Enviros Freak Over Trump’s EPA Climate Order, But The Earth Will Not Notice
Take a look at the Clean Power Plan — Obama’s most ambitious climate change effort. Despite the costs of this regulatory monstrosity, the Clean Power Plan would have no discernible impact in global carbon dioxide emissions over the next three decades.
That’s not the conclusion of climate change “deniers.” That’s what the Obama administration’s own Department of Energy said in a report issued in May 2016.
As part of its International Energy Outlook, the Energy Information Administration provided long-term forecasts of energy-related CO2 emissions, comparing global emissions with the Clean Power Plan, and without it.
What it shows is that with the Clean Power Plan, global carbon emissions would still climb 32% in 2012 and 2040, only slightly below what the increase will be without it. (See nearby chart.)
This growth in global emissions, by the way, comes despite continued improvements in decarbonizing economies in both the developed and developing world.
As we noted in this space recently, without any government mandates, energy-related CO2 emissions in the U.S. fell 12.4% from 2007 to 2015. Overall carbon intensity — a measure of how much CO2 it takes to produce a dollar of GDP — declined an average 1.5% a year since 2005.
These gains are due both to the fracking breakthrough, which unleashed massive supplies of lower-carbon natural gas, and the unending pressure the free market puts on businesses to be more efficient.
This same market-driven decarbonizing trend has been happening around the world.
Between 1990 and 2012, the carbon intensity of developed nations dropped by 33%, and by 25% in developing countries. By 2040, the carbon intensity of developed nations will be cut in half, the report projects, and will drop by almost 40% in developed countries, the Energy Department report shows.
Yet overall energy-related CO2 emissions will still climb by 51% in developing countries, and 8% among industrialized nations, from 2012 to 2040 — even with the Paris agreement.
Why? “Increases in output per capita coupled with population growth overwhelm improvements in energy intensity and carbon intensity,” the report explains.
In other words, barring some miracle scientific breakthrough, the only reliable way to cut global carbon emissions would be to depopulate the planet or kill economic growth.