February 2015

Cooler Heads Digest 28 February 2015

The McCarthy impersonations by several progressive elected officials this past week targeting climate skeptics, apparently coordinated in both chambers of Congress with the Greenpeace/New York Times smear job of Dr. Willie Soon, got me wondering about the extent to which these same Members of Congress are in cahoots with green billionaire Tom Steyer. Of course, FOIA is limited to the Executive Branch of government. However, EPA keeps an in house congressional lobby shop of Boxer/Markey staff Doppelgängers.

So I FOIA’d the EPA​ lobbyists, to see what correspondence with these Senate offices they may have had about Tom Steyer, the campaign he is helping underwrite against “deniers”, the Greenpeace smear, and trying to chase opponents out of their chosen field, etc. In short, what they may have put in writing about what we are watching unfold. I’ve reposted the request below.


CEI FOIA EPA Congl Affairs and OA Request Boxer Markey Whitehouse Corresp


Congressman Constructs Alternative History of Senate Climate Policy

There is something about climate policy in America that drives alarmists batty.

Here’s the crux of their crazy:  Americans (like most of the world’s citizens) lend low priority to “doing something” about climate change. In the face of this apathy, a small subset of political, economic, and academic elites suffer from extreme cognitive dissonance. Because they consider global warming to be the most terrible, awfullest threat ever, for them it simply does not compute that so many fellow Americans have different priorities.

Rather than accept the truth readily at hand, those terrified by AGW restructure reality. I know of two such delusions, which I call Climate Derangement Syndrome Type I and Type II (hereafter “CDS-I” & “CDS-II”)

  • CDS-I is characterized by the mistaken belief that omnipotent fossil fuel companies manipulate the collective American mind into ignoring the dire threat posed by AGW. As I’ve before noted, this silly notion “is belied by a cursory Google News search of the term ‘climate change,’ which reliably engenders a parade of horribles on the impending catastrophic impacts in store for civilization.
  • CDS-II is manifest in those sharing the widely held misapprehension that the only reason Congress hasn’t passed a climate policy is the GOP’s irrational refusal to work hand in hand with the Democrats on saving the world from AGW, the direst threat ever known to any living being in history of the universe. In fact, congressional opposition to AGW mitigation measures is healthily bipartisan (reflecting the low priority lent to AGW by the preponderance of American voters).

Earlier this week, I brought your attention to a classic case of CDS-II exhibited by Slate reporter Alec MacGillis. This morning, I seek to draw your attention to another evident instance of CDS-II; this time, the victim is Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY), who was hit with a fit of CDS-II during last Wednesday’s House Energy and Commerce joint-subcommittee hearing on EPA’s FY 2016 budget (about which I reported here). [click to continue…]

New York’s Times republished a Greenpeace press release on the front page of its Sunday, 22nd February edition that attacks Willie Soon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics for obtaining $1.2 million in funding for his research over the last decade from energy corporations, electric utilities, and charitable foundations related to those companies.  The press release, cleverly disguised as an article supposedly written by Times reporters Justin Gillis and John Schwartz, also claims that Dr. Soon did not adequately disclose the sources of his funding in articles published in scientific journals.

"all the news that's fit to print?"

“all the news that’s fit to print?”

According to documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by Greenpeace and its closely affiliated so-called “Climate Investigations Center,” Soon received $409,000 from the Southern Company, a major utility, and $230,000 from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation to fund his research.  The Greenpeace press release as republished in the Times notes that “Mr. Koch’s fortune derives partly from oil refining.”  Yes, and the biggest charitable foundation donor to environmental pressure groups is the Pew Charitable Trusts, which was founded on the Pew family’s Sun Oil Company earnings.  Other major givers to green groups are the various Rockefeller foundations, which are based on earnings from Standard Oil (of which Exxon Mobil and Chevron are among the many successor companies).  So what’s Greenpeace’s point?  And everyone knows that scientists who accept funding from the EPA are never influenced by the source of their funding.  That’s why the EPA funds so much research that contradicts its policies.  Right?

I have known Willie Soon for about fifteen years.  I respect him highly, particularly for the great integrity he has shown in pursuing his politically incorrect research under scurrilous attacks like the one reprinted in the NY Times.  If Willie valued money over science, he would have joined the Global Warming Pep Squad long ago. [click to continue…]

also prone to mendacity

also prone to mendacity

On Wednesday morning, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy testified before a joint hearing of two House Energy & Commerce subcommittees. The subject was the EPA’s FY 2016 budget proposal.

As readers of this blog know well, the EPA is out of control. Since the dawn of the Obama era, the agency has spurned all its rightful partners—i.e., States, Congress, industry, and even fellow federal agencies. In their stead, EPA has embraced a handful of green special interests that had spent considerable time and money getting Obama elected. On their behalf (the NRDC-set), the agency has been busy imposing bad policy. So you’d think that McCarthy’s would be a hot seat, when she testified before the Congress.

That said, Administrator McCarthy is a well-seasoned bureaucrat, who’s been doing this for a long time. Over the course of her career, she’s gleaned all the classic tricks of obfuscation, including (but not limited to) ‘The Big 3 R’s’:

  • The refusal: When presented with a difficult question, one claims ignorance and says he/she’’ll get back to the questioner with an answer.
  • The rote: “The rote” is a close cousin of the filibuster; it entails the recitation of canned paragraphs about appealing subjects that are apropos nothing (e.g.., rambling about how ‘children are the future’).
  • The redirect: This occurs when the witness simply answers a question that is related but different to the query that was actually posed.

