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« Big oil and the ECIU | Main | Wind turbines: worse than we thought »

A dampish squib

So President Obama has a new climate plan out and his fans in the BBC are getting very excited about it. The main thing seems to be a requirement for states to formulate climate plans, but not for a while. There is an even longer delay before they have to implement them.

Here are my impressions:

  • The main objective is to make climate change an wedge issue in the next round of elections.
  • The delays will make them more acceptable to the states.
  • The plan will make only a tiny fraction of a degree of a difference to global temperatures at the end of the century.
  • The US is halfway to the new target already on the back of the shale gas revolution.
  • The new rules are put in place by executive order and can therefore be removed just as easily.

I'm not sure this amounts to a particularly large hill of beans.

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Reader Comments (59)

Did anyone else notice the lack of fawning adoration in the BBC's report during last night's News at Ten? The man from the mining industry was given equal time, it seemed, and the whole tone was surprisingly critical. Either that or my senses have been screwed up by too many hours in my combine harvester...

Aug 4, 2015 at 10:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie Flindt

The thing about Obamah at the moment is that "talking head effect"..... he manages to subtly mispronounce important words and the emphasis in sentences is wonky = a man who doesn't know what he's talking about and he's reading a teleprompter or somesuch. You don't need any knowledge of the subject to catch this ...

It's the folk working his lips that we should pay attention to - they are the enemy. It might be hollow rhetoric but the stateside blobbies are bending their pols with lobbying and money - we could do worse than map out who they are and what their motivation is....

Aug 4, 2015 at 10:12 AM | Registered Commentertomo

This was discussed in the papers review at about 23:40 - and one of the journo's mentioned the problems Obama would have getting this past the "sceptics, or deniers, or what were supposed to call them now"

Aug 4, 2015 at 10:29 AM | Registered Commentersteve ta

I've heard only fawning adoration from BBC radio, they simply don't ask the obvious questions, how much will this cost, is it technically feasible, and does it make sense to industrialise the countryside for a negligible change to the atmosphere.

Aug 4, 2015 at 10:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterMikky

Apart from mentioning that the talking head had me shouting not nice things at the telly last night, did anyone else see the plug on BBC Breakfast for the C4 programme tonight (at 2100) about the search for the Victorian seekers for the northwest passage?

It was interesting to hear (on the BBC, no less!) that the summer ice extent is the highest in recent years; also, and perhaps even more interesting, was that the ice extent in Victorian times was sufficiently low that it was thought that passage through it was possible.

Perhaps I should also question this assertion: “The plan will make only a tiny fraction of a degree of a difference to global temperatures at the end of the century.” What evidence is there that it will make any difference?

Aug 4, 2015 at 10:37 AM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

When their energy costs do eventually "skyrocket", then we'll see some real fireworks me thinks, unfortunately!

Aug 4, 2015 at 10:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

As to Obama's "We have a moral obligation to leave our children a planet that’s not polluted or damaged."?
I contend "Actually, no, we don't". I am personally quite grateful for the historical legacy inherited from the industrial revolution. It was a price worth paying. Most of us wouldn't even be alive if it hadn't happened. Thank goodness the Guardian, Obama, and the BBC weren't around to tell James Watt to 'leave that coal in the ground'.

But at least somebody at the BBC has the ability to see a different perspective:

The slag hills at Loos-en-Gohelle are now recognised as a world heritage site by Unesco

Taken from "Chateau slag
Growing wine on the heaps of a long-dead coal mine"

Aug 4, 2015 at 10:40 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart


I did read somewhere today the comment "that it was remarkable how they had synchronised his rear trouser microphone with his lips"

Aug 4, 2015 at 10:43 AM | Unregistered Commenterssat

Aug 4, 2015 at 10:43 ssat

Now that is very funny.

◾The new rules are put in place by executive order and can therefore be removed just as easily

Bish, they will only be removed if the next Pres is republican. I don't see that happening.

Aug 4, 2015 at 10:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

If this insane plan ever does become reality, can you imagine the anger of the many large corporations who have moved to (or are in the process of) the US to take advantge of the much lower energy costs? They will be faced with doing it all over again...

Aug 4, 2015 at 10:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterDave Ward

Given the time it takes to refurbish a power plant, 2022 is closer than you think.

Aug 4, 2015 at 10:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

This had a curious reception on the US stock markets. Some energy firms moved but generally it had no great impact.

