In the News
Ethanol’s Policy Privileges: Headed for History’s Dustbin
Marlo Lewis, Pajamas Media, 3 December 2010
Global Warming Nuisance Lawsuits Are Based on a Fatal Flaw
Russell Cook, Big Government, 27 November 2010
News You Can Use
Alarmists Try To Have It Both Ways
In 2000, Dr. David Viner, a senior research scientist at the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, told the UK Independent that snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event” within a few years due to global warming.
This week, as an unseasonal snow blanketed Northern Europe and caused more than 60 fatalities, University of College London Professor Mark Maslin told the UK Telegraph that the snow was likely due to global warming.
Inside the Beltway
Obama’s Offshore Flip-Flop
The Department of the Interior this week announced that its 2012-17 five-year plan for leasing tracts for offshore oil and gas exploration would place the Pacific, Atlantic, and eastern Gulf coasts off limits. In addition, Interior announced that the go-slow policy for Alaska offshore leasing would continue.
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar used BP’s Gulf oil leak as justification for reversing the policy that President Obama announced in March. Here is what CEI said in its press release responding to Interior’s announcement: “Obama Offshore Oil Moratorium Breaks Promise, Hurts Economy, Kills Jobs.” Tom Pyle of the Institute for Energy Research made similar comments. Even Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, was critical.
House Republicans Vote Next Week on Committee Chairman
The House Republican Steering Committee this week interviewedcandidates for Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee and for Chairman of the Science and Technology Committee. Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) remains the frontrunner for Energy and Commerce, but conservative opposition has been building from a number of directions. The Committee is scheduled to vote next Tuesday on these and all the other committee chairmanships.
The fact is that Upton is to the left of the vast majority of the Republican Conference on a wide range of issues. He is sounding very conservative in public and making lots of promises, but it doesn’t square with his record. For example, Upton has voted for the 2007 anti-energy bill, against offshore drilling, for higher CAFÉ standards, for the ethanol mandate, and he led the effort to ban incandescent light bulbs. The other candidates are Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.), who is the current ranking Republican and former Chairman of the committee, Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), and Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.). My own view is that Barton, Stearns, and Shimkus are all good choices and far preferable to Upton.
There are two candidates for Chairman of the Science and Technology Committee. Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Tex.) is the frontrunner. He is being challenged by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (D-Calif.). Hall, a former Democratic Member and currently the ranking Republican on the committee, is widely respected and liked. He is also very able and highly qualified to chair Science and Technology. The reason why the Steering Committee may pass him over is his age—87. Rep. Rohrabacher is also highly qualified and would bring a lot more energy and aggressiveness to the job.
The proposal by Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) to take jurisdiction over energy issues from the Energy and Commerce Committee and place it in an expanded Energy and Natural Resources Committee is still in play. The Steering Committee may consider it after it votes on the committee chairmanships. Hastings is the only candidate for Chairman of the Natural Resources Committee.
EPA Turns 40
The Environmental Protection Agency has been celebrating its fortieth anniversary this week with a number of events. EPA was created by executive order by President Richard M. Nixon on December 2, 1970. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson used the occasion to argue for the agency’s continuing relevance. My CEI colleague Chris Horner responds to Jackson’s astonishing claim that EPA has created 1.5 million jobs here. And Amanda Carey in the Daily Caller finds much less reason than Jackson to celebrate.
Across the States
New York Assembly Passes Symbolic Drilling Ban
The New York State Assembly this week voted 93 – 43 to temporarily ban a natural gas drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing. The moratorium lasts until May, 2011, but state regulators weren’t expected to start issuing drilling permits until summer, so the legislation is largely symbolic. New York State is home to huge natural gas deposits that only recently become economically recoverable, thanks to the emergence of hydraulic fracturing technology, which is also known as “fracking.” Environmentalists oppose the practice on the grounds that it could affect groundwater supplies, although there is no credible evidence to support these claims.
Around the World
COP-16 in Cancun: Japan Bucks Kyoto
The Japanese delegation to the 16th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Cancun, Mexico, yesterday said that under no circumstances would the country support an extension of the Kyoto Protocol past 2012. Already, expectations were low for the COP-16 negotiations, as evidenced by the minimal presence of dignitaries and media. Japan’s announcement diminishes expectations in Cancun even further.
It Could Happen Here
Germany has the most generous solar subsidy program in the world. In a November note to investors, Merrill Lynch estimated that the average German household pays $260 a year for solar subsidies. Solar power accounts for 1% of German electricity production.
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