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Entries in Climate Alarmism (65)

Saturday
Aug022014

Cooler Heads Digest 01 August 2014 

1 August 2014

Announcements

On Monday, the Competitive Enterprise Institute published a study by CEI senior fellow William Yeatman on “EPA’s Illegitimate Climate Rule.” The report demonstrates that the agency’s recently proposed Clean Power Plan contravenes congressional intent, lacks an electoral mandate, and was written by special interests.

In the News

Former Employees Allege Widespread Illegality at Taxpayer-Backed Solar Company
Lachlan Markay, Washington Free Beacon, 31 July 2014

Solar Power: Is There a Business Case?
Philip Dowd, WattsUpWithThat, 31 July 2014

Is EPA Really Interested in Your Criticism?
Nicolas Loris, The Daily Signal, 30 July 2014

In Search of Real Environmentalism
Ben Acheson, Master Resource, 30 July 2014

Senate Report Details “Billionaire’s Club” Behind Special Interests Holding Reins at EPA
Chris Prandoni, Forbes, 30 July 2014

EPA Regulations a Dark, Costly Chapter in Our History
Paul Driessen, Investor’s Business Daily, 30 July 2014

Heritage Foundation Panel Addresses EPA’s Unprecedented Climate Change Regulations
William Yeatman, GlobalWarming.org, 29 July 2014

College Professor Uses English Class To Push Global Warming
Samantha Reinis, Campus Reform, 29 July 2014

Average Price of Electricity Climbs to All-Time Record
Terence Jeffrey, CNSNews, 29 July 2014

News You Can Use
Study: Ozone Regulation Would Cost $2.2 Trillion

EPA’s impending ozone regulation could cost $2.2 trillion, reduce the gross domestic product by $3.4 trillion, and eliminate 2.9 million jobs between 2017 and 2014, according to a study published this week by the National Association of Manufacturers.

Inside the Beltway
William Yeatman

EPA’s Climate Regulations Take Center Stage in House of Representatives

This week there were two House hearings given to EPA’s proposed Clean Air Act regulations for greenhouse gases from existing power plants, known as the Clean Power Plan.

On Tuesday morning, House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power heard from all five members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on how EPA’s rule would affect the nation’s electricity grid. My colleague Marlo Lewis reported on the hearing at globalwarming.org; his take-away is the rule would fundamentally overhaul the electric system. Regarding electric reliability in particular, it bears noting that EPA’s analysis—which has proven to be unrealistically optimisticconcedes that implementation of the Clean Power Plan would threaten reliability in New England, Florida, and Gulf States. The reality would likely prove to be much worse.

The following morning, I attended a House Science, Space, and Technology Committee held a hearing on “EPA’s Carbon Plan: Failure by Design.” Panelists were Jeffrey Holmstead (partner, Bracewell & Giuliani), Charles McConnell (executive director, Energy & Environment Initiative), David Cash (Commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Quality), and Gregory Sopkin (partner, Wilkinson, Barker, Knauer LLP).

McConnell delivered the best exchanges. During his opening statement, for example, he held up a dime, and notedthat EPA’s Clean Power Plan would limit sea level rise by an amount commensurate with 1/3rd the thickness of the coin. His dramatics aptly demonstrated the fact that EPA's climate rule is all pain and no gain.

However, his most impactful testimony pertained to EPA’s inability to work with other agencies. Before resigning in early 2013, McConnell was assistant secretary for fossil energy at the Energy Department. This is the office responsible for facilitating federal assistance in the development of carbon capture and sequester (CCS) technology. In fact, EPA required CCS technology in its controversial carbon rule for new coal-fired power plants, so you’d think that EPA would’ve welcomed collaboration with McConnell’s office. Alas, you’d be wrong. McConnell told the committee that “a true collaborative effort would have been far different from what I observed." According to Mr. McConnell, EPA viewed the interagency process as a “box-checking exercise” and he called the agency’s attitude “disingenuous.”

McConnell’s account raises troubling issues. For starters, EPA has no functional expertise in CCS technology. It is, therefore, strange that the agency would spurn input from a federal office that does possess such expertise. EPA’s failure to do so suggests incompetence, and it perhaps explains why the regulation is rife with legal flaws.  

Taking a step back, his testimony makes me wonder if there’s anyone with whom EPA works well, other than environmental special interests (of course). After all, the Department of Energy is a fellow federal agency. They’re peers, yet EPA refused to get along. Moreover, we know that Obama’s EPA has had an terrible relationship with States, which are supposed to be the agency’s partners under the cooperative federalism framework established by the Clean Air Act. And it goes without saying that this EPA treats “dirty” industry with contempt. Thus, EPA has rejected collaboration with both the public and private sectors. Unfortunately, so long as Congress refuses to act and the judiciary defers evermore to agency action, EPA can go it alone.

