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Entries in Climate Alarmism (93)


CEI Today: Chemical safety, religious freedom, and the UN climate plan 

Thursday, April 2, 2015
In the News Today



TSCA Reform Debate Is Not about Public Safety


At recent hearings on the the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (S. 697), senators, environmental activists, and local government officials claimed that the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) law is not sufficient protect public health. As I have argued before, that’s certainly not the case.
There may be an economic reason to reform this law—to preempt a growing patchwork of nonsensical state-level consumer product regulations—but there’s no legitimate “safety” reason for reform. > Read more

> Interview Angela Logomasini



Anti-Business Myths Pervade Reporting on Religious Freedom Legislation

In reporting on the Indiana legislation, many media sources have erroneously suggested that it is somehow radical to give rights to businesses or corporations (as opposed to individuals) and that such legislation would be unprecedented in allowing religious freedom to be asserted as a defense to a lawsuit by a private person.
Press coverage has also often falsely implied that religious-freedom legislation gives religious businesses a broad right to discriminate against gays and lesbians, when in fact no such right has ever been recognized under the similar legislation that already exists at the federal level and in many states. > Read more



President Obama's UN Climate Plan Ignores American People and Congress
Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute responded to the Obama Administration’s submission of its intended nationally-determined contribution (INDC) to the United Nations:
“President Obama has pursued his domestic climate agenda without trying to build support for it with the American people or in Congress, and today’s INDC submission is no different." > Read more

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Cooler Heads Digest 6 February 2015 

6 February 2015


*Due to technical difficulties, there was a delay in sending out this week's newsletter*

Thirty-one groups, including the Competitive Enterprise Institute, this week sent a coalition letter to House Members endorsing reform of the Renewable Fuels Standard. Click here to read the letter. And click here to read Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s (R-Va.) bill, H.R. 703.

In the News

Top Ten Most Ridiculous Stunts Pulled by “Ban Fracking” Activists
Dave Quest, Energy in Depth, 6 February 2015

My Kid Is Going To Be Eight Feel Tall!
David Kreutzer, The Daily Signal, 5 February 2015

How Green and Peaceful Really Is Greenpeace?
Andrew Montford, The Spectator, 5 February 2015

What Would Environmentalists Do If They Owned ANWR?
Shawn Regan, Reason, 5 February 2015

Gasoline vs. Electric Cars: Energy Usage and Cost
Stanislaw Jakuba, Master Resource, 4 February 2015

Obama to States: Shut Down Coal Plants or Else
Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller, 3 February 2015

Russia’s War on Fracking
Tom Rogan, National Review, 3 February 2015

Expert Says EPA Plan Will Kill Mississippians
Emily Le Coz, Clarion-Ledger, 2 February 2015

Sierra Club: Saudi Arabia ‘Our Best Ally’ in Keystone Fight
Lachlan Markay, Washington Free Beacon, 2 February 2015

Biofuels: “A Net Detriment to the World”
Denver Post editorial, 1 February 2015

News You Can Use
War on Coal Costs Tens of Thousands of Jobs

A report by the American Action Forum found that under the Obama administration coal mines shed 3,702 jobs from 2008 to 2013 and power plants shed 39,684 jobs. 

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

Obama Budget Requests More Money for Climate Programs

President Barack Obama submitted his Fiscal Year 2016 budget requests to Congress on Monday, 2nd February.  The White House summary, available here, includes some major tax changes.  The President’s budget proposes to make renewable electricity production and investment tax credits permanent and refundable.  The estimated cost over the next decade would be $31.5 billion.  On the other hand, the President wants to take away all tax subsidies for the oil and gas industry, including $44 billion in tax breaks using the standard Section 199 deduction which all domestic manufacturing can claim. 

According to Jeremy P. Jacobs writing in Energy and Environment PM (subscription required), the budget for EPA requests $52.4 million for six legal support offices, which is an increase of $10 million over current funding.  This would allow EPA to hire more lawyers to defend its “Clean Power Plan,” the proposed regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants.  Jacobs quotes EPA’s explanation: “EPA has identified an urgent need to provide critical legal counsel in support of the EPA's Clean Power Plan."

The Environmental Protection Agency would also get $4 billion for a new “Clean Power State Incentive Fund” to help States that want to make steeper reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from power plants than required by the EPA’s proposed regulations.  The rest of EPA’s budget would increase by $452 million or approximately 6% to $8.6 billion.

