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Entries in Climate Alarmism (111)

Saturday
Jul112015

Cooler Heads Digest 10 July 2015 

10 July 2015

Announcements

Video of Robert Bradley, Jr.’s presentation at the Cato Institute, titled “Free Energy Market Thought,” is available for viewing online.

In the News

Ratepayer Opportunity: State PUCs v. EPA’s Clean Power Plan
Travis Fisher, Master Resource, 9 July 2015

Committee Head: EPA Engaging in “Pattern of Obstruction”
Zack Colman, Washington Examiner, 9 July 2015

Indiana Governor Urges States To Fight Clean Power Plan
Maureen Groppe, Indianapolis Star, 9 July 2015

Climate Scientists Grapple with Psychological Problems
Jack Holmes, New York Magazine, 9 July 2015

Tory “Blue Crap” Means UK Is Falling behind in Global Switch to Green Energy
Catherine Mitchell, Guardian, 8 July 2015

A Global Coal Renaissance
Brad Plumer, Vox, 7 July 2015

German Green Power Push Forces Neighbors To Bolster Blackout Defenses
Weixin Zha & Marek Strzelecki, Bloomberg Business, 7 July 2015

Goodbye Mercury Rule, Hello Clean Power Plan?
Brian Potts & Abigail Barnes, Energy Collective, 7 July 2015

OMB Acknowledges (Most) of Our Comments on the Social Cost of Carbon, Engages None
Marlo Lewis, GlobalWarming.org, 6 July 2015

Energy Department Doesn’t Know What’s Best for Consumers
David Kreutzer, Washington Times, 6 July 2015

Green Pope Goes Medieval on Planet
Joel Kotkin, Daily Beast, 5 July 2015

News You Can Use
Steep Price Tag for Climate Change Mitigation

According to a new study by the Global Commission on the Economy and the Climate, it will require $1 trillion in annual investments to green global energy production—and this was only one of 10 requirements necessary to achieve “nearly all” of the U.N.-recommended emissions reductions.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

House Leadership Pulls Interior-EPA Appropriations Bill After Confederate Flag Flap

The House returned from the week-long Independence Day recess to resume floor consideration of the Interior and EPA Appropriations bill, H. R. 2822. After voting on a number of amendments, the bill was moving toward a vote on final passage Thursday, 9th July, when it became bogged down in the flap over displays of the Confederate flag.  House leadership then pulled the bill from the floor. It appears unlikely that it will be brought back.   

On Tuesday, the House agreed by voice vote to an amendment offered by Representative Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) that would ban the display of the Confederate flag in national cemeteries.  Huffman’s amendment passed when few people were paying attention.  When it was publicized, a number of Republican Members told their leadership that they could not vote for final passage if the bill contained the Huffman amendment.

Representative Ken Calvert (R-Calif.), chairman of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, then offered an amendment that would allow the Confederate flag to be flown at some times in some national cemeteries.  While Democrats were creating an uproar on the House floor, it became clear that enough Republicans would vote against the Calvert amendment to defeat it.  At that point, the bill was pulled from the floor.

This is something of a setback for efforts to block major new EPA rules through appropriations riders.  H. R. 2822 as passed out of committee included riders to block the greenhouse gas emissions rules for existing and new power plants, the ozone rule, and the wetlands rule.  Amendments on the floor added several other riders. 

The Interior-EPA Appropriations bill will be thrown into some sort of larger omnibus spending bill this fall.  Some or all the riders can survive and be included in that package, but the fact that the House didn’t pass them will weaken the argument for including them.  The Senate Appropriations Committee has included similar riders in their Interior-EPA Appropriations bill, but it is expected that the Democratic minority will prevent all appropriations bill from coming to the Senate floor.

Senate Appropriations Committee Votes For Green Climate Fund

The Senate Appropriations Committee voted 16 to 14 on 9th July to remove a prohibition on contributing to the UN Green Climate Fund from the State Department Appropriations bill.  The amendment offered by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oreg.) was supported by all the Democrats on the committee and by Republican Senators Mark Kirk (Ill.) and Susan Collins (Me.).  Apparently, more foreign aid is a winning political issue in some States. 

