Cooler Heads Digest 6 September 2013

6 September 2013


The Institute for Energy Research released a study this week on the impacts of Australia’s carbon tax.  The study by Professor Alex Robson of Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia, finds that the carbon tax has already had a number of damaging effects on the economy. 

The Competitive Enterprise Institute this week released a video satirizing Dow Chemical’s campaign to limit natural gas exports from the United States.  The video features a song, “This Gas Is Dow's Gas” written and sung by CEI Senior Fellow Marlo Lewis to the tune of Woody Guthrie's “This Land Is My Land.”

In the News

EPA Manipulates Freedom of Information Act To Help Big Green 
Ron Arnold, Washington Examiner, 6 September 2013

FERC Nominee Ron Binz Has the GOP Seeing Green 
Brian Hughes, Washington Examiner, 6 September 2013

Energy’s Unexpected Jobs Boom 
Daniel Yergin, Fortune, 5 September 2013

Ex-EPA Official Charged with Stealing Nearly $900 Thousand
 Andrew Zajac, Bloomberg, 5 September 2013

Department of Energy Sells $50 million Green-Tech Loan at $42 Million Loss  
Deepa Seetharaman, Reuters, 5 September 2013

Obama “Science Diplomat” John Holdren Advocated for Population Control
Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller, 4 September 2013

“Pro-Coal” Democrat Rep. Rahall Employs Anti-Coal Staffers
Lachlan Markay, Washington Free Beacon, 4 September 2013

Ten Questions Congress Should Ask About the Shaheen-Portman Energy Efficiency Bill
Nick Loris, Heritage Foundation, 4 September 2013

Accelerate the Energy Production Boom
Detroit News editorial, 4 September 2013

Power Blackout Hits 70 Percent of Venezuela (or the Benefits of Central Planning) 
Fabiola Sanchez, AP, 4 September 2013

Hiding Bird Kills from Wind Turbines: Part 1--Altamont Pass 
Jim Wiegand, Master Resource, 4 September 2013

E-15: Life in the Fast Lane 
Dave Juday,, 4 September 2013

A Carbon Tax Would Make No Sense  
Richard Rahn, Washington Times, 3 September 2013

Study Concludes Warming Will Shift Tracks of Future Sandy-Like Tropical Storms Away from U.S. Northeast 
Marlo Lewis,, 3 September 2013

Satellite Record Shows 200-Month Warming Pause
Marlo Lewis,, 3 September 2013

News You Can Use
Marlo Lewis

Hollow Scientific Consensus

A much-ballyhooed study by anti-skeptic blogger John Cook and colleagues supposedly shows that 97% of climate scientists agree with “consensus” climatology as defined by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In a study published this week, University of Delaware climatologist David Legates and three colleagues sift through the Cook team’s data – the abstracts of 11,944 published climate science papers – and find that only 0.3% of the studies expressly agree with the IPCC “consensus” position that most of the warming of the past 50 years is man-made. My blog post Consensus Shmensus goes into some of the interesting details and implications of this debate.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

"Richard Windsor" To Testify Before House Oversight Committee

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee announced this week that it will hold a hearing on 10th September titled “Preventing Violations of Federal Transparency Laws.”  The big news is that the star witness will be “Richard Windsor,” also known as Lisa Jackson, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency during President Obama’s first term.  

Jackson’s use of the alias “Richard Windsor” e-mail address while at EPA was discovered last fall by my CEI colleague Chris Horner.  A Freedom of Information Act request for Richard Windsor e-mails related to the Obama Administration’s war on coal has revealed several techniques practiced by Lisa Jackson and others at the EPA to avoid complying with federal transparency and record-keeping laws.  CEI is still in federal court regarding this and several other FOIA requests that EPA continues to stonewall.

Jackson knows how to violate federal transparency laws, so her testimony might spark some ideas about how to prevent other government officials from doing what she did without getting caught for several years.  One way would be to appoint officials who are more honest, but perhaps that is too much to expect from the Obama Administration.  

More information on the September hearing, which will be chaired by the committee's chairman, Representative Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), should be available soon on the committee's web site.  There may also be a video link to the live hearing when it begins at 9 AM EDT on 10th September.  CEI commended Issa for calling the hearing in a press release here.

Around the World
Anthony Ward

German Renewable Policies Drive Skyrocketing Electricity Costs

The Renewable Energy Act in Germany has made Germany’s electric rates the highest in Europe, according to a major article in Der Spiegel, the country's leading newsmagazine.  “This year, German consumers will be forced to pay €20 billion ($26 billion) for electricity from solar, wind and biogas plants—electricity with a market price of just over €3 billion.”  And prices are going to keep increasing: “The government predicts that the renewable energy surcharge added to every consumer's electricity bill will increase from 5.3 cents today to between 6.2 and 6.5 cents per kilowatt hour—a 20-percent price hike.”  The article details some of the effects of increasing energy poverty and declares, “Electricity is becoming a luxury good in Germany.”  

Science Update
Marlo Lewis

Another Global Warming Scare Bites the Dust

Among the staples of climate alarm are scenarios in which melting permafrost releases vast amounts of frozen methane from the sea floor and huge quantities of carbon dioxide (CO2) from peat bogs. These “positive feedbacks” supposedly cause more warming, which then release even more methane and CO2, producing a climate-destabilizing vicious circle threatening the survival of civilization and the habitability of the Earth. But recent scientific research does not support such gloomy speculation.

Schultz (2011) found that even under the most extreme climatic scenario tested, permafrost thaw in the Siberian shelf will not exceed 10 meters in depth by 2100 or 50 meters by the turn of the next millennium, whereas the bulk of methane stores are trapped roughly 200 meters below the sea floor.

Kessler et al. (2011) found that microbes digested the methane released during the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill,indicating that any warming-induced “large-scale releases of methane from hydrate in the deep ocean are likely to be met by a similarly rapid methanotrophic [methane-eating] response.”

And this week at CO2Science.Org, Craig and Sherwood Idso review Charman et al. (2013), a study by 42 researchers examining “carbon accumulation” in Northern latitude peat lands over the past millennium. “Contrary to expectations,” the scientists found that in warm periods, peat lands become more bio-productive, leading to net increases in “long-term carbon accumulation.” Thus, the researchers opine, “carbon sequestration may increase in many high-latitude peat lands in response to future climate warming over the next century.” 

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,