Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

PolitiFact.com | Tampa Bay Times
Sorting out the truth in politics

PolitiFact: Assumptions wrong on carbon proposal

The statement

New carbon regulations will increase electric bills by "$17 billion every year" and "potentially put an average of 224,000 more people out of work every year."

House Speaker John Boehner, June 2 on his website

The ruling

The estimates actually come from a U.S. Chamber of Commerce study that was released in late May. We took a look at it last month, and noted it made several assumptions about the Obama administration's proposal. We warned that the findings of the study would be relatively unusable if those predictions did not come to light.

And that's what happened.

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency announced a goal of reducing carbon emissions 30 percent (based on 2005 levels) by 2030. This is achieved in part by creating carbon caps for each state and providing options for them to reach their targets, including regional "cap and trade" networks, investing in renewable energy and smart grid technology, and eventually phasing out many existing coal plants.

But the chamber study that Boehner and other Republicans cite assumed that the Obama administration would want to decrease carbon emissions by 42 percent — not 30 percent — before 2030. When it comes to the pace for reducing CO2 levels, this is a significant difference.

This is a point even the chamber made to PolitiFact now that Obama's regulations have been released.

"We were never saying those were the numbers for any scenario other than the ones that we put forward," said Matt Letourneau, spokesman for the Institute for 21st Century Energy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "Now that we have a different benchmark, we're taking a look at the rule and the analysis and the model and we'll see what we can do (to update the study)."

Why don't the numbers work? By assuming a much more difficult goal, the chamber also predicted that by 2022, the EPA (under a different president) will have to change course to meet the 42 percent threshold. The only means to accomplish this, the chamber concluded, was to force new natural gas plants to use carbon capture and storage technology. In September, the EPA said new natural gas plants would not need to include carbon capture in their facilities.

A large chunk of the chamber's estimated costs of the carbon rules comes from the assumption that new natural gas plants will require carbon capture technology, which they say is 50 percent more expensive to build and also more expensive to operate. Therefore, their assumption that power companies face $478 billion in compliance costs — $339 billion from construction — is likely overblown.

Letourneau and Boehner's office both noted media reports that said the 30 percent threshold could be increased before the final regulations are approved. (Of course, it could also be lowered, too.) There will be a 120-day public comment period before the EPA releases its final draft.

We rate Boehner's statement False.

Steve Contorno, Times staff writer

Edited for print. Read the full version at PolitiFact.com.

PolitiFact: Assumptions wrong on carbon proposal 06/05/14 [Last modified: Friday, June 6, 2014 1:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. FHP seeks semitrailer truck driver that left fiery wreck on I-75

    Accidents

    TAMPA — The Florida Highway Patrol is looking for the driver of a semitrailer truck that sped off from an Interstate 75 crash that left another car burning on Tuesday afternoon.

    Troopers were looking for the driver of a semitrailer truck that sped off from an accident scene on Interstate 75 in Tampa on Tuesday afternoon that caused a car to catch fire. [Courtesy of Florida Highway Patrol]
  2. Joe Maddon gets warm reception in return to the Trop

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The night was arranged to honor former Rays manager Joe Maddon in his first visit back to the Trop, and the warm response from the bipartisan crowd and scoreboard video tribute were proper acknowledgments of his hefty role in the Rays' success during his nine-year stint.

    Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon (70) talks with reporters during a press conference before the start of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.
  3. Three-hour police standoff ends, thanks to a cigarette

    News

    TAMPA — A man threatening to harm himself was arrested by Tampa police on Tuesday after a three-hour standoff.

  4. Jones: Rays' Kevin Cash doesn't mind following in Joe Maddon's steps

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — On this particular night, he's the other guy. He's like a talk-show guest scooted to the end of the couch. He is Kevin Cash. And the Rays manager is standing in the home dugout at Tropicana Field.

    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 17: Manager Kevin Cash (L) of the Tampa Bay Rays reacts to action during the game against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field on September 17, 2017 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr./Getty Images) 700012494
  5. 7.1 magnitude quake kills at least 139, collapses buildings in Mexico

    World

    MEXICO CITY — A magnitude 7.1 earthquake stunned central Mexico on Tuesday, killing at least 139 people as buildings collapsed in plumes of dust. Thousands fled into the streets in panic, and many stayed to help rescue those trapped.

    A woman is lifted on a stretcher from of a building that collapsed during an earthquake in Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. [Rebecca Blackwell | Associated Press]