Chris Horner

The greens have responded with, so far as my experience has it, unprecedented fury and bile to my FOIA request exposing the Department of the Treasury’s internal discussion of how the administration, like the rest of us, expect cap-and-trade to chase away manufacturing jobs particularly in key industries like steel, chemical and cement, and lard the full equivalent of the entirety of environmental regulation on what’s left of the economy (while shaving a full 1% off of GDP).

What has most riled them, indicating that it is what most frightens them, is the internal assessment that the administration expects to raise between $100-200 billion per year from the taxpayer in revenues from selling CO2 ration coupons. Oddly, that’s up to three times how much the administration asserted to the public in February it expected to raise from 100% auctioning, which they said they still expect it to raise, as of three weeks ago (p. 33), well after the March memo citing the $100-200 billion was written. So much for having abandoned their position of auctioning, which it turns out is still the administration position.

In response the greens have tossed out any number of distractions, like claiming that we are ignoring “CBO data” (sic); by which they mean a remarkably cherry-picked CBO estimate of the cost in the cheapest year of the Waxman-Markey bill, a bill not referenced in Treasury’s outed expectation. That’s a distraction but it’s not data, although with so little on their side I understand their need to fudge.

Let me say this as plainly as I can, at risk of House censure: With the help of a remarkably incurious media, Big Green’s claims about what we revealed include not just stretchers but brazen, outright fabrications.

Consider Politico, and how the greens talked the same reporter who they talked into saying that Al Gore signed Kyoto into repeating, with the accuracy we are coming to expect, their new mantra that auctioning the ration coupons is “a long-ago-scrapped proposal made by the Obama administration.”
Ahem. Not “long-ago-scrapped”. The accurate phrase is “House-passed.”

No one who has read Waxman-Markey – a universe I know better than to expect includes reporters “reporting” on it – can honestly claim to believe that the bill scrapped auctioning, if not 100%, then the vast majority of these “allowances”. It mandates it.

It’s right there plain as can be in the 1,400 page bill, Title VII, Subtitle B, Sections 701 through 729 and Subtitle B, Part H! It ends up selling three-fourths of the things (with the rest politically allocated to groups not required to have them and with no use for them other than to sell ‘em to less politically favored saps who do). How can they miss that?

What this tells us is the folly of claiming that the House bill makes Treasury’s assumption of auctioning many or most allowances irrelevant. The allowances that bill does still give away in a few years are given away to entities for resale, not to the productive sector covered by the requirement that they have the things. That means that for all intents and purposes by giving none away to the people and businesses required to have them, Waxman-Markey is de facto auctioning 100%. For anyone familiar with the scheme to say that auctioning is “long-ago-scrapped” is a fabrication intended to deceive.

In the same newspaper we see a lie wrapped in an even bigger whopper intended to distract, in the form of a claim that Treasury’s internal assessment is irrelevant. For example, Politico’s Ben Smith quoted the League of Conservation Voters stammering incoherently:

“Specifically, the original White House plan had 100% of emissions permits being distributed by auction; the plan that passed has just 15%. ‘Can you say “irrelevant analysis”? It would be like pricing the health care bills currently in front of Congress based on a single-payer system,’ [LCV spokesman] writes.”

But as we see, his implication that the House bill only requires auctioning of 15% is flagrantly untrue.

What an actual journalist might do is note how the teaser “only of 15% auctioned!”, which explodes to 100%, gives meaning to Friends of the Earth’s description of the scheme as “subprime carbon”.
But that wouldn’t help the agenda’s chances now, would it?

Now, what about the claim that giving away the ration coupons changes the cost, the cost being what the greens are up in arms over?

Not a bit. At least, if you believe Obama’s economic team. As you see below, even OMB director Peter Orszag-led CBO recently noted the taxpayer pays either way, it’s just that they give corporate buddies much of the loot for a while as part of the deal. It isn’t even disputed in relevant quarters that it doesn’t matter who gets the money — 85% to special interests and 15% to the government or 100% to the government — it still comes out the taxpayer’s pocket.

