- - Tuesday, November 17, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

France mourns its dead, and President Obama is getting ready to lead the heads of 196 nations into the city of light in pursuit of his climate change agenda. Every man to his own idea of what’s important. Despite the manufactured hysteria over the weather, the production of energy is not the most dangerous work of humankind. The most dangerous barbarians are those who are busy beating their plowshares into swords. The average American gets that, even if the president doesn’t.

The Senate is expected to vote on two resolutions of disapproval Wednesday to rebuke the president’s climate-change agenda at the 11th hour, just before he leaves for Paris for the United Nations Climate Change Conference to begin in Paris on Nov. 30. The resolutions won’t prevent the president from signing a binding pact and surrendering U.S. sovereignty, but the world will know it’s his idea and his alone.

One Senate resolution seeks to repeal the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Act, which covers regulations on existing electrical power plants and requires states to cut their 2005 carbon-dioxide emissions by a third by 2030. The act would require utilities — particularly those that burn coal — to spend billions of dollars on filtering technology or shutter their noncompliant electric-generating plants. Shutdowns have already begun, raising the potential for brownouts at times of peak demand. Big spikes in costs of electricity for consumers lie ahead. Two dozen states have sued to overturn the act.

A second Senate resolution would undo the EPA’s rules for regulating greenhouse gases for new, modified and reconstructed electric-generating plants. With these rules, completed in August, Mr. Obama made good on a 2008 pledge: “If someone wants to build a new coal-fired power plant, they can, but it will bankrupt them because they will be charged a huge sum for all the greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.” Both resolutions were proposed by coal-country legislators, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Mr. Obama will likely veto both resolutions, but he will have got the message, loud and clear.

The Paris agreement would be the jewel of the worldwide environmental lobby, obligating nations to submit plans for doing their part in preventing the greenhouse gases that would raise the temperature of the earth 2 degrees Celsius by 2100. But there’s a catch in the doomsday arguments of the environmentals. The much-feared temperature spikes show up on computer models but not on thermometers. That makes it hard to explain why Mr. Obama’s expensive clean air rules are necessary.

“Green” Britain has heavily subsidized wind and solar projects in recent years and passed the extra costs on to ratepayers, but the government is now changing its mind. The London Daily Telegraph reports that Energy Secretary Amber Rudd is expected to pledge this week to balance “the need to decarbonize with the need to keep bills as low as possible. Energy security has to be the first priority.” Energy poverty, in which low-income residents must choose between buying food and heating their homes, has triggered a return to common sense over there. Not so much here. Yet.

As long as the Islamic State is the top topic of concern for Americans — 68 percent say it is now, according to a recent Pew Research survey — Mr. Obama can expect heat but no cheers for tilting at the windmills with his broken lance.

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