President Obama also requests that the Congress appropriate $500 million for the UN Green Climate Fund.  This is the first payment towards fulfilling the President’s pledge of $3 billion over four years to the GCF.  At the UN global warming conference in Copenhagen in 2009, President Obama proposed that the developed countries provide $100 billion a year to the GCF starting in 2020.  The U. S. share might be roughly $30 to 40 billion.  It looks unlikely that the 114th Congress will appropriate the $500 million requested for this year. 

Obama’s National Security Strategy Focuses on Climate Threats

President Barack Obama this week released his administration’s official National Security Strategy.  It identifies climate change as a major threat and lays out actions to deal with it through national action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and international leadership on a new UN climate treaty. 

On page 12, the document states: “Climate change is an urgent and growing threat to our national security, contributing to increased natural disasters, refugee flows, and conflicts over basic resources like food and water. The present day effects of climate change are being felt from the Arctic to the Midwest. Increased sea levels and storm surges threaten coastal regions, infrastructure, and property. In turn, the global economy suffers, compounding the growing costs of preparing and restoring infrastructure.” In addition to the President’s climate agreement with Chinese President Xi and progress in negotiations on the forthcoming Paris accord, “The substantial contribution we have pledged to the Green

Climate Fund will help the most vulnerable developing nations deal with climate change, reduce their carbon pollution, and invest in clean energy.”  The President’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget request to Congress this week includes $500 million for the Green Climate Fund. 

EPA Challenges Bottom-Line Conclusion of State Department Keystone XL Pipeline Analysis
Marlo Lewis

The State Department's Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS) on the Keystone XL Pipeline vexes environmentalists. While acknowledging that petroleum made from Canadian oil sands emits 17% more CO2 than other types of heavy crude, State concluded that roughly the same quantity of Canadian oil would be shipped to U.S. refiners whether the pipeline is approved or denied. 

The oil would just come by alternate modes of delivery, principally trains but also smaller pipelines and barges. Those other routes are not only more costly but also less energy efficient. According to State, compared to the KXL, the alternate routes would emit 28% to 42% more CO2 [FEIS ES-34]. Implication: If you're really worried about global warming, then you should support the Keystone XL Pipeline. Beautiful!

In a letter earlier this week, EPA Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance ´╗┐Cynthia Giles disputes State’s bottom-line assessment. State estimated that as long as crude oil sells for $75 per barrel or higher, "revenues to oil sands producers are likely to remain above the long-run supply costs of most projects responsible for expected levels of oil sands production growth" [FEIS, 1.4-8]. Producers would still earn profits notwithstanding the extra cost of $8 per barrel to ship the oil by rail rather than through a big new pipeline. 

Times have changed, says Giles. State published its FSEIS in January 2014, when West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude sold at about $94 per barrel. WTI crude now sells for about $50 per barrel. Giles quotes State's conclusion that at sustained oil prices of $65 to $75 per barrel the higher transportation costs of shipment by rail "could have a substantial impact on oil sands production levels -- possibly in excess of the capacity of the proposed project." Indeed, State goes on to say that “Prices below this range would challenge the supply costs of many projects, regardless of pipeline constraints, but higher transport costs could further curtail production” [FSEIS, ES-12].

Giles concludes: “In other words, the Final SEIS found that at sustained oil prices within this [$65-$75] range, construction of the pipeline is projected to change the economics of oil sands development and result in increased oil sands production, and the accompanying greenhouse gas emissions, over what would otherwise occur.” She recommends that State should give “additional weight” to the “low price scenario” in the FSEIS “due to the potential implications of lower oil prices on project impacts, especially greenhouse.”

Permit me to translate. The future of Canada’s oil sands industry looked bright a year ago. Today its fate is uncertain. Maybe a sustained period of low prices will force a large contraction and throw tens of thousands of people out of work. So let’s kick ‘em while they’re down! Let’s prevent oil companies from investing their own capital to improve the economics of their industry.

To opponents, the Keystone XL Pipeline is objectionable precisely because it will improve the efficiency of an industry they believe should not exist. They may be right that blocking Keystone will decrease rather than increase CO2 emissions. It doesn’t matter. It’s climatologically irrelevant.

Even if we make the unrealistic assumption that the KXL will always run at full capacity (830,000 barrels per day) and each barrel will be additional oil in the global supply that would otherwise remain in the ground, EPA's own climate model projects a warming contribution of 0.01ºC by century's end – an “inconsequential and unmeasurable impact,” observes Cato Institute scientist Chip Knappenberger.

