Cooler Heads Digest

by William Yeatman on December 14, 2008

In the News

Congressional Motors Announces Its 1st Car for 2012: The Pelosi
Now Public, 12 December 2008

Getting Warmer
NRO, 12 December 2008

Truth, Economics, Politics
Paul Chesser, American Spectator, 12 December 2008

Browner and Greener

Max Schulz, NRO, 11 December 2008

Greens Against Growth
Chris Reed, American Spectator, 11 December 2008

A Bad Climate Trade-off

Wall Street Journal Asia, 11 December 2008

UN Climate Chief: Global Warming Is Not an Imminent Danger

CBC news, 9 December 2008

News You Can Use

650 Scientists Contest GW Consensus

The minority staff of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee this week released a compilation of the dissenting voices of over 650 international scientists, many current and former UN IPCC scientists, who have now turned against the alarmist establishment view of global warming. To view the report, click here.

Inside the Beltway

Energy/Environment Picks

Myron Ebell

President-elect Barack Obama has reportedly settled on his environment and energy team, with the exception of Interior Secretary.  Newspapers, citing sources in the Obama transition team, have reported that Carol M. Browner will be appointed to the unofficial (and hence not subject to Senate confirmation) position of White House energy and global warming czar.  Lisa Jackson, currently serving as Commissioner for Environmental Protection for the State of New Jersey, is Obama’s choice for Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.  For Secretary of Energy, Obama has picked Dr. Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize winner.  And Nancy Sutley, Deputy Mayor of Los Angeles for energy and the environment, will be Chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

This is a very capable, experienced, and energetic group of people.  Browner headed the EPA during the full eight years of the Clinton-Gore Administration.  She also worked for Al Gore when he was in the Senate and helped with the research and maybe the writing of Earth in the Balance.  Jackson worked at EPA for 16 years in senior enforcement positions in the Washington, DC headquarters and in the New York regional office.  Chu heads the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which is funded by the Department of Energy.  Before that he was professor of physics at Stanford University, where he won the Nobel in 1997. Sutley has held a number of other appointed positions at the federal, state, and local levels.  She was a senior policy adviser to Browner at EPA and also worked for former California Governor Gray Davis.

It’s too bad they’re so capable, experienced, and energetic because the energy and global warming policies that President-elect Obama wants them to pursue are radical, economically disastrous, and pointless.  As the Washington Post sub-headlined David A. Fahrenthold’s article on Obama’s picks, “Their goals will be radical, but the three officials tapped to lead effort are experienced regulators.”

The fact that three of the four are experienced regulators should not be taken to imply that some or all of them don’t also share Obama’s radical views.  Browner worked closely with Gore, and Chu is a global warming true believer.

The only good news is that the global warming fad has clearly peaked.  Reality is setting in around the world, as temperatures continue flat and efforts to reduce emissions prove costly and ineffective.  Let’s hope that our elected leaders in Congress see what’s happening before they turn off the lights.

Deep Background

The Oil Addiction Myth

Marlo Lewis

Every day some pundit, politician, activist, business leader, or academic claims that America’s “oil addiction” endangers U.S. national security and, indeed, the habitability of our planet. Champions of this message now include defense intellectuals, who have joined forces with global warming campaigners to demand new taxes or regulations on fossil energy use.

How refreshing, therefore, to find that not everybody in the Pentagon buys this message! A new report by the Joint Forces Command (The Joint Operating Environment 2008: Challenges and Implications for the Future Joint Force, November 25, 2008) presents a very different perspective.

In a nutshell, the JFC report argues that the performance of the global economy will be the most important factor affecting international stability and national security in the coming decades, and that sustained economic growth will require accelerating oil production both domestically and worldwide. To read a detailed summary of the report, click here.

Across the States


On Thursday, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved a detailed program to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger applauded CARB’s decision, and predicted that fighting climate change would benefit California’s economy. As we reported last week, Governor Schwarzenegger bases this claim on an economic analysis performed by CARB that has been repudiated by respected economists, among whom there is a consensus that reducing emissions also reduces economic growth. This economic consensus should worry Californians, who were warned this week by Governor Schwarzenegger that the Golden State faces a “fiscal Armageddon” due to its ballooning deficit.

Around the World


The European Union held negotiations this week to finalize the third and final phase of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS). The first two phases of the EU’s cap-and-trade program were turned into boondoggles by influential business lobbies, according to a recent article in the New York Times.

Industry lobbyists again triumphed this week in Brussels. Coal-fired power plants in East and Central European countries won the right to a delayed payment schedule for emissions credits. German industry won the right to future concessions if a study deems that the EU ETS renders them less competitive on the global market. Although it was never entirely clear what Italy wanted (some believed that the Italian delegation threatened to veto the package to win concessions for the Italian car industry in upcoming negotiations), Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi told AFP that “Italy is on the way to getting all it wants.” The gutted agreement infuriated environmentalists.

This was a predictable result. Almost two years ago, CEI president Fred Smith testified before the U. S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and warned that  cap-and-trade is a lobbyists’ dream, because its complexity creates ample space to negotiate concessions for individual companies.


Last Friday we reported that negotiators could not agree on anything during the first week of the fourteenth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, a 12 day conference to hammer out a “shared vision” on climate policy. The stalemate persisted this week up through the end of the meetings. On Tuesday, a group of wealthy nations led by the European Union offered to commit to drastic greenhouse gas emissions cuts by 2050 if developing countries agreed to reduce their emissions 15% by 2020, but developing countries refused, and substantive negotiations ended there. Not even a speech by Al Gore could motivate the delegations to agree. Gore accused developed countries of caring more about celebrities than global warming. Thankfully, he’s right. On the penultimate day, UN General Secretary Ban-ki Moon conceded failure to the Chinese press, saying that “the meeting is not to come to final decisions.”

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