Cooler Heads Digest

In the News

The Congressional Research Service’s Dirty Little Big Green Secret
Ron Arnold, Washington Examiner, 17 December 2010

Duke Energy’s Bad Bet
Chris Horner, Planet Gore, 15 December 2010

Wikileaks Climate Cables Show Obama’s Desperation
John Rossomando, Daily Caller, 15 December 2010

Budget Hawks Oppose Nuclear Loan Guarantees
Jesse Emspak, International Business Times, 15 December 2010

7 Year Moratorium Is a Bad Idea
Phil Ciciora, Illinois News Bureau, 14 December 2010

Energy Policy: 5 Worst Governors
William Yeatman,, 14 December 2010

Ethanol Idiocy Will Not Die
Rich Lowry, National Review, 14 December 2010

Deutsche Bank’s “Corporate Irresponsibility,” Part 1
David Henderson, Financial Post, 13 December 2010

Deutsche Bank’s “Corporate Irresponsibility,” Part 2
Terence Corcoran, Financial Post, 13 December 2010

News you Can Use

Offshore Wind = Ultra Expensive Energy

In a Master Resource post on the economics of offshore wind energy, Lisa Linowes notes that Massachusetts regulators recently approved a contract to buy offshore wind energy for 18.7 cents a kilowatt, “a price that’s three times the cost of in-region natural gas and at least double the cost of other renewable options.”

Inside the Beltway

Myron Ebell

Congress Passes and President Signs Tax Bill with Goodies for Renewables

The Senate and House overwhelmingly passed and President Barack Obama signed the bill to extend the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 for two years.  There were a lot of other provisions in the bill, including one-year extensions of the 45 cents per gallon taxpayer subsidy and 54 cents tariff for ethanol and the section 1603 up-front taxpayer cash grants of 30% for renewable energy projects.  So we will keep throwing money away on dead-end renewables for at least another year.

Rockefeller Plays Games with Two-Year EPA Delay Bill

Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) suddenly started talking again this week about offering an amendment to delay implementation of Clean Air Act regulation of greenhouse gas emissions for two years.  Then he quickly blamed Republicans for thwarting his efforts by blocking consideration of the Omnibus Appropriations bill.  Having failed to pass any of the twelve appropriations bills for the various federal departments and programs this year, the Omnibus Appropriations bill is the Democratic majority’s last-ditch attempt to lock in colossal spending levels before the Republicans take over the House in January.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) promised Rockefeller a vote on his amendment last June during the debate on Senator Lisa Murkowski’s (R-Alaska) Resolution of Disapproval under the Congressional Review Act.  Reid peeled enough Democrats away with that promise to defeat the resolution that would have blocked EPA from regulating greenhouse emissions permanently.  But of course, a promise from Senator Reid is not what is sometimes understood by that term.  Everyone knew at the time that Reid was not promising anything.

Senator Rockefeller vowed that, “I will be back fighting hard for my two-year bill as my first order of business in the new Congress.”  That may be true, but events have passed beyond the Senator from West Virginia.  House Republicans will be looking to move a permanent suspension of EPA greenhouse gas regulations.

Across the States


By a 9 to 1 vote, the California Air Resources Board this week approved a state-wide cap-and-trade scheme. The adopted regulation is more than 3,000 pages long, but most of the details have yet to be worked out as the CARB rushed to meet a December 31 deadline set by the 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act, legislation that authorizes the CARB to reduce the State’s greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by 2020. In order to protect California businesses from out-of-state competition, the CARB will allocate emissions credits (a.k.a. energy-rationing coupons) for free. The European Union Emissions Trading Scheme is the only precedent for free allocation of carbon credits, and it resulted in windfall profits for politically-connected industries and higher electricity prices for consumers.


In October 2007, Kansas Health and Environmental Secretary Roderick Bremby denied permits for two proposed 700 MW coal-fired power plants in western Kansas. In 2008 and 2009, the State Legislature passed four bills to allow Sunflower to build the plants, but then-Governor Kathleen Sebelius (currently the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) vetoed them all. After she left office to join the Obama administration, her successor Mark Parkinson immediately brokered a deal to allow for a scaled-down version of the project. This week, John Mitchell, the state’s acting secretary of health and environment, issued an air-quality permit for an 895 megawatt plant. The permit was issued only weeks before the start of new EPA regulations for greenhouse gases. Environmentalists have promised to litigate.

Around the World

Cancun Wrap-up

Last week’s Cooler Heads Digest was published before the conclusion of the 16th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Cancun, Mexico; nonetheless, we predicted that the negotiators ultimately would “produce an agreement to meet again.” We were right. The “Cancun Agreement” achieved a near-consensus (Bolivia was the only country to object) by deferring all decisions to future negotiations. The parties agreed to meet in Durbin, South Africa for COP-17 in December 2011.

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,

In the News

Regulations Are Strangling Investment
Myron Ebell, Politico Arena, 3 December 2010

Ethanol’s Policy Privileges: Headed for History’s Dustbin
Marlo Lewis, Pajamas Media, 3 December 2010

Alternative Energy and the Academy at Lagado
Iain Murray, American Spectator, 3 December 2010

Video: Taxpayer Funded Environmentalism
Taxpayers’ Alliance, 3 December 2010

A Real Stimulus
Ben Lieberman, Washington Examiner, 1 December 2010

The EPA’s End-Run around Congress
Larry Bell,, 1 December 2010

Germany’s Offshore Wind: Wasted Resources
Edgar Gaertner,, 1 December 2010

Puffing up the Renewabubble
Chris Horner, Planet Gore, 29 November 2010

Global Warming Nuisance Lawsuits Are Based on a Fatal Flaw
Russell Cook, Big Government, 27 November 2010

Al Gore’s Ethanol Epiphany
Wall Street Journal editorial, 27 November 2010

News You Can Use

Alarmists Try To Have It Both Ways

In 2000, Dr. David Viner, a senior research scientist at the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, told the UK Independent that snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event” within a few years due to global warming.

This week, as an unseasonal snow blanketed Northern Europe and caused more than 60 fatalities, University of College London Professor Mark Maslin told the UK Telegraph that the snow was likely due to global warming.

