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Entries in Climate Alarmism (67)

Saturday
Aug302014

Cooler Heads Digest 29 August 2014 

29 August 2014

In the News

Taking the Lead on Carbon Is a Losing Game
Chip Knappenberger, Providence Journal, 29 August 2014

Six Threats Bigger Than Climate Change
Sen. John Barrasso, Wall Street Journal, 29 August 2014

American Oil Bonanza Keeps Gas Prices Affordable
Clifford Krauss, New York Times, 28 August 2014

U.S. Fracking Boom Stabilizes Global Oil Market
Ronald Bailey, Reason Hit & Run, 28 August 2014

Watchdog: Germany Needs Coal To Balance Dependency on Russian Gas
Christopher Steitz, Reuters, 27 August 2014

James Hansen: “I Struggle To Sleep” (with current energy trends, energy policy)
Robert Bradley, Jr., Master Resource, 26 August 2014

Government Science Advisors: Where Are the Honest Brokers?
Roger Pielke, Jr., Guardian, 26 August 2014

Under Assault from Big Green, Coal Is Fighting Back
Ron Arnold, Washington Examiner, 26 August 2014

Obama’s Green Unicorn
Peter Roff, U.S. News & World Report, 25 August 2014

EPA on Mann’s “Fraud” Invective (be sure to read this)
Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit, 22 August 2014

News You Can Use
Arctic Ice Up 60% over Last Two Years

Steve Goddard today noted Danish Meteorological Institute data showing a 63% increase in Arctic sea ice extent since the same date in 2012, and an increase of 76% since the 2012 summer minimum.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

GAO Whitewashes Social Cost of Carbon

The U. S. Government Accountability Office this week released a “regulatory impact analysis” on the development of the Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) estimates. The GAO report finds nothing to criticize in the federal interagency working group’s process that produced a guidance document in 2013 that raised its estimates of the social cost of carbon by roughly 50-60% over those it had made in 2010.  On the other hand, the GAO did not attempt to evaluate the actual estimates that the process generated. 

This is a whitewash, as my CEI colleague Marlo Lewis shows in detail in a post on www.GlobalWarming.org. In short, the GAO concludes that the process by which the interagency working group came up with the SCC estimates was unexceptionable and therefore that there is no reason to second guess those estimates.  But in fact, the interagency working group did not follow the White House Office of Management and Budget’s directions, contained in Circular A-4, in two major respects.  First, it did not apply the standard discount rates specified by A-4 of 3% and 7%, but instead used 2.5%, 3%, and 5%.  If the standard OMB discount rate of 7% had been applied as well, then the lower-end SCC estimate would drop dramatically, as has been shown in an analysis by David Kreutzer and Kevin Darayatna of the Heritage Foundation.  

Second, the interagency working group used estimates of global costs and benefits, while OMB Circular A-4 requires that domestic costs and benefits be included (whereas global costs and benefits are merely optional according to A-4).  Using domestic costs and benefits would again dramatically lower the SCC.  As Marlo Lewis shows, a $50 a ton of carbon dioxide SCC could be as low as $3.50 if domestic costs and benefits were the measuring stick.

This is important because federal agencies have used the SCC in 68 rulemakings since 2008 and will be using it even more often in the future.  This information the GAO helpfully provides in an appendix on pages 22-29 of its report.            

Obama Seeks international Climate Agreement That Won’t Require Ratification

Coral Davenport, the climate advocate-reporter for the New York Times, had a top-left-of-the-front-page story on 27th August on the fact that the Obama Administration is pursuing an international agreement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol that will not be a treaty and therefore would not require ratification by the Senate. This is not exactly news.  I have written about it several times in the Digest over the past few years; and my CEI colleague Chris Horner wrote an exhaustive scholarly article for the Federalist Society about the legal perils of unratified treaty commitments.In a subsequent FedSoc piece, Horner also explained in 2009 the pressures and evidence already accumulating that Obama would end up pursuing Kyoto II not calling it a treaty

But Davenport’s article is still worth reading.  The Obama Administration believe that they can sign a new international agreement to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions that will include commitments from all the major emitters and most of the minor emitters, but that will somehow not be a treaty.  The negotiations are supposed to be concluded at the twenty-first Conference of the Parties (COP-21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change at Paris in December 2015.  And the new agreement is supposed to go into effect in 2020.

