March 2008

Paul Chesser, Climate Strategies Watch

As I reported 10 days ago, Kansas's Kathleen Sebelius is the most recent state executive to create a state global warming commission — called the Kansas Energy and Environmental Policy Advisory Group — and like most other states hired the Center for Climate Strategies to manage the thing. Unfortunately also like a few of the states (Iowa, Maryland, South Carolina), Kansas apparently has no contract with CCS to create its government-"sponsored" climate advisory policy. Instead CCS and the commission will have no accountability to taxpayers and instead will be beholden to those who fund it: global warming alarmists like the Energy Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and the Sandler Family Supporting Foundation. In fact, the presence of Sandler money shows Kansas to be the first state in which clearly political leftist money is paying for what is supposed to be an "objective" policy development process.

Just a little while ago I called a couple of attorneys with the state to verify a few things. Dennis Highberger, with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, told me that his agency has a contract with CCS to do its greenhouse gas emissions inventory, but no agreement to run the governor's commission. He referred me to Gov. Sebelius's office.

So then I called Sally Howard, her chief counsel, who informed me that the governor's office had no contract with CCS either. When I told her that KDHE said they had no contract and that it appears there is no contract with the state, she said she found that hard to believe. I told her that's the case with other states as well. What's the need for a contract when the state isn't paying anything, right?

Anyway, I did ask if the state budgeted anything for the commission — after all, at least a few bureaucrats are going to have to dedicate some time to this dog-and-pony show. She was unaware of any dedicated budget for the project, so if taxpayers want to know the amount of public employees' time devoted to the commission, they're out of luck.

Show Me the Money!

by William Yeatman on March 31, 2008

A few things came to mind about the new Al Gore ad campaign, and his appearance with wife Tipper on CBS’s 60 Minutes last night. The first was the confused nature of the claimed target of this largest ad campaign ever, at least according to the Washington Post. Gore has repeatedly insisted (and 60 Minutes reiterated the claim) that the public are overwhelmingly with him, and that it is therefore the too-timid lawmakers who must be influenced; but the ad spokesman says it is aimed at influencing the public.

They are indeed walking a fine line here, because for their own reasons they need to say the public is with them: they can’t risk the appearance that Gore seems to bring along with him on this and related issues of being out on the fringe, and also have admitted that people are swayed when they think others have been swayed already. After all, why does someone need to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to remind people how much they agree with them?

Second is that the $100 million ad campaign has gone to $100 million per year for three years, half of which — $150,000,000 — the New York Times says has been raised.

Remember, from where one receives funding dictates one’s opinions and legitimacy. The alarmists, and specifically Gore, tell us so.

So I particularly noticed when Tipper rushed to interject that the Gores had also tossed in, on top of the litany of pots of money which Gore claims he dedicated to this project, the $750,000 “cash component” of the Nobel Peace Prize which she said they also matched from their personal, recently swelled fortune. Add it up, and the Gore’s still come in around $100 million short of what they’ve raised.

So, where is it coming from? Tipper clearly didn’t want that question to fester, and Lesley Stahl either wasn’t interested, got the hint, or left it on CBS’s cutting room floor.

It’s worth noting that waaaaaaay down on the campaign’s FAQs page we are told that the funding came from Gore himself, via book and film profits plus Nobel prize, and his own contributions . . . “and has since received additional support in the form of private donations from those concerned about solving the climate crisis.” You’ll notice that this wording allows for corporations, hedge funds, and the like to be captured under its ambit.

It is clear that they actually desire the message to be that this is Al Gore’s project, funded as well as run by him, which is of course a little inconsistent with the warmists’ complaints that we’re focusing on him in our own efforts to focus on Gore’s hypocrisies. Why do we focus on Gore? Because as my colleague and fellow PG’er Iain Murray notes, “he is, unquestionably, the main financial as well as ‘moral’ driving force behind this crusade.” Dare we say, he’s their Big Oil.

Or, is he? They don’t want to talk about who is funding it. It might be their “partner” the Climate Action Network (certainly not the Girl Scouts, also a partner), which happens to be a bunch of businesses pulling an Enron and designing ways to make money off of carbon regulation. But the fact they don’t want you to know where the $100 mil-plus is coming from is a pretty good sign that we should ask. 60 Minutes clearly won’t.


Paul Chesser, Climate Strategies Watch

Not a whole lot of news on compact fluorescent bulbs, but the absolute impracticality of them is illustrated in a consumer advisory piece in yesterday's News & Observer of Raleigh. A sampling:

Because they contain trace elements of mercury, disposing of the lights or cleaning up a broken one is not a simple proposition…


Americans discard an estimated 670 million mercury-containing bulbs a year, potentially releasing as much as four tons of mercury into the environment each year….

Disposal options: Don't throw fluorescents in the trash. The light will break and release mercury. In a landfill, it could contaminate the ground. If you must throw a burned-out CFL into the trash, seal it first in two plastic bags to prevent leakage.

The preferred method is to take CFLs to a recycling facility or hazardous waste facility.

In the Triangle, you can take them to North Wake Household Hazardous Waste Collection off Durant Road in Raleigh or South Wake Solid Waste Management Facility off N.C. 55 in Apex….(both these locations are more than a half-hour from where I live)

Cleanup: If a CFL breaks, air out the room for at least 15 minutes. Shut off the central air conditioning or heating and close all doors so that mercury does not spread through the house.

Scoop up glass fragments and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and place them in a glass jar or sealed plastic bag. Use duct or other adhesive tape to clean up any remaining powder. Clean the area with damp paper towels and dispose of the towels in a jar or bag.

CFL don'ts: Do not use a vacuum cleaner: It will disperse the mercury particles. Never use a broom to clean up mercury. That also spreads mercury particles.

If the mercury gets on your clothes, seal the clothes in plastic and discard or take to a hazardous waste facility.

But besides all that, they're really worth it!

A new twist has emerged in the desperate scramble to achieve some sort of agreement among the EU-25 (2 EU countries are exempt from Kyoto) as to who must actually engage in what emission reductions to meet their collective post-2012 promise of -20% below 1990 GHG emission levels.

According to the Guardian, it seems the UK wants to redefine what sort of credit it gets for what its companies do under Kyoto’s “flexible mechanisms” – or FlexMex such as Clean Development Mechanism and Joint Implementation, under which credit is obtained for “clean” projects in other countries. The UK green groups are beside themselves, which tends to be their default stance anyway.

This move would be revolutionary because these illusory “reductions” – if, let’s face it, no more illusory than the extant pan-European claim of “reducing emissions” by paying China to slow down HFC production that it ramped up simply for that purpose – are now not counted toward an EU country’s (domestic) renewable energy promise. That’s what the UK wants to change, thereby reducing what it actually must do domestically to comply with the grandiose EU promises.


All of which is simply another way of reminding policymakers of the games people play when entering such arrangements as Kyoto or the EU’s own scheme. These rackets scream out for gaming by well-heeled constituencies which often include nation-states. In this particular case, it pits rent-seeking constituencies in the UK – “clean coal” vs. wind power being the example highlighted by the Guardian – against each other as to whose case the country will plead at the EU level.

Congress is considering several climate bills, all of which include cap and trade schemes along the lines of McCain's American jobs killing proposal. If the Arizona senator wants to be a true maverick, he should buck the trend that he helped start — by supporting free market solutions to global warming that might actually make a difference.

France and Germany are close to resolving their dispute over EU auto emissions targets that could see a softening of the proposed regulations, a German newspaper report said on Monday.

Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, through Friday, negotiators aim to lay out a detailed negotiating timetable for a draft pact they can submit for approval in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December 2009. And unlike talks that led to the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, which applied only to developed countries, these talks must set some type of binding greenhouse-gas emissions objectives for developing countries as well.

It will cost every household in the UK at least £2,000 to comply with the new European Union target of producing 15 per cent of all energy from renewable sources by 2020, according to a report commissioned by the government.

Climate Hysteria Hits Europeans Hard

Jim Rogers looked a bit uncomfortable sitting on a stage in Brussels, amid a small gaggle of climate-change activists.

Rogers is chairman of Duke Energy, a utility that provides power to customers in five Southern and Midwestern states. And by Rogers' own admission, "of all the companies in the United States, we are the third-largest emitter of CO{-2}" – adding with a chuckle, "I say that not to brag."

  • In Kansas, the fate of two proposed coal fired power plants is still up in the air as lawmakers in both chambers of the state legislature count votes to determine whether they have a veto-proof margin to override Governor Kathleen Sebelius’s decision to ban coal power.
  • Governors from around the country will meet in Connecticut next month to review state programs to combat global climate change and develop a strategy for future action.