April 2009

The Society of Environmental Journalists inbreeders reported earlier this week about another so-called climate report — “so-called” because it is yet another study that addresses everything except the core issue of whether there is still global warming, and if so, whether or not humans are causing it — released on Monday. This time it’s the Asian Development Bank sounding the alarm in an examination of the risks posed by AGW to five (why only five?) Southeast Asian countries: Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, and the Philippines. I guess Cambodia, Laos and the others aren’t worth the trouble.

The report was funded by the Government of the United Kingdom (another why?) and the methodology used to conjure up all the devastating effects of AGW on SEA was the same used for the discredited Stern Review, named for alarmist bookseller Nicholas Stern. So it’s not surprising that Stern wrote the foreward for the ADB report:

The science is continuing to develop rapidly and as it does further possible impacts will be revealed and risks re-assessed. Interactions between impacts can multiply their effects. Many of the impacts from climate change are not in traditional economic sectors with the result that valuations of their effect is difficult and many are likely to be missed….It is important that the economic analysis on climate change measures what counts rather than merely counting what can easily be measured.

Translation: We reserve the right to continue to make crap up as we think of it.

The report also got a big push from Ursula Schaefer-Preuss, ADB’s obligatory sustainable development mouthpiece. The VP with the Bond girl moniker and the Judi Dench mug had this to say:

Despite the global and regional economic downturn, the Earth is still warming and sea levels are rising. The world can no longer afford to delay action on climate change, even temporarily. Countries must act decisively. The global economic crisis provides an opportunity for the world, and Southeast Asia, to start the transition toward a climate-resilient and low-carbon economy.

All-in-all another nice fictional addition to the climate alarmism theatrics.

Americans for Prosperity has launched an effort to get office holders to pledge not to vote for any climate change legislation that increases federal government revenue. AFP announced earlier this week that many in the Republican Congressional leadership have signed on. The text of the pledge:

No Climate Tax Pledge:
I, ______________________, pledge to the taxpayers of the state of _______________ and to the American people that I will oppose any legislation relating to climate change that includes a net increase in government revenue.

It’s a worthwhile exercise, and while I know you have to keep these things short and simple, here is what I would add to the pledge:

I will also oppose any legislation relating to climate change that:

1. Includes a net increase in revenues to rent-seekers like Al Gore.

2. Includes a net increase in revenues to research funding whores like university environmental study centers.

3. Coerces utilities and industries (and therefore their customers) to pay added fees and surcharges that are redirected to other useless, government-mandated programs such as energy efficiency and green jobs.

4. Prevents the construction of new fossil fuel-powered power plants.

5. Subsidizes costly, inefficient sources of energy at the expense of less expensive, more efficient ones.

6. Does not measure results of policies it advocates in terms of their affect on global average temperatures, rather than greenhouse gas emissions.

I could probably think of more but that’s a start.

In the News

by William Yeatman on April 29, 2009

in Blog

Draft Climate Bill Reveals Deep Rifts
Gerard Wynn, Reuters, 29 April 2009

A gulf needs to be bridged if the world is to sign a new climate treaty by a December deadline, according to proposals from more than 30 countries posted on a U.N. website on Tuesday.

Chevy “Volt” Not Ready To Roll
Charles Lane, Washington Post, 29 April 2009

Translation: Unless and until gas prices shoot up, you’d be crazy to buy one of these much-ballyhooed vehicles, which will run 40 miles on a single charge if GM can overcome difficult battery-engineering issues.

Morning Bell: Al Gore’s Morals vs. Your Pocket Book
Heritage Foundation, 27 April 2009

Endorsing the Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill Friday, Al Gore told the House Energy and Commerce Committee: “I believe this legislation has the moral significance equivalent to that of the civil rights legislation of the 1960’s and the Marshall Plan of the late 1940’s.” Gore went on to warn of global sea level rises of 20 feet and monster Hurricanes. He even blamed recent floods in Fargo, North Dakota and wildfires in California and Australia on global warming.

