In the News
Global Warming of the Earth’s Surface Has Decelerated
Matt Rogers, Washington Post, 20 June 2014
Another Obama Policy Failure: Canada Approves New Oil Pipeline to Pacific Coast
Ronald Bailey, Reason Hit & Run, 18 June 2014
Obama Flunks Climate Science 101 at University of California, Irvine
James Delingpole, Breitbart, 15 June 2014
On Key Clean Air Act Interpretation, NRDC Cynically Reverses Itself
William Yeatman, GlobalWarming.org, 14 June 2014
News You Can Use
Greenpeace Gambles Away $5.2 Million in Donor Money
Greenpeace announced this week that it has lost $5.2 million in donations on currency speculation.
Inside the Beltway
House and Senate Committees Hold Hearings on EPA’s Power Plant Rule
House and Senate committees held hearings this week on the EPA’s proposed rule to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. On the House side, a subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee took testimony from Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator of air and radiation at the EPA. On the Senate side, a subcommittee of the Environment and Public Works Committee heard from four former administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency in Republican administrations who support the EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations.
Republican members of the Energy and Commerce Committee tried several lines of attack with McCabe. She gave no ground, but she also provided very few direct answers. McCabe insisted that the EPA was not waging war on coal. This incredible claim was echoed in a video interview that EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy gave to Politico. We shall see whether President Barack Obama repeats their denials of waging war on coal when he addresses the annual dinner of the League of Conservation Voters next week.
It was slightly embarrassing to listen to former EPA Administrators William Ruckelshaus, Christine Todd Whitman, William K. Reilly, and Lee Thomas testify before the Senate. Congressional Democrats trot them out on a regular basis to try to embarrass congressional Republicans: “You see, even Republicans who ran EPA support EPA.” The four Republican former administrators are pathetically eager to please because getting to testify makes them feel relevant.
By far the best testimony at the Senate hearing was given by Luther Strange, the attorney general of Alabama. He laid out a compelling case for why the EPA’s regulation of carbon dioxide emissions under section 111d of the Clean Air Act is illegal.
Murray Energy takes up one of Attorney General Strange’s main lines of argument in a suit filed on 18th June in the federal DC Circuit Court of Appeals. Murray Energy, a privately held company that has become one of the biggest coal producers in the U. S., argues that the Clean Air Act does not allow regulation of power plants under section 111d that are already being regulated under section 112. Legal challenges to proposed regulations are not usually heard by federal courts because the regulations are likely to be modified as a result of expert comments received. However, the Murray Energy filing argues that their appeal is ripe because whatever regulation is finally proposed will violate the law and that waiting until the rule is final will be highly damaging economically.
Landrieu Bill To Permit Keystone Pipeline Passes Committee, But Won’t Get Floor Vote
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on 18th June marked up a bill to cut President Barack Obama out of the decision-making process and permit construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline from Alberta’s oil sands to the U. S. The vote was 12 to 10, with all ten Republicans plus Chairman Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) voting yes.
Senator Landrieu, who is in a tough re-election race, vowed to push hard for a vote on the Senate floor. Republicans pointed out that the fact that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is not going to allow a floor vote exposes how ineffective Landrieu is as chairman in promoting pro-energy policies in the face of her own party leader’s obstructionism.
Politico, also on 18th June, ran a big photo on its front page with the headline, “The Dark Side of the Oil Boom.” The photo accompanied a long, investigative story by Kathryn A. Wolfe and Bob King about the safety threats posed by rapidly increasing rail transport of oil. Curiously, the article considered the obvious alternative to rail—namely, building more pipelines—only in order to dismiss it:
“But environmentalists who warn about the dangers of crude-by-rail say it would be wrong to turn the issue into an excuse to approve Keystone. For one thing, the Texas-bound pipeline would replace only part of the train traffic, which has spread its tendrils across the U.S.”
True, but building Keystone would solve part of the problem, and building other pipelines would solve the rest.
Across the States
Energy Production on Federal Lands Down Again
Production of oil, gas and coal on federal lands and waters fell 7 percent last year, according to a new report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Overall, domestic oil and gas production is at historical highs—this week, for example, North Dakota for the first time exceeded 1 million of barrels of oil produced per day—but production is taking place mainly on state and private lands, over which the federal government exerts less control.
Around the World
Green Energy Pause Started about Same Time as Global Warming Pause
BP this week released its annual world energy statistical review. Coal's share of world energy consumption topped 30 percent in 2013, the highest level since 1970. The report also shows that the global percentage of non-carbon energy has paused at around 13% since about 1995.
Cooler Heads Coalition
Ray Evans, RIP
With great sadness, we report the death of our long-time friend and colleague N. Ray Evans in Melbourne, Australia on Tuesday, 18th June, at the age of 79.
Ray was for many decades one of Australia’s leading public intellectuals. He became involved in a wide range of issues from labor market reform to climate policy. Ray early saw the threat of international and national energy-rationing policies resulting from global warming alarmism.
In 1997, Ray was the lead organizer of Countdown to Kyoto, the largest international conference on global warming before the negotiations in December 1997 that led to the Kyoto Protocol. It was while working at Frontiers of Freedom that I was introduced to Ray by my friend (And now CEI colleague R.J. Smith), who asked us to help organize that conference, which I attended in Canberra, Australia in August 1997.
Ray became one of the leading voices opposing global warming alarmism and energy-rationing policies, first in his position as an executive at Western Mining Corporation and later in “retirement” as founder and director of the Lavoisier Group. The Lavoisier Group is a member of the Cooler Heads Coalition and is the pre-eminent intellectual opponent of global warming alarmism in Australia. But he made an impact in the United States and England as well. The Cooler Heads Coalition assisted a bit when it sponsored a notable briefing by Ray in the U. S. Capitol on the threats to sovereignty posed by international environmental agreements, such as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
For an example of Ray’s style of public advocacy, read his short pamphlet, Nine Facts About Climate Change. Ray always expressed his thoughts with great clarity, vigor, and good humor.
Here is a warm appreciation of Ray by columnist Andrew Bolt, which begins, “A very fine man has died.” That sums up Ray. I am one of many, many people who had the great good fortune to know him well and to work with him in a great cause. Rest in peace, dear friend.
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, www.GlobalWarming.org.