Cooler Heads Digest 31 October 2014

31 October 2014

In the News

Halloween Thoughts from Obama’s Science Adviser
Robert Bradley, Jr., Master Resource, 31 October 2014

If Only the Keystone Pipeline Were on the Ballot in November….
Michael Whatley, Real Clear Energy, 31 October 2014

Kemper CCS Project Undermines EPA’s Carbon Pollution Standard
Marlo Lewis,, 29 October 2014

How Green Energy Is Fleecing Ontario Electricity Consumers
Ross McKitrick & Tom Adams, Financial Post, 29 October 2014

Kansas Energy Regulators to EPA: Drop Carbon Regulation Plan
Topeka Capital-Journal, 29 October 2014

Washington State Ecology Staff at Odds with Gov. Inslee on Ocean Acidification
Shari Phiel, The Daily News, 29 October 2014

The True Reason Gas Prices Are Falling (Hint: It’s Not Because of Green Energy)
Stephen Moore, Daily Signal, 26 October 2014

Companies Shouldn’t Cave to the Demands of Climate Change Activists
Carly Fiorina, Washington Post, 26 October 2014

Environmentalists, EPA Use Sue and Settle to Bypass Congress, Impose Regulations
D. Brady Nelson, Heartland, 23 October 2014

News You Can Use
Man Bites Dog Report: EPA Employees Give to Democrats

An analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) done for Greenwire found that 91 percent of EPA employees who contributed to candidates and political campaigns gave to Democrats.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

Environmentalists Spend Big To Keep Democrats in Control of Senate

The mainstream media have begun to take notice that the environmental movement is spending a lot of money to elect candidates in the 4th November elections.  Chris Mooney, an environmental advocate-reporter who was recently hired to write a Washington Post blog, posted an article on 27th October with the headline, “Environmental Groups Are Spending an Unprecedented $85 million in the 2014 Elections.” Mooney got his figures from a 24th October memo (posted here) by five leaders of the effort: Joe Bonfiglio of the Environmental  Defense Action Fund, Sky Gallegos of NextGen Climate Action (the group funded by billionaire Tom Steyer), Heather Taylor-Miesle of the NRDC Action Fund, Daniel J. Weiss of the League of Conservation Voters, and Melissa Williams of the Sierra Club.

Greenwire (subscription required) headlined its article on the scale of environmental pressure group spending in the election, “Are Money and Power Changing the Environmental Movement?”  That may have been a newsworthy topic about twenty-five or thirty years ago.  In an excellent front-page article in the Washington Times, Valerie Richardson focuses on a much more timely angle—the fact that all this spending has done little to make climate change and other environmental concerns into major campaign issues.

Richardson writes: “San Francisco billionaire Tom Steyer has spent a staggering $76 million to promote climate change as a political issue in this year’s elections, but the subject isn’t exactly firing up the electorate.  Polls show voters continue to rank climate change at the bottom of their priority lists. Even in races featuring the ‘Steyer Seven,’ the Democratic candidates selected by Mr. Steyer as the chief beneficiaries of his largesse, the issue is barely registering on the campaign trail.”

The fact that their issues aren’t resonating with voters has been noticed by the environmental pressure groups trying to maintain a Democratic majority in the Senate.  As a result, many of the ads that they are paying for are on other issues, such as abortion, all the money being spent on behalf of Republicans by the Koch brothers, and various economic issues.

There are multiple hypocrisies in the environmentalists’ campaign spending.  The first is that they continue to attack conservatives for being funded by the billionaire Koch brothers, while they are largely funded by Tom Steyer and other billionaires.  The environmentalists’ strongholds are not working class neighborhoods in Cleveland, but rather Beverly Hills and Manhattan. 

The second hypocrisy is the claim by most of the groups involved that their spending is bipartisan.  It is true that the League of Conservation Voters does endorse a few green Republicans and occasionally even spends a little money supporting them.  But only if they are shoo-ins.  Thus Maine’s Republican Senator Susan Collins has been endorsed by the LCV and other environmental groups because there is no chance of defeating her. 

The third hypocrisy, mentioned above, is spending all this cash on campaign ads that have nothing to do with environmental issues and often in support of Democratic candidates who at least claim to oppose the environmentalists on significant issues.  Like other leftist special interests within the Democratic Party, the environmental pressure groups are desperate to keep Harry Reid (D-Nev.) as majority leader in the Senate.

The mainstream media have almost entirely given the environmentalists a pass on these and other hypocrisies, although Elizabeth Kolbert in the New Yorker does at least point out that if their candidates lose after the environmentalists have spent all this money, it will be a big setback because it will demonstrate to future candidates that their issues don’t matter much to voters.  We shall see how it turns out on 4th November.   

Federal Agencies Adapting to Climate Change

The White House Office of Management and Budget on 31st October released the annual updates of plans by 38 agencies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and to deal with the effects of climate change.  OMB also provides a scorecard that rates each agency’s progress.  It’s all available here.   

Around the World
Myron Ebell

Sixth Anniversary of Climate Change Act Finds Britain a Darker Place

Anne Widdecombe, former Member of the British House of Commons, wrote a column in London’s Daily Express on 29th October commemorating the sixth anniversary of passage of the UK’s Climate Change Act.  Widdecombe and four other Conservative Members of Parliament voted against the act on a day when it was snowing in London.  The other four, all still serving in Parliament, were Andrew Tyrie, Peter Lilley, Christopher Chope and Philip Davies. 

This anniversary falls during a week when the European energy news is about a major German chemical company, BASF, moving investment in new factories from Germany to the United States, where electricity and natural gas feedstock costs are much lower; and about how Britain’s National Grid is taking emergency measures to cope with the threat of blackouts this winter. The UK’s electricity shortages are the result of policies related to the Climate Change Act. 

Science Update
Myron Ebell

CEI Lawsuit Targets White House Polar Vortex Nonsense

The Competitive Enterprise Institute on 29th October filed a suit in DC federal court to compel the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to release records requested under the Freedom of Information Act.  The complaint by CEI counsel Hans Bader and Sam Kazman summarizes the case better than I can:

“This is an action under the Freedom of Information Act to compel production under a request for OSTP records related to The Polar Vortex Explained in 2 Minutes, a video posted on the White House web site about global warming supposedly causing severe winter cold.  In June 2014, OSTP refused to correct alleged inaccuracies in that video that CEI had formally brought to its attention.  It justified its refusal by claiming that the video was just the personal opinion of its Director, John P. Holdren.

“But when CEI submitted a FOIA request for documents related to the video, the agency withheld most of them.  It claimed those documents could be withheld in their entirety pursuant to the deliberative process privilege, which allows agencies to withhold portions of documents containing agency deliberations related to formulation of agency rules and policies.  The requested documents are not related to any agency rule or regulation, nor are they antecedent to the adoption of any government policy.  Nor has OSTP explained how they could be, since OSTP itself has claimed they merely reflect the ‘personal opinion’ of certain of its staff.  Thus, these withheld documents are agency records subject to disclosure under FOIA, and not properly withheld under any FOIA exemption.”  

Quite surprisingly, Climate Progress ran a mostly accurate and fair article on the suit by Emily Atkin, which was headlined, “Libertarians Sue White House Over Climate Change Video.”  

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,