Forty nine prominent former NASA officials, including seven Apollo astronauts and two former directors of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, last week sent a letter to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden admonishing the agency for its role in advocating a high degree of certainty that man-made carbon dioxide emission are a major cause of climate change while neglecting empirical evidence that calls the theory into question. Read the letter here.
In the News
Climate Coalitions Crumble, Economic Worries to Blame
Sterling Burnett, Planet Gore, 10 April 2012
Why Obama Deserves Little Credit for U.S. Oil and Gas Boom
Steven Hayward, The Enterprise Blog, 9 April 2012
EPA Imposes $12 Million in Controls in North Dakota, for Invisible Benefits
William Yeatman, GlobalWarming.org, 9 April 2012
Is EPA Endangering Public Health and Welfare by Attempting To Mitigate Extreme Weather?
Chip Knappenberger, Master Resource, 9 April 2012
News You Can Use
Obama Fuel Economy Mandate Could Price Seven Million Poor People out of a New Car
In a report released yesterday, the National Auto Dealers Association (NADA) estimates that the Obama administration’s model year (MY) 2011-2025 fuel economy standards could price nearly 7 million consumers out of the market for new motor vehicles, by adding almost $4,800 to the cost of each vehicle.
Inside the Beltway
Hastings Rebukes Obama Administration for Lack of Transparancy
In 1977, the Congress enacted the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act in order to regulate surface mining. Since 2009, however, the Obama administration has been engaged in a rulemaking that would reinterpret the law such that it would effectively ban surface coal mining. The Department of the Interior has been working on the rule in secret, but a January 2011 Associated Press report indicated that the reinterpretation would devastate the Appalachian coal industry. House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Washington) has been trying for over a year to get information about the proposed rule from the Interior Department. Although President Obama claims to give priority to transparency, his administration has stonewalled Rep. Hastings’s requests.
On April 5, the Natural Resources Committee issued a subpoena demanding the Interior Department’s cooperation. Yesterday was the deadline for complying. Last evening, the Interior Department informed Chairman Hastings that it would again refuse to produce the requested documents. It claimed that there was no reason that it should have to disclose information about a rule that hasn’t yet been proposed.
The Administration’s explanation doesn’t make sense. For starters, the Interior Department is using taxpayer money to contract private sector companies to provide analysis for the ongoing rulemaking. More importantly, the Department is interpreting a law passed by Congress, in a fashion that seemingly contradicts the intent of the Congress. In light of the fact that Rep. Hastings is chairman of the Natural Resources Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Department of the Interior, he has every right to expect its full cooperation with his investigation.
In a press release, Chairman Hastings expressed frustration at the Interior Department’s “stubborn resistance to even the smallest amount of transparency and Congressional oversight.” He also indicated that the Committee would soon issue a second subpoena for additional information
EPA Publishes Anti-Coal Carbon Pollution Standard
In today’s Federal Register, the Environmental Protection Agency published a proposed Carbon Pollution Standard that effectively bans the construction of coal-fired power plants. For more on the proposed regulation, read this post by my colleague Marlo Lewis.
Across the States
The Maryland legislative session ended this week without the passage of Governor Martin O’Malley’s (D) top two energy initiatives. The Governor’s proposal to raise the gas tax by 6 percent was a non-starter. It failed to get out of committee in both the Senate and the House of Delegates, even though both chambers are dominated by members of O’Malley’s political party.
Unfortunately, Governor O’Malley’s plan for offshore wind made some headway. During last year’s legislative session, the House of Delegates shelved the Governor’s offshore wind proposal, due to its high costs. This year, however, the House passed a bill that would require utility companies to buy offshore wind, by an 88-47 vote. The legislation then failed to get out of the Senate Finance Committee.
Around the World
Emissions Battle Might Kill Climate Negotiations
India’s Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan stated this week that the European Union’s plan to charge foreign airlines for their carbon emissions is a “deal-breaker” for the ongoing negotiations over some sort of new global agreement to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, which would replace the Kyoto Protocol: “For the environment ministry, for me, it is a deal-breaker because you simply cannot bring this into climate change discourse and disguise unilateral trade measures under climate change.” This week India also formally forbade its airlines from complying with the fees. Looking towards the future, India has stated that it wants to meet separately with China and Russia to align their opposition. A large coalition of countries including the U.S., China, Russia, India, and others plan to meet later this year in Saudi Arabia to continue previous discussions concerning potential retaliatory actions.
U.K. Energy Policy in Disarray
A Reuters commentary by John Kemp details some of the incoherencies and idiocies in the British Government’s energy policies. Kemp writes: “Both government and energy suppliers are desperately trying to shift blame for rising utility bills, which have added to the financial strain on millions of households, and caused the government to miss its target of eliminating fuel poverty by a wide margin. The result is an increasingly bizarre and contradictory set of interventions which do little to alleviate fuel poverty, improve efficiency or cut carbon emissions.” The entire article may be read 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, www.GlobalWarming.org.