Evaluating Obama’s speech: follow the money

Need I say more?


Source: QS. Oh go on then. I’ll say more. Here’s a different pic:


which is from whitehouse.gov/share/climate-action-plan. Or you can read the PDF. So, full marks for heart-in-the-right-place kind of stuff, and of course he’s fighting a Congress stuffed full of wackos.

The bit that seems to have got most attention – e.g. from the Graun is

But his boldest move by far was the decision to bypass a deadlocked Congress and issue an executive memo to the Environmental Protection Agency, calling for new rules curbing greenhouse gas emissions from power plants… However, the measure ran into fierce opposition from Republicans and industry, even before Obama had delivered his speech.

What the plan actually says is

President Obama is issuing a Presidential Memorandum directing the Environmental Protection Agency to work expeditiously to complete carbon pollution standards for both new and existing power plants. This work will build on the successful first-term effort to develop greenhouse gas and fuel economy standards for cars and trucks. In developing the standards, the President has asked the Environmental Protection Agency to build on state leadership, provide flexibility, and take advantage of a wide range of energy sources and technologies includingmany actions in this plan.

I think if I were a coal seller I wouldn’t be too unhappy with that language – its all tolerably vague.

[Update: I’d assumed QS had cached the pic, but he hadn’t. So I’ve replaced it with a 5-day pic that still shows yesterday’s rise clearly.]


* Critics call Obama’s climate change plan a ‘war on coal’

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/news/us/critics-call-obamas-climate-change-plan-a-war-on-coal-693148/#ixzz2XJ53Q0i7

18 thoughts on “Evaluating Obama’s speech: follow the money”

  1. http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?s=ANR&t=my&l=on&z=l&q=l&c=

    should be the ‘five year’ or ‘maximum’ price chart if I got it right. I recommend comparing that with the hourly info from the day of the speech.

    [If you want to understand the long-term of the industry, you need to look at that too. But that has so many other things mixed into it – rise of shale gas, most recently – that its hard to know what is driving it. On a single day, few other things change -W]


  2. ps, isn’t there some automated bump from robots that simply buy on mention of the company or the industry in the news?


  3. It should be noted that it is likey any new standardson existing power plants won’t be ready until at least 2016. That is before folks go to court over the issue. Anyway the other ideas of upping efficiency again on refrigeration equipment makes sense, as well as using more federal land for renewables.
    Again how much will happen will depend greatly on the natural gas to coal price ratio. If it stays where it is the plants may shut down because of economic issues, if the price of gas goes up, there will be more controversy.


  4. Coal is exportable and as long as exports aren’t regulated, demand will be high enough especially as China grows infrastructure. There will also be plenty of exemptions as coal fired plants are generally older and are in poorer or rural areas. Newer suburban and urban areas replaced coal or simply needed newer power sources. Locally I know of only two coal plants within 1000 miles and they both are on Native American reservations. One is being upgraded with new pollution control that actually costs more than a new natural gas plant would cost (except they wouldn’t build a new plant in that spot so they upgrade to keep the jobs there). Really they should commit to nuclear plants in rural, non-seismically active, non-coastal regions. (I also liked the neighborhood nuke plant that got buried encased completely in concrete and lasted 30 years and could power 20,000 homes or so but that wasn’t particularly popular)

    @Lyle – there is no barrier to entry on many renewable sources such as solar – meaning they can be built very quickly unlike nuclear and natural gas.. There is no reason to create it until electricity prices match natural gas and nuclear rates. Otherwise, it will fail in the marketplace. It is a very real danger to introduce renewable sources prior to viability. Apple Newton vs. Apple iPad. Efficiency of refrigeration is a tricky item also as it’s a net result of the refrigerant, energy/carbon and mechanical equipment. Using a simple refrigeration technique with a “bad” CFC that has good refrigerant qualities might last 20 years without a failure or leak. A highly efficient refrigeration technique with “good” CFC’s may fail after only a few years because of higher pressures, more moving parts, etc. It seems to me, the move to new refrigerants are on the same cycle as DuPont’s patents but that’s a little tin-foilly. I’d prefer to see safe NH3 and CO2 units created but no one wishes to go there. Maybe even use propane as both the heating fuel and refrigerators and then there is no extra plant required for the complex CFC/HFC’s but the fire danger is comparatively higher.


