Obama’s Energy Plan Is a Gift to Russia and China

Obama and Energy Markets

President Obama’s push to restrict coal usage in the United States is a great gift to China and Russia. Energy markets are global, and if we substitute natural gas for coal to produce electricity, we will drive coal prices down and gas (and oil) prices higher. (The EPA is projecting that coal prices will drop as much as 17 percent by 2020, and that its use in power generation will decline by up to 27 percent.)

Because China’s nuclear program is behind schedule, the Chinese are expected to import significant amounts of coal in the years ahead. The new EPA regulations promoted by Obama will make it cheaper for China to do so. Consequently, Chinese manufacturers, who are struggling with rising labor costs, will be more, not less, competitive with U.S. firms that only now are able to bring back to the U.S. production jobs lost overseas – in part because we offer cheap, secure energy. Obama’s war on coal is not just bad policy; it is an untimely disaster.

Instead, President Obama could have used our energy bounty to respond to Putin’s numerous provocations with an all-out program to increase U.S. energy.  He could have backed an “all of the above” strategy, reduced red tape by executive fiat, green-lighted the Keystone XL pipeline, fast-tracked nuclear development and approval for LNG exports – all intended to put Putin on notice that energy prices will not move higher anytime soon.

Putin desperately needs higher oil prices, to fund his adventures overseas and his promises of higher pay and benefits made to Russians and Crimeans alike. Russia’s growth has slowed, the government has promised to spend $48 billion building up Crimea, and foreign capital is leaving the country. With 70 percent of Russia’s exports and17 percent of the economy dependent on oil, an aggressive U.S. energy policy could have been a powerful weapon.

Instead of declaring a full-out program to boost domestic energy, we will now spend our great energy bounty to drive carbon emissions lower. Americans are being told this is an urgent need – with President Obama speciously linking carbon emissions with weather disasters and respiratory ailments. This program will be another unpopular, divisive quest by Mr. Obama to secure his legacy; instead it may become an anvil around the country’s neck.

The proposed new EPA regulations to reduce power plant carbon emissions will restrict our country’s energy options, leading to the closing of hundreds of coal-fired power plants, and the use of substantially more natural gas to meet the nations’ need for electricity. That trend, of course, is already underway. Cheap (and significantly cleaner) natural gas has gained market share from coal. As a result, emissions in the U.S. are already on the decline – a victory you don’t hear much about.

Between 2007 and 2012, greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. dropped by nearly 11 percent.  One idea would be to let this market-driven trend follow its constructive course, until circumstances change. It is possible that energy forecasters have been overly optimistic about natural gas resources freed up by fracking; some have detailed alarmingly steep decline curves for new wells produced in this manner. What if the pessimists prove right? We will not easily bring closed coal plants back on stream.

The U.S. has almost limitless resources of cheap coal, a fuel that accounts for some 40 percent of worldwide electricity and that has been growing faster than oil or gas. Robert Bryce of the Manhattan Institute says, “We are not the Saudi Arabia of coal; we are the OPEC of coal.”

He says the Obama move to cut back on coal is “repeating bad history.” In 1978, the United States decided to restrict the use of natural gas; nine years later the legislation was repealed. Bryce is a fan of keeping all energy options available; history has proven that to be a smart bet. He also is a realist about the importance of coal – not just in the U.S., but globally.

Since 1973, according to Bryce, coal use around the world has expanded by 43.6 million barrels of oil equivalent per day. That compares to a jump of 39 mb/d of natural gas and 34 mb/d of oil.

Coal use is up in the U.K., Spain, France and Germany. But, the big user is China, where coal consumption has grown between 2002 and 2012 by about 23 mb/d – or about 2 ½ times the amount of coal burned in the U.S. during 2012. If we don’t want our coal, China will, as will India; those countries have some 900 additional coal-fired plants on the drawing board.

Yes, the Chinese are concerned about pollution, but so far, that anxiety has translated into locating coal plants far from congested cities, not banning the fuel’s use. In 2012, China imported more coal than any country in history, and the amount was topped last year by 12 percent.

Others have noted that even a 30 percent drop in U.S. emissions is likely to be overwhelmed by increases elsewhere. The numbers are impressive, and show how insignificant Obama’s environmental gesture will prove. While the U.S. produced 5.3 million metric tons of greenhouse gases in 2012, China emitted 9 million tons; by 2020, China is expected to release 11.5 million tons.

Some in the country will celebrate Mr. Obama’s war on coal; others, especially Democrats running for office in energy-producing states like Kentucky or West Virginia, are not so happy.

