In the News
We Need Much More Debate on Global Warming
Detroit News editorial, 13 January 2010
CEI’s Horner Addresses American Farm Bureau Meeting
Farm Bureau News, 10 January 2010
Farm Bureau Declares Opposition to Climate “Power Grab”
Allison Winter, New York Times, 11 January 2010
News You Can Use
Cold Kills Citrus Crop
Orange juice is going to get a lot more expensive, thanks to record cold temperatures in Florida that threaten the Sunshine State’s citrus crop. According to the National Weather Service, Florida’s string of 12 consecutive sub-freezing days this January is the longest in a century. Must be the global warming.
Inside the Beltway
Murkowski Pushes EPA Reform in Senate
It now appears almost certain that Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) will offer a privileged motion under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to disapprove the EPA’s finding that greenhouse gases endanger public health and welfare and therefore must be regulated under the Clean Air Act. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) cannot keep it off the floor, and it only requires a majority to pass. Murkowski has the votes, but the House is under no obligation to take it up. Still, a Senate vote against the endangerment finding will be a powerful rebuke to the Obama Administration, will put Senators on the record, and will lay the groundwork for an amendment to an appropriation bill cutting off funding for EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Under the CRA, Murkowski has sixty legislative days to offer the motion, so it could happen between now and around early May.
Senator Murkowski also secured an agreement with Majority Leader Reid just before Christmas that allows her to offer a climate-related amendment to the bill to raise the ceiling on the national debt. That bill is scheduled to come to the floor on 20th January. It’s not clear what that amendment might be. This week her staff floated the idea that she might demand a vote on the Kerry-Boxer energy-rationing bill, S. 1733. Supporters of Kerry-Boxer panicked. Here’s what Daniel Weiss of the Center for American Progress said to Robin Bravender of Environment and Energy News PM (subscription required):
“What she’s trying to do is force Democrats to vote against a bill that is clearly one that is not ripe to be brought to the Senate floor,” said Daniel Weiss, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, noting that the bill was intended to be combined with an energy bill aimed at lowering energy costs and spurring investments in technology.
“This is Lisa Murkowski giving the finger to those who believe we need to reduce global warming pollution because this is not a serious proposal,” Weiss said.
It’s interesting that Kerry-Boxer is not ready to go to the Senate floor. I wonder why the Environment and Public Works Committee marked it up and sent it to the Senate floor in November on a vote of 11 to 1. The no vote was from Democrat Max Baucus (D-Mont.), while the Republicans on the committee, led by ranking Republican James Inhofe (R-Okla.), boycotted the mark-up because-among other good reasons-they said the bill wasn’t ready to go to the Senate floor. I don’t recall Weiss agreeing with the Republicans then, but perhaps he has had time to reflect and realize the wisdom of their position.
I cannot imagine that Murkowski will actually offer the Kerry-Boxer bill as an amendment to the debt ceiling bill because it would be purely symbolic and would allow Democrats to provide cover for themselves by voting against it. Those who did so could then later vote for another version of the bill and argue that they voted against a bad cap-and-trade bill, which consequently had been so much improved (with more payoffs to big business special interests in their States) that they could now vote for it. My guess is that, failing to find a substantive amendment that can get sixty votes, she might not offer any amendment next week.
Julie Walsh, Freedom Action
You and I paid for furtherance of “climate science.” Yes, a half million dollars of the stimulus funds went to Michael Mann, a scientist from Penn State implicated in the climategate scandal. Cooler Heads Coalition member National Center for Public Policy Research is demanding that these funds be returned to the U.S. Treasury, pending the results of investigations into his actions. In fact, Mann and his colleagues received almost $6 million from us over the years.
Climategate Scandal Broadens
Certified consulting meteorologist Joseph D’Aleo of Icecap.us and a computer programmer from San Jose, Michael Smith, have written an expose of extensive manipulation of the temperature data by the federal government’s National Climate Data Center (NCDC) in Asheville, North Carolina and NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) at Columbia University in New York City. D’Aleo says in the report, “NOAA is seriously complicit in data manipulation and fraud…CRU’s Director at the time Phil Jones acknowledges that CRU mirrors the NOAA data. ‘Almost all the data we have in the CRU archive is exactly the same as in the Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN) archive used by the NOAA National Climatic Data Center.'”
1. NCDC is no longer monitoring many actual temperature stations. Coleman explains, “In the transition to a computer averaging system, the National Data Climate Center deleted actual temperatures at thousands of locations throughout the world as it evolved to a system of global grid boxes. The number that goes into each grid box is determined by averaging the temperatures of two or more weather observation stations nearest that grid box.” This method is inaccurate according to D’Aleo because “temperatures are not linear over space, but instead vary enormously because of differences in terrain, elevation, vegetation, water versus land and urbanization.” It also makes an apples and oranges situation, comparing today’s averaged grid boxes to past actual station temperatures.
2. The number of weather stations NCDC uses was reduced 75%, from approximately 6,000 to 1,000 stations.
3. The vast majority of the stations cut from the record were from the cooler higher latitudes and altitudes. Smith says, “The more I looked, the more I found patterns of deletion that could not be accidental. Thermometers moved from cold mountains to warm beaches; from Siberian Arctic to more southerly locations and from pristine rural locations to jet airport tarmacs. The last remaining Arctic thermometer in Canada is in a place called ‘The Garden Spot of the Arctic,’ always moving away from the cold and toward the heat.”
4. Temperatures then were altered by “homogenization,” a process which always seemed to result in higher readings. According to the report,”the data centers then performed some final adjustments to the gathered data before final analysis. These adjustments are in some cases frequent and undocumented. Examining raw data versus processed final data shows numerous examples where the adjusted data shows a warming trend where the raw data had little change.”
Across the States
California’s Renewable Energy Failure
Gregg Morris, director of the Green Power Institute, believes there is “no chance” California will meet its legally-mandated renewable energy target this year, according to a report this week from GreenWire (subscription required). In 2006, the legislature passed a law requiring that investor-owned utilities generate 20 percent of California’s electricity from renewable sources by 2010. Four years ago, renewable energy accounted for 13.5% of the Golden State’s electricity, but Morris said that utilities “have actually fallen behind every single year since the program went into effect.” Despite this imminent failure, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger last year issued an executive order to increase the renewable energy target to 33% by 2020.
EPA Strikes Again in Arkansas
Energy and Environment News (subscription required) reported this week that the Environmental Protection Agency again has refused to permit a coal-fired power plant, this time in Arkansas, because it wasn’t a natural gas fired power plant. Specifically, the EPA told Arkansan regulators that they had not adequately considered “Best Available Control Technology” for greenhouse gases so as to comply with the Clean Air Act. In particular, the EPA determined that the state officials had failed to consider natural gas as the BACT for a coal plant. Using similar reasoning, the EPA refused to issue air permits for coal plants on the Navajo Nation reservation in the Four Corners region, as well as Kentucky. The EPA seized the power to dictate BACT technology early in the Obama administration, although the agency’s right to regulate carbon dioxide from stationary sources will not become final until March. To learn more about this regulatory morass, read posts (here and here) from CEI’s Marlo Lewis.
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.