Cooler Heads Digest 29 January 2016

29 January 2016

In the News

Cherry Picking by D’Arrigo
Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit, 29 January 2016

Revenge Play at EPA
Jeffrey St. Clair, Counterpunch, 29 January 2016

Eco-Rapper Crowdfunds for “Peer Reviewed” Hip Hop Album
James Delingpole, Breitbart, 29 January 2016

Doomsday Clockamamie
Marlo Lewis, Open Market, 28 January 2016

If All Presidents Had Made Energy Policy Like Obama…
Peter Grossman, Washington Examiner, 28 January 2016

State Attorney General Climate Change Investigations Are Unconstitutional
Hans Bader, Open Market, 27 January 2016

Apocalypse Delayed
David French, National Review, 27 January 2016

Emails Show Steyer-EPA Coordination To Undermine Agency Critics
Lachlan Markay, Washington Free Beacon, 27 January 2016

Columbia Journalism School’s Exxon Hit Undermines Virtues of Journalism
Richard Osborne, Crain’s, 26 January 2016

Is Any Component of Obama’s Energy Policy Not Shrouded in Obfuscation?
William Yeatman, Open Market, 26 January 2016

Spain Installed Not a Single Wind Turbine in 2015
Alex Morales, Bloomberg Business, 26 January 2016

News You Can Use
More Than 300 Scientists Announce Support for House Science Committee’s NOAA Investigation

The Daily Caller’s Andrew Follett reports that more than 300 scientists sent a letter to House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, expressing their support for the Committee’s efforts to ensure that NOAA’s climate science publications comply with the Data Quality Act.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

Twenty-Six States Appeal to Supreme Court To Stay EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Rule for New Power Plants

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on 26th January filed on behalf of twenty-six States an appeal of the DC Circuit Court’s refusal to grant an immediate stay of the EPA’s final greenhouse gas rule for new power plants. The U. S. Chamber, National Association of Manufacturers, American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, National Federation of Independent Business, and twelve other industry associations filed a similar appeal on 27th January. Murray Energy announced last week that they would also file an appeal.

The AGs’ 63-page petition makes an impressive case that the so-called “Clean Power” Plan is so legally flawed that it will eventually be overturned in court, but that so much economic damage will be done before the litigation is completed that the rule must be suspended as soon as possible.

The States’ petition begins by reminding the Justices what happened with the Utility Mercury Air Toxics Standards rule:

“This Court’s decision last Term in Michigan v. EPA starkly illustrates the need for a stay in this case.  The day after this Court ruled in Michigan that EPA had violated the Clean Air Act in enacting its rule regulating fossil fuel-fired power plants under Section 112 of the CAA, EPA boasted in an official blog post that the Court’s decision was effectively a nullity.  Because the rule had not been stayed during the years of litigation, EPA assured its supporters that ‘the majority of power plants are already in compliance or well on their way to compliance.’ … In short EPA extracted ‘nearly $10 billion a year’ in compliance before this Court could even review the rule, and then successfully used that unlawfully-mandated compliance to keep the rule in place even after this Court declared that the agency had violated the law.  In the present case, EPA is seeking to similarly circumvent judicial review, but on an even larger scale and this time directly targeting the States.”

In addition to West Virginia and Texas, the following States signed the petition: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina (counsel for the Council on Environmental Quality rather than the AG), New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Chief Justice Roberts asked the EPA to respond to the petition by 4th February.  The federal Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit has scheduled oral arguments in the underlying case challenging the power plant rule for 2nd June.  Written briefs by the petitioners are due by 19th February, and by the respondents by 28th March.      

Around the World
Myron Ebell

UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Secretariat Announces Steps for Signing and Ratifying the Paris Climate Treaty.  The Next Step Is Up To the Senate.

The Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) released on 29th January a statement and a technical document that leave no doubt that the Paris Agreement is a treaty according to all international criteria that requires depositing “instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession” by the parties.  President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern, and their legal allies in environmental pressure groups may quibble all they want that, although it may be considered a treaty by the United Nations and the entire international community, it’s still just a piece of paper that doesn’t rise to the level of a treaty requiring ratification by the Senate; but they cannot hide the reality that it is a treaty and according to the U. S. Constitution cannot go into force in the U. S. until it has been ratified by the U. S. Senate.

Read the rest at

Science Update
Marlo Lewis

Revisiting Gore’s Hurricane Prediction

In An Inconvenient Truth (pp. 94-95), Al Gore blamed global warming for Hurricane Katrina and the devastation of New Orleans. Not in so many words but through heavy-handed insinuation no movie goer could miss.

It seemed plausible because Gore invoked an “emerging consensus linking global warming to the increasing destructive power of hurricanes . . . based in part on research showing a significant increase in the number of category 4 and 5 hurricanes.”

The research to which Gore alluded was Webster et al. (2005), a study which found a significant increase in the number and percentage of category 4 and 5 hurricanes during 1970-2004. The study was hotly debated at the time. For example, on the same day Science magazine published the Webster study, climatologist Patrick Michaels published a critique. Michaels showed that, in the Atlantic basin—the hurricane formation area with the best data over the longest period—the “trends” observed by Webster et al. disappeared once data going back to 1940 were included. Roughly the same number and percentage of intense hurricanes occurred during 1940-1970 as occurred during 1970-2004.

This week’s edition of CO2Science.Org reviews “Extremely Intense Hurricanes: Revisiting Webster et al. (2005) after 10 Years,” a study by Phil Klotzbach of Colorado State University and Christopher Landsea of NOAA/NWS/National Hurricane Center.

Klotzbach and Landsea examine whether the “trends” found by Webster et al. continue after an additional 10 years of data. The two researchers find that “the global frequency of category 4 and 5 hurricanes has shown a small, insignificant downward trend while the percentage of category 4 and 5 hurricanes has shown a small, insignificant upward trend between 1990 and 2014.” They further report that “Accumulated cyclone energy globally has experienced a large and significant downward trend during the same period.” In other words, there has been a large decrease in the overall destructive power of hurricanes based on an assessment of the number, strength, and duration of all individual hurricanes worldwide.

Klotzbach and Landsea conclude that the intense-hurricane trends observed by Webster et al. were primarily due to “observational improvements at the various global tropical cyclone warning centers, primarily in the first two decades of that study.”

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,