Cooler Heads Digest 23 March 2012


The Heritage Foundation has posted video of a presentation by Sen. James M. Inhofe on his new book, The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future. The book can be purchased here.

In the News

Obama Headed for Defeat in Keystone Fight
Byron York, Washington Examiner, 23 March 2012

Lessons from L’Affaire Heartland
Robert Murphy, Master Resource, 23 March 2012

Faith-Based Energy Policy
Victor Davis Hanson, Chicago Tribune, 22 March 2012

EPA’s Heavy Hand Seen in Gas Prices
Investors Business Daily editorial, 22 March 2012

Those Obama Green Blues
Henry Payne, The Michigan View, 22 March 2012

Global Warming Gets a Rebranding (again)
Erica Martinson & Jonathan Allen, Politico, 21 March 2012

Excellent Prospects for Michael Mann FOIA
Tom Jackman, Washington Post, 21 March 2012

It Takes 10 Units Renewable Energy To Replace 1 Unit Conventional Energy
Anthony Watts, WattsUpWithThat, 21 March 2012

Why Gas Prices Matter
David Freddoso, Washington Examiner, 20 March 2012

Issa Report Uncovers Fraud in DOE Loans
Robert Murphy, Institute for Energy Research, 20 March 2012

Defeated Highway Amendment Would Have Sent Billions to Soros, Pickens, Douglas Companies
S. E. Robinson & Audrey Hudson, Human Events, 19 March 2012

Dim Duo Done in by Dimock Data
William Yeatman,, 19 March 2012

News You Can Use
Gallup: Only 28 Percent of Independents Believe in Global Warming

According to a Gallup poll released this week, 80 percent of independent voters believe that temperatures are “warmer than usual,” but only 28 percent attribute this to global warming, while 51 percent ascribe it to normal variations.

Inside The Beltway
Myron Ebell

Obama’s Malaise

There was a point in the latter half of President Jimmy Carter’s one term in office when he had become so ineffectual and clueless that I found it painfully embarrassing to watch him on television.  Luckily, I lived in England for most of the Carter presidency and didn’t own a television, so I didn’t have to cringe that often during the last year or so he was in office.

I remembered these feelings of embarrassment for our President and our country when I watched clips of President Barack Obama’s speech on energy policy in Cushing Oklahoma on Thursday, 22nd March, and saw the AP photos of the President walking and speaking in front of a large stack of what look to be three-foot diameter pipes used for building oil pipelines.  It seems to me that our President is on the verge of becoming ridiculous and irrelevant in much the same way that Jimmy Carter did in 1979 and 1980.

President Obama keeps repeating the same misleading and inadequate defenses of his energy policies.  The only difference this week compared to the weekly speeches he gave over the past four weeks is that he gave four in one week this week—in Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Ohio.  He continues to insist that he has approved new pipelines everywhere.  This is simply false. Those decisions have been made without any involvement by the President.    

President Obama also said that the strong bipartisan majorities in the House and the Senate that have voted to permit the 1700-mile Keystone XL Pipeline from Alberta’s oil sands to refineries in Texas and Louisiana “…decided that this might be a fun political issue, decided to try to intervene and make it impossible for us to make an informed decision.”  This is truly pathetic.  The President decided to make it a political issue when he over-rode the recommendations of the State Department and the EPA (after reviewing the application for three years) to permit the pipeline in order to placate his environmental pressure group allies.

The President also discussed in his speech at TransCanada’s pipe yard in Cushing, Oklahoma, TransCanada’s plan to go ahead and build the 485-mile section of the Keystone XL Pipeline from the hub at Cushing to the Gulf.  He then claimed: “And today, I’m directing my administration to cut through the red tape, break through the bureaucratic hurdles, and make this project a priority, to go ahead and get it done.” 

The reason that TransCanada has gone ahead with this southern section of the pipeline is because it doesn’t cross an international boundary and therefore doesn’t require approval by the President.  Any red tape and bureaucratic hurdles that may exist within the federal government to building the southern section of the pipeline have been created by the Obama Administration. 

