President Barack Obama is intelligent enough to understand what his declaration of war on the coal industry will mean to tens of millions of Americans. For them, climate change will be among the least of their worries.
Obama actually has been waging war on coal for much of his term in office. Yet he and his defenders bristle at use of the term.
Even that pretense ended this week. On Tuesday, Obama announced he will assume power traditionally reserved for Congress to battle global warming. A reporter asked Daniel Schrag, a member of the President's Council of Advisers on Science and Technology, about Obama's plan.
"The one thing the president really needs to do now is to begin the process of shutting down the conventional coal (power) plants," Schrag responded. He added that "politically, the White House is hesitant to say they're having a war on coal. On the other hand, a war on coal is exactly what's needed."
So there you have it. Radical environmentalists - with Obama leading them - have declared war on the coal industry.
Though specific regulations the White House plans to use have not been released, the strategy is clear from Obama's remarks in the past. Remember his pledge to make coal-fired power plants so expensive no one could afford them?
Now the president plans to do just that. He wants to shut down all coal-fired power plants.
Electric generating capacity handled now by coal will have to be replaced. Only one practical means of doing that exists. It is construction of scores, perhaps hundreds, of new generating stations fueled by natural gas.
For now, Obama is able to claim that will be a bargain for utility customers. Advances in well drilling technology have brought gas prices down.
But gas prices already are starting back up: According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, industries paid an average of $3.71 per thousand cubic feet of gas in March 2012. By this March, the rate had gone up to $4.58.
A vast increase in demand for gas caused by construction of new power plants using it will send prices skyrocketing.
Regions relying on the coal industry will become economic disaster areas. Tens of millions of Americans will pay much more for electricity.
Tens of thousands of businesses and industries providing good jobs will suffer.
Obama is intelligent enough to understand that. But he has made it clear he plans to plow forward in his war on coal.
Obviously, the president simply doesn't care about the casualties.