This is a worthy topic for continued congressional exploration. In short, the video and accompanying narrative dissect how, at his Friday Capitol Hill appearance touting a scheme to ration energy while in the process rewarding business who helped write the scheme:

Al Gore obfuscates, downplays and refuses to discuss the role that CEOs have played in crafting his Cap-and-Trade C02 trading schemes and carbon swapping systems.

Al Gore tries to put a lid in Congressional committee testimony on a little reported but vitally important subject in the global warming, carbon-tax ‘debate’- the new derivatives bubble in the emerging green-energy credit-swap market….

The point from Rep. Scalise that is gaveled over by the chairman and stuttered-over by Gore is that many of the Congressmen are ‘concerned about turning over our energy economy over to firms like Enron and some of these Wall Street firms that wrecked out financial economy.’

Fmr. Vice President Al Gore denies that Ken Lay and other CEOs developed carbon scheme: “I didn’t know him well enough to call him ‘Kenny-boy’.

Of course, Gore wasn’t the home-state governor of this Fortune 15 company either, so I guess his supposed lack of familiarity (keep reading) would make sense – but one might ask what nickname Gore had for (or from) close family friend and, ahem, benefactor, the Soviet stooge Armand Hammer? Maurice Strong? The gang at his own personal Enron, scam-artist and buddy-run Molten Metals? Et cetera, et cetera…

Here, we see how Gore lapses into his true self, well-known before adoption of this Right Rev. persona, to rather awkwardly try and change the subject from something that is rightly discomfiting to him. So allow me to address the point, as there is much, much more to the story.

Twelve years ago almost to this very day I left my law firm to accept a position that had rather unexpectedly fallen in my lap with a phone call from Enron, asking me to be their Director of Federal Government Relations. Everyone polled suggested it was a great opportunity, a company admired throughout town, not just by the current (Clinton-Gore) administration with which it was very close, but by Republicans, too.

My recollection is that it was my first day on the job when I walked into my boss’s office in Enron’s suite across from the White House, smack into a meeting between her and who I now know to be two of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s senior DC officials. OK. But the next day I was tasked with sitting in for “Kenny Boy” at a meeting in fancy New York law firm offices (in DC), around a table of Baptists and Bootleggers, rent-seekers and green puritans, discussing how to ensure a global warming treaty came about, of our collective design, and how to rope the U.S. in.

So, seeing very measured groups like Union of Concerned Scientists on my immediate left, I turned to one of the rent-seekers’ officers on my right, among whom I recall being the American Gas Association, Niagara-Mohawk Power, and BP, among others. In response to my query, “what are we doing sitting around a table with a bunch of people who want to put us out of business?”, I was told with a laugh, “they want to put coal out of business first.”

Lovely people, these folks kind enough to introduce me to the world’s second-oldest profession of trying to make one’s fortune off of policy favors from buddies in government instead of by innovation or competition. Frederic Bastiat, phone your office.

So I fired off a “Houston, we have a problem” missive to my boss asking if Enron knew what it was getting into in this group. That’s when they explained the specifics of their business plan to me – which did include setting up a trading business with Goldman, by the way, as one of Goldman’s energy practice chiefs at the time also roared to me in joy about about all of the money they were going to make. This cannot conceivably be news to Gore and his VC partner and former Goldman Pooh-Bah Blood discussed in the linked item.

This plan has since been carried off to greener pastures by numerous of Kenny Boy’s protégés – including one of the most vocal leaders of the current industry push for the cap-and-trade rationing scheme, as I detail in “Red Hot Lies: How Global Warming Alarmists Use Force, Fraud, and Deception to Keep You Misinformed“. Read that if you want to know just how Rep. Scalise really did nail things in his questioning.

