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Entries in Climate Alarmism (44)

Tuesday
Apr152014

CEI - Bogus science claims from White House prompt CEI request for correction

The White House got it wrong. But the good news is they have a chance to set the record straight.

The trouble started when the White House put out a two-minute video that included claims that recent cold spells in the U.S. are linked to global warming. CEI attorneys Sam Kazman and Hans Bader today filed a formal request under the Information Quality Act for the White House to correct the erroneous claims in question:

"In reality, as we explain below, the evidence (including the conclusions of peer-reviewed scholarly articles) indicates that the kind of extreme cold experienced in the United States this past winter is not linked to global warming."

For example: "[White House Science Advisor John] Holdren’s claim of 'a growing body of evidence' is contradicted by recent peer-reviewed studies. These studies find that that global warming is not leading to increased atmospheric winter blocking, much less causing an increase in winter cold waves or cold weather."

View a write up of the matter on Globalwarming.org and posted below, along with a link to the request letter. Let me know if you would like to speak to one of the attorneys about this issue, or perhaps forward to a colleague?

Best,
Christine
CEI Communications Director
202.331.2258


Globalwarming.org

Will Cherry Blossoms Get Sucked into the Polar Vortex?
By Sam Kazman


DC’s cherry trees hit their official peak blossom date last Thursday, April 10th.  That’s the latest in the year that the Capital has experienced peak blossoming in over two decades.  (For you botanical historians, the last time that peak blossoming occurred this late or later was in 1993, when the event fell on April 11.)

In 2013 the blossoms were almost as late, hitting their peak on April 9.  That was a pretty dramatic change from 2012, when the date fell on March 20. This change was most disconcerting to two groups: tourists trying to plan their trips to DC in advance, and global warming alarmists who trumpeted every earlier-than-expected cherry blossom as yet further proof of global warming.  In fact, in a sizzling multi-part blog post series last year, followed by dozens of readers, we charted peak blossom dates against global warming data.  We even had graphs.  (See Adam Sandberg, Peak Bloom Is Here – DC’s Global Warming Canary Lands with Frost on its Feet, April 15, 2013.)

The past two years of unusually late blooms largely resulted from unusually cold weather.  But unusually cold weather, in the view of White House Science Advisor John Holdren, is actually yet another sign of global warming.  Holdren explained this to a freezing yet grateful nation in a two-minute video last January entitled The Polar Vortex Explained in 2 Minutes.

We suspect that Holdren’s agency, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), may now have a second video in the works in this Blame-Everything-On-Global-Warming series.  Perhaps they’ll call it Delayed Peak Blossoming Explained in 2 Minutes.

Regardless, we think Holdren’s first video is scientifically bogus, and so today we’re filing a formal Information Quality Act Correction Request with OSTP on that very issue.  Who knows—we may yet nip this video series in the bud.

Saturday
Apr122014

Cooler Heads Digest 11 April 2014 

11 April 2014

In the News

Walton Jones on the Social Cost of Carbon
Marlo Lewis, GlobalWarming.org, 10 April 2014

Let’s Do What We Do Best: Oil & Gas
Edward Cross, Hays Daily News, 10 April 2014

EPA’s Lack of Transparency Extends to States
Chris Horner, Open Market, 9 April 2014

If You Think Sky Is Falling, Check Out the Prophecies of the 1970s
Michael Barone, Washington Examiner, 9 April 2014

Let’s Talk about Energy Inequality
Robert Bradley, Jr., Master Resource, 8 April 2014

How Climate Change Conquered the American Campus
Paul Tice, Wall Street Journal, 7 April 2014

The Game Is Up for Climate Change Zealots
Charles Moore, The Telegraph, 6 April 2014

The Spread of “Debate Is Over” Syndrome
Joel Kotkin, Orange County Register, 4 April 2014

