On Monday, October 31, from 2 to 3 P.M. in Rayburn House Office Building room 2322, the Cornwall Alliance is sponsoring a presentation on "The Cost of Good Intentions: The Ethics and Economics of the War on Conventional Energy," by Dr. Timothy Terrell, Associate Professor of Economics at Wofford College. Dr. Terrell will discuss his recent research, which addresses the threats posed by the Obama Administration’s anti-energy agenda to energy abundance, affordability, and reliability.
In the News
Green Apple, Inc. Harms Environment with Solar Power
Paul Chesser, National Legal and Policy Center, 28 October 2011
The New York Times Tries To Catch up with Energy News from the Last Decade
Myron Ebell, GlobalWarming.org, 26 October 2011
News You Can Use
EIA Study: Obama’s Clean Energy Standard = 1 Million Lost Jobs
According to an Energy Information Administration study requested by Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Tex.), Chairman of the House Science Committee, President Barack Obama’s proposed Clean Energy Standard—a Soviet-styled production quota for green energy and natural gas—would increase household electricity bills by $115 per year in 2025, and by $211 in 2035. In addition to expensive electricity, the EIA analysis indicates that the President’s Clean Energy Standard would eliminate one million jobs by 2025.
Inside the Beltway
House Votes to Block EU Carbon Tax for Air Travel
The House of Representatives passed by voice vote on Monday, 24th October, a bill to prohibit U. S. airlines from participating in the European Union’s cap-and-trade program. The EU has decided to include all commercial airline flights to and from its 27 member nations in its Emissions Trading Scheme beginning 1st January 2012. This will require airlines to buy allowances to cover the carbon dioxide emissions for every flight in the EU.
The U. S. airline industry and the Obama Administration support the House bill, which now goes to the Senate. The industry has estimated that the ETS’s indirect tax could cost $3.1 billion by the end of the decade. U. S. airlines are also challenging their inclusion in the new rule in the European Court of Justice.
The EU immediately said that the new law would be enforced against foreign airlines beginning 1st January. EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard was quoted in an AFP story that “We are confident that the US will respect EU law, as EU always respects US law.”
Japan, China, Russia, and many other countries have objected to being included in the ETS. The Chinese government has threatened countervailing tariffs on European airlines several times larger than what the ETS will cost Chinese airlines landing in Europe.
On the other hand, the International Air Transport Association has called on the UN International Civil Aviation Organization to create a global version of the EU’s ETS that would tax all international flights. The ICAO has wanted to do this for many years, and the UN also advocates a similar scheme to tax international shipping.
EPA’s Jackson Tees Off on Coal
Lisa Jackson, the usually soft spoken EPA Administrator, launched an assault on the coal industry and coal-fired power plants at a meeting of college environmental activists held at Howard University in Washington, DC on 27th October. According to reporter Renee Schoof of McClatchy Newspapers, Jackson told the young activists, who are part of the Sierra Club’s anti-coal campaign, “It's so important that your voices are heard, that campuses that are supposed to be teaching people aren't meanwhile polluting the surrounding community with mercury and costing the children a few IQ points because of the need to generate power. It's simply not fair.”
According to Emily Yehle in Greenwire, Jackson accused utilities that burn coal of intentional negligence: “In their entire history -- 50, 60, 70 years, or even 30 … they never found the time or the reason to clean up their act. They're literally on life support. And the people keeping them on life support are all of us.”
Jackson also criticized attempts in the Congress to block EPA’s proposed regulation of coal ash as a toxic substance. Much of the residue from burning coal has industrial uses. These uses would be threatened if coal ash is defined as a toxic substance. Yehle’s story quotes Jackson as saying, “So that's where we are (in Congress). We're protecting the coal ash from the people rather than protecting the people from the coal ash.”
Jackson did not mention the positive health and living standard effects of coal. Coal-fired plants provide slightly less than half the nation’s electricity. Since electricity produced from coal is much cheaper than the renewable alternatives preferred by the Sierra Club and Administrator Jackson, people who get their power from coal have much more money to spend on healthcare, nutritious food, etc. Jackson is also sadly misinformed about the health effects of mercury emissions from coal-fired plants.
The meeting was sponsored by Howard University and the Sierra Club, which flew in anti-coal activists from universities across the country this week to lobby Congress. Representative David McKinley (R-WV) was quick to send out a press statement criticizing Jackson’s remarks.
Across the States
California Finalizes Cap-and-trade
Last Friday the California Air Resources Board finalized the state’s decision to proceed with a cap-and-trade system for carbon dioxide emissions beginning in 2013, attempting to reduce the Golden State’s carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The legislation has overcome a ballot initiative attempting to delay implementation until the state unemployment rate dropped as well as a lawsuit from environmental groups contending that the legislation went too easy on emitters.
New Mexico Sues EPA
New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez (R) this week sued the EPA over its August decision to impose on the State a federal plan to improve visibility. New Mexico had submitted a plan in June, one that met the EPA’s own compliance rules, but the agency refused to even consider the state’s submission, due to an arbitrary, self-imposed deadline. Instead of addressing the state plan, the EPA imposed emissions controls that exceed its own cost-effectiveness guidelines by almost $700 million. The EPA justified these exorbitant costs by giving itself extra authority with a dubious (and likely illegal) interpretation of the Clean Air Act.
This week the Competitive Enterprise Institute and Rio Grande Foundation co-published a new study on the EPA’s ad hoc actions on visibility policy in New Mexico. Click here to read, “The EPA’s Shocking New Mexico Power Grab,” by CEI’s William Yeatman.
Around the World
Even EU Abandons Kyoto
The European Union this month laid out conditions for its continued participation in the Kyoto Protocol past the climate change treaty’s expiration at the end of 2012. Under the terms set forth by the EU’s Environmental Council, the 27-nation bloc would agree to extend the Kyoto Protocol, but only if the U.S., China, and India establish a timeline by which they would submit to legally binding reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. The EU demands that the timeline be set before the 17th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Durban, South Africa in December.
Both China and India steadfastly refuse to do so, because it would hurt their number one concern—economic growth. Although the Obama Administration says nice things about the Kyoto Protocol, it is highly unlikely that they would commit to binding targets and timetables that would require Senate ratification. The impossibility of these negotiating conditions suggests that the EU is not seriously interested in continued participation in the Kyoto Protocol, and without the EU, the treaty will collapse.
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.