Anyway, fast forward a few uncomfortable weeks of retaliatory behavior that I am confident you wouldn’t believe, but I’d be happy to take a speaking fee to tell you about. I’m gone, and Enron and the greens are continuing on their way with what happens to be Congress’s current agenda. Soon thereafter, in July of that year (1997), a unanimous Senate votes pursuant to Art. II, Sec. 2, its (unsolicited) “advice” to Clinton-Gore to not go to Kyoto and agree to that beast. In December Al Gore then flies off to Kyoto to do just that.

The intervening event? An August 4, 1997 Oval Office meeting with Kenny Boy, (then-) Sir John Browne of BP, and the President and Vice President of the United States. Let that sink in. He didn’t know the guy. But anyone who can even spell “Beltway” can tell you that that kind of orchestration and attention takes serious influence. Ask Gordon Brown.

As revealed by the August 1, 1997 Kenny Boy briefing memo subsequently aired after the unpleasantness, in this meeting Kenny Boy was to demand that the Senate be ignored, that the administration agree to Kyoto, and most important that it contain a cap-and-trade scheme.

I know where “advice and consent” is in the Constitution. I’m not so sure where Ken Lay and Sir John Browne are, probably in the back with all of the scary stuff. Anyway, you know who won.

So, in tossing things back to Gore to finally answer the question, I leave you with key excerpts from the “what I did in Kyoto” memo by Lay’s Kyoto aide (yep, he had one), John Palmissano, hailing Enron’s success:

  • “This treaty [Kyoto] is exactly what I have been lobbying for”
  • “This agreement will be good for Enron stock!!”
  • “Enron now has excellent credentials with many ‘green’ interests including Greenpeace, [World Wildlife Fund], [Natural Resources Defense Council], German Watch, the U.S. Climate Action Network, the European Climate Action Network, Ozone Action, WRI, and Worldwatch.”
  • “This position should be increasingly cultivated and capitalized on (monitized).” (sic)
  • “if implemented, this agreement will do more to promote Enron’s business than will almost any other regulatory initiative outside of restructuring of the energy and natural gas industries in Europe and the United States.”

Joe Romm of the liberalista Center for American Progress (posting at Climateprogress.org) has spent much time promoting the global warming environoia legislation of his facial and ideological likeness, Rep. Henry Waxman, during the last few days. But yesterday, marking the first 100 days of Obama, he became more reflective (appropriate for a lazy Sunday) over the historic significance of the first black/green president. While three months ago liberals and media formerly known as mainstream marveled simply over his election, Romm already places Obama high in the historical ranks while demoting others:

Obama has clearly demonstrated he has a serious chance to be the first President since FDR to remake the country through his positive vision.  Indeed, if Obama is a two-term president, if he achieves even half of what he has set out to, he will likely be remembered as “the green FDR.” (Romm’s emphasis)

As an interesting side note, President Reagan, who is held in some esteem with historians these days, will almost certainly be relegated to a second-tier, if not third-tier, president by the painful dual realities of global warming and peak oil.  After all, it was Ronald Reagan who put conservatives strongly and permanently on the pro-pollution, anti-efficiency, anti-clean-energy side, where they remain today. It is Reagan, more than anyone else, who put the GOP on the self-destructively wrong side of scientific reality (though Newt Gingrich is a close second).

Romm goes on to rebuke the “establishment” media who “doesn’t get global warming” (but Joe — they try so hard!). But that’s just Joe being Joe. Meanwhile, take a look again and dare to tell me that Romm and Waxman were not built from the same transparencies in the scaremongering Identikit.