President Obama has thus blamed someone else for his decision to block the Keystone XL permit and taken credit for approving a short section of it within the U. S. that is being built without his approval. His words have lost all relation to his deeds.  

Chu Has No Clue

Energy Secretary Steven Chu has appeared somewhat out of touch with reality since his first day on the job in 2009, but in the past two weeks he has moved entirely into a fantasy world of his own creation.  Last week, the Nobel prize-winning Dr. Chu testified before the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee and gave himself a grade of A-minus for his first three years as Secretary of Energy.  This week at another House hearing he gave himself a little higher grade for his handling of gasoline prices.

Secretary Chu told Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.):  “The tools we have at our disposal are limited, but I would say I would give myself a little higher in that since I became secretary of energy, I’ve been doing everything I can to get long-term solutions.”

In the real world, Secretary Chu and his merry band at the Energy Department have pursued polices designed to raise gasoline and other energy prices.  This is intentional and not the result of their incompetence.  Dr. Chu said in 2008 before President Obama nominated him that gas prices needed to rise gradually to European levels.  That is, seven to ten dollars a gallon, most of which is tax.  One reason for much higher gas taxes is that is the only way to make the alternative fuels and technologies that Secretary Chu has been promoting cheaper than gasoline.

Secretary Chu defended his 2008 statement until last week, when he grudgingly conceded that it is no longer operative.  Testifying before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on 13th March, Chu said, “I no longer share that view.  Of course we don't want the price of gasoline to go up. We want it to go down.”

His locution that he no longer shares that view is odd.  He didn’t share that view; that was his view.

Of course, Secretary Chu may have been implying that he and President Obama share the view that the gas tax would ideally be at least five dollars a gallon.  They both want gas prices to go down now because President Obama wants to be re-elected. 

Across the States
William Yeatman

EPA Proposes Regional Haze Plan for Montana

EPA this week proposed a federal plan to improve visibility at National Parks in Montana. The regulation, known as the Regional Haze Rule, would impose $17 million in annual costs on two cement plants and two coal-fired power plants, in order to achieve an “improvement” in visibility that is so slight as to be imperceptible. In addition to Montana, EPA has proposed or finalized federal Regional Haze plans in New Mexico (cost: $80 million/year), Oklahoma (cost: $282 million/year), Nebraska ($23 million/year), and North Dakota (Cost: $12 million/year). In each case, the visibility “benefits” are invisible to the naked eye.

Around the World
Brian McGraw

Commerce Department Issues Tariff on Chinese Solar Panel Imports

File under ‘ways to make renewable energy more expensive.’ This week the Commerce Department completed an investigation concluding that China has illegally provided subsidies to their domestic solar industry, which exports a significant portion of its output to the United States. The initial tariffs are quite small, ranging from 3-4.7 percent, though these might increase in May if the Commerce Department decides that China is illegally “dumping” solar panels at prices below cost.

As the tariffs are quite small, the actual effect on the solar industry will not be noticeable, and the decision to implement tariffs has the appearance of a political calculation requiring Obama to act “tough” on China, and to placate the domestic solar industry. Needless to say, the irony here is thick, as the United States also provides lavish subsidies at all points on the supply chain for domestic solar panel production and consumption.  China responded in November by opening an investigation of their own into whether or not the United States is illegally subsidizing our domestic solar industry.

Indian Government Bans Airlines From Participation in E.U. Aviation Carbon Tax

In the ongoing saga that is the European Union’s attempt to force world airlines to comply with their carbon cap-and-trade program, the Indian government announced this week that it will instruct its domestic airlines to not share projected emissions data with the European Union, joining the Chinese as the first two countries which have explicitly forbidden their airlines from participating in the E.U. aviation program.  Some have suggested that Russia will be the next major country to follow the lead of China and India.

Meanwhile, the E.U.’s climate chiefs will come to the United States next week to defend the policy. The European Union has refused to back down, despite international opposition, threats of retaliatory trade measures, and China’s decision to delay or possibly cancel a large purchase of airplanes manufactured by Airbus in the E.U.

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,