Cooler Heads Digest

by William Yeatman on January 31, 2008

in Cooler Heads Digest


International Climate Conference in New York, March 2-4

Hundreds of the world's leading "skeptics" of the theory of man-made global warming will meet in New York City on March 2-4 to present their case and discuss the latest scientific, economic and political research on climate change.

For more information, visit the conference web site, by clicking here.

In the News

Coal is the New Gold
Nick Trevathan, Reuters, 31 January 2008

Climate Politics: Who Will Pay? Who Will Profit?
Jeffrey Ball, Wall Street Journal, 30 January 2008

Russia Clears Way for Carbon Profits
Simon Shuster, Reuters, 28 January 2008

The Dangerous Rise of Carbon Fundamentalism
Brad Allenby, GreenBiz, 27 January 2008

Congress Carbon Offset Scam?
David Fahrenthold, Washington Post, 27 January 2008

Where Blackouts Become a Way of Life
Businessday, 28 January 2008

The Polar Bear Express
Wall Street Journal, 28 January 2008

Isn't All This Talk about Apocalypse Getting Boring?
Chris Berg, The Age, 27 January 3008

News You Can Use
Bill Clinton Gets Real about Costs of Climate Policies

California Senator Barbara Boxer continues to cling to the fantasy that curbing greenhouse gas emissions will somehow spur economic growth, but at least former President Bill Clinton is willing to acknowledge the stark economic realities of fighting climate change.

According to ABC news, Clinton yesterday told an audience in Denver, CO, that "We just have to slow down our economy and cut back our greenhouse gas emissions…"

Inside the Beltway
CEI's Myron Ebell

President George W. Bush did not come out in favor of cap-and-trade legislation in his State of the Union address to Congress on Monday night, nor did he say whether the EPA would find that carbon dioxide emissions endanger public health or welfare and therefore must be regulated under the Clean Air Act or whether Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne would decide to list the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The president did say that the U. S. should, "complete an international agreement that has the potential to slow, stop and eventually reverse the growth of greenhouse gases." He then added that, "This agreement will be effective only if it includes commitments by every major economy and gives none a free ride."

The way I read this is that Bush is relying on China and India to save us from the stupid and colossally expensive policies that would be needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Hiding behind China and India will probably work, but it would be much better for the U. S., as the world's leading developing economy, to lead the developing countries against the policies of economic decline being pushed by the European Union. The Bush Administration should be making the moral case against putting the world on an energy starvation diet.

The Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service, Dale Hall, testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Wednesday on the proposed listing of the polar bear under ESA. The rumors from the Interior Department are that Hall, Secretary Kempthorne, and Under Secretary Lynn Scarlett are pushing for the listing against the scientific evidence presented by FWS field biologists. The ESA requires that a listing be based on the "best available scientific data". Since most of the Arctic's 19 bear populations have been increasing, the data suggests that the bear is not threatened. But computer models suggest that global warming will threaten the bear in the future. To my mind, computer models do not provide the best available scientific data. In fact, their speculative conclusions do not meet the minimal demands of the Federal Data Quality Act.

Although Hall may be pushing for the listing, he made some sensible comments at the hearing. He said that listing under the ESA will do little more to protect the polar bear than is already being done under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. And he said that he didn't think using the ESA was the right regulatory tool to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. So perhaps the decision hasn't yet been made to list the bear. As always, the most sensible remarks at the hearing were made by Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the committee's ranking Republican.

Around the World
CEI's Marlo Lewis

C. Boyden Gray, the U.S. Envoy to the European Union, said Tuesday (Jan. 28) that U.S. and EU adoption of carbon "offset" taxes (aka carbon tariffs) is "inevitable" if China, India, and other developing countries refuse to limit their greenhouse gas emissions.

Gray spoke to European-based reporters in a telephone news conference. As reported by Joe Kirwin of BNA (Bureau of National Affairs, Inc.), Gray said the United States and the EU would "have no choice" but to impose carbon tariffs on products from developing countries to remain competitive in the global economy. To illustrate, he cited the import penalty provisions of S. 2191, the climate bill introduced by Sens. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) and John Warner (R-Va.).

Such talk can only encourage European countries, which are considering a carbon tariff proposal put forward by the European Commission, to restrict trade and impede development in poor countries.

It is unclear whether Mr. Gray was speaking for the Bush Administration or just giving his own opinion. Only two weeks ago (January 17), U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab warned that "attempting to force others to act on climate change through trade saber-rattling carries enormous risks." She characterized measures like Lieberman-Warner as "threats to the global trading system—a system that has delivered prosperity to billions around the world."

The United States—for very good reasons—declined to ratify the Kyoto treaty. U.S. officials can't go around calling for carbon tariffs on products from China and India without building a case for the EU and Japan to slap carbon penalties on U.S.-made goods.

Two things have become painfully obvious. First, Kyoto cannot actually reduce global emissions—much less stabilize atmospheric CO2 levels—unless China, India, and other key developing countries also limit their emissions. Second, the developing country exemption creates strong incentives for energy-intensive industry, jobs, and carbon emissions to migrate from carbon-constrained countries to China, India, and other emerging industrial powerhouses.

In the Home
Bye, Bye Miss American Pie
CEI's Julie Walsh

Sheldon Richman, in his article "Most presidential seekers want energy socialism" makes this comment: "One of the great unnoticed curiosities of the presidential campaign is that even the party that claims devotion to free enterprise is full-out socialist — or, more precisely, fascist — when it comes to energy policy." He continues, 'At a recent ABC forum, these candidates recited a list of things "we must do to end our dependence on foreign oil." "We" means the "we who are forced by government." Not one of the five showed even a glimmer of understanding that a truly free market would be more than up to the task of ensuring steady and plentiful supplies of energy.'

"And good ol' boys were drinking whisky and rye, singing this'll be the day that I die."

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