News You Can Use
President Hindering Oil and Gas Development on Federal Lands

Despite the oil and gas boom unleashed by hydraulic fracturing, federally issued drilling permits last year dropped to their lowest level in more than a decade, according to new data from the Bureau of Land Management. Since President Obama took office, total federal oil production has declined 7.8 percent and federal natural gas production has declined 21 percent.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

Eleven Senate Democrats Urge Obama To Act on Keystone

Eleven Democratic Senators sent a letter to President Barack Obama this week urging him to make a final decision on whether to permit the Keystone XL Pipeline no later than 31st May.  Senators Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana initiated the letter.  Other signers were Mark Begich of Alaska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Mark Warner of Virginia, Jon Tester of Montana, John Walsh of Montana, and Kay Hagan of North Carolina.

Six of these Democrats—Landrieu, Begich, Pryor, Warner, Walsh, and Hagan— are running for re-election in November, and most of them face serious challenges from pro-energy Republicans.  Interestingly, Senator Mark Udall of Colorado did not sign the letter, even though he is running and his Republican opponent, Rep. Cory Gardner, is focusing on Keystone and other energy issues.

Asked about the letter at a White House press conference, Obama spokesman Jay Carney replied, “Our position on that process hasn’t changed, which is that it needs to run its appropriate course without interference from the White House or Congress.”  The process to which Carney refers is the State Department deliberation on whether the pipeline from Alberta’s oil sands to Gulf refineries is in the national interest.  State’s very lengthy environmental impact analysis concluded earlier this year that there were no major environmental issues.     

Sen. Landrieu, the new chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, responded to Carney’s brush-off by announcing that she may move a bill to permit Keystone. The House of Representatives has passed similar legislation several times. My guess is that President Obama will keep trying to delay the pipeline to death.  That’s because he’s more interested in his own interests than in the national interest, and his own interests are more in maintaining good relations with billionaire Democratic donors, such as Tom Steyer, than in maintaining good U. S.-Canada relations.      

EPA Releases Strategic Vision

The Environmental Protection Agency released its 2014-18 strategic plan on Thursday, 10th April.   EPA’s top priority is addressing climate change and improving air quality.  One possibly significant change is that the agency intends to focus more on the largest polluters (including emitters of carbon dioxide, which EPA defines as a pollutant, and producers of fossil fuels) in order to achieve the largest reductions in pollution levels. Otherwise, I see few changes or surprises in a relentlessly misguided and depressing document. 

Senators Sessions and Inhofe Come Out Swinging against EPA

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) announced at an Environment and Public Works Committee hearing this week on the nomination of Janet McCabe to be assistant administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency for air and radiation that he couldn’t vote to confirm McCabe if she insists on denying the conclusion of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that there is no historic trend in the incidence and severity of tropical cyclones (hurricanes and typhoons).  Here’s the video clip:

Climate Progress, an especially deranged outpost of the ironically-named Center for American Progress’s Think Progress web site, immediately accused Sen. Sessions of opposing McCabe “because she accepts climate science.” 

At the same hearing, Senator James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), former chairman of the committee, announced that he will start offering resolutions of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act for every new EPA air regulation until the agency starts doing ongoing economic and employment assessments for all Clean Air Act regulations on an economy-wide basis.  Such assessments seem to be required by Section 321 (a) of the Clean Air Act, but the EPA has always (during previous Republican and Democratic administrations as well as the current administration) limited its analyses to the economic effects of only the facilities directly regulated. 

According to an article in Environment and Energy Daily, Sen. Inhofe’s intention in requiring CRA votes on the Senate floor is to put Senators on record as to whether they support economically-damaging rules.  He has also introduced a bill, S. 2161, along with 30 co-sponsors, to correct the EPA’s interpretation of Section 321(a).  Murray Energy has filed a suit in federal court to compel the EPA to analyze the economy-wide employment effects of Clean Air rules. 

Across the States
Marlo Lewis

California: Greens Reject Carbon Tax for Cap Swap

“California’s Senate majority leader is backing away from a controversial proposal to replace part of the state’s cap-and-trade system with a tax on greenhouse gases,” Climatewire (subscription required) reports.

