Cooler Heads Digest 03 April 2015

3 April 2015


The Competitive Enterprise Institute joined Americans for Tax Reform, National Taxpayers Union, and 29 other conservative and free-market organizations in signing a coalition letter in support of Sen. Mitch McConnell’s work with States to contest the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan. Read the letter here.

In the News

Dear Gina (and Jerry): Where’s the Climate Science behind Your Plan?
Robert Bradley, Jr., Master Resource, 3 April 2015

GOP Governors Unwittingly Recruited by Biofuels Lobby
Ben Wolfgang, Washington Times, 3 April 2015

EPA and States Square Off over Mercury
Stephen Heins, Public Utilities Fortnightly, 3 April 2015

EPA’s Mercury Rule Would Cost Economy at Least $16 Billion Per Year
Brian Potts, Forbes, 3 April 2015

Scientist Predicts 2015 Is Hottest Year on Record with 9 Months To Go
Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller, 3 April 2015

The Backlash against Obama’s Committing U.S. to International Climate Agreement
Katie Tubb & David Kreutzer, Daily Signal, 2 April 2015

Federal Judge Rejects EPA’s ‘Lack of Jurisdiction’ Argument in Murray Energy Suit
Linda Harris, State Journal, 2 April 2015

7 Questions with John Christy and Roy Spencer: Climate Change Skeptics for 25 Years
Paul Gattis, Birmingham News, 1 April 2015

Tom Steyer’s Group Shutters Climate Policy Arm as Political Efforts Ramp Up
Elana Schor & Andrew Restuccia, Politico, 1 April 2015

German Cabinet Approves Draft Anti-Fracking Law
Nicole Sagener, EUractiv, 2 April 2014

“Moral Case for Fossil Fuels” Author Shares Success in Spreading Message
Taylor Kuykendall, SNL Energy, 31 March 2015

Grasping for Pause-ible Deniability on Climate Change
Greg Jones, The Federalist, 30 March 2015

Climate Sensitivity and Environmental Worries Are Trending Downward
Patrick Michaels & Chip Knappenberger, Cato at Liberty, 27 March 2015

News You Can Use
2014 U.S. Oil Production Increase Was Largest in More Than 100 Years

U.S. crude output increased by a record 1.2 million barrels a day to 8.7 million b/d last year, according to a report published this week by the Energy Information Administration. That is the largest volume increase since 1900, the year the agency began keeping records.

Inside the Beltway

Obama Submits Climate Pledge to UN—But It’s DOA in Senate
Myron Ebell

The Obama Administration submitted its intended nationally-determined contribution (or INDC) to the Paris Accord on 31st March.  Other parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change that have made their submissions are: the European Union, Russia, Switzerland, Norway, Mexico, and Gabon.  They are all posted on the UNFCCC web site here.

The five-page U. S. INDC pledges that the United States will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025.  The White House proposes to achieve the target through a long list of administrative actions, none of which require new legislation from Congress.  These include: the EPA’s proposed regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new and existing coal and natural gas-fired power plants; Corporate Average Fuel Economy (or CAFÉ) standards for cars, light trucks, and heavy-duty trucks; a long list of new energy efficiency standards for appliances, equipment, and building codes; and regulations to reduce methane emissions from landfills and the oil and gas sector.

Although these regulatory policies do not require new legislation, the submission does not mention that the Clean Air Act regulations on power plants may not survive legal challenges or congressional opposition.  There is majority opposition to the EPA’s power plant rules in both the House and Senate.  Moreover, all of these policies require the co-operation of Congress through the appropriations process. 

Still to be determined in the negotiations on the Paris Accord, which are scheduled to conclude at the twenty-first Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (or COP-21) in December in Paris, is the nature of the agreement.  The negotiating text says that it will take “the form of a protocol, another legal instrument, or an ‘agreed outcome with legal force,” and will be applicable to all parties.  This sounds like the Paris Accord, whatever form it takes, will be legally binding.  If so, it seems inescapable that U. S. participation will require Senate ratification.  But that is just what the Obama Administration’s highly experienced negotiators in the State Department are trying to avoid.  They learned from the Kyoto Protocol, which was doomed in the Senate from the moment the negotiations were concluded in December 1997.  Ratification requires a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate.  

The fact that Senate ratification requires a two-thirds majority vote means that the Paris Accord is almost certainly dead on arrival in the current Senate.  That’s why Senator James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, told the Daily Caller: “The Obama administration’s pledge to the United Nations today will not see the light of day with the 114th Congress.” Sen. Inhofe’s full remarks are available in the committee’s press release. Here are articles on the submission in the New York Times and the Washington Times.

EPW Republicans to McCarthy: Is EPA Climate Science Consistent with Data?
Marlo Lewis

At a March 4 Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) committee hearing, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) queried EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy about climate change impacts, global temperatures, and climate models. McCarthy opined that droughts and storms are becoming more frequent worldwide, but had no data to back up her opinion when Sen. Sessions cited conflicting evidence.

In addition, although apparently unaware of the growing divergence between climate model predictions and observations, McCarthy was confident it was irrelevant to EPA’s assessment of climate change risks (i.e. the scientific rationale for the administration’s climate policies). She did, however, promise to provide written answers to Sen. Sessions “within a few days.” See 1:30-6:57 of this video clip.

On April 1, Sessions and three other EPW Republicans (Inhofe of Oklahoma, Wicker of Mississippi, and Barrasso of Wyoming) sent a letter reminding McCarthy of her promise and stating their questions in more detail.

Citing the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment and other information, the Senators challenge McCarthy to substantiate her views and the accuracy of climate models with respect to drought, storms, and global temperatures.

Sen. Sessions’s press release, which includes the text of the letter, is available here. 

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,