Inside the Beltway

Myron Ebell

Obama’s Offshore Flip-Flop

The Department of the Interior this week announced that its 2012-17 five-year plan for leasing tracts for offshore oil and gas exploration would place the Pacific, Atlantic, and eastern Gulf coasts off limits. In addition, Interior announced that the go-slow policy for Alaska offshore leasing would continue.

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar used BP’s Gulf oil leak as justification for reversing the policy that President Obama announced in March.  Here is what CEI said in its press release responding to Interior’s announcement: “Obama Offshore Oil Moratorium Breaks Promise, Hurts Economy, Kills Jobs.” Tom Pyle of the Institute for Energy Research made similar comments.  Even Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, was critical.

House Republicans Vote Next Week on Committee Chairman

The House Republican Steering Committee this week interviewed candidates for Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee and for Chairman of the Science and Technology Committee.  Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) remains the frontrunner for Energy and Commerce, but conservative opposition has been building from a number of directions. The Committee is scheduled to vote next Tuesday on these and all the other committee chairmanships.

The fact is that Upton is to the left of the vast majority of the Republican Conference on a wide range of issues.  He is sounding very conservative in public and making lots of promises, but it doesn’t square with his record.  For example, Upton has voted for the 2007 anti-energy bill, against offshore drilling, for higher CAFÉ standards, for the ethanol mandate, and he led the effort to ban incandescent light bulbs. The other candidates are Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.), who is the current ranking Republican and former Chairman of the committee, Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), and Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.).  My own view is that Barton, Stearns, and Shimkus are all good choices and far preferable to Upton.

There are two candidates for Chairman of the Science and Technology Committee.  Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Tex.) is the frontrunner.  He is being challenged by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (D-Calif.).  Hall, a former Democratic Member and currently the ranking Republican on the committee, is widely respected and liked.  He is also very able and highly qualified to chair Science and Technology.  The reason why the Steering Committee may pass him over is his age-87.  Rep. Rohrabacher is also highly qualified and would bring a lot more energy and aggressiveness to the job.

The proposal by Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) to take jurisdiction over energy issues from the Energy and Commerce Committee and place it in an expanded Energy and Natural Resources Committee is still in play.  The Steering Committee may consider it after it votes on the committee chairmanships.  Hastings is the only candidate for Chairman of the Natural Resources Committee.

EPA Turns 40

The Environmental Protection Agency has been celebrating its fortieth anniversary this week with a number of events.  EPA was created by executive order by President Richard M. Nixon on December 2, 1970.  EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson used the occasion to argue for the agency’s continuing relevance. My CEI colleague Chris Horner responds to Jackson’s astonishing claim that EPA has created 1.5 million jobs here. And Amanda Carey in the Daily Caller finds much less reason than Jackson to celebrate.

Across the States

New York Assembly Passes Symbolic Drilling Ban

The New York State Assembly this week voted 93 – 43 to temporarily ban a natural gas drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing. The moratorium lasts until May, 2011, but state regulators weren’t expected to start issuing drilling permits until summer, so the legislation is largely symbolic. New York State is home to huge natural gas deposits that only recently become economically recoverable, thanks to the emergence of hydraulic fracturing technology, which is also known as “fracking.” Environmentalists oppose the practice on the grounds that it could affect groundwater supplies, although there is no credible evidence to support these claims.

Around the World

COP-16 in Cancun: Japan Bucks Kyoto

The Japanese delegation to the 16th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Cancun, Mexico, yesterday said that under no circumstances would the country support an extension of the Kyoto Protocol past 2012. Already, expectations were low for the COP-16 negotiations, as evidenced by the minimal presence of dignitaries and media. Japan’s announcement diminishes expectations in Cancun even further.

It Could Happen Here

Germany has the most generous solar subsidy program in the world. In a November note to investors, Merrill Lynch estimated that the average German household pays $260 a year for solar subsidies. Solar power accounts for 1% of German electricity production.

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,

In the News

The Ecological Monster Who Said…Peep
Ben Lieberman, Washington Times, 19 November 2010

America’s First Carbon Market Closes Shop
Christopher Horner & William Yeatman, Sacramento Bee, 19 November 2010

G20 Adviser Says U.S. Will Face Trade Boycott over Climate
Ben Webster, The Times, 19 November 2010

Global Warming: How To Approach the Science
Richard Lindzen, Testimony before the Committee on Science and Technology, 17 November 2010

Global Warming: How To Approach the Science
Patrick Michaels, Testimony before the Committee on Science and Technology, 17 November 2010

Cap-and-Trade Is Dead, But Kyotoism Is Alive and Well at the EPA
Marlo Lewis, Washington Examiner, 15 November 2010

Colorado Plan Tied to Phantom Carbon Tax
William Yeatman & Amy Oliver Cooke, Pueblo Chieftain, 14 November 2010

The Climate Change Scare Is Dying
Christopher Booker, Telegraph, 14 November 2010

Big Green Leader Wants GOP To Forget Popular Will…Or Else
Mark Tapscott, Washington Examiner, 9 November 2010

News You Can Use

Climategate’s First Anniversary

Today is the first anniversary of the Climategate scandal. Here’s a round-up of analyses and commentary:

One Year Ago Today, Anthony Watts, WattsUpWithThat
Climategate: One Year and 60 House Seats Later, Marc Sheppard, American Thinker
How the Climategate Weasels Wiggle Away, James Delingpole, Telegraph
What Does Climategate Say about Science?, Terence Kealey, The Global Warming Policy Foundation

Inside the Beltway

Myron Ebell

Lame Duck Session a Big Success So Far

The first week of Congress’s lame duck session has been a big success.  They haven’t done anything.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pulled a scheduled vote to invoke cloture and proceed to S. 3815, the “Promoting Natural Gas and Electric Vehicles Act of 2010,” because he did not have the 60 votes required.

S. 3815 is known around town as the Boone Pickens Payoff Bill.  Pickens told Bloomberg News this week that he thought there was a better than 50-50 chance that the bill would be enacted, so we can’t celebrate yet.

The bill would provide $4.5 billion in subsidies for natural gas vehicles and $3.5 billion in subsidies for electric vehicles plus $2 billion in loans to manufacturers of natural gas vehicles.  The subsidies to purchasers would range from $8,000 to $64,000.  The larger payments would be for purchasers of heavy trucks that run on natural gas.

