Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

EPA proposes 30% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions

The Wall Street Journal reports.

Excerpt:

The Environmental Protection Agency will propose a draft rule on Monday seeking a 30% reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions by 2030 from existing power plants based on emission levels from 2005, according to two people who have been briefed on the rule, setting in motion the main piece of President Barack Obama’s climate-change agenda.

The rule, scheduled to be completed one year from now, will give flexibility to the states, which must implement the rules and submit compliance plans to EPA by June 2016. States can decide how to meet the reductions, including joining or creating new cap-and-trade programs, deploying more renewable energy or ramping up energy-efficiency technologies.

Each state will have different percent reduction standards, and the national average will be 25% by 2020 and 30% by 2030, these people said.

The proposed rule will regulate carbon emissions from hundreds of fossil-fuel power plants across the U.S., including about 600 coal plants, which will be hit hardest by the standard.

“EPA will release its proposed carbon pollution reduction rule on Monday,” EPA spokesman Tom Reynolds said. “Until then the agency will not comment on any information that may or may not be in the proposal.”

So let’s work out what follows next. If emissions are cut, then production will be reduced. It’s a law of economics that when supply goes down, and demand stays the same, then prices will rise. Either that or the power plants will have to become more efficient, which also costs more money. Are you ready for higher electricity prices?

Update: Republicans say EPA regulation will up to 800, 000 jobs.

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Just the thing to fix our 0.1% GDP growth: a massive hike to electricity prices

From the leftist Poitico.

Excerpt:

The EPA will launch the most dramatic anti-pollution regulation in a generation early next month, a sweeping crackdown on carbon that offers President Barack Obama his last real shot at a legacy on climate change — while causing significant political peril for red-state Democrats.

The move could produce a dramatic makeover of the power industry, shifting it away from coal-burning plants toward natural gas, solar and wind. While this is the big move environmentalists have been yearning for, it also has major political implications in November for a president already under fire for what the GOP is branding a job-killing “War on Coal,” and promises to be an election issue in energy-producing states such as West Virginia, Kentucky and Louisiana.

[...]But for coal country, the rule is yet another indignity for an industry already facing a wave of power plant shutdowns amid hostile market forces and a series of separate EPA air regulations. Coal-state Democrats like West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin have joined the criticism, echoing industry warnings that the fossil fuel was crucial to keeping the lights on in much of the U.S. during this past brutal winter.

“You have another polar vortex next year, how many people will lose their lives?” Manchin asked at a POLITICO energy policy forum Tuesday.

[...]It’s not just the coal industry that’s losing sleep over the rule. Manufacturers and industries like oil refining have been eyeing the power plant regulations as the starting gun for a process that will eventually lead to greenhouse gas limits for a wide variety of businesses.

“These regulations could reduce the diversity of our energy supply, increase electricity and compliance costs for American businesses and shrink our competitiveness,” said Ross Eisenberg, vice president for energy and resources policy at the National Association of Manufacturers. “We can’t sit by silently while that happens.”

The EPA’s rule proposal is supposed to go live on June 2nd. Plenty of time for people in red and purple states to decide whether they prefer gay marriage to low electricity bills. I would say that the chances of the Republicans taking the Senate now is up near 75%.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , ,

American Spectator praises Australia’s bold new conservative leader

Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia

Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia

Well, I think we can get some encouragement from this article from the American Spectator.

Let’s take a look at his policies and appointments:

On economic policy, his government has moved in the opposite direction of those who favor Dodd-Frank-like behemoth approaches to the financial industry. Instead it’s opted to simplify regulation. As the minister responsible for the reform bluntly pointed out, “no amount of legislation will ever be a guarantee against another Storm Financial.” Indeed it’s often excessive regulation that creates opportunities for financial shenanigans by industry insiders.

