The Competitive Enterprise Institute published a report this week by William Yeatman, “How the Obama Administration Is Undermining Cooperative Federalism under the Clean Air Act, and What Congress Can Do about It”
In the News
Why the U.S. Should Start Selling Oil out of the SPR
Philip Verlanger, Platts, 5 September 2014
McKitrick & Vogelsang: Model Projections Too Hot over 55-year Period
Marlo Lewis, GlobalWarming.org, 4 September 2014
Why Climate Science Is Far Too Important To Be Left to Celebrity Physicists
James Delingpole, Breitbart, 4 September 2014
How Global Warming Policies Have Led to Global Insecurity
Lawrence Solomon, Financial Post, 4 September 2014
EPA’s Staff Recommends Lower Ozone Standard, But It Doesn’t Matter
William Yeatman, GlobalWarming.org, 3 September 2014
Giant Wind Farm Could Deal the Chesapeake Bay a Heavy Blow
Bonner Cohen, Washington Times, 2 September 2014
News You Can Use
Antarctic Ice Sets New Record
Antarctic sea ice extent continued to set new records in August, finishing the month at 19.154 million sq km, beating the record set last year by 87,000 sq km.
Inside the Beltway
Hillary Clinton Calls for U.S. Leadership on Global Warming
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a strong case for United States leadership on global warming at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) seventh annual National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas on 4th September. Clinton said that becoming the “clean-energy superpower our world needs” would demonstrate that the “U. S. can still do big things.”
Clinton also blasted global warming skeptics who stand in the way of moving away from fossil fuels: “The data is unforgiving no matter what the deniers try to assert….Sea levels are rising, ice caps are melting, storms and wildfires are wreaking havoc….” She also claimed that, “[T]ax incentives for alternative energy investments are unpredictable at best, while generous subsidies for fossil fuels are still too easy to come by.”
While expressing optimism that switching to renewables would lead to economic growth and more good-paying jobs, Clinton also warned that our international position is at stake: “China and other competitors are racing ahead with big bets on renewables. We cannot afford to cede leadership in this area.” But: “If we come together to make the hard choices, the smart investment in infrastructure, technology and environmental protection, America can be the clean energy superpower for the 21st century.”
Clinton did acknowledge that “American innovation [was] changing the game” with the natural gas fracking revolution. “Gas is cleaner than coal, and expanded production is creating thousands of jobs.”
John Podesta joined in the discussion on stage with Clinton. Podesta is currently the chief domestic policy adviser on energy and environmental issues to President Barack Obama. He founded the Center for American Progress (sic) and was White House chief of staff during the last years of the Bill Clinton Administration. Senator Reid’s clean energy conference was held at the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino, which was also the site of the Heartland Institute’s ninth International Conference on Climate Change in July. Clinton was making her first appearance at the conference, but former President Bill Clinton spoke at the first summit in 2008.
House Tries Yet Again To Get Senate’s Attention
The House and Senate return from their August recess on 8th September for a couple of weeks in session before recessing for the election campaign. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) sent a memo to Republican House Members on 4th September detailing the Republican leadership’s legislative plans. The House will consider two big omnibus bills on the economy and energy. The jobs and economic growth package will include fourteen bills already passed by the House, but which the Democratic-controlled Senate has not acted upon. The energy package will include thirteen bills, again all passed by the House during the 113th Congress but ignored by the Senate.
Here is a list of the House-passed energy bills to be included in the omnibus: H. R. 3, H. R. 1963, H. R. 2640, H. R. 2728, H. R. 4801, H. R. 3301, H. R. 6, H. R. 1582, H. R. 1900, H. R. 2641, H. R. 3826, H. R. 2824, and H. R. 4899. These bills address a wide range of issues, including increasing oil and gas production on federal lands and offshore areas, permitting the Keystone pipeline, preventing federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing, expediting natural gas exports, and blocking EPA greenhouse gas regulations on coal-fired power plants. Information on these and other bills may be found at Congress.gov.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced at his seventh annual National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas on 4th September that he planned to hold a floor vote on renewing the wind and solar production tax credits (PTC). Wind and solar PTCs are included in the $85 billion package of tax cut extenders that the Senate rejected on a procedural vote in May. Reid said, “Efforts to renew these incentives are being blocked by Republicans in Congress.” Holding a vote on a piece of legislation would be a surprising change of pace for the Senate this year.
Across the States
Tesla Snookers Nevada
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk and Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval (R) announced on Monday that Tesla would build the world’s largest batter factory at the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center, east of Sparks in northern Nevada and that the State would offer $1.3 billion in tax breaks over twenty years.
The $1.3 billion tax subsidy package would tie for the largest for an automotive company in the U. S. and be fifteen times larger than any other in Nevada’s history, according to a story by Ryan Frank in the Las Vegas Sun. The state legislature will vote on approving the package next week.
Tesla’s lithium battery plant is projected to employ 6,000 workers and cover ten million square feet (or 173 football fields). Its capacity will be larger than all plants currently producing lithium batteries in the world. It is designed to decrease the cost and increase the production of Tesla’s electric vehicles.
Edmunds recently reported that sales of electric and hybrid vehicles had increased modestly this year, but have actually declined as a percentage of all vehicles sold in the U. S.
Around the World
Rough Week for Climate Diplomacy
Chinese President Xi Jinping this week became the latest world leader to skip the upcoming United Nations climate change summit in New York on September 23rd. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel already have indicated they won’t attend. The absence of leadership from the world’s major emitters undercuts the event, needless to say. That said, Russia still has yet to confirm or deny its participation, so perhaps Putin will show up.
On a similarly dire note for global warming alarmists, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk this week beat out Danish Prime Minister Hell Thorning-Schmidt to become president of the European Council, a hugely important position for EU policies. Tusk is a noted skeptic of the EU’s green energy policies, so much so that one commentator labeled his ascension to power a “black day for the EU’s climate policy.”
Biosphere Productivity in Recent Decades: Increasing or Decreasing?
This week on CO2Science.Org, the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change posts a literature review of 104 peer-reviewed studies on the productivity of forests and terrestrial plant eco-systems around the world.
Study after study finds an ongoing significant increase in the productivity of forests and other plant life, with most of the gains concentrated in the tropics. Causes include increased warmth, increased precipitation, and, chiefly, the CO2-fertilization effect, which boosts plant photosynthesis, water-use efficiency, and resistance to environmental stresses.
The review concludes:
In spite of climate-alarmist claims that the temperatures of the latter part of the 20th century and on through the present were unprecedented over the past one to two millennia (which is highly debatable) and that atmospheric CO2 concentrations were the highest they had been for several hundred millennia (which is true), as well as the fact that mankind yearly harvests and/or destroys much of the planet's natural vegetation, the total yearly production of terrestrial vegetative biomass for the globe as a whole continues to rise, and at a remarkable rate. Why is this so? Perhaps it is because the twin evils of the radical environmentalist movement are not the devilish developments they are made out to be, but are actually blessings in disguise, benefiting earth's biosphere in spite of all of the political attempts to severely curtail the CO2 emissions of humanity.
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.