In the News

Global Warming Overreach
Kimberley Strassel, Wall Street Journal, 24 April 2009

Reckless Endangerment
Wall Street Journal, 24 April 2009

It’s Not Easy Being Green
W. James Antle III, American Spectator, 24 April 2009

The Biggest Tax Increase in History?
Myron Ebell, FoxNews.com, 23 April 2009

On Global Warming, Politics Trumps Science
Anthony J. Sadar & Susan T. Cammarata, Washington Times, 22 April 2009

Exploding Myths on Energy and the Environment
Drew Thornley, DC Examiner, 22 April 2009

Getting a Rise out of Us
Chris Horner, Washington Times, 21 April 2009

EPA’s Endangerment Finding: Legislative Hammer? Or Suicide Note?
Marlo Lewis, DC Examiner, 21 April 2009

The Unbearable Lightness of Wind
William Tucker, American Spectator, 21 April 2009

Global Warming Will Not Make Humans Worse Off
Indur Goklany, MasterResource.org, 20 April 2009

Consider the Costs of Environmental Edicts
Orange County Register, 20 April 2009

News You Can Use

The Cost of Cap-and-Trade

Global warming alarmists recently criticized Republicans for incorrectly citing a Massachusetts Institute of Technology study that estimated a cap-and-trade energy rationing scheme would cost the average American household $3,100 a year. The alarmists were right-according to the Weekly Standard’s John McCormack, the actual cost suggested by the MIT study is $3,900 per year per American household.

Inside the Beltway

Myron Ebell

Three Days of Climate Hearings

The big news in Washington this week has been the three days of hearings on the Waxman-Markey draft energy rationing bill. Beginning on Wednesday morning with EPA Administrator Lisa M. Jackson, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will have heard from more than sixty witnesses by the time they finish on Friday evening. Jackson, Chu, and LaHood didn’t say much of interest, but their panel was very revealing in two respects. First, the committee no longer has a lot of members who know a lot about energy or basic economics. There are still some Republicans who do, but the Democrat are a sorry bunch, led by Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), who makes Al Gore look moderately well informed.

Second, Jackson, Chu, and LaHood are enthusiastic about the bill and looking forward to learning more about it. In response to a question from Rep. Greg Walden (R-Oreg.), who represents my native eastern Oregon, they all admitted that they hadn’t read the bill, but assured the committee that they had staffers who had read it. As became apparent, most committee members haven’t read the draft either, and who can blame them? It’s 648 pages long, highly technical, and tedious. All three administration witnesses described it as a bill that was about creating jobs, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and helping the economy, although they couldn’t explain how. Nor did they say much about global warming.

Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), former Chairman of the Committee, asked Jackson how many regulations would be required to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act as a result of Jackson’s 16th April endangerment finding. She couldn’t answer, but Dingell said his rough count was 106 separate regulations. Dingell also mentioned that he never had any intention to regulate carbon dioxide emissions when he wrote the Clean Air Act and subsequent amendments.

The highlight for me was Rep. Joe Barton’s question to Dr. Chu about where all the oil in Alaska and the Arctic came from. Chu fumbled a little and then settled on movement of the tectonic plates. Sec. Chu: “There are, there’s continental plates that have been drifting around throughout the geological ages.” Rep. Barton: “So it just drifted up there?”  Sec. Chu: “Ah, that’s certainly what happened.”

I guess Dr. Chu never took geology in high school, but he spoke with the authority of a Nobel Prize winner.

The second panel consisted of members of the U. S. Climate Action Partnership.  They all support the legislation, as they should since the cap-and-trade title was written by USCAP. There’s one main condition: all the ration coupons have to be given to them for free, not auctioned. I testified on the next panel, which remarkably consisted of four witnesses requested by the minority Republicans and only three by the majority Democrats.  My written testimony is here. Also, here are the written statements of David Kreutzer of the Heritage Foundation, Paul Cicio of the Industrial Energy Consumers of America, and Steve Hayward of the American Enterprise Institute.  But the testimony that did the most damage to Waxman-Markey was surprisingly provided by Dr. Nathaniel Keohane of the Environmental Defense Fund. He brought up the EPA modeling of the costs of Waxman-Markey. EPA found that cutting emissions by 80% by 2050 will be almost free-or as Keohane put it, only 13 cents a day per person. The six or seven Republican Members were smiling as they listened to Keohane go on and on, while the two or three Democrats were wincing.

