Paul Chesser, Heartland Institute Correspondent

The campaign for Texas Gov. Rick Perry (who faces a Republican primary challenge in 2010 from Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison) has posted on his Web site a petition against cap-and-trade legislation:

We, the undersigned, ask that Congress abandon legislation that will immediately lead to higher taxes, higher unemployment, tremendous burdens on businesses, and higher costs of goods. We believe policies like this should not be pursued as a response to inconclusive climate change theories.

As America experiences a period of economic downturn, we cannot afford the largest tax increase in our country’s history. By some estimates, the legislation known as “Cap and Trade” will result in a shocking $6,800 yearly increase in costs for a family of 4 in just a few short years. Families will see higher utility bills, loss of jobs, businesses closing, and higher prices on American products.

Texans are certainly qualified to speak out on this issue. Texas’ energy industry fuels the nation, supplying 20 percent of the nation’s oil production, one-fourth of the nation’s natural gas production, a quarter of the nation’s refining capacity, and nearly 60 percent of the nation’s chemical manufacturing. The Texas energy industry employs nearly 375,000 Texans with $35 billion in total wages.

Here’s what else Gov. Perry is in a position to do, if he is serious about resistance to cap-and-trade:

1. Demand that during next week’s annual meeting of the Southern Governors Association, that both scientific and economic balance be represented on the panels that will address the global warming issue. With the Western Climate Initiative, the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord, and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the South is the last unconquered frontier for climate alarmists in pursuit of regional cap-and-trade.

Judging by SGA’s agenda, it is clear that they have the same goal with panels that have the following titles: “Climate Change, Energy and National Security” (speakers are former Virginia Sen. John Warner and Maj. Gen. Richard L. Engel, director of climate change and state stability program in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence), “Evaluating State-based Climate and Energy Policies” (speakers are Tom Peterson, president, and Adam Rose, economist, for the alarmist/activist Center for Climate Strategies), “Developing a Smart Electricity Grid” (a bunch of speakers with economic interests in “greening up” the power delivery system and getting government subsidies to do so), and “Balancing Energy Demands with Climate Goals” (more green energy rent-seekers). Oh, and there’s a panel on health care.

If that doesn’t scream that the Greens have overtaken the SGA (as they have with the other regional governors associations), I don’t know what else does. Perry should say something about it. This will be a one-sided affair otherwise.

2. Demand an independent audit of the Western Climate Initiative, as its been managed and funded under the leadership of the Western Governors Association. Something is fishy when WGA has an entire Web page dedicated to the climate change issue yet it fails to mention it runs WCI. In fact, considering the degree that environmental extremists fund and manage WGA, the group needs a thorough rectal exam. Perry could initiate that idea with his Western colleagues.

Petitions are nice, but the massive fraud behind the science of global warming and behind the rosy economics on cap-and-trade demand a more vocal advocate for electricity ratepayers and gasoline consumers. The governor of a large influential state would be helpful. Otherwise costly policy crap like what SGA and WCI are pushing will progress along and we’ll get stuck with it.

The National Taxpayers Union has fired the latest (and probably its last, as it has bigger fish to fry with health care and Waxman-Markey in Washington) salvo in its effort to convince the members of the Western Governors Association that it needs to uphold its promise of transparency and audit the secretive Western Climate Initiative.

To recap, in June NTU wrote to WGA then-chairman Jon Huntsman Jr., Republican governor of Utah (soon to be ambassador to China) expressing concern about the degree that WGA manages and controls WCI without apparent unanimous support of WGA’s member governors. Among other concerns, NTU questioned whether taxpayer dues in states that were not members of WCI ended up supporting it anyway, and why WGA took on such a large role with WCI when it apparently was not sanctioned by all the Western governors.

But rather than address the concerns of a respected taxpayer advocacy group seeking protection for its members in the West, WGA took umbrage at the inquiry. WCI project manager Patrick Cummins composed a scathing “how dare you”-type retort in which he accused NTU of “false accusations and innuendo” which “recklessly defame the reputation of WGA…our names and that of our citizens.” Cummins, a Kerry- and Obama-supporting global warming alarmist whose reputation and salary are apparently dependent on the success of WCI, persuaded the new WGA chairman (Democratic Governor of Montana, Brian Schweitzer) and vice-chairman (Republican Governor of Idaho, Butch Otter) to sign his missive. The remaining 17 WGA governors did not sign the letter.

