Cooler Heads Digest 7 September 2012

7 September 2012
In the News

Game On: NOAA’s Refusal of Documents Earns Them a Lawsuit
Anthony Watts, WattsUpWithThat, 6 September 2012

Windpower Layoffs Making PTC Extension Increasingly Moot
Robert Bradley, Jr., Master Resource, 6 September 2012

Focus on Green Jobs Is Misplaced
Diana Furchtgott-Roth, MarketWatch, 6 September 2012

EPA Argues for Domestic Oil Subsidies
David Kreutzer, The Foundry, 5 September 2012

U.S. Needs Corn for Food, Not Fuel
Virginia Pilot editorial, 5 September 2012

Stern Review Not Fit To Guide Policy, Report Finds
Marlo Lewis,, 4 September 2012

Court Curbs on EPA Offer Breath of Fresh Air for Recovery
Larry Bell, Forbes, 4 September 2012

Author: Journalists “Cover Energy and Environment Subjects As Liberal Activists,” Emails Show
Julia Seymour, CNS News, 29 August 2012

Why Not Let the Wind Production Tax Credit Expire?
Oregonian editorial, 28 August 2012

News You Can Use

Last week, the Obama administration announced new fuel efficiency regulations. The regulations, known as Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards (CAFE) will add between $1,800 (EPA estimate) to $3,000 per car (industry estimate) to the sales price.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

64 Groups Announce Opposition to Wind Tax Subsidy

Sixty-four non-profit groups sent a joint letter to the Hill this week that urges Representatives and Senators “to let the wasteful wind PTC expire as planned at the end of the year.”  The battle lines are now fully drawn between Big Wind and supporters of free markets and affordable energy. The letter was organized by Americans for Prosperity. 

On the side of continuing massive tax subsidies to crony capitalist investors in wind farms are President Barack Obama, nearly all Democratic members of Congress, and a sizable number of Republican members, most of them from States that have enacted renewable portfolio standards for electric utilities. 

The opponents of renewing the wind production tax credit include Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio), and the leadership (but not all the members) of the conservative House Republican Study Committee.

The Senate Finance Committee voted 9 to 15 in early August against an amendment that would reduce by 20% the 2.2 cents per kilowatt hour subsidy that wind farms currently receive for ten years.  The Senate’s business tax extenders bill would renew (and actually expand and make more generous) the current credit for one year until 31st December 2013.  The CBO estimated that the cost of the extension would be approximately $12 billion over ten years.

It is unlikely that the business tax extenders bill or any other bill that includes extending the wind production tax credit will see any floor action in either the House or Senate before the election.  On the other hand, it is almost certain that there will be a big push in a lame duck session in November. 

Obama, Romney on Energy Policy

President Barack Obama’s re-nomination acceptance speech at the Democratic Party’s convention on 6th September included a lengthy section on his determination to continue his anti-energy policies.  Contrary to most pundits’ predictions, the President did mention climate change.  Here is what the President said:

You can choose the path where we control more of our own energy. After 30 years of inaction, we raised fuel standards so that by the middle of the next decade, cars and trucks will go twice as far on a gallon of gas. (Cheers, applause.) We have doubled our use of renewable energy, and thousands of Americans have jobs today building wind turbines and long-lasting batteries. (Cheers, applause.) In the last year alone, we cut oil imports by 1 million barrels a day, more than any administration in recent history. (Cheers, applause.) And today the United States of America is less dependent on foreign oil than at any time in the last two decades. (Cheers, applause.)

So now you have a choice between a strategy that reverses this progress or one that builds on it.

We've opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration in the last three years, and we'll open more. But unlike my opponent, I will not let oil companies write this country's energy plan or endanger our coastlines or collect another $4 billion in corporate welfare from our taxpayers. (Cheers, applause.) We're offering a better path.

We're offering a better path where we — a future where we keep investing in wind and solar and clean coal, where farmers and scientists harness new biofuels to power our cars and trucks, where construction workers build homes and factories that waste less energy, where — where we develop a hundred-year supply of natural gas that's right beneath our feet. If you choose this path, we can cut our oil imports in half by 2020 and support more than 600,000 new jobs in natural gas alone. (Cheers, applause.)

And yes, my plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet, because climate change is not a hoax. More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. (Cheers, applause.) They are a threat to our children's future.

In his speech accepting the Republican presidential nomination on 30th August, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney made only two short comments on energy policy:

His [President Obama’s] assault on coal and gas and oil will send energy and manufacturing jobs to China;

And unlike the President, I have a plan to create twleve million new jobs. It has five steps.  First, by 2020, North America will be energy independent by taking full advantage of our oil and coal and gas and nuclear and renewables.

In addition, Romney made a joke of one of the more grandiose claims of then-presidential candidate Barack Obama in 2008.  This line attracted a huge amount of media attention:  

President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet. MY to help you and your family.

Around the World
Brian McGraw

Australia to Join European Union's ETS

In a surprise move, the Australian government announced last week its intention to join the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme. Prior to this announcement, the plan was to transition from a recently implemented carbon tax to an ETS that was limited to Australian businesses over the next few years. Australian companies will begin purchasing permits from the EU market in 2015 and will be fully integrated by 2018. While the Australian government is touting the virtues of this decision, many analysts are unconvinced. The EU ETS has numerous problems of its own, including a permit price that is much lower than policymakers had hoped. Permit prices are also lower than the initial price floor ($15 AUS per ton) planned for the Australian ETS. It remains to be seen if this decision – which allows the EU to significantly influence Australian energy policy – will be politically sustainable.

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,