Regarding the welfare state, Abbott’s minister for Social Security, Kevin Andrews (another conservative politician-thinker), has announced a major overhaul of a welfare system that was starting to drift in a distinctly European-direction. Predictably the left are up in arms. But so too are those rent-seeking Australian businesses who now find themselves dealing with a government uninterested in subsidizing them. That’s nothing, however, to the fury that greeted Abbott’s disbanding of the climate-change bureaucracy established by the preceding Labor government.

[...]The first sign of Abbott’s seriousness about obstructing the left’s long march through the institutions was his government’s appointment of the policy-director of the center-right Institute of Public Affairs to the nation’s Human Rights Commission. This was widely seen as the beginning of an effort to re-balance an organization long criticized as monolithically left-wing. Since then Abbott has indicated that major changes are coming to the ABC: Australia’s government-funded institutional — and ideological — equivalent of the BBC.

[...]Along the same lines, Abbott’s education minister, Christopher Pyne, has initiated a review of the national curriculum implemented by the previous government. A moment’s glance at the curriculum’s treatment of history soon illustrates the extent to which it seeks to downplay Australia’s indisputably Western heritage. In the words of Sydney’s Cardinal George Pell, “Europe, Britain and the United States are mentioned 76 times, while Asia is referred to on more than 200 occasions.” This disparity is odd because although Australia is certainly in Asia, no objective observer could say that Australia is “of” Asia. Moreover, while Australian students learn about “Gaia” and other deep-green fantasies in grade 9, many Australian universities find they need to put the same students through remedial English classes once they begin college.

Then there are Abbott’s initial steps on the international stage. Take, for instance, his recent remarks at Davos. Much of the address was devoted to pushing a strong free trade agenda and insisting that governments should let business do what it does best: promote lasting economic growth. “After all,” Abbott said, “government doesn’t create wealth; people do, when they run profitable businesses.”

In the same speech, however, Abbott made the conservative point that economic prosperity and freedom can’t be sustained in a value-neutral world. Nor did Abbott shy away from relentlessly pressing one of the most important moral arguments for free trade articulated long ago by Adam Smith: that economic freedom, combined with the right institutions, radically reduces poverty faster than any other approach. “No country,” Abbott added, “has ever taxed or subsidized its way to prosperity.”

All in all, the address added up to a solid integration of sound economics with conservative principles. That’s what makes Abbott different from, say, Canada’s Stephen Harper or Spain’s Mariano Rajoy. Abbott happily engages in the indispensable task of moral suasion in favor of conservative positions. What’s more, he’s quite good at it. With his rare combination of plain-speaking and intellectual substance, Abbott makes conservative ideas sound, well, reasonable to the average voter.

Now, I personally thought that prime minister Stephen Harper of Canada was the best leader of any nation out there, but I had not been following Australian politics as much as I should be, and now I think I’ll give the crown to Abbott. He seems to have a good fusionist view that integrates economic policy and social policy, and that makes him better than Harper, in my view. I would like to see Abbott flex his muscles on foreign policy, as well. Something to look forward to.

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Conservative Christian Tony Abbott wins majority in Australia

Tony Abbott, future Prime Minister of Australia

Tony Abbott, future Prime Minister of Australia

Timothy Stanley of the UK Telegraph reports that Australia has elected a Stephen Harper of their own.

Excerpt:

Tony Abbott has won the Australian election – a blow not only to the Australian Labor Party but to Left-wingers everywhere who presumed that he was too “Neanderthal” to win. Well, us Neanderthals will be having a barbie tonight and sculling some beers to celebrate. “Good on yer, mate!”

Abbott won for two reasons. First, the Australian Labor Party is going through a long-term identity crisis. The ALP was once the party of the working man (and Sheila) but in recent years it’s succumbed to the worst aspects of factional politics, becoming a magnet for liberal pressure groups desperate for their slice of the taxpayers’ pie. The party contained plenty of factions in the past but it always managed to steer a sensible middle course between them – so while it was the ALP in the 1970s that established Australia as an outward-looking, Pacific power it was also the ALP in the 1980s that recognised the need for economic reform and rejected protectionism. It’s the party of both Gough Whitlam and Les Patterson.

