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Entries in Climate Alarmism (74)

Saturday
Sep062014

Cooler Heads Digest 05 September 2014 

5 September 2014

Announcements

The Competitive Enterprise Institute published a report this week by William Yeatman, “How the Obama Administration Is Undermining Cooperative Federalism under the Clean Air Act, and What Congress Can Do about It”

In the News

What Ever Happened to Global Warming?
Matt Ridley, Wall Street Journal, 5 September 2014

Why the U.S. Should Start Selling Oil out of the SPR
Philip Verlanger, Platts, 5 September 2014

Polis-Backed Group Draws Fire for Fracking Lies
Lachlan Markay, Washington Free Beacon, 5 September 2014

McKitrick & Vogelsang: Model Projections Too Hot over 55-year Period
Marlo Lewis, GlobalWarming.org, 4 September 2014

EPA’s Clean Power Plan: Serfdom for the States
Robert Michaels, Master Resource, 4 September 2014

Why Climate Science Is Far Too Important To Be Left to Celebrity Physicists
James Delingpole, Breitbart, 4 September 2014

How Global Warming Policies Have Led to Global Insecurity
Lawrence Solomon, Financial Post, 4 September 2014

EPA’s Staff Recommends Lower Ozone Standard, But It Doesn’t Matter
William Yeatman, GlobalWarming.org, 3 September 2014

Secretary of State Kerry: Scripture Commands USA To Protect Muslim Countries against Global Warming
Breitbart TV, 3 September 2014

Giant Wind Farm Could Deal the Chesapeake Bay a Heavy Blow
Bonner Cohen, Washington Times, 2 September 2014

News You Can Use
Antarctic Ice Sets New Record

Antarctic sea ice extent continued to set new records in August, finishing the month at 19.154 million sq km, beating the record set last year by 87,000 sq km.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

Hillary Clinton Calls for U.S. Leadership on Global Warming

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a strong case for United States leadership on global warming at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) seventh annual National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas on 4th September.  Clinton said that becoming the “clean-energy superpower our world needs” would demonstrate that the “U. S. can still do big things.”  

Clinton also blasted global warming skeptics who stand in the way of moving away from fossil fuels: “The data is unforgiving no matter what the deniers try to assert….Sea levels are rising, ice caps are melting, storms and wildfires are wreaking havoc….”  She also claimed that, “[T]ax incentives for alternative energy investments are unpredictable at best, while generous subsidies for fossil fuels are still too easy to come by.”

While expressing optimism that switching to renewables would lead to economic growth and more good-paying jobs, Clinton also warned that our international position is at stake: “China and other competitors are racing ahead with big bets on renewables. We cannot afford to cede leadership in this area.”  But: “If we come together to make the hard choices, the smart investment in infrastructure, technology and environmental protection, America can be the clean energy superpower for the 21st century.”

Clinton did acknowledge that “American innovation [was] changing the game” with the natural gas fracking revolution.  “Gas is cleaner than coal, and expanded production is creating thousands of jobs.”

John Podesta joined in the discussion on stage with Clinton.  Podesta is currently the chief domestic policy adviser on energy and environmental issues to President Barack Obama.  He founded the Center for American Progress (sic) and was White House chief of staff during the last years of the Bill Clinton Administration.  Senator Reid’s clean energy conference was held at the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino, which was also the site of the Heartland Institute’s ninth International Conference on Climate Change in July.  Clinton was making her first appearance at the conference, but former President Bill Clinton spoke at the first summit in 2008.   

House Tries Yet Again To Get Senate’s Attention

The House and Senate return from their August recess on 8th September for a couple of weeks in session before recessing for the election campaign.  House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) sent a memo to Republican House Members on 4th September detailing the Republican leadership’s legislative plans.  The House will consider two big omnibus bills on the economy and energy.  The jobs and economic growth package will include fourteen bills already passed by the House, but which the Democratic-controlled Senate has not acted upon.  The energy package will include thirteen bills, again all passed by the House during the 113th Congress but ignored by the Senate. 