But the Lame Ducks Will Be Back after Thanksgiving

Congress will be in recess next week for Thanksgiving and will return on November 29th.  There are enough big must-do items that it still seems unlikely to me that the Senate will be able to take up Pickens’s bill or the Renewable Electricity Standard (or RES) bill, S. 3813.  The RES bill is sponsored by Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), the Chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and retiring Senator Sam Brownback (R-Ks.), who has just been elected Governor of Kansas.  It now has 31 co-sponsors, including three other Republicans.

The RES bill would raise electric rates in those States that haven’t yet followed the failed California model of raising rates to impoverish consumers and drive out energy-intensive industries.  My guess is that it will be blocked in the Senate by Republican and Democratic Senators from those States in the Mideast and Southeast that still depend on low-cost coal and therefore still have manufacturing.  On the other hand, there is an incentive for Senators from States that have already enacted their own renewable requirements to support a national standard in order to lower the competitiveness of the States that have not adopted renewable requirements.

Who Will Be Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee?

There are now four active candidates running to be the next Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee: former Chairman and current Ranking Republican Joe Barton (R-Tex.), Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), and Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.).  The House Republican Steering Committee will vote-probably in early December-and then their recommendation will be voted on by the entire Republican Conference.

It’s hard to predict these insider contests because personal relationships play a big role.  Here are a few comments.  Barton has served two years as Chairman and the last four as Ranking Republican.  House Republican rules are ambiguous, but it seems that Barton requires a waiver of the six-year rule in order to be eligible.  Another obstacle is the new Speaker, current Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio).  Barton made the mistake of running against Boehner for Minority Leader after the House Republicans lost their majority in the 2006 elections.

Upton is one of the more liberal Republican House Members, but is nonetheless the front runner for the job.   His voting record has been compiled here.  A number of his environmental and energy votes are at odds with the vast majority of his Republican colleagues.  For example, he was the main sponsor of the ban on incandescent light bulbs, voted for the 2007 anti-energy bill, voted against offshore drilling, voted against a major reform of the Endangered Species Act, and voted for the California Desert bill, which locked up millions of acres.  But Upton is running a hard and highly visible public campaign and is promising to be a good conservative.

Stearns has a very conservative voting record.  He is also saying some of the right things, as for example in this column by Kim Strassel in the Wall Street Journal.  On the other hand, the rap on Stearns is that he has not done much heavy lifting on the committee.

My guess is that Shimkus is the most likely to have a shot at defeating Upton.  Shimkus, like Barton and Stearns, opposes global warming alarmism and supports more domestic production of coal, oil, and natural gas.  He has said publicly that he is a candidate, but is running a behind-the-scenes campaign.

Another possible candidate for Energy and Commerce Chairman is Rep. Greg Walden (R-Oreg.).  He took a leave of absence from the committee, so that a party-switcher could keep his seat on the committee as a Republican.  Walden is currently serving as Chairman of the Republican transition team that is preparing for transfer of majority control of the House in January to the Republicans.  That suggests that the House Republican leadership holds him in high regard.

On the Democratic side, outgoing Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) faces no opposition to become Ranking Democrat on the committee in the 112th Congress.  Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), the other chief sponsor of the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill, has apparently cleared the field and will be elected Ranking Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee.

The Natural Resources Committee’s ranking Republican, Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), who is unopposed to be Chairman when the Republicans take control of the House in January, proposed this week to take the Energy and Commerce Committee’s jurisdiction over energy issues and combine it with his committee into a new Energy and Natural Resources Committee.  I have publicly supported Hastings’s proposal in my role as director of Freedom Action. It’s a long shot that the House Republican leadership or Conference will go along, but at the least Hastings is sending a shot across the bows of the Energy and Commerce Committee, which regularly encroaches on the jurisdiction of his committee.

Across the States

Texas Fights Back

The Washington Examiner this week ran an excellent three part series by Kathleen Hartnett White and Mario Loyola, of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, on a burgeoning conflict between the EPA and the State of Texas.

Part 1: EPA Is Offended by Texas’s Successful Permitting Rules
Part 2: Putting a Lid on Texas’s Economic Growth
Part 3: Doing the Environmentalists’ Dirty Work

Around the World

IPCC Official: Climate Policy Is about Wealth Redistribution, Not Environment

German economist and IPCC official Ottmar Edenhofer gave an eye-opening interview to Neue Zürcher Zeitung (translated here), in which he said that “one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy….This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore.” Mr. Edenhofer was appointed as joint chair of Working Group 3 at the Twenty-Ninth Session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in Geneva, Switzerland.

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,

In the News

Green Jobs Hucksterism and the G-20
Chris Horner, AmSpecBlog, 12 November 2010

A Bad Week for Alarmists
Anthony Watts, WattsUpWithThat, 12 November 2010

How the EPA Could Destroy 7.3 Million Jobs
William F. Shugart, Washington Examiner, 12 November 2010

GE Buys Volts; Taxpayers Pick up the Tab
Henry Payne, Planet Gore, 12 November 2010

Global Warming Is Good for Rainforests
Lewis Page, The Register, 12 November 2010

Global Warming, Global Taxes
Thomas P. Kilgannon, American Spectator, 12 November 2010

EPA’s New Guidance: Does It Endanger Coal?
Marlo Lewis,, 11 November 2010

High Speed Train Wreck
Iain Murray & Marc Scribner, Lexington Herald Leader, 11 November 2010

Retire the Stealth Tax on Carbon
Vincent Carroll, Denver Post, 10 November 2010

California’s AB 32 Is Still on the Hot Seat
Tom Tanton,, 10 November 2010

Carbon Trading Grounds to a Halt in the U.S., 9 November 2010

How an Enviro Advocacy Group Propped up Global Warming in the Media
Russell Cook, Big Journalism, 2 November 2010

Energy and Climate Wars
Bryan Weynand, American Thinker, 2 October 2010

News You Can Use

Ben Lieberman

Voters Want to Save Planet from Attempts To Save Planet

It is worth noting that the two biggest environmental scares of recent memory-global warming and the BP oil spill-both failed to sway voters on November 2.  Quite the contrary, it was the ill-advised attempts to address them that sparked voter anger.  The Waxman-Markey bill worried the electorate more than global warming itself (and quite rightly so), and contributed to the loss of more than two dozen of its supporters in the House of Representatives.

