The ferocity of the opposition to the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan might be amusing were it not so reckless and deceptive.
President Barack Obama’s signature regulation on climate may or may not be a major step forward in the effort to combat global warming — a lot of environmentalists are bemoaning its lack of ambition — but it is decidedly not a jobs killer, and it won’t raise your utility bills.
We wrote more than a year ago that the Environmental Protection Agency’s draft rules to cut carbon emissions from existing power plants were modest in their aims and their economic impact.
That remains true today.
The final rules released Monday would cut emissions 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 — slightly tougher than the 30 percent originally proposed, yet well within range of current trends. Here in Michigan, utilities are on track to meet those standards.
Indeed, the most significant changes in the final draft give states even more flexibility in pursuing the reduction targets. For example, the final plan gives states more time to submit implementation plans and more time and leeway in achieving compliance.
The final plan also expands opportunity for interstate cooperation, allowing states to craft plans that allow power plants to trade allowances or credits without out-of-state power plants.
And it provides incentives to efforts to develop renewal energy and energy efficiency programs in the form of matching funds or emission rate credits.
While GOP presidential candidates have pounced on the plan — Jeb Bush predicted it would “hollow out our industrial core” — corporate America has largely embraced the new rules.
General Mills, for example, was one of 365 businesses and investors to sign letters to more than two dozen governors, including Gov. Rick Snyder, in support of the plan.
The reason for that support is simple: Climate change is a dire threat not just to the planet, but the global economy. It demands action.
Of course, opponents in industry, the states and Congress have been aligning forces to undermine the plan — it took less than a day for coal interests to mount the first legal challenges. Meanwhile, Republican presidential candidates are stoking fears about the plan’s impact on jobs and home utility costs.
Simply put, those fears are unfounded.
Indeed, the new rules are more likely to lead to job creation as industries shift to adopt cleaner technologies and develop renewable energy sources. And increased energy efficiencies are likely to reduce home energy costs over the next decade.
Although less aggressive than many environmentalists would prefer, the Clean Power Plan’s benefits outweigh its shortcomings: It will improve public health by reducing soot emissions, it will boost renewable energy production, and it will provide the United States leverage in convincing other nations to reduce their carbon emissions.
It’s a sound regulatory framework. We encourage Gov. Snyder and other leaders to give the plan their full support.