So why? Here are my ideas:
A) The markets don't believe it will happen.
B) The markets have already factored this in.
C) The markets don't believe it will impact on energy prices.

My guess is mainly A with a touch of B and a lot of little players fooled by C.

Aug 4, 2015 at 11:20 AM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

It's dead in the water.

Aug 4, 2015 at 11:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrute

There has been a Major Obama Announcement on Climate Change every single year since 2009.

Every time, the BBC and assorted greenie propagandists describe it as a game changer that will save the world from total annihilation. Then another year passes by.

Aug 4, 2015 at 11:30 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

A good comment on one of Willis's pieces regarding ruinables and hydro:

In California, they admitted that hydropower was excluded because it would make it too easy to meet the renewable goals
Someone else came up with a source.

So it seems that Obama/EPA are doing what my brother used to do on piece-work in the bad old days of Coventry Car Unions: put a few pieces aside during the week and then bring 'em out on Friday so you could knock off early. IE: he's saving his CO2 savings for a big reveal at some propitious time in the future. I wonder if that will be when Obama takes over as Gen Sec at the UN when he leaves office? (Am I dreaming?)

Aug 4, 2015 at 11:33 AM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

I've heard only fawning adoration from BBC radio, they simply don't ask the obvious questions, how much will this cost, is it technically feasible, and does it make sense to industrialise the countryside for a negligible change to the atmosphere.
Aug 4, 2015 at 10:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterMikky

Not forgetting a very important question: What happens if they are wrong? (Limits to Growth, anyone?)

Aug 4, 2015 at 11:39 AM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

Your first point is "the" only point that need be made. The US Democrat Party is a very loose coalition of interest groups.

Each group has one or two barking mad, baying at the moon issues that animate their corner of their half-hectare. They're joined at the hip by the West's version of Social Totalitarianism to impose their solution(s).

Actually, the 2016 elections have kicked off with virtually all the propaganda narratives undergoing a makeover meaning every "wedge" issue that ever worked during the last ten election cycles will be replayed. For the Democrats, they simply build "straw-persons" (can't say "men" now can you?) or, increasingly, simply outright lies. In unpopular topics, they're changing reality back to their narratives.

To keep the Green loons on board for Vote 2016, it was clear the EPA is about to get their regulatory scheme bounced in court (a feat that is hard to do in the US given the judges that have been appointed). For those not following the EPA trail, a recent set of emails proves collusion with Green groups in writing the regs. All illegal.

There is a risk. There are over 25 States that have joined in opposing various parts of the Democrats implementations via regs, etc. Some have counted up to 30 States that are falling in line to oppose the energy madness. In the past, the USA experienced "Great Awakenings". However, in a secularized nation, an Article V Convention seems to be the path or a revival of the Secession Acts. The fork in the road seems to have three prongs:
1. stagger along into totalitarianism along the pathway being blazed by Brussels but with a Dictator
2. Article V rewrite of the Constitution
3. Secession
My guess would be 1. will prevail

Aug 4, 2015 at 11:47 AM | Unregistered Commentercedarhill

One of the things I've learned during my years of Obama watching, albeit from the Canadian side of the great divide, is that consistency is not his greatest strength. In fact, it may well be one of his weakest points.

By way of example, consider that the June 25 article to which His Grace had pointed us, was all about a purported "climate action plan". But by the time this "plan" (or at least the outline thereof) had morphed into its most recent known public incarnation on August 3, it had acquired somewhat more grandiose verbiage:

The Clean Power Plan is a Landmark Action to Protect Public Health, Reduce Energy Bills for Households and Businesses, Create American Jobs, and Bring Clean Power to Communities across the Country

Today at the White House, President Obama and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy will release the final Clean Power Plan, a historic step in the Obama Administration’s fight against climate change.

Interestingly, in the 2,647 words (including the above) "climate" gets 12 mentions (including 8 "climate change") Another interesting collection of mention-counts:

carbon gets a total of 24 mentions including:

carbon dioxide: 2

carbon emissions: 2

carbon pollution: 12

Clean Power gets a total of 30 mentions (of which 29 are "Clean Power Plan")

Well, I think you get the picture and FWIW, view from here (and at WUWT and Judith Curry's where it is being discussed) is that it's far from impressive, which does make it somewhat in keeping with Obama's performances on far too many fronts;-)

Aug 4, 2015 at 12:14 PM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

Perhaps I should also question this assertion: “The plan will make only a tiny fraction of a degree of a difference to global temperatures at the end of the century.” What evidence is there that it will make any difference?