Similarly, the BP oil spill had virtually no adverse impact on pro-drilling politicians. If anything, it was Obama’s overreaction to the spill in the form of the drilling moratorium that proved highly unpopular in Louisiana and other impacted States. The moratorium didn’t cost any Congressional seats there only because both Democrats and Republicans strongly denounced it.

Inside the Beltway

Myron Ebell

EPA Releases Vague Guidance on Greenhouse Gas Regs

The Environmental Protection Agency this week released a Guidance Document on the Best Available Control Technology (BACT) that will be required in order to permit new projects under the Clean Air Act’s regulation of stationary sources of greenhouse gas emissions.  The regulations are scheduled to begin on January 2nd, 2011, so EPA has put off to the last minute informing regulated entities what they will have to do to receive a permit.  The short answer is that the EPA doesn’t know what to require in the way of BACT beyond advocating increased energy efficiency and so is granting extraordinary leeway to state environmental agencies (that consider and make the initial decisions on permit applications) to make up the rules as they go along.  This means that one state environmental agency may require something extremely expensive and complicated to limit greenhouse gas emissions while another may require something cheap and easy.  It should be fun, especially for the environmental pressure groups who are no doubt already planning how to litigate every permit application filed.  My CEI colleague Marlo Lewis explains some of the details here, but it will take awhile to decipher all of EPA’s little tricks and traps.

Browner Must Go

Dan Berman reported in Politico on Wednesday that: “The White House rewrote crucial sections of an Interior Department report to suggest an independent group of scientists and engineers supported a six-month ban on offshore oil drilling, the Interior inspector general says in a new report.  In the wee hours of the morning of May 27, a staff member to White House energy adviser Carol Browner sent two edited versions of the department report’s executive summary back to Interior. The language had been changed to insinuate the seven-member panel of outside experts – who reviewed a draft of various safety recommendations – endorsed the moratorium, according to the IG report.”  This is the most outrageous example yet of the Obama Administration’s improper manipulation of science to support its agenda.  I responded in a CEI press release by calling for the firing of President Obama’s Climate Czar, Carol Browner. Senator James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, and two of his colleagues on the committee, John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and David Vitter (R-La.), have requested that the committee hold a hearing on the Inspector General’s report.

Across the States

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie “Skeptical” on AGW

The Philadelphia Inquirer this week reported on a town hall meeting during which New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) responded to a question about the science of global warming by saying that, “I’m skeptical.” That’s great to hear, but it would be even better if the Governor pulled New Jersey out of the cap-and-trade for northeastern states known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

Around the World

EU: Efficiency Goals Will Cost $1.4 Trillion through 2020

Environmentalists claim that energy efficiency is the ideal energy policy because it saves money and reduces the need for new energy generation. According to Greenpeace International, “energy efficiency is highly profitable.” The evidence suggests otherwise. This week, European Commission presented its energy efficiency strategy for the coming decade, calling for taxpayer investment of almost $1.4 trillion through 2020.

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,

In the News

Cap-and-Trade Is Political Kryptonite
Myron Ebell, Politico Energy Arena, 5 November 2010

EPA Regs for Rigs
Marlo Lewis,, 5 November 2010

The Wilderness Obsession
Roger Scruton, American Spectator, 5 November 2010

What the Elections Mean for the Greens
Chris Horner, Planet Gore, 4 November 2010

Environmental Toxins
Iain Murray, The Corner, 4 November 2010

High Speed Trains Are a Waste of Money
Robert Samuelson, Washington Post, 1 November 2010

Green Hiring Scandal at the DOE
Eugene Samuel Reich, Nature, 1 November 2010

News You Can Use

Cap-and-Trade Kills Careers in Congress

Thirty-one House Democrats who voted for H.R. 2545, the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill, were defeated in the elections. The Senate did take a vote on cap-and-trade.

Inside the Beltway

Myron Ebell

On Cap-and-Trade: They Lost, We Won

Greens Desperate to Avoid Blame” was the headline on Darren Samuelsohn and Robin Bravender’s story in Politico on Wednesday. Environmental pressure groups moved quickly to spin the election results as having nothing to do with them.  In particular, they claimed that passage in the House of the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill did not cause Democrats to lose.  On the contrary, the reality is that Waxman-Markey did contribute to the defeat of a number of Democrats, as I argue in Politico’s Energy Arena.

More significant is the fact that the new Republican majority in the House is largely skeptical of the claim that global warming is a potential crisis and is close to unanimously opposed to cap-and-trade and other energy-rationing measures.  Not only is cap-and-trade dead, but there is a good chance that the House next year will move legislation to block or delay the EPA from using the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

The question is, can such a measure pass the Democratic-controlled Senate?  There is certainly a majority in the Senate for blocking EPA, but sixty votes will be needed.  My guess is that there will be more than sixty votes.  As EPA regulations start to bite next year, Senators will start to hear complaints from their constituents.  And a number of Democratic Senators are up for re-election in 2012 and will want to avoid the fate of so many of their colleagues this year.

President Obama Reacts

President Barack Obama left on Friday for a ten-day trip to Asia beginning in India.  Before he left, he held a press conference on the election results and gave an interview to Sixty Minutes, which has been released by CBS ahead of its broadcast on Sunday night.  In reply to two questions at his press conference, the President spoke at length about alternatives to cap-and-trade.  He said, “Cap-and-trade was just one way of skinning the cat; it was not the only way.  It was a means, not an end.  And I’m going to be looking for other means to address this problem.”

The President said that there were several areas where he might be able to find common ground with the Republicans in Congress.  These included natural gas, nuclear power, and electric vehicles.  He also said that, “The EPA is under a court order that says greenhouse gases are a pollutant that fall under their jurisdiction.”  This is a misunderstanding, but he then also seemed to express some openness to congressional intervention in EPA regulation of greenhouse gas emissions: “And I think EPA wants help from the legislature on this.  I don’t think that the desire is to somehow be protective of their powers here.”

The Dream Team Returns

Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) survived a tough election challenge and so is expected to be back in the 112th Congress as Majority Leader.  What is much more surprising is that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) announced today that she would run for Minority Leader in the 112th Congress.

