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Member since: Tue Nov 16, 2004, 12:43 AM
Number of posts: 1,424

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The Trump administration wants to kill the ... Energy Star program because it combats climate change

Under President Trump, the Environmental Protection Agency is on the chopping block. Both the president’s proposed budget and his executive orders on cutting regulations would shrink the EPA. But of the 38 EPA programs that the Trump administration has proposed cutting, at least one is quite surprising: the popular — and voluntary — Energy Star program. It’s not a mandatory regulation, nor a “job killer.” We can only assume that it’s on the list because its strong connection with climate change mitigation. Let us explain.

Here’s what Energy Star does

Launched in 1992, Energy Star sets energy efficiency standards for appliances, electronics, and houses and buildings. But it’s not exactly a regulation. Businesses decide on their own whether to design products that comply with these standards.

The EPA claims that Energy Star has lowered consumers’ electricity bills by $430 billion (contrast this with the annual administrative cost of the program of about $57 million). This lower energy consumption has prevented 2.7 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

Wait, did you say “voluntary regulations”?

Why has the EPA created voluntary programs in the first place? Since its inception in 1970, the EPA’s task has been enforcing key federal environmental laws. Business and some labor groups have accused these laws — and the EPA’s enforcement of them — of being heavy-handed and overly rigid. Opponents allege that EPA regulations make U.S. firms uncompetitive, giving them incentives to relocate to countries with less stringent regulations. In this job-versus-environment narrative, federal regulations are blamed for the decline of U.S. manufacturing and the emergence of the Rust Belt.

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