Cooler Heads Digest 29 January 2010

by William Yeatman on January 29, 2010

in Cooler Heads Digest

In the News

Obama’s Energy Muddle
Marlo Lewis, National Journal, 29 January 2010

The Scientific “Consensus”
Chip Knappenberger,, 29 January 2010

Mandated Carbon Cuts Won’t Work
Bjorn Lomborg, Wall Street Journal, 29 January 2010

Insecurity and Change Commission
Wall Street Journal
editorial, 29 January 2010

The Real Climate Confusion
Iain Murray, National Review Online, 28 January 2010

EPA Should Ground Carbon Regs for Good
Washington Examiner
editorial, 28 January 2010

IPCC Newest Headache: Amazongate
Gene Koprowski, Fox News, 28 January 2010

EPA at Center of Coal Controversy
David A. Fahrenthold, Washington Post, 27 January 2010

Floating Islands
Willis Eischenbach,, 27 January 2010

Discredited IPCC Report Reveals Media Malpractice
Paul Chesser,, 26 January 2010

James Hansen: Would You Buy a Used Temperature Data Set from This Man?
James Delingpole, Daily Telegraph, 22 January 2010

Why We Need Innovation, Not Insulation
Bill Gates, Huffington Post, 22 January 2010

News You Can Use

Pew Poll Ranks Global Warming Last

A new poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press finds that the American public ranks global warming last among twenty “domestic priorities.”

Inside the Beltway

Myron Ebell

SEC’s Demand for Climate Disclosures Might Backfire

The Securities and Exchange Commission this week voted 3 to 2 to issue guidance that will require companies to disclose to investors the effects that climate change and climate change policies could have on the company’s performance.  As Joel Kirkland reported in Climate Wire (reprinted on the New York Times web site), “The SEC public disclosure guidance on climate-related risks is seen as a major victory by an army of environmental groups and institutional investors that have pressed the issue since 2007.”

Well, maybe, but Tom Borelli pointed out in a National Center for Public Policy Research press release that the new rules will actually work against the promoters of energy-rationing policies.  “Fully disclosing the business risk of cap-and-trade will embarrass many CEOs who are lobbying for emissions regulations. Shareholders will discover that these CEOs are pursuing legislation that will negatively impact their company.”  We will discover, I think, that many CEOs have joined the U. S. Climate Action Partnership and other business coalitions that support cap-and-trade without doing adequate or indeed any analysis of what the effects of enacting such legislation could have on their companies’ profits.  This violates their legal fiduciary duties to their shareholders.

Obama to Democrats: Jump off the Cliff

It’s been a busy week on global warming and energy-rationing policy for President Barack Obama and his Administration.  In his State of the Union address to Congress on Wednesday night, the President re-iterated his support for cap-and-trade legislation.  Here is the transcript: “And, yes, it means passing a comprehensive energy and climate bill with incentives that will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy in America. (Applause.)  I am grateful to the House for passing such a bill last year. (Applause.)  And this year I’m eager to help advance the bipartisan effort in the Senate. (Applause.)  I know there have been questions about whether we can afford such changes in a tough economy.  I know that there are those who disagree with the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change.  But here’s the thing — even if you doubt the evidence, providing incentives for energy-efficiency and clean energy are the right thing to do for our future — because the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy. And America must be that nation. (Applause.)”

President Obama has thus fallen back on the argument first enunciated by then-Senator Timothy Wirth (D-Colo.) in 1988: even if global warming isn’t a problem, it will make us do the right thing.  I’m pretty sure that there are a lot of Democrats in the House and Senate who wish that the President would stop beating his head against this particular political wall.  Cap-and-trade is dead because it is a huge political liability going into November’s congressional elections.  Many who voted for the Waxman-Markey bill in the House last June now regret it and would not vote for it again.  Several Democrats who voted for it have decided to retire.

U.S. Makes Carbon Pledge To Comply with Copenhagen Accord

Todd Stern, the Administration’s top climate negotiator, on Thursday announced that the U. S.’s pledge under the Copenhagen Accord to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 17% below 2005 levels by 2020. This was the number that was unofficially announced before the fifteenth Conference of the Parties in Copenhagen in December, so it’s no surprise.  What is slightly surprising is that Stern said that it’s conditional on Congress passing legislation and therefore could be subject to change.  According to a list compiled by the U. S. Climate Action Network, 15 countries have now (as if Friday, 3 PM EST) submitted their pledges to the Copenhagen Accord and 14 more have announced that they are likely to do so.  The 29 countries account for more than 72% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Obama Orders Feds To Curb Carbon Footprint

President Obama this week also ordered the federal government to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 28% below current levels by 2020.  This order follows from Executive Order 13514, which the President signed last fall and which requires federal departments and agencies to set targets for cutting emissions.  He has now set their target for them.  The most practical way to meet this goal would be to shut down large parts of the federal government.  Let’s hope President Obama seizes this opportunity and achieves the most drastic downsizing of government in history.  The Administration claims that these emissions reductions will save from $8 to 11 billion dollars in energy costs, but the Institute for Energy points out the costs of achieving the reductions are not included and probably outweigh the savings. Ironically, according to a 2008 GAO report, the Environmental Protection Agency had the poorest record among federal departments and agencies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Across the States

Even Green Energy Isn’t Good Enough for Greens

A Maryland developer has agreed not to build 24 turbines and will abandon 31 proposed sites at a West Virginia wind farm, settling a lawsuit by environmental groups worried about potential harm to the endangered Indiana bat, according to a report from ABC News. In related news, California Senator Dianne Feinstein is pushing for federal legislation to block one million acres of the Mojave Desert from solar power development, so as to protect the endangered desert tortoise.

Around the World

The EPA Is Working on Bin-Laden’s Climate Solution

The AP reported this week that terrorist kingpin Osama bin Laden has released a new audio tape claiming that global warming must be stopped by bringing “the wheels of the American economy” to a halt. To learn more about how the Environmental Protection Agency is doing everything in its power to implement Bin Laden’s climate policy recommendation, click here.

Climategate Update

The United Kingdom’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has ruled that the University of East Anglia violated the Freedom of Information Act by withholding raw data requested by Stephen McIntyre, the Canadian statistician and businessman who earlier exposed Michael Mann’s “hockey stick” fraud.  The ruling results from a complaint filed by David Holland, a retired engineer in England. The ICO also announced that they could not prosecute Professor Phil Jones, then-director of the university’s Climatic Research unit, and others implicated in the Climategate scandal because of a flaw in the statute, which they will now recommend be corrected by Parliament.  However, others have suggested that the ICO is misinformed and that the six month statute of limitations does not begin when the violation occurs, but when it is discovered.

As an official British government enquiry into Climategate continues, the House of Commons announced this week that its science and technology committee will undertake their own investigation of the scandal.  Roger Helmer, Member of the European Parliament for the UK, has already submitted his ideas for the enquiry.  Finally, John Beddington, the British government’s chief science adviser, criticized the CRU in an interview with the Times of London this week, defended skepticism as an essential part of scientific enquiry, and advised climate scientists to be more honest about the uncertainties involved in their research.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: