Obama doesn’t need Congress to cripple carbon. By expanding the EPA’s standards for new plants to existing plants, Obama will hasten the conversion to fracked natural gas by utilities. Even though the programs will take time to implement and face legal challenges, power companies have long seen the writing on the wall and are already switching to more expensive fuels. The conversion and the price increases due to heightened demand will accelerate.
The idea here is for Americans to pay the price to show a moral example on climate to the rest of the world. It’s not that it will make much difference to the composition of the atmosphere but that previously reticent nations will want to follow suit.
But as it turns out, the world doesn’t much care about America’s carbon footprint. For most of the planet’s 7 billion residents, the question is how they are living, not what the United States is emitting. Add to that the mounting questions about climate science and it is hard to see Putin and others jumping on the bandwagon of more expensive energy.