The amendment removed language from the bill that said that no funds could go to the Green Climate Fund until authorized by Congress in a separate bill.  The House’s State Department Appropriations bill contains a similar prohibition, so the fight is far from over.  President Barack Obama requested $500 million for the Green Climate Fund for FY 2016. 

At the UN climate conference in Copenhagen in 2009, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama saved the conference from total collapse by promising that the U. S. and other developed economies would provide $100 billion annually in climate assistance to poor countries starting in 2020.  The hard skirmishing in Congress over the first half a billion dollars suggests that it’s going to be next to impossible for the next president to keep President Obama’s promise.

Supreme Court Overturns EPA’s Mercury Rule

The Supreme Court on 29th June reversed the D. C. Circuit Court’s decision upholding the EPA’s mercury rule for power plants (which was originally called the MACT Rule and is now called the Mercury and Air Toxic Standards or MATS Rule). Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the majority decision, which was joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Thomas, Alito, and Kennedy.  The case now goes back to the D. C. Circuit Court “for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.”

The majority opinion states that: “The [Environmental Protection] Agency must consider cost—including, most importantly, cost of compliance—before deciding whether regulation is appropriate and necessary.”

However: “We need not and do not hold that the law unambiguously required the Agency, when making this preliminary estimate, to conduct a formal cost-benefit analysis in which each advantage and disadvantage is assigned a monetary value.  It will be up to the Agency to decide (as always, within the limits of reasonable interpretation) how to account for cost.”

To those who argued that the mercury rule’s co-benefits or ancillary benefits as estimated by the EPA far outweigh the costs of complying with the rule, Justice Scalia tartly noted that: “In the Agency’s own words, the administrative record ‘utterly refutes [the] assertion that [ancillary benefits] form the basis for the appropriate and necessary finding.’”

Justice Clarence Thomas issued a short concurring opinion which is much stronger and more persuasive than the majority opinion and well worth reading.  It and the minority’s dissenting opinion follow the majority opinion here.

While EPA will now have to rework the rule in order to satisfy the Supreme Court, the damage has already been done.  And EPA is aware of this fact.  Two days before the court released its ruling, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy appeared on the Bill Maher television talk show.  She expressed confidence that the Supreme Court would uphold the mercury rule, but then crowed: “But even if we don’t, it was three years ago. Most of them are already in compliance, investments have been made, and we’ll catch up.” 

Senate EPW Holds Hearing on Obama Climate Treaty Agenda
Marlo Lewis

On 8th July, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing on the President’s climate-treaty agenda and its implications for U.S. domestic policy and our constitutional framework.

Much of the discussion focused on the administration’s pledge in the COP 21 climate treaty negotiations – our so-called Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) – to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions 26%-28% below 2005 levels by 2025.

David Bookbinder, formerly general counsel for the Sierra Club, presented estimates of the emission reductions plausibly projected for each of the administration’s current and proposed climate policies. Those policies would achieve “maximum annual reductions in 2025 of 840 MMT [million metric tons], leaving the U.S. 349 MMT short (about 29%) of even the lower end of our Paris commitment.” Bookbinder’s analysis tallies with that of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which finds that the administration’s policies fall short of the President’s maximum (28%) emission-reduction goal by 33%. 

Jeff Holmstead, formerly EPA air office chief under President George W. Bush, noted that Obama officials continue to dodge questions about how they plan to achieve the 26%-28% reduction target under existing law, even though the White House announced that goal eight months ago in the U.S-China climate pact. President appears to be making promises he does not intend to keep, treating international commitments like campaign promises, which, as the saying goes, are made to be broken.

An even more disturbing possibility is that Obama officials will attempt to regulate beyond the scope of existing law. In fact, they already are. EPA’s “Clean Power” Plan constitutes about 35% of the President’s emission-reduction pledge. Holmstead makes a powerful case (pp. 3-6) that the Clean Power Plan is blatantly unlawful. 

George Mason Law School Professor Jeremy Rabkin raised constitutional concerns. The President seeks an agreement that would not actually be a treaty and thus not require Senate ratification, yet would somehow bind the next Congress and president to implement the “Clean Power” Plan and other Obama administration climate policies.

Rabkin warned that the administration’s climate agenda would set a dangerous precedent altering our constitutional structure. U.S. regulatory statutes would “be interpreted to accord with priorities established by foreign governments and by international bodies” expressed in executive agreements without any form of congressional approval. “We cannot go very far down that road before the idea that we are governed by law starts to look like a fable for school children.”

