Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, released a new minority report, titled, “The Real Story Behind China's Energy Policy—And What American Can Learn From It.” The report shows that, regardless of its wind and solar production, China is predominantly relying on coal, oil, and natural gas, along with hydro and nuclear power, to fuel its economy.
In the News
Record Cold Temperatures in Cancun for Global Warming Talks
Anthony Watts, WattsUpWithThat, 9 December 2010
News You Can Use
1,000 Scientists Oppose Climate Alarmism
Climate Depot’s Marc Morano has released a new edition of his study that lists scientists from around the globe who challenge alarmist global warming claims made by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and former Vice President Al Gore. The study cites more than 1,000 scientists. Click here to see the list.
Inside the Beltway
Breaking: Court Denies Petition to Delay EPA Greenhouse Gas Regulations
The U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia today denied a petition from a number of States, industry groups, and free market groups (including CEI) to stay (or delay) the EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations from taking effect on January 1, 2011 until legal challenges to the regulations are decided by the court.
EPA Delays Two Air Pollution Rules
The Environmental Protection Agency sprang two surprises this week. First, EPA asked a federal judge to allow them to delay issuing the boiler MACT (Maximum Available Control Technology) rule until April 2012, which would give EPA time to reconsider and rewrite the proposed regulation. The rule is designed to cut air pollution from approximately 200,000 industrial boilers, process heaters, solid waste incinerators, etc. Industrial users of boilers have made a good case that the proposed standards were going to be impossible to meet in many cases.
Next, EPA announced that the ozone or smog rule would be delayed until July 2011, while it reconsidered the scientific and health studies on smog’s effects. The announcement suggests that EPA has bowed to intense opposition from Congress, state and local governments, and industry and is now going to re-write the smog rule so that it is less economically catastrophic. EPA nonetheless is going ahead with regulating greenhouse gas emissions from major stationary sources on January 1, 2011. There is little reason to think that those regulations are any less damaging than the smog rule.
The EPA also announced this week that it was holding its second National Bed Bug Summit meeting in early February. You may laugh, but at least with bed bugs EPA is addressing a real environmental health problem.
House Republicans Choose Upton for Energy and Commerce
House Republicans this week chose Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) to be the Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee in the 112th Congress. As I have written in several previous Digests, Upton’s record on energy and environmental (and indeed on most) issues is considerably to the left of most of his fellow House Republicans. On the other hand, he’s been talking a very strong conservative game the past few weeks while running for Chairman. So we shall see.
The Supreme Court agreed this week to consider an appeal of a suit that claims that greenhouse gas emissions constitute a public nuisance and emitters can therefore be sued under common law. The case, American Electric Power v. Connecticut, is from the second Circuit Court of Appeals and is one of three similar cases in federal courts. A key question is whether the common law has been pre-empted by regulation of greenhouse gas emissions using the Clean Air Act and other federal statutes. If the court rules that nuisance suits can go ahead, then hundreds of similar suits can be expected.
Ethanol Payoffs Survive Again
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) version of the tax deal agreed between President Barack Obama and senior House and Senate negotiators reportedly includes a one year renewal of the 45 cents per gallon ethanol tax credit and the 54 cents per gallon ethanol tariff. Several other giveaways to renewable energy special interests are included in the Senate version of the package. They include the multi-billion-dollar Section 1603 grant program for renewable energy projects (such as wind turbines), an extension of the bio-diesel tax credit, and a bunch of credits for energy-efficient appliances, energy-efficient new homes, and the 30% credit for installing E-85 pumps at gas stations. All these boondoggles add up to many billions of dollars of wasted taxpayer dollars lavished on big business special interests. The result is higher energy prices for consumers.
However, it is not clear that the tax deal is going to be enacted. House Democrats led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have voted to oppose it. Unless Pelosi schedules a House vote, it won’t come up this year. It appears the White House was taken by surprise by this House Democratic revolt against their own President, but I expect the White House is twisting a lot of arms to get them to change their minds. If the tax hikes take effect on January 1st and it’s up to the 112th Congress to repeal them, then I expect the new Republican majority in the House will want a significantly different package. My advice is not to bet against ethanol subsidies.
Across the States
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s green energy plan will increase utility bills 3%-8% annually for twenty years, according to the LA Department of Water and Power. Currently, Los Angeles gets almost 50% of its electricity from out-of-state coal power plants, which is the primary reason that its ratepayers avoided the price spikes that plagued California during the 2000 electricity crisis, but the Mayor’s energy plan would have the Department of Water and Power disinvest from its Nevada coal generating facility and replace this power with expensive renewable energy.
The Farmington City Council voted unanimously to appeal a cap-and-trade imposed by New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson (D) without input from the State Legislature. The lame-duck Governor enacted the energy-rationing scheme administratively on November 2, the same day that voters indicated their displeasure with expensive energy climate policies by electing Susana Martinez (R) to succeed Richardson. She had campaigned against cap-and-trade.
The Colorado Public Utilities Commission on Thursday approved a plan to replace almost 1,000 megawatts of coal power with natural gas electricity generation. In addition to at least $1.3 billion in capital costs, Colorado ratepayers are on the hook for a precipitous increase in fuel costs, as the price of natural gas procured as part of the plan is three times the projected price of coal.
Around the World
The Kyoto Protocol is on life-support at the 16th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change this week in Cancun, Mexico. Today is the final day of scheduled negotiations, and Russia, Canada, and Japan aren’t budging from their position that the Kyoto Protocol needs to be jettisoned because it doesn’t include emissions reduction commitments from developing countries like China and Brazil. Naturally, developing countries object to this, because they have no interest in slowing their economic growth with costly carbon controls. If history is any indication, negotiators will extend the discussions through tomorrow and produce an agreement to meet again.
The Daily Mail reported that Prime Minister David Cameron is calling emergency meetings to address the coldest December in 100 years. Things have gotten so dire that the Army was called in to clear snow from roads to hospitals and care homes. The historic cold temperatures are affecting much of continental Europe, and have resulted in more than 60 deaths.
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