Across the States


Proposition 23, a California ballot initiative to suspend AB 32, the State’s global warming law, until unemployment decreases to 5.5 %, was defeated on Tuesday by a 61% to 29% vote. Opponents of Prop 23, primarily venture capitalists with a financial stake in green energy mandates, spent more than $30 million to persuade Californians to vote against it. As a result of Proposition 23’s defeat, Governor-elect Jerry Brown will have unlimited power to regulate California’s economy in the name of climate change mitigation. In his previous job as California Attorney General, Brown interpreted AB 32 broadly. Indeed, he used the legislation to sue California counties for failing to address global warming in their transportation plans adequately. Expect more of the same.

New Mexico

Opposition to cap-and-trade featured prominently in the winning campaigns of both New Mexico Governor-elect Susana Martinez (R) and Congressman-elect Steve Pearce (R). Yet, on the very day that New Mexico voters indicated their displeasure with energy-rationing climate policies, outgoing Governor Bill Richardson’s (D) administration committed the state to a regional cap-and-trade program. It remains to be seen whether Richardson can entrench the ruling so that it could withstand a likely challenge from incoming Governor Martinez.

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,

In the News

Prop 23 and the Green Jobs Myth
T. J. Rodgers, Wall Street Journal, 29 October 2010

Prop 23 Puts Jobs before Wishful Thinking
Debra Saunders, San Francisco Chronicle, 29 October 2010

Prop 23 Is All about Saving the California Economy
Ben Boychuck, Planet Gore, 29 October 2010

Should States Step up on Climate?
Myron Ebell, Politico Energy Arena, 28 October 2010

Robust Economy Needs Affordable Energy
David Kreutzer, The Foundry, 28 October 2010

Schwarzenegger Is a Climate Cuckoo, Not A Climate Hawk
William Yeatman,, 28 October 2010

Climategate: Did Jones Delete Emails?
Stephen McIntyre, Climate Audit, 27 October 2010

Daniel Greenberg Meets the Climate Scientists
Roger Pielke Jr, Roger Pielke Jr.’s Blog, 27 October 2010

More “Green Jobs” Success for Obama’s Models
Chris Horner, American Spectator, 26 October 2010

Can the Endangered Species Act Force De-Industrialization?
Marlo Lewis,, 25 October 2010

The Green Crusade against Cars
Clifford Atiyeh, Boston Globe, 24 October 2010

News You Can Use

According to a new North American Electric Reliability Corporation report released this week, the United States could lose 7 percent of its electric capacity due to pending EPA regulations on coal-fired power plants. The shutdowns could threaten grid reliability in the northeast.

Inside the Beltway

Myron Ebell

Elections: Running from Cap-and-Trade

Campaigns often become annoying as election day approaches, but they do have the benefit of sucking all the energy out of Washington.  Congress has been out for a month to allow Members to campaign, and even the agencies tend to go silent just before an election for fear that announcing some new rule or policy could become a damaging campaign issue.

But when Washington springs alive again after next Tuesday, it will be a city transformed by the election results.  Even if the rout of House and Senate Democrats occurs precisely as predicted (minus 50 House seats and 7 Senate seats is the average guess; here is a typical forecast), it will all look and feel different after it has happened than in anticipating it.

While the reactions to big election swings are often surprising, one thing that is absolutely clear already is that cap-and-trade has been a significant issue in the campaign and that cap-and-trade will be totally dead after November 2nd.  Every Republican incumbent and challenger is running against cap-and-trade.  Most are running against global warming alarmism.  House Democrats who voted against the Waxman-Markey bill are featuring that vote in their campaigns.  Only a handful of the more than 200 Democrats who voted to pass Waxman-Markey in 2009 are even mentioning it in their campaigns.

Cap-and-trade is especially potent as an issue in coal country.  In West Virginia, it has become so toxic that Governor Joe Manchin (D) revived his Senate campaign against John Raese by running a television ad in which he shoots a copy of one of the Senate cap-and-trade bills.   Rep. Nick Joe Rahall (D-WV)), the Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, voted against Waxman-Markey, but is now in the race of his life against a challenger, Elliott Maynard, who is scoring points with voters by arguing that Rahall’s opposition was weak and that he in effect supports cap-and-trade because he voted for Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for Speaker.

Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) is in even worse shape in his nearby district in Virginia.  Boucher put the interests of his party ahead of the interests of his coal-mining district when he made a deal and rounded up the votes necessary to pass Waxman-Markey on June 26, 2009.  In 2008, Boucher didn’t have a Republican opponent.  This year Morgan Griffith appears to be running a very close race. Boucher’s loss would send an unmistakable signal to congressional candidates in energy-producing and energy-using manufacturing districts for many elections to come.

Across the States

California Releases Cap-and-Trade Energy Rationing Plan

The California Air Resources Board this afternoon released a cap-and-trade regulation. The release begins a public comment period culminating in a December 16 public hearing in Sacramento, California, at which the Board will consider adopting the proposed program. Click here for a two-page summary of the plan.

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,

In the News

Biofuels or Bust?
Brian McGraw, Detroit News, 22 October 2010

Can the Endangered Species Act Compel America To De-Industrialize?
Marlo Lewis,, 22 October 2010

Eight-Tenths of a Degree? Think of the Grandchildren!
Willis Eschenbach, WattsUpWithThat, 22 October 2010

Shock! Green-Posing Hollywood Hypocrite
Chris Horner, American Spectator, 21 October 2010

Pop Went the Climate Bubble
Steven Milloy, Human Events, 21 October 2010

Chunk It or Chuck It
Marita Noon,, 21 October 2010

Restore the Balance between Energy and Environment
Washington Examiner editorial, 21 October 2010

The All-Electric Car: Think 132 Year Payback
Patrick Barron,, 19 October 2010

The EPA’s Odd View of Consumer Choice
Patrick Michaels, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 17 October 2010

Renewables Will Add $1400 to Power Bills
Christopher Booker, The Telegraph, 16 October 2010

California Could Feel Spain’s Pain
Gabriel Calzada, Orange County Register, 15 October 2010

Global Warming Propagandist Shot Down
Lawrence Solomon, National Post, 14 October 2010

News You Can Use

Insightful Lecture by Czech President Vaclav Klaus

Czech President Vaclav Klaus on Monday gave the inaugural annual lecture at The Global Warming Policy Foundation in London. To watch Klaus’s lecture, titled “The Climate Change Doctrine,” click here. To read a transcript, click here. President Klaus wrote a related oped (“An Anti-Human Ideology“) in the National Post.

