Cooler Heads Digest 25 January 2013

25 January 2013

In the News

Sen. Whitehouse vs the ‘Deniers’—Addendum on Ocean Acidification
Marlo Lewis,, 25 January 2013

Nature, Not Only Mankind, Saved by Fossil Fuels
Indur Goklany, Master Resource, 25 January 2013

The Real Obama Climate Deal
Kimberly Strassel, Wall Street Journal, 25 January 2013

Stupid Grids
Lachlan Markay, Washington Free Beacon, 25 January 2013

“The Final Ploy of the Desperate” Natural Gas Opponents
Tom Shepstone, Energy in Depth, 24 January 2013

Ethanol Making Super Bowl Party More Expensive
Associated Press, 23 January 2013

Mr. President, Approve the Keystone XL Pipeline
Washington Post editorial, 23 January 2013

Does Green Energy Invite Corruption?
Veronique de Rugy, National Review Online, 23 January 2013

Sting Operations Reveal Mafia Involvement in Green Energy
Anthony Faiola, Washington Post, 22 January 2013

How to Keep Promises to Expand Energy Production and Create Jobs
Nicolas Loris, Katie Tubb, & Jack Spencer, Foundry, 22 January 2013

Putting the Lie to EPA’s Scare Tactics
Steve Milloy, Washington Times, 22 January 2013

News You Can Use
Secretary of State Nominee John Kerry Puts His Money Where His Mouth Isn’t

Senator and Secretary of State nominee John Kerry (D-Mass.) is an outspoken global warming alarmist. Yet Kerry does not put his money where his mouth is, according to information obtained on the Center for Responsive Politics website. Included among Kerry’s estimated $230 to $320 million in assets are investments in more than 20 fossil fuel companies, including ExxonMobil, Transocean, Noble Energy, Southern Energy, and Suncor. Notably, there wasn’t a green energy producer on the list.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

President Obama Talks Big on Global Warming, But Delivery in Doubt

Global warming alarmists are still glowing with excitement over President Barack Obama’s second inaugural speech on 21st January.  The longest discussion of second-term policies in the speech was about climate change. 

Here is what the President said:

“We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.  Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But American cannot resist this transition. We must lead it.

“We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries. We must claim its promise. That’s how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure, our forests and waterways, our crop lands and snow capped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.”

This contrasts with Obama’s presidential campaign, in which global warming was barely mentioned.  The President instead campaigned on an “all-of-the-above” energy policy, and the campaign actually ran ads in Appalachian coal country that claimed the President was more pro-coal than Republican nominee Mitt Romney.  Soon after the election, President Obama said that he would focus on climate policy only after he had concentrated on reviving the U. S. economy.   Since his policies are slowing the anemic recovery, my inference is that he’ll never get around to proposing new energy-rationing policies.

However, there are many energy-rationing policies that are already in EPA’s regulatory pipeline.  Soon after the inauguration, the White House suggested that finalizing and implementing these regulations would fulfill the President’s pledge.  International negotiations on a treaty to succeed the Kyoto Protocol is another area where the President might try to make progress in the global war against affordable energy. 

The nomination of Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) to be the next Secretary of State is significant in this regard.  Kerry was the chief sponsor of the cap-and-trade bill that died in the Senate in 2009-10.  At his Senate confirmation hearing this week, Kerry called global warming “a life-threatening issue” and promised to be “a passionate advocate” for drastic international action as Secretary of State.

My CEI colleague Marlo Lewis provides a detailed commentary at on the President’s inaugural climate vows. 

Nebraska Approves Keystone Pipeline Route, Now It’s Up to Obama

Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman (R) announced this week that the State had given final approval to a new route for the Keystone XL pipeline that avoids the Sand Hills.  One of the utterly bogus reasons for opposing the pipeline was that it threatened the “ecologically sensitive” Sand Hills in north central Nebraska.  The new route would skirt the eastern edge of this pristine and delicate area.  It will still cross the Ogallala Aquifer, as thousands of miles of other pipelines already do.

Heineman’s decision removes the last formal obstacle outside the Obama Administration to approving TransCanada’s proposed pipeline from Alberta’s oil sands to refineries on the Texas Gulf coast.  Keystone XL would carry over 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta and also from North Dakota’s booming Bakken shale field. 

The State Department quickly responded that their continuing review of the application by TransCanada to build the pipeline would take at least three more months.  This means that the next Secretary of State will make the final recommendation to President Barack Obama.  Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) said this week at his Senate confirmation hearing to be the next Secretary of State that he would be in charge of making the decision.

Kerry’s nomination should send a chill through TransCanada and Alberta’s oil industry.  As should the White House announcement on Friday, 25th January, that President Obama has chosen Denis McDonough to be his new chief of staff.  Greenwire’s E and E News PM called McDonough, a former staffer to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) and to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar when he was a Senator (D-NM), a “climate hawk.”  Surprisingly, TransCanada shares reached a record high price this week on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

My guess is that President Obama’s focus on climate change policies in his inaugural speech was a challenge to environmental pressure groups to build public and media opposition to approving Keystone in the next few months, which is also why the State Department isn’t going to make a recommendation until April at the earliest.  If they can demonstrate significant opposition, then the President can deny the permit on the grounds that it conflicts with his sacred commitment given on the steps of the Capitol in front of the entire nation to save the planet from global warming.  On the other hand, if polls continue to show overwhelming public support for the pipeline, then the President can say, Sorry, I was counting on you guys and you just didn’t do your job.

Across the States
William Yeatman

Federal Court Refuses to Reconsider Rejection of EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule

Last August, by a 2 to 1 decision, a three judge panel of the D.C. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, a Clean Air Act regulation that would have required power plants in 33 primarily eastern States to participate in a costly cap-and-trade scheme for certain emissions. The Court rejected EPA’s regulation because it was excessively onerous, in that it required many States to reduce emission below what is necessary to protect public health. Yesterday, the full D.C. Circuit Court refused to reconsider the August decision. EPA has yet to indicate whether it will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

Maine Regulators Approve Absurd Offshore Wind Project

The Maine Public Utilities Commission this week approved a $203 million ratepayer investment in an offshore wind farm that would generate a measly 12 megawatts of electricity at full capacity. A conventional natural gas plant typically costs anywhere from $900 to $1,500 per kilowatt capacity. By comparison, Maine’s offshore wind would cost an astounding $16,900 per kilowatt capacity.

New Report Calculates Big Costs of Colorado’s New Energy Economy

On Monday, CEI and the Independence Institute published a report by CEI’s William Yeatman, titled “2012 Cost Analysis of the New Energy Economy,” which provides a line-item cost of the green energy policies championed by former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter (D). The results were eye-popping: In 2012 alone, the New Energy Economy cost ratepayers $484 million, or $345 per ratepayer. To read the report, click here.

Around the World
William Yeatman

Europe’s Carbon Market Crashes Again

The price of carbon in the European Union’s Emissions Trading System on Thursday plummeted to $3.79 per metric ton—a record low—after the European Parliament failed to approve a policy that would have boosted the market by extracting allowances from the market and reinvesting them later. The European Trading Scheme needs a bailout because the weak economy has collapsed demand for the carbon coupons. This is the second time that the market has crashed. It also did so in 2007, after regulators over-allocated the carbon shares. My CEI colleague Marlo Lewis has more 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,