“Under a cap-and-trade program, firms would not ultimately bear most of the costs of the allowances but instead would pass them along to their customers in the form of higher prices. Such price increases would stem from the restriction on emissions and would occur regardless of whether the government sold emission allowances or gave them away.”

The supposedly controlling Waxman-Markey effort merely gave most of these allowances away for a few years to the GEs and Duke Energys and Chicago’s Exelon, for example, for a few years to buy political support.

One might think that the fact that Waxman-Markey still will ding the taxpayer but for billions to be handed over, at least for the introductory decade, to rent-seeking industry that spent so much on making the scheme happen. That’s not an issue they should want to emphasize, on its face, but that’s the trouble with lying in the first place. It’s out there.

Glenn Beck is addressing this issue this afternoon, as he has already indicated on his radio program earlier, including by kindly including me. I get a sense that his picking up on the scent is the thing that’s most unnerving the greens at the moment. Can anyone say “Van Jones”?

Teaching Moment

by Chris Horner on August 5, 2009

So I’m in the suburbs of St. Looie today doing a town hall meeting with
Rep. Todd Akin — fully subscribed with a crowd that was, ah, rather
enthusiastic– when I have what may be the most fun experience in
this whole strange anti-alarmism trip to date, as good as The Daily Show
or even blogging on NRO.

That was when, in the scrum afterward speaking with those interested is
more on the subject, a woman hesitates then says “Ah…I’m a science
teacher…(Pause)” Look to the nametag. Face. Name tag. “No, you were
‘my’ science teacher!”, 8th grade, 32-ish years ago!

That’s what she thought, too, quite pleased with what I’m doing and
appalled at science and educators having sold their souls for guaranteed
billions each year (for now…). So, she must remain nameless, of”
course, knowing how our friends work. But before Team Soros and other
PG-monitors start shrieking that this just shows the product of youthful
indoctrination, recall how for many reasons she would have been far more
likely to have been brainwashing me with the at-the-time still
less-exposed “consensus — just as phony then as the claims are now –
about catastrophic Man-made global cooling.

No, she’s just an educator sick about what she’s witnessing. Regardless,
very cool, and worth getting up at 5 and heading home by midnight
(regional airport living, gotta love it), as was the whole event. As
much as I want to see an ugly defeat, the crash-and-burn salting the
political earth from whence this monstrosity came, I increasingly think
that the Senate are best served just not bringing cap-and-trade up. It
looks decreasingly wise to test the loyalty (and career interest) of
Sen.s Bayh, Nelson, Lincoln, Landrieu and of course McCaskill. That
means BTU II, or that line in Animal House expressing the lack of
foresight in having trusted one’s fraternity brothers with Fred’s Caddy.

This is a worthy topic for continued congressional exploration. In short, the video and accompanying narrative dissect how, at his Friday Capitol Hill appearance touting a scheme to ration energy while in the process rewarding business who helped write the scheme:

Al Gore obfuscates, downplays and refuses to discuss the role that CEOs have played in crafting his Cap-and-Trade C02 trading schemes and carbon swapping systems.

Al Gore tries to put a lid in Congressional committee testimony on a little reported but vitally important subject in the global warming, carbon-tax ‘debate’- the new derivatives bubble in the emerging green-energy credit-swap market….

The point from Rep. Scalise that is gaveled over by the chairman and stuttered-over by Gore is that many of the Congressmen are ‘concerned about turning over our energy economy over to firms like Enron and some of these Wall Street firms that wrecked out financial economy.’

Fmr. Vice President Al Gore denies that Ken Lay and other CEOs developed carbon scheme: “I didn’t know him well enough to call him ‘Kenny-boy’.