Inside the Beltway

Myron Ebell

Obama Convinces Wealthy Voters

President Barack Obama is still talking about how his policies are creating a new green energy economy, but he is aiming the message at smaller and smaller audiences.  On Thursday night he appeared at a $30,000 a plate fundraiser at the Palo Alto home of Google Vice President Marissa Mayer and her husband, Zachary Bogue, a real estate investor.  The San Francisco Chronicle reported the President’s brief remarks: “‘We’re taking on clean energy in ways that we haven’t seen before,’ made the largest investment in clean energy in history, and ‘we’re seeing solar panels and wind turbines’ all across the country, he said.”

The people who can get excited about the President’s vision are restricted to a relatively few wealthy individuals who are becoming wealthier from government subsidies and mandates for such things as solar panels and wind turbines.  No doubt, several were in the audience in Palo Alto.  The message doesn’t resonate as well with the vast majority being victimized by these redistributionist policies.  That’s why the President is spending less time talking to the public and more time talking to big donors to the Democratic Party, who are getting their money’s worth from this Administration.

EPA Moves Ahead with Economy-Wrecking Regs

Robin Bravender in Politico reports that the Environmental Protection Agency will propose new rules for greenhouse gas emissions from big trucks and buses next week.  According to Dan Becker of the Safe Climate Campaign, EPA is going to require a 20% cut in emissions by 2018.  Bravender reports that Becker considers this goal too modest.  He favors 35%.

It is not clear how freight trucks are going to be re-engineered to comply.  It is clearly already in the interests of truck manufacturers and the freight industry to make trucks as fuel efficient as possible.  Perhaps with our new slimmer economy, they can just haul 20% less freight.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson also told reporters this week that the guidance document on what industry must do to comply with the Clean Air Act’s regulation of greenhouse gas emissions by stationary sources (such as power plants) will be released shortly.  EPA plans to start requiring PSD (Prevention of Significant Deterioration) permits from large emitters on January 1, 2011, so the several-month delay in issuing the guidance document is likely to create a regulatory mess in the new year.

Across the States

Ben Lieberman

Megabucks Behind Effort To Stop Prop 23

Green activists and allied rent seekers like to portray themselves as the underdogs against big business in their environmental causes.  The battle over Proposition 23 – the California ballot measure to suspend the state’s global warming law until unemployment is under control – is certainly no exception.    But they have David and Goliath backwards here; those spending to defeat the measure and keep California cap and tax in place have outgunned supporters of reform by at least 3 to 1.

Compared to the $9 million or so in favor of Prop 23, including most from oil companies, the $28 million to kill this measure has gotten relatively little attention.   Only a minor percentage of this amount has come in the form of small contributions from regular Californians – little wonder since it is defending a global warming policy that would drive up fossil fuel costs and kill jobs just as a similar policy has done in Spain. In fact, most of the money has come in the form of six and seven figure contributions from big environmental groups, Hollywood bigshots, and, most disturbingly, opportunists like venture capitalists John Doerr and Vinod Khosla, who hope to secure a guaranteed market selling alternative energy and vehicles far too expensive to compete otherwise.

Around the World

It Could Happen Here, Part 1

In 2007, the Spanish government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero passed a law that guaranteed solar power producers a price for power more than 10 times the 2007 average wholesale price paid to conventional energy suppliers. The generous subsidies sparked a rush to solar, and taxpayer costs mounted. Today, the government owes $172 billion to renewable energy investors, but it doesn’t have the means to meet its obligations in the face of rising budget deficits. As a result, more than 50,000 other Spanish solar entrepreneurs face financial disaster.

It Could Happen Here, Part 2

Next year Germany’s renewable energy tax will increase to 3.5 cents/kWh. For comparison, that’s more that’s 30% of the average kWh price paid by Americans.

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,

In the News

Time To Get Real about Climate Change
Tom Harris, Washington Times, 15 October 2010

Renewable Energy Standards Are Climate Policy in Disguise
E. Calvin Beisner, Washington Times, 15 October 2010

Pachauri To Stay on at IPCC
Louise Gray, Telegraph, 15 October 2010

Is It Time To Drop Cap-and-Trade?
Myron Ebell, Politico Energy Arena, 14 October 2010

Embarrassing Volt Charges
Eric Peters, American Spectator, 14 October 2010

Flaws in Liberal Claims about Economic Impacts of Climate Policies
Jim Manzi, New Republic, 13 October 2010

Another Proposed Energy Tax
Daren Bakst,, 13 October 2010

Obama’s Energy Regs Are Invading Your Home
Ben Lieberman, New York Post, 11 October 2010

News You Can Use

“No Trend” in Global Hurricane Activity

World Climate Report this week summarized a new peer reviewed study demonstrating that there has been “no trend” in global tropical cyclone activity from 1965 to 2008.

Inside the Beltway

Myron Ebell

When Lifting a Moratorium is Keeping a Moratorium

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar this week lifted the moratorium on deep-water oil exploration off the Louisiana and Texas coasts.  However, the moratorium is still in practical effect until the Department of the Interior starts granting new drilling permits.  That is not likely to happen quickly because the Department is formulating stricter safety rules that must be complied with before any permit will be issued.

What’s more, Salazar has used BP’s deep-water offshore oil leak as cover for drastically reducing shallow-water drilling permits.  Since the BP disaster in April, the Department has been issuing shallow-water permits at about a tenth the normal rate.  It’s becoming clearer every day that the Obama Administration is slowly strangling domestic oil production-onshore as well as offshore.  This will mean higher oil imports and the decline of America’s oil industry.  Here’s what Tom Pyle of the Institute for Energy Research said about the lifting of the Gulf moratorium, and here’s what I wrote for Politico’s Energy Arena.

Ethanol Follies

The Environmental Protection Agency this week approved the use of E15-that is, gasoline with 15% ethanol-for vehicles produced in the 2007 model year and later.  They will also study whether to approve E15’s use in older vehicles.  Currently, gasoline can be sold with no more than 10% ethanol.