Recalling that the Byrd-Hagel Resolution scuttled U.S. participation in the Kyoto Protocol, Rabkin advised the Committee to propose a Sense of the Senate resolution “to put the world on notice that unilateral ‘political’ commitments of the President should not necessarily be taken as a fully reliable statement of future American policy.”

Around the World
Myron Ebell

Radical Anti-Capitalist Naomi Klein Co-Chairs Vatican Climate Conference; Pope Francis in Bolivia Calls Capitalism “Dung of the Devil”

Following up on Pope Francis’s climate encyclical, the Vatican held a two-day climate conference in early July. Unsurprisingly, no non-alarmists were invited to speak.  Astonishingly, the Vatican invited radical leftist Naomi Klein to co-chair the conference along with Cardinal Peter Turkson.  My comments on Klein’s involvement are posted here. The New Yorker magazine has just published Klein’s diary of the event. This week Pope Francis has been visiting South America.  While in Bolivia, the Pope revealed that he agrees with Naomi Klein’s rabid anti-capitalist position.  He said in a speech that unfettered capitalism (whatever that is) was the “dung of the devil.”

My comments on the papal encyclical are here. Joel Kotkin has written a perceptive, much longer analysis here. Indur Goklany has written a detailed rebuttal of the encyclical’s scientific and economic assumptions here.

Science Update
Marlo Lewis

EPA’s Climate Action Flimflam Report

EPA recently released Climate Change in the United States: Benefits of Global Action. The report, an obvious effort to gin up public support for a new climate treaty to replace the expired Kyoto Protocol, claims “significant global action” would avert 70,000 premature U.S. deaths and deliver hundreds of billions of dollars in health benefits to Americans by 2100. The report is a shameless piece of propaganda.

The core bias that predetermines all of EPA’s “global action” benefit estimates is the assumption that in the reference (“no action”) scenario, global temperatures will rise by 9°F (5°C) by 2100. That prediction is based on climate models that increasingly overshoot observed temperatures. In the latest University in Alabama Huntsville satellite record, the warming rate of the past 36 years (0.114°C/decade) translates into an additional 2.2°F by 2100, not 9°F.

Things could change, of course, but EPA provides no evidence the warming rate will increase by 400% during the next 85 years.

Even if the planet were warming as fast as EPA imagines, the agency’s benefit estimates would still be loopy. For example, EPA claims “global action” would avoid approximately 57,000 premature U.S. deaths in 2100 from deteriorating air quality, the theory being that warming will increase ozone and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) air pollution (p. 27). However, EPA arguably overestimates health risks of ozone and PM2.5 pollution at today’s historically-low levels. More importantly, as EPA data show, U.S. air pollution emissions and concentrations keep declining, decade by decade, despite global warming.

Indeed, long before 2100, all significant remaining U.S. air pollution emissions will likely have been eliminated. The impact of warming on U.S. air quality should thus be minimal. Yet EPA claims “global action” will deliver $930 billion in U.S. air quality improvements in 2100. How is that possible?

As explained in a text box (p. 25), what EPA actually models is not the impact of projected warming on emission levels reasonably anticipated to occur in 2100, but the impact of such warming on “present-day levels.” EPA claims that holding present-day levels “fixed” allows the agency “to isolate the climate change-related impact on air quality.” Nonsense. It allows EPA to grossly inflate the health effects of projected future warming. The only way to “isolate” the impact of climate change on air quality in 2100 is to compare the effects of different warming scenarios on emissions in 2100, not emissions in 2015.

Evidently, EPA is trying to pull a fast one while including just enough info in the fine print to protest its innocence of trying to deceive.

For a more detailed examination of EPA’s report, see my blog post, EPA’s Climate Action Flimflam.

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.

Tuesday
Jun302015

AUFC - The Pope or the Kochs?