Across the States
William Yeatman

EPA Holds Public Hearings on Clean Power Plan

EPA this week held public hearings on its proposed Clean Power Plan in Washington, D.C., Denver, Atlanta, and Pittsburgh. The fact that EPA scheduled these hearings in metropolitan areas, rather than the areas of the country that will be most affected by the rule, raised the ire of prominent critics, including Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who called the hearings a “sham.”

On a personal note, I signed up to speak at the one in Washington, but EPA denied me the opportunity. The Daily Caller’s Michael Bastasch reported that my experience was not unique, and that opponents of the rule seem to have been disproportionately shut out of the D.C. hearing.

Notably, the hearings were bookended by ominous signs. At the last minute, the hearing in Atlanta was moved to a new location, due to power outage. And on the final day of hearings, Alpha Natural Resources announced it would eliminate 1,100 coal mining jobs in Appalachia; the company attributed the decision in part to EPA regulations. These two phenomena—power scarcity and job losses—are likely manifestations of EPA’s Clean Power Plan, if it is finalized in anything resembling its proposed form.

Around the World
William Yeatman

International Monetary Fund Proposes $1.60 U.S. Gas Tax

National Journal’s Jason Plautz yesterday reported on a new book published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), whose thesis is that “energy prices in many countries are wrong” because they don’t account for global warming. For the U.S., the IMF recommends a $1.60 per gallon gas tax. Thankfully, IMF has no power over U.S. domestic policy. Nonetheless, the Fund’s evident mission creep is eyebrow-raising. Why is the IMF, whose original purpose was to ensure exchange-rate stability, writing white papers about implausible American domestic policies?

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
Jul262014

Cooler Heads Digest 25 July 2014 

25 July 2014

Announcements

On Monday, July 28, from 11:00 AM to 12:15 PM, the Heritage Foundation will host a panel on "Federal Overreach at the Environmental Protection Agency," moderated by Nicolas Loris, and featuring Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Penn.), CEI’s William Yeatman, and David Kreutzer from Heritage. RSVP here.

In the News

Obama on Climate Change: We Must Make Sure the Planet Works
Charlie Spiering, Big Government, 25 July 2014

Fracking, InsideClimate, and Public Integrity
Steve Everley, Energy in Depth, 24 July 2014

California Environmentalism Conflicting with Pocketbook Concerns
Molly Peterson, KPCC, 24 July 2014

Mark Levin Sues EPA for Destroying Emails
C. J. Ciaramella, Washington Free Beacon, 24 July 2014

Surprise: Greens’ Preferred Sue and Settle Court Is in California Bay Area
William Yeatman, GlobalWarming.org, 23 July 2014

The Struggle to Mainstream Electric Vehicles
Allen Brooks, Master Resource, 23 July 2014

Federal Lands Deserve an Energy Boom Too
Robert Bradley, Jr., Forbes, 21 July 2014

Sue and Settle: Another Way for Greens to Halt Progress
Stephen Moore, Investor’s Business Daily, 21 July 2014

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Is “Obsessive and Dangerous”
Laura Helmuth, Slate, 20 July 2014

News You Can Use

Poll: Americans Give Low Priority to Climate Change

Just 4 percent of respondents in a new Politico poll of likely voters in competitive Senate states and House districts identified the environment as the national issue that concerns them the most. The highest ranking concerns were the economy and jobs, which were chosen by 21 percent and 10 percent of respondents, respectively.

Inside the Beltway

Senate EPW Republicans Audition Arguments against EPA’s Clean Power Plan

On Wednesday morning, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy testified on the agency’s climate regulations for existing power plants before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, during which the minority party auditioned a number of arguments in opposition to the rule.

The regulation is known as the Clean Power Plan. It was proposed on June 2 and would, if finalized in its current form, effectively overhaul the electric industry in accordance with EPA’s climate goals.

Sens. David Vitter (R-La.) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) argued that the rule represented an unprecedented executive power grab, which is true. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) argued that the Clean Power Plan would shut down coal-fired power plants, which is also true. And Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) presented evidence that the rule wouldn’t actually impact global temperatures and is, therefore, all pain and no gain.

