Cooler Heads Digest 06 March 2015

6 March 2015

In the News

Harry Reid Secured Subsidies for Aides’ Donors
Lachlan Markay, Washington Free Beacon, 5 March 2015

Stifling Climate Research & Opinion: Another Desparado Mistake
James Rust, Master Resource, 5 March 2015

Economic, Environmental Experts Debate Carbon Tax
Tom Rezac, Daily Nebraskan, 4 March 2015

Override Vote on Keystone XL Veto Looks Doomed
Zack Colman, Washington Examiner, 4 March 2015

With the Clean Power Plan, EPA Has Given Up on Cooperative Federalism
Stephen Heins, Forbes, 4 March 2015

Washington Post: President Obama Is Lying about Keystone
Robert Rapier, R Squared, 4 March 2015

Top Five EPA Transparency Scandals during the Obama Administration
William Yeatman,, 3 March 2015

Antarctic Sea Ice Did the Opposite of What Models Predicted
Michael Bastasch, Dally Caller, 2 March 2015

News You Can Use
Regarding the Futility of Unilateral Climate Change Mitigation, EPA’s #1 Priority

According to the Institute for Energy Research, if the U.S. eliminated all CO2 emissions now, models say it would only slow warming by 0.10°C by the end of the century

Inside the Beltway
William Yeatman

Senate EPW Hearing Rattles EPA Administrator McCarthy

Last week, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy testified twice before House subcommittees in defense of her agency’s FY2016 budget. As I explained here, she deftly negotiated those two hearings, using a skillful combination of obfuscation and mendacity.

This week, Administrator McCarthy appeared before the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee to again defend her agency’s budget. This time around, however, things didn’t go so smoothly.

For starters, I suspect she was caught off guard by the strategy adopted by EPW Chairman James Mountain Inhofe. In previous EPA FY2016 budget hearings, Members of Congress questioned specific policies adopted by EPA; Sen. Inhofe, by contrast, attacked the agency’s priorities. In particular, he questioned why EPA’s FY2016 makes climate change mitigation the agency’s #1 priority, when administrator McCarthy herself concedes that EPA’s policies won’t affect the climate. She didn’t have an answer for this line of reasoning, and I think it threw her off.

However, she became most flustered during an intense exchange with Sen. Jeff Sessions. He started out by decrying the agency’s request for a 6% increase in funding, when inflation is 2.5%. He said that he couldn’t justify such an increase to his constituents, for whom EPA was routinely cited as the #1 problem. He told her, “you are apparently unaware of the pushback that's occurring in the real world.”

Then he moved to the science behind the agency's Clean Power Plan. Sessions first asked whether McCarthy disputed research demonstrating that droughts and hurricanes had not increased; she refused to answer, and grew visibly agitated with the questioning. What followed was the highlight of their dialogue—a back-and-forth during which Administrator McCarthy refused to concede the well-established fact that climate models have overstated global warming. I’ve reposted the transcript below.

SEN. SESSIONS: And would you acknowledge that the -- and over the last 18 years that the increase in temperature has been very little and that it is well below -- as a matter of fact, 90 percent below -- most of the environmental models that showed how fast temperature would increase?

ADMINISTRATOR MCCARTHY: No, I would not agree with that, Sir. A one degree temperature is significant. I don't know what you're looking at.

SEN. SESSIONS: No, no, no. I'm asking you is [the actual temperature record] below the models or above the models?

ADMINISTRATOR MCCARTHY: I do not know what the models actually are predicting that you are referring to. There are many models and sometimes it's actually going faster, and sometimes slightly slower than the model protect predicts. But on the whole, it makes no difference to the validity and the robustness of climate science that is telling us that we are facing an absolute challenge that we must address both environmentally, economically, from a national security perspective. And for EPA, from a public health perspective.

SEN. SESSIONS: All right. Well, let me -- of course, carbon pollution is CO2, and that's really not a pollutant. It's a plant food, and it doesn't harm anybody except that it might include temperature increases. So let me ask you one more time, are you asserting -- just give me this answer. If you take the average of the models predicting how fast the temperature would increase, is the temperature, in fact, increasing less than that or more than that?

ADMINISTRATOR MCCARTHY: I cannot answer that question specifically.

SEN. SESSIONS: Well, Mr. Chairman, I just would say this is a stunning development that the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, who should know more than anybody else in the world, who's imposing hundreds of billions of dollars in cost to prevent this climate temperature increases doesn't whether their projections have been right or wrong.

Investor’s Business Daily has a nice write-up on the heated Sessions-McCarthy exchange.

CEI Goes on Offensive on Transparency

It was a busy week for transparency advocates critical of EPA’s opacity. On Monday, a federal district court judge refused Landmark Legal Foundation’s request to impose sanctions on EPA for the agency’s egregious non-cooperation with a FOIA request. This was to be expected, as the legal threshold for sanctions is very high. However, what was unexpected was Judge Royce C. Lamberth’s scathing opinion, in which he excoriated EPA for its evident refusal to comply with federal transparency laws.

And on Tuesday, my colleague Chris Horner dropped the other shoe on Rep. Grijalva, Sen. Markey, and other McCarthy-mimics in the U.S. Congress who have launched an investigation into the funding of certain climate “skeptics” in academia. Of course, FOIA is limited to the Executive Branch of government. However, EPA keeps an in-house congressional lobby shop.

So Horner FOIA’d the EPA lobbyists, to see what correspondence with these Senate offices they may have had about Tom Steyer, the campaign he is helping underwrite against “deniers,” the Greenpeace smear, and trying to chase opponents out of their chosen field, etc. 

Across the States
William Yeatman

Unprecedented “Sue and Settle” Agreement Finalized in Northern California Court

Northern California federal district court Judge Susan Illston on Monday approved an outrageous “sue and settle” consent decree between EPA, Sierra Club, and NRDC.

Unlike most sue and settle agreements, which dictate EPA’s priorities, this consent decree actually set forth substantive policy. Under the Clean Air Act, EPA must determine which areas are meeting nation-wide standards for sulfur dioxide (SO2). Monday’s consent decree binds EPA to adopting new procedures for this process—pursuant to a separate, proposed rule! 

Multiple States—North Dakota, Arizona, Kentucky, Nevada, Louisiana, Texas, and North Carolina—tried to intervene in the case, but EPA and its green special interest  refused to allow the states a seat at the negotiating table. So the agency effectively negotiated substantive policy with special interests, to the exclusion of States. Needless to say, that's no how policymaking is supposed to work. 

Indeed, the states opposed the consent decree before Judge Illston’s court, and they opposed it administratively when EPA proposed the consent decree in the Federal Register. The agency, however, dismissed the states’ claims, and it was backed by Judge Illston. Thus, a mockery was made of the Clean Air Act’s system of “cooperative federalism.”  Read more about it here.

More State Stories

Around the World
William Yeatman

Tough Week for Green Energy Globally

  • President Obama has cited Germany’s green energy policies as a model for the U.S. to emulate. With that in mind, consider the fact that Germany’s 25,000 wind turbines operated at 14.8 percent capacity in 2014, according to a report released this week by wind energy critical site
  • The New York Times headline says it all: “Japan’s Growth in Solar Power Falters as Utilities Balk.” And they’re not “balking” because of there’s too little labor to fill all the green jobs they need. Rather, Japanese utilities are balking for the very simple reason that solar power is expensive and intermittent.  

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,