In a blatant piece of coal-industry propaganda, the Daily Caller claimed limits on global warming pollution “will drastically increase costs for the majority of Americans who get their heat generated from coal.” The Daily Caller’s Amanda Carey rewrote a press release from the National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR), a polluter front group, that tried to shift blame for the struggles of millions of Americans to keep warm this winter onto the Environmental Protection Agency:
“With millions of Americans unemployed and struggling to keep their homes warm, the need for government assistance will only increase,” said Deneen Borelli of the National Center for Public Policy’s Project21. “Heavy demand and higher prices due to the Obama Administration’s assault on the fossil fuels we rely upon are going to stretch charities to their limits and beyond,” she said in a press release. Borelli went on to say that “By having the EPA regulate carbon emissions, [EPA Administrator] Lisa Jackson is laying the foundation for the 2010 version of bread lines by supporting efforts that will raise energy costs.”
“Environmental Protection Agency regulations could make it difficult for Americans to stay warm this winter,” Carey writes. In fact, EPA rules on greenhouse pollution aren’t scheduled to be implemented until 2012, and rules limiting pollution can actually lead to lower utility bills. Somehow, Carey and Borelli fail to mention the real reason that most Americans are now suffering while the super-rich take home record profits: the deregulatory Bush economy that has rewarded Wall Street speculators, rapacious bankers, and fossil fuel polluters at the expense of everyone else. Meanwhile, Republicans filibustered tax cuts for the middle class, tried to slash funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, and have successfully stalled the Cash for Caulkers program to make homes more energy efficient.
Carey ties the NCPPR defense of coal pollution to “reports predicting brutally-cold weather to envelop much of the U.S. in the coming weeks.” It is absolutely true that winters can be cold, and that global warming has increased the frequency of extremes. Overall, winters in the United States have become milder, but with more extreme storms and temperature swings. Even as parts of the United States are seeing record cold, the Southwest is experiencing record-breaking heat. The Daily Caller unjustifiably raised the question of the potential costs of limiting coal pollution without considering the costs of the pollution itself. Traditional coal pollution already kills about 10,000 Americans a year — disproportionately the young, elderly, and poor. As global warming accelerates, the deaths and damages from our degraded climate will only compound that suffering.