Cooler Heads Digest 23 June 2009

by William Yeatman on June 23, 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

The Big Chill
Pete Du Pont, Wall Street Journal, 19 June 2009

Scared Silly by Global Warming Alarmism
Bjorn Lomborg, The Korea Times, 19 June 2009

Commandeered by Climate Alarmists
Paul Chesser, American Spectator, 19 June 2009

California Unions Muscle in on Green Jobs
Todd Woody, New York Times, 18 June 2009

Map: How Much Will Waxman-Markey Cost Your State?
Chris Horner, Planet Gore, 18 June 2009

Reasons To Distrust Your Government
Alan Caruba, Warning Signs, 18 June 2009

Utilities Could Cash in on Climate Bill
Andy Stone & Jonathan Fahey, Forbes, 17 June 2009

Global Warming Bill Is a Job Killer
Investor’s Business Daily editorial, 17 June 2009

Waxman-Markey: A Dog That Won’t Hunt
Robert Murphy,, 17 June 2009

Obama Ressurrects Illinois Green Energy Boondoggle
Tim Carney, Washington Examiner, 17 June 2009

Ethanol vs. Enviros
William Yeatman & Jeremy Lott, American Spectator, 17 June 2009

Global Cooling
Colorado Springs Gazette editorial, 16 June 2009

Breaking Down the Cost of Waxman-Markey Energy Rationing Bill
Nick Loris, The Foundry, 15 June 2009

News You Can Use

Rasmussen Poll: Voters Want More Energy

According to the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey, voters believe that finding new sources of energy is more important than reducing the amount of energy Americans now consume by a 60% to 32% margin.

Inside the Beltway

Myron Ebell

Update on Waxman-Markey Energy Rationing Bill

The Waxman-Markey energy-rationing bill may come to the House floor next week. Or it may not.  Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) and Representative Henry Waxman (D-Beverly Hills), Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, are still negotiating with a farm-state faction led by Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), Chairman of the Agriculture Committee, to gain enough votes to pass the bill. Press reports suggest that they are further from making a deal today than a couple days ago.  That may be true, but at this point comments from Waxman, Pelosi, and Peterson may not accurately reflect the state of their negotiations. It’s a poker game now. As I write, Roll Call and E and E News PM both report that floor action is unlikely next week because the deal isn’t done yet.  But maybe it will be over the weekend or on Monday.

The National Rural Electric Co-operative Association is also raising a fuss since they discovered that they weren’t close enough to the trough when the free ration coupons were handed out. It has been reported that NRECA may drop their potential opposition to the bill if the co-operatives are given 1% of the coupons. It’s not much, but it may be enough for the president of NRECA, Glenn English, to quiet down his members. English is a former Democratic Congressman from Oklahoma. Former Members promote themselves on the basis of the access they have to their former colleagues. However, it is my experience that access is often a liability. It seems to me that English is so eager to agree to a deal with Waxman and Pelosi because if he doesn’t their doors will be closed the next time he stops by.

Focus Groups: Public Is Not Buying “Green Jobs” Nonsense

As Waxman-Markey inches closer to passage by the House, a memo has surfaced in the press that reports that the public isn’t buying global warming or cap-and-trade legislation.  According to the results of “a set of 12 focus groups with swing voters in six states,” Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and Third Way (a “progressive” public policy group) advise that the public are eager for dramatic change in energy policy, but that they “are not yet engaged on the issue and are susceptible to the argument that the progressive policy proposal [that is, cap-and-trade] amounts to a big energy tax.”  Well, yes, people are susceptible to that argument because cap-and-trade does amount to a big energy tax on them.

So how to sell this big energy tax?  The memo advises less emphasis on global warming and green jobs and more on clean energy.  They suggest the slogan, Get America running on clean energy.  That’s what worked with the focus groups.  My slogan is, It’s a tax!  We’ll see which one is more effective.

The Government’s Winners and Losers

Julie Walsh

Government subsidies, tariffs, and special treatment for certain industries make an uneven playing field for competing energy options for consumers. This creates winners and losers based on the government’s favors. The government’s track record picking winners and losers hasn’t been good.

Winners: Wind and Solar

Wind and solar energy have been receiving government subsidies since the ’70s, currently now at the rate of $23 per megawatt hour. Coal-fired power only costs around $25 per megawatt hour and receives a 44 cent per megawatt hour subsidy.

Loser:  Thorium energy

Proponents of Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors believe they can provide energy cheaper than from coal. And there are enough thorium reserves to power the world for centuries. A thorium reactor produces less than 1% of the radioactive waste of today’s nuclear power plants and can even consume the existing nuclear waste. In the 1990s the Megatons to Megawatts program spent millions of dollars to develop this design under a federal grant to a private company that did most of its research in Russia in order to keep former Soviet scientists busy so that they wouldn’t be forced to sell their expertise to terrorists.

The Science

Dr. Doom Unveils Doomsday Report

On June 17, the U. S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) released a report, “Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States.”  The report was prepared by the Office of Science and Technology Policy, which is headed by Dr. John P. Holdren, a doomsday theorist who once suggested that climate change will kill a billion people by 2020. As such, it’s unsurprising that the report is as alarming as it is flawed.

The first key finding of the report is, “Global warming is unequivocal and primarily human-induced.”  Yet global temperatures have not increased statistically since 1995, despite a steady increase in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (the supposed cause of so-called global warming), so it’s hard to see how global warming is “unequivocal.”

Many projections made by the report depend upon climate models that have no skill in regional forecasting. Many scientists agree that the models currently have no predictive ability on the regional scale, and therefore should not be relied upon for policy decisions.

Across the States

California Renewable Requirement=Expensive Energy

E&E News (subscription required) reported this week on a new study from the California Public Utilities Commission showing that utility bills for California homes will increase by 24% under a requirement that renewable energy sources generate a third of the Golden State’s electricity by 2020. The Waxman-Markey energy rationing bill would require the nation’s electric utilities to use at least 20% renewable power by 2020.

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