Now NTU has responded to Cummins/WGA, recognizing that the WCI project manager’s feelings were hurt while still seeking answers about the alarmist-driven WCI:

WCI isn’t even mentioned on WGA’s “Climate Change” page… We contend that to an outside observer, these facts might indicate that either WGA does not wish to give the impression of associating itself with WCI, or that some WGA members are uncomfortable with discussing WCI….

The analysis NTU conducted of the financial records released by WGA staff shows clearly, in our view, that WGA staff spent an extraordinary amount of time promoting the agenda of the WCI. The records that you provided do NOT confirm whether WGA was completely “reimbursed” for that time, nor can they answer other legitimate questions raised by NTU’s analysis….

We raise these concerns not out of disrespect for the integrity of WGA, but rather our past experience with the interplay of funds in other organizations. As Governor Otter well knows, for example, the Conservation and Reinvestment Act he opposed while in Congress provided some $60 million in taxpayer funding each year to environmental groups supposedly for official activities and purposes only. Back then there was an obvious concern that organizations with left-leaning agendas could be playing fast and loose with taxpayer dollars….

NTU’s Pete Sepp closes the letter reiterating his organization’s mission: to assure that taxpayer dollars and interests are accounted for and transparent — principles echoed in the past by Governor Otter. “These principles were our only motivation in making our original inquiry and call for disclosure of WGA, an organization that receives public funds,” Sepp wrote. “Based on your reply, WGA does not seem interested in providing such disclosure proactively.”

Indeed, as long as the Western governors allow an alarmist-advocate-with-an-attitude like Cummins to be the shielder of their activities and a thuggish bullhorn to drive off inquirers, then their reputation will continue to slide.

As the Website explains and Reuters reports, the Western Climate Initiative will launch its cap-and-trade system among 11 member states and Canadian provinces on January 1, 2012 — less than 2 1/2 years from now. Yet last month Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, one of the seven states that are members of WCI, announced on “Real Time with Bill Maher” last month that he opposes cap-and-trade. Time is getting short for the governor to decide whether he will subject utilities, industries and consumers in his state to the huge energy tax increase that such a system would require, while accomplishing nothing to affect global temperatures?

Tick, tick, tick….withdrawal or participation?

How tremendously shallow of Florida Gov. Charlie Crist. Temperatures and public sentiment have cooled on global warming, while his political ambitions are now trained on the Senate, so what does he do? In a Schweitzer-like flip-flop, he hints that he’s having second thoughts on cap-and-trade. The Miami Herald reports:

Under mounting criticism from fellow Republicans, Crist looks ready to cancel his climate-change summit and is backing away from advocating a “cap-and-trade” energy policy.

At his well-publicized climate summit last summer, Crist pushed a number of energy plans to encourage renewable energy development and establish a cap-and-trade market that would penalize fossil-fuel use.

But Crist’s plans were shredded by the Republican Legislature and his cap-and-trade proposal has been bashed as a “tax” by his Republican U.S. Senate opponent, Marco Rubio, who has been ardently courting the GOP’s conservative wing.

“Well, it may be [a tax]. That may be accurate,” Crist, who recently signed an anti-tax pledge, said Thursday.

Indeed when it served what he thought were his best political interests, Crist was gung-ho in the fight to stop global warming. He keynoted his own climate change summit in 2007 and brought in Arnold Schwarzenegger (also spoke last year), Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and Theodore Roosevelt IV to heighten his profile on the issue. He issued executive orders, created a “Climate Action Team,” and hired the advocacy group Center for Climate Strategies to steer the agenda. The alarmist media lapped it up and bestowed the love.

Now he’s trained on the Senate, as is Rubio, who is vacuuming up conservative support while Crist suffers with a tax-raising, stimulus-supporting image. Global warming is a boat anchor for Crist’s campaign now, and he’s starting to make excuses for why he might not host another climate summit, The Herald says:

Crist was even more tight-lipped about hosting another annual “Serve to Preserve Florida Summit on Global Climate Change,” which for two years attracted international media coverage and large, enthusiastic crowds to a downtown Miami hotel. Crist and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger basked in the glow and vowed sweeping reforms to combat global warming.

Asked Thursday about the summit’s fate, Crist said he had not decided yet and cited the “cost” to potential sponsors.

Florida Power & Light, a major sponsor of last year’s summit, gave at least $26,600 to Crist’s record-setting, $4.3 million campaign account in the past three months.

Gag me.

Don’t look now gang, but government — this time in the states — has another great trade-in-your-clunker program. It’s for refrigerators! The New York Times explains:

Sam Sirkin, the program development manager of Jaco Environmental, a refrigerator and freezer recycler, said that his company now works with 45 utilities in 21 states, up from about 15 utilities in 10 states three years ago.