A highlight on Thursday was Professor Robert Michaels’s testimony. Of the sixty-some witnesses, about twelve were requested by the minority, but one of those is former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, so that’s one spot that doesn’t count. Gingrich was added at the last minute to follow the week’s star witness, former Vice President Al Gore. I’m listening to Gore and former Senator John Warner (R-Va.) as I write this. Gore’s written testimony can be found here.  In reply to a question from Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Gore said that he wasn’t against nuclear power but doubted that it would play much of a role in reducing emissions because it’s too costly to build new plants and no one knows how much it will cost to build new plants. Then Gore said that the costs of renewable energy technologies will turn out to be much lower than predicted and that energy costs would go down once the Congress waved its magic wand. He didn’t mention that most of these cheaper technologies have been invented yet, but his faith in America’s technological creativity is touching.

Gore didn’t answer a question from Rep. Barton, but he did say that Barton was unfortunately relying on scientists who were providing him with bad information. He then compared the situation to investors who had been duped by Bernie Madoff. Gore, too, thinks that the costs will be very low and ultimately be a net benefit to the economy.

What’s Next?

Now that the House Energy and Commerce Committee has had three grueling days of hearings on the Waxman-Markey draft energy rationing bill, what happens next?  Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Chairman of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee, has announced that he intends to mark up the bill starting on Monday, 27th April.  Mark-up may happen that quickly, but if it does start on Monday committee staffers aren’t going to get any sleep this weekend. The bill has one huge hole in it-how the ration coupons are going to be divvied up.  It has been reported that Markey and Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) still haven’t rounded up enough votes from committee Democrats from districts that still produce energy or have energy-intensive industries to pass the bill out of subcommittee. Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.), former chairman of the subcommittee, and a group of “Blue Dog” Democrats have presented a list of four pages of changes that they made before committing to support the bill.  It has been reported that Waxman has Members lined up to do deals.  As he agrees to give away ration coupons to one special interest after another in order to secure enough votes to pass this turkey, it will be interesting to see if the total adds up to more than 100%.

The Science

Julie Walsh

Arctic Ice Recovers

Last century’s and this century’s sun make look the same, but they are very different. ‘Between 1645 and 1715, sunspots were very rare and temperatures were low. Then sunspot frequency grew until, between 1930 and 2000, the Sun was more active than at almost any time in the last 10,000 years. The oceans can cause up to several decades of delay before air temperatures respond fully to this solar “Grand Maximum.” Now that the Sun is becoming less active again, global temperatures have fallen for seven years,’ according to Willie Soon, a solar and climate scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

Is it any wonder that, despite many news stories to the contrary, Arctic ice is now increasing and almost back up to average levels? However, Juliet Eilperin and Mary Beth Sheridan write in their Washington Post April 7 article, “New Data Show Rapid Arctic Ice Decline; Proportion of Thicker, More Persistent Winter Cover Is the Lowest on Record”:

The Arctic sea ice cover continues to shrink and become thinner, according to satellite measurements and other data released yesterday, providing further evidence that the region is warming more rapidly than scientists had expected.

Around the World

U.S. Faces Diplomatic Deadline

Today is the cutoff for the Obama Administration to submit input for a successor treaty to the failed Kyoto Protocol in advance of negotiations at the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change this December in Copenhagen.

Forty-eight hours before the deadline, Todd Stern, Obama’s climate envoy, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman that there remained “suspense” in the “main outline” of U.S. input to a climate treaty, presumably because the Congress had yet to pass a bill to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Stern is missing the boat. Even if the U.S. Congress agreed to reduce American emissions to zero by next winter, a new treaty is impossible until developed nations agree to pay for a “green” energy revolution in developing nations. These countries will account for almost all future increases in global emissions, but they refuse expensive-energy policies that would harm economic growth. Absent hundreds of billions of dollars a year in financing for new, environmentally friendly energy technologies in developing countries, there can be no successor to the failed Kyoto Protocol. That’s why European Union Environmental Commissioner Stavros Dimas last week told reporters, “No money, no deal.”