In February, State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D) introduced legislation to impose a carbon tax on transportation fuels. The tax would start at $15 per ton and increase to $50 per ton by 2030. Steinberg claimed that a carbon tax would give Californians greater certainty about fuel prices than is possible under the State’s cap-and-trade program.

Environmental groups “immediately opposed” the plan. A Natural Resources Defense Council spokesman explained: "It's critical to keep our largest-emitting sectors subject to mandatory carbon pollution limits for the state to meet its near- and long-term climate goals.” Steinberg this week canceled a scheduled committee hearing on the bill.

More evidence of what should already be obvious: the green movement has no interest in swapping mandates, regulations, and cap-and-trade for a carbon tax.

Around the World
William Yeatman

Japan Bows to Reality, Turns to Coal

Nearly three years ago, in the immediate wake of the Fukushima Daiichi disaster, the Japanese government announced a bold energy plan that would replace nuclear power with renewables. Notably, the plan failed to articulate how Japan would achieve this goal.

Nuclear, hydropower, and coal are reliable, which is why they serve as ‘base-load’ electricity generators. That is, they run 24 hours a day, and are taken offline only for maintenance. Renewable energy sources like wind and solar power are intermittent and expensive. As such, it would be a tall order for Japan to replace nuclear with renewables.

Yesterday, the Japanese government approved a new energy plan that recognizes that coal-fired electricity is “an important base-load source.” Renewable energy targets were conspicuously absent. Two weeks ago, Japanese utilities announced that they were certain to build 3,500 megawatts of coal-fired electricity capacity, and possibly 7,000 megawatts more.

Science Update
Marlo Lewis

Is Ocean Acidification a Crisis?

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D.-R.I.) once castigated “climate deniers” for ducking the issue of ocean acidification, claiming skeptics “ignore facts they cannot explain away.”

The term “acidification” is a bit loaded and rhetorical. Although ocean pH has declined from about 8.2 to 8.1 over the past 200 years, there’s no danger of it decreasing to below 7.0 – the pH of neutral water. “De-alkalization” might be a more accurate way of describing the effect of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions on ocean chemistry.

Be that as it may, in a rebuttal to Sen. Whitehouse, I noted that CO2Science.Org, one of the oldest and most prominent skeptic blogs, hosts an extensive (and growing) ocean acidification database, and regularly reviews new scientific research on the topic.

This week on CO2Science.Org, chief blogger Craig Idso posts a 5,700-word essay reviewing 17 field studies of changing ocean pH levels, coral calcification rates, and coral health.

Much of the alarm over ocean acidification is based on short-term laboratory exposure studies. Field studies, notes Idso, “more aptly represent conditions in the real world, many of which conditions are impossible or impractical to incorporate into a laboratory setting.” Here are results from three of the studies reviewed.

Bessat and Buigues (2001) found that, instead of the 6-14% decline in calcification rates predicted by a prominent laboratory study, calcification rates in massive Porites corals in French Polynesia increased during 1801-1990.

Meron et al. (2012) examined two coral species off the coast of Naples, Italy, where CO2 from underwater volcanic vents produces a natural decline in pH levels. The researchers found that the “corals present at the lower pH sites exhibited only minor physiological changes,” and that “no microbial pathogens were detected.”

Similarly, Noonan et al. (2013) examined six scleractinian coral species exposed to elevated CO2 concentrations from volcanic “seeps” near Papua New Guinea. Dissolved CO2 concentrations were 28%-88% higher than in adjacent control areas. Nonetheless, the six species “were all able to not only survive, but to function well throughout the full range of CO2-induced pH values to which they had been exposed throughout their entire life spans,” Idso writes.

For a more extensive review of the literature on acidification and impacts on marine plants and animals, Idso’s chapter on aquatic life in the just-released report Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts.

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.

