American Clean Energy and Security Act

Post image for Rep. Ed Markey: Real Genius

According to F. Scott Fitzgerald, the finest writer in American history, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.” By this criterion, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) is a real genius, because he manages to function in the Congress, despite the fact that he thinks the price of gasoline should go up and down, simultaneously.

As one of the Congress’s foremost global warming alarmists, Rep. Markey believes that hydrocarbon energy is the cause of the supposed “problem” that is global warming. Due to this belief, he is a staunch supporter of energy policies designed to make hydrocarbon energy more expensive, so that Americans use less of it, and thereby fight global warming. For example, he co-authored the American Clean Energy and Security Act, a cap-and-trade energy rationing scheme passed by the House of Representatives in June 2009. (Thankfully, the bill died in the Senate.) Because the entire point of this policy was to “put a price” on carbon, it would have increased the price of gasoline, by design.

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Post image for Xcel Energy’s Versatile, Profitable Carbon Tax

To my knowledge, Colorado is the only state in which regulators allow utilities to incorporate a carbon tax into the economic models used to make resource acquisition decisions (see here and here). Ratepayers can’t see it in their monthly bill, but the tax is used in the models, and the models dictate spending. It’s the worst kind of virtual reality: The carbon tax leaps from computers to ratepayer wallets.

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission was authorized to allow for a carbon tax in 2008 with the passage of HB 1164 by the General Assembly. The legislation was advertised as an essential component of former Governor’s Bill Ritter’s environmentalist “New Energy Economy,” but, in practice, the carbon tax has served as an accounting loophole through which Xcel Energy, the largest investor-owned utility in the State, has awarded itself big time profits. In a previous post, I explained in some detail how Xcel uses the carbon tax. Here are a few examples:

  • One of Xcel’s priorities is winning market share from independent power producers on the wholesale electricity market. Older natural gas plants are Xcel’s fiercest competitors, because they have already paid off their capital costs, so they can bid electricity prices relatively low. The $20/ton carbon tax eliminates this advantage, because new plants are more efficient than older plants. It tilts the playing field to Xcel’s favor.
Post image for Waxman’s Latest Talking Point Is Wrong

Jean Chemnick at Energy & Environment News this morning reported on a Center for American Progress event yesterday, during which U.S. Representative Henry Waxman made an eye-catching claim about the politics of energy rationing. According to Waxman, the conventional wisdom that “energy and environmental issues are more regional than partisan” is wrong, because “there is now a starker divide between the parties on environmental issues than at any time during my career.”

The record suggests otherwise. Consider,

There’s only a month left on the Senate calendar, and elections are looming, so many Senators are wary of an issue as divisive and nuanced as is cap-and-trade energy rationing. As a result, there’s been a lot of procrastinating.

Two weeks ago, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid convened a meeting of Senate Committee chairs in order to figure out how to proceed with climate legislation. They agreed to punt, by having a meeting of the entire Senate the following week.

A week ago, all Democratic Senators met, and they listened to three of their colleagues pitch variations of climate/energy legislation, as well as a pep talk from Sen. Barbara Boxer (my favorite environmentalist Senator). But the pleas fell on deaf ears, and the DNP Caucus session ended inconclusively.

Following that failure, President Obama requested yet another meeting of Senate energy/climate principles and moderates from both parties. The discussion will take place today, and the guest list includes Sens. John Kerry, Joe Lieberman, Richard Lugar, Judd Gregg, Susan Collins, Sherrod Brown and Lisa Murkowski, according to a survey of offices by Energy & Environment Daily.

Meanwhile, the clock is ticking, and elections are nearing. The punditry seems to be in consensus that the prognosis for cap-and-trade is dire, although there has been some discussion about a sinister back door strategy, by which the Senate would pass bare-bones energy bill, sans an energy tax, and then leadership would insert a cap-and-trade into the bill that is reconciled with the American Energy and Security Act, the climate legislation that the House passed last June. Evidently, proponents of this strategy are banking on the reconciliation conference to take place during the lame duck session after upcoming elections, a time when some Members of Congress would have nothing to lose, because they would have already lost.

**Update: 8:20 A.M. E&E Daily’s lede story this morning reports that President Obama has postponed the climate meeting, due to the ongoing imbroglio over the Afghan general who put his foot in his mouth. Fortunately, there’s not much further down the road the majority can kick this can, before the clock runs out on the legislative calendar.

