Cooler Heads Digest 13 July 2012

13 July 2012

In the News

George Shultz Endorses Carbon Tax—You Were Surprised?
Marlo Lewis,, 13 July 2012

EPA’s Climate Regs Cost a Lot, But Won’t Improve Human Welfare
Chip Knappenberger, Master Resource, 13 July 2012

Temperatures Up, Lights Out Across America
Bernard Weinstein, Washington Times, 13 July 2012

Biofuels—Still Searching for a Benefit
William Tucker, Nuclear Townhall, 13 July 2012

“Omerta” Keeps Quiet on Auto Bailout
Mark Tapscott, Washington Examiner, 12 July 2012

How Fossil-Fuel Democrats Became an Endangered Species
Joel Kotkin, Daily Beast, 12 July 2012

Energy Efficiency and the Rebound Effect
Robert Michaels, Institute for Energy Research, 12 July 2012

Start of Darkness for America’s Shining Cities
Andrew Follett & Myron Ebell, Washington Times, 9 July 2012

Green Jobs Count: Fewer Than Before, Sillier Than Ever
David Kreutzer, The Foundry, 9 July 2012

News You Can Use
Nature Study: Climatic Cooling Trend for Past 2,000 Years

An international team from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and led by Professor Dr. Jan Esper this week published an article in Nature Climate Change that reconstructs the temperature record over the past two thousand years by using data from tree-rings (the same sort of proxy data incorporated by Penn State Professor Michael Mann in his infamous “hockey stick” graph). The new study for the first time demonstrates that the long-term trend since 138 B.C. has been towards global cooling.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

Carbon Tax Supporters Multiplying Like Flies

Supporters of a carbon tax were very visible in Washington this week.  Ben Geman of the Hill newspaper reported that former Representative Bob Inglis (R-SC) has launched an “Energy and Enterprise Initiative” to promote global warming alarmism and a carbon tax among political conservatives.  His operations are being sponsored by George Mason University, a Virginia state university in Fairfax, an outer suburb of Washington, DC.

Inglis has taken on an odd project.  He was defeated for re-election in 2010 in the Republican primary by a Tea Party-backed candidate, Trey Gowdy.  One of the main issues that contributed to Gowdy’s 71 to 29% margin of victory was Inglis’s continual attacks on fellow House Republicans for not getting on board the global warming bandwagon.  Inglis was never a conservative while serving as a Republican Member of the House and has no credibility within the conservative movement.

The American Enterprise Institute, on the other hand, has earned a lot of credibility over many decades within the conservative movement for its principled and intellectual defense of free enterprise and business.  Thus it came as a surprise when Greenwire reported on 11th July that AEI was that day hosting the fifth meeting of a group plotting to enact a carbon tax.

I was sent a copy of the group’s agenda the same morning that Greenwire reporter Jean Chemnick was sent a copy.  The one-page agenda is headlined “Price Carbon Campaign / Lame Duck Initiative: A Carbon Pollution Tax in Fiscal and Tax Reform.”  The 12:45-6:00 meeting included presentations and discussions on “Congressional Republicans, Romney, and Business Leaders: Detoxifying climate policy for conservatives,” “Framing and selling a carbon pollution tax,” and “Building bipartisan support and navigating Ways and Means.”  The full agenda was attached to an article by Sean Higgins for the Washington Examiner.     

A list of attendees at the AEI meeting has not been released, but the discussants include leading environmental and leftwing political operatives.  For example, Alden Meyer, strategy and policy director of the Union of Concerned Scientists (a far-left pressure group) who previously served as executive director of the League of Conservation Voters; Kevin Curtis, program director of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project; and Tom Downey, prominent DC lobbyist, former Member of the House (D-NY), and since 2007 husband of Carol Browner, who served as EPA administrator for eight years in the Clinton Administration and for two years as President Obama’s White House global warming and energy czar.

AEI’s participant in this ongoing effort to enact a carbon tax is Dr. Kevin Hassett, director of economic studies at AEI.  An indication that his position is not popular at AEI was provided by Dr. Kenneth Green, an environmental scientist at AEI who specializes in climate policy and energy issues.  Energy Wire (a sister publication of Greenwire) published an article on 13th July on another senior establishment Republican coming forward to support a carbon tax—George Shultz, secretary of State in the Reagan Administration.  Here are Green’s comments to Energy Wire:           

“There seems to be an eruption of conservatives—very moderate-seeming conservatives, non-tea party, old country club-style conservatives—who are suddenly enamored of carbon tax,” said Kenneth Green, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

“I think this is mostly vanity and egotism on the part of these people who are coming forward, to try and reassert the Republican establishment over the tea party revolution,” he added.

Surrogate Debate Hints at Romney’s Energy Policies

Surrogates for the Obama and Romney presidential campaigns held a debate on energy policy sponsored by the Business Round Table on Wednesday, 11th July, at the Newseum in Washington.  Dan Reicher, who served as assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy at the Department of Energy when Bill Clinton was president and is now at Stanford University, spoke on behalf of President Obama.  Linda Stuntz, who served as deputy secretary of energy when George Bush the elder was president and is now a lawyer in Washington, spoke on behalf of former Governor Romney.  I couldn’t attend the debate, so instead summarize some points that Linda Stuntz made according to several news reports I’ve read.  I concentrate on Romney’s positions because I think President Obama’s anti-energy policies are well known.

Stuntz said that Romney is “certainly not a denier” of global warming, but opposes unilateral programs by the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions because they will harm the economy.  Stuntz also argued that the EPA should not be using the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. 

According to Stuntz, Romney as president would approve permits for the Keystone XL Pipeline the first day he was in office.  He would also support opening the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil production.  Romney wants to get rid of energy subsidies, but may support a gradual phase-out of the wind production tax credit rather than letting it expire at the end of this year.  In general, Romney supports federal funding of basic research and development and opposes picking winners and losers. 

Across the States
William Yeatman


Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency rejected Arizona’s Regional Haze plan to improve the view at National Parks in and around the State. In lieu of Arizona’s plan, EPA imposed controls that cost almost $50 million more per year, in order to achieve a visibility “improvement” that is invisible to the naked eye. Arizona is the sixth State for which the EPA has either proposed or imposed a Regional Haze federal implementation plan. It joins Nebraska, Wyoming, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and North Dakota.  All told, EPA’s preferred plans would cost ratepayers in these States almost $650 million per year beyond what their elected officials had deemed was necessary. None of these added costs improved visibility by a perceptible degree. For more on the Regional Haze regulation, see this new study by me, “EPA”s New Regulatory Front: Regional Haze and the Takeover of State Programs.”

Around the World
Brian McGraw

International Civil Aviation Organization Clears a Hurdle

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) announced this week that it had reached a “critical milestone” in dealing with the ongoing international aviation emissions saga prompted by the European Union’s attempt to unilaterally impose a carbon emissions cap-and-trade scheme on foreign airlines. Upon closer inspection, the “critical milestone” touted by the ICAO consisted of “formally establishing the metric that will form the basis of a new ICAO CO2 standard.” In other words, they came to an agreement upon how carbon dioxide emissions from airplanes would be officially measured. A formal agreement by ICAO members to reduce emissions has been touted by the European Union as the only acceptable alternative to the cap-and-trade plan. While many countries have formally objected to the EU’s plan to force foreign airlines into their cap and trade program based on concerns over national sovereignty, it seems quite likely that the ICAO will soon run into larger problems when they discover that many countries have no desire at all to force their airlines into a global carbon reduction program.

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,