For Stern’s diplomatic strategy to work, the Congress would have to ration energy in America AND pass funding for a green energy package for China, India, and the major developing nations. The federal government would have to borrow the hundreds of billions of dollars needed to pay them off, and I suppose China would be willing to loan it to us.

In North Carolina legislators and environmental regulators have redirected gas tax revenues from road maintenance and repair to politically-motivated efforts such as propping up The Climate Registry and Attorney General Roy Cooper’s case against the Tennessee Valley Authority. The John Locke Foundation’s Roy Cordato puts it all together from stories published in Carolina Journal, JLF’s newspaper:

The Climate Registry’s mission has nothing to do with the emissions regulated by the state. As reported by (CJ’s David) Bass, the Climate Registry’s “goal is to persuade companies, organizations, and state and local governments to report their greenhouse gas emissions in hopes of curbing climate change.” On its Web site, CR states that “the Registry supports both voluntary and mandatory reporting programs.”

In other words, part of the registry’s goal is to have carbon dioxide, which supporters believe is causing global warming, declared a pollutant by state and federal governments. As an aside, there has been no net warming since 1998. What Carolina Journal has uncovered is that DAQ allocated $100,000 simply as a donation to CR’s activities. Half of this money was from DAQ’s gasoline tax allocation, i.e., from the pockets of drivers who are slamming into potholes across the state because DOT cannot find the resources to have them filled.

Cordato also highlights how gas tax income for the state was detoured to high-priced lawyers working on the TVA case, in which Cooper — with no other grounds for litigation — sued the neighboring utility on “nuisance” grounds.

Bass’ second story focuses on a much greater sum — $1 million. This also came from DAQ’s allocation of gasoline taxes, but apparently with some resistance. In the April issue of Carolina Journal, Bass reports on $1 million of gas tax money that was transferred to Attorney General Roy Cooper’s office. The purpose of this transfer was to help fund the AG’s lawsuit against the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), a federal government agency that produces electricity from coal-fired power plants, as do most power plants in North Carolina. The state was suing the TVA for pollution problems in North Carolina that are allegedly being caused by emissions from the TVA plants.

As Bass reported, this rather large sum of gas tax money ultimately went to pay the cost of very high-priced law firms. The Ayres Law Group and the Resolution Law Group were hired by the AG’s office at rates of up to $515 per hour with work by paralegals (nonlawyers typically trained at community colleges) being billed at $100 per hour. Among the extravagant expenses reported was a bill for almost $7,000 by the Resolution Law Group for a one-month stay by a paralegal in a king suite at the Embassy Suites Hotel at the Chevy Chase Pavilion in Washington, D.C. This is a high-end luxury resort hotel.

So, how bad are the roads in your state? Are gas tax revenues being derailed to instead to pay agenda-driven, high-priced lawyers, and to promote the climate alarmism agenda? Chances are good that they are.

Texas, once known for its oil tycoons and cattle barons, is now a stage on which renewable-energy moguls preen and strut. But whereas demand for Texas oil and cattle was market-driven, the State’s renewable boom is a creature of politics.  Robert L. Bradley, Jr., an historian of political capitalism, chronicles the lastest chapter in the Lone Star State’s patronage of Big Green here.

Obama has asked the big three networks to give him a free hour of air time on his hundredth day in office. They have said they’ll probably give it to him — not surprising if you consider all the support they gave him in the 2008 election.

One thing they probably won’t do is ask him any inconvenient questions about all his broken campaign promises, like his pledge to enact a “net spending cut,” his promise not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000 a year, and his promise not to sign bills without first giving the public five days of notice. Obama has broken his campaign promises far more flagrantly than his predecessors did in their first 100 days in office.

