Myron Ebell

Post image for John Christy: Climate Change Overview in Six Slides

Yesterday, Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.) hosted a climate change conference in a technology park in Fairmont, W.Va.

A mixed panel of warmistas and skeptics featured Marc Marano of Climate Depot, Scott Denning of Colorado State University, Jim Hurrell of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Joe Casola of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, Annie Petsonk of Environmental Defense Fund, Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Dennis Avery of the Hudson Institute, and John Christy of the University of Alabama in Huntsville, who participated by satellite link.

I emailed Dr. Christy and asked for permission to post his presentation on GlobalWarming.Org; he promptly sent me the files.

Dr. Christy’s Power Point presentation is available here. The accompanying text is available here. The main takeaway points:

  • Popular scare stories that weather extremes – hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, floods — are getting worse are not based on fact.
  • In the U.S., high temperature records are not becoming more numerous.
  • Climate models significantly overestimated warming during the past 15 years.
  • Even if climate models were correct, a 50% reduction in U.S. CO2 emissions by 2050 would avert only 0.07°C of warming by 2100.
  • If a policy is not economically sustainable, it’s not politically sustainable.
  • The climate change impact of enhancing CO2 concentrations has so far been small compared to the public health and biospheric benefits provided by affordable, carbon-based energy.
Post image for President Obama’s Inaugural Speech: New Heat on Warming?

President Obama’s second inaugural speech featured climate change more prominently than did his first inaugural address. As Greenwire (subscription required) observed:

Gone was Obama’s roundabout reference to climate change through “the specter of a warming planet” from four years ago. This time, the president put the issue front and center.

Will that make any difference legislatively? Probably not. In the House, Republicans opposed to cap-and-trade, EPA regulation of greenhouse gases (GHGs), and carbon taxes are still in charge.

Is the President’s renewed emphasis on climate change just a sop to his environmentalist base? Doubtful. As a second termer, Obama has less reason politically to restrain his ‘progressive’ impulses. Several regulatory options are now in play:

  • The Department of Interior could list more species as threatened or endangered based on climate change concerns.
  • The President could finally veto the Keystone XL pipeline — a key objective of the climate alarm movement.
  • The EPA could issue GHG performance standards for existing (as distinct from new or modified) coal power plants, as well as GHG performance standards for other industrial categories (refineries, cement production facilities, steel mills, paper mills, etc.).
  • The EPA could finally act on petitions pending from the Bush administration to set GHG emission standards for marine vessels, aircraft, and non-road vehicles.
  • The EPA could finally act on a December 2009 petition by the Center for Biological Diversity and 350.Org to establish national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for carbon dioxide (CO2) and other GHGs.

I’ll make one prediction: If Obama does not veto the Keystone XL Pipeline after talking the talk on climate change, green groups will go ballistic (even though, Cato Institute scholar Chip Knappenberger calculates, full-throttle operation of the Keystone XL Pipeline would add an inconsequential 0.0001°C/yr to global temperatures). My colleague Myron Ebell reasonably speculates that Obama’s tough talk on climate was a signal to green groups to organize the biggest anti-Keystone protest ever.

Now let’s examine the climate change segment of Obama’s inaugural speech: [click to continue…]

Post image for Climategate 2.0 – Another Nail in Kyoto’s Coffin

The individual (or individuals) who, in November 2009, released 1,000 emails to and from IPCC-affiliated climate scientists, igniting the Climategate scandal, struck again earlier this week. The leaker(s) released an additional 5,000 emails involving the same cast of characters, notably Phil Jones of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia, and Michael Mann, creator of the discredited Hockey Stick reconstruction of Northern Hemisphere temperature history. The blogosphere quickly branded the new trove of emails “Climategate 2.0.”

The timing in each case was not accidental. The Climategate emails made painfully clear that the scientists shaping the huge – and hugely influential – IPCC climate change assessment reports are not impartial experts but agenda-driven activists. Climategate exposed leading U.N.-affiliated scientists as schemers colluding to manipulate public opinion, downplay inconvenient data, bias the peer review process, marginalize skeptical scientists, and flout freedom of information laws. Climategate thus contributed to the failure of the December 2009 Copenhagen climate conference to negotiate a successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol. Similarly, Climategate 2.0 arrives shortly before the December 2011 climate conference in Durban — although nobody expects the delegates to agree on a post-Kyoto climate treaty anyway.

