In the News
Renewable Energy Standards Are Climate Policy in Disguise
E. Calvin Beisner, Washington Times, 15 October 2010
Flaws in Liberal Claims about Economic Impacts of Climate Policies
Jim Manzi, New Republic, 13 October 2010
News You Can Use
“No Trend” in Global Hurricane Activity
Inside the Beltway
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.
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
California: 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
UNFCCC Negotiations Founder in China
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, www.globalwarming.org.