In the News
Climate Science Disclosures: Freedom of Information or Chilling Effect
Hank Campbell, Science 2.0, 29 June 2011
Shale Gas Neo-Malthusianism: Poor Journalism at the Paper of Record
Michael Lynch, Master Resource, 28 June 2011
Snow Job: Al Gore Doesn't Know How To Use the Internet
Anthony Watts, WattsUpWithThat, 27 June 2011
Will the CFTC Prosecute Obama and the IEA for Manipulation?
Craig Pirrong, The Streetwise Professor, 26 June 2011
Obama's Focus on Visiting Clean-Tech Companies Raises Questions
Carol Leonnig, Joe Stephens and Alice Crites, The Washington Post, 25 June 2011
News You Can Use
AAAS's Selective Outrage
This week the American Society for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) board issued a statement decrying "attacks on researchers that question their personal and professional integrity." As an example, the AAAS board cited the American Tradition Institute's recent Freedom of Information Act request for thousands of emails from Dr. Michael Mann, fabricator of the phony \223hockey stick\224 reconstruction of historical global temperatures. Interestingly, the AAAS board omitted mention of a new Greenpeace report noting that all of the research funding received since 2003 by Dr. Willie Soon, a Harvard astrophysicist and climate skeptic, came from hydrocarbon industries, information that was obtained by a FOIA request. Nor did the AAAS board mention that Greenpeace filed a FOIA request for the financial records of climate skeptic Dr. Patrick Michaels.
Inside the Beltway
Court Upholds Bush Determination on Polar Bear
Federal Judge Emmet Sullivan on Thursday upheld the listing of the polar bear as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. Environmental groups had sued to change the listing to endangered, which would lead to much more restrictive protection measures. The State of Alaska and industry groups represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation had sued to de-list the polar bear.
The decision to uphold the Interior Department decision made during the George W. Bush administration does not stop the litigation underway to overturn a separate ruling made by then-Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne and upheld by the current Secretary, Ken Salazar, that the threatened listing should not be used to force reductions in greenhouse gas emissions (which allegedly cause global warming which allegedly threatens the sea ice that polar bears depend on for hunting seals), but should be confined to protecting polar bear habitat in Alaska.
EPA Targets Texas Coal
Gina McCarthy, the Environmental Protection Agency's administrator for air, testified before a Senate subcommittee this week and laid out the next step in the Obama Administration's war against coal. McCarthy said that EPA had determined that sulfur dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants in Texas were lowering air quality in States downwind of Texas. She did not announce that Texas coal plants would be added to the proposed Clean Air Act Transport Rule, but the decision seems inevitable.
Obama Floats New CAFE Standard
It was reported this week that the White House has told automakers that they are considering new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (or CAFE) standards for cars and light trucks of 56.2 miles per gallon by 2025. The auto industry went along with the first round of higher fuel economy mandates in 2007 that are scheduled to raise CAFE standards to 35.5 mpg by 2016. But there are signs that automakers are going to oppose 56.2 mpg. Environmental groups and the State of California have proposed 62 mpg by 2025.
EPA Moves Forward on Alaskan Offshore Drilling
The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday released draft Clean Air Act permits for Shell's planned oil exploration in federal offshore waters in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, which are parts of the Arctic Ocean north of Alaska. The draft permits are subject to public comment and will undoubtedly be litigated by environmental pressure groups.
Shell has been trying for more than four years to drill in 10-year lease tracts for which it paid the federal government more than $2 billion. Shell has also invested well over $1 billion in building the infrastructure that offshore exploratory drilling requires. If oil is discovered, then Shell would make huge further investments to begin production and connect the fields to the Trans Alaska Pipeline. Shell would pay a royalty to the federal treasury for every barrel produced.
Across the States
Alaska To "Drain" ANWR
Alaska Governor Sean Parnell this week announced in Washington, DC plans to hold auctions in October to lease 15 million acres of state land for oil and gas exploration. The lease tracts include areas within state waters in the Beaufort Sea off the coast of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and onshore areas that are adjacent to ANWR.
In a written statement, Governor Parnell and Natural Resources Commisioner Dan Sullivan did not try to conceal that part of the plan is to use horizontal drilling to drain oil reserves under ANWR that have been locked up by Congress since 1980 and under the National Petroleum Reserve. "By drilling on state land and waters adjacent to NPR-A and ANWR, developers may end up drawing untapped oil that lies beneath these federal lands."
CEI Challenges Northeastern Cap-and-Trade
The Competitive Enterprise Institute, Americans for Prosperity, Smith Valliere PLLC, and two small businesses filed a lawsuit this week in the State of New York alleging that the state's participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cap-and-trade energy-rationing scheme for 10 northeastern States, is illegal because the Governor's office enrolled in RGGI without approval by the state legislature.
California Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols made a surprise announcement this week to delay implementation of California's cap-and-trade scheme by a year. Chairwoman Nichols claimed that the delay is to prevent "gaming" of the market for energy-rationing coupons, but the existence of functioning carbon markets in the Northeast (the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative) and in Europe (the Emissions Trading Scheme) suggests that the real reason for the delay was that the administration of Governor Jerry Brown wants to postpone burdening the state's ailing economy by making energy more expensive.
This week the New York Department of Environmental Conservation issued proposed regulations for hydraulic fracturing, the technological breakthrough in natural gas drilling that has roughly doubled known North American gas reserves in the last five years. Much of New York is within the geologic area known as the Marcellus Shale, which contains enormous gas deposits that became recoverable only with the advent of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. New York lawmakers imposed a moratorium on the process, due to unsubstantiated fears fanned by environmentalist special interests that the technique could contaminate New York City's water supply. The drilling regulations are unnecessarily onerous, such that they might make gas extraction uneconomic, but they potentially could open up to 85% of the state's Marcellus Shale deposits to hydraulic fracturing.
Around the World
U.S. Submits Formal Objection to EU Airfare Carbon Tax
Last week, the Obama administration issued its "strong objection" to the European Union's policy, starting January 1, of forcing all airlines operating to or from European airports to participate in the Emissions Trading Scheme, the EU's cap-trade-trade energy-rationing scheme. The U.S. joins China and Russia in contending that the EU doesn't have the authority to regulate companies based outside its borders. In addition to alleging that the policy violates international law, China backed up its complaint by blocking the order of 10 superjumbo A380 aircraft produced by Airbus, the EU's leading aircraft manufacturer. The deal had been worth $3.8 billion.
France Bans Fracking
The French Parliament this week voted to ban hydraulic fracturing, making it the first country to enact legislation to outlaw the practice. However, the prospects for the gas drilling technique remain excellent in much of the rest of the European Union. Unlike France, which generates the preponderance of its electricity from nuclear and therefore has less of a need for expanded gas supplies, Central and Eastern Europe are embracing the technique. For countries in these regions, expanded domestic production of gas is preferable to relying on Gazprom, Russia's state-owned gas export company.
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.