Cooler Heads Digest 27 March 2015

27 March 2015


  • The Competitive Enterprise invites you to celebrate Human Achievement Hour by turning on your lights from 8:30 to 9:30 PM on Saturday, 28th March.  This celebration of human progress and advancement is an alternative to “Earth Hour,” the annual event calling on people and business to turn off their lights for an hour as a symbolic gesture against climate change. Learn how to participate further here.
  • Competitive Enterprise Institute, on behalf of 14 other pro-market organizations, this week submitted a joint comment letter critiquing on the Counsel for Environmental Quality’s proposal to require a National Environmental Policy Act analysis of project-related greenhouse gas emissions and climate change effects.

In the News

America’s Energy Scorecard (Let Freedom Ring!)
Robert Bradley, Jr., Master Resource, 27 March 2015

Is Global Warming a Moral Cause?
Joe Bast, Somewhat Reasonable, 27 March 2015

It’s Time To Reclaim the Planet from Environmentalists
Dan Ziegler, The Federalist, 27 March 2015

Subpoena Proper after EPA Chief Deletes Nearly 6,000 Text Messages, Experts Testify
S. A. Miller, Washington Times, 26 March 2015

House Democrat: Global Warming Will Force Women To Trade Sexual Favors for Food
Chad Merta, Sun Times, 26 March 2015

In New York State, Fracking Ban Fuels Secession Talk
Tina Susman, Los Angeles Times, 26 March 2015

“97% Consensus” Claim Does Not Stand Up to Scrutiny
Richard Tol, Occasional Thoughts, 25 March 2015

Climate Science Doubts: Not Because of Payment, But Because the Science Is Bad
Christopher Essex, Breitbart, 25 March 2015

Missing the Mark on Climate Change Skepticism
Scott Armstrong, Washington Times, 24 March 2015

Pump the Brakes on Fracking Regulations
Editorial, National Review, 23 March 2015

News You Can Use
Poll: Record Number of Americans Have Positive Views on Environment

According to a Gallup poll published this week, half of Americans rate the overall quality of the environment as “excellent” or “good,” the most positive views of the environment since Gallup began asking this question in 2001.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

Senate Vote-a-Rama Includes Climate Votes

The House of Representatives and the Senate both approved budget resolutions this week, but all the fun was on the Senate side.  There were floor votes on 57 amendments on a wide range of issues, including climate policy.  The fun peaked with the Thursday night “Vote-a-Rama” and finally ended with passage of S. Con. Res. 11 by a 52 to 46 vote at 3:19 AM on 27th March.

There were four key votes on climate policy.  First, by a 58 to 42 vote, the Senate approved Senator Roy Blunt’s (R-Mo.) amendment against a carbon tax.  All 54 Republicans were joined by four Democrats in opposing a carbon tax.  They were: Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.).  We can now assume that all the other Democratic Senators support raising energy prices with a carbon tax.

Second, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) offered an amendment that would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from “withholding highway funds from States that refuse to submit State Implementation Plans required under the [so-called] Clean Power Plan of the Agency.”  It passed 57-43, with all 54 Republicans plus Democrats Manchin, Donnelly, and Heitkamp voting Yes.

Third, five Republicans voted for Senator Bernie Sanders’s amendment to recognize that climate change is real and the Senate should take action to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.  The Republicans voting Yes were: Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Susan Collins (R-Me.), and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.).  Democratic Senators Manchin and Heitkamp voted No.  The Sanders amendment failed on a 49-50 vote

Fourth, the Senate approved by a 53-47 vote a somewhat similar amendment offered by Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.).  It calls on the Senate to listen to the advice of the Secretary of Defense, National Intelligence Director, NASA Administrator, and NOAA Administrator on the threats posed by human-caused climate change.  Seven Republicans voted for the Bennet amendment: Senators Portman, Kirk, Ayotte, Graham, Collins, Dean Heller (R-Nev.), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).  No Democrats voted against the amendment.

People often complain that all these Senate budget votes don’t mean anything.  That’s true, but they are often important test votes on important issues.  We now know where Senators stand on the EPA’s “Clean Power” Plan, which means that both sides now know who needs education and persuasion. 

We also now know that there is absolutely no support for a carbon tax among Senate Republicans, even despite a recent white paper by Jerry Taylor of the new Niskanen Center on “The Conservative Case for a Carbon Tax.” Perhaps, conservatives in the Senate haven't had time to read it.  But even if they do find time, I doubt that any will be persuaded.  I find it entirely unconvincing, and in fact now have a clearer understanding of how goofy both politically and as public policy a carbon tax would be.    

The House passed its budget resolution, H. Con. Res. 27, at 6:54 PM on 25th March by a vote of 228 to 199.   

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,