chris horner

Post image for Why Doesn’t Greenpeace Demand a Congressional Probe of James Hansen’s Outside Income?

The Heartland Institute plans to pay Indur Goklany, an expert on climate economics and policy, a monthly stipend to write a chapter on those topics for the Institute’s forthcoming mega-report, Climate Change Reconsidered 2012. Earlier this week, Greenpeace and Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) called for a congressional investigation of Goklany. In addition to being an independent scholar, Goklany is a Department of Interior employee. Federal employees may not receive outside income for teaching, writing, or speaking related to their “official duties.”

But as I pointed out yesterday on this site, climate economics and policy are (to the best of my knowledge) not part of Goklany’s “official duties.” It would be shocking if they were. Goklany is a leading debunker of climate alarm and opposes coercive decarbonization schemes. Why on earth would the Obama Interior Department assign someone like that to work on climate policy?

Greenpeace and Grijalva have got the wrong target in their sites. The inquisition they propose might actually have some merit if directed at one of their heroes: Dr. James Hansen of NASA. Hansen has received upwards of $1.6 million in outside income. And it’s not unreasonable to assume that most or all of that income was for teaching, writing, and speaking on matters “related to” his “official duties.” [click to continue…]

Post image for New Greenhouse Regs for Power Plants: Will EPA Go to Extremes?

Greenwire (subscription required) reports that EPA has sent its proposed regulation establishing greenhouse gas (GHG) New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for new and modified power plants to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review.

The stringency of the regulation is unknown to outsiders at this time. Environmental lobbyists hope EPA will set the bar so high that only natural gas power plants, or coal-fired plants equipped with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, can comply. Industry representatives want EPA to propose separate standards for coal- and gas-fired electric generating units reflecting the different carbon intensities of coal and natural gas.

No previous NSPS has ever required new power plants to use natural gas rather than coal, and none has ever required modified plants to switch from coal to natural gas. Industry representatives contend that Congress never intended the NSPS program to block construction of coal power plants or mandate fuel switching. They’re right. [click to continue…]

Climategate Showdown!

by William Yeatman on March 10, 2011

Post image for Climategate Showdown!

Elsewhere in the blogosphere, my colleague Chris Horner and “hockey stick” fabricator Michael Mann are engaged in a highly charged debate on Climategate.

It started with this post by Horner at the Daily Caller. The intro aptly sums his argument:

A federal government inspector general has revealed prima facie proof that the so-called independent inquiries widely if implausibly described as clearing the ClimateGate principals of wrongdoing were, in fact, whitewashes. This has been confirmed to Senate offices. It will not be released to the public for some time because the investigation is ongoing.

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Post image for The DOE’s Awful Green Bank

My CEI colleague Chris Horner and I have a piece in today’s Daily Caller, on the Department of Energy’s awful green bank.

This excerpt aptly summarizes out take:

The point of a green investment bank is ostensibly to facilitate the commercialization of new, dormant or otherwise commercially unsuccessful technologies by providing easier financing than is available in the real world, where people scrutinize where they invest their money. It turns bureaucrats into bankers, but with your money, and no real-world incentives to “invest,” as the word connotes and denotes.

Critics argue that these bureaucrats are picking winners and losers. If only. In fact, they just pick from losers.

I especially like that last line, about how the green energy industry is a loser. As Chris and I have explained elsewhere, any industry, like green energy, that owes its creation to government handouts is fundamentally uncompetitive, and, therefore, will always be on the taxpayer dole.

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The Obama administration is sending mixed messages on energy policy.  On the one hand, Obama’s top budget guru Peter Orszag told Congress last year that a cap-and-trade is designed to raise the price of energy.  On the other, the President says a cap-and-trade would spur economic growth.

Taxes and economic growth are mutually exclusive, so it seems as if President Obama is trying to have his cake and eat it, too.

To understand what the Obama administration is really thinking about energy policy, CEI’s Chris Horner filed a Freedom of Information Act request charging the Treasury Department to release all internal communications regarding cap-and-trade.

The Treasury Department responded on September 11th with 5 redacted documents, which were then released to the public by the Competitive Enterprise Institute. CBS news reporter Declan McCullagh picked up the FOIA story and the eye-popping cost estimates-“equal in scale to all existing environmental regulation”-soon attracted massive media attention.

It turns out that those were only the low-end cost estimates. On September 18th, the Treasury Department released unredacted and previously withheld documents. These memos suggest that cap-and-trade costs would be “equal in size to the corporate income tax.”

Is there more? That’s a fair question in light of the Treasury Department’s suspicious partial disclosure on September 11th. It’s also curious that Treasury failed to include any e-mails. I would think that economic analysis of a major policy would have generated a few e-mails up and down the chain of command. After all, this is a federal bureaucracy-nothing is spontaneous in a federal bureaucracy.

To find out what the Obama administration is hiding, Mr. Horner today informed the Treasury Department of CEI’s “intent to sue” if Treasury does not come into compliance with its legal obligations under the Freedom of Information Act.

If President Barack Obama is serious about open and transparent government, he should press Treasury to release all communications on cap-and-trade. Only then will we know what energy rationing actually costs.

To see Mr. Horner’s letter informing the treasury Department of CEI’s intent to sue, click here.

CEI’s Chris Horner used the Freedom of Information Act to uncover internal documents from the Obama administration in which Treasury Department officials admit that a cap-and-trade would impose a steep energy tax on American families.

The Treasury Department’s admission contradicts claims by Democratic leadership that a cap-and-trade energy rationing scheme would boost the economy. In fact, a massive new energy tax (Department officials suggest that a cap-and-trade would cost consumers hundreds of billions of dollars) would depress economic growth by increasing utility bills and gasoline prices.

CEI long has warned Americans that policies to fight so-called global warming would harm American consumers and businesses by increasing energy costs. It’s great to see that Obama’s Treasury Department agrees.

To read more about these internal documents, read this Planet Gore blog post by Chris Horner, and this write-up by the Washington Times’s Amanda Carpenter.

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