Monday
Apr072014

CEI Today: Senate vote on jobless benefits, civil liberties in climate change alarmism, and EPA's big numbers 

Monday, April 7, 2014
In the News Today

SENATE VOTE ON JOBLESS BENEFITS - ALOYSIUS HOGAN

 

The Competitive Enterprise Institute will score the Senate votes on jobless benefits. A final vote on the bill is scheduled for Monday. But if Congress wants to actually help people get back to work, it should champion policies that remove all the red tape from job creation and economic growth.  Extending jobless benefits beyond the norm of 26 weeks is a disservice to America’s economy.

> Read the USAToday commentary


> Interview Aloysius Hogan

CLIMATE CHANGE ALARMISTS vs CIVIL LIBERTY - MARLO LEWIS

 

Globalwarming.org: True Conspiracy Theory: The Green Assault on Civil Liberties


Evidence is mounting that environmentalists both prominent and plebeian are all-too willing to forsake my civil liberties in order to mitigate climate change. Of all the affronts to my liberties, none is as unnerving as the President’s climate action plan. He unveiled it last June, and it is avowedly authoritarian. In a speech before students at Georgetown University, President Obama said that his administration would impose climate change mitigation, because the Congress failed to do so. Congressional inaction thus became a pretext for executive policy-making, separation of powers be damned. > Read more


> Interview Marlo Lewis

CEI Podcast for April 3, 2014: Clean Air Act 

 Costs and Benefits

Senior Fellow William Yeatman is skeptical of an EPA report claiming the Clean Air Act will have nearly $2 trillion in annual benefits by 2020.



 




Consumer’s Guide to
Chemical Risk


CEI‘s recently released booklet, A Consumer’s Guide to Chemical Risk: Deciphering the “Science” Behind Chemical Scares,” are tools designed reduce both the confusion and fear about chemicals. 
> Read more



 

 

    

 

CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government.  For more information about CEI, please visit our website, cei.org, and blogs, Globalwarming.org and OpenMarket.org.  Follow CEI on Twitter! Twitter.com/ceidotorg.

 

Saturdays, 10am ET
Realclearradio.org

 

A Moral Defense of Capitalism
 
Interview with Devout humanist, Catholic priest, and social justice advocate Father Robert Sirico, president of the Acton Institute.

 




Saturday
Mar222014

Cooler Heads Digest 21 March 2014 

21 March 2014

In the News

A Tale of Two Cities
Lachlan Markay, Washington Free Beacon, 21 March 2014

Fracking Celebrates Its 65th Birthday
Adam Wilmoth, Oklahoman, 21 March 2014

Nate Silver’s 538: Inconvenient Statistics
Judith Curry, Climate Etc., 20 March 2014

Washington Post Embarrasses Itself with Debunked Koch Keystone Claim
John Hinderaker, Power Line, 20 March 2014

AAAS’s Guide to Climate Alarmism
Patrick Michaels & Chip Knappenberger, WattsUpWithThat, 19 March 2014

Video: CEI’s Chris Horner on Transparency Panel
Judicial Watch, 19 March 2014

Rich Liberals Are Only Group to Oppose Keystone
Pew Research, 19 March 2014

The Growing Benefits of a Warmer World
H. Sterling Burnett, NCPA, 18 March 2014

Killing Wildlife in the Name of Climate Change
Robert Bryce, Master Resource, 19 March 2014

Society of Environmental Journalists Attacks EPA’s Secrecy
Beth Parke & Joseph Davis, Environmental Health News, 18 March 2014

Mainstreaming Fringe Science with John Holdren
Chip Knappenberger, Washington Times, 18 March 2014

The Poverty of Renewables
Bjorn Lomborg, Project Syndicate, 17 March 2014

Living without Lights: The Plight of Energy Poverty
James Konsky, Brown Political Review, 17 March 2014

Mann v. Steyn—An Attack on Free Speech
S.D. Sali, Faith Hope and Charity, 15 March 2014

News You Can Use
Marlo Lewis

Cold Weather Decreases Electric Vehicle Range, AAA Study Finds

A new study by Automobile Association of America (AAA) finds that electric vehicles (EVs) can lose up to 57% of their rated range in cold weather. Reports Julia Pyper in ClimateWire: “At 75 degrees Fahrenheit, the average electric vehicle (EV) battery range in AAA's test was 105 miles. But at a steady 20 degrees, the range dropped by more than half, to 43 miles.”