The recent flurry of new programs in New England stems in part from the recent introducton of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a Northeastern program that caps greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to combat climate change, as well as from energy efficiency initiatives in individual states, according to Mr. Sirkin.

Utilities commonly estimate that homeowners can save up to $150 a year on their electricity bill by dumping their old refrigerator or freezer.

Now according to the big-government types who love to justify these things, those savings would work out to approximately the cost of…a postage stamp a day. In other words, in the economy of the Leftists, insignificant and no big deal.

So feel free to keep the Ole’ chillmaster hummin’ along. It don’t cost ya nothin’!

What a global warming alarmist beast the Energy Foundation is. For example, according to its 333-page (thanks to hundreds of grant awards to a seemingly infinite dependency class of environmentalist nonprofits) tax return for 2007 (the most recent available on Guidestar), EF has a bottomless well of funds to draw from: $68,907,029 in revenues (including $1.36 million in investment income); $53,600,903 in expenses — heck, they’re so rich, they even gave the Rockefellers money. Take that, big oil!

So how does EF get its money? They ‘splain:

Current Energy Foundation partners are: Cinco Hermanos, ClimateWorks Foundation, The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The Grousbeck Family Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, The Mertz Gilmore Foundation, The Cynthia & George Mitchell Foundation, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, The Pisces Foundation, The Schmidt Family Foundation, The Simons Foundation, The Sea Change Foundation, and The TOSA Foundation.

The top four givers to EF for 2007 were the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation ($21,485,800), the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation ($20,727,743), the David and Lucile Packard Foundation ($7,050,000), and The TOSA Foundation ($4,250,000). Consider that when you make your next computer printer purchase.

While it’s usually somewhat easy to find out whose money is going where, it’s less so when you try to find out how they conduct their business. However, a document (Microsoft Word) I obtained that originated with EF’s climate program officer David Tuft offers some insight into their hiring approach, what they look for, and what they want them to do. The source who provided it to me said this document, a job description for an EF consultant in Virginia, was being shopped around to moderate or Republican-leaning consultants:

Specifically, we are looking for someone who has a deep understanding of the political landscape in Virginia, has an understanding of energy and climate issues, and can assist in developing an Energy Foundation funding plan for educating key decisionmakers.

“Educating” seems innocent enough; an EF propaganda campaign does not.

A strategic plan would identify levers for advancing the dialogue around climate policy including: issues specific to the state or district, economic and other analyses to help build the case; messengers and compelling messengers; economic and other stakeholders who would be influential (i.e. major industries, renewable energy enterprises, agriculture, forestry, electric coops, national security experts and the faith community).  After devising a plan, the consultant would recommend a plan for implementation.


For example, the strategy might include the need to fund a specific jobs study to be performed by a UVA economist that shows how a federal carbon cap would create jobs or the need to build a coalition of businesses around the state that would support a federal carbon cap and identify who has the ability to bring these people together.

What a shock — part of the job is to track down accredited-but-pliable researchers to provide the results EF wants so as to advance their agenda. Therefore any research or recommendations they have paid for — from the Western Climate Initiative, to the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Accord, to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, to anything else they fund — should be viewed for the garbage that it is and thrown in the trashcan.

Duke Energy CEO and pro-carbon capper Jim Rogers writes for the Wall Street Journal today in support of the expansion of nuclear power capacity in the U.S. Amen to the nukes; not to the inevitable cap tax (however you design it, it’s a tax).

Endeavoring to enhance his green-cred, Rogers also bemoans America’s alleged lagging performance in the mythical “race to develop green energy technologies.” He writes:

As John Doerr, a partner at the venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, recently told a U.S. Senate energy panel, “The United States led the world in the electronics revolution, and we led in biotechnology and the Internet. But we are letting the energy technology revolution speed by us.”

Mr. Doerr noted that the U.S. is home to only one of the top 10 wind turbine producers, only one of the 10 largest photovoltaic solar panel producers, and only two of the top 10 advanced-battery manufacturers.

China is leading this race, and I saw this first hand during a recent trip there. China has doubled its wind-energy capacity each of the past four years, and it is expected to become the world’s largest manufacturer of wind turbines this year. It is already the world’s leading producer of solar panels. The Chinese understand that clean-energy technologies are the key to controlling their energy future.

Does it really matter who’s developing technology, if it’s really worthwhile, so long as we get to use it? Has every technological advancement become a success in the U.S. because we won some “race?” If so, forgive me for not being devastated about missing out on the wind turbine and photovoltaic “revolution.”

