Cooler Heads Digest 25 October 2013

25 October 2013


EPA will hold 11 public listening sessions across the country to solicit ideas and input from the public and stakeholders about the best Clean Air Act approaches to reducing carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. Regions that are heavily dependent on coal are notably absent from the list of locations where these sessions will occur. Click here to see EPA’s announcement.  

In the News

Treasury Department Evades Carbon Tax FOIA
Chris Horner, Washington Examiner, 25 October 2013

Audio: CEI’s Marlo Lewis Discusses Social Cost of Carbon
Ryan Young, Liberty Week (podcast), 24 October 2013

Encourage a Diverse Energy Economy in New York
Charlie Drevna, Democrat & Chronicle, 24 October 2013

Supreme Court Ignores Key Component of Climate Case
Richard Faulk, Forbes, 24 October 2013

U.S. Carbon Dioxide Emissions Are Down, Thanks to Climate Change
Patrick Michaels & Chip Knappenberger, Cato at Liberty, 23 October 2013

Liberal Denial on Climate Change and Energy
Jeremy Carl, National Review Online, 23 October 2013

1973: When Scarcity Was Our Reality
Marita Noon, Energy Tribune, 22 October 2013

Book Review: ‘The Age of Global Warming: A History’
Wayne T. Brough, Washington Times, 20 October 2013

Why Wind Is More Expensive Than Advertised
Michael Giberson, Master Resource, 18 October 2013

News You Can Use
U.S. Overtakes Saudis on Oil Production

Reuters reports that the United States has overtaken Saudi Arabia to become the world's biggest oil producer. This means that the U.S. is now the Saudi Arabia of oil, in addition to being the Saudi Arabia of coal.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

Gore, Browner, Van Jones, and Tom Steyer Speak on Climate Policy at Center for American Progress Conference

The comically-named Center for American Progress celebrated the tenth anniversary of its founding on 24th October with a daylong policy conference.  The glittering list of heavyweight speakers testifies to CAP’s influence within the political left and on the Obama Administration.  Not much attention was paid to the Democrats’ greatest achievement during the Obama years—enactment of the Affordable Care Act.  On the other hand, climate policies and the Keystone Pipeline got lots of attention.

The intellectual quality of what was said ranged from embarrassing to disgraceful.  I listened to it, so you don’t have to, but if you do want to listen, C-Span archived video of the entire conference here.          

Former EPA Administrator and White House climate czar Carol Browner, former White House green jobs czar Van Jones, and billionaire anti-Keystone campaigner Thomas Steyer spoke on a climate panel moderated by CAP founder John Podesta.  Asked to grade the Obama Administration’s climate policies, Browner said that compared to the House of Representatives Obama gets an A-plus.  She said that the EPA was created by President Nixon because the States weren’t up to the job. 

Browner was emphatic that some States are not regulating hydraulic fracturing adequately and that the EPA must take over.  She also predicted that President Obama would eventually decide to deny the permit to build the Keystone Pipeline.

Browner compared the Clinton Administration unfavorably with the Obama Administration on climate policy.  She said that when she was EPA Administrator in the Clinton Administration, if she wanted to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, she had to go to the White House and argue for it.  But Lisa Jackson and Gina McCarthy, Obama’s EPA chiefs, only have to argue about the level of regulation.

Steyer’s remarks were low-key and brief.  He said that we must stop the Keystone Pipeline and must demand that polluters pay forthe negative impacts of burning fossil fuels.

Jones was by far the most engaging and provocative.  He began by saying that progressives suffer from low self esteem.  President Obama put $90 billion of stimulus funding into green energy; the Bureau of Labor Statistics says there are 3.1 million green jobs; there are now 100,000 jobs in the wind industry compared to 80,000 coal miners; and yet progressives talk about Solyndra.  He didn’t compare the per capita energy output of wind and coal employees. 

Jones went on to say that a majority of the “white community” voted for Mitt Romney for president even in California.  Thus: “So left to the white community by itself, we would have a horrible set of environmental policies in place.  We would be burning and drilling everywhere.”

Jones claimed that the U. S. military is “freaked out” by the national security risks of climate change, which is why they include it in all their planning and are investing heavily in renewable energy.  And he expressed dismay that in 2008 John McCain agreed that global warming was a threat and that we must pass cap-and-trade, whereas today the Republican Party has been taken over by lunatics and crazy people.

John Kerry mentioned climate change and energy policy only briefly in his speech, even though he announced this spring soon after he became Secretary of State that climate change would be his main focus because it was the greatest national security threat faced by the United States.