Auto manufacturers contend that using E15 can damage engines.  The reason for approving E15 is that the huge ethanol mandate contained in the 2007 anti-energy bill is ramping up.  In the near future, refiners will be required to buy more ethanol than they can blend in E10.  My CEI colleague Ben Lieberman has written about the EPA’s decision here.

It is rumored that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is soon going to announce that the Obama Administration supports continuing the 45 cents per gallon tax credit for ethanol and the 54 cents per gallon tariff on imported ethanol.  The credit and tariff are set to expire at the end of the year unless the Congress votes to extend them.  There has been some disagreement in the ethanol industry over what types of federal taxpayer handouts should be pursued.  A confidential memo that CEI has obtained reveals that the major industry groups have now agreed on what they want.  They want every type of handout that they can think up.

No doubt Congress will give Big Corn most of what’s on their list.  But there is no reason why taxpayers should continue subsidizing ethanol after three decades of subsidies.  There is also no good reason for the mandate, but that’s a battle for another year.  This year, the Congress can simply say, It’s time to drop the ethanol subsidy and the tariff.

Across the States

Polling Hijinx

Two weeks ago, a LA Times/Public Policy Institute of California poll indicated that the vote on Proposition 23, a November ballot initiative to suspend the State’s global warming law until unemployment dropped to 5.5%, would be very close. According to the poll, 43 percent of likely voters favored Proposition 23, 42 percent opposed it and 15 percent didn’t know how they would vote. Last week, Reuters/Ipsos released a poll on the same topic, but with very different results: 49 percent of those polled opposed the initiative and 37 percent favored it. Although the divergent results initially were interpreted as a swing in public opinion against Proposition 23, Reuters has since pulled the poll due to biased questioning that cast doubt on its accuracy.

Around the World


Last Friday, preparatory negotiations for the 16th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change concluded in China amid recriminations between the host and the U.S. delegation. After top U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern criticized China’s refusal to agree to binding emissions cuts, the Chinese delegation likened the U.S. to a pig preening itself.

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,

In the News

EPA Climate Doc Held up over Costs
Robin Bravender, Politico, 8 October 2010

Gross Overestimate Fueled California’s Landmark Diesel Law
Wyatt Buchanan, San Francisco Chronicle, 8 October 2010

The Green behind Big Green
Chris Horner, Planet Gore, 7 October 2010

Green Investment Fund Is a Vested Interest in the Battle over Prop 23
Ann McElhinney, Big Government, 7 October 2010

Sen. Baucus, I Salute You. OK, I Salute You If…
Marlo Lewis,, 7 October 2010

Sen. Bingaman’s Insidious National Renewable Electricity Standard
Glenn Schleede,, 6 October 2010

Splattergate Filmaker Giddy before Release
Paul Chesser, AmSpecBlog, 6 October 2010

Environmental Endgame
Matt Purple, American Spectator, 5 October 2010

Washington’s New War on the West
Ben Lieberman,, 4 October 2010

Schwarzenegger Wrong To Demonize Tesaro, Valero
Greg Goff & Bill Kleese, San Jose Mercury News, 1 October 2010

News You Can Use

It Could Happen Here

Britain’s top energy regulator this week said that it would cost the average household more than $1200 a year to meet the country’s green energy goals, according to the Daily Mail.

Inside the Beltway

Myron Ebell

President Peron

In the issue of the Digest published immediately after the election of Barack Obama in November 2008, I wrote that it wasn’t clear to me from the campaign whether he wanted to be Tony Blair or Juan Peron. It’s been clear for some time that Peron is Obama’s model. He has pursued policies on a broad front designed to cause constant economic crises and thereby make people much more willing to depend on government and to take orders from government.

One of these policies is of course cap-and-trade. Since the Kyoto Protocol was negotiated in 1997, I have felt that the energy-rationing policies required to achieve the Kyoto targets for reducing emissions were the greatest threat to our prosperity and freedom. But that has not been the case for some time. President Obama and the Democratic leadership in Congress are pursuing a number of policies that are just as threatening as energy rationing and have enacted a couple of them.

Cap-and-trade is now dead for the foreseeable future, but this does not mean that the Obama Administration has given up on policies that will constrict our energy supplies and raise energy prices, which will make us poorer and drive energy-intensive industries out of the country. They are working mightily to reduce domestic oil production and to block new coal mines and new coal-fired power plants.

The alternative to using the energy sector to foster perpetual economic stagnation would be to use the energy sector to underpin a new era of prosperity.  All we need to do to undertake this radical change of direction is to take President Obama’s advice and follow China’s good example: clear away the regulatory obstacles to energy production, open federal lands and offshore areas to oil exploration, and start building coal-fired power plants.

Across the States

Kentucky, West Virginia

The Louisville Courier-Journal reported this week that the EPA has objected to 11 Clean Water Act permits issued by the state Department of Environmental Protection to surface coal mines in Floyd, Bell, Pike, Knott and Harlan counties. As the Cooler Heads Digest has reported in past issues, the EPA is going after coal production in Appalachia by claiming that Clean Water Act permits issued by state regulators are unacceptable because they insufficiently protect the mayfly, an insect, from saline effluent discharged from surface mines. The mayfly is not an endangered species.

Regarding the same topic, West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin (D), the Democratic Party candidate for Senator, this week instructed his Department of Environmental Quality to sue the EPA for allegedly violating the Administrative Procedures Act when it issued guidance documents last April detailing how state regulators in Appalachia can better protect the mayfly from surface coal mines.

Around the World

China Rejects Emissions Controls, Again

At preparatory negotiations in Tianjin, China, for the upcoming 16th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the lead Chinese negotiator stated that his country will reject binding greenhouse gas emissions reductions. China, the world’s leading emitter of greenhouse gases, is building two coal fired power plants every three weeks.

Obama, Take Note: Even the EU Rejects Drilling Moratorium

The European Union, which is often thought to be more sclerotic than the United States and which claims to be committed to stopping global warming, this week voted not to place a moratorium on deepwater oil drilling. They are apparently not yet ready to kick their addiction to oil.