Radical Rodent

That point leapt out at me, too. I Completely agree, there's no evidence it would have any measurable effect at all. The whole thing has become too ridiculous for words.

Aug 4, 2015 at 12:28 PM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

tomo: "It's the folk working his lips that we should pay attention to - they are the enemy"

Exactly. Obama is the current face on the tin, but the instructions were written decades ago. The EPA is the vehicle that has been used to push for global policies via the UN since the time of the first EPA Administrator under Richard Nixon, Bill Ruckelshaus. Ruckelshaus was a member of the 1987 Brundtland Commission, along with Maurice Strong and Pachauri side-kick Nitin Desai, which led to Agenda 21.

The UN was created in 1945, the first Earth Summit, organised by Maurice Strong, was in 1972. Carbon taxation was first proposed in 1992 at the Earth Summit Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with Maurice Strong as Secretary-General and has been a goal of the UN ever since.

At that Summit, AGW advocate, the late Stephen Schneider argued for a global carbon tax when he met with Maurice Strong and then Senators Tim Wirth and Al Gore. The Kyoto Accord was first agreed in 1997, but was not ratified until 2005. It was supposed to have produced a successor at Copenhagen in 2009, but failed, although they produced the Copenhagen Accord, which morphed into the Cancun Accord and a proposed global climate fund of $100 billion per year by 2020. Again, they are seeking global CO2 emission taxation in Paris in December.

One of the main drivers of CO2 controls in the US has been former Clinton EPA head Carol Browner, she had formerly worked for Al Gore, before he became VP. She became director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy in the Obama administration in December, 2008, a post she left in 2010. She was previously a vice-president of Socialist International, a member of their Commission for a Sustainable World Society, a member of the Board of Directors of Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection and a member of the Board of Directors of John Podesta’s Center for American Progress.

Podesta was Chief of Staff to Bill Clinton from October 1998 until January 2001 and was co-chairman of the Obama-Biden transition team. That team contained 31 members who had previously worked in the Clinton Administration. Continuity is the name of the game and it will be the same again if Mrs Clinton becomes President, as Podesta is now running Hillary's presidential bid.

Since leaving the government Browner is once again a Senior Fellow at Podesta's CAP, of which Joe Romm's Climate Progress is an offshoot. CAP is funded by billionaire donors such as George Soros, the Sandler Foundation and various corporates such as Walmart.

Browner handed over the reins to Lisa Jackson who actually delivered the Endangerment Finding, long in the making, which gave the EPA legal backing to control CO2 emissions. In 2009 she spoke at a youth activist gathering called "Power Shift"

She told the ecstatic crowd that “Our first steps on taking office were to resume the CO2 endangerment finding and to seek fuel efficiency standards to reduce carbon pollution. The Law says Greenhouse Gases are pollution.”

Lisa Jackson always seemed happier speaking to the UN than she did to Congress. She was a key speaker in the Twelfth Session of the “Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum” (GMGSF) which was held from 19-20 February 2011 prior to the 26th Session of the UNEP Governing Council/ Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GC26/GMEF) which took place from 21-24 February 2011, in Nairobi, Kenya. At that forum she signed a Memorandum of Understanding on behalf of the US with UNEP, part of which included a commitment to transitioning to a green economy,

Obama is the talking head. More background on all this here:

Aug 4, 2015 at 12:28 PM | Unregistered Commenterdennisa

Radical Rodent, North West Passage.

What evidence convinced Victorian investors and adventureres to believe there was a North West Passage?

I do not know the answer, but suspect it must have been travelled before.

HMS Investigator got stuck in the ice in 1853? 5?, and was refound in exactly the place it got stuck, when arctic ice had "retreated further than ever before"

Aug 4, 2015 at 12:31 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Dennisa: Great piece of work. Thanks.

Aug 4, 2015 at 12:34 PM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

Notably our own elections had no mention of climate change unless someone interviewed a green. It just isn't an election issue.

Aug 4, 2015 at 12:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Climate change due to man-made emissions...

'Its not opinion; its a fact..'

Oh, REALLY, Mr President - well I suggest you go away and look at the ACTUAL facts....

Aug 4, 2015 at 12:41 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

This was announced on National Watermelon. I'm trying to decide between calling this the Watermelon Manifesto or the Watermelon Putsch, Green outside, Red inside

Aug 4, 2015 at 12:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterTmitsss

The 2015 UK General Election was not fought on Climate Change. Some kind of Rogues Agreement was reached.

