In the News
Austerity Pulling Plug on Europe’s Green Subsidies
Eric Reguly, Globe and Mail, 26 January 2011
News You Can Use
State of the Union Roundup
Here’s a roundup of commentary on the green energy part of the President’s State of the Union Address
- Cap-and-Trade Returns from the Grave, Kimberley Strassel, Wall Street Journal
- Obama Ignores the American People, Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post
- Obama Recycles Waxman-Markey, Marlo Lewis, GlobalWarming.org
- The Great Statist Race, Chris Horner, AmSpecBlog
Inside the Beltway
State of the Union
I was in West Virginia on Tuesday night and luckily managed to miss President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address to Congress. Perhaps his delivery gave it some zing, but it’s dismal and tedious to read. Most of it is sophomoric, and in places it’s faintly creepy. The President’s speech repackages some of his most catastrophic policies in a new rhetorical context. We’re now going to win the future by innovating and responding to the challenges we face as the U. S. responded to Sputnik in the 1960s.
Instead of putting Americans on the moon in a decade, the goal is to require that 80% of our electricity be produced from clean energy sources by 2035.
The President didn’t mention global warming or climate change, but clearly he’s still pursuing the global warming alarmist agenda, just as he promised to do last fall when he acknowledged that cap-and-trade was dead, but there were other ways to skin that cat. As my CEI colleague Marlo Lewis was the first to point out, 80% by 2035 was the mandatory target in the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill that passed the House in 2009 but died in the Senate last year.
Higher electric rates have undoubtedly had an effect on economic growth wherever they have been required by government. Look at California. Or Spain. I hope Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of General Electric and the new Chairman of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, will mention to the President that China gets 80% of its electricity from coal. If we’re trying to keep up with China, perhaps the President should consider a goal of producing 80% of our electricity from coal by 2035. Since we already get 50% from coal, that’s a much easier target to reach. And lower electric rates will put more money in people’s pockets to spend on other things and lower the cost of manufacturing.
President Obama also made the astonishing statement that, “We have to make America the best place on Earth to do business.” Since virtually every economic policy he has implemented or proposed makes America a worse place to business, one might have thought that he would have then done a bit of backtracking on his Administration’s regulatory strangulation of business and new investment. No, instead we’re going to put people back to work in good paying jobs manufacturing “solar shingles” and by wasting even more hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars on dead-end technologies. But in 2015 we will be proud of the fact that America will be the first country to have one million electric cars on the road.
Barrasso To Introduce Bill To Block Federal Climate Regs
Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) plans to introduce a bill early next week to prohibit the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions using existing legal authority, such as the Clean Air Act. It is my understanding that the bill will not overturn the deal on Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards for cars and light trucks that the Obama Administration negotiated in secret with the State of California and the automakers. However, it will block any future Clean Air Act waivers for greenhouse gas emissions, so that California won’t be able to do the same trick again after the new CAFÉ standards go into effect in 2016.
It remains to be seen whether Senator Barrasso’s bill will have any Democratic co-sponsors. It has been rumored that freshman Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) has decided not to co-sponsor the bill. If true, then Senator Manchin is already retreating from his tough talk in the campaign. He certainly won’t be living up to the television commercial that got him elected in which he is seen shooting a bullet through the cap-and-trade bill.
This shouldn’t be too surprising. The Senate Democratic leadership and the White House are probably leaning hard on Manchin. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Thursday announced committee assignments for the 112th Congress. Manchin was given a seat on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. It would be cynical to suggest that there is any connection between that and deciding not to co-sponsor the Barrasso bill.
Across the States
New Mexico Supreme Court Issues Ironic Ruling
This week the New Mexico Supreme Court blocked Governor Susana Martinez’s attempt to stop a cap-and-trade energy rationing scheme from taking effect, on the grounds that the Governor failed to follow proper administrative procedure. In delivering the ruling, Chief Justice Charles Daniels admonished Governor Martinez, saying that “no one is above the law.” This is ridiculous. Governor Martinez was trying to block a cap-and-trade that had been imposed by her predecessor (ex-Governor Bill Richardson), during a lame-duck session, and after the state legislature had opposed it. When a state executive imposes an energy tax over the will of the legislature, isn’t he acting “above the law”? Fortunately, Governor Martinez still can block the regulation. She’ll have to wait until it’s published in the state register, and then her administration will have to perform a formal rulemaking through the Environmental Improvement Board. We hope she doesn’t abandon the effort.
Around the World
Hackers Shut Down EU Cap-and-Trade
Two weeks ago, more than $30 million of energy-rationing coupons were stolen and immediately resold on the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme, a multinational cap-and-trade energy-rationing program. Evidently, hackers were able to break into the system due to the lax information security policies in the Czech Republic. In response to the theft, the ETS was shut down, and it was originally scheduled to open again today. Yesterday, however, the EU decided to keep the ETS closed indefinitely, until it better understands how the scheme was hacked.
Number of Skeptics Doubles in UK
According to a new poll conducted by the Office for National Statistics, the number of climate change skeptics in the United Kingdom doubled in the last four years, from 12 to 23 percent. The likely reasons for the increase in skepticism are the Climategate scandal and two consecutive record-breaking winters in northern Europe.
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