In the News
EPA Bamboozles Science Advisory Board on Carbon Pollution Standard
William Yeatman, GlobalWarming.org, 22 January 2014
CEI Energy Analysis Warns of Regulatory Capture, Urges Adaption to Climate Change
Taylor Kuykendall, SNL Energy, 22 January 2014
Fuel-Efficiency Rules Are Already Raising Costs in Detroit
Henry Payne, Wall Street Journal, 22 January 2014
DOE’s Manufacturing “Innovation” Is $70 Million Corporate Welfare Giveaway
Nicolas Loris, The Foundry, 21 January 2014
Why Investor’s Should Worry about Cleantech’s Clueless Response to 60 Minutes
William Pentland, Forbes, 21 January 2014
News You Can Use
Social Benefits of Carbon
In “The Historic, Present and Future Societal Benefits of Fossil Fuels,” a report prepared for the American Council for Clean Coal Energy (ACCCE), Dr. Roger Bedzek of Management Information Systems, Inc. (MISI) not only documents the manifold economic and health benefits of carbon energy, he also makes a powerful case that the evident societal benefits of carbon outweigh the conjectural costs by orders of magnitude—a range of 40-1 to 400-1. To read more about the report, see this GlobalWarming.org post by CEI’s Marlo Lewis.
Inside the Beltway
House Committee Releases EPA Fake Spy Deposition
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee this week released 263-page transcript of John C. Beale’s deposition conducted by committee lawyers for both the Republican majority and the Democratic minority. The deposition occurred on 19th December 2013, the day after a federal court sentenced Beale to serve 32 months in prison and pay $1.4 million in fines and restitution for defrauding the federal government.
Beale started working for the Environmental Protection Agency as a consultant in 1987 and as a regular full-time employee in 1989. He was recruited by Rob Brenner, then-deputy assistant administrator for air and radiation, who was a friend dating back to their days as Princeton undergraduates. Beale played a key role in enactment of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. During the 1990s, he worked as a high-level policy advisor in the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation on a number of “hot button” issues. From 2000 to 2005, Beale led the EPA’s international air policy work, including U.N. climate negotiations.
It was in 2000 or 2001 that Beale told Jeff Holmstead, then-assistant administrator for air and radiation, that he was frequently absent from his job because he was also working for the CIA. Over the next 10 to 12 years, Beale took days, weeks, and even months off with the understanding of his superiors and colleagues at the EPA that his CIA duties required him without warning and without knowing how long his assignments would last. Beale never worked for the CIA and most of the time he took off he spent at his homes in suburban Virginia and Cape Cod. But Beale also racked up some impressive hotel and dining bills on the EPA tab in London and elsewhere.
Beale in his deposition is frank about lying and stealing, but is remarkably forgetful and unforthcoming about what he told EPA colleagues and superiors about his supposed CIA assignments. He has nothing but glowing things to say about Holmstead and his most recent boss, Gina McCarthy, who was assistant administrator for air and radiation in the Obama administration until being confirmed by the Senate as administrator last summer. The official story from the Obama administration is that McCarthy deserves the credit for unmasking Beale. However, there are many loose ends in the transcript that need to be reconciled with the administration’s claims.
McCarthy allowed Beale to retire rather than be fired after EPA investigators uncovered Beale’s long-term fraud. This means that he will not lose his federal pension benefits. Clearly, Beale doesn’t want to make any enemies at the EPA. He says in the deposition that McCarthy is one of the smartest people he’s ever known and was a good manager, even though it took her several years to suspect that Beale’s increasingly long absences from the office were not because the CIA needed him.
Beale’s wife is Nancy Kete, who also held a high-level policy job at the EPA. She then worked for 12 years at the World Resources Institute as director of climate and energy programs. Since 2012, she has been a managing director at the Rockefeller Foundation.
Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) announced this week that he will retire from the Senate at the end of this session of Congress, which will probably be in November or December. Coburn is retiring two years before the end of his term because of a recurrence of prostate cancer. Representative James Lankford (R-Okla.) then announced that he would run in the special election to replace Coburn. Coburn and Lankford both have strong conservative records, but Lankford has been much more focused on energy issues than Coburn. Lankford currently chairs the subcommittee on energy, health care, and entitlements of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Also, this week, Senator David Vitter (R-La.) declared that he will be a candidate for governor of Louisiana in the November 2015 election. Vitter currently serves as the ranking minority member on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Vitter, who is up for re-election in 2016, does not intend to resign from his Senate seat unless and until he is elected governor. It is unclear who would replace Vitter as ranking member of EPW if he leaves the Senate.
Around the World
Today Is ‘Climate Day’ at Davos Confab
Today is Climate Day at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, an annual policy-themed gathering of the global elite. The highlight of Climate Day was a panel focused on the link between climate change, economic growth and poverty reduction, featuring former Vice-President Al Gore, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Unilever CEO Paul Polman, Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg.
Not a single panelist noted that climate change mitigation could conflict with poverty reduction. According to a report issued last week by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the U.N.’s preferred climate policies would cost 4 percent of the global GDP in 2030.
EU Adjusts Climate/Energy Goals; Greens Upset
Under current European Union rules, member States by 2020 are required to achieve 20 percent reductions in greenhouse gas emissions (relative to 1990) and 20 percent of their energy from renewable energy sources like wind and solar. This week, the European Commission (the executive branch of the interstate EU government mechanism) proposed new greenhouse gas goals—40 percent reductions by 2030—but which also dropped the renewable energy target. Also, the Commission declined to propose new regulations for natural gas drilling technology collectively known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. These measures would still have to be approved by the EU Parliament, and, ultimately, by the EU Council (the executive body composed of heads of state). Environmentalists were outraged by the green energy rollback, as is evidenced by this New York Times editorial decrying the policy.