Search high and low on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s website, including the boastful “By the Numbers” document tallying all the alleged benefits of new regulations designed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and you will not find any reference to the amount by which temperatures actually would be reduced as a result of the plan.
Indeed, amid all of the hoopla surrounding these new regulations and the claims that they are necessary to save us from the coming climate change disasters, one would be hard-pressed to find any reference in the news coverage about the impact of these regulations on the climate.
There is a reason for this. The amount would be so tiny, so close to zero, that it is not worth mentioning. Indeed, for advocates of these new regulations, to mention it is to acknowledge that the policy is, in terms of climate change, meaningless.
This is in spite of the fact that the stated purpose of following through on these drastic cuts in carbon dioxide emissions (not carbon emissions as they are misleadingly labeled) is to alter the climate relative to its current trajectory.
As a reminder, the EPA’s regulations would limit carbon dioxide emissions from electricity production to a level in the year 2030 that’s 30 percent below 2005 levels.
In a recent blog post, climatologists Patrick Michaels and Paul Knappenberger decided to do the calculations themselves. According to the post, the two used “a simple, publicly available, climate model emulator called MAGICC that was in part developed through support of the EPA.”
And here’s what they discovered. (Drum roll, please.) Global temperatures will be 18/1000ths of 1 degree Celsius cooler by the year 2100 than they would be otherwise, without the policy. As the two climate scientists note, “We’re not even sure how to put such a small number into practical terms, because, basically, the number is so small as to be undetectable. Which, no doubt, is why it’s not included in the EPA Fact Sheet.”
My observation is that actual climate mitigation has nothing to do with why this administration is imposing these new regulations, just like improving health outcomes or insuring the uninsured, or reducing health care costs had nothing to do with the Affordable Care Act.
In both cases, the ultimate goal is to put under government control industries — energy and health care — that are essential to the U.S. economy and essential to our freedom. If the government can control these two industries, it can control every aspect of our lives.
Dr. Roy Cordato (@RoyCordato) is vice president for research and resident scholar at the John Locke Foundation. This column is an excerpt from The Carolina Journal.