New Ads in NH & IA Press GOP Presidential Hopefuls to Answer Pope Francis’ Urgent Moral Call to Address Climate Change

www.PopeorKochs.com

Click Here to Watch ‘Pope or Kochs’ : http://bit.ly/1LA9YBx
Radio Version: http://bit.ly/1fJL3ya

 

Washington DC – The Republican presidential field has been feeling the heat for their devil-may-care-attitude toward climate change since Pope Francis released his official encyclical calling the looming environmental devastation a ‘moral issue’ that can no longer be ignored by politicians and policy makers -- a very big deal within the Church. Insupport of the Pope’s urgent call to action, pro-environment group Americans United for Change is launching a new ad campaign in Iowa and New Hampshire calling on GOP candidates for President, including Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, and Rick Santorum, to stand with the Pope over the oil billionaire Koch brothers that have spent millions of dollars trying to discredit climate science to protect their bottom line.

 

They can start by supporting President Obama’s bold climate change action plan that would cut down harmful carbon pollution by 30 percent while adding 360,000 net new jobs to the economy by 2020. See script and backup below for “Pope or Kochs” airing this week on TV and radio in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, IA and Manchester, NH. Paid digital ads on Twitter and Facebook will also encourage voters in these early primary states to view the ads at www.PopeorKochs.com. 

 

Brad Woodhouse, President, Americans United for Change: “The Republicans eyeing the White House may all sing from the same climate-skeptic hymnal, but the worsening consequences of climate change are not something that have to be taken on faith. It’s happening right before our eyes, whether it’s rising average temperatures and sea levels, out-of-control forest fires stemming from longer periods of drought, or more frequent and more intense storms and tornadoes. It’s no wonder 70 percent of voters want their representatives to stop fiddling as Rome burns.”

 

“Unfortunately, the promise of $900 million in campaign support from the Koch brothers has led to a race to the bottom between GOP presidential hopefuls over who believes less in climate science, some even going so far as to publicly dis the Pope,” continued Woodhouse. “Buying influence in Washington and funding quack climate studies is all part of Big Oil’s profit-protection plan to kill any effort to limit the millions of metric tons of carbon pollution they spew into the air every year.  It’s why today the GOP’s entire environmental policy can be boiled down to ‘Whatever the Kochs say.’

 

“The GOP didn’t listen to former U.S Generals and Admirals who warned climate change is a serious and immediate national security threat. They’ve blown off the 97 percent of the scientific community that agree that climate change is real and man-made. They choose to ignore the growing chorus of economists that say the President’s carbon action plan is a good for the economy and jobs. And so far, the moral appeal by the Pope and many of other faith leaders that our political leaders be better stewards of the planet has been met with indifference from those too busy chasing Koch money. What will it take to convince the Grand Oil Party to act: a climateevent straight out of the book of Genesis?”

 

Adding to the scientific consensus, two recent University of New Hampshire reports found: “Rising seas pose significant risks to New Hampshire coastal communities and ecosystems, cultural resources and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, and climate change-driven health impacts threaten to affect Granite State and New England residents who are vulnerable to rising temperatures, more precipitation and severe weather events”.

 

Previous from AUFC:

§  NH Climate Change Voters Pursue Scott Walker’s Fundraising Cruise on a Floating Iceberg

§  Video: ‘Not a Scientist’ – GOP in Denial on Climate Change

###

 

Saturday
Jun272015

Cooler Heads Digest 26 June 2015 

26 June 2015

Announcements

  • The Cooler Heads Digest will not be published next week. Happy Independence Day.
  • On Tuesday, 30th June, Noon to 1:30 PM, the Cato Institute will host a talk by Robert Bradley, Jr., editor of Master Resource, on “A History of Free Market Energy Thought.” Cato’s Patrick Michaels will moderate. RSVP or watch online here.

In the News

Apple’s New Top Lobbyist Has Bizarre History of Sock Puppeting
Ken Kurson, New York Observer, 26 June 2015

EPA Chief: Climate Skeptics Are Not “Normal People”
Tom Blumer, News Busters, 25 June 2015

Ozone Triggers Lying, Not Asthma
Steve Milloy, Breitbart, 24 June 2015

In a Shift, Fracking’s Foes Face a Losing Streak
Valerie Richardson, Washington Times, 24 June 2015

Keeping Energy Affordable
Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), The Hill, 24 June 2015

How the Supreme Court’s Impending Ruling on Utility MACT Might Effect the Clean Power Plan
Mark Drajem, Bloomberg, 24 June 2015

Computer-Aided Sophistry: My Power Point on the Social Cost of Carbon
Marlo Lewis, GlobalWarming.org, 23 June 2015

