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What's Really reducing Carbon Emissions in America? (Hint: It's Not Obama)

President Obama this week declared war on coal when he announced that he'll sidestep Congress and address the "manufactured" climate change crisis through regulatory fiat. He wants to establish himself as the eco-warrior to appease his left-wing environmental base.

His global warming crusade will cost the U.S. thousands of jobs and impose higher electricity bills across the land. All in the name of pandering to junk climate science.

Obama also sent the decision to build the Keystone Pipeline back to the State Department for yet another round of assessments. He ordered State Department not to approve the pipeline, which transmits Canadian Oil Sands to U.S. refineries, if it adds to net carbon emissions.

While the President is currently writing new rules that will make it harder for existing coal-fired power plants to operate, adding significant costs and effectively destroying tens of thousands of jobs in the coal sector and its supply chains, these plans are being sold as effective government action to address rising carbon emissions in the United States.

Unfortunately, for the President, he's too late. Carbon emissions produced by the U.S. today is at the same level we emitted in 1993. We've already won the climate change war.

What caused such a drastic reduction in carbon dioxide? There is another force doing more to reduce carbon emissions than the government ever could (unless the administration just completely shuts down the U.S. economy.)

And it is this force that the President should learn to embrace more often if he wants to really add to his presidential legacy.

The driving force? The Free Market.

Free Market Embraces Natural Gas, Lowers Emissions

Despite the President's goals to reduce carbon emissions internationally through "environmentally friendly" trade agreements and yet another International treaty that will do more harm than good to the U.S. economy, the administration should look to the real driver of climate adaptation: Cost effectiveness.

As we noted last week, when a new technology comes along that is cheaper, more efficient, and provides greater "bang for your buck," the market will migrate toward its use.

The same goes with sources of energy. The transition from coal to natural gas in the United States has been nothing short of staggering since the adoption of hydraulic fracturing has facilitated one of the greatest economic booms in the history of the United States.

Carbon dioxide emissions from energy sources declined by 12% between the years 2005 and 2012 and reached their lowest levels since 1992, according the Energy Information Administration.

The principle driver of this has been the transition from coal to natural gas as a primary source of electricity. In 2005, coal provided 50% of energy in the U.S. But, by the spring of 2012, that figure fell to 34%.

Natural gas prices have plummeted with the onset of fracking and it is much cleaner than coal. No surprise that this has drastically improved air quality across the country.

"There's a very clear lesson here. What it shows is that if you make a cleaner energy source cheaper, you will displace dirtier sources," Roger Pielke Jr., a climate expert at the University of Colorado, told the Associated Press.

Gosh. It's amazing how letting entrepreneurs find solutions to problems is so much more effective than top-down bureaucracy that takes years to come up with an unworkable decision. Obama has given the decision to approve an unexceptional pipeline the same media coverage that LeBron James received when he decided to play basketball in Miami.

But not only does the newer, cleaner source of energy create new jobs and fix our problems through the power of innovation, it also doesn't require the release of talking points to environmentalists in an effort to drown out the failures of government intervention in the free market.

Join the conversation. Click here to jump to comments…

  1. robert | June 28, 2013

    "Gosh". "Junk climate science"
    Political rant.
    Economics is not a science, and its practitcioners are not scientists.
    Economists should avoid trying to judge the work of real scientists considering climate change or anything else of a scientific nature.

    • Just offal | June 29, 2013

      Hey…Mr. PHD…

      By what mechanism did the earth emerge from the last Ice Age?

      Any guesses?

      Your comment reveals a sophmoric approach….your degress are NOT SHOWING!

    • Robert in Canada | June 29, 2013

      "Real" scientists are saying there was no global warming over the past 15 years and CO2 has virtually no impact on the climate.

      The fake scientists that robert refers to are politically movtivated hacks, such as the scammers who created the hockey stick chart 20 years ago showing global temperatures would be soaring by now and seas levels would have risen many feet by now.

      • Fred | July 2, 2013

        They are not so politically motivated, although politics plays into their hand. The three biggest fund raising institutions collect around 2 billion dollars a year, you think they will easily give up such enormous amounts of money? Like they say, "show must go on"

      • Fred | July 2, 2013

        BTW — the hockey stick chart is only one of their scams, also the prediction that icebergs will melt by year 2350, they switched the digits and made it 2035.
        Do you have the lecture by prominent scientist, where he ahows all the lies and scams the global warming bunch has played on unsuspecting public? If you email me with your Email, I will send it to you.
        PS: I am in Canada too

  2. william | June 28, 2013

    This man is just too stupid to understand or too arrogant to care. It's like arguing with a rock, only a rock is smarter.

    • Just offal | June 29, 2013

      " Itsh lyyke rguuen wiff a rokk onwee a rokk is schmarterrer"

      Are you kidding me?

      Deliver me from the pretend experts….
      Go find a high school foot ball team to cheer lead for.


  3. Barry Murray | June 29, 2013

    Forget the dirty Industrial Age. Look to a cure from carbon in the Information age by looking at squeaky green and clean nepheline syenite (used as swimming pool filtration) used in hydrofracking.

    • Fred | July 2, 2013

      The syenite may be squeeky clean, but the product of fracking isn't. Is it affordable tho, to be accepted in fracking industry?
      Oil is as dirty as ever, no made where it came from, and natural gas is 50% cleaner, which is improvement, but not squeeky clean.

  4. Andy Rothauser | June 29, 2013

    We've already won the climate thing. That's why the poles are melting. Or is that also B.S. from the Science Establishment?

    • Fred | July 2, 2013

      Andy — they always did, and always will, and then they will freeze again. Just check on paleo-climatology, they have long term charts, through millenia, which show what's happening now always did before, and it will again.

  5. Wes | July 4, 2013

    What the hell does it matter if jobs are lost if our earth's ozone layer can no longer protect us from the sun's searing heat, ocean levels rise and cities sink, floods, fires, hurricanes and tornados destroy our homes, and our atmosphere becomes too dirty to breathe? This writer is just like all the other sick, money hungry SOB's that don't give a care about this planet. They just want all they can get while they live and damn everybody else. What about future generations? What kind of planet will they inherit from us? Will they be able to replace the ozone layer? I think not. We all should be concerned about our planet. We all should get involved in cleaning it up and preserving it for our posterity. If it means me losing my job to save our planet, so be it. I'll just consume less.

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