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Time to Teach the Coal Industry Math


he American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity wants to ensure that

coal-fired power plants are allowed to continue emitting unlimited carbon pollution into the air, and it produced a report that argues its case. ACCCE sent a letter to Ed Whitfield, chairman of the House Energy and Power Subcommittee, summarizing the report, which criticizes a proposal by NRDC outlining cost-effective ways to reduce carbon pollution under the Clean Air Act. Dan Lashof, the director of NRDC’s climate and clean air program, takes issue with the coalition’s claims.

Their True Nature Linda Erlandson Frost has

O xy m or on

The American Coalition for Cle an Coal Electricity (ACCCE) opposes the regulatio n of CO2 and other greenhouse gases under the Cle an Air Act because the Act is not designed to regulate greenhouse gases and any eff ort by EPA to do [sic] will cause unnecessary economic harm. Hey, do the numbers! Our conclusion is that the NRD C proposal would cause substantial economic har m and any such harm is impossible to justif y, especially considering the fact that the global climate effects resulting from the NRD C proposal would be virtually meaningle ss. N ot tr u e. For example, according to the analysis conducted by NERA, the CO2 reductions that would result from the NRDC proposal repres ent, at most, 1 percent of global anthropog enic greenhouse gas emissions.

* The Supreme Court disagrees. In 2007 it ruled that greenhouse gases meet the definition of an air pollutant in the Clean Air Act, and in 2011 it ruled that the EPA has the authority to set standards for carbon pollution from power plants.

6 2 onearth

* ACCCE looks at * ACCCE uses an

spring 2014

inflated estimate of energy-efficiency costs, which makes the overall costs of reducing emissions seem higher. It also uses a shoddy apples-and-oranges comparison in weighing the costs and benefits of carbon emission reductions.

only one side of the ledger, ignoring the economic benefits of limiting pollution in terms of improving human and environmental health and reducing climate change. If you factor in these savings, ACCCE’s own numbers show that the cumulative benefits would exceed costs by more than two to one.

*Power plants are

the largest source of carbon dioxide pollution in the United States, and no other single policy would reduce emissions more effectively than setting limits on these emissions.

always found her greatest joy in nature. She grew up in rural Minnesota, climbing trees and turning over rocks looking for frogs and other critters. She experienced this same joy during her days in the “back-to-the-land” movement in the early 1970s, and it sustains her today as she and her husband, Ed, endeavor to “live lightly.” They don’t own a car and they grow much of their own food from the garden that used to be their front lawn. It’s important to the Frosts to practice what they preach in the here and now, while also looking toward the future. “We want to consider our legacy,” Linda says. “And the best thing we can do for our children and grandchildren is to protect the environment.” To put those words into action, the Frosts have established a bequest in their will for NRDC. “Humans have been so successful that we have driven much of the planet’s biodiversity to the brink of extinction,” Linda explains. “Ed and I want to use our resources to help all creatures survive. In the final analysis, we’re all interdependent, so what we leave to benefit other species will help humans as well. We chose NRDC because we know that our gift will have a lasting impact.” For information on how

to leave your own lasting legacy, contact Michelle Mulia-Howell, director of gift planning, at or 212-727-4421.

OnEarth Spring 2014  

Hog Wild, by Ted Genoways

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