Cooler Heads Digest 15 March 2013

15 March 2013


  • On Thursday, March 21, 11:30 AM – 1 PM, Rayburn House Office Building Room 2325, Dr. Nir Shaviv will discuss solar influences on the Earth's climate at a forum hosted by the George C. Marshall Institute. Dr. Shaviv is a professor of physics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Email to RSVP.
  • On Wednesday, March 20, 5 PM – 7:30 PM, the Heritage Foundation will host a panel discussion titled, “30 Years of Junk Science: SDI to Hydraulic Fracturing.” Click here to learn more and also to RSVP.

In the News

Big Wind and Avian Mortality
Jim Wiegand, Master Resource, 15 March 2013

Eco-terror Advocate Bashes Climate “Deniers” on Film
Ron Arnold, Washington Examiner, 15 March 2013

EPA Dithers While Ethanol Kills
Adam Sandberg,, 14 March 2013

How CEI and Independence Institute Toppled EPA Region 8 Administrator
William Yeatman, II Energy Policy Center, 14 March 2013

The Hidden Cost of Efficiency
David Kreutzer, Washington Times, 13 March 2013

A Little Sunshine for Bill McKibben and the Anti-Keystone Crowd
Mark Tapscott, Washington Examiner, 14 March 2013

EPA Emails: Goal Was “Shaming” States
Stephan Dinan, Washington Times, 13 March 2013

Movie Review: “Greedy Lying Bastards”
Alana Goodman, Washington Free Beacon, 13 March 2013

Blinded by the Light
Bjorn Lomborg, Project Syndicate, 13 March 2013

How Anti-Fracking Activists Are Holding America Back
John Stossel, Reason, 13 March 2013

News You Can Use
New Study: No Warming Since 1997

A new report written by Dr David Whitehouse and published today by the Global Warming Policy Foundation concludes that there has been no statistically significant increase in annual global temperatures since 1997. And that this is a problem for the computer climate modelers.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

House Republicans Introduce Anti-Carbon Tax Resolution

Representatives Steve Scalise (R-La.), Joe Barton (R-Tex.), and 103 other original co-sponsors introduced a resolution expressing the sense of Congress that a tax on carbon dioxide emissions would harm the U. S. economy.    Scalise is chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee and Barton is former chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee.  H. Con. Res. 24 would not forbid the House from passing a carbon tax bill in the future simply because Congress cannot bind itself in that way.

The purpose of the resolution rather is to build congressional and public opposition to a carbon tax.  Some observers have said this is unnecessary because neither the House nor the Senate would vote for a big new tax on energy use.  That is true.  Moreover, the White House has said repeatedly that they have not and will not propose a carbon tax.  That is also true.  However, the White House’s denials are carefully worded not to rule out supporting a carbon tax proposal that was part of a comprehensive and bipartisan budget or tax reform deal.  The White House really wants Republicans to propose a carbon tax.

The attraction for including a carbon tax in any big budget or tax deal is considerable for the big spenders in Congress because it’s the only thing on the table that would raise a lot of new revenue.  A tax of twenty dollars per ton of carbon dioxide emitted would raise over $100 billion in its first year.  By burying it in a package, no Member of Congress would have to take an up or down vote on a stand-alone carbon tax and could still protest in public that he was against the carbon tax but had to accept it in order to pass the whole package.  A further problem is that these big budget and tax deals are negotiated in secret by House and Senate leaders, chairmen and senior members of the relevant committees, and the White House.

As it happens, the day before Scalise and Barton introduced their resolution, Representative Henry Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) released a discussion draft of “carbon-pricing” legislation. “Putting a price on carbon could help solve two of the nation’s biggest challenges at once:  preventing climate change and reducing the budget deficit,” Waxman said in a press release. 

Obama Administration Casts a Shadow on Sunshine Week

The newspaper industry has named this week Sunshine Week to focus attention on the importance of open government and public access to information.  The Obama Administration has gotten into the spirit of Sunshine Week with daily posts on the White House blog and the Department of Justice blog, which talk about the importance of transparency and trumpet the Administration’s achievements.  President Obama after all promised in the 2008 presidential campaign that his administration would be the most transparent in history.

It hasn’t quite worked out that way.  For example, CEI’s Chris Horner has filed multiple ongoing lawsuits to try to force the Administration to comply with Freedom of Information Act requests.  The Republican minority staff of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee have been having fun with daily posts that chronicle example after example of Obama Administration stonewalling and failures to comply with federal open government laws.

But it’s no longer just a partisan complaint.  Glenn Greenwald published a column in London’s Guardian this week headlined, “Obama’s secrecy fixation causing Sunshine Week implosion.”  The sub-headline reads, “Even the most loyal establishment Democrats are now harshly denouncing the president for his war on transparency.”

Across the States
William Yeatman

On Environmental Policy, President Is Worse Than Jerry Brown

In 1970, California enacted the Environmental Quality Act. That same year, President Jimmy Carter signed similar federal legislation, known as the National Environmental Policy Act. Both laws mandate that government officials account for the environmental impacts of all their actions, primarily permitting. In practice, both laws have become tools which environmentalists use to delay and block projects they don’t like.

This week, the L.A. Times reported that California Democrats, including Governor Jerry Brown, would like to reform the Environment Quality Act, in order to make it less cumbersome on economic activity. In a bizarre parallel, it was also reported this week that the Obama Administration will soon make the National Environmental Policy Act even more onerous, by requiring that federal officials take into account the climate change impacts of their decisions. Environmental lawyers already say that the President’s anticipated proposal would give them the means to stop the Keystone XL pipeline. This is the rare instance when California’s environmental policymaking is smarter than the federal government’s.

Science Update
Climategate 3.0

Earlier this week, an individual identified only as “Mr. FOIA” reached out to a number of prominent global warming skeptics, claiming responsibility for the Climategate scandals and offering access to a tranche of 220,000 e-mails for inspection. Mr. FOIA’s offer was accepted by a number of bloggers, who are currently in the process of reviewing the correspondence. For real-time updates of what the emails reveal, check out Tom Nelson’s blog, Climate Depot and Junk Science.

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,