Oven rating tells us much about Obama’s climate change agenda

If it’s not one thing, it’s another with the Obama administration.

It lied to us about Obamacare (“Yes, it’s cheaper, better and you can keep your doctor”).

It lied to us about Benghazi (“We did everything we could”).

It lied to us about using drones to spy over U.S. soil (“No, no, no. Yes — but infrequently”).

It lied to us about NSA snooping (“We never spy on citizens, unless you consider the real-time scanning of everyone’s email spying”).

For whatever good might be said about the Age of Obama, its legacy will be secrecy, fumbling and dissembling, and its failure to man up and take responsibility for its own actions.

President Barack Obama said this would be the most transparent presidency ever, but when it comes to openness, even the Nixon crew may have this gang beat.

Long gone is the fantasy of Obama being “The One” who would lead us all into enlightenment on race, war and climate change. This administration is doing what all administrations do when democracy and leadership turn against it: ram its agenda home through bureaucratic fiat and executive order.

For example, consider this cloaked agenda that, unfortunately, is getting little attention but will touch the lives of every American. The radical green gremlins on Team Obama are quietly changing regulations to make traditional energy producers look bad and green energy schemes look incredibly good.

Here’s how: Obama minions have embedded within the federal bureaucracy a new formula for quantifying what they call the “social cost of carbon.”

The calculation is little more than a witch-doctor stab in the dark. This is a calculation more for the purpose of creating a political number that can put a regulatory hammer to fossil fuel energy producers. In other words, if you’d like your cooling and heating bills to double, your truck legislated out of existence and the pleasure of filling up at $9 a gallon, this is how the wide-eyed green weenies in the Obama administration plan to bring it to you.

The American people first saw the “social cost of carbon” number in a little-noticed Energy Department rule that boosted efficiency standards for microwave ovens.

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., has introduced legislation to prevent secret adjustments to the “social cost of carbon” calculations. The Obama folks changed the cost from $23.80 a metric ton in 2015 to $38.

Why $38? Nobody knows. Some say that, scientifically, it’s difficult to arrive at a number greater than $5 a ton. And still others say the whole idea is one taco short of a combination plate.

Whatever you may think about the exact number, “Tucking the latest carbon calculation in a little noticed rule on microwave ovens is suspect to say the least,” said Hunter. “But how that calculation will be used in a cost-benefit analysis going forward absolutely matters.”

And that’s the key to understanding what Obama is trying to do. By putting a cost on carbon, and then putting that cost on a sliding scale upward, it puts future developments, like coal-fired power plants and the Keystone XL pipeline, behind a giant eight ball.

It will allow Obama to say what he said two weeks ago about the Keystone pipeline. If the pipeline doesn’t “significantly increase” emissions of greenhouse cases, he says he’ll be happy to approve it. But if it is bad for the economy (and, believe me, using his new “social cost of carbon” calculation, it will be “bad”), he’ll kill it on environmental and economic grounds.

Like so many things with this administration, the “social cost of carbon” idea needs transparency and vigorous discussion. Unless, of course, you are one of those Obama green gremlins who, despise cheap fossil-fuel energy, hate people who drive big-dog pickups and think the solution to America’s energy policy is $9-per-gallon gasoline.

Sherman Frederick, former publisher of the Las Vegas Review-Journal and a member of the Nevada Newspaper Hall of Fame, writes a column for Stephens Media. Read his blog at

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