Let’s cut to the chase. A for-profit business will not produce what it cannot sell. And if you can’t sell, you go out of business. EPA knows that. So do its environmentalist allies. That’s why they seek to block the KXL, oppose lifting the 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports, and oppose construction of export terminals for coal and liquefied natural gas.

The day cannot come too soon when we have an administration that does not view its mission as crippling and bankrupting major industries of the U.S. economy.

Around the World
Myron Ebell

UNFCCC: Saving the World from Global Warming Requires Total Transformation of the Global Economy, Directed by the UNFCCC

Leading global warming alarmists often claim that saving the world from global warming will be easy.  Research reports from universities and environmental groups are regularly published that show the costs will be minimal and the costs of not doing it will be astronomical.  As former Vice President Al Gore, Nobel Prize and Oscar winner, puts it, how can it be costly to replace dirty, expensive energy from coal, oil, and natural gas with clean, free energy from wind and solar? 

But every year or two, a leading alarmist lets the cat out of the bag.  At a press conference in Brussels on 3rd February, Christiana Figueres, the executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said that completely transforming the global economy in a few decades “is probably the most difficult task we [the UN? Mankind?] have ever given ourselves.”

“This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the industrial revolution,” Figueres said

Executive Secretary Figueres is apparently unaware that Communism in the Soviet Union beginning in 1917 and in Maoist China in 1949 intentionally tried to fundamentally transform their economies according to a new model.  The results were widely judged to be not altogether successful.  Perhaps the United Nations will do better.

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,


Cooler Heads Digest 23 January 2015 

23 January 2015

In the News

Feds Enlist Disney To Make a “Frozen” Film about the Melting Arctic
Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller, 23 January 2015

Unintended Consequences of the Climate Crusade
Andrew Montford, Master Resource, 23 January 2015

‘Lukewarmer’ Matt Ridley on How to Debate Climate Change
Marlo Lewis,, 22 January 2015

Tom Steyer Won’t Run for Senate
Andrew Restuccia, Politico, 22 January 2015

EPA Peddles Its Hysteria about the Weather to the Young
Washington Times editorial, 22 January 2015

ObamaAir’s Power Grab
Amy Oliver Cooke & William Yeatman, Journal-Advocate, 21 January 2015

MIT professor Richard Lindzen: Global Warming Alarmists Are a “Cult”
Howie Carr, Big Government, 21 January 2015

The Fracking Fracas over Earthquakes
Jillian Kay Melchior, National Review Online, 21 January 2015

How These Green Companies Are Gouging Consumers with the Government’s Help
Stephen Moore & Joel Griffith, Daily Signal, 18 January 2015

News You Can Use
States Push Back against EPA's Clean Power Plan

According to a report published this week on the responses by the States to EPA’s Clean Power Plan:

  • 28 Governors or Attorneys General have raised major concerns with the rule’s legal foundations;
  • 12 States are suing EPA regarding its authority to promulgate carbon regulations; and,
  • 6 States have passed legislation into law restricting state responses to the rule.

Read the whole report, “A Guide to States’ Concerns Regarding the EPA’s Clean Power Plan,” here.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

Senate Votes RaiseConcerns

No one thought it was going to be easy for Senate Republicans to roll back the EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations, but votes on the Senate floor this week make it clear that there is a lot of work to be done.  The votes were on amendments to S. 1, the bill that would bypass President Obama and permit the Keystone XL Pipeline.

But first the good news.  New Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) came to the floor late in the afternoon of 22nd January to note that the Senate had now voted on more amendments to legislation than during all of 2014, when Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was majority leader and allowed only 15 votes on amendments.  Reid’s petty tyranny, supported by a Democratic majority, is over, but this is only the first of many steps that McConnell and his Republican majority will need to take to restore the Senate to full working order.

When they went home for the weekend on Thursday night, Senators had voted on 25 amendments on a variety of energy-related subjects, with more votes to come next week.  The texts of all the amendments and the roll call votes can be found here.

Of these 25 votes, I’m going to look at three related to climate science and one to climate policy.  First, on 21st January, the Senate voted 98-1 in favor of Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s (D-RI) amendment #29 that simply states that “climate change is real and not a hoax.”  Yes, indeed, the climate is always changing and there are many causes.

