Cooler Heads Digest 24 July 2009

by William Yeatman on July 25, 2009


The Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Marlo Lewis today unveiled his new film, Policy Peril: Why Global Warming Policies Are More Dangerous Than Global Warming Itself. Over the next two weeks, he’ll be posting on one excerpt from the film a day along with comments and links to newer information that has since come out. The videos present a powerful argument that the global warming debate is very far from “over.”

The Marshall Institute this week released “The Cocktail Guide to Global Warming,” a succinct compendium of replies to questions about climate change.

In the News

The Climate Science Debate Is Just Getting Interesting
Marlo Lewis,, 24 July 2009

Cold Shoulder to Climate “Urgency”
George Will, Washington Post, 23 July 2009

NY Mayor as Big a Climate Hypocrite as Gore
Leo Standora, New York Daily, 23 July 2009

Toxic Revenge
Silvia Santacruz, Forbes, 21 July 2009

GOP Targets Cap-and-Trade Supporters
Wall Street Journal, 21 July 2009

Obama’s Wacky Climate Czar
Joseph Abrahams, Fox News, 21 July 2009

Global Warming’s Missing Link
Chris Horner, Energy Tribune, 20 July 2009

Governors Bite Back
Paul Chesser, American Spectator, 20 July 2009

News You Can Use

Department of Inefficient Energy

The Wall Street Journal this week reported on a government audit of the Department of Energy that claims the DOE wasted almost $11 million in taxpayer money in 2009 due to inefficient energy use.

Your Taxpayer Dollars Pay for Alarmist Science
According to a new paper, “Climate Money,” written by Joanne Nova for the Science & Public Policy Institute, the federal government has spent $32 billion on climate research.

Inside the Beltway

Myron Ebell

All Politics Is Local

Senate Democratic leaders said this week that delaying votes on health care legislation until the fall will not derail the global warming express. Sure. Seriously, the question is whether health care will dominate town meetings during the August congressional recess or voters will still be angry about passage of Waxman-Markey. If enough voters still want to give their Senators an earful about cap-and-trade, then my guess is that it will have no momentum in the fall and the leadership will have a hard time rounding up sixty votes for anything related to energy rationing.

A video posted on You Tube of a town meeting that Rep. Michael Castle (R-Del.) held over the Fourth of July recess is instructive in this regard.  Castle was one of the eight Republicans who voted yes on final passage of the Waxman-Markey bill.

A recent whining fundraising appeal from Fred Krupp of Environmental Defense Fund confirms that the House was flooded with calls and e-mails opposing Waxman-Markey: “For some House offices, their calls overwhelmed the switchboard.”  Krupp blames it on an organized conspiracy led by Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin and “financed with hundreds of millions of dollars from big polluters.” Too bad he doesn’t mention who those big polluters are. As far as I can tell, many of the biggest companies in the U. S. support cap-and-trade and a couple dozen of them belong to the U. S. Climate Action Partnership. EDF is a member of USCAP and works as a front group for big companies that hope to get rich off the backs of American consumers from the higher energy prices required by cap-and-trade. Hundreds of millions has a nice ring, but does anyone actually believe that the opponents of cap-and-trade have even a tenth of the funding of its supporters?

So here’s hoping that Senators back home in August are going to hear from lots of constituents about Waxman-Markey and what energy rationing will do to them.

A Climate Bill We Can Support

Representative Marsha Blackburn on Thursday filed a discharge petition to bring her bill, H. R. 391, to a vote on the House floor. H. R. 391 would simply prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions using the Clean Air Act.  A discharge petition is used to try to bring a bill to the floor that the chairman of the committee of jurisdiction opposes and won’t permit the committee to vote on. To discharge a bill from committee requires signatures from a majority (218) of House Members, so it’s not easy.

The Waxman-Markey energy-rationing bill that the House passed by a 219-212 vote on June 26th includes pre-emption of the Clean Air Act (albeit a partial and less-than-airtight pre-emption). Thus, the House has already agreed that using the Clean Air Act to regulate carbon dioxide emissions is a bad idea that needs to be prevented. It could be argued that Members have no reason not to sign the discharge petition to implement a piece of that bill. Doing so could also provide some cover for Members who are being attacked by their constituents for voting for Waxman-Markey.  So although Blackburn’s petition is a long shot, it does present interesting political possibilities.

Around the World

Climate Hero: Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh

Jairam Ramesh, India’s environment minister, this week admonished two diplomatic envoys for insisting that India sacrifice poverty reduction for climate change. During a press conference on Monday, Ramesh told U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that he would “like to make it clear that India’s position is that we are simply not in a position to take on legally binding emission reduction,” after Clinton had pressed for Indian participation in an international effort to reduce emissions.

Yesterday, Ramesh hosted Swedish Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren, who claimed that developed nations were willing to put “money on the table” to help developing nations pay for expensive energy climate policies, but only if developing countries agreed to act, according to the Financial Times. Ramesh dismissed his counterpart’s suggestion, and he even took a shot at alarmist science that predicts the Himalayan glaciers will disappear in 40 years. “Science has its limitation,” Ramesh told Carlgren, “you cannot substitute the knowledge that has been gained by the people living in cold deserts through everyday experience.”

Across the States

California: 1 Step Forward, Two Steps Back

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and Democratic and Republican leaders of the state legislature agreed this week to a temporary fix for the state’s $26 billion budget deficit.  It includes a provision to allow new oil production within state waters (which extend three miles out from the coastline), which is expected to generate $1.8 billion in royalties over the next ten years plus higher tax receipts from the additional economic activity.

This is quite a change from California’s strong and long-term opposition to drilling in federal offshore areas, even in areas more than fifty miles from shore.  Schwarzenegger wrote a letter to Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Calif.), Chairman of the House Resources Committee, in 2006 opposing Pombo’s bill to open federal offshore areas to oil and gas exploration. The bill would have given States veto power over drilling within fifty miles of their coasts and a share of federal royalties. The bill passed the House, but a big majority of California’s 53 House Members voted against it.

Also this week, the California Small Business Roundtable released a report that estimates that AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act (a climate bill that would reduce California emissions by 25% from current levels through 2020), would cost 1.1 million jobs. The state budget would lose nearly $5.8 billion in taxes.

The Science

New Peer Reviewed Study Throws Cold Water on Alarmist Predictions

Carl Volk
A new paper on climate sensitivity by Drs. Richard Lindzen and Yong-Sang Choi of MIT has been accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters. Their paper compares the observed change in global forcing with the observed change in sea surface temperature to determine that climate sensitivity is low (under 0.5 degrees C for a doubling of CO2) and is dominated by negative feedbacks that work to dampen the effects of increasing CO2. This research runs completely contrary to the conclusions of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and suggests that man-made global warming will be minimal. Lindzen discussed the paper in layman’s terms at Heartland’s recent climate change conference in DC. The accepted paper can be found here.

Springtime in the Rockies

Julie Walsh

Last week, I went heli-hiking near Glacier National Park in the Canadian Bugaboos where they were enjoying spring flowers. A 40-something guide mentioned that their recent spring was the coldest that she had ever lived through. Heartland Institute’s James Taylor recent piece explains the still-receding glaciers despite the long-term cooling trend.

Elsewhere, this graph from the University of Illinois Polar Research Group shows the continued rebound of Arctic sea ice.  And in the Southern Hemisphere, Argentina has been experiencing historic snow.

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