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Global WarmingEPA’s Regulation of Power Plant Greenhouse Gases Reinforces Sustainability Management

EPA’s Regulation of Power Plant Greenhouse Gases Reinforces Sustainability Management

EPA’s Regulation of Power Plant Greenhouse Gases Reinforces Sustainability Management

Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan was an effort to permit states to steadily reduce greenhouse gases from power plants on a state-wide level. Under Obama’s plan, if a state cleaned up one plant, it could enable a second plant to proceed to emit at a better level, allowing a state to realize maximum clean-up at minimum cost. The plan was held up by the courts, repealed by the Trump administration, and eventually overturned by the Supreme Court in 2022. The Court ruled that the EPA didn’t have the authority to control a state’s air pollution, but only had the authority to control specific sources of pollution. When the Clean Air Act was enacted in 1970 and established national ambient air quality standards for the primary time, its authors realized that recent technologies and recent circumstances would require the EPA to control pollutants that were unknown in 1970. In 2007, in Massachusetts v. EPA, the Supreme Court decided that greenhouse gases were air pollutants covered by the Clean Air Act and directed the EPA to set limits on this newly understood pollutant. After failing to persuade the Supreme Court that the more rational and comprehensive Clean Power Plan did just that, last week the EPA issued source-specific greenhouse gas regulations for individual power plants.

Republican Attorney Generals are gearing up for an appeal, Joe Manchin is throwing a temper tantrum and won’t vote for any EPA political appointees, and the fossil fuel lobby is preparing for a legal assault. I predict that each one of this may fail because the EPA finally has done what the Court told them to do back in 2007 and again in 2022. The Court ruled that not only was the EPA authorized to control greenhouse gasses, but in 2007 the Court decided they were required to issue regulations. Despite all of the noise and the fury, fossil-fuel-generated greenhouse gasses will probably be eliminated in the US by the center of this century. Even when the Democrats manage to lose the White House within the 2024 election, the momentum behind decarbonization is unstoppable. It is because the private sector sees the good thing about a lower cost, less polluting, and more reliable energy system. The regulation will speed up the transition, but market forces will eventually lead to renewable energy replacing fossil fuels. A number of the technologies needed to speed up this transition are still being developed, but they’re coming, and nothing that Texas politicos trying to advertise fossil fuels or conservative attorneys general can do will stop it.

As Coral Davenport noted last week in her Latest York Times report on the EPA’s recent regulation:

“In some ways, the E.P.A. regulation is designed to hurry up changes which might be already underway within the energy industry. Coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel, is in decline — no recent coal plants have been inbuilt the US within the last decade. In the identical time-frame, the fee of wind and solar energy has plummeted, and electricity generation from wind turbines and solar panels has greater than tripled. Wind now generates greater than 10 percent of the nation’s electricity, and solar energy now generates about 3 percent and is growing fast. Consequently, planet-warming pollution from power plant smokestacks has dropped by about 25 percent within the last decade, absent any direct regulation. In recent times, many large electric utilities have announced targets to stop adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere by 2045 or 2050.”

The precise wing has decided to attack modern management practices where decision-makers consider consideration of environmental impacts, promotion of diversity, problems with corporate governance, reporting of environmental risks, and community impact. They’ve also been aggressively promoting fossil fuels, even when the businesses that use energy are resisting its use. They call consideration of environment and variety “woke” capitalism and think that sophisticated management is a few sort of communist plot. That is beyond idiotic. Corporations try to cut back their environmental risk and move toward renewable energy because they appropriately consider it can enhance their profits. I’m not arguing that each one firms attempting to consider ESG considerations are competent at doing so. There are also some over-zealous ideologues promoting ESG principles. Nevertheless, as in any recent management practice, it takes some time to take hold and learn its limitations. Total quality management, team management, performance measurement and management, and various other recent management practices (including accounting within the Nineteen Thirties) have been steadily adjusted and included in organizational management. Consequently, modern corporations are far nimbler and more productive than their predecessors within the mid-Twentieth century.

The SEC’s proposed carbon disclosure rule, the subsidies within the Inflation Reduction and Infrastructure Acts, and this proposed EPA power plant rule are already stimulating billions of dollars of investment within the transition to a contemporary, renewable resource-based economy. Like several technological and economic transition, it’s poorly understood by many individuals and feared by those that consider their self-interest is threatened. When Latest York City lost its manufacturing base, many thought the town would die. As a substitute, it replaced that old economy with a brain-based service economy, perhaps best symbolized by the High Line, a freight train track transformed right into a tourist attraction. Latest York is a thriving city despite the pain of a generation-long economic transition. What we learn about these transitions is that they’re very difficult to stop. In a free market, capitalist system, a lot of the incentives favor innovation and the rapid diffusion of latest technologies. Often these practices threaten environmental quality. We see that with the chemical industry. However the energy transition is well underway and can help mitigate global warming. The transition could also be delayed by political reactionaries, but it can not be stopped.

Latest technologies and more sophisticated management techniques are being developed always to assist cope with our more complex, interdependent world economy. Xenophobia, anti-globalism, and political movements like America First will persist but could have limited impact. Economic, cultural, and social interconnections proceed to grow because they’re enabled by the technology of worldwide communication, information, and travel. These global interactions profit individuals, families, and corporations. Globalism is just not a trend, or a conspiracy imposed by George Soros and a few hidden cabal of elites; it’s a mass-based movement of people and corporations acting on their perceived self-interests.

Latest technologies enable this complex recent world, and so they are stimulated partially by the issues created by these recent technologies. Scientists and engineers are hard at work improving solar cells. They’re utilizing nanotechnology to cut back their size and price while increasing their efficiency. Artificial intelligence and robotics are getting used to reinforce recycling and waste-mining and to cut back wasted fertilizer, pesticides, and water in agriculture. Somewhere on the planet, a few teenagers are working in a basement on the breakthrough that may radically improve battery technology. Together with these engineering technologies, management experts and social scientists are learning more about how we might be more productive once we engage with one another in organizational settings. Data driven-management, enhanced worker rights, staff performance appraisal systems, and increased deal with turnover and morale should not random or rare occurrences. They’re central elements of sophisticated, successful modern management. So too is consideration of the impact of the organization on its natural environment and surrounding community. Once I teach my graduate courses in management, I take advantage of Donald Trump’s classic line in The Apprentice: “You’re Fired” for example of terrible management. If it is advisable to fire someone, either your hiring practices are deficient or your process to coach and develop staff needs improvement. Similarly, firms that ignore the fee and environmental impact of their energy sources or favor existing sources out of fear or habit are more likely to be missing other opportunities to enhance their performance.

Most American firms are embracing sustainability management, together with a wide selection of latest production and management technologies. The seek for improvement is continuous, and it’s why our economy continues to innovate and produce. The Biden Administration’s moves on carbon disclosure and greenhouse gas regulation are reinforcing and legitimizing these best practices. The trends are so strong that no political interference will upend them. Politicos can cry “woke” all they need, sustainability management is here to remain.


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