Obama has thrown down the gauntlet for the next US election. I am hoping that his legacy to the world, will be terminating the Green Disease, by exposing it to economic reality, and public scrutiny.

Aug 4, 2015 at 12:51 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Stephen Richards,

Don't be so pessimistic. Some of the Republican hopefuls are extremely good, West, Fiorena (so??), Scott etc. Hell even Trump looks more attractive than Obama mainly because unlike Obama we know Trunp has actually been a success in the Real World (tm).

Compare that to Biden and Clinton and the legacy of failure from Barry and you can see the Dems should be worried, even if their fawning media is trying to paint a different picture of each candidates strengths and failures.


Aug 4, 2015 at 12:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

Nobody thought the conservatives would win in the UK but they did because there is an undercurrent of people who are pi55ed off with green garbage, handouts to losers and the BS BBC. I imagine there is a strong undercurrent in the USA for much the same reason. Clinton may well get her come uppance.

Aug 4, 2015 at 1:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterIvor Ward

Clearly Carol Browner didn't directly hand over to Jackson as EPA administrator, there were three in between, but Jackson picked up the Browner mantle and they were together for a while in the Obama administration.

At the 2009 Power Shift rally, Jackson said that she would seek to overturn the Bush administration “midnight regulations”. The most critical of these to the environmental lobby was the memorandum by outgoing EPA chief Stephen Johnson, which stated that carbon dioxide was not a pollutant to be regulated and officials assessing applications by utilities to build new coal-fired power plants could not consider their greenhouse gas output when approving power plants.

What a dramatic change wrought by Jackson and being continued by Gina McCarthy. She is now a senior VP at Apple, where Al Gore is on the board.

Aug 4, 2015 at 2:11 PM | Registered Commenterdennisa

Delays are inevitable for any policy in the US unlike the UK because the system has an incredible number of blocking points at multiple levels. It is a wonder that anything gets done.

Aug 4, 2015 at 2:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterEli Rabett

Given that the global temperature anomaly since 1900 has increased a fraction of a degree one country decreasing the change by a fraction of a degree is not such a small thing.

Aug 4, 2015 at 2:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterEli Rabett

How many times have companies Trump owned filed for bankruptcy leaving others holding the bag. Donald Trump, Greece in a hairpiece.

Aug 4, 2015 at 2:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterEli Rabett

This is partly the ongoing oil industry war on coal. The coal aspect was emphasised in the article I read.

Aug 4, 2015 at 2:38 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Eli Rabett

Given that the global temperature anomaly since 1900 has increased a fraction of a degree one country decreasing the change by a fraction of a degree is not such a small thing.

It's a moot point how many angels dancing on the head of pin is a small thing or not.

The pertinent point being that they are all so small that we couldn't even notice it - we couldn't even detect this trend in the weather - without the world's largest and most sophisticated monitoring systems spread around the entire globe.

Such bluster over so little.

Aug 4, 2015 at 2:43 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

Translation from Wabbit language:

1. Obama has failed as a President, almost totally unable to get Congress on his side on anything

2. Rabbits don't get orders of magnitude.

3. Trump baa a a a a a adddd!

Aug 4, 2015 at 2:46 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

10:43 AM ssat

umm... guilty ;-/

Some years ago at a presentation one of my colleagues asked the speaker "perhaps speak a bit louder because I can't hear you through your trousers" - the sea of grins that ensued was brilliant.

Aug 4, 2015 at 2:57 PM | Registered Commentertomo


Nixon gave us Watergate and peace with China and Reagan gave us Yuppies and ended the Cold War

Allowing Iran to continue with its Nuclear Program creating a new Nuclear Arms race in the Middle East between Iran ,Saudi Arabia and Israel along with Gay Marriage the continued onslaught of ISIS and increased Racial Tension in the U S .The Paris Conference collapses completing the Failed Obama Legacy.

Aug 4, 2015 at 2:58 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

Eli, I doubt that Trump generates much favourable emotion in the UK, but if Obama is forming a defensive circle with climate alarmists bandwagons, I hope he does it somewhere remote, to minimise collateral damage.

Lack of power, in politics, is not a recipe for success.

Aug 4, 2015 at 3:01 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Eli, how many billions of US taxpayer funds has Obama wasted already on failed Green enterprises, policies and schemes?

What proof do you have to offer Obama that any of his policies have had any demonstrable result on the climate, good or bad?

