Cooler Heads Digest 09 January 2015

9 January 2015

In the News

One Year Ago: The White House Polar Vortex Video
Sam Kazman,, 9 January 2015

The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels (Book Review)
Jay Lehr & Sterling Burnett, Master Resource, 8 January 2015

Climate Change’s Instructive Past
George Will, Washington Post, 7 January 2015

Obama: Don’t Get Too Used to Low Gas Prices
Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller, 7 January 2015

Oil’s “Swoon” Is Not an Argument for Carbon Taxes
Marlo Lewis,, 6 January 2014

It’s never a Good Time for a Carbon Tax
Nicolas Loris, The Daily Signal, 6 January 2015

States To Challenge Obama’s Climate Rules
Zack Colman, Washington Examiner, 5 January 2015

Vatican’s Green Turn Would Leave Poor Even Poorer
Stephen Moore, Washington Times, 4 January 2015

Civil Rights Leader: Christians Should Find Increased Energy Costs Deeply Troubling
Dr. Charles Steele, Jr., Christian Post, 3 January 2015

News You Can Use
Harvard Professor: People Will Pay $60 per Year to Fight Climate Change

According to research compiled by Harvard Government Professor Stephen Ansolabehere, Americans are willing to pay about $5 a month, or $60 per year, to mitigate climate change. Seems high to us.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

Three Steps Forward for Keystone Pipeline, One Big Step Back

The House of Representatives on Friday, 9th January, voted for a bill that would permit the Keystone XL Pipeline from Alberta’s oil sands across the U. S. border to the point in Oklahoma where it would join the southern part of the pipeline which has already been built.  The vote was 266 to 153.

Two-hundred thirty-eight Republicans were joined by 28 Democrats in voting to over-ride President Obama’s authority over the permit.  No Republicans voted No, but three missed the vote and one, Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), voted Present.  Six Democrats also missed the vote. 

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee marked up the Keystone bill on Thursday by a 13 to 9 vote.  The Senate bill has 60 co-sponsors, including six Democrats.  The bill is scheduled to come to the Senate floor next week.  It is unclear how long it will be debated because new Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has insisted that he wants to abandon the petty tyranny of his predecessor as majority leader, now-Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), and return the functioning of the Senate to regular order.  That means that McConnell will allow amendments to be offered, debated, and voted on.

Also on Friday, the Nebraska Supreme Court vacated a lower court ruling that held the state legislature had acted unconstitutionally when it removed power from the Public Service Commission to approve the Keystone Pipeline’s route through Nebraska and gave it to the Governor.  The decision was 4 to 3 in favor of the lower court ruling, but ruling something unconstitutional requires a super-majority of five justices in Nebraska.

On Tuesday, 6th January, the White House issued a veto threat on the Keystone bill.  This once again shows that President Barack Obama prefers to side with a few billionaire Democratic donors against the interests of the American people. It has been clear for several years that the President’s strategy is to delay construction of the pipeline to death by never making a decision on the permit. 

EPA Delays Finalizing Greenhouse Gas Rules for Power Plants

The Environmental Protection Agency announced on Wednesday, 7th January, that it will delay finalizing its three rules to limit carbon dioxide emissions from new, modified, and existing coal and gas fired power plants, which will now all be finalized at the same time in mid-summer.  The rule for new power plants was due to be finalized on 8th January. 

Acting Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation Janet McCabe also announced that the EPA would release a model Federal Implementation Plan (FIP) for those States that are refusing to develop State Implementation Plans to comply with the rule for existing power plants.  As proposed, the rule for existing power plants appears to be illegal in several ways.  A model FIP may indicate how the regulation can be implemented to avoid these legal obstacles.  It may also be so unwieldy and costly that it will put pressure on States to develop their own plans.

My CEI colleague William Yeatman will be posting several pieces on over the next few days that explore the significance of the EPA’s announcements. 

Science Update
Marlo Lewis

Rainfall in India: No Evidence of Climate Disruption

One of my favorite moments in An Inconvenient Truth is when Al Gore blames global warming for a record-breaking downpour in Mumbai, India.

“July 2005, Mumbai, India, received 37 inches of rain in 24 hours—the largest downpour any Indian city has received in one day,” Gore wrote in the book version of the film (p. 110). Gore offered this datum as evidence of fossil-fueled climate disruption.

I looked into this back in 2007 (Al Gore's Science Fiction, pp. 49-50). Since it is impossible to divine a greenhouse 'fingerprint' in any individual weather event, I reasoned that if global warming were influencing rainfall in Mumbai, we would see it in long-term precipitation records. Through a quick Web search I found that Mumbai had not one but two weather stations (today there are four), and each had a program allowing site visitors to access and plot historic weather data.

For each station, I plotted rainfall in Mumbai for the month of July from 1959 (the earliest year in the records) through 2005. There was no discernible trend in either of the two records over the 45-year period.

Why flog this dead horse now? This week on CO2Science.Org, Craig Idso reviews a recent study by three Indian researchers who analyzed daily rainfall data collected at the Agro Climate Research Centre at Coimbatore, India over the 106-year period of 1907-2012. The researchers found “no change in long-term monthly, seasonal and annual rainfall and frequency of rain days” and “no significant trend in the annual and seasonal rainfall totals.” They conclude that “there is no climate change observed over Coimbatore.”

In 2013, Idso reviewed another study of rainfall in India. It found "no significant trend" in rainfall for northern India in data for the period 1871-2008. In addition, the researchers cited several studies finding "no clear trend of increase or decrease in average rainfall over the [entire] country."

To sum up, there has been no long-term change in July rainfall in Mumbai, and no clear long-term rainfall trends in Coimbatore, northern India, and the country generally. To borrow a favorite phrase from the alarm camp, Mumbai's record-breaking downpour in July 2005 is what natural variability “looks like.”

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,