The Congressional Budget Office says that Obama’s proposed budgets will explode the national debt through massive spending increases, increasing the already large deficits left behind by the Bush Administration from $4.4 trillion to $9.3 trillion. His record-setting budgets flagrantly violate his promise to propose a “net spending cut.”

Obama broke his campaign promise not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000 a year by signing a regressive SCHIP excise tax increase, and by proposing a cap-and-trade energy tax that could charge up to $2 trillion, a massive cost that Obama himself has said will be passed “on to consumers,” as well as homeowners and motorists. (In 2008, Obama privately admitted to the San Francisco Chronicle that if he was elected, electricity bills would “skyrocket” under his Administration, but it didn’t report that).

Over and over again, Obama has broken his campaign promise to give the public five days of notice before signing bills into law, including his very first law, the trial-lawyer backed Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Obama also repeatedly made false claims about the Supreme Court decision that the Ledbetter law overruled, misstating the facts of that case and how long it gives employees to sue over pay discrimination.

Obama broke seven campaign promises dealing with transparency and clean government in signing the $800 billion stimulus package, much of whose contents were secret until shortly before Congress voted on it, and whose 1400 pages went unread by most Congressmen who voted on it.

Obama’s broken promises are part of a larger pattern of dishonesty. Obama claimed his $800 billion stimulus package was needed to avert “irreversible decline.” But the Congressional Budget Office concluded before and after its passage that the stimulus package will actually cut the size of the economy in the long run. Obama’s budgets don’t add up, either, piling up $9.3 trillion in red ink, according to the Congressional Budget Office, a staggering $2.3 trillion more than Obama claimed.

File these vignettes among the endless list of political inanities that would be uproariously funny if the potential economic fallout were not so toxic.

Yesterday, in honor of Earth Day, House Energy & Commece Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) held an interminable hearing on global warming legislation that he and Rep. Ed Markey (D-CA) have drafted.

Ranking Member Joe Barton of Texas today issued a press release providing some comedic highlights from the proceeding. A grim green award goes to anyone who can read it without laughing.

Scenes from an Earth Day Hearing, Part II
House Energy & Commerce Committee, April 21-23

April 23, 2009

Is $8 gas good or bad? Energy Secretary: ‘Yes’

REP. CLIFF STEARNS, R-Fla.: Last September you made a statement that somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe, which at the time exceeded $8 a gallon. As Secretary of Energy, will you speak for or against any measures that would raise the price of gasoline?
SEC. CHU: As Secretary of Energy, I think especially now in today’s economic climate it would be completely unwise to want to increase the price of gasoline. And so we are looking forward to reducing the price of transportation in the American family. And this is done by encouraging fuel-efficient cars; this is done by developing alternative forms of fuel like biofuels that can lead to a separate source, an independent source of transportation fuel.
REP. STEARNS: But you can’t honestly believe that you want the American people to pay for gasoline at the prices, the level in Europe?
SEC. CHU: No, we don’t.
REP. STEARNS: No. But somehow, your statement, “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe,” doesn’t that sound a little bit silly in retrospect for you to say that?
SEC. CHU: Yes.

Huh? What was the question? Nukes? Ah…, we’ll…uh…work on it…hmmm.