Study: A Mini Ice Age Heading Our Way
Colin Fernandez, Daily Mail, 23 June 2015

Pope Francis on Climate Change: An Encyclical Failure
James Rust, Master Resource, 23 June 2015

New EPA Truck Regulations Won’t Help the Environment
Nicolas Loris, Daily Signal, 23 June 2015

Top 10 Things I Learned on a Trip to the Bakken Oil Fields
Mark Perry, AEIdeas, 22 June 2015

Auto Industry Over-Regulation Is Setting Us Back
Myron Ebell, Janesville Gazette, 21 June 2015

News You Can Use
Marlo Lewis

Study: Upfront Costs of Energy Efficiency about Twice Actual Savings

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy claims energy-efficiency programs provide States an easy, affordable way to comply with the Clean Power Plan and reduce consumer electric bills at the same time. A new study by UC Berkeley and University of Chicago researchers challenges EPA’s rosy assessment. In a survey of 30,000 households, the authors found –to their surprise – that the upfront costs of home weatherization exceed savings by about two to one. In their words: “The findings suggest that the upfront investment costs are about twice the actual energy savings. Further, the model-projected savings are roughly 2.5 times the actual savings. . . .Even when accounting for the broader societal benefits of energy efficiency investments, the costs still substantially outweigh the benefits; the average rate of return is approximately minus 9.5% annually.”

Inside the Beltway

House Passes Bill To Block EPA Greenhouse Gas Regs, 247-180
Myron Ebell

The House of Representatives on 24th June passed H. R. 2042, the Ratepayer Protection Act, by a vote of 247 to 180.  The bill would block implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants until all judicial review is completed and would also allow state governors to opt out if they determine that the rule would raise electric rates or threaten electric reliability.

Eight Democrats joined 239 Republicans in voting for H. R. 2042, sponsored by Representative Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s energy subcommittee.  Democrats voting Yes were Representatives Brad Ashford (Neb.), Sanford Bishop (Ga.), Andre Carson (Ind.), Henry Cuellar (Tex.), Ann Kirkpatrick (Az.), Collin Peterson (Minn.), Terri Sewell (Ala.), and Kyrsten Sinema (Az.).

Four Republicans and 176 Democrats voted No: Republicans opposed were Representatives Carlos Curbelo (Fla.), Robert Dold (Ill.), Chris Gibson (NY), and Frank LoBiondo (NJ).  Four Democrats and two Republicans did not vote.

Some commentators have said that the vote is meaningless because the Senate is unlikely to muster the sixty votes necessary to pass the bill or something similar and even if it did, President Obama would veto it.  I disagree.  The vote is a strong rebuke to the Obama EPA’s power grab.  It shows that a large majority supports the rider in the House’s Interior-EPA Appropriations bill that would also block the EPA’s power plant regulations.  The Interior-EPA bill reached the House floor this week and will be voted on during the week of 5th July after Congress returns from its Independence Day recess. 

The House vote also provides clear evidence to the international community that the Obama Administration’s commitment made under the forthcoming Paris Accord to reduce emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025 has little political support and is therefore unlikely to be achieved.   

RFS Repeal Bill Is Introduced
Marlo Lewis

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) has introduced S. 1584, a bill to repeal EPA’s renewable fuel standard (RFS) program. A throwback to Soviet-era central planning, the RFS requires refiners, blenders, and fuel importers to sell annually-increasing volumes of biofuels. Sen. Cassidy’s one-page bill would repeal EPA’s statutory authority for the RFS program -- §211(o) of the Clean Air Act -- other related statutory references and authorities, and all associated EPA regulations.

Sen. Cassidy’s web site indicates that a major motivation for the bill is the costly environmental damage inflicted by the RFS on Louisiana tourism, recreation, and fisheries. Most U.S. biofuel is ethanol made from corn starch. Agricultural runoff from RFS-induced corn production expands the Gulf Coast dead zone – an oxygen-depleted area ranging from 5,000 to 6,000 square miles where aquatic life cannot survive.    

Across the States
Myron Ebell

Federal Judge Temporarily Delays BLM’s New Fracking Rule

Federal District Court Judge Scott W. Skavdahl on 23rd June issued a stay that temporarily halts the Bureau of Land Management from implementing a new rule regulating hydraulic fracturing on federal lands. The rule was scheduled to go into effect the next day.