These polemics are all spot-on. However, the finest argument was put forth by Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wy.), who argued that the rule was an outrageous example of regulatory capture. Here’s what he said:

On July 6th of this year, the New York Times wrote a piece about the outsized role that the NRDC had in developing the EPA’s new regulations to curb power plant emissions…The article says it was a remarkable victory for the NRDC. Now, for those outside the beltway, NRDC is a $120 million a year lobbying machine, backed by Hollywood elites. It is absolutely shameful to me that the EPA, under the direction of this administrator, would allow a team of lawyers and lobbyists to draft their regulations…

EPA has decided to push a rule that was drafted behind closed doors by powerful, wealthy Washington lawyers and lobbyists at the NRDC. Let’s be clear, NRDC is a wealthy, elite, powerful lobbying machine with more influence over decision making in Washington than any ordinary U.S. citizen. They have millions which gives them access. The EPA turns a deaf ear on those that don’t.

Bravo, Mr. Barrasso!

The Wyoming Senator concluded his opening statement by throwing down a gauntlet. He challenged EPA and NRDC to comply with the Committee’s information requests, in order to ascertain the extent to which EPA has been captured by green special interests.

Across the States

Activist Judge in West Virginia Issues Another Anti-Coal Decision

West Virginia District Judge Robert Chambers issued another suspiciously anti-coal ruling this week when he granted partial summary judgment to the plaintiffs, the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Sierra Club, and West Virginia Highlands Conservancy and found Alpha Coal liable for selenium pollution that violates the Clean Water Act and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act.

The ruling is flawed on a number of counts. For starters, selenium discharge wasn’t included in the permits pursuant to these two statutes, so it’s unclear how Alpha could be responsible for controlling it. This isn’t a cause for alarm: The plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that the discharges of selenium actually caused any deleterious impacts.

More to the point, this is merely the latest activist decision from Judge Chambers, who is evidently anti-coal (see “Across the States”  from the June 6 Cooler Heads Digest). In fact, Judge Chambers used to be a member of one of the plaintiff organizations (the W.V. Highlands Conservancy).

Around the World

Green Is the New Red

At a preparatory conference to the 20th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change this week in Venezuela, more than 130 environmental organizations signed the Margarita Declaration, which calls for the end of capitalism in order to fight global warming.

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.

Wednesday
Jul232014

ALG's Daily Grind - Time for the government to stop picking winners and losers in the marketplace 

6

July 22, 2014

Permission to republish original opeds and cartoons granted.

Time for the government to stop picking winners and losers in the marketplace
Federal government rules are making it exceedingly difficult for local retailers to compete against Internet retailers.

Cartoon: Israel's Shoes

Australia shoots down climate lobby's scare mongering
It's time for the U.S. to learn from Australia's mistakes.

Tapscott: Do Republicans want to repeal Democrats' disastrous Big Government or surrender to it?
Washington Examiner executive editor Mark Tapscott quotes Americans for Limited Government vice president of public policy and communications taking on Republican columnist Michael Gerson of the Washington Post over the future of the Republican Party.

Tuesday
Jul082014

Rubens For US Senate - Latest Example of Shaheen Corporate Cronyism 

Rubens Statement on Shaheen/Steyer Climate Hypocrisy

Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Jim Rubens today called out Jeanne Shaheen for her career record collecting direct and indirect campaign cash for doing political favors for big energy interests, her latest infusion from hedge fund billionaire and climate hypocrite Tom Steyer.

Steyer, founder and partner of Farallon Capital Management, is highlighted in a July 4 New York Times article for having simultaneously pledged to spend $100 million to defeat candidates opposed to action on climate change and for personally profiting from investments in coal mines and coal-fired power plants in South Asia and Australia.

Rubens issued the following statement:
"Jeanne Shaheen's lifetime political career is built on corporate cronyism with big energy interests. She has used her powers in elected office to enrich and protect the reputations of her corporate benefactors. Case in point being her constant catering to powerful energy interests to the detriment of energy consumers and the people of New Hampshire.

"Now, Jeanne Shaheen has cozied up to hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer in a calculated act of mutual greenwashing. Steyer gets cover for his coal profits. Shaheen gets Super PAC support from coal money. They are both using climate change as a partisan wedge issue to benefit Democrats and have frozen potential political progress on the issue."

Shaheen On Carbon
Both Steyer and Shaheen back President Obama's proposed EPA power plant carbon rule, which protects coal states and punishes New Hampshire. To reach the national goal of a 30 percent reduction in power plant carbon emissions by 2030, coal states West Virginia, Wyoming, and Kentucky are required to cut emissions by only 18-19 percent, with New Hampshire's mandated reductions at 46 percent.