Former Vice President Al Gore followed Kerry with an incredible rant.  Every big storm is further confirmation that the global warming crisis has already begun.  Gore seems not to have heard that extreme weather events in the United States have been at an historic low in 2013.

Gore also spoke passionately against the Keystone Pipeline.  He repeatedly called it an atrocity and added that although President Obama had said and done some good things on climate policy, his decision on Keystone was the key test of his commitment. 

Gore attributed the failure of his energy-rationing agenda in Congress to the wider failure of democracy.  “We’re failing because democracy has been hacked.” Curiously, he quoted Yeats’s hackneyed lines, “The best lack all conviction, while the worst/ Are full of passionate intensity.” He identified Rupert Murdoch and the Koch brothers as being full of passionate intensity.  But then Gore shouted, “You think I’m passionate about this.  You’re damn right I’m passionate about it.”

Finally, Gore claimed that at least two billion people now have access to electricity produced by renewable sources at rates below the grid average.  If true, then why are so few people buying it?

Gore’s “24 Hours of Reality” Followed by Ceres Letter to 45 Energy Companies

Former Vice President Al Gore’s comically-named Climate Reality Project held its “Twenty-Four Hours of Reality” video web-a-thon on 22nd and 23rd October.  I somehow missed it, but I gather that it focused on extreme weather events and on the necessity of a carbon tax.  If carbon dioxide emissions are taxed for the costs of their negative impacts, as estimated by alarmists like Gore, then the assets of oil, natural gas, and especially coal companies won’t be worth much.

The day after “Twenty-Four Hours of Reality,” a group of seventy managers of asset funds totaling over $3 trillion sent a letter to forty-five major oil and gas, coal, and electric power companies demanding that they “assess the financial risks that climate change poses for their business plans.”  Signers include the heads of California’s State Teachers’ Retirement System, New York’s State Common Retirement Fund, several union pension funds, several church pension funds, and officials of Walden Asset Management, F and C Asset Management, Trillium Asset Management, Rockefeller and Company, Kleinwort Benson Investors, and Generation Investment Management, which was founded and is chaired by Al Gore.

The letter states: “We would like to understand [the company’s] reserve exposure to the risks associated with current and probable future policies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050.  We would also like to understand what options there are for [the company] to manage these risks by, for example, reducing the carbon intensity of its assets, divesting its most carbon intensive assets, diversifying its business by investing in lower carbon energy sources or returning capital to shareholders.”

Note that it is climate policy, not climate change, that threatens $3 trillion in assets of 45 major power and energy companies. The fund managers could easily reduce the companies’ exposure to climate policy risk by just ceasing their relentless campaign for anti-carbon tax and regulatory policies.

The Carbon Asset Risk initiative, as the senders of the letter are calling themselves, is a joint project of Ceres (“Mobilizing Business Leadership for a Sustainable World”) and the Carbon Tracker Initiative, with support from the Global Investor Coalition on Climate Change. 

Across the States
William Yeatman

Interior Department’s First Solar Parcel Auction Is a Bust

Yesterday in Lakewood, Colorado, the Bureau of Land Management held its first ever competitive auction of tracts of federal land designated for solar power development. There are seventeen such “Solar Energy Zones,” as these parcels are known, across the southwestern U.S., and the auction yesterday was for two tracts in southern Colorado. However, no bidders showed up, and the auction was a bust. Meanwhile, the Interior Department continues to drag its feet in permitting oil and gas production on federal lands, despite the existence of genuine private sector demand.

Around the World
Anthony Ward

British Government Wants Lower Energy Prices and LowerEmissions

Faced with a popular pledge by Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband to freeze soaring electric and gas rates if returned to government in the next election, British Prime Minister David Cameron recently came out in favor of reducing some of the green levies and subsidies that are designed to raise energy prices and lower greenhouse gas emissions. Lowering green taxes will lead to increased greenhouse gas emissions.  At the same time, the British government has released a white paper that calls on the European Union to undertake steeper reductions in greenhouse gas emissions than currently planned.   

Science Update
Marlo Lewis

Canadian Climate Model’s “Epic Failure”

The “worse than we thought” crowd has got things backwards. The state of the climate is better than they told us. In stark contrast, the state of climate modeling is worse than even many of us skeptics thought! This week on WattsUpWithThat.Com, engineer Ken Gregory has a guest essay on the Canadian Climate model’s “epic failure.” For the 34-year satellite record (1979-2012), Gregory compares the Canadian model’s temperature projections to observations in several atmospheric layers and geographic areas. For example, in the global mid-troposphere, the model on average overshoots observed temperatures by 650%. Read the whole post at

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,