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In the News
EPA Disavows American Lung Association Air Quality Claims
Karen Kerrigan, Center for Regulatory Studies, 11 September 2015
Energy Policy Agenda for the Next Administration and Congress
Nicolas Loris, Heritage Foundation, 10 September 2015
Broken Record: Wind Power Lobby Says Industry Faces Total Collapse Without Continuation of Handouts
Jordan Blum, Fuel Fix, 9 September 2015
The Pause Is Driving Down the Long Term Warming Trend
Christopher Monckton, Watts Up with That, 8 September 2015
It Could Happen Here: UK Grid in “Uncharted Territory” as Blackouts Loom
Andrew Critchlow, The Telegraph, 5 September 2015
News You Can Use
AAA: Low Gas Prices (despite Obama's policies)
The American Automobile Association predicted in a statement called “Gas Prices Under $2 on the Way” that drivers over the Labor Day holiday weekend would pay the lowest gas prices since 2004, despite the Obama administration’s policies.
Inside the Beltway
Rep. Paul Gosar Will File Articles of Impeachment Against EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy
Representative Paul Gosar (R-Az.) on 9th September announced that he will introduce articles of impeachment of EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy for high crimes and misdemeanors. The draft resolution finds that on three occasions McCarthy committed perjury or made false statements at committee hearings of the Congress. He is circulating a Dear Colleague letter that asks other Members of the House to co-sponsor his resolution.
The press release from Rep. Gosar’s office provides details on the occasions McCarthy lied to Congress about the EPA’s “Waters of the U. S. Rule.” The final WOTUS rule, which was published on 29th June and went into effect on 28th August, vastly expands federal jurisdiction over wetlands under section 404 of the Clean Water Act. Most of Arizona is desert, but much of it could now be classified as wetlands because rain storms every few years cause water to pour down dry gullies and ravines.
There are other related issues that the House may want to consider when it takes up Gosar’s articles of impeachment. Many are detailed in Chris Horner’s report published by the Energy and Environment Legal Institute on “Improper Collusion Between Environmental Pressure Groups and the Environmental Protection Agency As Revealed by Freedom of Information Act Requests.”
Across the States
California’s Path to Climate Nirvana Hits Some Snags
Legislation to complete California’s transformation into climate nirvana hit some snags this week. On Wednesday, 9th September, State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) and Governor Jerry Brown (D) announced that a provision to require that California petroleum consumption by motor vehicles be reduced by 50% by 2030 would be taken out of SB 350, a major piece of climate legislation.
On Thursday, State Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) announced that she was withdrawing a companion bill, SB 32, that would have put into law executive orders by Governor Brown and his predecessor, Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), that set long-term mandatory targets for reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.
SB 350 was passed out of the Assembly’s Natural Resources Committee late Thursday without the provision cutting gas use and is scheduled for a floor vote on Friday. The California legislature’s current session ends Friday, so it’s not clear as I write whether the bill will make it through. SB 350 still contains provisions requiring that half of the state’s electricity be produced by renewable sources by 2030 and that energy efficiency be doubled in all existing buildings by 2030. State Senator de Leon claims that California’s electric utilities support the bill, as well as Halle Berry, Billy Crystal, Matt Damon, Jane Fonda, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Mark Ruffalo, and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Katy Grimes in California’s essential political blog, the Flash Report, noted that: “Following the press conference, de Leon was seen at a political event arriving and departing in a large, black, gas-guzzling SUV, rather than using an electric car, Toyota Prius or Nissan Leaf. Apparently climate change doesn’t begin with the state’s leadership.” State Senator Pavley was the chief sponsor of AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which was enacted while she was serving in the State Assembly.
Around the World
Pope Francis Will Try To Meet with Ailing Fidel Castro and Will Be Met by Obamas at Andrews AFB
Pope Francis will visit Cuba and the United States from 19th through 27th September. The Vatican’s official schedule for both visits has been published on the Catholic Herald’s web site.
It has since been reported that the Pope will meet with former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, if Fidel is well enough, as well as current dictator Raul Castro while in Cuba.
The White House announced this week that President and Mrs. Obama will meet the Pope on his arrival at Andrews Air Force Base on 22nd September. Pope Francis will address a joint session of Congress on the morning of 24th September. He is then likely to appear on a balcony of the West Front of the Capitol to speak to a “Moral Action for Climate Justice” mass rally on the Mall. The Pope will address the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Summit in New York City on the 25th.
Southern Ocean Carbon Sink Stronger than Previously Thought
Two new studies, one published in Geophysical Research Letters (GRL), the other in Science, find that the Southern Ocean carbon sink has become stronger rather than weaker, contrary to what some scientists previously thought.
In climate parlance, a “carbon sink” is anything that absorbs more carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere than it releases, while a “source” is anything that emits more CO2 than it absorbs. Oceans, forests, and soils comprise the world’s major sinks. The balance between sinks and sources determines the “airborne fraction” – the annual percentage of CO2 emissions that accumulates in the atmosphere.
The GRL paper, which focuses on the Drake Passage, the roughest and windiest part of the Southern Ocean, is based on more than one million observations made by ocean-going vessels during 2002-2015. The Science paper, which examines the entire Southern Ocean, incorporates the GRL study data plus other data going back almost three decades.
As summarized by the American Geophysical Union, which publishes GRL, the studies “conclude that the Southern Ocean has increasingly taken up more carbon dioxide during the last 13 years.” That’s a big deal. Although covering only 26% of total ocean area, the Southern Ocean accounts for nearly 40% of all CO2 absorbed by the world’s oceans.
The increasing efficiency of the Southern Ocean carbon sink conflicts with one of the Obama administration’s rationales for upping its “social cost of carbon” (SCC) estimates by roughly 60% between 2010 and 2013.
The administration bases its SCC estimates on three so-called integrated assessment models – computer programs combining speculative climatology with speculative economics. For its 2013 estimates, the administration used a version of the Dynamic Integrated Climate-Economy (DICE) model that assumes a weakening of ocean sinks.
As noted in our comment letter on the 2013 estimates, empirical studies find that the CO2 airborne fraction has held constant in recent decades, indicating no decline in the efficiency of ocean sinks. The new Southern Ocean studies provide additional evidence that ocean sinks are keeping up with anthropogenic emissions.
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, www.GlobalWarming.org.