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,


Cambridge Energy Research Associates have just published an important study on the competitiveness of America’s petroleum industry titled “Fiscal Fitness.”  You can find it here:

The Washington Examiner has been running a big series this week on “Big Green” featuring many articles on a wide variety of topics.

The Clapham Group and Roadside Attractions invite you to a private preview of the controversial new film, “Cool It” next Tuesday at 4 PM at the Heritage Foundation, 214 Massachusetts Avenue NE, Washington, DC 20002. Click here to RSVP

The Senate and House Western Caucuses have just released a report on “The War on Western Jobs.”

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s Minority Staff this week issued a report on “The EPA’s Anti-Industrial Policy.”

In the News

Interior Department’s Other Drilling Moratorium
William Yeatman, Politico Energy Arena, 1 October 2010

Peanuts, Crackerjacks, and Elitist Transportation
Henry Payne, Planet Gore, 1 October 2010

Top Science Body Cools on Global Warming
Graham Lloyd & Matthew Franklin, The Australian, 1 October 2010

The Sorry Green Giant
Jonathan Adler, National Review Online, 1 October 2010

International Cap-and-Trade Taxation: US Beware!
Matthew Sinclair,, 30 September 2010

UK Renewable Energy Production Falls for 2nd Time
Juliette Jowit, Guardian, 30 September 2010

Where EPA is Public Enemy #1
Robert James Bidinotto, American Spectator, 30 September 2010

New EPA Rules Will Cost More than 800,000 Jobs
Hans Bader,, 28 September 2010

Electric Cars Aren’t Going To Save Us
Walter Russell Mead, American Interest, 28 September 2010

News You Can Use

What We Are Up Against

In an apparent effort to be witty, the alarmist advocacy group 10:10, which describes itself as “a global campaign to cut carbon 10% a year starting in 2010,” produced and posted a revolting video that features blowing up anyone who disagrees, including school children. Although the disgusting video was soon replaced on the 10:10 website with an apology “to anybody we have offended,” the extremist message was clear: You don’t get with the program, you get exterminated. For more, click here and here.

Global Warming Policy Reaches America’s Kitchens

Ben Lieberman

On September 27th, the Department of Energy issued its proposed new energy efficiency standard for refrigerators. Buried in the agency’s analysis is its prediction that the stringent new rule will be a money loser for a majority of consumers-that is, the higher purchase price of refrigerators meeting the new energy use limits won’t be earned back by the reduction in electric bills. DOE nonetheless justifies this anti-consumer regulation by including “the social cost of carbon” and calculating that “the estimated value of the CO2 emissions reductions” makes it all worth it.

Inside the Beltway

Myron Ebell

Senate and House Adjourn until after the Election

Having passed almost nothing since returning from the August recess, the House and Senate adjourned this week after agreeing to a continuing resolution to fund the federal government through 3rd December.  The Congress has not sent a single appropriations bill to the President so far this year for Fiscal Year 2011, which begins today, 1st October.  The Senate and House plan to return the week of 15th November to take up the appropriations bills and possibly a number of other bills on a wide variety of topics.  One bill that could reach the Senate floor in a lame-duck session is the Bingaman-Brownback renewable electricity standard bill, S. 3813.  Four Republicans and 28 Democrats are now co-sponsoring the bill, which would require that electric utilities provide at least 15% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2021.

Salazar Announces Tough New Rules for Offshore Deepwater Drilling

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Thursday announced that there would be tough new safety rules on offshore drilling that would have to be complied with fully by existing operations before new drilling permits would be issued.  In a dull speech at the Smithsonian Institution’s Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Salazar hit the standard Obama Administration themes, including the pledge to win the race with China for clean energy technologies.  It amazes me that the idea that there is such a race has been repeated so often that it is now accepted as given.  It would be news to the Chinese.  China is in a race with the U. S., and they are winning it.  It is the race for abundant and affordable conventional energy.

While China is now installing nearly as many windmills every year as the U. S., they are constructing at least twenty times’ as many coal-fired power plants.  About 80% of China’s electricity comes from burning coal, which is why the wind turbine and solar panel manufacturers are closing factories here and in the EU and building new ones in China.  The cost of manufacturing anything depends primarily on the costs of capital, labor, and natural resources-and usually the most important natural resource component is energy.  Assuming comparable capital costs, China has lower energy costs as well as lower labor costs than the U. S.  If the U. S. wishes to remain competitive with China and insists on using higher-cost energy, then the only way to do it is to lower labor costs dramatically.  The future that the Obama Administration is promoting will require low wages in this country-that is, if there are any manufacturing jobs left.

Landrieu Takes on the White House over Gulf Drilling Moratorium

Senator Mary Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana, is doing everything she can to fight the Interior Department’s continuing moratorium on new drilling permits in the Gulf.  She placed a hold last week on the nomination of Jacob Lew to be Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget and announced this week that she will block a vote on the Senate floor to confirm Lew until the Obama Administration starts issuing drilling permits again.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs called Landrieu’s action “sad” and “outrageous.”  Landrieu responded that it was outrageous that the Administration didn’t care about the thousands of people in the Gulf who were losing their jobs, whom she called hostages.  Michael R. Bromwich, the director of the Interior Department’s new Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement, said, “There’s no chance that we’ll lift it sooner because of political pressure of any sort.”

Used Car Prices are Going Up

Recently, some environmental pressure groups suggested that the next round of increases in Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards for cars and light trucks should be 60 miles per gallon by 2025.  Today, the Obama Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation told the press that they were considering requiring increases of between 3 and 6 percent per year in fuel economy after the 35.5 miles per gallon average for cars and light trucks goes into effect in 2016.  Six percent per year between 2017 and 2025 would get to 62 miles per gallon by 2025.

The 35.5 miles per gallon standard by 2016 is going to cause a major car crash.  If the manufacturers somehow manage to produce a lot of cars that meet the target, it is unlikely that many consumers are going to want to buy them.  The automakers will be forced to sell their tiny cars very cheaply and to raise prices on larger cars dramatically in order to meet the 35.5 mpg average.  This is a recipe for bankrupting all the automakers and for a second bailout that will makes the taxpayer bailout of GM and Chrysler look cheap.  To then raise the standard to 60 miles per gallon by 2025 is sheer fantasy.

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,