Cooler Heads Digest 1 May 2009

by William Yeatman on May 4, 2009

in Cooler Heads Digest

In the News

The Real Danger of Global Warming
Vaclav Klaus,, 1 May 2009

Obama’s Plan “Necessarily” Skyrockets Energy Bills
Paul Chesser, DC Examiner, 1 May 2009

Back to the Good Old Days
Paul Driessen,, 1 May 2009

CO2 Fantasy
Deroy Murdock, Indianapolis Star, 30 April 2009

Make Believe World of Cap-and-Trade
Vincent Carroll, Denver Post, 29 April 2009

Al Gore Is Wrong on Arctic Ice
Kenneth P. Green,, 30 April 2009

A Primer for Deniers
Lawrence Solomon, Financial Post, 30 April 2009

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

Al Gore’s Morals vs. Your Pocketbook
Morning Bell,, 27 April 2009

News You Can Use

  • Sea ice around Antarctica has been increasing at a rate of 100,000 sq km a decade since the 1970s, according to a new study by the British Antarctic Survey, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters (reported in The Australian).
  • A new Zogby Poll shows that 57% of Americans oppose cap-and-trade schemes.
  • Charles River Associates released a study this week estimating that President Barack Obama’s cap-and-trade scheme would kill 1.9 million jobs by 2020.

Inside the Beltway

Myron Ebell

Waxman-Markey Update

After cancelling this week’s scheduled subcommittee mark-up, Representatives Henry Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.) have spent the week trying to gain enough support to pass their energy rationing bill out of committee. Very few details have emerged from these backroom sessions, and so it is not clear that Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Waxman and Energy and the Environment Subcommittee Chairman Markey have yet made enough concessions to win over Democrats representing districts that produce oil or coal, rely on coal for electricity, or have energy-intensive manufacturing. These Democrats are: Mike Ross (Ark.), Gene Green (Tex.), Charles Melancon (La.), Mike Doyle (Penna.), Rick Boucher (Va.), Bart Stupak (Mich.), John Barrow (Ga.), Bart Gordon (Tenn.), Jim Matheson (Utah), G. K. Butterfield (NC), Baron Hill (Ind.), and Zack Space (Ohio). Thus whether the committee holds a mark-up next week is still up in the air as I write this.

Highlights from Hearings

In the meantime, I have been thumbing through the transcripts of last week’s three long days of hearings on the Waxman-Markey draft bill. The highlights would fill many pages. Let me just mention a few.

The panel of witnesses representing the U. S. Climate Action Partnership, a big business special interest coalition of companies that wrote the cap-and trade title of the bill, naturally all testified in favor of the Waxman-Markey bill.  However, they were asked by Representative Joe Barton (R-Tex.), the ranking Republican on the Committee, whether they would support the cap-and-trade program if all the ration coupons were auctioned rather than given away free to them. No, sorry, they would then have to oppose the bill. From which I conclude that global warming is a crisis as long as you think you can get rich off it.

Former Vice President Al Gore was the star witness of the hearings, but former House Speaker Newt Gingrich stole the show.  I am far from being a fan of Gingrich, but he did a great job attacking the premises of the bill.  Gingrich was a fill-in witness after Chairman Waxman refused the Republicans’ request to invite Christopher, Viscount Monckton to testify.

Gore’s testimony was much less impressive.  He is still making scientific claims that are not supported or have been discredited in the scientific literature.  He also claimed that it is possible to remake America’s energy sector even more quickly than the targets in the bill, but doesn’t see that the first obstacle to doing this is the regulatory structure that can delay building new transmission lines, wind farms, etc. for decades.  And while the doomsday clock is running, he still wants to think about nuclear power as something we should consider.

In reply to a question from Representative Marsha Blackburn (D-Tenn.), Gore assured the Committee that every penny he had earned from his investments in renewable energy and from his movie and book had been donated to his non-profit group, the Alliance for Climate Protection.  He did not mention that his tax deductible donations to the Alliance for Climate Protection are being used to promote policies that would increase the value of his investments.  Nor did he promise that all future pennies earned would also be donated to some worthy cause.  That’s the real point.  The real profits from investments in renewable will come if energy-rationing legislation is enacted.  So Al could still be set to make hundreds of millions, perhaps even billions, of dollars for himself and his partners at Generation Investment Management and Kleiner Perkins.

Renewables Can’t Compete

Julie Walsh

The Energy Information Agency sent us their calculations for the levelized costs of different power sources in 2016, minus any incentives, under an adjustment that simulates a $15 per ton CO2 emissions fee. (rounded)

Natural gas advanced combined cycle: 8 ¢/kwh
Conventional coal: 9.3 ¢/kwh
Advanced nuclear: 10.5 ¢/kwh
Biomass: 11.3 ¢/kwh
Wind: 11.6 ¢/kwh
Advanced coal with carbon capture and sequestration: 11.5 ¢/kwh
Offshore wind: 22.5 ¢/kwh
Solar thermal: 25.8 ¢/kwh

Therefore the “rush to gas” fears are justified and renewables would still require massive subsidies.

(Email Julie Walsh at for EIA’s excel spread sheet calculations and notes. Source:  Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Outlook, 2009 DOE/EIA-0383(2009).)

Across the States

EPA Revokes Permit for Navajo Power Plant

Last week the Environmental Protection Agency withdrew an air quality permit for a proposed coal fired power plant in the Four Corners administered by the Navajo Nation. The EPA reasoned that “complete analysis” had not yet been performed when it issued the permit last summer. Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley said in a statement the decision was further proof that the U.S. government isn’t “honest and truthful in its dealings with Native America.”


On Monday, the California Air Resources Board approved a Low Carbon Fuel Standard that requires the State’s fuel supply to achieve a 10% reduction in “carbon intensity” by 2020. CARB’s Mary Nichols said that the measure will break California’s petroleum habit, but Severin Borenstein, director of the Energy Institute at the University of California, Berkeley, told the Miami Herald that there’s no certainty alternative fuels will be ready to meet the demand.


The DC Examiner reports this week that Montgomery County (Maryland) officials want to scale back some of the county’s ambitious efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to help bridge a budget gap of more than $550 million.

Around the World

Canadian Emissions Increase

Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions jumped 4% from 2006 to 2007, according to Environment Canada. Since it signed the Kyoto Protocol, Canada’s emissions have increased every year for which there is data available.

Green Jobs for China

Lewis Page of the Register reports that international wind-turbine maker Vestas announced it will lay-off 600 employees in the United Kingdom. The day after that decision, the company announced new investments to expand existing Chinese plants, which likely are powered by coal.


The article last week entitled “Arctic Ice Recovers” should have been titled “Arctic Ice Recovering.” Also, the graph that best show the Arctic ice increasing since the low in 2007 referred to (here) is from “The Cryosphere Today,” run by the Polar Research Group in the Department of Atmospheric Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: