Cooler Heads Digest 12 September 2014

12 September 2014


On Tuesday, September 16, Noon-1:30 PM, at the National Press Club, the George C. Marshall Institute will host a discussion by climatologist Dr. Judith Curry. Email to RSVP.

In the News

Rising CO2 Concentrations: No Measurable Impact on Floods, Droughts, and Storms
Marlo Lewis,, 11 September 2014

Climate Skeptics Push Back over New Rise in Carbon Dioxide Emissions
Valerie Richardson, Washington Times, 11 September 2014

EPA Proposed Regulation Would Significantly Hurt Access to Electricity
John Eick, Red State, 10 September 2014

“Extinct” Snail Killed by Climate Change Crawls Back from the Dead
James Delingpole, Breitbart London, 10 September 2014

Media Coverage of the Corrupt Chevron Trial Was Corrupt, Too
Jack Fowler, National Review Online, 10 September 2014

Wind Power Granted 30-Year Eagle Kill Permits
Sherri Lange, Master Resource, 10 September 2014

Climate of Corruption
James Taranto, Wall Street Journal, 9 September 2014

Report: No Global Warming for 215 Months
Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller, 8 September 2014

Response to Critics of My Wall Street Journal Op-ed on the “Pause”
Matt Ridley, Rational Optimist, 7 September 2014

News You Can Use
Hurricane Milestone

For the 1st time since 1992, there was not a named hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean during the statistical peak of the hurricane season, which falls on September 10.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

15 Governors Tell EPA To Drop Power Plant Rule

Fifteen Republican governors sent a letter on 9th September to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy that points out that the EPA’s proposed regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants “not only exceeds the scope of federal law, but also, in some cases, directly conflicts with established state law.”

Fifteen of the nation’s 29 Republican governors signed the letter.  They are: Robert Bentley of Alabama, Sean Parnell of Alaska, Janice Brewer of Arizona, Butch Otter of Idaho, Mike Pence of Indiana, Phil Bryant of Mississippi, Susana Martinez of New Mexico, Pat McCrory of North Carolina, Jack Dalrymple of North Dakota, Mary Fallin of Oklahoma, Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania, Nikki Haley of South Carolina, Gary Herbert of Utah, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, and Matt Mead of Wyoming.

The letter states: “The unambiguous language of the CAA [Clean Air Act] expressly prohibits EPA from using Section 111(d) to regulate power plants  because EPA already regulates these sources under another section of the Act.  Moreover, even if the Agency did have legal authority to regulate power plants under 111(d), it overstepped this hypothetical authority when it acted to coerce states to adopt compliance measures that do not reduce emissions at the entities EPA has set out to regulate.  Under federal law, EPA has the authority to regulate emissions from specific sources, but that authority does not extend outside the physical boundaries of such sources (i.e., “outside the fence”).”

The governors go on to spell out some of “the more urgent and vexing compliance issues” in the proposed rule.  They then ask EPA to provide “informed plans to address these significant obstacles to state compliance” well in advance of the 16th October deadline for comments on the rule.  If EPA cannot do so, then they demand that the rule be withdrawn until it does.

One of these compliance issues relates to federal versus state authority.  The governors ask what would happen if a State enacts a renewable electricity standard or efficiency standard as part of its compliance with the rule and then later softens or repeals that standard.  Would EPA assert authority to enforce the original standard against state legislation?

Writing in the New Republic, Rebecca Leber identified the governors’ point that the rule is actually illegal as “the GOP’s best shot at derailing Obama’s climate plan.”  But David Doniger of the Natural Resources Defense Council, which wrote the original draft of the EPA rule, assured Leber that the legal arguments “border on laughable.”

But as William Yeatman, my CEI colleague, noted in a post on, NRDC in 2005 argued that the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 made it illegal to regulate source categories under section 111d that are already regulated under section 112, which is exactly what the governors’ letter states.   Impressive legal research conducted by the office of the Attorney General of West Virginia, Patrick Morrissey, supports the claim, as another post by William Yeatman explains

The energy subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee heard testimony on 9th September from six state utility commissioners on implementing the rule.   Four (from Texas, Montana, Arizona, and Indiana) oppose the rule and two (from Maryland and Washington) support it.    

Across the States
William Yeatman

Important Tenth Circuit Case to Watch

A two-judge panel on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver granted a stay prohibiting EPA’s regulatory takeover of Wyoming’s visibility improvement program, known as Regional Haze, until a three-judge panel can decide the merits. A stay is granted only if the judges believe the plaintiffs have an excellent shot at winning, which bodes well for Wyoming’s challenge.

This is something to keep an eye on, because the same circuit last year delivered a 2-1 split decision that upheld EPA’s regulatory takeover of Oklahoma’s Regional Haze program. That case, Oklahoma v. EPA, established an unfortunate precedent whereby courts defer to EPA whenever the agency and States disagree over how to implement the Clean Air Act. The Tenth Circuit now appears poised to revisit the issue, which could prove very beneficial to the States. For more on the Tenth Circuit’s decision in Oklahoma v. EPA, see here and here.

Around the World
Myron Ebell

Oil Prices Decline Despite Mideast Turmoil

There is war, violence, and political turmoil across the Middle East, yet since June global prices for oil have gone down dramatically.  The price of West Texas Intermediate crude, the benchmark for U. S. oil, has declined $15 since June to $91.67 per barrel.  Brent crude, the main international benchmark, has declined by $18 to $98 per barrel. 

One of the reasons is that economies continue to struggle around the world.  Another is the oil production boom in North America.  The U. S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration this week raised its forecast of 2015 domestic oil production to 9.53 million barrels per day.  That would make next year the third consecutive year in which domestic oil production has increased by more than one million barrels per day.

Science Update
Marlo Lewis

Rising CO2 Concentrations: No Measurable Impact on Extreme Weather

The Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change released a new report this week, Extreme Weather Events: Are They Influenced by Rising CO2 Concentrations? The 97-page report reviews hundreds of empirical studies on floods, droughts, and storms in numerous countries on several continents.

The author, Craig D. Idso, examines the empirical evidence regarding possible trends in extreme weather during the past 70 years, when three-fourths of all anthropogenic CO2 was emitted into the atmosphere. He also compares extreme weather events in recent decades to floods, droughts, and storms in previous centuries and even millennia, as reconstructed from proxy data.

Idso finds no long-term global increase in the frequency and intensity of floods, droughts, and storms over the past 70 years (although there is considerable regional and inter-decadal variation). He also finds “many historic analogs” of modern floods, droughts, and storms that “occurred during times when the atmosphere’s CO2 concentration was much lower than it is currently.”

Taken together, the instrumental and proxy data “suggest that the ongoing rise in atmospheric CO2 is having no measurable impact” on modern extreme weather events. 


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,