, speculated that he was going to use this speech to render the KeystoneXL pipeline more acceptable to his supporters. That seems to have held up.

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