Cooler Heads Digest 12 June 2009

by William Yeatman on June 16, 2009


The deadline for the public comment period on the EPA’s proposed finding that greenhouse gases endanger human health and welfare is June 23rd. You may submit comments here.

In the News

Carbon Geography
Michael I. Cragg & Matthew E. Kahn, 10 June 2009

The UN’s Climate of Futility
Patrick Michaels, Planet Gore, 10 June 2009

Behind the Cap-and-Trade Curtain
Max Schulz, National Review, 9 June 2009

Review of New Books by Lawson and Stern
Myron Ebell, Standpoint, June 2009

Plan To Fight Global Warming-Pie in the Sky
Jonah Goldberg, Los Angeles Times, 9 June 2009

CO2 Is Hot Air
Chris Horner, Washington Times, 9 June 2009

Taxing Cows
Alan Caruba, Warning Signs, 9 June 2009

Texas Blasts Federal Efforts to Fight Global Warming
Russell Gold, 9 June 2009

Cap-and-Trade: The New Subprime Scam?
Rachel Morris, Mother Jones, 8 June 2009

Buried Code
Washington Post Editorial, 7 June 2009

News You Can Use

It Could Happen Here

According to the Herald Sun, Australian police will be forced to become “carbon cops” under the Government’s blueprint to cut greenhouse emissions.

Inside the Beltway

Myron Ebell

Update on House Energy Rationing Bill

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) and Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) are making mighty efforts to get the Waxman-Markey energy-rationing bill to the House floor before the Fourth of July recess, which is scheduled to begin on 26th June. The main obstacle to passage appears to be a group of moderate Democrats centered in the Agriculture Committee and led by Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), the Committee’s Chairman. Peterson claimed to have forty-five votes as he started horse trading with Pelosi and Waxman. I expect that the Democratic leadership will come up with enough votes to pass H. R. 2454 narrowly and with only a handful of Republican votes. They are rushing because they realize that the bill could implode at any time.  Should you care to tell your Representative whether to vote Yes or No on H. R. 2454, the Capitol switchboard number is (202) 225-3121.  Live operators will connect you to your Member even if you don’t know his name if you give your zip code.

Republicans Introduce a Pro-energy Bill

House Republicans on Wednesday unveiled the latest version of their pro-energy bill, the American Energy Act. The bill would increase domestic energy production, particularly oil and gas on federal lands and offshore areas, and includes no rationing provisions.  This could be the Republican substitute amendment when Waxman-Markey comes to the floor. It would draw a very clear distinction between Republicans, who think we need to increase access to energy, and Democrats, who think we need to force people to pay much more and use much less energy.

Boxer Wants Energy Rationing Bill by August

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, announced on Thursday that she plans to mark up the Senate version of Waxman-Markey in her committee before the August recess. Right now, there are probably enough votes to move the bill out of committee, but support in the full Senate looks far short of the 60 necessary to invoke cloture and proceed to a final vote. It’s not even clear to me that generic cap-and-trade legislation has majority support in the Senate.

California Scheming

California, the world leader in energy rationing (after North Korea, Cuba, etc.), now looks likely to go bankrupt by the end of July.  Californians Pelosi, Waxman, and Boxer are actively promoting at the federal level the policies that are contributing to the decline of the once-Golden State.

CBO’s Scoring of Waxman-Markey’s Cap-and-Tax Bill

Julie Walsh

The Congressional Budget Office released a report on June 5th detailing the costs and revenues of H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act, before the House. Noticeably absent, however, is analysis of the effects of Renewable Electricity Credits (RECs) and the domestic and international offset credits. These should force up costs for consumers and therefore reduce economic growth and federal revenues.

The bill gives away over three-quarters of the rationing coupons, auctioning off just 18 percent until 2020. CBO estimates in the first ten years the bill would bring in revenues of $845.6 billion, but increase federal spending by $821.2 billion-a $24.4 billion net gain over ten years.

The amount of coupons auctioned actually drops from 29.6% in 2012 and 2013 to 17.5% through 2019, while the free allocations (i.e., windfall profits) increase to 82.5%.

The new carbon market would exceed $60 billion by 2012.

CBO expects that some regions of the country-particularly the southeast-would probably not generate sufficient RECs to satisfy the federal standard, and therefore, would choose to make compliance payments.

More highlights are here.

Around the World

Backpedaling in Bonn

Last week’s Cooler Heads Digest reported that negotiations in Bonn for a successor climate treaty to the failed Kyoto Protocol actually regressed, because a European Union official unexpectedly backed off the EU’s promise to reduce emissions 20% by 2020.

This week we are pleased to report that negotiations deteriorated even further during the second half of the Bonn talks. On Monday, Japan unilaterally unveiled its greenhouse gas emissions target: 8% below 1990 levels by 2020. According to BBC News, green groups called the Japanese commitment “appalling.” They had been lobbying Japan and other industrialized nations to cut emissions 40% below 1990 levels by 2020.

Yvo de Boer, the UN’s top climate official, was stunned by the meagerness of Japan’s targets. For the first time in two years, “I don’t know what to say,” he admitted to the New York Times. Later, he told AFP that he believed it was impossible to meet the deadline for a global treaty by the 15th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change this December in Copenhagen.

Dr. Doom Goes to China

Also at Bonn, Todd Stern, the State Department’s top climate envoy, and White House Science Advisor Dr. John P. Holdren met with Chinese negotiators for bilateral climate talks. Details of the meeting are scant (an anonymous source told the China Daily that there was “limited progress“), but it is likely that the talks were strained-Dr. Holdren is an environmental extremist who once advocated industrial “de-development,” whereas rapid industrialization is China’s #1 priority.

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