However, in recent years the Left gained an ascendance over the Right that undid that delicate balance. Under Gillard and Rudd, the ALP “bought” off Australia’s metropolitan elites by embracing issues like gay marriage and the green agenda – the latter threatening the livelihoods of ordinary Australians trying to drill, mine and log their way through the global recession. It invested in silly, expensive projects that turned into giveaways to client companies and unions. And it displayed all of its internal bickering in public, reducing national politics to student union shenanigans. The ALP is now severed from the base that it once represented so well, leaving the ordinary blokes and blokesses looking around for something new.

[...]On the quiet, Abbott has picked up some of the politics that the ALP abandoned. He is said to be a devotee of BA Santamaria, the Catholic thinker who tried to build a Christian Democratic movement that combined social justice and social conservatism. Abbott’s conservatism is plain to see: he rejects doctrinaire environmentalism and favours a far freer and competitive market than the ALP’s clients would ever tolerate. But he also has Santamaria’s concern for social justice: Abbott wants to introduce a scheme that would pay for parental leave to encourage mothers and fathers not only to spend more time with their children but to have more of them, too. Dig beneath that hard man image and you’ll find a politician who is considerably softer and complex. Whereas some Western conservatives seem to be entirely motivated by the desire to win (Romney, Cameron), Abbott has a philosophy and – almost unique in our materialist age – a theology.

This puts him in the George W Bush, Stephen Harper compassionate conservative tradition – the tradition that tends to attract the most votes. For while British Tories might look at Abbott’s politics and language and sneer, they would do well to remember this important distinction. Tony Abbott wins elections; David Cameron has yet to do even that.

Congratulations, Conservative Coalition!

My previous post on Tony Abbott is here, if you want to know more about his policies.

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Conservative coalition leader Tony Abbott leads by 6 points in latest Australia election poll

Tony Abbott, future Prime Minister of Australia

Tony Abbott, future Prime Minister of Australia

First the latest Nielsen poll results from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

Excerpt:

Latest opinion polls show a further drop in support for Labor two weeks out from an election, with one indicating the Prime Minister may struggle to hold his own seat.

The Nielsen poll, published on Fairfax websites, shows Labor’s primary vote has fallen two points to 35 per cent.

After preferences, that gives the Coalition a six-point lead – 53 per cent to 47 per cent.

If the results were replicated evenly across the country on election day, Labor would lose 10 seats.

The poll of 2,500 respondents has a margin of error of 2.6 per cent.

Meanwhile, a Newspoll published in The Australian newspaper, shows Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is behind the Coalition candidate, Bill Glasson, in his Brisbane seat of Griffith.

The poll of 500 voters shows Mr Rudd trails his opponent 52 per cent to 48 per cent on a two-party preferred basis. The margin of error is 4.4 per cent.

Another Newspoll of almost 1,400 voters in the Coalition’s eight most marginal seats in Queensland shows the Coalition’s primary vote has surged eight points to 54 per cent, while the ALP’s primary vote has slipped to 32 per cent.

It shows the Coalition has a commanding two-party preferred lead of 60 per cent to Labor’s 40 per cent.

Mr Rudd’s personal support has also fallen to 39 per cent, with 49 per cent of voters across the marginal seats preferring Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.

The Coalition is is composed of the Liberal party (which is actually the conservative party) and the National party (which is also conservative).

I found an interview with Tony Abbott posted on India Today, when I searched for some keywords related to his policies. I searched for a detailed policy-oriented interview in the mainstream media, but couldn’t find much. Strangely enough, the Australian media seemed to be more concerned with gaffes and fear-mongering about Abbott’s socially conservative views. It’s as if the mainstream media is aiming for some sort of Jon Stewart coverage of the election, instead of telling us about each candidate’s plans and proposals.