Excerpts from Climategate 2.0 emails appear to confirm in spades earlier criticisms of the IPCC climate science establishment arising out of Climategate. My colleague, Myron Ebell, enables us to see this at a glance by sorting the excerpts into categories. [click to continue…]

Post image for Repeal Tax Credits, Yes. Raise Taxes, No

[This guest post is by Christopher Prandoni, the Federal Affairs Manager for Americans for Tax Reform. It is a response to Myron Ebell’s May 7 post, “A Response to Conservative Defenders of Tax Credits.”]

Americans for Tax Reform asks every candidate running for Congress to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, a promise to their constituents that they will not raise taxes on Americans or their businesses. The Pledge, signed by 235 Members of the House and 41 Senators, reads:

I___ pledge to the taxpayers of the state

Of___ , and to the American people that I will:

ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax

rates for individuals and/or businesses; and

TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and

credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.

The Pledge is by no means a panacea to America’s tax and spending problems, it is a stopgap which identifies tax increases and looks to prevent them. It is the second clause of Pledge that has caused a limited fuss within the conservative movement and, thus, is worth reexamining. Before we proceed, it is important to make the distinction between two types of tax credits—refundable and nonrefundable—as conflating them can lead to unnecessary confusion. A tax credit is employed to reduce a taxpayer’s tax liability, ie reducing the amount of money they must pay to the government. A refundable tax credit allows the taxpayer to reduce their tax liability below zero, meaning the taxpayer is owed money from the government. The outlay effect caused by refundable tax credits is spending. Americans for Tax Reform has unambiguously opposed outlays resulting from refundable credits. I recommend readers take a look here at which refundable credits trigger these outlay effects.

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Post image for Washington Post Chides Obama Over Energy

In an editorial cleverly titled, “Drill, Brazil, Drill says the U.S.The Washington Post joined in the growing public displeasure over President Obama’s public support for the Brazilian oil industry, which seems to be rising at the expense of administration support for the oil industry in the United States.

As CEI’s Myron Ebell pointed out last week:

This is the same President who has spent the last two years doing everything he can to reduce oil production in the United States.  Cancelled and delayed exploration leases on federal lands in the Rocky Mountains; the re-institution of the executive moratorium on offshore exploration in the Atlantic, the Pacific, most Alaskan waters, and the eastern Gulf of Mexico; the deepwater permitting moratorium and the de facto moratorium in the western Gulf.  The result is that domestic oil production is about to start a steep decline.

The editorial also mentions the tariff on ethanol. Trade restrictions are bad policy. However, the case for Brazilian ethanol is slightly more complicated than that. If Brazilian ethanol were imported to the U.S., it might displace some ethanol production that is occurring in the U.S. as historically Brazilian ethanol has been cheaper. This would be fine.

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Post image for EPA Provides the Cash, American Lung Association Hits Upton and the Energy Tax Prevention Act

The American Lung Association is right up there with the Union of Concerned Scientists as a leftist activist organization pretending to be a professional association with high-minded objectives.  In fact, the American Lung Association is a bunch of political thugs.  Their latest hit job is putting up billboards in Rep. Fred Upton’s district in Michigan that urge him to “protect our kids’ health. Don’t weaken the Clean Air Act (PDF).” The billboard has a photo of an adolescent girl with a respirator.

The American Lung Association is opposing a bill, the Energy Tax Prevention Act (H. R. 910), that is sponsored by Rep. Upton, the Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.  Upton’s bill, which is expected to be debated on the House floor in early April, does nothing to weaken the Clean Air Act.  It simply prevents the Environmental Protection Agency from using the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

Congress never intended the Clean Air Act to be used to enforce global warming policies on the American people.  As my CEI colleague Marlo Lewis recently noted, attempts to add provisions to the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 that would allow the EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions were defeated in the Senate.  A similar attempt in the House went nowhere.

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