Of course, Gore wasn’t the home-state governor of this Fortune 15 company either, so I guess his supposed lack of familiarity (keep reading) would make sense – but one might ask what nickname Gore had for (or from) close family friend and, ahem, benefactor, the Soviet stooge Armand Hammer? Maurice Strong? The gang at his own personal Enron, scam-artist and buddy-run Molten Metals? Et cetera, et cetera…

Here, we see how Gore lapses into his true self, well-known before adoption of this Right Rev. persona, to rather awkwardly try and change the subject from something that is rightly discomfiting to him. So allow me to address the point, as there is much, much more to the story.

Twelve years ago almost to this very day I left my law firm to accept a position that had rather unexpectedly fallen in my lap with a phone call from Enron, asking me to be their Director of Federal Government Relations. Everyone polled suggested it was a great opportunity, a company admired throughout town, not just by the current (Clinton-Gore) administration with which it was very close, but by Republicans, too.

My recollection is that it was my first day on the job when I walked into my boss’s office in Enron’s suite across from the White House, smack into a meeting between her and who I now know to be two of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s senior DC officials. OK. But the next day I was tasked with sitting in for “Kenny Boy” at a meeting in fancy New York law firm offices (in DC), around a table of Baptists and Bootleggers, rent-seekers and green puritans, discussing how to ensure a global warming treaty came about, of our collective design, and how to rope the U.S. in.

So, seeing very measured groups like Union of Concerned Scientists on my immediate left, I turned to one of the rent-seekers’ officers on my right, among whom I recall being the American Gas Association, Niagara-Mohawk Power, and BP, among others. In response to my query, “what are we doing sitting around a table with a bunch of people who want to put us out of business?”, I was told with a laugh, “they want to put coal out of business first.”

Lovely people, these folks kind enough to introduce me to the world’s second-oldest profession of trying to make one’s fortune off of policy favors from buddies in government instead of by innovation or competition. Frederic Bastiat, phone your office.

So I fired off a “Houston, we have a problem” missive to my boss asking if Enron knew what it was getting into in this group. That’s when they explained the specifics of their business plan to me – which did include setting up a trading business with Goldman, by the way, as one of Goldman’s energy practice chiefs at the time also roared to me in joy about about all of the money they were going to make. This cannot conceivably be news to Gore and his VC partner and former Goldman Pooh-Bah Blood discussed in the linked item.

This plan has since been carried off to greener pastures by numerous of Kenny Boy’s protégés – including one of the most vocal leaders of the current industry push for the cap-and-trade rationing scheme, as I detail in “Red Hot Lies: How Global Warming Alarmists Use Force, Fraud, and Deception to Keep You Misinformed“. Read that if you want to know just how Rep. Scalise really did nail things in his questioning.

Anyway, fast forward a few uncomfortable weeks of retaliatory behavior that I am confident you wouldn’t believe, but I’d be happy to take a speaking fee to tell you about. I’m gone, and Enron and the greens are continuing on their way with what happens to be Congress’s current agenda. Soon thereafter, in July of that year (1997), a unanimous Senate votes pursuant to Art. II, Sec. 2, its (unsolicited) “advice” to Clinton-Gore to not go to Kyoto and agree to that beast. In December Al Gore then flies off to Kyoto to do just that.

The intervening event? An August 4, 1997 Oval Office meeting with Kenny Boy, (then-) Sir John Browne of BP, and the President and Vice President of the United States. Let that sink in. He didn’t know the guy. But anyone who can even spell “Beltway” can tell you that that kind of orchestration and attention takes serious influence. Ask Gordon Brown.

As revealed by the August 1, 1997 Kenny Boy briefing memo subsequently aired after the unpleasantness, in this meeting Kenny Boy was to demand that the Senate be ignored, that the administration agree to Kyoto, and most important that it contain a cap-and-trade scheme.

I know where “advice and consent” is in the Constitution. I’m not so sure where Ken Lay and Sir John Browne are, probably in the back with all of the scary stuff. Anyway, you know who won.

