The National Association of Scholars has published an excellent new report, “Inside Divestment: The Illiberal Movement To Turn A Generation Against Fossil Fuels.” The report and a summary may be found here.
In the News
NY Attorney General Schneiderman Targets Exxon Mobil
Marlo Lewis, GlobalWarming.org, 12 November 2015
What Climate Alarmists Want: : “A World without Capitalism”
Editorial, Investor’s Business Daily, 10 November 2015
Union: Obama Threw Workers “Under the Bus” with Keystone Decision
Timothy Cama, The Hill, 6 November 2015
A Year into the Bust, American Oilfield Ingenuity Is Still Thriving
Christopher Helman, Forbes, 4 November 2015
News You Can Use
Report Projects Big Costs for “Clean Power” Plan
According to a new economic analysis by NERA Economic Consulting, the EPA’s greenhouse gas rule for existing power plants would cost $292 billion from 2022-2033 and result in double digit electricity price increases.
Inside the Beltway
Senate Likely To Vote on Resolutions To Block EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Rules for Power Plants on 18 November
The Senate is tentatively scheduled to take up the two resolutions of disapproval of the EPA’s greenhouse gas rules for new and existing power plants on Tuesday, 17th November, and vote on them on Wednesday the 18th. A Senate source told me that the votes are almost certain to be held next week.
Senate Joint Resolution 23, sponsored by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and 47 co-sponsors, blocks the NSPS for new power plants. Senate Joint Resolution 24, sponsored by Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and 48 co-sponsors, blocks the ESPS for existing power plants.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee is likely to mark up and pass their versions of the CRA resolutions on Wednesday as well. The subcommittee mark-up resulted in straight party-line votes on H. J. Res. 71 and H. J. Res. 72. Because of the week-long Thanksgiving recess, the full House may not vote on the resolutions until the first week of December, which is also the first week of COP-21, the UN climate conference in Paris that is supposed to conclude negotiations on a new climate treaty.
Although President Barack Obama is almost certain to veto both resolutions, the votes will provide support for including appropriations riders in the Omnibus Appropriations Bill to block the EPA rules and will also undermine the credibility of the Obama Administration at COP-21.
Across the States
Judge Allows Deposition of EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy
Clean Air Act §321(a) requires the EPA to monitor job losses due to the agency’s environmental regulations. In March 2014, Murray Energy, an Ohio-based coal company, commenced a civil action in federal court alleging that the agency has failed to perform its §321(a) responsibilities with regard to monitoring the employment impact of the agency’s war on coal. Murray Energy’s unprecedented lawsuit survived EPA’s early legal maneuvering, and on May 29th, 2015, West Virginia federal district court judge John Preston Bailey allowed Murray to proceed with discovery against EPA, including depositions, with the purpose of discerning how EPA is accounting for the coal sector job losses that are attributable to the agency’s suite of anti-energy regulations.
EPA appealed Judge Bailey’s order, but the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals denied EPA’s request without explanation on July 9th. After conducting initial discovery, Murray Energy on October 7th notified EPA that it intended to depose EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, and the company scheduled a tentative deposition date of November 24th.
EPA requested that Judge Bailey block the scheduled deposition, but yesterday, he denied the agency’s motion. EPA has appealed the matter to the Fourth Circuit, which will decide on the matter before the deposition is set to occur on November 24th.
Around the World
Secretary Kerry Insists Paris Climate Treaty Will Not Be a Treaty; European Union and France Insist That It Will Be a Treaty
U. S. Secretary of State John Kerry told the Financial Times in an interview published on 11th November (pages 1 and 2, subscription required) that the new climate treaty being negotiated now and due to be signed at COP-21 in Paris next month was “definitely not going to be a treaty,” that is, it would be some sort of agreement that will not require ratification by the Senate.
Kerry’s categorical assertion was immediately contradicted by the office of the European Union’s climate commissioner and by the president and foreign minister of France. A spokeswoman for EU climate commissioner Miguel Arias Canete told the Guardian that, “The Paris agreement must be an international legally binding agreement. The title of the agreement is yet to be decided but it will not affect its legally binding form.”
French President Francois Hollande was just as categorical as Kerry: “If the agreement is not legally binding, there won’t be an agreement, because that would mean it would be impossible to verify or control the undertakings that are made.” According to Reuters, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who is president of COP-21, said that the Paris negotiations were not just “hot air” and suggested Secretary Kerry was confusing the issue because of domestic political realities: “The fact that a certain number of dispositions should have a practical effect and be legally binding is obvious, so let's not confuse things, which is perhaps what Mr. Kerry has done.”
Secretary Kerry did try to re-assure foreign governments in his interview with the Financial Times. “[H]e claimed Republicans have no chance of taking the White House and that voters “‘will want someone who understands climate change … and wants to do something about it.’”
Kerry went on to predict that President Barack Obama would force Congress to appropriate money for the Green Climate Fund by being prepared to veto the Omnibus Appropriations bill. But he also contradicted his view that Americans would vote for a presidential candidate who wants to “do something” about climate change: “[W]hen something is a high enough priority for a president, you have a way of getting it done, even though it’s opposed by people.”
Kerry also said that he was not opposed to Congress having some role in reviewing the Paris climate treaty, but that, “It depends on whether it is a poison-pill effort or a genuine effort just to review it.” In these remarks, Secretary Kerry merely reflects President Barack Obama’s contempt for the Constitution and for the Congress.
Effort to Restrict Greenhouse Gases Falls Short in Dubai
Long before global warming became the leading environmental cause there were equally overblown fears that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were damaging the earth’s ozone layer. These concerns led to the 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer, a treaty that banned the production and use of CFCs. Now, the Obama administration has combined the two issues by targeting the substitutes for CFCs, called hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), on the grounds that they are greenhouse gases. Domestically, EPA has enacted a regulation restricting HFC use in car air-conditioners and commercial refrigeration equipment, and the agency has promised more such regulations in 2016.
Internationally, the administration made an aggressive push for a treaty amendment limiting HFC production at the 27th meeting of the parties to the Montreal Protocol held last week in Dubai. Despite sending EPA administrator Gina McCarthy to lead the negotiations, the U.S. delegation was only able to secure an agreement to hold more meetings next year to try to finalize a deal. Nonetheless, the administration touted the Dubai meeting as a major step forward and momentum for a larger climate deal in Paris.
The main obstacle in Dubai was the concern raised by developing nations about the high cost of HFC substitutes. This concern is well justified given that DuPont and Honeywell have patented a host of substitutes that sell for many times more than the HFCs they would replace. Both of these crony capitalist companies have worked closely with the administration towards getting HFCs banned and thereby securing a captive market for their high-priced alternatives.
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.