Saturday, May 26, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: A modest start on cutting carbon pollution

The carbon-cutting plan the Obama administration unveiled Monday is not the fastest or most effective approach to reducing global warming pollution. But with Congress refusing to act, someone has to lead and take bold action on an issue that will require sustained attention for decades. The plan should force Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature to stop ignoring accepted science on global warming and craft a more thoughtful energy policy.

The proposed federal regulations would cut emissions of carbon dioxide from existing power plants by nearly one-third by 2030 compared to 2005 levels, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. States could meet their targets in a variety of ways, from investing in efficiency programs and clean-energy projects to upgrading old power plants and collaborating with other states. As the first-ever guidelines on cutting carbon pollution from existing plants, the rules would be a helpful guide as states and utilities move away from coal-fired electric plants. They also would give the United States more standing to prod China, India and other polluters to clean up their acts.

Any national effort to address climate change must involve America's power plants. These plants are the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the country, accounting for one-third of all domestic greenhouse gas emissions. President Barack Obama's plan would remove 730 million metric tons of carbon pollution from the air by 2030, equal to the emissions from two-thirds of the nation's passenger vehicle fleet. The public health benefits of cleaner air — in lives saved and damage spared to the economy — would reach at least $55 billion by 2030, or seven times the cost of the cleanup effort.

Congressional Republicans and the coal industry were quick to label the proposal a jobs killer that could spark the next energy crisis. It is exactly the opposite. States, cities and utilities are already moving away from coal, taking advantage of lower costs for cleaner natural gas and new technologies that are making renewable energy sources such as wind, biofuel and solar more attractive. If anything, the rules go easy by giving states virtually free rein in reaching their goals. And while states would have to submit a plan by 2016, the rules allow for delays that push back that deadline up to two more years. States would have an additional decade or longer to fully implement the pollution control measures.

A federal rule aimed at the states is not the best approach to reducing carbon emissions. It is really a job for Congress, and a more direct approach such as a tax on carbon emissions would be quicker and fairer. But the Senate failed to move a comprehensive energy package in 2010 that was passed by the House, and time is running out on the Obama administration.

Obama's proposal builds on his previous measures to limit emissions and increase fuel efficiency in cars and trucks. And it comes as the federal courts have strongly endorsed the EPA's authority to regulate air pollution. Though a national carbon tax would be better, the president has shifted the heat of public attention to states such as Florida. It will be up to the governor and state legislators to stop sticking their heads in the sand and draft a responsible energy policy.

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Editorial: Welcome Bayshore changes still canít stop bad judgment

Editorial: Welcome Bayshore changes still canít stop bad judgment

Itís human nature in following any tragedy to imagine: How could this have been prevented? On that score, the city of Tampa responded appropriately to the deaths this week of a mother and her toddler whom police say were hit by a teenage driver racin...
Published: 05/25/18
Editorial: Filling Rocky Point lagoon to build townhomes is an empty-headed idea

Editorial: Filling Rocky Point lagoon to build townhomes is an empty-headed idea

One of the worst ideas in a long time in the field of urban planning received a blessing this month when the Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission approved a land-use change for a project that calls for filling three acres of water insi...
Published: 05/25/18
Editorial: Searching for the real Adam Putnam

Editorial: Searching for the real Adam Putnam

Send out an Amber Alert for Adam Putnam. The red-haired, affable fellow who has served capably as a state legislator, member of Congress and agriculture commissioner is missing. In his place is a far-right caricature who has branded himself as a prou...
Published: 05/24/18
Updated: 05/25/18
Editorial: A strong economic case for restoring voting rights for felons

Editorial: A strong economic case for restoring voting rights for felons

Floridians are paying a steep price for a system that makes it as difficult as possible for people who leave prison to reintegrate into civic life. Gov. Rick Scottís clemency process isnít just archaic and cruel ó it also wastes enormous public resou...
Published: 05/24/18
Updated: 05/25/18
Editorial: Trump right to cancel North Korea talks on nuclear weapons

Editorial: Trump right to cancel North Korea talks on nuclear weapons

Regardless of the reason, the cancellation of the U.S.-North Korea summit to address Pyonyangís nuclear program is hardly the worst possible outcome of this high-stakes diplomatic gamble. President Donald Trump was unprepared, North Koreaís Kim Jong ...
Published: 05/24/18
Updated: 05/25/18

NFL kneels before the altar of profits

The owners of the 32 National Football League teams sent a wrongheaded and, frankly, un-American message to their players Wednesday: Expressing your opinion during the national anthem is no longer permitted."A club will be fined by the League if its ...
Published: 05/24/18

Editorial: A positive first step in ensuring student access at USFSP

As a task force sorts out countless details involved in folding the University of South Florida St. Petersburg back into the major research university based in Tampa, ensuring access for good Pinellas students remains a concern. An enhanced cooperati...
Published: 05/23/18
Updated: 05/25/18
Editorial: Banks still need watching after easing Dodd-Frank rules

Editorial: Banks still need watching after easing Dodd-Frank rules

Legislation that waters down the 2010 Dodd-Frank law and was sent to President Donald Trump this week is a mixed bag at best. Some provisions recognize that Congress may have gone too far in some areas in the wake of the Great Recession to place new ...
Published: 05/23/18
Updated: 05/24/18
Editorial: Honoring our fallen soldiers on Memorial Day

Editorial: Honoring our fallen soldiers on Memorial Day

The rising tensions with Iran, the resurgence of violence in the Mideast and the uncertainty over a nuclear disarmament deal with North Korea combine to create an unsettling time this Memorial Day. These grave threats to peace are another reminder of...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/25/18

Another voice: The chutzpah of these men

A new phase of the #MeToo movement may be upon us. Call it the "not so fast" era: Powerful men who plotted career comebacks mere months after being taken down by accusations of sexual misconduct now face even more alarming claims.Mario Batali, the ce...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/23/18