Cooler Heads Digest 19 November 2010



The Cooler Heads Digest will not be published next week, but will return Friday, December 3.

In the News

The Ecological Monster Who Said…Peep
Ben Lieberman, Washington Times, 19 November 2010

America’s First Carbon Market Closes Shop
Christopher Horner & William Yeatman, Sacramento Bee, 19 November 2010

G20 Adviser Says U.S. Will Face Trade Boycott over Climate
Ben Webster, The Times, 19 November 2010

Global Warming: How To Approach the Science, part 1
Richard Lindzen, Testimony before the Committee on Science and Technology, 17 November 2010

Global Warming: How To Approach the Science. part 2
Patrick Michaels, Testimony before the Committee on Science and Technology, 17 November 2010

Cap-and-Trade Is Dead, But Kyotoism Is Alive and Well at the EPA
Marlo Lewis, Washington Examiner, 15 November 2010

Colorado Plan Tied to Phantom Carbon Tax
William Yeatman & Amy Oliver Cooke, Pueblo Chieftain, 14 November 2010

The Climate Change Scare Is Dying
Christopher Booker, Telegraph, 14 November 2010

Big Green Leader Wants GOP To Forget Popular Will…Or Else
Mark Tapscott, Washington Examiner, 9 November 2010

News You Can Use
Climategate’s First Anniversary

Today is the first anniversary of the Climategate scandal. Here’s a round-up of analyses and commentary:

One Year Ago Today, Anthony Watts, WattsUpWithThat
Climategate: One Year and 60 House Seats Later
, Marc Sheppard, American Thinker
How the Climategate Weasels Wiggle Away
, James Delingpole, Telegraph
What Does Climategate Say about Science?
, Terence Kealey, The Global Warming Policy Foundation

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

Lame Duck Session a Big Success So Far

The first week of Congress’s lame duck session has been a big success.  They haven’t done anything.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pulled a scheduled vote to invoke cloture and proceed to S. 3815, the “Promoting Natural Gas and Electric Vehicles Act of 2010,” because he did not have the 60 votes required. 

S. 3815 is known around town as the Boone Pickens Payoff Bill.  Pickens told Bloomberg News this week that he thought there was a better than 50-50 chance that the bill would be enacted, so we can’t celebrate yet. 

The bill would provide $4.5 billion in subsidies for natural gas vehicles and $3.5 billion in subsidies for electric vehicles plus $2 billion in loans to manufacturers of natural gas vehicles.  The subsidies to purchasers would range from $8,000 to $64,000.  The larger payments would be for purchasers of heavy trucks that run on natural gas.

But the Lame Ducks Will Be Back after Thanksgiving

Congress will be in recess next week for Thanksgiving and will return on November 29th.  There are enough big must-do items that it still seems unlikely to me that the Senate will be able to take up Pickens’s bill or the Renewable Electricity Standard (or RES) bill, S. 3813.  The RES bill is sponsored by Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), the Chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and retiring Senator Sam Brownback (R-Ks.), who has just been elected Governor of Kansas.  It now has 31 co-sponsors, including three other Republicans. 

The RES bill would raise electric rates in those States that haven’t yet followed the failed California model of raising rates to impoverish consumers and drive out energy-intensive industries.  My guess is that it will be blocked in the Senate by Republican and Democratic Senators from those States in the Mideast and Southeast that still depend on low-cost coal and therefore still have manufacturing.  On the other hand, there is an incentive for Senators from States that have already enacted their own renewable requirements to support a national standard in order to lower the competitiveness of the States that have not adopted renewable requirements.

Who Will Be Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee?

There are now four active candidates running to be the next Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee: former Chairman and current Ranking Republican Joe Barton (R-Tex.), Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), and Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.).  The House Republican Steering Committee will vote—probably in early December—and then their recommendation will be voted on by the entire Republican Conference.

It’s hard to predict these insider contests because personal relationships play a big role.  Here are a few comments.  Barton has served two years as Chairman and the last four as Ranking Republican.  House Republican rules are ambiguous, but it seems that Barton requires a waiver of the six-year rule in order to be eligible.  Another obstacle is the new Speaker, current Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio).  Barton made the mistake of running against Boehner for Minority Leader after the House Republicans lost their majority in the 2006 elections.

Upton is one of the more liberal Republican House Members, but is nonetheless the front runner for the job.   His voting record has been compiled here.  A number of his environmental and energy votes are at odds with the vast majority of his Republican colleagues.  For example, he was the main sponsor of the ban on incandescent light bulbs, voted for the 2007 anti-energy bill, voted against offshore drilling, voted against a major reform of the Endangered Species Act, and voted for the California Desert bill, which locked up millions of acres.  But Upton is running a hard and highly visible public campaign and is promising to be a good conservative.

Stearns has a very conservative voting record.  He is also saying some of the right things, as for example in this column by Kim Strassel in the Wall Street Journal.  On the other hand, the rap on Stearns is that he has not done much heavy lifting on the committee.

My guess is that Shimkus is the most likely to have a shot at defeating Upton.  Shimkus, like Barton and Stearns, opposes global warming alarmism and supports more domestic production of coal, oil, and natural gas.  He has said publicly that he is a candidate, but is running a behind-the-scenes campaign.

Another possible candidate for Energy and Commerce Chairman is Rep. Greg Walden (R-Oreg.).  He took a leave of absence from the committee, so that a party-switcher could keep his seat on the committee as a Republican.  Walden is currently serving as Chairman of the Republican transition team that is preparing for transfer of majority control of the House in January to the Republicans.  That suggests that the House Republican leadership holds him in high regard.     

On the Democratic side, outgoing Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) faces no opposition to become Ranking Democrat on the committee in the 112th Congress.  Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), the other chief sponsor of the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill, has apparently cleared the field and will be elected Ranking Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee.

The Natural Resources Committee’s ranking Republican, Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), who is unopposed to be Chairman when the Republicans take control of the House in January, proposed this week to take the Energy and Commerce Committee’s jurisdiction over energy issues and combine it with his committee into a new Energy and Natural Resources Committee.  I have publicly supported Hastings’s proposal in my role as director of Freedom Action. It’s a long shot that the House Republican leadership or Conference will go along, but at the least Hastings is sending a shot across the bows of the Energy and Commerce Committee, which regularly encroaches on the jurisdiction of his committee.      

Across the States
Texas Fights Back

The Washington Examiner this week ran an excellent three part series by Kathleen Hartnett White and Mario Loyola, of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, on a burgeoning conflict between the EPA and the State of Texas.

Part 1: EPA Is Offended by Texas’s Successful Permitting Rules
Part 2: Putting a Lid on Texas’s Economic Growth
Part 3: Doing the Environmentalists’ Dirty Work

Around the World
IPCC Official: Climate Policy Is about Wealth Redistribution, Not Environment

German economist and IPCC official Ottmar Edenhofer gave an eye-opening interview to Neue Zürcher Zeitung (translated here), in which he said that “one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world's wealth by climate policy….This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore.” Mr. Edenhofer was appointed as joint chair of Working Group 3 at the Twenty-Ninth Session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in Geneva, Switzerland.

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,