Next, the Senate voted 59-40 in favor of Senator John Hoeven’s (R-ND) amendment #87.  It was offered to provide Republicans a weaker alternative to the Schatz amendment, which was voted on next (and which I discuss below).  The text is similar to the Schatz amendment but omits the word “significantly.”  Hoeven ended up voting against his own amendment to prevent it from passing with the required 60 votes.  

Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) then offered amendment #58, which concludes: “[I]t is the sense of Congress that: (1) climate change is real; and (2) human activity significantly contributes to climate change.”  The amendment failed on a 50-49 vote, with 60 votes again being required for adoption.  But it did get a majority, which included five Republicans.  The Republicans who voted Yes were: Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Susan Collins (R-Me.), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.).

The movement of five Republicans towards agreeing with global warming alarmism got the Republican leadership worried.  They decided to bring to the floor on 22nd January amendment #78 offered by Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). 

Blunt’s amendment is based on the Byrd-Hagel Resolution, which passed the Senate on a 95-0 vote in 1997.  Byrd-Hagel put President Clinton on notice that the Senate would not ratify an international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions if it damaged the U. S. economy or put the U. S. at a competitive disadvantage internationally.

Similarly, the Blunt amendment disavows the climate deal President Obama signed with Chinese President Xi last fall as “a bad deal for United States consumers, workers, families, and communities, and is economically unfair and environmentally irresponsible.”  It goes on to warn the President that any new international climate agreement, such as the one due to be signed in Paris in December, must be submitted to the Senate for ratification and that “United States should not be a signatory to any bilateral or other international agreement on greenhouse gases if it would result in serious harm to the economy” or imposed “disparate greenhouse gas commitments for the United States and other countries.”

The Blunt amendment failed to meet the 60-vote threshold, but did get 51 votes with 46 opposed.  Of the five Republican Senators who voted for the Schatz climate science amendment, two voted for the Blunt amendment—Lamar Alexander and Mark Kirk.  But Senators Kelly Ayotte and Susan Collins voted No on the Blunt Amendment as well.  Lindsey Graham missed the vote.  Of the several Democratic Senators who claim to support the fossil fuel industries that provide affordable energy, only Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) voted Yes on the Blunt amendment.

These votes indicate to me that the supporters of blocking EPA greenhouse gas regulations through appropriations riders and/or Congressional Review Act resolutions later in the year, are going to need to work hard to shore up support from this small group of wavering Republicans and Democrats, such as Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.).   

President Obama Admits He’s Not a Climate Scientist

The New York Times got the tenor of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address to Congress exactly right in its headlines for a front-page analysis by Peter Baker: “A Bold Call to Action, Even if No Action Is Likely.”  The sub-headline was even better: “Obama Speaks as Though His Party Won the Midterms.”

Here is the punchline of Baker’s analysis: “But after the lights went out and the presidential motorcade had made its way back up Pennsylvania Avenue, the party balance had not changed. For all of Mr. Obama’s confident demeanor, the question raised by the speech was whether advancing initiatives with little or no hope of passage constituted an act of bold leadership or a feckless waste of time.”

The President devoted 315 words in a 6500 word speech to climate change and another 69 words to energy production.  He again claimed that “[N]o challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.”  He responded to the refrain from many Republican office holders: “I've heard some folks try to dodge the evidence by saying they're not scientists…. Well, I'm not a scientist, either.  But … I know a lot of really good scientists at NASA, and NOAA, and at our major universities.”

President Obama went on to note that, “The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security.  That's why, over the past six years, we've done more than ever before to combat climate change, from the way we produce energy, to the way we use it….  And that's why I will not let this Congress endanger the health of our children by turning back the clock on our efforts.”  So much for working with the Republican majorities in the House and Senate. 

Finally, the President called the meaningless climate deal he signed last fall with Chinese President Xi “historic” and went on to claim that, “[B]ecause the world's two largest economies came together, other nations are now stepping up, and offering hope that, this year, the world will finally reach an agreement to protect the one planet we've got.

For critical commentary on the President’s pathetic climate confusion, see my CEI colleague Marlo Lewis’s post on

Across the States
William Yeatman


Acting with only hours to spare, new Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) on Tuesday suspended the promulgation of a regulation targeting the state’s coal-fired power plants that was issued during the final days of the administration of his predecessor, Martin O’Malley (D). It was one of Hogan’s first acts in office. O’Malley, who reportedly has presidential ambitions, had rushed to implement the rule before he left office, as a sop to the green base of the Democratic Party. However, in so doing, he skipped important procedural steps that would have afforded the public an opportunity to scrutinize the rule, which would effectively require the state’s coal-fired power plants to install an emissions control technology known as “selective catalytic reduction,” regardless whether or not it was cost-effective. Governor Hogan announced his intention to subject the rule to proper procedural requirements.


In what is the best evidence to date that Iowa’s first-primary-in-the-country is terrible for America, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) this week announced the launch of a multi-million dollar campaign that will pressure presidential contenders to support the Renewable Fuel Standard. To be sure, the RFS is great for Iowa, because it grows a great deal of corn, the primary feedstock for ethanol. But it’s horrible for the rest of the world, as it causes the price of both food and fuel to increase.

Science Update
Marlo Lewis

Global Temperature Hype

“2014 was the planet’s warmest year on record,” President Obama proclaimed in his State of the Union speech. Obama cited the separate findings of two federal agencies, NASA and NOAA, which announced Jan. 16 that, “The Year 2014 ranks as the warmest since 1880.” To Obama, the record-breaking year is evidence Congress and the American people should rally round EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations.

When will the spinning end?

In the first place, 2014 was likely not the warmest year in the instrumental record. NASA and NOAA’s analyses are based on data from thousands of land- and sea-based weather stations.

But, as is well-known, surface station records have many gaps (both spatial and temporal) and many quality-control issues. Moreover, they do not measure temperature in the bulk atmosphere (the troposphere), where most of the warming from an enhanced greenhouse effect is predicted to occur.

And as NOAA’s press release acknowledges, the 2014 temperature in the troposphere was the third highest in the 1979-2014 record, as analyzed by the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH) satellite program, and the sixth highest on record, as analyzed by the Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) satellite program.

So why don’t the agencies’ press releases proclaim 2014 the third or sixth warmest year? Because “warmest on record” feeds the sense of crisis – a boon to agency budgets. Thus we find this bit of shameless self-promotion in NASA’s press release: "The observed long-term warming trend and the ranking of 2014 as the warmest year on record reinforces the importance for NASA to study Earth as a complete system, and particularly to understand the role and impacts of human activity."

Even based on surface station records alone, 2014 may not be a record breaker. NASA scientists subsequently acknowledged they are only 38% sure 2014 was the warmest year, because the supposed record is only 0.02°C warmer than 2010, whereas the margin of error – about 0.1°C – is 50 times larger!

Most importantly, “warmest year” blather distracts public attention from the big picture, which has two components. First, despite any small warming increment that may have occurred in 2014, climate model predictions increasingly overshoot observations. Second, the 0.8°C warming since 1880 is moderate, non-alarming, and coincides with dramatic improvements in life expectancy, health, and per capita income, and dramatic reductions in mortality related to extreme weather.

For additional commentary on warmest year hype, see Patrick Michaels and Chip Knappenberger’s “You Ought to Have a Look: Record Global Temperatures.”

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,


Cooler Heads Digest 02 January 2015 

2 January 2015


The full Cooler Heads Digest will return next Friday.

In the News

How the Left Wants to Eradicate Planes, Trains, and Automobiles by Shutting off Their Financial Fuel
Ron Arnold, The Daily Signal, 2 January 2015

Five Things To Remember about Climate Science in 2015
Anthony Sadar, Washington Examiner, 1 January 2015

Major & Obscure Regulations We’re Watching in 2015
William Yeatman,, 31 December 2014

2014 in Energy Charts
Mark Green, Energy Tomorrow, 31 December 2014

Reflections for the New Year on Carbon Capture, the Clean Power Plan, and COP-21 Climate Negotiations
Marlo Lewis,, 30 December 2014

House Vows To Deliver on Energy Promises
Daniel J. Graeber, UPI, 30 December 2014

The Supreme Court’s Possible Hidden Climate Agenda
Brian Potts, Energy Collective, 29 December 2014

“Peak oil has arrived”: Paul Krugman on Mineral Scarcity (2010 Prediction from Dr. Errant)
Robert Bradley, Jr., Master Resource, 22 December 2014

News You Can Use
EPA’s Popularity Hits Low

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 32% of Likely U.S. Voters have a favorable opinion of the EPA, the lowest finding in the three years the question has been asked.

