Cooler Heads Digest 19 March 2010

by William Yeatman on March 19, 2010

In the News

Another Source Admits that NASA Climate Data Is Inferior to Climategate Data
Chris Horner, Planet Gore, 19 March 2010

Obama’s EPA Stifles New Energy Gains
Washington Examiner editorial, 19 March 2010

Global Warming on Trial
Dexter Wright, American Thinker, 19 March 2010

Son of Global Warming
Mike Rosen, Denver Post, 18 March 2010

A Tax by Any Other Name
Marlo Lewis, National Journal, 16 March 2010

Cap-and-Trade Is Like a Zombie in a Bad Horror Movie
William Yeatman, A Line of Sight, 16 March 2010

Be Careful What You Wish for
Iain Murray, GlobalWarming.org, 16 March 2010

Global Warming Scientists vs. Global Whining Scientists
David Schnare, MasterResource.org, 16 March 2010

In Denial
Steven Hayward, Weekly Standard, 15 March 2010

News You Can Use

Global Warming Last in Poll of Environmental Concerns

Gallup’s annual poll of environmental issues shows that global warming is at the bottom of Americans’ concerns.  Of the eight environmental issues listed, global warming finished last.  Only 28% of Americans listed it as a top concern.  This is down from 33% last year and 41% in 2007, which was the peak year.  Respondents could list multiple issues as top concerns.

Inside the Beltway

Myron Ebell

Senators Kerry, Graham, and Lieberman Give Big Business Special Interests a Peek at Their Energy-Rationing Bill

According to a highly informative story by Darren Samuelsohn in Greenwire, which was republished on the New York Times’s web site, Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) held a private meeting with big business special interests this week to build support for their ongoing efforts to produce a compromise energy-rationing bill.  They shared an eight-page outline of their draft bill, but collected the copies at the end of the meeting.

Samuelsohn was able to glean a number of details of the outline’s contents by interviewing attendees as they left the meeting.  From what he reports, the current draft looks to me to be as much of an incoherent mess as the Waxman-Markey bill passed by the House last June.  The draft still has a number of unfinished sections, but would require greenhouse gas emission reductions of 17% below 2005 levels by 2020 and 80% below by 2050.  Electric utilities would be regulated beginning in 2012, but other stationary sources would wait until 2016.

The Kerry-Graham-Lieberman draft would reportedly pre-empt greenhouse gas regulations by the EPA and the States.  The cost of ration coupons would be allowed to fluctuate within an initial range of $10 to $30 per ton of carbon dioxide.  This price collar would be adjusted for inflation and would also include an automatic cost escalator.

No word on whether the draft still includes a “carbon fee” on transportation fuels.  Carbon fee is polite terminology for a gas tax.

What the three Senators are cooking up looks to me to be dead on arrival.  The schedule already makes it highly unlikely that the bill will reach the Senate floor before the election in November.  Senator Kerry said that “a full outline of the bill” will be delivered to a group of Senators next week.  In a later story in Climate Wire, Evan Lehman reported that Kerry said that the bill would be completed “next week or over the Easter recess” and then “will be sent to the Congressional Budget Office and U. S. EPA for a review that could take five or six weeks.”

Obama’s Strange Economic Logic

Ian Talley reported in a Wall Street Journal blog this week that “Senior Obama administration officials say the nation’s economic recovery could stall if Congress doesn’t pass a climate bill this year.”  The reason they give is that all the hundreds of billions of dollars that investors are eager to invest in green energy are parked on the sideline until Congress mandates and subsidizes these investments so that they are guaranteed to make a profit.  Of course, people with an understanding of elementary economics could argue that the nation’s economic recovery is already stalling because of policies that discourage investments in lower-cost conventional energy.  A bill that requires reductions in greenhouse gas emissions would do more than stall the nation’s economic recovery-it would send the economy back into recession.  Of course, other government policies are already doing that.

More Companies to Boycott

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers sent a letter to the Senate this week opposing Senator Lisa Murkowski’s resolution to disapprove the EPA’s finding that greenhouse gas emissions endanger public health and welfare.  The letter claims that blocking the endangerment finding would undo the deal that the Obama Administration made with California on auto fuel economy standards.  The result, the letter alleges, would be to replace uniform national fuel economy rules with a patchwork of state rules.  As my CEI colleague Marlo Lewis writes in a blog posted here, the whole issue is goofy.  The United Auto Workers announced their opposition to the Murkowski resolution this week as well.  On the other hand, the National Association of Auto Dealers officially supports the resolution.