Judge Skavdahl’s reason for the stay was that the BLM had not yet published the official administrative record that includes its responses to public comments and details of how the rule was written.  The judge said that once the administrative record was filed, he would give both sides seven days to respond and then would rule within two weeks on whether to issue an injunction to suspend the rule until litigation is completed.

The judge agreed with the Western Energy Alliance and other plaintiffs that there is credible evidence that the rule could do serious financial harm to oil and gas producers on federal lands.  According to the Casper Star Tribune, “North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said about 99% of all the wells that would be covered by the federal rule are already regulated by the states.”

Indiana Rejects “Clean Power” Plan

Indiana Governor Mike Pence this week sent an open letter to President Obama informing him that Indiana would not comply with EPA’s “Clean Power” Plan as proposed. In the letter, Pence correctly noted that the “ill-conceived and poorly constructed” regulation exceeds EPA’s authority. Indiana becomes the second State, after Oklahoma, to pre-emptively refuse compliance with the “Clean Power” Plan as proposed.

Science Update
Marlo Lewis

EPA’s Bogus Climate Policy Health Report

EPA this week released Climate Change in the United States: Benefits of Global Action. As summarized by the agency’s press release, the 96-page report “compares two future scenarios: a future with significant global action on climate change, where global warming has been limited to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), and a future with no action on climate change (where global temperatures rise 9 degrees Fahrenheit). The report then quantifies the differences in health, infrastructure and ecosystem impacts under the two scenarios, producing estimates of the costs of inaction and the benefits of reducing global GHG emissions.”

Predictably, EPA concludes the costs of “inaction” dramatically outweigh those of “action.” I have not worked through the report in detail, but the key selling points strain credulity.

To begin with, there is no good reason to suppose that, absent “global action,” global temperatures will increase by 9°F (5°C). Over the past 36 years, the lower troposphere (roughly 0-25,000 feet) has warmed at a rate of 0.114°C/decade, according to the latest University of Alabama in Huntsville satellite temperature record (UAH6.0). The 36-year rate is at or below the low end of three of the IPCC’s four global warming projections for the 21st Century, known as representative concentration pathways (RCPs). It’s also right smack dab in the middle of the IPCC’s lowest projection (RCP2.6), which assumes a 70% reduction in cumulative global GHG emissions between 2010 and 2100. The warming rate in recent decades is already as low as EPA assumes is possible only through “global action.”

EPA claims that limiting global warming to 2°C would “avoid an estimated 12,000 deaths annually associated with extreme temperatures in 49 U.S. cities, compared to a future with no reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.” But only about 2,000 U.S. residents die each year from all forms of extreme weather, with about 31% attributed to exposure to extreme heat and 63% attributed to exposure to extreme cold, according to the Centers for Disease Control. So currently about 620 annual U.S. deaths are heat-related, and U.S. heat-related mortality has been declining, decade-by-decade, since the 1960s, despite rising urban summer air temperatures. The reason is people aren’t dumb. When hot weather becomes more frequent they adapt, reducing their vulnerability to hot weather. There is no reason to believe such progress will not continue.

EPA claims global action would “avoid approximately 13,000 deaths in 2050 and 57,000 deaths annually in 2100 from poor air quality.” That is sheer conjecture and unverifiable due to the huge noise-to-signal ratio. The 13,000 deaths EPA claims could be avoided in 2050 is less than one-thousandth of the 56 million deaths worldwide in 2012. Moreover, as EPA surely knows, U.S. air pollution emissions and concentrations keep declining despite global warming. Long before 2100, most of the world’s air pollution problems will likely have been solved absent “global action” on climate change.

Sadly, carbon reduction policies could hold back progress in combating the world’s deadliest air pollution – indoor smoke inhalation in countries that lack access to reliable, affordable, fossil energy.

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
Jun202015

Cooler Heads Digest 19 June 2015 

19 June 2015

Announcements

On Tuesday, June 23, 2015, from noon to 1:00 PM, the Heritage Foundation will hold a panel on “The Social Cost of Carbon: A Controversial Tool for Misguided Policy,” featuring Senator James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), Heritage’s Kevin D. Dayaratna, CEI’s Marlo Lewis, Cato’s Pat Michaels, and hosted by Heritage’s David Kreutzer. RSVP or watch online.

