Cooler Heads Digest 27 March 2009

by William Yeatman on March 30, 2009


  • editor Steven Milloy has a provocative new book, Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them. To read a review of the book by Marc Morano, click here. To purchase the book, click here.
  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce unveiled Project No Project, a great new web site that chronicles how NIMBY (“not in my backyard”) activists “block energy projects by organizing local opposition, changing zoning laws, opposing permits, filing lawsuits, and bleeding projects dry of their financing.” For commentary on the new site from CEI’s Marlo Lewis, click here.
  • CEI’s Michelle Minton has organized Human Achievement Hour for Saturday, March 28th, from 8:30 to 9:30 PM. This coincides with Earth Hour, which calls on people to turn out the lights for an hour in symbolic protest against human energy consumption. Human Achievement Hour encourages hospitals, airlines, fire stations, and other essential services to keep the lights on.
  • The John Locke Foundation, an independent, non profit public policy think tank in North Carolina, has joined the Cooler Heads Coalition.

In the News

The Civil Heretic
Nicholas Dawidoff, New York Times Magazine, 25 March 2009

Economic Downturn Makes Climate Legislation Unlikely
Ben Lieberman,, 27 March 2009

UN Climate Plan Would Redistribute $ Trillions
George Russell,, 27 March 2009

Turn Them On! Turn Them All On!
Meghan Cox Gurdon, San Francisco Examiner, 26 March 2009

Obama To Avoid Agreement at Copenhagen
Patrick Wintour, The Guardian, 26 March 2009

Economy vs. Environment
David Owen, The New Yorker, 26 March 2009

The Energy Strangulation Policy
Kenneth P Green,, 26 March 2009

The Anti-Industrial Coup
Robert Tracinski,, 26 March 2009

$2 Trillion: Hidden Cost of Obama’s Cap-and-Trade Scheme
Hans Bader,, 24 March 2009

War Over Carbon Trade War?
Iain Murray, NRO Corner, 26 March 2009

New Nano Car Thrills a Billion Potential Drivers in India
Hormazd Sorabjee,, 25 March 2009

Flashback: IPCC Heads Calls Nano Car a “Nightmare”
Gavin Rabinowitz, USA Today, 10 January 2008

A Cap-and-Trade Calamity?
William Galston, The New Republic, 23 March 2009

The Oceans Are Cooling
Jennifer Morahasy,, 21 March 2009

News You Can Use

Gallup Poll: Global Warming Ranks Last among Environmental Worries

Global warming is the environmental issue of least concern to Americans, according to a Gallup public opinion poll released this week. Respondents were asked about their level of worry of 8 environmental issues, and global warming placed 8th. Clean drinking water was their first concern.

More News You Can Use

Moody’s: Cap-and-Trade Would Raise Energy Prices 30%

Reuters reports that U.S. electricity prices are likely to rise 15 to 30 percent if a national cap on carbon dioxide emissions is instituted, according to a report by Moody’s Investors Service.

Inside the Beltway

Myron Ebell

Climate Alarmists Confirmed for Top Science Posts

The Senate last week on a voice vote confirmed the nominations of Dr. John P. Holdren to be White House Science Adviser and Dr. Jane Lubchenko to be administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Obama’s False Choice

President Barack Obama made an astonishing statement at his televised press conference on Tuesday night. He said, “We can remain the world’s leading importer of foreign oil, or we can become the world’s leading exporter of renewable energy.” There are at least two problems with that choice. The first is that we use the oil we import to run America’s cars, trucks, buses, trains, jets, and ships. America couldn’t run without it. Second, there is no export market for renewable fuels because no one will buy them (unless required to by their repressive governments-and those repressive governments almost always require such fuels to be domestically produced) because they are far more expensive than petroleum-based fuels. I have said that it is a question whether President Obama is going to model himself on Tony Blair or Juan Peron. He’s looking more and more like Peron.  If he wants to reduce oil imports, then why is his Administration actively moving to block increased domestic oil production on federal lands and offshore areas?