REP. STEARNS: The first question I have is, this is directed to the Secretary of Energy. During your confirmation hearing, you testified that DOE has a legal obligation to safely dispose of nuclear waste. You said, “I’m supportive of the fact that the nuclear industry is and should have to be part of our energy mix in this century.” Doesn’t it concern you then that nuclear energy does not even seem to be a part of this bill? I think this is a follow-up to Mr. Upton’s question.
SEC. CHU: Well, while not specifically part of this bill, if you look at the sum package of all the bills like the American Recovery Act, nuclear energy is supported in those other bills.
REP. STEARNS: But don’t you think there should be a separate title in this bill for nuclear energy? Just yes or no.
SEC. CHU: Pardon? What was the question?
REP. STEARNS: Do you think there should be a separate title in this bill for nuclear energy? Just yes or no.
SEC. CHU: We’re looking forward to working with the committee on –
REP. STEARNS: No. Just yes or no. Do you think it should be? Can I have your yes or no answer?
SEC. CHU: A separate title in nuclear energy?
REP. STEARNS: Yes. Yes or no?
SEC. CHU: I think nuclear energy can be mentioned in this bill, but again it’s working with this committee and the administration in developing –
REP. STEARNS: Is that a “no” then? You don’t think that –
SEC. CHU: No. That was a, that was a – we will look forward to working with the committee and making sure that nuclear energy is part of our energy mix.

Green jobs go missing

REP. ED WHITFIELD, R-Ky.: I wanted to ask you all, you Mr. Chu particularly and Ms. Jackson, if you had read Gabriel Alvarez’ study – he’s at King Juan Carlos’s University in Madrid. And he used empirical data based on the government subsidizing renewable energy in Spain. And he came up with the conclusion exactly how much every job cost. And I know that President Obama in this renewable energy package is modeling using Spain as a model, one of the models. But for every job created in the renewable energy sector, so-called green job, that they lost 2.2 jobs. And this is a 50-page empirical study that he conducted. And I was just, have either one of you seen his study?
MS. JACKSON: No. I’m not familiar with his study….

We didn’t model that

REP. STEVE SCALISE, R-La.: Administrator Jackson, in your opening statement you talked about the jobs that would be created – green jobs that would be created under a cap-and-trade bill. Can you quantify how many jobs you estimate would be created under this legislation?
MS. JACKSON: I believe what I said, sir, is that this is a jobs bill and that the discussion draft bill in its entirety is aimed to jumpstart our move into the green economy.
REP. SCALISE: And I think you quoted President Obama saying that it was his opinion that he would – that this bill would create millions of jobs. I think you used the term “millions.” Is there anything that you can base your determination on how many jobs will be created?
MS. JACKSON: EPA has not done a model or any kind of modeling on jobs creation numbers.

Doomsday comes early to Ohio

REP. SCALISE: And, I mean, while you might not be a jobs expert, you’re obviously talking about, you know, and touting this bill as a jobs bill. If you would claim that it would create jobs, are you making an assumption that it won’t lose any jobs, that no jobs will be lost? Or if you don’t make that claim, how many jobs would you expect to be lost? Because groups have made very large claims. I mean, the National Association of Manufacturers claims our country would lose 3 to 4 million jobs as a result of a cap and trade energy tax.
So I just wanted to know if you or any members of the panel want to answer that question.
MS. JACKSON: I’ll go first and –
(Cross talk.)
REP. SCALISE: – if you would.
MS. JACKSON: I know that lobbyists keep playing large doomsday scenarios – quiet deaths for businesses across the country. That’s what lobbyists said about the Clean Air Act in 1990 and it didn’t happen. In fact, the U.S. economy grew 64 percent…
…REP. JOHN SHIMKUS, R-Illinois: Let me ask Administrator Jackson. Do you know how many jobs – coal miner jobs were lost in Ohio because of the Clean Air Act amendments which you were addressing earlier?
MS. JACKSON: No, sir.
REP. SHIMKUS: Thirty-five-thousand.

I know what the policy is because I saw it on the TV

EPA ADMINISTRATOR. JACKSON: The administration has no goal that is nefarious for coal. The president, on TV, in ads I see him talking about clean coal and how clean coal is crucial not only for the environment but to create jobs…

These buffooneries speak for themselves. The only comment I’d like to add is that Ms. Jackson should watch television (or Youtube) more often. Evidently, she missed these clips in which presidential candidate Obama acknowledged that his cap-and-trade plan would “necessarily” cause electricity prices to “skyrocket” and “bankrupt” anyone foolish enough to invest in new coal generation.