Cooler Heads Digest 24 April 2015

24 April 2015


  • The Cooler Heads Coalition will host a Capitol Hill lunch briefing by Professor Ross McKitrick on “Ontario's Green Energy Act: Environmentally Useless and Economically Disastrous.”  The briefing will be held from 12 noon to 1:15 PM on Monday, 11th May, in 2325 Rayburn House Office Building.  McKitrick is Professor of Environmental Economics and Fellow in Sustainable Commerce at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada.  RSVP to attend the briefing to 
  • Former EPA official Alan Carlin’s excellent new book, Environmentalism Gone Mad, is now available.

In the News

Marlo Lewis on Ethanol
Jazz Shaw, Hot Air, 24 April 2015

Global Warming Pause Extends to 18 ½ Years
Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller, 24 April 2015

Climate Skeptics Descend on Vatican
Heartland Institute, 24 April 2015

Introducing the Wind PTC Elimination Act of 2015
Robert Bradley, Jr., Master Resource, 23 April 2015

Obama’s Climate Change Hypocrisy Highlights Lack of Faith
Washington Examiner, 23 April 2015

Report: Science Behind NY Fracking Ban Tainted by Money, Politics
Lachlan Markay, Washington Free Beacon, 23 April 2015

Clean Power Plan: Revisiting EPA’s Bogus Climate Benefit Estimates
Marlo Lewis,, 22 April 2015

22 Ways To Think about the Climate Change Debate
Max Borders, The Freeman, 22 April 2015

The White House Is Lying about Climate Change and Health
Alan Caruba, Warning Signs, 22 April 2015

What Harvard Students Pushing Fossil Fuel Divestment Are Missing
Alex Belica & David Kreutzer, Daily Signal, 22 April 2015

Obama’s Global Warming Distraction
Ed Rogers, Washington Post, 20 April 2015

Return to Towel Mountain
Mark Steyn, Steyn Online, 18 April 2015

News You Can Use
EV’s Popularity Wanes

The auto-research group this week reported that only “45 percent of this year’s hybrid and electric vehicle trade-ins have gone toward the purchase of another alternative fuel vehicle”while “22 percent of people who have traded in their hybrids and [electric vehicles] in 2015 bought a new SUV.” According to the website, this is the first time that loyalty rates for alt-fuel vehicles have fallen below 50 percent.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

EPA Administrator McCarthy Claims “Clean Power” Plan Will Boost Economy and Won’t Threaten Electric Reliability

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy really let them have it when she spoke to energy industry executives gathered at the annual IHS-CERA Week energy conference in Houston on 23rd April. McCarthy began by dismissing claims that the EPA’s so-called “Clean Power” Plan will be very costly:  

“First, I don’t think it’s accurate to look at compliance with the Clean Power Plan as a liability or cost. Here’s why: our rule creates a dynamic where cutting carbon pollution and investment decisions align. How am I so confident that this makes economic sense? Because you’re already making those investments. Our rule is not adding a line-item to your books, it’s informing one that’s already there.”

Later, McCarthy went on to claim that EPA regulations are good for the economy:

“No peer reviewed economic literature—no historical record—comes close to supporting the claims of massive job losses from reducing pollution. In EPA’s 45 year history, we’ve cut air pollution 70 percent while GDP has tripled. Environmental protection isn’t window dressing—it’s foundational to strong, lasting economic growth.”

This is a stunning non sequitur.  Nor does she mention that previous EPA pollution regulations were not designed to destroy major industries or take control of the energy economy. 

McCarthy then took on those who raise concerns that the new regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants will threaten electric reliability:

“The second point I want to make is about reliability. Let me be clear: there is no scenario I will accept where reliability comes into question. Period. We can look at stringency, timing, phasing-in, glide path, and we can look at unit by unit reliability directly, too. The final 111(d) rule will give you the time and space you need to take a reliability-first approach that’s in line with your long-term planning, and gives you the latitude to adapt as market demands change.  Reliability is a high priority for all of us, so it’s good to have it front and center where it needs to be. But let’snot waste our time and energy worrying about scenarios that cannot and will not happen.”

This is an astonishing claim for the head of an agency that has no expertise in electric reliability to make.  My suggestion is that she and her colleagues at EPA might pay a little attention to what the North American Reliability Corporation is saying.  NERC released a report on its concerns with the “Clean Power” Plan’s first phase on 21st April.

AEI Holds Carbon Tax Love-In

The American Enterprise Institute on 22nd April (the 145th birthday of Lenin and 45th Earth Day) held a seminar on “Implementing a Carbon Tax: Practicalities and Prospects.”  A video of part of the event can be viewed here. The rest of the event can be viewed on the web site of a group promoting a carbon tax and headed by former Representative Bob (“Mr. 70-29”) Inglis (R-SC). 

Some of the presentations were based on a collection of essays that grew out of a conference AEI held in 2012.  That book has now been published by Routledge as “Implementing a Carbon Tax: Challenges and Debates.”  For those not lucky enough to have been given a copy at the AEI event, it can be purchased on Amazon for the discounted price of $48.09 …

For the rest of the post, click here.

Across the States
Marlo Lewis

House Bill Would Let States Opt Out of “Clean Power” Plan

The “Clean Power” Plan (CPP) will compel States to reorganize their electric power sectors to meet EPA-mandated carbon dioxide (CO2) emission-reduction targets or caps. The CPP is unlawful, usurps powers reserved by Congress to the States, will impose hundreds of billions of dollars in costs for illusory climate benefits, and raises significant constitutional and electric reliability concerns. What is Congress doing about it?

On Wednesday, April 22, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the Ratepayer Protection Act by a vote of 17-12. As explained in the subcommittee’s press release and background memo, the bill extends CPP compliance deadlines until after judicial review is completed, and provides that a state would not be forced to implement a compliance plan if the governor finds it would have significant adverse effects on ratepayers or reliability. A full Energy and Commerce markup is scheduled for Wednesday, April 29.

Around the World
Myron Ebell

Paris in Peril (already)

Clare Foran reported in National Journal on 20th April that international climate negotiators have noticed that the Obama Administration’s INDC (or intended nationally-determined contribution) to the forthcoming Paris Accord is on shaky legal and political ground.  Foran’s story quotes Todd Stern, the State Department’s chief negotiator: “Certainly...countries want to get reassurance that the U.S. can deliver on what we've said that we're doing.  I wouldn't say it's a big drumbeat, but I have definitely been asked that.”

The largest reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in the U. S.’s INDC will come from the EPA’s proposed Clean Air Act rules for new and existing power plants.  Stern went on to re-assure reporters that “[W]e have a very solid basis for...having confidence in the power plant rule and other regulatory steps that we’ve taken.  These kinds of EPA regulations have been repeatedly challenged over time and almost always upheld.”

This suggests to me that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other Republicans in Congress are being heard internationally and need to step up their efforts to make it clear that the EPA’s rules will not survive in Congress even if they survive court challenges.         

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,