And has Rogers now become the mouthpiece of the Chi-coms? I’m sure the regime lackeys ushered him around to all their propagandaful “green” sites, while their pollutin’ polysilicon plants were passed by. Another convenient U.S. dupe for the communists.

California’s largest utility wants to continue a greenhouse gas mitigation program that almost no one supports, the San Francisco Chronicle reports:

A Pacific Gas and Electric Co. program that asks customers to fight global warming by paying a little extra on their electricity bills has enrolled just 31,000 people and takes far more money to run than it generates.

Now PG&E wants to extend the ClimateSmart program, even as consumer watchdogs question whether it’s worth the money….

Launched with great fanfare in 2007, ClimateSmart gives PG&E customers a way to go “carbon neutral.”

People who sign up for the program pay a monthly fee – usually less than $3 – to offset greenhouse gas emissions from the power plants that supply their electricity. Most of the money funds forestry projects that pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere….

But so far, only 31,000 PG&E customers have joined. That’s 0.6 percent of the utility’s 5.1 million customers, far fewer than expected. The California Public Utilities Commission, which approved the creation of ClimateSmart, predicted that 3.3 percent of PG&E customers would sign up.

Looks like the geniuses are still in charge at both PG&E and in California state government.

The John Locke Foundation‘s Michael Sanera today discusses one of his favorite shows — “This Old House” — which he explains has “gone green.” He relates that while often the always-wealthy eco-homeowner loves to show off his alt-energy gadgets and conservation innovations, the price tag is often downplayed — or not even mentioned. A recent episode illustrated this:

The proud homeowner, Alan Worden, showed Kevin (O’Connor, the TOH host) his off-the-grid power plant. First, they stopped at the 28-panel, 4,000-volt photovoltaic solar array that cost $22,000. Even Kevin, not bashful about his green advocacy, noted that since it was a cloudy day, the solar array must not be producing much power. Alan, in a slightly embarrassed tone, responded that the output was less than one-third of its potential output, but no problem, he had a wind turbine on the other side of the house. I could almost hear the viewers gasp when the camera focused on Alan’s $25,000, 5-kilowatt, vertical-axis wind turbine. By the way, the turbine was not turning. Kevin seemed to snicker when he saw it and remarked that it probably put out a lot of energy in the usually high coastal wind conditions.

No sun, no wind, no electricity, no problem. When Alan does have sun and wind, he explained, he sends the power to his battery storage facility. Off they went to the garage-size shed that housed several large columns of batteries. By this time, Alan was too embarrassed to mention the price.

The green, rich, and famous never worry about costs; discussion of money is so tawdry,” Michael writes. Same goes when they try to impose their extreme environmentalist values on the rest of us.

I could spend all my days hat-tipping Marc Morano at Climate Depot for the treasure trove of climate realism he posts there, but it’s almost like citing a Drudge link — what’s the point of drawing attention to a story that everyone else who follows Web news has already read?

Nevertheless occasionally it’s still worth doing, and today’s reason is Newsweek science editor Sharon Begley. Morano’s link calls her column in the August 3 issue “silly,” but for years Begley has been a doddering old media leftist whose science perspective parallels Helen Thomas’s political taint. Still operating as though weekly newsmags add insightful background to mainstream thought, Begley rambles through tired global warming alarmism peppered with her own clumsy brand of activist exhortation:

The loss of Arctic sea ice “is well ahead of” what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change forecast, largely because emissions of carbon dioxide have topped what the panel—which foolishly expected nations to care enough about global warming to do something about it—projected….

In an insightful observation in The Guardian this month, Jim Watson of the University of Sussex wrote that “a new breed of climate sceptic is becoming more common”: someone who doubts not the science but the policy response. Given the pathetic (non)action on global warming at the G8 summit, and the fact that the energy/climate bill passed by the House of Representatives is so full of holes and escape hatches that it has barely a prayer of averting dangerous climate change, skepticism that the world will get its act together seems appropriate.

Time and Newsweek long ago were consigned to the advocacy bin with The Nation and Mother Jones, but even with their proliferation of Obama fawning, Begley is a curiosity. Rasmussen and Gallup polls show more public skepticism about climate alarmism than concern. Temperatures have gone down over the last ten years and even the New York Times is asking about the sun’s influence. Scientists are clearly divided, debunking the Gore-blustering “consensus.”

But Begley and Newsweek act as though dissent doesn’t exist, or worse, proving that the magazine doesn’t need Stephen Colbert to produce joke journalism.