Cooler Heads Digest 21 November 2014

21 November 2014


  • The Cooler Heads Digest will not be published next week due to the Thanksgiving Holiday. We will return on 5 December. Happy Thanksgiving!
  • The comment period for EPA’s proposed “Clean Power” Plan ends 1 December. Click here to submit a comment.

In the News

Renewable Fuel Standard: EPA Retreats from Cutbacks
Marlo Lewis,, 21 November 2014

U.S. Oil Imports Fell as Output Rose in October
Mark Shenk, Bloomberg, 20 November 2014

Fossil Fuel Industries: Time to Stand Tall! (Book Review of The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels)
Erin Conners, Master Resource, 20 November 2014

Wind Energy Industry Gambles with Taxpayer Chip
Ernest Istook, Washington Times, 19 November 2014

New Polar Bear Study Is Junk Science
Susan Crockford, Polar Bear Science, 19 November 2014

Report: EPA Paid Employees $1 Million While They Were on Leave…Sometimes for Years
Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller, 19 November 2014

For Once, a Court Sided with People Rather Than “Threatened” Rodents
Ron Arnold, The Daily Signal, 18 November 2014

Spin Alert: Despite What DOE Says, Its Loans Are Not Making Money
Donald Marron, Forbes, 17 November 2014

News You Can Use
All 50 States Hit Freezing

Reuters reported this week that Tuesday was the coldest November morning across the U.S. since 1976, as temperatures in at least one location in all 50 States dipped to freezing or below.  

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

Landrieu Fails To Find Sixtieth Vote for Keystone Pipeline

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) did allow a floor vote on Tuesday, 18th November, on a bill to permit the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline from Alberta’s oil sands to Gulf refineries, but Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.) failed to find the sixtieth vote necessary to break the Democrats’ filibuster.  All 45 Republicans voted for the bill, but only 14 Democrats.

Landrieu thus failed to demonstrate her clout as the outgoing chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which cannot help her uphill effort to win re-election to the Senate in her 6th December runoff with Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.).  It also shows that 41 of her Democratic colleagues are more interested in keeping faith with their environmental billionaire donors than keeping another Democrat in the Senate.  They will have 46 seats in the 114th Congress, which should be enough for the 41 votes needed to block cloture on major Republican legislation.   

Across the States
William Yeatman

New Report Shows State-by-State Energy Costs of EPA’s Clean Power Plan

A report released this week by Energy Ventures Analysis, Inc. estimates that EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan, in combination with existing agency rules promulgated during the Obama administration, would increase the cost of electricity and natural gas by nearly $300 billion in 2020 compared with 2012. Click here for a State-by-State breakdown of how EPA’s rules would affect your electric and gas bills.

Around the World
Myron Ebell

Obama Pledges $3 billion to Green Climate Fund, Attacks Australian Prime Minister Abbott in Oz

After signing a climate agreement with Chinese president Xi Jinping at the APEC summit meeting held outside Beijing last week, President Barack Obama traveled on to the annual G-20 summit meeting in Brisbane, Australia.  In a side speech at the University of Queensland, Obama pledged $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund and then used the rest of his speech to criticize the Australian government’s climate policies. 

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott as the host of the G-20 meeting tried unsuccessfully to keep climate policy off the agenda and out of the final communique.  And he lost the full support of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who said after Obama announced $3 billion and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced $1.5 billion for the Green Climate Fund that the Canadian government would contribute as well. 

But Abbott has not backed down.  This week he re-iterated his position that the ongoing UN climate negotiations will fail if they put policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions ahead of economic growth. “It's vital that the Paris conference be a success... and for it to be a success, we can't pursue environmental improvements at the expense of economic progress.  We can't reduce emissions in ways which cost jobs because it will fail if that's what we end up trying to do.”

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop also criticized Obama’s speech during an interview on Australian television from New York where she was attending the UN Security Council meeting.  According to the Australian newspaper, American Ambassador to Australia John Berry had strongly warned the White House not to criticize the Abbott government while in Australia.

Green Climate Fund Gets $9.3 Billion in Pledges

The Green Climate Fund came close to its initial goal of $10 billion at a conference of donor nations in Berlin on 20th November.  A total of $9.3 billion has now been pledged.

President Barack Obama got things going earlier in the week at the G20 summit meeting in Australia when he pledged $3 billion.  Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe then pledged $1.5 billion.  In Berlin, new pledges included $1.1 billion from the United Kingdom and smaller amounts from Italy, Finland, New Zealand, Mongolia, and Panama.  A number of other nations have already made commitments. France and Germany are also in the billion dollar club.

The Green Climate Fund (or GCF) was first suggested by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the annual UN climate conference in 2009 in Copenhagen and then became the centerpiece of President Obama’s efforts to save the conference from total collapse.  The deal agreed in Copenhagen is that wealthier nations will give a total of $100 billion per annum starting in 2020.  The GCF will give the funds to poorer nations to help them deal with the impacts of climate change and pay for their own climate policies.  $9.3 billion is a start, but it’s far from the $100 billion per year commitment.

President Obama will no doubt try to redirect other foreign aid appropriated by Congress to meet his $3 billion pledge to the GCF.  But Congress controls all appropriations, and the 114th Congress may not agree.  In that case, the President’s pledge will be as empty as his recent climate agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping.     

Science Update
Marlo Lewis

Google Ends Green Energy Project

During 2007-2011, Google’s RE<C energy innovation center invested heavily in wind, geothermal, and solar technology, hoping to produce a gigwatt of power more cheaply than is possible with coal. The effort failed. Writing in IEEE Spectrum, Google engineers Ross Koningstein and David Fork report that by 2011, “it was clear that RE<C would not be able to deliver a technology that could compete economically with coal, and Google officially ended the initiative....”

“First, renewable energy sources like solar and wind need to get cheap -- not just as cheap as a coal- or natural-gas-fired power plant, but so much cheaper that it makes economic sense to abandon traditional fossil fuels soon. Furthermore, the power system needs to be redesigned so renewable sources, like rooftop solar panels, can be as responsive and useful on the grid as a traditional power plant is now, the engineers wrote.

Second, the world needs as-yet-uninvented technologies to pull CO2 from the atmosphere.”

Then and only then would a zero-carbon system be a “thrifty choice” – a solution the world confidently embraces because it makes people wealthier.

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,