- Cambridge Energy Research Associates have just published an important study on the competitiveness of America’s petroleum industry titled “Fiscal Fitness.”
- 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
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
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
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, www.globalwarming.org.