None Dare Call It Fraud

by Paul Driessen on October 19, 2009

in Blog

What if we applied corporate standards to the “science” that is driving global warming policy?

Imagine the reaction if investment companies provided only rosy stock and economic data to prospective investors; manufacturers withheld chemical spill statistics from government regulators; or medical device and pharmaceutical companies doctored data on patients injured by their products.

Media frenzies, congressional hearings, regulatory investigations, fines and jail sentences would come faster than you can say Henry Waxman. If those same standards were applied to global warming alarmists, many of them would be fined, dismissed and imprisoned, sanity might prevail, and the House-Senate cap-and-tax freight train would come to a screeching halt.

Fortunately for alarmists, corporate standards do not apply – even though sloppiness, ineptitude, cherry-picking, exaggeration, deception, falsification, concealed or lost data, flawed studies and virtual fraud have become systemic and epidemic. Instead of being investigated and incarcerated, the perpetrators are revered and rewarded, receiving billions in research grants, mandates, subsidies and other profit-making opportunities.

On this bogus foundation Congress, EPA and the White House propose to legislate and regulate our nation’s energy and economic future. Understanding the scams is essential. Here are just a few of them.

Michael Mann’s hockey-stick-shaped historical temperature chart supposedly proved that twentieth century warming was “unprecedented” in the last 2000 years. After it became the centerpiece of the UN climate group’s 2001 Third Assessment Report, Canadian analysts Ross McKitrick and Steve McIntyre asked Mann to divulge his data and statistical algorithms. Mann refused. Ultimately, Mc-Mc, the National Science Foundation and investigators led by renowned statistician Edward Wegman found that the hockey stick was based on cherry-picked tree-ring data and a computer program that generated temperature spikes even when random numbers were fed into it. (1)

This year, another “unprecedented” warming study went down in flames. Lead scientist Keith Briffa managed to keep his tree-ring data secret for a decade, during which the study became a poster child for climate alarmism. Finally, McKitrick and McIntyre gained access to the data. Amazingly, there were 252 cores in the Yamal group, plus cores from other Siberian locations. Together, they showed no anomalous warming trend due to rising carbon dioxide levels. But Briffa selected just twelve cores, to “prove” a dramatic recent temperature spike, and chose three cores that “demonstrated” there had never been a Medieval Warm Period. It was a case study in how to lie with statistics. (2)

Meanwhile, scientists associated with Britain’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) also withheld temperature data and methods, while publishing papers that lent support to climate chaos claims, hydrocarbon taxes and restrictions, and renewable energy mandates. In response to one request, lead scientist Phil Jones replied testily: “Why should I make the data available, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?” Of course, that’s what the scientific method is all about – subjecting data, methods and analyses to rigorous testing, to confirm or refute theories and conclusions. When pressure to release the original data became too intense to ignore, the CRU finally claimed it had “lost” (destroyed?) all the original data. (3)

The supposedly “final” text of the IPCC’s 1995 Second Assessment Report emphasized that no studies had found clear evidence that observed climate changes could be attributed to greenhouse gases or other manmade causes. However, without the authors’ and reviewers’ knowledge or approval, lead author Dr. Ben Santer and alarmist colleagues revised the text and inserted the infamous assertion that there is “a discernable human influence” on Earth’s climate. (4)

Highly accurate satellite measurements show no significant global warming, whereas ground-based temperature stations show warming since 1978. However, half of the surface monitoring stations are located close to concrete and asphalt parking lots, window or industrial-size air conditioning exhausts, highways, airport tarmac and even jetliner engines – all of which skew the data upward. The White House, EPA, IPCC and Congress use the deceptive data anyway, to promote their agenda. (5)

With virtually no actual evidence to link CO2 and global warming, the climate chaos community has to rely increasingly on computer models. However, the models do a poor job of portraying an incredibly complex global climate system that scientists are only beginning to understand; assume carbon dioxide is a principle driving force; inadequately handle cloud, solar, precipitation, ocean currents and other critical factors; and incorporate assumptions and data that many experts say are inadequate or falsified. The models crank out (worst-case) climate change scenarios that often conflict with one another. Not one correctly forecast the planetary cooling that began earlier this century, as CO2 levels continued to climb.

