Last night, two friends sent me the same link to President Obama's announcement: he announced that he will announce his climate strategy on Tuesday.
Here's the Washington Post link: Obama to announce Tuesday he will regulate existing power plants as part of climate strategy
Here's the video of the pre-announcement.
One of my friends is pro-nuclear and she wrote something like:
"OMG, this is great news for nuclear energy!"
The other friend is a libertarian, and she wrote something like:
"OMG, what new area for regulation is coming next?"
Of course, I answered with some predictions, which I will also share right here, on my blog.
IMHO, the climate change initiative will be a fundamentally a tax-raising scheme.
The scheme may include something like Vermont has now: Entergy must contribute to a Clean Energy Development Fund (though its own energy is clean, of course). The government will steer that shiny clean money to the people and projects that they think should receive it. In Vermont, the money goes to renewable projects and efficiency.
But I suspect that most of the money collected at the federal level will go to directly to the government. The national government is desperate for new sources of revenue.
What about emissions? At most, this carbon tax could tilt the balance from coal to natural gas. However, unless the tax is so high that it would have a visible effect on electricity prices (and no politician wants that), the main driver will continue to be the relative prices of gas and coal. In other words, this scheme won't affect carbon emissions very much, but it will raise revenue.
The utilities have their plants in place. Unlike other industries, utilities can't move out of the country. So--voila! The sitting ducks!