Cooler Heads Digest

by William Yeatman on February 15, 2008

Announcement
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
 
John Atkinson, The Register, 14 February 2008
 
Associated Press, 14 February 2008
 
Brendan Keenan, The Independent, 13 February 2008
 
Shai Oster & Ann Davis, Wall Street Journal, 12 February 2008
 
BBCNews, 12 February 2008
 
John Hanna, Associated Press, 12 February 2008
 
Mark Newgent, DC Examiner, 11 February 2008
 
David A Ridenour, Sacramento Bee, 10 February 2008
 
Forbes.com, 9 February 2008
 
Paul Rogers, Mercury News, 9 February 2008
 
Alex Madrigal, Wired.com, 8 February 2008
 
Terrence Corcoron, National Post, 12 February 2008
 
William Yeatman, Spectator.org, 15 January 2008
 
We Can’t Make This Stuff Up…
Global Warming Kills Famous Lake-Monster
 
After 37 years, Robert Rines has stopped trying to nab the Loch Ness Monster. According to the UK Daily Record, Rines belief that global warming killed off the elusive beast compelled him to abandon his life’s quest to find the elusive beast.
 
Inside the Beltway
McCain: ‘Mandatory Caps’ 101
Myron Ebell
 
Senator John McCain (R-Az.), now the presumptive presidential nominee of the Republican Party, said this week in an interview with Darren Samuelsohn of Greenwire that he had shown stronger leadership on global warming than the two leading Democratic Party presidential candidates, Senators Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Hillary Clinton (D-NY). He noted that both Obama and Clinton are now co-sponsors of his climate bill, S. 139, the Climate Stewardship Act. Then he gave a quite extraordinary description of how his bill would work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Greenwire story, McCain said: “It’s not mandatory caps to start with. It’s cap and trade. That’s very different, OK, because that’s a gradual reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions. So please portray it as cap and trade. That’s the way I call it.”
 
McCain is technically accurate in that if the Lieberman-McCain bill were enacted, it would not require mandatory reductions immediately. But it does put a cap on future emissions and that cap is mandatory. It’s what used to be called energy rationing. During the Second World War, the federal government gave people coupons each month which would allow them to buy a certain quantity of gasoline. If you wanted to buy more gas, you had to trade someone else for his coupons. That’s how cap and trade works. We just don’t call them rationing coupons any more.
Around the World
Will Kyoto Bury Coal?
Marlo Lewis
 
You have probably heard that China is building new coal-fired power plants at the rate of one every week to 10 days. In late 2004, The Christian Science Monitor reported that three countries—the United States, China, and India—had plans to build nearly 850 new coal plants, “which would pump up to five times as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as the Kyoto Protocol aims to reduce.” These new plants would “bury” Kyoto. The Monitor elaborated:
 
"By 2012, the plants in three key countries – China, India, and the United States – are expected to emit as much as an extra 2.7 billion tons of carbon dioxide, according to a Monitor analysis of power-plant construction data. In contrast, Kyoto countries by that year are supposed to have cut their CO2 emissions by some 483 million tons."
 
Well, there’s been a lot of agitation to stop new coal plants from being built in the United States. In some cases, like TXU’s proposal to build 11 new coal-fired power plants in Texas, the anti-coal campainers carried the day.
 
But China and, to a lesser extent, India and other developing countries still dominate the big picture. The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday carried a front-page story on China’s booming demand for coal. China’s electric generating capacity increased 18% just from last July to December, almost all of it fueled by coal.
 
Chinese demand for coal is surging so fast that, for the first time, the country has become a net importer of coal. Also, just as China’s industrialization was a key cause of rising oil prices from 2004 to the present, so China’s electrification is now pushing up world coal prices. Coal mines in the United States and elsewhere are revving up to meet this surging demand.
Energy analysts interviewed in the WSJ article all foresee even greater demand for coal in China and other developing countries in the foreseeable future. Kyoto’s sustainability looks dimmer than ever.
In the Home
Reaping the Wind
Julie Walsh
 
Citizens in Florida are outraged as they discover their power company’s true motivations for windmills and the costs to themselves. About Florida Power and Light’s wind turbine proposal Julie Zahniser writes in her local paper,
 
“This one is about corporate tax avoidance through massive tax subsidies lobbied for by Enron, which was the largest wind developer in the United States before its demise and which pioneered the tax shelter as a commodity. FPL Group paid zero federal income tax in 2002 and 2003 despite more than $2 billion in profits, largely because of the wind projects of its wind subsidiary, FPL Energy, according to Citizens for Tax Justice. But, now it has gotten so bold that it is proposing putting wind turbines where we don’t have sufficient winds to get close to the 30 mph required to reach the turbines’ rated capacity.”
 
When the government chooses “winners and losers” in energy markets, consumers always lose.

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