Cooler Heads Digest 2 September 2011


The Global Warming Policy Foundation today published an excellent new study, “The Myth of Green Jobs,” by Dr. Gordon Hughes, Professor of Economics at the University of Edinburgh and formerly a senior adviser on energy and environmental policy at the World Bank until 2001. Dr. Hughes argues that green energy subsidies in the United Kingdom could amount to a loss of 2-3% of potential GDP for a period of 20 years or more. See the study here.

In the News

National Review Editorial, 1 September 2011

President Obama: Investor in Chief
Donald Lambro, The Washington Times, 1 September 2011

EPA Regulations Violate Constitutional Rights
Senator Rand Paul, The Washington Times, 31 August 2011

The Real Science Trashers
Dennis Byrne, Chicago Tribune, 30 August 2011

Gore: Deniers Are This Generation’s Racists
Caroline May, Daily Caller, 28 August 2011

Wind Power Is Dying
Tait Trussell, FrontPageMag, 28 August 2011

Hiring, Federal Environmental Employee: Integrity Not Required
Chris Horner, AmSpecBlog, 27 August 2011

Rick Perry’s $7 Billion Problem
Robert Bradley, Jr., Master Resource, 26 August 2011

CERN Experiment Confirms Cosmic Ray Action
Nigel Calder, Personal Blog, 24 August 2011


News You Can Use

Ethanol Kills

A new peer-reviewed study in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons by Dr. Indur Goklany calculates that global ethanol production resulted in 192,000 excess deaths in developing countries. By diverting ever-greater quantities of food into the fuel supply, ethanol—a motor fuel distilled from corn, wheat, soy and palm oils—is making food more expensive, which starves poor people.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

President Puts Re-election Ahead of Environmental Agenda

President Barack Obama on Friday announced that he had ordered EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to stop work on new national ozone standards until 2013.  This delays until after the 2012 presidential election one of the most economically-destructive new regulations in the Obama Administration’s large arsenal of new job-killing regulations.   

The Bush Administration proposed new National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone in 2008.  Environmental pressure groups immediately filed suit on the grounds that the EPA’s own science advisory panel had recommended lower levels. A coalition of states led by Mississippi also filed suit, alleging that the standards were too stringent. The D.C. Circuit Court consolidated the cases. In March 2009, the EPA requested that the cases be held in abeyance, while it reconsidered the Bush Administration’s ozone levels.

In January 2010, Obama’s EPA proposed new lower standards that met the environmentalists’ demands.  After several delays, EPA told the D. C. Circuit Court of Appeals that they would publish the new rule by 29th July.  EPA missed that deadline, but let it be known that the new rule would be out in a week or two.  The President has now pushed off new ozone standards until the next administration.

Steve Milloy of discusses the bogus health claims behind the EPA’s proposed ozone standards in an excellent op-ed published in the Washington Times earlier this summer.

Obama's Favorite Green Company Goes Bust

Solar panel manufacturer Solyndra shut down this week and announced that it would file for bankruptcy.  Here’s what Joe Stephens and Carol D. Leonnig wrote in a good story in the Washington Post

 “A company that served as a showcase for the Obama administration’s effort to create jobs in clean technology shut down Wednesday, leaving 1,100 people out of work and taxpayers obligated for $535 million in federal loans.  Solyndra, a California solar panel maker, had long been an administration favorite. Over the past two years, President Obama and Energy Secretary Steven Chu each had made congratulatory visits to the company’s Silicon Valley headquarters.”

Two other solar panel makers filed for bankruptcy in July--Evergreen Solar and SpectraWatt.  All three companies blamed their collapse on competition from China.  The companies and the Obama Administration claim that the Chinese government subsidizes its solar industry even more than the United States subsidizes its solar industry. 

They don’t mention that China not only has much lower labor costs, but also has lower electricity costs.  Eighty percent of China’s electricity comes from coal-fired power plants compared to fifty percent in the U. S.  Solyndra’s factory was in California and Evergreen Solar’s in Massachusetts, two States with among the highest electric rates in the country.  Coal provides 1% of California’s power.  Manufacturing solar panels takes a lot of energy.  

Solyndra was the first company to receive a loan guarantee from the federal stimulus program in 2009.  A major investor in Solyndra, George Kaiser, is a major campaign contributor and fundraiser for President Obama and the Democratic Party. 

Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s oversight and investigations subcommittee, has been investigating whether Solyndra received special political favors from the White House.  In July, the committee voted to subpoena White House e-mails and other documents related to the loan guarantee.  At the same time, Solyndra’s CEO was making the rounds on Capitol Hill to assure lawmakers that the company was in fine shape. 

President Doubles Down on Failed Green Job Strategy

It might be thought that August’s terrible unemployment numbers and the collapse of Solyndra would make President Obama rethink his program to create green jobs and build a glorious new clean-energy economy on the backs of federal taxpayers.  Apparently not.  As my CEI colleague Chris Horner notes in a piece on Solyndra’s collapse posted on the Daily Caller, the President has just renamed his disastrous green agenda.  Now it’s “targeted infrastructure investment in clean energy projects.”

According to news reports, President Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress on 8th September will include three broad areas for creating new jobs: tax relief and incentives for hiring new workers, training programs for the long-term unemployed, and those targeted infrastructure investments.  The first two are trivial, but the last is economically destructive.  Federal subsidies for energy sources that raise the cost of energy for consumers and manufacturers have multiple negative economic effects.  Consumers who have to spend more on energy have less to spend on other things.  Manufacturers of energy-intensive products (like solar panels) are moving abroad because of rising energy costs.  And investors are not investing in new projects.   

Around the World
Brian McGraw

German Greens Threaten Reliability

German energy analysts are increasingly worried about meeting electricity demand following the decision to shut down 8 of Germany’s remaining 17 nuclear plants, and retire the final 9 ahead of schedule, shortly after the disaster at Fukushima in Japan. By refusing to embrace its bountiful supply of coal, German environmentalists have forced their country to become increasingly reliant on natural gas from Russia. The continued build out of intermittent energy sources promises higher energy prices in the future, while doing little to ensure that there is enough reliable capacity to meet demand.

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,