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

Senate Committee To Revive Wind PTC

The Senate Finance Committee will vote as early as the first week in April on a large package of tax cut extenders, which will include the wind production tax credit (Wind PTC), according to a committee staffer for the Democratic majority.  According to news reports, Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oreg.), the new chairman of the committee, hasn’t decided whether to extend the tax breaks until the end of 2014 or 2015.

The Wind PTC expired at the end of 2013.  Proposals to build new wind farms have been put on hold until the Congress acts to renew the tax subsidy.

Sen. Vitter Releases Report on Fake Spy’s Role at EPA

Senator David Vitter (R-La.), ranking Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, released a report on 19th March on the central role played by recently-convicted felon John Beale in designing the EPA’s 1997 National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone and Particulate Matter.   According to “EPA’s Playbook Unveiled: a Story of Fraud, Deceit, and Secret Science,” which was prepared by the committee’s minority staff, Robert Brenner, head of the Office of Policy, Analysis and Review in the Office of Air and Radiation, recruited his best friend Beale to work in a high-level policy position despite his lack of any qualifications or experience.

Beale spent his last decade at the EPA taking longer and longer leaves of absence based on the fiction that he was also working for the CIA.  In fact, he spent the time at home, at his vacation home on Cape Cod, and traveling on vacation.  He pleaded guilty last December to defrauding the government and was sentenced to 32 months in prison and required to pay $1.4 million in restitution.  Beale, who was the highest paid employee at the EPA for a number of years, was allowed to retire after his fraud became known to now-EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy (who was then deputy administrator for air and radiation) and thus retain his federal pension. 

The most important policy accusation made in the report is that Beale and Brenner had a strategy that used shady and improper methods to achieve their regulatory goals.  The committee press release summarizes this key conclusion: “Beginning in 1995, Beale and Brenner led EPA’s internal process to NAAQS for Ozone and Particulate Matter.  The duo set in motion “EPA’s Playbook,” a strategy to game the system by compressing the interagency review via a friendly sue-and-settle arrangement, relying on secret science, and inflating dubious benefits while underestimating real economic costs.”  The implication is that Beale was acting in a fraudulent manner in his policy work long before he started pretending to be a spy. 

Across the States
Myron Ebell

Indiana Legislature Passes Bill To Repeal State’s Energy Efficiency Mandate

The Indiana legislature has passed and sent a bill to Governor Mike Pence (R) to repeal the State’s energy efficiency rule that requires utilities to reduce consumers’ electricity consumption by 22% by 2025. Governor Pence has until 27th March to sign, veto, or let the bill become law without signing it. 

Governor Pence said in an interview with Indiana Public Broadcasting, “We’re going to very carefully consider the importance of energy efficiency programs and conservation.  But we’re also going to take a careful look at the overall energy costs in the state of Indiana.”

The initial Senate bill, SB 340, was narrow in scope, but was expanded into a full repeal of the electric efficiency requirements when a floor amendment offered by Rep. Heath VanNatter (R-Kokomo) was adopted by the Indiana House.  The Senate then agreed to the House version. 

Kansas Senate Committee Moves Bill To Repeal Green Energy Production Quota

The Kansas Senate’s utilities committee voted on 20th March in favor of a bill to repeal Kansas’s renewable portfolio standard for electric generation.   The bill was then added to a House-passed bill, which means that if the measure passes the Senate it can then be passed by the House without a committee hearing or vote.

