Cooler Heads Digest 20 August 2010


The American Legislative Exchange Council’s Energy, Environment, and Agriculture Task Force have posted the presentations from their 2010 annual meeting. Click here to see the slides for “The Politics of EPA Regulation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions,” by CEI’s Myron Ebell.

In the News

“Think about What’s Happening in Countries Like Germany….”
Chris Horner, Planet Gore, 20 August 2010

Cancer of Tropic
Jay D. Homnick, American Spectator, 19 August 2010

Is GOP Opposition to Cap-and-Trade Self-Contradictory?
Marlo Lewis,, 18 August 2010

The Economic Costs of the Off-Shore Oil Moratorium
Eric Lowe,, 16 August 2010

Primer on Extreme Weather Mortality
Marlo Lewis,, 16 August 2010

More Gore in the Climate Debate?
Myron Ebell, Politico Energy Arena, 12 August 2010

News You Can Use

Sea Level Rise: Insignificant

According to a new paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research—Oceans, “The global mean sea level for the period January 1900 to December 2006 is estimated to rise at a rate of 1.56 ± 0.25 mm/yr which is reasonably consistent with earlier estimates, but we do not find significant acceleration.”  As noted by The Hockey Shtick, the 1.56 mm/yr non-accelerating rate of sea level rise would result in sea levels 6 inches higher than the present in 100 years.

The Real Motive for the “Scientific Consensus”

“Urgent and unprecedented environmental and social changes challenge scientists to define a new social contract … a commitment on the part of all scientists to devote their energies and talents to the most pressing problems of the day, in proportion to their importance, in exchange for public funding.”

From Jane Lubchenco, NOAA Administrator, 1997 American Association for the Advancement of Science presidential address. [The quote above was posted this week at ICECAP by Joe D’Aleo]

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

2010 Candidates Running against Alarmism
Politico ran a revealing story by Darren Samuelsohn this week on Republican candidates for the Senate and House who are openly dismissive of global warming alarmism.  Politico’s Energy Arena then asked its participants to comment on the possible ramifications of this development in the 112th Congress.  Specifically, what does it say for the chances of enacting energy-rationing next year?  This is a slightly-edited version of what I wrote for the Energy Arena.  It will be posted here.

Not only are there more Republican candidates this year who don’t believe in global warming, I have yet to find a Republican nominee for the House or the Senate who is running in favor of cap-and-trade.  Nearly all Republican nominees are running against cap-and-trade, and most are trying to make an issue of it against their Democratic opponents.                            

This is true even in some liberal congressional districts.  For example, Star Parker is running against Rep. Laura Richardson in California’s 37th congressional district, which includes Compton and most of Long Beach.  Parker has made opposition to cap-and-trade the top issue in her campaign.  Parker may be a long shot in a strongly Democratic district, but she has found that opposing the higher energy prices that will result from enacting cap-and-trade resonates with poor voters.

Even the seven Republicans who voted for the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill on 26th June 2009 aren’t publicizing this fact. (Rep. John McHugh of New York was the eighth, but he is now the Secretary of the Army in the Obama Administration). I checked out their campaign web sites, and not a single one mentions cap-and-trade or global warming as an issue.  The web site of Michael Castle, who is favored to win Delaware’s open Senate seat, only mentions that he’s in favor of energy independence.

Rep. Mark Kirk backed away from his vote within a week of making it when he discovered that he couldn’t possibly win the Illinois Republican nomination for the Senate if he supported cap-and-trade.  And according to the Palm Springs Desert Sun, Rep. Mary Bono Mack of California, in a debate on 19th August with her Democratic opponent, Steve Pougnet, did not make clear whether she would vote for cap-and-trade again.

A fair number of Democrats are also running against cap-and-trade, including most of those who voted against Waxman-Markey and a fair number of challengers.  Very few who voted for Waxman-Markey are mentioning that fact in their campaigns.

My conclusion is that cap-and-trade is an election loser and is already completely dead in the 112th Congress.  The Obama Administration apparently agrees.  It was recently reported that all mention of cap-and-trade was removed earlier this summer from the White House Energy and Environment web site.  

Across the States


Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear (D) is taking heat from the Legislature for buying into climate alarmism. In December 2009, Gov. Beshear created the Kentucky Climate Action Plan Council, and charged it with developing “an action plan to address the causes of climate change, prepare for the likely consequences and impacts of climate change to Kentucky, and establish firm benchmarks and timetables for implementing the KCAPC recommendations,” according to its website. KCAPC then hired the Center for Climate Strategies for $200,000 to manage its meetings, set its agenda, provide all its ideas, and write all its reports. As has been reported by the Heartland Institute’s Paul Chesser, the Center for Climate Strategies is a global warming alarmist advocacy group that has devised energy rationing schemes in States across the country. Unfortunately for the Governor, the people of Kentucky—a major coal-producing state—do not share his enthusiasm for energy rationing, which is why the State Senate Government Contract Review Committee last week voted 6-0 to disapprove of KCAPC’s contract with the Center for Climate Strategies. The Governor this week defended the contract.

New Jersey

Despite the fact that the people of New Jersey already pay the seventh highest electricity rates in the country, Governor Chris Christie (R) this week signed a “green energy” bill that will raise utility bills even higher. According to Energy & Environment News (subscription required), the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act requires the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to set up a program requiring utilities to buy offshore renewable energy credits for approved wind farms. Ultimately, the credits would finance 1,100 MW of offshore wind energy, costing rate-payers $6 to $8 billion (before transmission costs are accounted for). Taxpayers are also on the hook: The bill creates $100 million in tax incentives for wind power manufacturers.

Around the World


This week China surpassed Japan to become the second largest economy in the world. A month ago, China surpassed the United States to become the largest energy user in the world. These two facts are directly related. According to the International Energy Agency, “Coal has underpinned China's massive and unprecedented growth in output, fueling an economic miracle….” Coal-fired power plants provide approximately 80 % of China’s electricity.

Climategate Update

Hockey Stick Debunked, Again

The Annals of Applied Statistics, a highly respected statistical journal, has accepted for publication a searing critique of Michael Mann’s infamous “hockey stick” global temperature reconstruction by statisticians Blakeley McShane and Abraham Wyner. It’s titled, “A Statistical Analysis of Multiple Temperature Proxies: Are Reconstructions of Surface Temperatures Over the Last 1000 Years Reliable?” You can read a draft at Climate Audit. It states in the abstract:

“We find that the proxies do not predict temperature significantly better than random series generated independently of temperature. Furthermore, various model specifications that perform similarly at predicting temperature produce extremely different historical backcasts. Finally, the proxies seem unable to forecast the high levels of and sharp run-up in temperature in the 1990s either in-sample or from contiguous holdout blocks, thus casting doubt on their ability to predict such phenomena if in fact they occurred several hundred years ago.”

For more on the Hockey Stick, check out this excellent book review of Andrew Montford’s The Hockey Stick Illusion, by John Dawson in this month’s Quadrant.

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,