Cooler Heads Digest 11 December 2015

11 December 2015

In the News

Solar Power Presents Significant Environmental Problems
David Kreutzer, Newsday, 11 December 2015

Two Letters on Climate Policy
Robert Bradley, Jr., Master Resource, 10 December 2015

An Ice-Cold Regulatory Climate
David Holt, RealClearEnergy, 9 December 2015

Mark Steyn’s Illuminating and Entertaining Senate Testimony
Anthony Watts, WattsUpWithThat, 8 December 2015

Politics Corrupts, Ethanol Politics Corrupts Completely
Tim Carney, Washington Examiner, 8 December 2015

The Miracle of Cheap Fossil Fuels
Dan Hannan, Washington Examiner, 7 December 2015

Corn-Based Ethanol Is a Bad Idea
Editorial Board, Los Angeles Times, 6 December 2015

Why I Believe Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism Fellows Aren’t Fossil Fuel Shills
William Yeatman,, 6 December 2015

News You Can Use
Sun Should Set on Solar Socialism

Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) has published the first comprehensive review of federal solar subsidies, documenting rampant waste and fraud. An excerpt suitable for framing: “If the solar industry could stand on its own without generous taxpayer subsidies . . . then there is no reason to drag taxpayers into the game in the first place. If much or all of the industry need a measure like the ITC [Investment Tax Credit] to stay afloat, and still needs it even now, taxpayers were being sold a pig in a poke.”

Inside the Beltway
Marlo Lewis

Things Get Heated at Senate Hearing on Climate Science

Author Mark Steyn and Georgia Tech atmospheric scientist Judith Curry mixed it up with Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) this week at a Senate hearing on data vs. dogma in climate science. Video excerpts of the heated exchanges are available here and here

Steyn, focusing on climate dogma, spotlighted the inherent conflict between centrally-planned global energy transformation and freedom of inquiry. No such plan is possible without almost universal consent, so proponents inevitably try to crush dissent.

University of Alabama in Huntsville atmospheric scientist John Christy explained that in science the test of whether we understand something is whether we are able to predict its behavior. The computer simulations underpinning U.S., EU, and U.N. climate policies, however, increasingly fail to hind-cast what has already happened.

You may already be familiar with data showing no long-term increase in the strength and frequency of hurricanes. Christy also presented data showing that despite global warming, the average number of daily temperatures exceeding 100°F at U.S. weather stations was larger in the 1930s than in recent decades. Counter-intuitive, yes, but science often is.

Curry challenged the IPCC’s “extremely likely” (>95%) assessment that more than half the observed warming since 1950 is anthropogenic. Correlation does not prove causation but there is no causation without correlation. There is no correlation between carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and the warming pause (or slowdown) of the past 18 years, the “grand hiatus” of 1945-1975, the warming of 1910-1945, or the “secular warming trend” that began in 1800 or earlier.

Physicist Will Happer discussed the CO2 fertilization effect. He noted that plant life evolved in atmospheres averaging many thousand parts per million of CO2, and that the pre-industrial concentration of 280 ppm, romanticized by some as the good old days, is “not that far above the minimum level, around 150 ppm, when many plants die from CO starvation.”

Rear Admiral David Titley, the sole minority witness, summarized findings of the IPCC, the U.S. Global Change Research Program, and President Obama’s science advisor John Holdren.

House Ds Demand Fossil Fuel CEOs Confess Funding Climate Denial and Disinformation

Thirty-two House Democrats this week sent a letter to the CEOs of Chevron, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, BP, Shell, and Peabody Energy posing 15 questions about the companies’ (alleged) funding of a “massive campaign of [climate] denial and disinformation.” The gist of the letter, which presumes guilt and demands confessions, is captured by the old joke question: “When did you stop beating your wife?” This post on GlobalWarming.Org offers model answers the CEOs are welcome to use or adapt in responding to legislators’ interrogatories.

Across the States
William Yeatman

EPA Imposes 54th Federal Takeover of State Clean Air Act Programs (previous 3 presidents had 5 total among them)

EPA yesterday announced that the agency would take over Texas’s Regional Haze program under the Clean Air Act. This is the 54th such federal takeover, or “federal implementation plan” (“FIP”), imposed by the Obama Administration. For comparison’s sake, consider that the previous three presidential administrations imposed a total of 5 Clean Air Act federal takeovers. Moreover, the EPA promulgated a final agency action last summer that threatens another 36 state programs with Clean Air Act federal takeovers, if States do not radically alter their air quality strategies to control emissions due to malfunctions and other uncontrollable events.

All told, EPA has threatened or imposed 90 federal implementation plans—or 18 times the sum of the previous three administrations. And Obama still has a year left.

Around the World
Myron Ebell

COP-21 Nears Agreement on New Paris Climate Treaty

A third straight night of all-night negotiations will almost certainly end Saturday morning with a new climate deal at COP-21. The Paris Climate Treaty is almost certain to leave several major issues to be sorted out later. 

On the other hand, the draft text released Friday morning does include a target of limiting global warming to less than two degrees Centigrade above pre-industrial levels plus an expression of further ambition to stop warming at 1.5 degrees. No percentage reductions in total global greenhouse gas emissions are specified to reach that goal.

The draft text also moves beyond the limited compliance periods in the Kyoto Protocol to create a perpetual regime that will provide reviews to set lower national emissions targets every five years. Thus, once a country ratifies the treaty, it will be committed to taking actions to save the planet from catastrophic global warming no matter how high the cost or how long it takes.

Speaking of cost, the draft text still needs work on the finance mechanisms through which the developed countries will provide financial aid to developing countries to pay for emissions reductions and adaptation to climate change. In 2009, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saved COP-15 in Copenhagen from total collapse by proposing $100 billion in aid annually from the developing countries to the developing countries beginning in 2020. The Paris Climate Treaty looks set to confirm that commitment.

It looks to me that the Paris Climate Treaty is going to disappoint global warming alarmists for punting the most disputed issues into the future. It also looks to me that it is a treaty and will therefore require ratification by the Senate for the U. S. to join.

Editor's Note: The Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Myron Ebell & Chris Horner have been reporting from COP-21 all week. Find their dispatches and related material below.

Show Us the Money Still the Mantra at COP-21
Myron Ebell, RealClearEnergy, 9 December 2015

COP-21 Interview with Chris Horner
Craig Richardson, E&E Legal, 9 December 2015

COP-21 Dispatch: How Reinsurers Use Putative Threat of Global Warming To Game the System
Chris Horner,, 8 December 2015

Obama's EPA Chief Dismisses Threats to Clean Power Plan
Myron Ebell, RealClearEnergy, 8 December 2015

Clean Power Plan Litigation: Stern Tries Some Climate Diplomacy on the Judges
Marlo Lewis,, 7 December 2015

A Hearty “Bonjour” from Paris
Chris Horner, Daily Caller, 7 December 2015

CEI’s Myron Ebell & Chris Horner Branded as Climate Criminals for Threatening Bogus Consensus
Marlo Lewis, Open Market, 7 December 2015

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,