The Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) held a press conference in Doha, Qatar calling on the United Nations to suspend all efforts to negotiate a new climate treaty. Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) joined them by video in denouncing the treaty, stating: "The focus of this year’s global warming conference, like all the conferences before, is not about the environment. It’s about one thing: spreading the wealth around." You may view the video and press conference here.
In the News
Obama's Energy Dilemma: Back Energy-Fueled Growth or Please Green Lobby
Joel Kotkin, The Daily Beast, 7 December 2012
'Hot-air' Release at Doha Climate Talks Dispels Tension
Roger Harrabin, BBC News, 7 December 2012
Pros and Cons of Keystone XL Pipeline Aired One Last Time
Paul Hammel, The Omaha World Herald, 5 December 2012
Long-Awaited Study Says Gas Exports Would Boost U.S. Economy
Ben German and Zack Colman, The Hill's Energy & Environment Blog, 5 December 2012
Environmental Groups Seek to Curb Emissions From Existing Power Plants
Steven Mufson, The Washington Post, 4 December 2012
Environmentalists' Power Trip Harms Poor Countries
David Rothbard and Craig Rucker, The Washington Times, 4 December 2012
Keystone Pipeline Decision: Obama Faces Mounting Pressure in Second Term
Associated Press, Politico, 3 December 2012
Carbon Dioxide Emissions Hit Record High, Researchers Say
Justin Gillis and John Broder, The New York Times, 2 December 2012
News You Can Use
Annual Energy Outlook: 2013
The Annual Energy Outlook published by the Energy Information Administration was released this week. It projects U.S. energy production growing more quickly than consumption through 2040. The report forecasts crude oil production rising from 6 million barrels per day (bdp) in 2011 to 7.5 million bpd by 2019. The U.S. will begin to export liquified natural gas (see DoE study) by 2016 and will become a net exporter of natural gas by 2020. Finally, due to increased domestic production and increased efficiency, the net import share of energy will decline to 9 percent in 2040 from 19 percent in 2011.Inside the Beltway
DoE Study Confirms Benefits of LNG Exports
A study commissioned by the Department of Energy and done by the NERA economic consulting firm on the economic effects of exporting natural gas was released this week. Not surprisingly, the report concludes that increasing trade will benefit the gas industry and the economy overall.
As the Wall Street Journal noted in an editorial, the fact that expanding trade is good is basic economics, but perhaps that is news to the Obama Administration, which put a moratorium on approving new terminals for liquefied natural gas earlier this year.
Opponents are, of course, not giving up. The CEO of Dow Chemical, Andrew Liveris, opposes LNG exports on the grounds that increased demand will drive up prices. Dow is investing billions of dollars to build new chemical manufacturing plants in the U. S. Natural gas is the principal feedstock for many bulk chemicals. Ironically, a few years ago when U. S. gas prices were high, Liveris planned to move most of Dow's manufacturing out of the U. S. Liveris then was one of the most active corporate CEOs lobbying for enactment of the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill, which would have raised energy (including natural gas) prices and thereby hurt Dow's domestic competitors.
Environmental pressure groups are not giving up either. Food and Water Watch on December 6 announced a broad new coalition to oppose hydraulic fracturing used to produce natural gas and oil from shale formations. Americans Against Fracking starts with more than one hundred organizations as members. The members are mostly local anti-fracking groups.
Around the World
The COP-18 climate negotiations have entered their final hours, when historically the threat of having to return home empty handed has led climate negotiators to put together some semblance of an agreement, aside from the obvious agreement to meet again the following year.
It's safe to say that this year expectations at COP-18 are low, as most countries and negotiators look ahead to future years, where the focus will be on COP-17's pledge to negotiate a treaty by 2015 that could be ratified and go into effect by 2020. Any last minute agreements this year will center around the Green Climate Fund, a mechanism by which rich countries will transfer wealth to poor countries to finance low-emissions energy projects. It appears that minor progress will be made on funding the GCF, with various small commitments made from countries in Europe through 2015.
The conference was not all boring. Christopher Monckton, the well-known climate skeptic attending COP-18 as an accredited NGO delegate for the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, created a stir on the conference floor when he impersonated a delegate from Burma. Fiona Harvey reported in the Guardian that Monckton was recognized by the chairman and spoke for a minute before he was escorted out. According to Harvey, Monckton said, "In the 16 years we have been coming to these conferences, there has been no global warming at all. If we were to take action, the cost of that would be many times greater than the cost of taking adaptation measures later. So my recommendation is that we should initiate a review of the science to make sure we are all on the right track.." The UN ejected Monckton from COP-18 and announced that they had banned him from attending future COPs.
Though the original Kyoto Protocol will expire at the end of this month, a much less ambitious extension will live on through the EU as they hope to maintain some international agreement, however weak and ineffective, in order to spur future negotiations.
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.