Administrator McCarthy deftly employed all of these techniques on Wednesday before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittees. And they (the rote, the refusal, and the redirect) were essential to her success in deflecting almost all of the hard questions directed her way. Yet they weren’t sufficient. In addressing the toughest questions, Administrator McCarthy relied on a technique that can’t be beat: She stretched the truth, often to the breaking point. [click to continue…]

Slate Whiffs on Cause of O’s Climate Authoritarianism; EPA Spokesman Reynolds Sounds Silly on “Special Interests”; Grist’s Unintentionally Hilarious Story; and More

  • Over at Slate, Alec MacGillis has a think piece titled “Why Obama Is So Autocratic about Environmental Policy.” At the outset, MacGillis concedes the authoritarian character of President Obama’s climate policy (i.e., his imposing hugely consequential climate measures that lack any electoral mandate whatsoever), which is a truthful start. But the author then proceeds to absolve the Obama of his “autocratic” ways, because….[wait for it]….those darned republicans won’t work with him on climate change mitigation. In fact, the Slate reporter is two-ways wrong:
    1. Contrary to what MacGillis (and others) would have you believe, opposition to climate policy is healthily bipartisan, rather than being solely a conservative cause; and,
    2. MacGillis treats elected Republicans like an independent entity, as if the congressional GOP caucus has policy goals that are distinct from the voters. In reality, it’s not that *Republicans* in the abstract are being unreasonable on climate; rather, the truth of the matter is that most Americans, across the political spectrum, lend low priority to AGW. This is why opposition to climate policy is robustly bipartisan. It’s also why Obama ran from climate change during the 2012 campaign.

[click to continue…]

CO2 tax: bad policy, bad politics (just as ex-Rep. Inglis)

CO2 tax: bad policy, bad politics (just ask ex-Rep. Inglis)

Those favoring larger government are finding it harder to finance them by raising taxes. Proponents have sought to reduce opposition by claiming that they’re not really raising taxes at all—their taxes will be “neutral.” Sure, we’ll take $50 billion or so in taxes from the economy, but we’ll then put it back again in the form of tax reductions or rebates. From a macro-economic perspective, they argue, there will be no impact at all! Why bother, you might ask?

The prime candidate advanced by those seeking to better plan our economy is the carbon tax. We’ll tax carbon and use the revenues to offset its impact. People will use less energy but retain the same income. We’ll change prices without changing income—a highly targeted incentive package! To tax energy users is feasible, although complicated. For example, would our statist central planner simply tax all energy materials? But farmers have traditionally escaped gas and diesel taxes for on-farm use. Will this exemption be repealed? [click to continue…]

waxman imageThis blog venerates former Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Beverly Hills), despite the fact that his position was opposite of ours on pretty much every energy/environmental policy ever. Though I disagree with him on everything, I admire Waxman because he is so damned smart and effective.

Here’s the Waxman I know through observation. For starters, he showed up to every Energy & Commerce Committee hearing. If you occasion these sorts of things, you’d know that congressional attendance is terrible, yet Waxman would show up even to hearings convened by E&C subcommittees on which he wasn’t a member. (The only other Members of Congress I know of who do this are Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Darrell Issa). And wherever Waxman showed up, he was supremely effective. He’d ask the toughest questions, blunt the opposition with procedural mechanisms, and generally control the proceeding–even if he was in the minority.

To my knowledge, Waxman was the finest practitioner of parliamentary hand-to-hand combat (although I’m too young to have witnessed Rep. John Dingell in his prime, and I understand he was something to behold). Unfortunately, environmental policy was Waxman’s bailiwick, and no one benefited more so from his acumen than the green movement.

So when I heard that Waxman, upon retiring at the close of the 113th Congress, wrote and circulated a business plan to all the top lobbyist outfits in D.C., I would have thought that he’d have immediately fielded a number of offers at an annual salary that K St. normally reserves for just-retired Senators (~$1 million). I thought this for two reasons: (1) Waxman is a master of congressional process; (2) the green movement, his closest ally, is spending evermore on elections and lobbying.  [click to continue…]

Grist.org describes itself as “independent green journalism.” Keeping this self-description in mind—with an emphasis on the modifier *green*—consider the following Grist stories that were promoted on the blog’s twitter feed in the previous 8 hours:

Why is Grist, “independent green journalism,” writing *serious* posts on subjects like student loan debts and feminism, which have nothing at all to do with the environment? The answer to this question reflects the rise of green special interests as big time political players. [click to continue…]

peeweeWhenever EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy talks about the Clean Power Plan, the word of the day is always “flexibility.”

Pursuant to her telling, the regulation was crafted by EPA so as to give States a near-boundless freedom to choose what they believe is the best path for achieving greenhouse gas emissions reductions. As she told the National Governors Association this past weekend,

We have designed this rule to allow States to design their own pathway forward that is consistent with where they want to see their future in their state and their economy…So we are continuing with collaborating with the States, recognizing that the glue that holds us all together is the flexibility that we have offered.

Later, the f-word popped up again as McCarthy responded to questions about the rule:

Because we’ve provided so much flexibility, every state gets to dictate for themselves [their compliance strategy]

Finally, Administrator McCarthy intimated that EPA granted so much flexibility to the States, that Governors could somehow leverage the Clean Power Plan into a central plan that would create wealth and reduce unemployment: [click to continue…]