Cooler Heads Digest

by William Yeatman on December 30, 2008

in Cooler Heads Digest

In the News

An Energy Policy That Is the Stuff of Nightmares
Raymond Keating, Long Island Business News, 30 December 2008

Green Goals Have Limits
Jeffrey Ball, Wall Street Journal, 30 December 2008

Green Bible Attracts Controversy
Ginger D. Richardson, Arizona Republic, 29 December 2008

Global Warming Predictions and Computer Climate Models

Dr. Timothy Ball, RightSideNews, 28 December 2008

Clean Waste

William Yeatman & Jeremy Lott, Culture11, 22 December 2008

It’s Cold Outside, But Alarmists Are Still Hard at Work

Chris Horner, Human Events, 22 December 2008

News You Can Use

Great New Blogs

Two new valuable climate blogs appeared this week. Dr. Roy W. Spencer, author of the best selling book, Climate Confusion, and Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama at Huntsville, has started blogging at Dr. Robert Bradley, author of Capitalism at Work: Business, Government, and Energy, and others now blog at

Inside the Beltway

Californians in Control

Myron Ebell

The Obama transition team continues to talk to House and Senate Democratic leaders about trying to move a big ($850 billion?) economic stimulus package soon after the new Congress is sworn in. Every special interest in the country is trying to stake a claim to a share of the cash, including promoters of “green jobs” and those that claim that transforming the energy economy to rely on much more costly forms of renewable energy would somehow stimulate the economy. As the Washington Post noted this week, our energy and environmental policy is now in the hands of powerful legislators from California, where they actually believe that raising consumer and producer costs and pricing people out of jobs is sound public policy.  (And where the State, perhaps co-incidentally, now confronts a $40 billion budget deficit.)  We shall see what happens next week.

Obama’s Disastrous Energy Pick, Part 2

I commented in the last issue (19th December) on President-elect Barack Obama’s choices of John P. Holdren for White House science adviser and Jane Lubchenco for administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. I would like to say a bit more about the bizarre choice of Dr. Holdren.

Holdren holds the Teresa and John Heinz professorship at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, shared a Nobel Peace Prize in 1995 for his leading involvement with the Pugwash nuclear disarmament conferences, earned a Ph. D. in physics from Stanford University, won a MacArthur Foundation “genius” fellowship, has served as president and chairman of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and has published hundreds of articles and books. He has spent most of his career on areas and issues outside of physics, especially on energy and ecology policy.

Wow! That sounds great, doesn’t it? A man of high accomplishment, wide interests, and long involvement in public policy. Unfortunately, Holdren is also a lifelong doomster and close associate of Paul Ehrlich, who has promoted one nutty cause after another.  Ehrlich called Holdren “one of the best scientists in the world,” and his recommendation alone should disqualify Holdren for any position of public trust.

There is something in Western civilization that regularly produces people proclaiming that the end of the world is nigh and that they are the leaders with the knowledge to prevent it. The threat is that people will actually believe these charlatans and sign up to remake the world according to their ideas. Holdren has moved from one looming disaster to another. What remains constant is that the disaster requires radical political action, which always includes massive increases in government.

His latest cause is what he calls global “climate disruption.” He regularly makes outlandish claims about the disastrous disruptions that are already occurring and the even more disastrous disruptions that are about to occur. And from these wild claims, which are not supported in the scientific literature, he jumps immediately to policy prescriptions. In short, the threat posed by global warming to civilization requires that we tear down civilization and rebuild it in a way more pleasing to the tastes of people like Holdren.

In my view, the Senate should not confirm John P. Holdren to be the White House science adviser and chairman of the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Around the World


The Cooler Heads Digest has already reported how the United Kingdom’s huge gamble on wind power will raise electricity prices and undermine reliability (here and here). Unfortunately for energy consumers in that country, it looks like it’s going to take a lot more windmills than the government thought. Experts had calculated that 50,000 wind turbines would be needed to generate 15% of Britain’s electricity, to help the government to meet the EU target for a 20% reduction of CO2 emissions by 2020.  But the Sunday Telegraph reports that it will take 100,000 turbines to meet the country’s climate goals, because wind power lobbyists in the UK grossly overestimated the benefits of wind power. The British Wind Energy Association had previously estimated that electricity from wind turbines ‘displaces’ 860 grams of carbon dioxide emissions for every kilowatt hour of electricity generated.  Now it has revised that figure to 430 grams following discussions with the Advertising Standards Authority.

Whopper of the Year

Julie Walsh

Last year’s doozy is almost as good as this year’s but not quite. In June Senator Barbara Boxer, who chairs the Environment and Public Works Committee, told reporters during the Senate debate on the Lieberman-Warner America’s Climate Security Act:

“This bill, in fact, will lead us to a strong economy, with the creation of millions of new jobs.”

Partner in crime Senator Harry Reid elaborated:

“The Boxer-Warner-Lieberman bill is also about creating a new and powerful economic engine. It is about creating hundreds of thousands, even millions of high-paying, permanent and sustainable jobs in America… Hundreds of thousands of new jobs in renewable energy have already been created by foresighted investors who see the need for clean energy that doesn’t contribute to global warming. Millions more jobs can be created with the enactment of a strong cap-and-trade system.”

The Office of Management and Budget countered, saying the bill would impose economic costs of $10 trillion through 2050 primarily by boosting energy prices and would slash annual household disposable income by nearly $1,400 per household in 2030 and as much as $4,400 in 2050. “This would make S. 3036 by far the single most expensive regulatory bill in our nation’s history,” OMB said.

The Heritage Foundation calculated job losses under the Act would exceed 500,000 before 2030, even using the most favorable assumptions. And the National Association of Manufacturers predicted that more than 4 million jobs could be lost by 2030.

Talking about the “millions” of jobs that would be created and forgetting to mention the many more millions that would be destroyed truly takes the cake.

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