The Observer-Reporter’s June 2 editorial regarding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed carbon emission standards lacked several crucial facts that help to put this issue in perspective.
According to the Energy Information Administration, the independent data collection and analysis arm of the U.S. Department of Energy, carbon emissions from U.S. power plants constitute only 4 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, so even a 30 percent reduction in the U.S. would have minimal impact.
China and India, in comparison, represent a combined 20 percent of the global total. They and other developing countries are increasing their reliance on coal while the Obama administration proposes to eliminate coal from our energy portfolio.
Places that have already eschewed coal-generated electricity have paid a significant price. Germany’s average cost per kilowatt is more than double the price in the U.S. In California, where nearly none of the electricity is generated with coal, rates are 45 percent higher than the national average.
Removing coal from the U.S. energy mix is tantamount to unilateral economic disarmament, handing a competitive edge to China, India and the others.
It’s not about whether to reduce carbon emissions; it’s about how to do it, while preserving the tens of thousands of family-sustaining jobs that we all fear are migrating offshore. We do not need to choose between the economy and the environment; we can have both with a commonsense approach to our economic and environmental needs.
Pippy is the CEO of the Pennsylvania Coal Alliance.