Cooler Heads Digest 8 May 2009

by William Yeatman on May 11, 2009


More than 100 lawmakers at the federal, state and local levels have signed Americans for Prosperity’s No Climate Tax Pledge. This week, the National Taxpayers Union, Institute for Liberty and Competitive Enterprise Institute joined AFP as co-sponsors. Learn more at

In the News

Just What Is Waxman-Markey for?
Iain Murray, DC Examiner, 8 May 2009

Stunningly Trivial Emission Reductions from the Renewable Fuel Standard Program
Marlo Lewis,, 8 May 2009

Climate Tax Will Pollute Your Prosperity
Grover Norquist, Washington Times, 6 May 2009

EPA: Small Business Exposed to Climate Litigation
Ian Talley, Wall Street Journal, 6 May 2009

Award Winning Boat Anchors
Paul Chesser, American Spectator, 6 May 2009

Lobbyists Help Dems Draft Climate Bill
Tom LoBianco, Washington Times, 4 May 2009

GM Troubles Repeat British Auto Mistakes of the 1970s
Iain Murray, DC Examiner, 4 May 2009

Greenbacks for Green Energy Come from Taxpayer Pockets
Fred L Smith Jr. & William Yeatman, DC Examiner, 4 May 2009

Australia Postpones Climate Plan
Reuters, 4 May 2009

Green Jobs Debunked
William Yeatman, Townhall Magazine, 1 May 2009

News You Can Use

It Could Happen Here

According to the Daily Mail, laws aimed at tackling global warming could cost every family in Britain a staggering $30,000.

Waxman-Markey Climate Bill Is All Pain, No Gain

Using the same emissions scenarios employed by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, environmental scientist Chip Knappenberger calculates that the American Clean Energy and Security Act, if enacted, would reduce global warming by nine hundredths of one degree Fahrenheit.

Gallup: Al Gore “Is Losing”

“Any measure that we look at shows Al Gore’s losing at the moment. The public is just not that concerned,” Gallup editor Frank Newport told U.S. News and World Report this week.

Inside the Beltway

Myron Ebell

President Lobbies for Expensive Energy Bill

President Barack Obama met with Democratic members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Tuesday. He reportedly urged them to make a deal on the Waxman-Markey energy-rationing bill that would take account of regional economic differences, but did not wade into the details of the negotiations. Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) told reporters that talks between committee members were continuing and expressed confidence that a bill would be voted out of committee before Memorial Day.

Expensive Energy Bill Worries Moderate Democrats

As it happens, I am writing this while in Rep. Waxman’s incredibly wealthy district. I have talked to a number of well-informed Californians over the past few days and have found that they are aware that the state government’s energy and global warming policies are contributing to the economic downturn, which is severe and shows few signs of bottoming out. If even some of Waxman’s constituents are growing anxious about the costs of green energy, it should not be surprising if voters in districts that produce oil or coal or depend upon coal-fired electricity to produce energy-intensive goods are starting to become really worried by the Waxman-Markey bill. In a long and thorough analysis published in Thursday’s Environment and Energy Daily (subscription required), Alex Kaplun and Darren Samuelsohn consider the political prospects of the moderate and Blue Dog Democrats who represent many of these districts. They write:

“At first glance, the 15 or so moderate Energy and Commerce Committee Democrats who hold the fate of the climate change bill in their hands have little to fear as far as political repercussions in their home state. Virtually all of them won their last election by large margins and for most it has been several years since they saw a serious political challenge. But a closer examination of each moderate’s political situation also shows that a closely contested election may not be as far off as it may seem. And in many instances a vote on climate change legislation — depending on which side ultimately wins the public relations battle on the issue — could play a key role in their political futures.”

The votes of twelve of the nineteen undecided Members that they identify will be necessary to pass the bill out of the Energy and Commerce Committee. My guess is that public opinion in these districts is turning against cap-and-trade as people start to pay attention to the fact that it would have significant costs for them. That could make it difficult for these Members to vote for Waxman-Markey no matter how much it is watered down.

EPA Makes a Powerful Enemy

EPA on Tuesday released its proposed rulemaking to implement the Renewable Fuels Standard. The document is a monster–500 pages with 800 more in supporting documents. There will be a sixty-day comment period. I hope those who intend to comment can read faster than I can. EPA’s analysis of corn-based ethanol is that it will increase greenhouse gas emissions by 5 to 34 percent (depending on whether natural gas or coal is used to power the ethanol distillery) over a thirty-year payback period above gasoline derived entirely from petroleum. EPA’s estimate includes the indirect effects of land-use changes.

One powerful moderate Democrat reacted by blowing his top. Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) announced at a hearing that the EPA finding that corn ethanol increases greenhouse gas emissions would kill the biofuel industry. He then stunned the hearing audience and probably some members of his committee: “I want this message sent back down the street (that is, down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House). I will not support any climate change bill. I don’t trust anybody anymore.”

Crisis Averted

Julie Walsh

How many times have you heard it breathlessly declared that a warming Arctic will melt the permafrost and release methane, a greenhouse gas twenty-five times more potent than carbon dioxide? Well, unnoticed by the regular press, a six-year study has determined that the vast store of planet-warming methane appears to be more stable than thought, easing fears of a rapid rise in temperatures. Crisis averted.

Across the States

New Kansas Gov Says Yes to Coal

Before she was confirmed in late April as Secretary of Human Health and Services, Kathleen Sebelius served as the governor of Kansas, and one of her last acts in that capacity was to veto a bill passed by the State Legislature that would have allowed for the construction of two coal-fired power plants in the southwestern part of the State. Sebelius already had vetoed 4 similar bills. In a stunning reversal, her successor, Gov. Mark Parkinson, this week decided to allow the construction of one 895 megawatt plant.

Even Berkeley Liberals Don’t Want to Pay for Green Energy

Tracy Seipal of the San Jose Mercury News this week reported that, “After two years of public outreach and debate on an ambitious and controversial plan to curb global warming, Berkeley’s city council this week was forced to water down the proposal…after angry homeowners complained the plan could cost them tens of thousands of dollars.”

Durango Ditches Green Power

Durango (Colorado) City will save more than $45,000 by using coal power instead of wind energy to generate electricity for government buildings. Manager Ron LeBlanc told the USA Today, “It’s very hard for us to lay off an employee to justify green power.”

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