In the News
Sins of Emission
Wall Street Journal, 29 October 2009
Senate Republicans Weigh a Boycott of Climate Bill
Richard Cowen, Reuters, 29 October 2009
UN Signals Delay on a Climate Treaty
Edith M. Lederer, Associated Press, 27 October 2009
News You Can Use
Cap-and-Trade: $3.6 Trillion Gas Tax
Senators Kit Bond (R-MO) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) last week released a report that estimates how much additional pain at the pump the Waxman-Markey would inflict on U.S. consumers. The title says it all: Climate Change Legislation: A $3.6 Trillion Gas Tax.
Inside the Beltway
Boxer’s Reckless Pace
Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California) is imposing a frantic pace on major energy-rationing legislation so she can meet a deadline set by the United Nations.
Boxer wants to have climate legislation out of the Environment and Public Works Committee, which she chairs, before the 15th Conference of Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change, where the UN hopes to produce a successor climate treaty to the failed Kyoto Protocol. To meet this December deadline, Senator Boxer has pushed an absurdly fast timetable for the usually-deliberative Senate. Last weekend, she introduced her “chairman’s mark” of S. 1733, the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act. This week she conducted three days of marathon hearings. And she wants to begin a mark-up next Tuesday.
Of course, most of the deal-making will be made behind the scenes. Boxer’s strategy is to cobble together support for her bill by using the proceeds of the cap-and-trade scheme to buy off Senators otherwise inclined to vote against a massive energy tax. That’s how Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives passed energy rationing legislation.
Some Senators are wary of Boxer’s strategy. Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Arkansas), chair of the powerful Agriculture Committee has expressed concerns relating to the pace of cap-and-trade legislation. Republicans on the EPW Committee are so dissatisfied with Boxer’s recklessness that they’ve threatened to boycott the mark-ups next week, and thereby deprive Senator Boxer of a quorum for the mark ups.
Highlights from the Marathon Hearings
For three days this week, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee heard from over fifty witnesses on the Kerry-Boxer energy rationing bill, S. 1733, the Clean Energy and American Power Act. The written testimony and the televised hearings can be found here. Here are the highlights and lowlights:
The highlight of the first day was Senator John Kerry’s (D-Massachusetts) testimony. Kerry co-wrote the legislation that the EPW Committee is debating, but his remarks indicate that he hasn’t yet read it. If he has, then he evidently doesn’t understand it. During his 30 minute testimony, Senator Kerry claimed that a cap-and-trade “is not a government-run program,” which is ridiculous. Cap-and-trade is a government-run scheme to ration energy. Perhaps his ignorance isn’t surprising. A month ago he told reporters, “I don’t know what cap-and-trade means,” despite having just released major cap-and-trade legislation that he authored.
A highlight of day two was AEI’s Ken Green, who testified on the many misguided government policies that give Americans the incentive to become less resilient to global warming, should the planet ever start to warm (global temperatures haven’t increased in a decade, despite steadily increasing global greenhouse gas emissions, the supposed “cause” of climate change). Also on day two, Retired Lt. Col. James Jay Carafano, now with the Heritage Foundation, gave excellent testimony on the national security aspects of climate change mitigation policy.
Dems Ban the Evidence in “Astroturfing” Investigation
On Thursday the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming held an investigative hearing on so-called “astroturfing”-deceptive grass roots campaign, created by lobbyists, and designed to fool Members of Congress into believing that there is popular support for or against a bill. The Republicans chose CEI’s Chris Horner to testify, which is a great choice, as Horner is the author of a book on dirty tactics (including astro-turfing) used by special interests to manufacture global warming alarmism. But the Democrats on the panel didn’t want to hear that, because the case for energy rationing legislation depends on global warming alarmism. So they objected to Horner as a witness. Click here for Horner’s thoughts on the panel and a copy of his forbidden testimony.
Across the States
Mainstream Media Misreports California’s Energy “Success”
Recently, both The Atlantic and Time have run lengthy stories arguing that California energy policy should be regarded as a success. As “proof,” both articles note that per-capita electricity consumption in California is 40% below the national average and attribute this “success” to energy policy. But there are many reasons for California’s relatively low per capita electricity consumption, including the state’s mild climate, urbanization and high household density. In fact, energy conservation policies account for a paltry 23 percent of the difference in electricity consumption between the average Californian and the average American, according to a recent report from Stanford University. And this percentage is largely explained by the fact that California has some of the highest electricity prices in the country, which depresses demand.
Only in California…
Next Tuesday, Californians will vote on a ballot initiative that would force all California utilities to generate at least 20% of their electricity from renewable energy by 2010, 40% by 2020, and 50% by 2025. According the Public Utilities Commission, a 33% by 2020 standard would increase electricity rates 20%.
Around the World
European Union member states today agreed to contribute a “fair share” to an international effort to pay for clean energy technologies as part of a successor treaty to the failed Kyoto Protocol. But EU leaders failed to enumerate specific commitments among member states, which suggests that this “conditional agreement” is a face-saving gesture in the wake of media reports last week that negotiations would end in recriminations over burden sharing.
The Cooler Heads Digest is the weekly e-mail publication of the Cooler Heads Coalition. For the latest news and commentary check out the Coalition’s website, www.globalwarming.org.