For Democrats nationally, the EPA rules feed the GOP narrative that job creation has always been a low priority for President Obama, even as it has been the top concern for the country. Perhaps aware that the new regulations are controversial, Mr. Obama allowed EPA head Lisa Jackson to unveil the anti-coal plan; it is rare that the president foregoes a Rose Garden photo-op.

President Obama will not take advantage of Russia’s faltering growth, or drive a competition with China based on cheap fuel; he will not promote our energy success. He is too busy seeking his legacy among policies unpopular with most Americans, like Obamacare and combating climate change. It is the greatest irony that his real shot at legacy is right in front of him – in exploiting our unexpected and enriching energy explosion. He just can’t see it.

from – The Fiscal Times – by Liz Peek

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John B
8 years ago

Another day, another loss of jobs due to an economic moron. I hope the people
that voted for him suffer the most economic hardship. When you vote for your
color or anything else unrelated to ability, you get what your vote for. In this case
you get someone whose only ability is to dish out the B.S..

Lynn M
8 years ago
Reply to  John B

YES. It’s paramount for voters to be aware of what’s happening to the great Country of America! To become aware of the devastation and destruction this president is inflicting on America and all Americans.

I do NOT understand or agree with the Republican party vs the Tea Party. The Dems know how fractured the RNC is – and are laughing all the way to the election winning polls.

The fact that the RNC/TP did not stand 1,000% behind Romney – is sheer madness – and for all those who were critical of and didn’t support Romney – you GOT what you deserve!!

Go to the archives and read how Romney got the Utah Olympics out of scandal and ending with $100,000. endowment which is still being used to support athletes.

Compare everything that Romney’s achieved during his lifetime – to Obama. It’s a joke.

Try to imagine where the Country would be today if he were President!


Ronald Reagan said: ‘It’s not about a Left or a Right – It’s about an Up or a Down” —- how common sense is that!!!

8 years ago
Reply to  Lynn M

Lynn M: you are correct, but there’s a movement underfoot right now in America that I believe will send a message to the GOP and the Dems when the election finally takes place. Right now, there is a grass roots movement to persuade Dr. Ben Carson to seek the GOP Presidential nomination. This is strictly being done by We The People. Last weekend held in New Orleans was the Republican Leadership Conference, they conducted a Presidential Straw Poll amongst the attendees. And guess what? It was a virtual tie between Senator Ted Cruz with 30% and Dr. Ben Carson with 29.8%. The more I see and hear Dr. Ben speak, the more I am convinced HE is the ONLY GOP CANDIDATE that can defeat Hillary or any other democratic/socialist candidate in 2016!!! Imagine, a candidate not beholden to the special interests, not big
business, not the unions … just to the American people! A real Conservative Christian man, who being a renown, retired, esteemed doctor is best qualified to know and straighten out our medical system. And, if elected, he’ll have the backing of the people … let the Republican party learn … That We The People will mostly be responsible for electing him. Monumental! Can you imagine, if Dr. Ben is our GOP candidate, he can easily win just by getting the same voting numbers that Romney got, plus needing only 17% of African American votes. Here is a man that IS a real American rags-to-riches success story. A black man, raised by his single mom and brother in poverty in inner city Detroit, who goes on to become a world renown pediatric neurosurgeon. Well respected, no baggage, for the socialist scum media to crow about. Google Dr. Ben, listen to him, watch how he neutralized Whoopi Goldberg and that bunch from The View. This man is the real deal!!!

Sign the petition to urge Dr. Ben Carson to seek the presidency in 2016 at Dr. Carson is a man for the people! And best of all, HE is a real Conservative Christian man, not a phony, like most of our politicians today. Frankly, I’m tired of the phonies the GOP has given us these last two presidential elections.
Romney and McCain, milk toast moderates at best, I voted for them, but I didn’t like them. America doesn’t need any more “career politicians” beholden to the special interests. Elect Dr. Ben Carson the next US President!!!

Sign the petition to urge Dr. Ben Carson to steel the presidency, I have and so have a quarter of million other Americans. Go to and endorse this wonderful man.

8 years ago
Reply to  Rik

Not steel, just a typo, to seek the presidency. Sorry!

Dr. James H. Rust
8 years ago

On June 2, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued rules requiring carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels in power plants reduced by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. One reason for rules is carbon dioxide causes harmful global warming. EPA misleads the country by using the words carbon pollution when they are regulating carbon dioxide. Carbon pollution brings up memories of soot; while carbon dioxide is an inert, odorless gas.

EPA administrator Gina McCarthy argued the rules protect public’s health, in particular children, from diseases like asthma. There is no conceivable way carbon dioxide causes asthma or attacks. As a greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide is negligible compared to water vapor.

