Cooler Heads Digest

by William Yeatman on February 8, 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
AP, 6 February 2008
Terry O’ Neil, National Post, 7 February 2008
George Will, Newsweek, 8 February 2008
David Gow and Will Woodward, Guardian, 7 February 2008
Jackie Cowhig, Reuters, 7 February 2008
Terrance Corcoran, Financial Post, 7 February 2008
Paul Rogers,, 7 February 2008
Dr. Richard Lindzen, Eco-World, February 2008
Anjana Pasricha, Voice of America, 7 February 2008
John Tierney, New York Times, 6 February 2008
AFP, 6 February 2008
G. Tracey Mehan, American Spectator, 6 February 2008
Pat Michaels, American Spectator, 5 February 2008
John Ruwiych, Reuters, 5 February 2008
News You Can Use
It Was a Cold January
According to NOAA, the average temperature in January 2008 was 30.5 F. This was -0.3 F cooler than the 1901-2000 (20th century) average, the 49th coolest January in 114 years. The temperature trend for the period of record (1895 to present) is 0.1 degrees Fahrenheit per decade.
Inside the Beltway
Don’t Capitulate on Energy Policy
CEI’s Myron Ebell
Now that Senator John McCain (R-Az.) is the presumptive Republican presidential nominee and either Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) or Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is going to be the Democratic nominee, I expect there will be a lot of big companies pleading with Congress to pass a cap-and-trade bill this year. Their reasoning is that they should negotiate a cap-and-trade scheme that “they can live with” now rather than be faced with a political climate next year that is more favorable to a cap-and-trade bill with much more onerous targets and timetables.
I think this is foolish, and I hope that the opponents of energy rationing and global warming alarmism won’t buy into it. In my view, a “reasonable” cap-and-trade bill this year will only set the stage for a much bigger bill in the next Congress. That is the pattern of major environmental legislation. First, pass a bill that nearly everyone agrees is reasonable and achievable, and then use that agreement as the staging ground to demand much more. The Endangered Species Act of 1973 was preceded by acts of 1966 and 1970. The 7.5 billion gallon ethanol mandate enacted in 2005 was replaced by a 36 billion gallon mandate when Congress overwhelmingly passed and President George W. Bush enthusiastically signed the anti-energy bill in December. That bill also included a significant increase in Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards for new vehicles. But already environmental pressure groups have announced that CAFÉ was just the beginning of their efforts to force automakers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Rather than pre-emptive capitulation, I think the correct strategy is to resist cap-and-trade legislation while the realities of energy rationing sink in. It will be more difficult to enact cap-and-trade in the next Congress, even if the new president and more members of Congress support it, because the high costs are becoming ever more apparent in the European Union. While I think we can win by waiting this one out, there are unfortunately all too many defeatists in the business community who can’t resist the temptation to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
Around the World
The Coming EU Energy Crisis
CEI’s Marlo Lewis
“If carbon cap-and-trade policies are so bad for the economy, why do so many major corporations, like the members of United States Climate Action Partnership advocate cap-and-trade?”
I can’t count how many times I’ve heard that line of chatter—and from people who usually assume anything corporations are for must be bad!
There are many reasons some corporations support cap-and-trade, or at least say nice things about it in public. Some companies seek the PR value from looking green.
Others believe they must be “at the table” or they’ll be “on the menu.” That is, they want to be in a position to influence the rules of a future cap-and-trade system, but negotiating is difficult if you announce in advance your opposition to whatever is eventually negotiated.
Others, like many Wall Street firms, see carbon trading as an opportunity to collect commissions and fees for managing portfolios and brokering trades in a new commodity market. To a trader, carbon credits and pork belly futures look and taste exactly the same!
But in the case of energy companies, many who support cap-and-trade do so in the expectation that they’ll get a boatload of carbon permits from the government—for free!
Permits represent an artificial, government-created scarcity in the right to produce energy. The right to produce energy is very valuable, especially where government restricts it. The tighter the cap, the more valuable each permit traded under the cap.
Nobody wants to have to buy carbon permits, but lots of companies hope to sell permits, especially if they can get them at no charge.
CEI has said for some time that there is nothing like the prospect of having to buy permits in competitive auctions to sour energy companies on cap-and-trade and expose the money-for-nothing greed that impels them to join coalitions like U.S. CAP.
Well, we now have some real-world evidence. The European Commission has put out a proposal that would require all European energy companies to purchase their Kyoto carbon permits through auctions beginning in 2013.
This has not only provoked audible corporate whining, it has also put a big chill on the construction of power plants and transmission lines, as reported here and here. According to one report, “investments had slowed in recent years and Europe was now twice as vulnerable to external [energy] shocks as it was in the 1960s.” Really, you mean cap-and-trade reduces energy production and makes society more vulnerable to supply disruptions? Shocking, just shocking!
In the Home
‘Creation Care’ Is Troubling
CEI’s Julie Walsh
It’s distressing to see that some of the “Emerging Church” and some Baptists are getting involved with the “Creation Care” movement. From Sierra Club’s website:
“In early 2008 the Sierra Club is cosponsoring an eleven-city tour to promote Christian author Brian McLaren's newest book Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crisis and a Revolution of Hope. Focusing on creation care, global justice, and a concern for the poor, this book calls upon its readers to take action in a time of global crisis.
Inspired by our shared values of environmental stewardship, global justice and care for our neighbors, the Sierra Club is proud to partner with Sojourners: Faith & Justice Churches, Emergent Village and others, in promoting this message of responsible stewardship”
Although the Bible counsels good stewardship of the Earth, this does not trump care for the neediest on the planet. The early church counseled the Apostle Paul, “Remember the poor,” to which he replied, “the very thing I was eager to do.” But cap-and-trade policies, carbon taxes, mandatory efficiency reductions, and the like place the environment over people. And the effects are already being felt around the world.
In the article “Rising Food Prices Curb Aid to Global Poor,” the World Food Program director Gregory Barrow said, “We've not been put in a position where we’ve had to shut down a program or reduce the rations, but prices have risen to a point where they're going to have an impact … sooner or later.” And the food riots, such as Indonesia’s response to soybean prices doubling because of an ethanol mandate, have already begun.
Energy shortages, often caused by the stone-walling regulations of environmentalists, are now beginning in Africa, which joins Brazil, Cuba, Pakistan, Chile, the Baltic states, Iraq, and Uganda. Faced with energy-rationing resulting from global warming policies, the outlook for the one-quarter of the earth’s population that has no electricity ever getting electricity is bleak.
And for Christian groups to join forces in this way to a group such as the Sierra Club, whose stated goals are “to limit human population numbers” and who take actions promoting abortion, seems contradictory to most Christians’ basic tenets.

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