So, in tossing things back to Gore to finally answer the question, I leave you with key excerpts from the “what I did in Kyoto” memo by Lay’s Kyoto aide (yep, he had one), John Palmissano, hailing Enron’s success:

  • “This treaty [Kyoto] is exactly what I have been lobbying for”
  • “This agreement will be good for Enron stock!!”
  • “Enron now has excellent credentials with many ‘green’ interests including Greenpeace, [World Wildlife Fund], [Natural Resources Defense Council], German Watch, the U.S. Climate Action Network, the European Climate Action Network, Ozone Action, WRI, and Worldwatch.”
  • “This position should be increasingly cultivated and capitalized on (monitized).” (sic)
  • “if implemented, this agreement will do more to promote Enron’s business than will almost any other regulatory initiative outside of restructuring of the energy and natural gas industries in Europe and the United States.”

When an alarmist comes out to dismiss the erstwhile poster children, as I just saw in an article:

“‘When you come down to it, nobody really cares about what the global mean temperature is doing, or what the global mean sea level is,’ said Antonio Busalacchi, an oceanographer who chairs the WCRP.”

Oh. Right. Of course and…we knew that. So this must be the person who led the charge against throwing billions in taxpayer dollars at research on global mean temperature and sea level, and telling, e.g., Barack Obama to clam up about such piffles.

Nothing to see here..oooh, look over there!

Is Obama Lying?

by Chris Horner on April 14, 2009

in Blog

When I wrote Red Hot Lies, I backed up the claim with specifics and evidence. Sadly if typically, a new talking point has emerged among the cap-n-trade cheerleading Left – which as I showed at two town hall meetings with Rep. Michele Bachmann last Thursday excludes the non-financially financially vested Left, to their credit.

At both meetings the press – whose penetrating questions beforehand were restricted to “Who’s paying for your trip out here?” (Bill McAuliffe, Minneapolis Star Tribune…it was that mean old Young America’s Foundation) – and the Alinskyites in the audience at one session clinged like grim death to a supposed life raft in the sea of red ink, “an MIT study on cap and trade” disputing certain cost estimates for such a scheme.

Today I see the Huffington Post repeats the claim that Rep. Bachmann was lying about the cost… without saying what the lie was, or otherwise backing up the language. Some person denies cost projections about a scheme designed to price energy out of current levels of use, somehow making anyone else who projects cost estimates a “liar”, which is pushed as the take away point in coverage and public discourse.

OK, usual playground logic, ad hom and subject-changing, shocked shocked, and all that, but here’s the test:

Is Barack Obama lying?

Numerous cost estimates, all projections of the future, are floating around about what a cap-and-trade bill would cost. It is a fool’s errand to bother claiming to know which is most representative – one I lapsed into in q-n-a once, I admit, by offering a range of projections (and an audience member shouted “Lie!”…no, it’s actually a range of projections). A principal reason this is a time-waster is that the Waxman-Markey bill, “the” game in town right now, cleverly avoided assigning specifics to their scheme, thereby ensuring all potential recipients of its rents will pant after the project in hopes that it is they whose beak gets wetted at the expense of the economy.

So, again, the question is whether the man pushing this scheme, the man whose political vanity or social engineering dreams it is to satisfy, is lying?

The only relevant estimate of cap-and-trade legislation is that it would cause your energy prices to “necessarily skyrocket“.

That’s Obama.

Hey, Left, stop changing the subject and answer the question: Is Obama Lying?

Refreshing Candor

by Chris Horner on February 17, 2009

Well, this candor is refreshing, and just in time for the pre-Copenhagen prep meeting, rushed forward from June to March thanks to there being a new sheriff in USA Town whom the world is just sure will fall for it this time around.

Here‘s what India (China, Mexico, Brazil, South Korea, Indonesia, and 155 countries which will continue to be exempt from Kyoto II) has in store for us thanks to this new leadership in Washington.

If you’ve read Red Hot Lies: How Global Warming Alarmists Use Threats, Fraud, and Deception to Keep You Misinformed, this doesn’t come as a surprise. If you haven’t, it is time you did.