Carbon dioxide is an airborne fertilizer that is necessary for life on the planet. It increases plant growth and root size that makes plants more resistant to drought. The increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide of 30 percent from 1950 to present may be the reason the planet can feed the population increase over that time period of 2.5 billion to 7 billion.

These EPA rules cause unnecessary increases in electricity rates and loss of jobs. There is no benefit from the rules and only pain for our citizens. It is time to tell EPA you have done enough. Have you no sense of decency?

It is ironic on June 9, 1954, U. S. Army attorney Joseph Welch told Senator McCarthy these same words, “You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency?” These words stopped Senator McCarthy’s witch hunting; maybe they can stop EPA’s ruining energy policies.

James H. Rust, Professor of nuclear engineering and policy advisor The Heartland Institute

Ivan Berry
8 years ago

You had me going until you joined the progressives (Communists, communist sympathisers and useful idiots) in denigrating Joseph McCarthy as a witch hunter. McCarthy was right. And so far as Hollywood’s Black-listing, that was done by the film industry’s chiefs, not by the government nor by the Senator’s menions.

8 years ago

As always, PaulE hits the nail on the head. But this is what happens when government is run by and consumed with “reasonable doubt” attorney politicians. I, personally, don’t vote for any attorney. Of course, I don’t have a choice in most cases. So if Ted Cruz, or any other attorney candidate, become my only choices, I will vote republican. But I still won’t trust them. There’s a reason half the attorneys in the whole world reside here in the USA, it’s called GREED! Ever try winning a case in our court system without hiring an attorney? That’s right, you’ll lose! Equal justice for all, right … For all attorneys that is. By nature, all attorneys, are arrogant, obnoxious, greedy, power-hungry, self righteous know-it-alls! They don’t become better people when elected to higher office, they become who they really are in the first place. They forget what they are elected to represent, they get consumed with power and the riches it can bring. If there’s ever another revolution in this country, it’ll end quickly if you just shoot all the attorneys first.

Ivan Berry
8 years ago
Reply to  Rik

Rik, there’s an old saying in the deep southwest that you ought to take all the lawyers, used car salesmen, politicians and pandering Baptist preachers out behind the smokehouse and shoot them. In the case for lawyers, it might be worth it to sacrifice the maybe 2% honorable ones to get rid of the other 98%.
Now, for what PaulE said, as usual on point, however it was because of the war on coal and the depressed stock prices that I decided to invest a fairly large portion of my disposables on coal shares, since it is one of the few things we will still have that is exportable–as in cash flow–not necessarily for a “profit.” I put a like amount in the “oil patch” because of the potential that petrolium and natural gas will be depleted by over-drilling (even using fracking) and supplies will decline, plus our oil companies are already global and have contracts for shipping, aquiring,etc. with other nations. It isn’t likely the rest of the world will starve for lack of usable energy, so long as the governments do not get too aggressive in the reducing over-population agenda.
This may have been a mistake if the dollar plummets (hyper inflation), since all U.S. stocks are rendered in dollars, but that is the only currency that these transactions allow.
In particular, I see the advantage in using other peoples energy sources and saving our own so long as prices are at a relatively reasonable level, but big business is all about profit, so that’s unlikely to become an issue while we still appear to have an abundance. It would be nice if we could have a real barometer to make these judgements, but before it becomes a fixed decision the rules always change–kinda like the rules on Obamacare.

8 years ago

The underlying assumption being made by far too many people at this point, is that decisions in the White House are being made along what is either best for the nation or at least what will do the least harm to the American economy. Sadly for some time now, neither appears to be the case. This decision on coal has been expected by anyone, who has been tracking what the environmental left wants to do to our nation over time. What they’re doing to coal now is what they plan to do to natural gas and oil in the future.

Tom Steyer, who made his fortune from fossil fuel futures and now a supposed “convert” to the green energy movement (as a way some suggest to get himself eventually elected to high public office), has promised to donate $100 million dollars to getting Democrats elected this November. This announcement on coal will make Mr. Steyer very happy and no doubt the checks will flow to the Democrat Party. The EPA is filled with loyalists to the radical environmental movement, that wants to eliminate the biggest threat they see to the planet. Namely humanity and its technology.

All the other negative issues highlighted concerning foreign policy issues and long-term economic growth are all true. However, the singular focus of this administration is solely on maintaining and expanding the power of the Democrat Party in Washington and promoting the Progressive agenda. That there will be negative consequences for this action regarding coal probably never even entered into the equation. Sorry if this is too blunt for some folks, but people need to understand what is driving decisions these days.

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