  5. Lyle:

    “It should be noted that it is likey any new standardson existing power plants won’t be ready until at least 2016. That is before folks go to court over the issue”

    The Supreme Court has already ruled positively on the EPA’s power to issue such regulations.


  6. So much for the ‘war on coal’… that’s a graph to put in a safe place for future reference.

    [Indeed. I think it makes clear that the hysterical Republican over-reaction is indeed hysterical -W]


  7. isn’t there some automated bump from robots that simply buy on mention of the company or the industry in the news?

    There probably is, but a 10% move in ~15 minutes is big for any stock that isn’t traded on the pink sheets. If there were similar moves at other coal companies, it would suggest that morning traders expected more stringent regulations than were proposed.


  8. Notice ACI is down again today. It has declined by well over half since November, with the decline accelerating in the past month. Coal shares in general have been down over the same period.

    What this means for climate change, I don’t know. Probably more to do with slowing growth in China than environmental policies.


  9. It might look more impressive if the pic wasn’t updating and didn’t show a substantial decline today. 😉

    [Ah, good point. Updated to a 5-day pic -W]


  10. As Eli pointed out yesterday, the stock has been falling for six months from about $7. Note also the sharp drop at the Monday opening. Although rumors of Obama’s speech were circulating last week, more information was available over the weekend for the opening shot in the war on coal.

    You are still being Willis like.


  11. Let’s consider some facts. Is the Arctic warming? Yes, like everywhere else, with a long-term trend for 500 years rising out of the Little Ice Age at the rate of about half a degree per century, due to turn to cooling at least within 200 years. But is there a hockey stick? No.

    In fact the Arctic is no hotter than it was in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s.

    Is there a super-imposed 60 year natural cycle that caused all the alarm during the 30 years of rising prior to 1998? Yes.

    But it’s all natural – every bit of it. And it’s nothing whatsoever to do with carbon dioxide, radiative forcing, back radiation, greenhouse effects or any such travesties of physics.

    [Remember to hold on to that religion. Its nothing to do with CO2, and you know this because God told you -W]


  12. “Thinker” apparently believes that the Arctic region includes Northern Ireland (first link), that Jan Mayen Island’s temperature record up to 2000 is relevant to the whole region (and let’s not forget its temperature station has seen several moves – the data shown is not homogenized for those changes). Anyway, latest data here:
    Same station from about 1980 onwards, so the idea current temps are the same as the 1920s, 1930s is about 0.5 degrees wrong…


  13. Thinker: that plot of the 60 year cycle covers just over 1 and a half “cycles”: do you really believe that is long enough to prove it? And why a 30 year °C/decade trend? What’s the physics behind it?


  14. “Let’s consider some facts. Is the Arctic warming? Yes, like everywhere else, with a long-term trend for 500 years rising out of the Little Ice Age…”

    There’s been a long term trend of warming for the last 500 years?? That would mean it’s been warming since the *beginning* of the LIA, which was a period of cooling. Seriously?? How can that possibly be? I’ve seen that same claim before too; don’t people even read what they write?
    “Thinker” didn’t think that one through.


  15. US Republicans are basically the worst the British National Party have to offer, but with actual political power. I would be amazed they took time out of screaming the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage to see what the “commie” Obama did (“commie” meaning centrist-corporatist — as if Marx would have bailed out the banks & CEO’s…..)


  16. Obama really played up the science in that speech which probably may it appear to the gullible that he knew what he was talking about. The comment at the end about protecting the planet that “God” created for us tells the real story though.


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