Cooler Heads Digest 6 November 2009

by William Yeatman on November 6, 2009

in Cooler Heads Digest


A video of “Deconstructing Global Warming,” a Cooler Heads Coalition briefing by Dr. Richard Lindzen, the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is now available online at

In the News

Our Choice or Al Gore’s Choice?
Nick Loris, Heritage Foundry, 6 November 2009

Climate Policy Imperils China, India
Marlo Lewis,, 5 November 2009

Election Defeats Make Dems Cautious on Climate
Jonathan Salant, Bloomberg, 5 November 2009

Remarks by Czech President Václav Klaus on Cap-and-Trade
Washington Times Briefing “Advancing the Global Debate over Climate Change Policy,” 4 November 2009

The Four Horsemen of Cap-and-Trade Defeatism
Chris Horner, Energy Tribune, 4 November 2009

The Economics of Climate Change: Essential Knowledge
Jerry Taylor,, 4 November 2009

GW Alarmism Given Same Status as Religion
Stephen Adams & Louise Gray, Telegraph, 3 November 2009

Video: Stop Energy Rationing in Australia
Cori Bernardi, Herald Sun, 26 October 2009

News You Can Use

Expensive Failure of Cap-and-Trade in Europe

Between January 2005 and the end of 2008 the European Union’s cap-and-trade scheme cost consumers €93 ($123) billion or €185 ($245) per person, according to “The Expensive Failure of the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme,” a new report by Matthew Sinclair of the Taxpayers’ Alliance.

Inside the Beltway

Myron Ebell

EPW Passes Kerry-Boxer

The big news this week is that after days of partisan wrangling, the Senate and Environment and Public Works Committee on Thursday passed the Kerry-Boxer energy-rationing bill. The vote was eleven to one, with Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.) the one no vote.  The committee’s seven Republicans boycotted the mark-up session and did not vote. Chairman Barbara Boxer’s (D-Calif.) high-handed tactics have so poisoned the Senate atmosphere that I think the Kerry-Boxer bill is now dead for the 111th Congress (which continues to the end of December 2010).

Under committee rules and precedents, no mark-up session can be held unless a majority of committee members including at least two members of the minority are present. The Republicans began boycotting the mark-up on Tuesday because, as the committee’s ranking Republican, Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), insisted, it was premature to mark up the bill because official cost estimates had not been completed by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Chairman Boxer then had EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson meet with the committee.  She explained that it would take EPA several weeks to complete a full analysis of the bill, but that it didn’t matter because the bill was similar to the Waxman-Markey bill and therefore the costs would be similar. The problem with this claim is that the EPA’s analysis of Waxman-Markey underestimated the costs by making highly unrealistic assumptions. For example, EPA assumed that nuclear power would double by 2035.

Faced with the Republican boycott, Chairman Boxer interpreted the rules to the effect that two members of the minority were required to consider amendments, but not to vote on final committee passage.  So she then went ahead and marked up her “chairman’s mark” version of S. 1733 with no Republicans present. The problem I see here is that the chairman’s mark is an amendment to S. 1733 in the nature of a substitute. Thus I conclude that Chairman Boxer has violated her own interpretation of the committee’s rules.

It was obvious before Boxer went ahead with what Inhofe called the “nuclear option” that this would unite Republicans in opposition to the bill.  So I can only conclude that Boxer or the Democratic leadership have concluded that Kerry-Boxer is dead.  By voting it out of committee, they at least have something to take to COP-15 in Copenhagen in December.  Senator Baucus’s no vote is also significant.  As Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, he has as much jurisdiction over cap-and-trade legislation as does the EPW Committee.  He did not sound pleased with what Boxer was doing.

The U.S. Chamber Finds a New Leader

The U. S. Chamber of Commerce on November 3 sent a letter to Senators Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman and Ranking Republican, respectively, of the Environment and Public Works Committee, that touted an op-ed published in the New York Times on October 11th by Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) as the way forward on energy-rationing legislation. The letter, signed by the Chamber’s executive vice president, Bruce Josten, said in part: “Senators Kerry and Graham have set forth a positive, practical and realistic framework for legislation, one that echoes the core principles that the Chamber embeds in all of its communications on climate policy. The Chamber agrees with a great deal of the principles set forth by Senators Kerry and Graham….”

The Chamber’s letter immediately made a big splash on Capitol Hill.  Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer read the letter into the record at one of the committee’s attempted mark-up sessions on the Kerry-Boxer bill and said, “This  really is a game-changer.”

The Environmental Defense Fund, which has masterminded the campaign against the Chamber that has included several major corporations withdrawing their memberships, praised the letter. My group, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, did not.  We sent out a press release calling on small businesses to withdraw from the Chamber and join with us in continuing to fight against energy-rationing legislation.

The Chamber responded by saying that they hadn’t changed their position on what kind of legislation it would support.  That may be so, but the timing was clearly designed to boost the supporters of energy-rationing legislation-which it did.  Moreover, the Chamber has now identified Senators Kerry and Graham as the leaders on the issue that the Chamber will work with and follow.  The Chamber claims to support solid, workable, commonsense, realistic, and practical climate policies.  And John Kerry is just the Senator to lead us to those policies?  Solid, workable, realistic, practical, commonsense-yes, those are just the words that come to mind when Senator Kerry’s name comes up.

Across the States

Oregon Government Deliberately Underestimated Cost of Green Power by 40 Times

An investigation by the Oregonian shows that state officials deliberately underestimated the cost of Governor Ted Kulongoski’s plan to lure green energy companies to Oregon with taxpayer subsidies, resulting in a program that cost 40 times more than unsuspecting lawmakers were told.

Around the World

Copenhagen Already a Failure

Next month in Copenhagen, the United Nations will host negotiations for a treaty to mitigate climate change. The December conference was supposed to be the deadline for a final agreement, but diplomats are far apart on how to distribute the huge costs of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. This week, Yvo de Boer, head of the UN Framewoprk Convention on Climate Change, told Bloomberg that too little progress has been made to conclude a treaty at a summit in Copenhagen next month, and that it may take another year.

Solar-Here Today and Gone Tomorrow

Julie Walsh

According to the Boston Globe, last year Evergreen Solar built a new factory in Massachusetts with $58 million in state aid, but is now shifting its assembly of solar panels from there to China. Plus Evergreen will be writing off $40 million in equipment, due to the move. The biggest irony in this story is that one main reason solar panel factories will move to China is that Chinese energy prices to assemble them are less!

Marlo Lewis goes further, “China is investing heavily in solar panel and wind turbine manufacture, but China does not cap carbon. Also, only a small fraction of China’s production of solar photovoltaic generators – 20 megawatts out of 820 megawatts (2%) produced in 2007 – is for China’s domestic market. So capping domestic carbon emissions is not a prerequisite to success in exporting clean-tech products, nor is having a large domestic market for such products.”

Chinese solar has been growing by leaps and bounds. One reason-“China is not enforcing environmental regulations, and many of the new factories are dumping toxic silicon tetrachloride (a byproduct of polysilicon production) directly into nearby farmlands.  For perspective, 4 tons of this toxic byproduct is produced for every ton of polysilicon. Because it is expensive (the cost to produce one ton is approximately $84,500 versus the Chinese companies making it for $21,000 to $56,000 a ton) and time-consuming to set up systems to recycle the hazardous materials, companies are instead dumping indiscriminately, and people close to these sites are complaining of illness, crop failures, acrid air, and dead fields.” (

Obama recently went to Florida to announce his plans for modernizing the electric grid, and visited a major new solar energy facility. And where were those solar panels manufactured? The Philippines.

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