Al Gore’s climate cataclysm movie is replete with assertions that are misleading, dishonest or what a British court chastised as “partisan” propaganda about melting ice caps, rising sea levels, hurricanes, malaria, “endangered” polar bears and other issues. But the film garnered him Oscar and Nobel awards, speaking and expert witness appearances, millions of dollars, and star status with UN and congressional interests that want to tax and penalize energy use and economic growth. Perhaps worse, a recent Society of Environmental Journalists meeting made it clear that those supposed professionals are solidly behind Mr. Gore and his apocalyptic beliefs, and will defend him against skeptics. (6)

These and other scandals have slipped past the peer review process that is supposed to prevent them and ensure sound science for a simple reason. Global warming disaster papers are written and reviewed by closely knit groups of scientists, who mutually support one another’s work. The same names appear in different orders on a series of “independent” reports, all of which depend on the same original data, as in the Yamal case. Scientific journals refuse to demand the researchers’ data and methodologies. And as in the case of Briffa, the IPCC and journals typically ignore and refuse to publish contrary studies.

Scandals like these prompted EPA career analyst Alan Carlin to prepare a detailed report, arguing that the agency should not find that CO2 “endangers” human health and welfare, because climate disaster predictions were not based on sound science. EPA suppressed his report and told Carlin not to talk to anyone outside his immediate office, on the ground that his “comments do not help the legal or policy case for this decision,” which the agency supposedly would not make for several more weeks. (7)

The endless litany of scandals underscores the inconvenient truth about global warming hysteria. The White House, Congress and United Nations are imperiling our future on the basis of deceptive science, phony “evidence” and worthless computer models. The climate protection racket will enrich Al Gore, alarmist scientists who get the next $89 billion in US government research money, financial institutions that process trillion$$ in carbon trades, and certain companies, like those that recently left the US Chamber of Commerce. For everyone else, it will mean massive pain for no environmental gain. (8)

Still not angry and disgusted? Read Chris Horner’s Red Hot Lies, Lawrence Solomon’s Financial Post articles, Steve Milloy’s Green Hell, and Benny Peiser’s CCNet daily climate policy review. Go to a premier showing of Not Evil Just Wrong. (9)

Then get on your telephone or computer, and tell your legislators and local media this nonsense has got to stop. It may be that none dare call it fraud – but it comes perilously close.


Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and Congress of Racial Equality, and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green Power – Black Death.










(9) Horner



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Last week Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) became chairman of the Agriculture Committee, after Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), the previous chair, accepted the gavel at the Health, Labor, Education and Pension Committee (vacated by the passing of Ted Kennedy).

Lincoln becomes the first female to chair this powerful committee, and her ascension to the top-spot will have a big impact on the country’s energy policy.

For almost a decade, the Senate Ag Committee has been the primary benefactor of ethanol, a fuel made from corn. Regardless whether the Ag chair was a Republican or a Democrat, the Committee, which is dominated by corn-belt politicians, showered ethanol with subsidies and give-aways-and even a Soviet-style production quota that forces consumers to use it. Government support for ethanol has been great for corn growers (they’ve seen demand increase by almost 50% since 2005), but it’s awful for livestock farmers, who have seen the cost of corn-feed skyrocket. Consumers have also been harmed, as the price of corn derivatives (meat, dairy, soda, etc., etc.,) has increased so sharply that inflation of the cost of food doubled the historical rate in 2008.

With Lincoln taking the gavel of the Ag Committee, however, the ethanol gravy train might be coming to an end. That’s because Lincoln doesn’t represent the corn-belt. To be sure, they grow corn in Arkansas, primarily in the eastern part of the state. But in western Arkansas, farmers raise chickens. In fact, the Natural State is the nation’s #2 producer of broiler chickens. America’s ethanol policy has seriously compromised the chicken industry, so we can expect Lincoln to take a more conservative approach with fuels made out of food.

Lincoln is also likely to affect the climate debate. The Ag Committee has some jurisdiction over climate change legislation, and Lincoln’s vote on cap-and-trade is a priority for her caucus leadership, which is having a tough time finding support for a climate bill among Senate Democrats. But Arkansas politics are decidedly unfavorable to global warming alarmism. Rep. Vic Snyder (D-Arkansas), who represents Little Rock and much of Pulaski County, was the only member of his State’s delegation to vote for the American Clean Energy and Security Act, cap-and-trade legislation that passed through the House of Representatives in late June, and he has been hammered over the airwaves by utilities, agriculture interests, and political opponents ever since. Now, there is considerable speculation that his seat is in jeopardy-all thanks to his vote for a cap-and-trade. No doubt Lincoln has noticed Snyder’s plight.