America has always led the world in mudslinging politics. In this instance, I look forward to it.

Aug 4, 2015 at 3:30 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Here's a transcript of yesterday's BBC1 News at 10, with David Shukman's report, also the newspaper review (referenced above by steve ta):

Aug 4, 2015 at 4:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

Tom Burke always gets trotted out by the Beeb, because he is such an expert:

13 February 2006 - Global warming: passing the 'tipping point'
Our special investigation reveals that critical rise in world temperatures is now unavoidable
By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor

"The tipping point warned about last week by the Government is already behind us".

"The passing of this threshold is of the most enormous significance," said Tom Burke, a former government adviser on the green issues, now visiting professor at Imperial College London. "It means we have actually entered a new era - the era of dangerous climate change. We have passed the point where we can be confident of staying below the 2 degree rise set as the threshold for danger. What this tells us is that we have already reached the point where our children can no longer count on a safe climate."

Burke is part-time Environmental Policy Adviser to BP and Rio Tinto plc. He was Special Adviser to three Secretaries of State for the Environment from 1991-97, (including Gummer), was Director of the Green Alliance from 1982-1991. Formerly Executive Director of Friends of the Earth and much more. Career environmentalist.

Aug 4, 2015 at 5:29 PM | Registered Commenterdennisa


Burke is part-time Environmental Policy Adviser to BP and Rio Tinto plc. He was Special Adviser to three Secretaries of State for the Environment from 1991-97, (including Gummer), was Director of the Green Alliance from 1982-1991. Formerly Executive Director of Friends of the Earth and much more. Career environmentalist (Failed).
Just passed that phrase throught the truthchecker for you Dennis....

Aug 4, 2015 at 9:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

Obama is methodical and plays the long game.

Back in 2009 Eli pointed out that Obama was perfectly happy to do health care by legislation and climate change by regulation That was the entire purpose of the EPA ruling that CO2 is a pollutant that endangers health and welfare. EPA drafted regulations to limit the damage and THAT would either force a vote in Congress on greenhouse gas legislation with the fallback in case Congress does not pass legislation no longer nothing, but EPA regulation which should have concentrated everyone’s mind. EPA threw some pretty tasty draft regulations out there to turn the screws even tighter. Congress still has the choice to get out in front of the steamroller but it don't look good for them. Ethon is gonna look for some flattened liver treats in the middle of the road.

Since the Supreme Court has already ruled that CO2 is subject to regulation by the Clean Air Act and that if it endangers public health it must be regulated any law suits are haggling on the edges.

Aug 4, 2015 at 9:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterEli Rabett

Eli, so Obama dictated that CO2 should be designated a pollutant???

Corruption of the American political and legal system confirmed. Doesn't say a great deal for US Presidential biochemistry.

Suddenly Trump does seem competent, at least he does not pretend.

Aug 4, 2015 at 10:27 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Any change that the plan does make will not be measurable, and will not be provable. For all intents and purposes, nothing will be achieved.

Aug 4, 2015 at 10:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterGreg Cavanagh

In fact, I would encourage you to avoid statements like "The plan will make only a tiny fraction of a degree of a difference"

The influence on temperature is theoretical only, and in an open atmosphere driven by a water world, the difference may not be real and certainly not measurable even if it is real.

"The plan may make...."
"The estimated difference is 0.01 of a degree".

Aug 4, 2015 at 10:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterGreg Cavanagh

More transcripts:

Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan speech, in full:

Senator Mitch McConnell's reaction to the new regulations:

Aug 4, 2015 at 11:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

The UN wants a "carbon" tax so it does not have to rely on funding by its member states. It would then be and independent body and could pursue its agenda to become a world governing body using the same strategy as FIFA Ge voted in by the many small/low population countries that pay little and can be bought with peanuts.

Aug 4, 2015 at 11:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpectator

Many countries, especially China, will be so pleased that the US President is intent on ending US domination of trade, industry, finance and politics around the World.

World War One did it for Great Britain.

World War on CO2 will do it for the USA

For all the lives destroyed, not a single one has been saved.

Aug 4, 2015 at 11:44 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

GC: so Obama dictated that CO2 should be designated a pollutant???

No, that was the US Supreme Court in a case brought by 12 states, with Massachusetts in the lead. BTW Mitt Romney who was governor of MA at the time the case was brought supported it.

Aug 4, 2015 at 11:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterEli Rabett

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