Re-posted from archives; “Those Europeans Say the Darnedest Things” originally appeared 28 September, 2007

Today’s Washington Post story was replete with pompous and absurd proclamations – the pompous being the Danish Environment Minister claiming that she and her ilk “are getting a bit impatient, not on our own behalf but on behalf of the planet.” The condemnations of the US included “unusually blunt language” about how the rest of the world are waiting for the US to act, and that it is the US resistance to adopting a particular approach to addressing emissions that jeopardizes the climate. Not China, India, Mexico and 155 countries representing the vast majority of emissions seeing theirs skyrocket; certainly not the EU.

Although that specific assertion begs the question, no mention was made of actual emissions (sidebar: this story was written by Juliet Eilperin, who has this beat and is by no means new to the story. Putting aside that the administration has only once uttered something that can be called a robust comparison of US and EU performance, it remains baffling that she and her peers can continue writing as if what it is now well understood were never in fact revealed.)

givne that the European Environment Agency may play rhetorical games but it makes no secret of the fact that Europe is not lowering but increasing their emissions, which are up since Kyoto was agreed not down, this struck me as possibly clever groundwork-laying for that which ultimately must publicly come to pass: Europe explaining away the gaping chasm between global warming “world leader!” rhetoric and actual emissions performance. We would’ve cut them but we’re waiting on the US to do something. Don’t laugh, that wouldn’t be all that aberrant for Brussels, Berlin or Paris.

Regardless, yesterday’s vulgar display prompted me to tally the comparative, real emission increases in US and EU, given I have heard the counter “well, in percentage terms, but…” when I point out that EU emissions are increasing faster than the US’s under any modern baseline (that is, since Kyoto was agreed and the EU commenced its breast-beating).

We know that the US CO2 emissions are going up at a much slower rate than the EU-15 (“Europe” per Kyoto). We know that, as a result of the EU-15′s obvious failure to reduce emissions, even Cf. 1990 (with the gift that that baseline was to them, for reasons of unrelated UK and DE political decisions), the EU-likes to redefine Europe. They do this to boast on the EU-25 doing this or that — usually, being on target to meet its [sic] Kyoto promise…there not being an EU-25 Kyoto promise, but one collective promise for the EU-15 and 10 different other individual promises, plus 2 countries that are exempt from Kyoto. They do this now as a way to ride the economic collapse of Eastern Europe, reclaiming the hoped-for benefits of the 1990 baseline that slipped away for the more developed EU countries.

However, having a higher percentage increase for even an economy smaller than the US’s (EU-15) means that one might actually produce a larger real emission increase as great or greater than the US. One cost of redefining one’s self as is convenient is that it allows others to do so, possibly guaranteeing that a larger real emission increase is the case.

It turns out that a quick review indicates that real EU-25 CO2 emissions have increased more than the US since, say, 2000, by a third as much (133.1%) in fact. If my numbers are right, that means +177.7 MMT for the EU-25 in 2005 Cf. 2000, as compared to the US’s +133.5 MMT 2005 over 2000, per the Energy Information Administration numbers (I have only just done this and do not know how it holds for older baselines, e.g., 1997 being the only potentially relevant year).

And oh, dear, even without the EU-10, the EU-15, “Old Europe” – a smaller economy than the US’s – increased emissions by 161.67 MMT to the US’s 133.5 over the same period; that is our climate hectors have increased real emissions more than the US’s, in real terms, by 21%.

So there is no need to rely on the “in percentage terms” qualifier when noting that Europe’s emissions have risen faster than the US’s (as Kyoto defines Europe). Instead, it appears that Europe’s emissions (as Kyoto defines Europe, and certainly as Europe defines Europe, including for these purposes) have not only increased much faster than the US’s but also that the EU has increased CO2 emissions much more than the US.

It seems the only thing standing between Europe and a reality check is a White House calling them on their bluster.