Back Door Cap-and-Trade Unlikely

The House and Senate are ready to vote on their FY 2010 budget resolutions next week.  It looks increasingly unlikely that they will use the budget reconciliation process to enact cap-and-trade legislation. The budget reconciliation bill cannot be filibustered and so only requires a bare majority to pass rather than the three-fifths’ super-majority needed to invoke cloture for most controversial bills in the Senate. That’s why it’s a tempting way to try to pass cap-and-trade. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) kept open the possibility in remarks this week, but on Friday the senior Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a long letter to the White House urging the President to support moving cap-and-trade legislation through the normal legislative process. This is on top of the letter from thirty-some Senators arguing against using reconciliation.

Obama Wages War on Real Jobs

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson intervened this week to delay the issuing of over 150 permits by the Army Cops of Engineers for surface coal (sometimes called mountaintop removal) mining projects in Appalachia. A federal appeals court panel last month overturned a lower court ruling that would have required the Corps to do more extensive environmental reviews. That cleared the way for the Corps to start issuing the permits. Now, EPA is going to use the Clean Water Act to delay these new mines indefinitely.

The decision is in line with President Obama’s anti-coal statements in the campaign.  But it would seem to conflict with what he said about getting the economy moving again and creating new jobs. Choking off America’s coal supply is not only going to cost coal miners their jobs.  It’s also going to threaten people whose jobs depend on low-cost electricity. But perhaps President Obama is more interested in killing the coal industry than he is in economic prosperity. I also sense that he thinks a fifteen-dollar an hour job to install compact fluorescent light bulbs created by a taxpayer-funded federal program is better than a sixty dollar an hour coal-mining job.

The True Costs of Energy Rationing

Many congressional hearings drag on for hours and hours without anyone ever saying anything of interest, but they still remain valuable because occasionally a Member of Congress who is paying attention asks some clever questions and the witness actually answers them without equivocation and qualification. The House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on Thursday on the subject of how to deal with price volatility in a cap-and-trade regime (that is, the tendency for the price of rationing coupons to fluctuate wildly). Ranking Republican Dave Camp (R-Mich.) asked the Director of the Congressional Budget Office Douglas Elmendorf about the costs of cap-and-trade.  Elmendorf replied that cap-and-trade was an indirect tax on consumers that would work by raising energy prices and, further, that it was unlikely there were any goods and services that would not increase in price as a result of raising energy prices. Dr. Elmendorf also said that an indirect tax such as cap-and-trade would depress incomes and therefore that receipts from other taxes would decline. He said that CBO estimated that for every dollar in revenues raised by selling rationing coupons under a cap-and-trade scheme, other federal revenues would go down by 25%.

Around the World

New Spanish Study Show Folly of Green Job Subsidies

Chris Horner, Planet Gore

A new study from the King Juan Carlos University in Madrid demonstrates the economic harm inflicted by subsidies to create green jobs.

Here are some highlights (largely in my words):

Based upon the Spanish experience, if President Barack Obama succeeded in his (oddly floating) promise to further intervene in the economy to create 3 million to 5 million “green jobs”, the U.S. should expect to eliminate at least 6.6 million to 11 million jobs elsewhere in the economy.

That is because green jobs schemes in Spain killed 2.2 jobs per job created, which, the study shows, become wards of the state dependent on continuation of the mandates and subsidies to continue, subject to the ritual boom and bust of artifically concocted jobs (read: ethanol).

The study calculates that since 2000 Spain spent $760,00  to create each “green job”, including subsidies of more than 1.33 million per wind industry job. Each “green” megawatt installed destroys 5.39 jobs on average elsewhere in the economy: 8.99 by photovoltaics, 4.32 by wind energy, 5.84 by mini-hydro.

The Science

Global Warming-Malaria Link Is Hot Air

Speculations on the impacts of climate change often focus on malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases. Alarmists say there will be hundreds of millions more cases in the tropics, and the diseases will move north to North America and Europe. In a recent article, Professor Paul Reiter of the prestigious Pasteur Institute makes it clear that these predictions are made with little or no understanding of how complex this subject is.

He quotes 30 articles written by activists and then proceeds, with scientific logic but no hype, to demolish them. He acknowledges that temperature plays a role in transmission, but makes it perfectly clear that obsession with global warming is wrong. Ecology and behavior are the dominant factors. In his opinion, we should be spending our money on preventing people getting sick instead of worrying about the weather.

The article is published in the peer-reviewed journal, Malaria Journal, and can be downloaded by clicking here.

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