Here is a list of the House-passed energy bills to be included in the omnibus: H. R. 3, H. R. 1963, H. R. 2640, H. R. 2728, H. R. 4801, H. R. 3301, H. R. 6, H. R. 1582, H. R. 1900, H. R. 2641, H. R. 3826, H. R. 2824, and H. R. 4899.  These bills address a wide range of issues, including increasing oil and gas production on federal lands and offshore areas, permitting the Keystone pipeline, preventing federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing, expediting natural gas exports, and blocking EPA greenhouse gas regulations on coal-fired power plants.  Information on these and other bills may be found at Congress.gov.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced at his seventh annual National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas on 4th September that he planned to hold a floor vote on renewing the wind and solar production tax credits (PTC).  Wind and solar PTCs are included in the $85 billion package of tax cut extenders that the Senate rejected on a procedural vote in May.  Reid said, “Efforts to renew these incentives are being blocked by Republicans in Congress.”  Holding a vote on a piece of legislation would be a surprising change of pace for the Senate this year.   

Across the States
Myron Ebell

Tesla Snookers Nevada

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk and Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval (R) announced on Monday that Tesla would build the world’s largest batter factory at the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center, east of Sparks in northern Nevada and that the State would offer $1.3 billion in tax breaks over twenty years.

The $1.3 billion tax subsidy package would tie for the largest for an automotive company in the U. S. and be fifteen times larger than any other in Nevada’s history, according to a story by Ryan Frank in the Las Vegas Sun.  The state legislature will vote on approving the package next week.

Tesla’s lithium battery plant is projected to employ 6,000 workers and cover ten million square feet (or 173 football fields).  Its capacity will be larger than all plants currently producing lithium batteries in the world.  It is designed to decrease the cost and increase the production of Tesla’s electric vehicles. 

Edmunds recently reported that sales of electric and hybrid vehicles had increased modestly this year, but have actually declined as a percentage of all vehicles sold in the U. S. 

Around the World
William Yeatman

Rough Week for Climate Diplomacy

Chinese President Xi Jinping this week became the latest world leader to skip the upcoming United Nations climate change summit in New York on September 23rd. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel already have indicated they won’t attend. The absence of leadership from the world’s major emitters undercuts the event, needless to say. That said, Russia still has yet to confirm or deny its participation, so perhaps Putin will show up.

On a similarly dire note for global warming alarmists, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk this week beat out Danish Prime Minister Hell Thorning-Schmidt to become president of the European Council, a hugely important position for EU policies. Tusk is a noted skeptic of the EU’s green energy policies, so much so that one commentator labeled his ascension to power a “black day for the EU’s climate policy.”

Science Update
Marlo Lewis

Biosphere Productivity in Recent Decades: Increasing or Decreasing?

This week on CO2Science.Org, the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change posts a literature review of 104 peer-reviewed studies on the productivity of forests and terrestrial plant eco-systems around the world.

Study after study finds an ongoing significant increase in the productivity of forests and other plant life, with most of the gains concentrated in the tropics. Causes include increased warmth, increased precipitation, and, chiefly, the CO2-fertilization effect, which boosts plant photosynthesis, water-use efficiency, and resistance to environmental stresses.

The review concludes:

In spite of climate-alarmist claims that the temperatures of the latter part of the 20th century and on through the present were unprecedented over the past one to two millennia (which is highly debatable) and that atmospheric CO2 concentrations were the highest they had been for several hundred millennia (which is true), as well as the fact that mankind yearly harvests and/or destroys much of the planet's natural vegetation, the total yearly production of terrestrial vegetative biomass for the globe as a whole continues to rise, and at a remarkable rate. Why is this so? Perhaps it is because the twin evils of the radical environmentalist movement are not the devilish developments they are made out to be, but are actually blessings in disguise, benefiting earth's biosphere in spite of all of the political attempts to severely curtail the CO2 emissions of humanity.

 

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.

Friday
Sep052014

ALG's Daily Grind - Unethical lame duck funding floated 

6

Sept. 5, 2014

Permission to republish original opeds granted.

Unethical lame duck funding floated
Report: House leaders plan to only fund the government through the week of December 11-14 with a vote scheduled for next week. 

The permanent poor?
If the unemployment rate has truly been dropping since 2010, why has food stamp enrollment been increasing dramatically much of that time?

Big Green Radicals: Did Russia sponsor Leonardo DiCaprio anti-American energy propaganda video?
"Leonardo DiCaprio is out with a new fearmongering, anti-oil and gas video that appears to be partially supported by the Russian government."

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.