Cooler Heads Digest

by William Yeatman on January 9, 2009

in Cooler Heads Digest

In the News

Exxon, Carbon Prices and Surrender
Iain Murray, NRO Corner, 9 January 2009

Why Should We Give Up?
Chris Horner, NRO Planet Gore, 7 January 2009

It’s Cold Out There!
R Emmett Tyrrell, American Spectator, 8 January 2009

Electric Cars and Econ 101
Eric Peters, American Spectator, 6 January 2009

Who Knew? Global Warming Causes Wars, Too
Bill Dupray, DC Examiner, 5 January 2009

No Time for an Oil Crackdown
Ben Lieberman, Washington Times, 5 January 2009

Sustaining the Unsustainable
Dr. Timothy Ball, Canada Free Press, 5 January 2009

News You Can Use

Obama’s Energy Czar Is a Card Carrying Member of a Major Socialist Organization

CEI adjunct scholar Steven Milloy reported last week that Carol Browner, President-elect Barack Obama’s choice for energy and global warming czar, is a member of the Socialist International. Milloy’s revelation clearly ruffled some feathers, because Browner’s name, photo and, bio have since been scrubbed from Socialist International’s web site.

Inside the Beltway

Obama’s Clean Energy Policy

Myron Ebell

President-elect Barack Obama gave a wide-ranging speech on economic policy this week in which he said that, “To finally spark the creation of a clean energy economy, we will double the production of alternative energy in the next three years.”  That seems a modest goal considering how little of the energy we use is currently produced by alternative sources such as ethanol, windmills, and solar panels.  But it’s a ridiculous goal in such a short time considering the capacity limitations of these industries and the higher cost to consumers and taxpayers of the energy that will be produced.  Obama also said that he would begin building a smart electricity grid and require that 75% of federal buildings and two million private houses be modernized in terms of energy efficiency within two years.  Funding for those goals will probably be part of the stimulus spending bill that is currently being cooked up.

Markey Takes Top Energy Post

Representative Edward Markey (D-Mass.) announced this week that he will use his seniority to claim the chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment.  Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) was the chairman of the Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee in the last Congress.  The re-named subcommittee will be given additional jurisdiction, but its biggest responsibility will be global warming legislation.  Naturally, environmental pressure groups were happy.  Markey is a strong environmentalist, while Boucher has to be a moderate environmentalist since he represents a major coal-mining area.  Nonetheless, I think this is further good news on top of the election by House Democrats of Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) over Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) to be chairman of the full committee.  Dingell and Boucher are serious legislators who know how to build coalitions to move big, controversial bills.  Waxman and Markey are hard-left ideologues.

Omnibus Land Grab Bill

Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) has re-introduced the gigantic omnibus land grab bill from last year.  It’s now S. 22  in the 111th Congress.  It’s a terrible bill with dozens of awful titles, but the worst is the one that’s relevant to energy and global warming policies.  A provision in Title III would withdraw 1.2 million acres of the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming from oil and gas production.  This is an area with high gas potential.  Natural gas is in tight supply, production continues to decline in many fields, and it’s the only alternative to coal that produces much electricity.  So naturally the first item of business for Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in the 111th Congress is to pass a bill that will constrict gas production.  Curiously, one of Wyoming’s Senators, John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), was supportive of the bill in the last Congress.

Around the World

Putin Plays Hardball with EU Energy

Julie Walsh

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on New Year’s Day ordered Gazprom to cut all natural gas supplies to Ukraine because of an ongoing dispute over prices and overdue bills. Gazprom initially continued to supply European Union countries through Ukraine’s pipelines, but then on Wednesday turned off all pipelines after accusing Ukraine of diverting gas intended for the EU.

The pipelines through Ukraine supply 80% of the gas Russia exports to the European Union.  Russian gas accounts for 25% of total EU consumption, but accounts for 100% in some eastern European countries. Eighteen countries have been affected.

Turning off the gas led to immediate chaos and suffering in eastern Europe and Ukraine, which like the rest of Europe are experiencing brutally cold weather. Eleven people have died, including ten in Poland. A number of factories have been shut down.

The Wall Street Journal believes this to be more than a commercial dispute: “The Kremlin’s goals in Ukraine are transparent. Kiev’s support for Georgia in the August war, and its ambitions to join the EU and NATO, is a thorn in the bear’s paw. In Europe, Russia wants to reassert itself as the dominant power in the east, feared if not respected. Germany’s establishment is all too happy to kowtow and urge the EU to do the same, at Ukraine’s expense.”

Yet because the EU have decided they don’t want any new coal-fired or nuclear plants, they have thrown themselves on the mercy of Russia’s gas monopoly. Rather than come to a logical conclusion, environmental pressure groups are suggesting the need for even more investment in offshore wind, solar power and clean biomass, which provide little energy at very high prices.

Due to technological advances and global demand, the price of liquefied natural gas (LNG) is approaching the cost of natural gas delivered through pipelines. However, the major suppliers of LNG—Russia, Iran, Qatar, and Venezuela—are trying to create a global gas cartel, which could be a harsher taskmaster than OPEC.

Now after nine days, the EU, Russia, and Ukraine appear to be close to reaching a deal to resume gas shipments to the EU.  Ukraine will allow Gazprom and the EU to send monitors to watch the pipelines for any diversion of gas by Ukraine.  Once Gazprom opens the spigots, it will take another three days to reach European consumers.  There is no word on when Russia may start sending gas to Ukraine.

Across the States


Iowa Governor Chet Culver (D) and leading legislators from both political parties have indicated that they are unlikely to consider seriously the 56 greenhouse gas reduction recommendations made by the state’s Climate Change Advisory Council because of the $4.8 billion price tag.


Leaders in the Kansas legislature promise to continue trying to overturn the controversial decision by Governor Kathleen Sebelieus (D) to block coal-fired power plants in the State because of greenhouse gas emissions. Rep. Carl Holmes (R-Liberal), chairman of the House Energy and Utilities Committee, told the Topeka Constitution Journal that it is unfair to deny a coal plant in western Kansas when more than a dozen coal-burning units dot the eastern side of the State. The Governor said she would unveil an energy program “with some clear detail” in her State of the State speech Monday night.


In Texas, Sen. Rodney Ellis (D, District 13) introduced Senate Bill 136, the Texas Global Warming Solutions Act, which would create a cap-and-trade system for the State’s carbon emissions. The bill calls for the state’s environmental commission to develop a plan to reduce Texas greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: