In the News
SunEdison: A Cloudy Picture for another Renewable Energy Company
Rob Nikolewski, Watchdog.org, 8 October 2015
Sierra Club Testimony Reveals It’s Worse Than We Thought
Marlo Lewis, GlobalWarming.org, 7 October 2015
Documents Reveal Dem Efforts To Discredit EPA Critics
Lachlan Markay, Washington Free Beacon, 7 October 2015
The Global Warming Racket: Nice Work If You Can Get It
Kerry Jackson, Investor’s Business Daily, 6 October 2015
Electric Truck Company Looks Like Next Stimulus Funded Bankruptcy
Paul Chesser, National Legal and Policy Center, 5 October 2015
News You Can Use
EPA: Armed & Dangerous
According to data compiled by Stephen Moore for the Investor’s Business Daily, EPA this year will spend $1.4 million on guns, $380,000 on ammunition, $210,000 for camouflage, and $280,000 on night vision equipment.
Inside the Beltway
House Moves To Lift Oil Export Ban
The House of Representatives on 9th October passed a bill to lift the forty-year old ban on crude oil exports by a vote of 261 to 159. Twenty-six Democrats joined 235 Republicans in voting Yes on H.R. 702, which was sponsored by Representative Joe Barton (R-Tex.). Six Republicans and 153 Democrats voted No.
An obscure provision to raise authorized funding to subsidize U.S.-flagged merchant ships that can be commandeered for military purposes was added to H.R. 702 by Republican leadership in order to increase Democratic support. That caused at least two conservative groups, Heritage Action and Freedom Works, to withdraw their support for the bill.
Although the bill or a similar bill has a good chance to pass the Senate, the White House earlier in the week issued an official veto threat. The statement said: “Legislation to remove crude export restrictions is not needed at this time. Rather, Congress should be focusing its efforts on supporting our transition to a low carbon economy. It could do this through a variety of measures, including ending the billions of dollars a year in federal subsidies provided to oil companies and instead investing in [subsidies for] wind, solar, energy efficiency, and other clean technologies to meet America’s energy needs.”
As Representative Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), chairman of the energy subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee, drily noted, President Obama did not make this argument when he lifted the sanctions on oil exports from Iran. The United States is now the only oil-producing country that bans crude oil exports.
Across the States
North Carolina and Kentucky Show Their Hands on Clean Power Plan
EnergyWire ($) reports this week that North Carolina won’t seek an extension on the September 2016 deadline for submissions to comply with the Clean Power Plan, but that the state’s ontime submission will be limited to “inside the fence line” measure--in direct contravention of EPA’s requirement to remake the entire electricity sector in accordance with the administration’s climate goals. In Kentucky, Attorney General Jack Conway, the Democratic nominee for governor, promised this week that he would not submit a state plan, if he were elected governor. His Republican challenger already has pledged to not submit a plan.
Around the World
IPCC Selects New Leader
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change elected Dr. Hoesung Lee as its new chairman at its meeting in Dubrovnik, Croatia, this week. Dr. Lee, who is currently one of the IPCC’s three vice chairmen, defeated five other candidates. Dr. Lee replaces two-term IPCC Chairman Rajendra K. Pachauri, who resigned in disgrace in February.
Dr. Lee is professor of the economics of climate change, energy, and sustainable development at Korea University. In an informative interview with the Carbon Brief, he said, “If you ask me to choose the most important work in climate change issues, then I'll choose carbon price. That's because it is the driver to put us into the right track.”
In his nomination papers, Dr. Lee wrote that his vision for the IPCC was to “enhance participation of developing country experts,” “increase policy relevance and neutrality,” and to “pay special attention to climate change issues associated with job creation, health, innovation and technology development, energy access and poverty alleviation.”
The IPCC also elected three vice chairs: Ko Barrett from the U.S., Thelma Krug from Brazil, and Youba Sokona from Mali. It also elected co-chairs and vice chairs for the three Working Groups for the sixth Assessment Report. Co-chairing WG I will be Valerie Masson-Delmotte from France and Panmao Zhai from China. Co-chairing WG II will be Hans-Otto Portner from Germany and Debra Roberts from South Africa. And co-chairing WG III will be Priyadarshi R. Shukla from India and Jim Skea from the U.K. A list of all officials elected by the IPCC can be found here.
United Nations Releases “First Draft” of Paris Climate Treaty
The co-chairmen of UN negotiations on the forthcoming Paris climate treaty on 6th October released what they called a “first draft,” which they said will serve as “a concise basis for negotiations for the next negotiating sessions from 19-23 October in Bonn. The new twenty-page draft is a slimmed down version of much longer drafts released in February and July.
As Andrew Revkin points out on his New York Times blog, the new draft is a lot shorter, but it is still riddled with brackets that enclose text that has been suggested during the negotiations by one or more countries, but has not been agreed on. Although the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action, as the negotiations are officially titled, was adopted in 2011, the draft text still doesn’t answer a key question: whether the new agreement is going to be “a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force” under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
It is widely understood that the inability or unwillingness of the negotiators to decide what form the agreement will take is due to the conflict between the desire to have a legally-binding agreement (that is, a treaty like the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol) and the need to pretend that it is not a treaty so that it is not subject to ratification by the U.S. Senate. The Kyoto Protocol was negotiated by the Clinton Administration in 1997 and signed by President Clinton in 1998, but was never submitted to the Senate because ratification would not have come close to the two-thirds super-majority necessary for ratification. At this point, the Paris Agreement looks just as unratifiable as Kyoto.
My view is that they can call it whatever they want, but the draft text makes clear that it’s a treaty; and therefore the Senate would have to ratify it for the U.S. to become a party. For those interested in the details of why the Paris Agreement will undoubtedly be a treaty, I suggest looking especially at Articles 16, 18-22, and 25 of the draft text prepared by the co-chairmen of the Ad Hoc Working Group, Daniel Reifsnyder of the United States and Ahmed Djoghalf of Algeria.
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.