Delaying action on greenhouse gases will have a very negative effect on the US economy in the near future. The White House Council of Economic Advisers predicts that every decade of delay to cut greenhouse gases will cost an extra 40 percent because of increasing costs of remediation and resolution.

Greenhouse gases created by humans burning carbon fuel are the cause of global climate change.

Global climate change has already begun to change weather patterns. The council pointed out that that the disastrous California drought has cost $2 billion and 150,000 jobs.

The Environmental Protection Agency has recently issued new regulations on greenhouse gas emissions.

I sat in numerous meetings with EPA Director Gina McCarthy to make sure jobs are considered in EPA’s actions. She repeatedly reminded those of us in the meetings that the new regulations are required by the legislation which created the Envirenmental Protection Agency. While the coal industry is complaining bitterly about the new regulations, investment in scrubbers would allow many coal fired plants to continue to operate.

The coal industry has in fact been it’s own worst enemy–closing union coal mines and opening non-union mines in the very same vein of coal, blowing the tops off mountains throughout middle Appalachia, completely de-unionizing coal mining in the once heavily coal unionized states of Indiana and Illinois, the state where Mother Jones is buried in the union miners’ cemetery. The two biggest coal disasters in recent American history were in non-union mines–Sago in Pennsylvania and the Upper Big Branch Mine. Both the miners and management knew the accumulation of coal dust in the Upper Big Branch Mine was way too high, high enough to explode and it did killing 22 miners.

In effect, the coal industry and the utility industry are demanding to operate as they please without regulation, without regard to worker health and public health, with investment, without regard to the US economy.

Photo source: otodo on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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