For boycott purposes, the members of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers are: General Motors, Ford Motor, Toyota, Chrysler, BMW, Mazda, Jaguar Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Porsche, and Volkswagen.  I think my next car will be a Packard, although I have my eye on a Hispano-Suiza.

Another company to put on the boycott list is Weyerhauser, which joined the U. S. Climate Action Partnership this week.  Weyerhauser hopes to get rich off selling carbon offsets provided by young forests and selling lots of biomass from their timberlands to produce biofuels.  You can see all of US CAP’s corporate and environmental front group members at us-cap.org

Update: EPA Endangerment Lawsuits

The federal D. C. Circuit Court of Appeals has consolidated the sixteen lawsuits that seek to overturn the EPA’s finding that greenhouse gas emissions endanger public health and welfare into one suit, Coalition for Responsible Regulation, Inc, et al. versus EPA.  The Coalition consists of the Industrial Minerals Association of North America, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Great Northern Project Development, Rosebud Mining, Massey Energy, and Alpha Natural Resources.  All the other original plaintiffs are still part of the suit.

Thursday was the deadline for other interested parties to request to intervene in the case.  Robin Bravender lists the state intervenors in a Greenwire story republished on the New York Times’s web site

In addition to the suits filed by Virginia, Alabama, and Texas, fourteen other States have asked to intervene against EPA.  They are Alaska and Michigan in separate filings and Nebraska, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, and Governor Haley Barbour on behalf of Mississippi in a joint filing.

Minnesota and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection have asked to intervene on EPA’s side.  This is in addition to the sixteen other States and New York City that asked to intervene in January.  Those States are Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

In related news, the Democratically-controlled Illinois House of Representatives this week voted to ask Congress to delay EPA regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources.  Last week, five House Democrats sent a letter to EPA asking the same thing.  They are Jim Costa and Joe Baca of California, Ciro Rodriguez and Gene Green of Texas, and Harry Teague of New Mexico.

Obama’s Anti-Energy Drilling Policy

The Obama Administration’s war on conventional energy continued this week, as an excellent editorial in the Washington Examiner discusses. The EPA announced that it was going to do a comprehensive study on the potential adverse impacts on water quality and public health of hydraulic fracturing technology.  Hydraulic fracturing has been used for a long time in the oil and gas industry.  Earlier studies, including a 2004 EPA study, have not found significant adverse impacts.  Environmental pressure groups are desperate to limit hydraulic fracturing because of the massive natural gas reserves that have recently become available as a result of advances in the technology.  The United States now has abundant natural gas for at least a couple hundred years-as long as government allows it to be produced.

Last week Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced that no new leases for offshore oil production would be auctioned until 2014 at the earliest.  This week Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer (D) sent a letter to Salazar demanding that hundreds of oil and gas leases in the Flathead National Forest be cancelled.  Also this week, the Bureau of Land Management settled a lawsuit brought by environmental pressure by cancelling 61 oil and gas leases in Montana because they had not considered the effects on the global climate that result from oil and gas production.

Across the States

Global Warming Heats Up California Politics

Former E-bay CEO Meg Whitman, the leading GOP candidate for the 2010 California gubernatorial election, has campaigned on a pledge to delay implementation of AB 32, a state law that fights global warming by raising energy prices. For the first time, polls this week indicate that Whitman has surged ahead of likely Democratic candidate, Attorney General Jerry Brown, an avowed environmentalist. Similarly, the Senate’s most ardent environmentalist, Barbara Boxer (D), is running even against her two leading Republican challengers, former Hewlett Packard executive Carly Fiorina and former Congressman Tom Campbell. Fiorina in particular has campaigned against Boxer’s support for a cap-and-trade energy rationing scheme.

Battle over AB 32 Initiative Intensifies

Greenwire reported this week that Levi Strauss and Google are funding the opposition to a California ballot initiative that would suspend AB 32 until the State’s unemployment drops to 5.5% (it currently stands at 12%).

Around the World

COP 16 in Cancun a Failure (4 Months before It Begins)

Government negotiators are already dampening expectations for the 16th Conference of the Parties to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which will occur this December in Cancun, Mexico. Kunihiko Shimada, principal international negotiator at the Japanese Ministry of the Environment, told Bloomberg that a deal this year is “almost impossible.” Jos Delbeke, who spearheads European Union climate policy at the European Commission, ruled out a “comprehensive legal agreement” in 2010.

Alarmist Ads Banned in the U.K.

The Times this week reported that the United Kingdom Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banned two government-funded print advertisements that use nursery rhymes to warn people of the dangers of climate change. The ASA ruled that the claims made in the newspaper adverts were not supported by solid science and told the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) that they should not be published again.

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.

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