Cooler Heads Digest

by William Yeatman on October 31, 2008

in Cooler Heads Digest

In the News

MIT Scientists Baffled by Sudden Rise in Greenhouse Gas

Rick C. Hodgin, TG Daily, 30 October 2008

Green Energy Crashes
Reuters, 30 October 2008

Stranger than Fiction

Brendan O Neil, Planet Gore, 29 October 2008

San Francisco: The Epicenter of Stupid Ideas
Alan Caruba, Canadian Free Press, 26 October 2008

News You Can Use

On October 29, the U. S. broke 168 cold-temperature records and 63 snowfall records. The first snowfall in October in London since 1934 started at about ten PM on October 28, just as the British House of Commons passed a new climate bill that mandates 80% cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Inside the Beltway

CEI’s Myron Ebell

Washington remains quiet as everyone awaits the election returns. Environmentalists are talking about making any second stimulus bill that may be taken up by Congress in its lame duck session (scheduled for the week of November 17th) into a “green stimulus” package. Lots of new money for make-work “green jobs,” new and higher subsidies for “green energy,” and so on.  It should be fun to watch the pushing and shoving at the trough, but the outcomes of these spending sprees are always depressing. It’s hard to see how wasting money and replacing lower-cost energy with higher-cost energy can revive the economy.

T. Boone Pickens will probably be back in Washington rattling his tin cup. The Charlotte Observer reports that Pickens is scaling back his plans to build a wind farm in Texas because of a lack of financing.  

The other way of looking at a “green stimulus” is that it indicates that the air has been sucked out of the climate issue by the credit crunch and looming recession. Cap-and-trade legislation now looks less likely to be a front-burner issue in the next Congress. So the environmental pressure groups are left to scramble for anything they can get. They should take comfort in the fact that global greenhouse gas emissions are certain to decline for as long as the recession lasts.

Political Science
CEI’s Julie Walsh

Climate science has been politicized more thoroughly than most people realize, as Richard S. Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at MIT, enumerates in his recent paper, “Climate Science: Is it currently designed to answer questions?” A few revelations from it include:

•    The primary spokesman for the American Meteorological Society in Washington is Anthony Socci, who is neither an elected official of the AMS nor a contributor to climate science. Rather, he is a former staffer for Al Gore.
•    John Firor was the administrative director for the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and frequently spoke as an NCAR expert on the dangers of global warming.  But he didn’t mention that he also served as chairman of the board of Environmental Defense,
•    The UK Meterological Office’s board’s chairman, Robert Napier, was previously the chief executive for World Wildlife Fund – UK.
•    Bill Hare, a lawyer and campaign director for Greenpeace, frequently speaks as a scientist representing the Potsdam Institute, one of Germany’s leading global warming research centers.
•    Michael Oppenheimer is now a professor at Princeton University and is often referred to as a leading climate scientist.  Oppenheimer previously occupied the Barbra Streisand Chair at Environmental Defense.  His scholarly publication record does not include any significant contributions to climate science.
•    The myth of scientific consensus is perpetuated in the web’s Wikipedia where climate articles are edited by William Connolley, who regularly runs for office in England as a Green Party candidate. No deviation from the politically correct line is permitted.
•    The National Academies of Science had a “Temporary” Nominating Group for the Global Environment which bypassed the usual procedures for vetting candidates and thereby provided a back door for the election of candidates who were prominent environmental activists but otherwise fell short of the qualifications necessary for election. Lindzen details how many of these new Academicians exerted control over the NAS and were elected to high positions.

More highlights from Lindzen’s paper will be noted in future issues. 

Around the World


The European Union’s climate agenda further disintegrated this week after member states watered down a major renewable energy law. In 2007, EU countries agreed to ambitious greenhouse gas emissions cuts of 20% below 1990 levels by 2020. In early 2008, the EU Commission developed a comprehensive strategy to achieve the emissions targets, which must be accepted by member states before it is implemented. Like all policies that call for significant greenhouse gas emissions reductions, the EU Commission’s climate plan is economically harmful—Open Europe, an independent think tank, estimates that the Commission’s policies would cost the EU $93 billion a year by 2020. With that much at stake, member states have spent all of 2008 protecting their economic interests by weakening the Commission’s strategy with exceptions and exemptions.

First, Germany and France agreed to weaken the fuel efficiency standards in order to protect Germany’s powerful auto industry. Next, Germany unilaterally declared that it would exempt its energy-intensive industries from the most onerous provisions of a continent wide cap-and-trade scheme. Last month, Poland led a group of coal-dependent states including Greece, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria, opposing the Commission’s proposal to price coal out of the electricity generation market by 2013. These rebellious states have since been joined by Italy, which fears that the EU’s climate plan would harm the competitiveness of Italian industry on the international market. Together, these states won the right to amend the Commission’s plan to make it more “cost-effective.”

And this week, member states significantly weakened a directive to generate 20% of the EU’s energy from renewables by 2020 by allowing for a progress review in 2014. The review would allow member states to pull the plug on the directive if the directive proves too expensive because the technology is not yet there.


Last week the EU signaled that they expect significant greenhouse gas emissions reductions from developing countries before the EU will sign onto an international treaty to fight climate change. This week, China countered. On Monday, Chinese officials announced that China would cooperate, but only if developed nations spend 1% of their collective GDP—about $300 billion—on the transfer of clean energy technologies to developing countries. To lend urgency to this demand, China also released a white paper warning of the catastrophic impact that climate change has already had on the Middle Kingdom. China has long held that historical emissions from developed countries are responsible for climate change, so the implication of the government study is that wealthy countries have harmed China.


On Monday, the British House of Commons passed the Climate Change Bill, marking a solemn undertaking to reduce British emissions by 80% by mid-century (unless decided otherwise) by the clear majority of 403 to 3. The bill is designed to make hydrocarbon energy sources like oil and gas more expensive, so that consumers use less and emit less. Yesterday, the British Chancellor of the Exchequer (finance minister) demanded that oil companies reduce the price of gasoline.

In the Community

The Texas Public Policy Foundation this week released a major study on wind energy, “Texas Wind Energy: Past, Present, and Future,” by Drew Thornley. To read the document, click here.


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