According to the Lawrence Journal-World, state Senator Rob Olson (R-Olathe) said that the 2009 law was raising electric rates and was like requiring that “20% of the people to keep a BlackBerry.”  Chances for passing the repeal look good in both the Senate and House, but Governor Sam Brownback (R) has advocated for more wind energy and could veto the bill.

Around the World
Myron Ebell

Did Secretary Kerry Talk Climate Change with Russian Foreign Minister?

U. S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov for six hours in London on Friday, 14th March.  They then talked by phone on Sunday, 16th March.  News reports concentrated on what was or may have been said about Russia’s takeover of the Crimea, but this clearly misses the big story.  As Secretary John Kerry announced in his first speech after being sworn in as Secretary of State, spelled out in detail in his Jakarta speech last month, and directed all U. S. ambassadors in his first policy guidance, the greatest national security threat facing America is climate change, so that’s what he and the State Department are going to be concentrating on. 

John Bolton may snidely remark that Kerry taking on the Russian foreign minister is like a cupcake negotiating with a steak knife, but I bet our Secretary of State had some pretty tough words for Mr. Lavrov about Russia’s obstructionism in the ongoing UN negotiations over a new climate treaty.  On the other hand, Russia could help reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by stopping its enormous deliveries of natural gas to many European countries.  Perhaps that is what Secretary Kerry is cleverly trying to provoke the Russians into doing.

Australian Senate Defeats Carbon Tax Repeal

The Australian Senate on 20th March defeated the conservative Coalition’s legislation to repeal the carbon tax enacted under the previous Labor government.  Senators from the Labor and Green parties combined to defeat the repeal on a 33 to 29 vote.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt immediately announced that the government would re-introduce and pass the legislation in the House after a prescribed three-month delay and then put it before the incoming Senate that will take office in July.  The coalition of the Liberal and National parties can pass the carbon tax repeal in the new Senate if they can pick up the support of Senators representing several minor parties, including independent Nick Xenophon, one from the Motoring Enthusiasts Party, one from the Family First Party, and three from the Palmer United Party, a new party which is headed by Clive Palmer, the Queensland-based iron and coal magnate. 

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.

Saturday
Mar012014

Cooler Heads Digest 28 February 2014 

28 February 2014

In the News

‘All of the Above’ Is an Argument for Cronyism
Robert Bradley, Jr., Master Resource, 28 February 2014

Fact-Checking Bill Maher on Climate Change
Greg Pollowitz, Planet Gore, 28 February 2014

Soon, Climate Change Will Be the Cause of Everything
Charles C. Cooke, National Review Online, 27 February 2014

The Original Sin of Global Warming
Robert Tracinski, The Federalist, 26 February 2014

The EPA’s Breathtakingly Lawless Attempt to Regulate Greenhouse Gases
Marlo Lewis, Forbes, 25 February 2014

Obama’s Rush to Regulate
Ben Goad, The Hill, 24 February 2014

The EPA “Spy” and Double Standards
Wall Street Journal editorial, 23 February 2014

News You Can Use
Examining the Mann “Exonerations”

Over at Climate Audit, Steve McIntyre has published a must-read series debunking Michael Mann’s claim that his work has been “exonerated” by a number of official investigations. McIntyre’s posts debunk these “exonerations,” one by one.  

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments on Climate Regulation Case

The Supreme Court on Monday, 24th February, heard oral arguments in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA, an appeal that narrowly challenges Clean Air Act regulation of greenhouse gases for stationary sources.  I wasn’t there, but according to a report from my colleague, CEI general counsel Sam Kazman, the two attorneys speaking for the many appellants combined as the Utility Air Regulatory Group, Peter Keisler of Sidley Austin and Texas Solicitor General Jonathan Mitchell, did a good job making their arguments and answering questions during the 100-minute session.

The nine Justices appeared split down the middle with Justice Anthony Kennedy in the middle.  The 2007 decision in Massachusetts v. EPA that allowed the EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act was split 5 to 4 with Kennedy in the majority.  However, this time Kennedy may be leaning in the other direction.  According to Michael Doyle of McClatchy Newspapers, at one point Justice Kennedy said to Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, Jr., “I can’t find a single precedent that strongly supports your position.”