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,


Cooler Heads Digest 12 December 2014 

12 December 2014

In the News

Lost Stock, Unused Space Plague EPA Warehouses
Kelly Riddell & Drew Johnson, Washington Times, 12 December 2014

EPA Using Jonathan Gruber Tactic To Impose Harmful Regulations
Paul Driessen,, 12 December 2014

How President & His Green Base Are Planning To Eradicate the Oil and Gas Industry
Ron Arnold, The Daily Signal, 12 December 2014

Greenpeace Activists Detained after Desecrating World Heritage Site in Peru
Ben Webster, The Times, 11 December 2014

Alabama’s State Climatologist Becomes EPA’s Worst Nightmare
Cliff Simms, Yellowhammer, 11 December 2014

China Recoils on Transparency at Climate Conference
Fred Lucas, The Blaze, 11 December 2014

EPA Should Re-Examine Climate Rule’s Scientific Basis—John Christy
Marlo Lewis,, 10 December 2014

Exxon: North America To Be Energy Exporter by 2020
Robert Gratten, Fuel Fix, 9 December 2014

Doubling Down on Climate Alarmism
Robert Bradley, Jr., Master Resource, 8 December 2014

No-Grow Zone: EPA’s Draconian Ozone Rule
Greg Bertelsen, Shop Floor, 8 December 2014

News You Can Use
CBO Report: Fracking Is a Boon to Treasury Department

Fracking will boost federal tax revenues by about 1 percent annually by 2040 without requiring any tax increases, according to Congressional Budget Office projections released this week.

Inside the Beltway
William Yeatman

House Passes Spending Bill; Punts Policy Work to 114th Congress

On Thursday night, the House of Representatives narrowly passed a $1 trillion spending bill, H.R. 83, by a 219-206 vote. The bill was supported by 57 Democrats and opposed by 67 Republicans. The measure, which would fund the government through next September, is expected to receive a Senate vote today.

In the wake of last November’s elections, Republican leadership indicated they would use the budget process to rein in the EPA, but H.R. 83 doesn’t include much in the way of energy and environment policy. As such, it appears that the hard choices on spending have been punted to the 114th Congress, when the GOP will have greater leverage. While I agree with this strategy, it is a troubling portent that the House, despite its tough talk, actually funds EPA at a higher level than was sought by the President.

Other than omens, the bill’s most consequential provision (for energy policy) would block funding for any Interior Department effort to subject the sage grouse to regulations pursuant to the Endangered Species Act; environmentalist long have plotted for such regulations, in order to inhibit oil and gas production in the western U.S.

Interior Department Contractor Validates “War on Coal”

In a blockbuster opinion piece in this week's Lexington Herald-Leader, J. Steven Gardner, CEO of science and engineering firm ECSI, affirms that the Interior Department is pushing politicized anti-coal regulations. His company was one of five consultants contracted by the Interior Department to work on a pending regulation known as the “Stream Buffer Rule.” (I explain this ridiculous regulation in detail here.) According to Mr. Gardner, “Department of Interior officials asked the consultants to change the results,” after the firms had concluded that the rule would lead to thousands of job losses. Upon refusing to do so, the contract was terminated.

FERC Agrees to Vet Reliability Impact of Clean Power Plan

On Wednesday, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairwoman Cheryl LaFleur announced that FERC would convene a series of technical conferences to investigate the reliability impact of the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan.

FERC’s input is welcome because EPA can’t be trusted to properly vet its own rules. For example, the agency’s analysis of its absurd 2012 Utility MACT, which threatens to shut down 25 percent of the nation’s coal-fired power plants, completely failed to account for the possibility that cold weather (rather than sultry summer days) could engender reliability issues. In fact, much of the coal-fired generating capacity that is due to retire (on account of Utility MACT) proved to be essential to keeping the lights on during last winter’s polar vortex. EPA didn’t account for this possibility. The unfortunate result is that it’s unclear if certain regions, primarily in the northeast, could survive a cold winter without blackouts after the rule takes effect next spring.

Indeed, the Clean Power Plan could pose an even bigger threat to reliability than Utility MACT. Already, grid operators and federal reliability watchdogs have issued warnings that the EPA’s Clean Power Plan would endanger reliable electric service more than half the country, as the Cooler Heads Digest reported in November.

Across the States
William Yeatman

NOAA Report: California Draught Due to Natural Causes

A report issued Monday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said natural variations were the primary drivers behind the California drought that has now stretched to three years.

Around the World
Myron Ebell

Dispatches from COP-20 in Lima, Peru

As reported in last week’s Cooler Heads Digest, CEI’s Myron Ebell this week participated in the 20th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Lima, Peru. Below, we’ve provided links to Myron’s dispatches from Lima.

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,