Shaheen was a champion of the Kerry-Boxer cap & trade bill of 2009, a 1,758-page monster, written by industry lobbyists, chock-a-block full with special interest carve-outs and payoffs, and hyper-complex energy market distortions.

For the record, Jim Rubens is the single Republican candidate for U.S. Senate who accepts published climate science. He has proposed ending crony capitalism and Washington rent seeking by energy interests and instead allowing market forces to replace high-cost carbon based energy sources with lower cost, abundant and clean energy sources.

Shaheen on Northern Pass
Jeanne Shaheen has accepted campaign contributions from Northeast Utilities executives (see below), has straddled the Northern Pass transmission line issue and has failed to force a fair and open EIS scoping process so that all electricity supply alternatives are considered. Her failure to lead threatens the economy of the North Country, property values and, most importantly, property rights.

In contrast, Jim Rubens has taken an unambiguous position on Northern Pass. If it is to be built, it must be buried, preferably on state-owed rights of way with the ROW rental revenue benefiting New Hampshire taxpayers, not Northeast Utilities in Connecticut.

Shaheen on the PSNH Stranded Cost Bailout
As Governor, Jeanne Shaheen supported the PSNH stranded cost bailout of 2001, resulting in her electricity tax still being paid by PSNH ratepayers.

In contrast, Jim Rubens led the fight against this bailout while serving in the state senate.

Gregory B. Butler
Senior Vice President and General Counsel
Northeast Utilities

Thomas J. May
Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer
Northeast Utilities

Leon J. Olivier
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
Northeast Utilities

Joseph R. Nolan
Senior Vice President of Corporate Relations
Northeast Utilities

Monday
Jun302014

Cooler Heads Digest 27 June 2014 

27 June 2014

Announcements

  • The Texas Public Policy Foundation this month published a new study by Kathleen Hartnett White titled, “Fossil Fuels: The Moral Case.” Click here to read the report.
     
  • The Digest will not be published next Friday, July 4. Happy Independence Day.

In the News

$10,000 Bet on Climate Change: Asking the Wrong Question
E. Calvin Beisner, Master Resource, 26 June 2014

ISIS and Doing Stupid S---
David Kreutzer, The Hill, 26 June 2014

House Committee Moves Secret Science Bill; Greens Fret
William Yeatman, Global Warming.org, 26 June 2014

EPA Employees Told To Stop Pooping in Hallway (actual title!)
Eric Katz, Fedblog, 25 June 2014

EPA Joins IRA Lost E-mails Club
Erica Martinson, Politico, 25 June 2014

On Climate Change, Who Are the Real ‘Deniers’?
Cal Thomas, Washington Examiner, 25 June 2014

Global Warming Believers Deny Reality
Richard Rahn, Washington Times, 23 June 2014

Greenpeace in Financial Disarray
Adam Vaughan, Guardian, 23 June 2014

Act Locally, Wish Globally
Kevin Williamson, National Review Online, 23 June 2014

News You Can Use
Poll: More Than Half of Americans Don’t Believe in AGW

Daily Caller’s Michael Bastasch this week reported on a new Pew Research Center poll showing that 35 percent of Americans say there is not enough solid evidence that mankind is warming the Earth, while another 18 percent says the world has warmed due to “natural patterns” and not human activity. That’s a 53 percent majority against AGW.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

Supreme Court Talks Tough, Then Turns EPA Loose

The Supreme Court on Monday, 23rd June, handed down its decision on the appeal of the EPA’s endangerment finding. The court’s decision was written by Justice Antonin Scalia.  He used very strong language several times to scold the Environmental Protection Agency for wanting to expand their regulatory authority beyond statutory limits.  For example, on page 19, Scalia writes:

“The fact that EPA’s greenhouse-gas-inclusive interpretation of the PSD and Title V triggers would place plainly excessive demands on limited governmental resources is alone a good reason for rejecting it; but that is not the only reason. EPA’s interpretation is also unreasonable because it would bring about an enormous and transformative expansion in EPA’s regulatory authority without clear congressional authorization. When an agency claims to discover in a long-extant statute an unheralded power to regulate ‘a significant portion of the American economy,’ Brown & Williamson, 529 U. S., at 159, we typically greet its announcement with a measure of skepticism. We expect Congress to speak clearly if it wishes to assign to an agency decisions of vast ‘economic and political significance.’”

That sounds good, and many opponents of the EPA’s regulation of greenhouse gas emissions using the Clean Air Act have hailed the decision as finally pushing back against the EPA.  The Wall Street Journal, for example, called the decision “a constitutional tutorial for Obama” and “a smackdown” and claimed that “the Justices feed several major climate regulations into the wood chipper.”