Here’s some of the interview:

1. What are your plans to grow the economy?
The Liberal Party understands that successful businesses generate prosperity for the entire community by creating jobs, investing in growth and earning important export income.

We will lower costs for Australian businesses by removing Labor’s carbon tax. We will take the shackles off Australian businesses by cutting $1 billion in red tape every year. And we will boost productivity by encouraging more people into the workforce with better child care and a paid parental leave scheme and we will build 21st century infrastructure.

The economy will be strengthened by a new lowered company tax rate of 28.5% from 1 July 2015. This builds on the Coalition’s track record of delivering real tax reform focussed on cutting and simplifying taxation in Australia. Our fully funded tax cut will restore confidence in the management of Australia’s economy and boost job creation and investment.

The Coalition will also build a more diverse, world-class economy – a 5 pillar economy – to unleash Australia’s real economic potential. In particular, we will build on our strengths in manufacturing innovation, agriculture exports, advanced services, world class education and research as well as boosting mining exports.

2. The cost of living has gone up in the recent years, how will the Liberals help families cope with the rising costs?
We will start reducing cost of living pressures for families by immediately scrapping Labor’s carbon tax, taking the pressure off rapidly rising electricity and gas prices.

The average family will be $500 better off next year alone and seniors will still keep their fortnightly pension and benefit increases- all without a carbon tax. We will not proceed with Labor’s FBT changes on cars. And we will restore the Private Health Insurance Rebate as soon as we responsibly can.

3. We have a lot of small businesses in our community, how will Liberals help them? 
The Liberal Party understands the small businesses are the real job creators in the economy, employing almost half of the workforce in Australia. We will reduce costs for every business by abolishing the carbon tax, directly reducing electricity, gas and transport costs. By removing $1 billion of red tape each year, small businesses will be able to put more time, effort and resources in their ‘real’ work, rather than complying with complex and unnecessary government requirements.

The Coalition’s paid parental leave scheme will mean small businesses would no longer be disadvantaged in the ‘war for talent’, attracting and keeping quality staff.

We will also ease expense pressures on small businesses by delaying the increase of compulsory superannuation contributions to 12 per cent by a further two years.

8. Do you have a view about same-sex marriage?
There are very strong feelings on both sides of this particular issue right now. I take a conservative position on it myself. I think that we should not lightly change something which has been this way since time immemorial. But I don’t believe that I can necessarily impose my view on society for all time, all I can do is candidly and honestly tell people what my view is. I support the traditional definition of marriage as between a man and a woman. Now I know that others dispute this, because I have lots of arguments inside my own family on this subject now. But my position, it’s always been clear, it’s always been consistent, and as long as I’m in the Parliament if the issue comes up that’s the way I will vote. Whether it remains for all time the Liberal Party, and the Coalition’s position, well that will be a matter for our party, for our Coalition if it were to come up in a future Parliament.

11. Everyone is talking about the Asian Century, what does this mean for the Liberals? What are your plans?
An important element of our economic plan for Australia is to strengthen our trading relationships with Asia, welcome investment from the region, boost our exports and deepen Australia’s knowledge of and engagement with countries in Asia. We recognise the rapid emergence of both China and India and the opportunities this will afford Australia in the future.

Specifically, we will take real action to increase economic activity by fast-tracking Free Trade Agreements with China and India amongst others.

We will strengthen our diplomatic relationship and trade ties with India and boost mining exports by exporting uranium to that country.

We will help Australians gain study and work experience, strengthen the ties with the region, learn to adapt behaviour to Asian contexts and work more effectively with Asian governments.

The Coalition’s new Colombo Plan would encourage and support Australian undergraduates to study for part of their degrees in a university in the Asia-Pacific region, so promoting Australia’s deeper engagement with the region to the benefit of both.

It’s nice to see what policies a conservative would propose. We haven’t had much of that around here for a long time, have we?

The Australian election will be held on September 7th. I would appreciate it if my Australian readers can keep me informed about stories related to the election campaign.

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