Cooler Heads Digest 17 June 2011


Ken Glozer, author of Corn Ethanol: Who Pays? Who Benefits?, will give an in-depth evaluation of federal corn ethanol policy on Friday, June 24, 12 Noon-1:15 PM, at 2218 Rayburn House Office Building. Lunch and copies of Mr. Glozer's new book will be provided. RSVP at

The Heartland Institute's Sixth International Conference on Climate Change will be held in Washington, DC, on June 30 - July 1, 2011. Visit the event's web site at for more information or to make your reservations.

In the News

An Added Benefit of Cut, Cap, and Balance-It Would Make Climate Legislation \223Virtually Impossible\224
Marlo Lewis,, 17 June 2011

Bigger Cars Are Safer Cars
Eric Peters, American Spectator, 16 June 2011

Gore Praises Romney on Climate Change
Dan Berman, Politico, 15 June 2011

Birds Aren't Celebrating Global \221Wind Day'
George Fenwick, The Michigan View, 15 June 2011

Obama Concedes His Energy Policy Is a Mess
Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics, 15 June 2011

Christie's Blind Spot
Paul Chesser, American Spectator, 15 June 2011

The UN's Earth Summit Has Its Head in the Clouds
Larry Bell, Forbes, 14 June 2011

On \221Fracking,' President Boxes in Himself, America
William Yeatman,, 13 June 2011

Obama Goes Green and Detroit Goes Black
Henry Payne, Planet Gore, 10 June 2011

Is Peer Review Biased against Nonalarmist Climate Science?
Chip Knappenberger, Master Resource, 9 June 2011

News You Can Use
Sun Entering \223Rest Period\224

This week at the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society in New Mexico, scientists at the National Solar Observatory and the Air Force Research Laboratory announced three new studies suggesting that the Sun is entering a \223rest period.\224 The immediate question is whether this downturn in solar activity presages another Maunder Minimum, a period from 1645 to 1715 with virtually no sunspots that was characterized by unusually cold temperatures.

Inside the Beltway

Senate Votes Down Ethanol Subsidy

By a 73-27 vote, the Senate on Thursday voted to end the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC), a 45 cents-per-gallon refundable tax credit given to fuel blenders for incorporating ethanol into the fuel supply. The VEETC is ethanol's primary federal subsidy, although the industry also benefits from a Soviet-style production quota, enacted in the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, that forces Americans to use increasing amounts of ethanol. This year, the law requires the manufacture of almost 13 billion gallons of ethanol.

The anti-VEETC measure was an amendment to S. 732, the Economic Development and Revitalization Act of 2011, a pork-laden bill that has little chance of passing the House of Representatives because it is opposed by Republicans. Nonetheless, Thursday's vote was historic, because it is the first time that the powerful special interests behind ethanol have suffered a major setback in the Congress. Moreover, it's a strong signal that the VEETC's days are numbered. The subsidy is set to expire in December, and it looks increasingly likely that the Congress will not renew it. Indeed, lawmakers might repeal it before then.  

The amendment was proposed by Sen. Dianne Fienstein (D-CA). On Tuesday, an identical amendment failed to garner enough votes to end debate. Why did the same amendment fail on Tuesday and succeed on Thursday? The amendment offered on Tuesday was opposed by Senate Democratic leadership, who agreed with its substance, but objected to a procedural move used by its sponsor, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), in order to force a vote.

Thursday's vote broke down roughly along regional lines, with farm state Senators voting against the amendment, and non-farm state Senators voting for it. Proponents of ending the VEETC were of two types: Those who oppose ethanol in general, due to the fact that it makes food more expensive and harms the environment, and deficit hawks for whom it made no sense to subsidize the supply of ethanol in addition to mandating its demand.

Across the States

Regional Cap-and-Trade Bombs

Bloomberg reported this week that the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cap-and-trade energy rationing scheme for ten northeastern States (soon to be nine, as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently announced that his State would withdraw), failed to sell 70% of energy-rationing coupons offered for sale at its auction last week, even though their price was at the minimum allowed by the program. It was the biggest shortfall since auctions began in September 2008.

Around the World
Brian McGraw

Climategate Part 2

Steve McIntyre this week brought to our attention yet another instance of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change embracing non-peer reviewed literature, ripe with conflicts of interest, and making no apologies. In May, the summary of a new IPCC report was released with the bold claim that 80% of the world's energy could be met with renewable energy by 2050.  Evidently, the study cited to support this claim was co-written by Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council. More here.

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,