That is the rhetoric of Scalia’s majority decision, but the substance is quite different.  As Scalia notes, the Court’s decision allows the EPA to regulate 83% of greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources instead of the 86% that EPA proposed to regulate.  My CEI colleague, William Yeatman, offers expert commentary on GlobalWarming.org

The opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito, with the concurrence of Justice Clarence Thomas, is much more coherent and well-reasoned than Scalia’s decision.  It is worth reading and can be found at the end of the Supreme Court’s online post.

Obama Celebrates First Anniversary of Climate Plan

President Barack Obama marked the first anniversary of his climate action plan on 25th June by speaking at the annual fundraising dinner of the League of Conservation Voters.  It was a bland speech except for his excoriation of climate change deniers in Congress.  The president once again did not mention that he never mentioned that he would concentrate on climate policies in his second term during his 2012 re-election campaign.  

On the same day White House officials and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew met with Tom Steyer, the California billionaire who has spent millions opposing the Keystone XL Pipeline and promises to spend $100 million more to elect Democrats to the Senate this fall, and Hank Paulson, former Treasury Secretary and former head of Goldman Sachs. They discussed a new report that their group, Risky Business, released this week on the economic risks of global warming, particularly for big business.  The other principal in Risky Business is Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York City. I never mention Paulson without pointing out that CEI actively opposed his confirmation as Treasury Secretary in the waning years of the George W. Bush administration. 

The visit by Steyer and Paulson to the White House was a bit too much even for Democrats in Congress who are trying to get re-elected by accusing billionaires Charles and David Koch of trying to buy the election for Republicans.  An unnamed House Democrat told the Washington Examiner, “It stinks.” 

House Passes Energy Bills for Senate to Ignore

The House of Representatives this week passed three access-to-energy bills.  H. R. 4899, the Lowering Gasoline Prices to Fuel an America that Works Act, was sent to the Senate, where it will die, by a vote of 229 to 185. The bill directs the Department of Interior to expand oil production in federal offshore areas and in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska.

H. R. 6, the Domestic Freedom and Global Prosperity Act, was sent to the Senate on a 266 to 150 vote. The bill expedites the permitting process for liquefied natural gas export terminals.  It was sponsored by Representative Cory Gardner (R-Colo.).   He is running for the Senate against incumbent Mark Udall (D-Colo.).  After Gardner introduced his bill, Udall quickly followed by introducing a similar bill in the Senate. 

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has been doing his best to keep his Democratic majority by not holding votes on anything, but he may have to allow a vote on Udall’s bill.  The Hill newspaper reported this week that Reid’s strategy may be starting to hurt endangered Democratic incumbents. It pointed out that Senator Mark Begich (D-Alaska), elected in 2008 and up for re-election this November, has never been allowed a floor vote on any amendment he has offered. Many other Senators have had the same experience. 

H. R. 3301, the North American Energy Infrastructure Act, was sent to the Senate, where it will die, by a vote of 233 to 173. The bill reforms the process for permitting pipelines that cross national boundaries by, among other things, removing the president from the decision-making process.

Across the States
Myron Ebell

Judge Requires Social Cost of Carbon in NEPA Analysis

According to a story by Manuel Quinones in Environment and Energy PM ($), a federal judge in Colorado has blocked the expansion of a coal mine operated by Arch Coal because the Bureau of Land Management did not give an adequate reason for not including an analysis of the social cost of the carbon dioxide emissions that the coal from the mine would produce in its Environmental Impact Statement under the National Environmental Policy Act.  The suit was filed by Wild Earth Guardians, the Sierra Club, and High Country Conservation Advocates. 

Around the World
Patrick Hannaford

Australia Set To Repeal Carbon Tax

Australia has taken another step towards repealing its carbon tax, with the Liberal and National Parties Coalition government this week securing the votes for its signature legislation to pass the Senate.

Set to hold 33 out of 76 seats when the new Senate, which was elected last fall,  takes office in July, the Coalition will depend on the support of a collection of independent and minor party Senators in order to fulfil its election promise.

That support was secured on Thursday, with an agreement between Prime Minister Tony Abbott and newly elected MP, Clive Palmer, whose Palmer United Party (PUP) is set to control 4 votes in the Senate.

Mr. Palmer agreed to support repeal of the carbon tax, on the condition the legislation ensured that savings be passed on to consumers. However, in a characteristically inconsistent decision, Mr Palmer announced that the PUP will vote against the abolition of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the Climate Change Authority, and the Renewable Energy Target – all set up in conjunction with the carbon tax.

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.