Whether the Supreme Court’s decision in the narrow question being considered will have a significant effect on the EPA’s ongoing program to regulate greenhouse gas emissions is a matter of some debate.  Marlo Lewis, my CEI colleague, has decided that a decision against EPA could be important because it would slow down EPA and thereby allow more time for a new administration or the Congress to overturn or roll back the regulations. 

Social Cost of Carbon Update

The comment period on the Office of Management and Budget’s request for expert advice on the Department of Energy’s outlandish guidance document on the Social Cost of Carbon ended on 26th February.  My CEI colleague, Marlo Lewis, wrote lengthy, detailed, and outstanding comments on behalf of CEI and nine other non-profit free market groups—Americans for Tax Reform, CFACT, Freedom Action, FreedomWorks Foundation, Frontiers of Freedom, George C. Marshall Institute, Heartland Institute, Rio Grande Foundation, Science & Environmental Policy Project, and Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.  Marlo discusses some of the key points in a post on GlobalWarming.org. The complete comments can be found here.

If I may be permitted to summarize, the facts are that the social costs of carbon dioxide emissions are entirely speculative, the vast benefits of CO2 emissions, which are less speculative, are ignored in DOE’s guidance document, and DOE has inflated the costs upward by manipulating the discount rate applied to future alleged potential impacts.

Across the States
William Yeatman

Another EPA Regional Administrator Caught Using Private E-mails to Coordinate with Enviro Activists

In order to establish a local presence across the U.S., the EPA maintains 10 field offices, each of which is headed by a Regional Administrator. The Obama administration, unfortunately, has made a practice of staffing these regional positions with former employees of environmental litigation groups. In fact, 50% of the President’s picks to serve as Regional Administrators have a background in green litigation.

This week, CEI Senior Fellow Chris Horner, author of the Liberal War on Transparency, exposed a third Regional Administrator for illegally using private e-mail to correspond with former colleagues at environmental special interests, in plain contravention of the Freedom of Information Act. As reported by the Daily Caller, Horner uncovered evidence that EPA Region 2 (which has jurisdiction over New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and seven Native American tribal nations) Administrator Judith Enck used her private AOL e-mail account to give advice to environmental activists, including securing government funding, getting meetings with high-level officials and attending events.

In 2013, Horner exposed EPA Region 8 (covering Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota) Administrator James Martin’s extensive correspondence on private e-mail with his former co-workers at the Environmental Defense Fund. And earlier this year, Horner discovered that EPA Region 9 (covering California, Arizona, Nevada, and Hawaii) Administrator Jared Blumenfeld relied on his private e-mail to coordinate with former colleagues at the Sierra Club.

Around the World
William Yeatman

Opposition to Climate Goals Growing within EU

For a decade, European Union officials have claimed to be global leaders on climate change mitigation, despite the fact that none of their climate policies actually called for any sort of sacrifice (i.e., economic pain) until starting in 2013. And now that these climate policy promises are coming due, it is telling that the EU is starting to have second thoughts.

According to a EUractiv.com special report published this week, “the talk in Brussels is now all about re-balancing business and environmental objectives.” The latest evidence to this effect was last week’s Competitive Council, a meeting of the EU’s 28 industry ministers. At the conclusion of the conference, the ministers issued a statement noting that, “Several member states pointed to the need for a more balanced approach between the EU's industrial, energy and climate policies.” This comes only weeks after EU’s energy commissioner, Günther Oettinger, spoke out against a proposal to increase the EU planned greenhouse gas cuts to 40% by 2030.

Ultimately, the decision whether to water down the EU’s climate proposals will be made by the member states. However, the unprecedented pushback on the EU’s climate goals from within its bureaucratic structure is indicative of growing popular opposition within certain member states to the priority given climate change, especially since the start of the global recession in 2008.

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.