Domestically, this would mean that a future administration could achieve its commitments to reduce emissions through regulatory actions under existing laws (as the Obama Administration is already doing through the Clean Air Act rules on coal and natural gas power plant emissions and higher CAFÉ standards for vehicles) and through enactment of legislation by Congress.  The thinking is that this will be much easier than Senate ratification, which requires a two-thirds majority.  It is not a co-incidence that the Obama Administration’s chief climate negotiators at the State Department were involved in the negotiations that resulted in the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, which was dead on arrival in the Senate.     

Rupert Darwall, writing in National Review Online, agrees that a new climate treaty would never be ratified, but also thinks that the attempt to negotiate a non-treaty agreement is doomed to fail as well. Darwall may be right, but I nonetheless think that President Obama will work overtime to sign such an agreement at COP-21 or during the last year of his presidency in 2016.  It would be a feather in his cap, and it would be up to his successor to implement the agreement.  It also fits in well with his contempt of the constitutional powers of Congress, as Marlo Lewis, my CEI colleague, discusses on GlobalWarming.org

Science Update
Myron Ebell

Australia Fiddles with Climate Records

Australian biologist Jennifer Marohasy has created a major controversy over the manipulation of temperature records by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. Close inspection of historical data from a number of stations revealed that the BOM had adjusted the data in order to show a significant warming trend in the twentieth century that does not appear in the raw data.  

Marohasy’s revelations expose shenanigans similar to those that have been discovered in temperature data set adjustments by NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies and the U.S. National Climate Data Center.  For some mysterious reason, the adjustments are always in the same direction: temperatures in the early twentieth century are adjusted downward, and more recent temperatures are adjusted upward.  A scholarly article by Marohasy, John Abbot, Ken Stewart, and Dennis Jensen, presents much more evidence of this scientific misconduct in Australia.

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.

Thursday
Aug282014

CEI Today: Obama's international climate change agenda, private aid vs gov't goons, Comcast/TWC merger

Thursday, August 28, 2014
In the News Today

 


OBAMA'S INT'L CLIMATE AGREEMENT - WILLIAM YEATMAN

"The Obama administration is working to forge a sweeping international climate change agreement to compel nations to cut their planet-warming fossil fuel emissions, but without ratification from Congress.," reports the New York Times. But CEI's William Yeatman disputes the paper's political analysis:

The New York Times story incorrectly intimated that the President's plan to circumvent the Congress is based on the need to avoid Republican opposition in the Senate.

In fact, opposition to climate change mitigation policy is robustly bipartisan. Not much has changed since 1997 when the Senate effectively refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol by a 98-0 vote. Senators from both sides the aisle readily recognize that an climate policy is a bigger threat to human wellbeing than is climate change.


> Interview William Yeatman

 

PRIVATE AID vs GOV'T GOONS - IAIN MURRAY

The Freeman: Sending Money Home: Technology or Bureaucracy?

Remittances are helping poor people globally, but regulators loom. In 2011, total private flows of aid totaled $680 billion—almost five times the $138 billion official figure. As I
noted in 2005, “the future of aid to developing countries is private.”


This increase in private aid is great news for all concerned. Except, perhaps, for bureaucrats, who are loath to let good deeds go unpunished. World Bank and United Nations bean counters are denouncing remittance transfer fees as exploitative. > Read more

> Interview Iain Murray
 


COMCAST-TWC MERGER - RYAN RADIA

Comcast-TWC Merger Comments to FCC

 

In comments filed with the Federal Communications Commission yesterday, the Competitive Enterprise Institute urged the FCC to unconditionally approve Comcast’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable (“TWC”). By promptly approving the deal, the Commission is likely to serve the public interest by advancing consumer welfare and facilitating robust competition. > Read more


> Interview Ryan Radia
 

 

 

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CEI President Lawson Bader

@libertynkilts
 

 

Time has a way of blurring memories


Saturday, 10am ET
Realclearradio.org

 





 

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.