On Thursday, June 25, 2015, from 4 to 5 PM, the Cato Institute will hold a discussion on “Air Farce: The EPA’s Regulatory “Science” on Airborne Particles,” featuring Steven J. Milloy, founder of JunkScience.com  and moderated by Patrick J. Michaels, Director, Center for the Study of Science, Cato Institute. RSVP or watch online.

In the News

The Climate Wars’ Damage to Science
Matt Ridley, WattsUpWithThat, 19 June 2015

EPA Funnels Grants to Supposedly Impartial Peer Reviewers
Kelly Riddell, Washington Times, 19 June 2015

Pope’s Diatribe Hurts the Poor
Rupert Darwall, NRO, 18 June 2015

Oil, Gas, & Government: The U.S. Experience
Robert Murphy, Master Resource, 17 June 2015

EPA Policies Raise Americans’ Electric Bills
Ben Wolfgang, Washington Times, 17 June 2015

GOP Doctors: EPA Ozone Rule Won’t Help Health
Devin Henry, The Hill, 17 June 2015

Renewable Fuel Standard: Can EPA Regulate America beyond the “Blend Wall”?
Marlo Lewis, GlobalWarming.org, 16 June 2015

EPA’s Clean Power Plan Would Do More Harm Than Good
Tom Pyle, Forbes, 15 June 2015

Sen. Mike Rounds: Scrutiny of EPA Is No “Witch Hunt”
Christopher Doering, USA Today, 15 June 2015

Fossil Fuel Divestment: Flight from Reality
Robert Bradley, Jr., Forbes, 15 June 2015

The Retreat of ‘Peak Oil’
Robert J. Samuelson, Washington Post, 15 June 2015

News You Can Use
Top Federal Energy Regulator: Letting EPA Plan the Grid Has “Unforeseen Consequences”

In an address this week to the PJM regional transmission organization, FERC Commissioner Philip Moeller sounded a warning about the extent to which Obama’s top climate policy, the “Clean Power” Plan, puts EPA in charge of the electricity sector.  According to EnergyWire ($), Moeller said, “Let's face it, we have air regulators planning the electricity grid, like it or not. And there's always going to be a lot of unforeseen consequences to that.”

Inside the Beltway

House and Senate Appropriations Committees Approve Bills That Block EPA Greenhouse Gas Rule
Myron Ebell

The House Appropriations Committee on 16th June passed its bill to fund the Department of the Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency in Fiscal Year 2016, which begins on 1st October 2015. The bill authorizes $30.17 billion in total spending, which is $246 million less than the FY2015 level and $3 billion less than the Obama Administration requested.  EPA funding is cut by $718 million.

The House Interior-EPA appropriations bill also contains several important riders that would block the EPA’s so-called “Clean Power” Plan, which would regulate greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants, and the Waters of the U. S. rule.  Amendments were adopted by the full committee to block the EPA’s ozone rule and the BLM’s rule to regulate hydraulic fracturing on federal lands.     

Representative Ken Calvert (R-Calif.), chairman of the Interior-EPA Appropriations Subcommittee, said: “This administration’s appetite for new regulations and disregard for Congress has left us little choice but to block the president’s overzealous regulatory agenda in this bill.”

The Senate Appropriations Committee on 18th June passed its FY2016 Interior-EPA bill on a straight party line vote of 16 to 14. The Senate bill authorizes $30.01 billion in spending and also includes riders to block the “Clean Power” Plan, the Waters of the U. S. rule, and the ozone rule.  They added a prohibition on listing the lesser prairie chicken under the Endangered Species Act. This is the first time the committee has marked up a spending bill for Interior and EPA since 2009.  This is a result of the Republican takeover of the Senate in the 2014 elections.

Chairmen Bishop and Inhofe to EPA: You Forgot To Do an ESA Consultation on the Power Plant Rules

Representative Rob Bishop (R-Ut.), chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, and Senator James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on Monday, 15th June, that points out that the agency had proposed rules to regulate greenhouse gas emissions without bothering to do an official consultation with the Fish and Wildlife Service as required by section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.

The letter gives as one example of the consequences of ignoring the law the possible harm that may be done to endangered manatees by the EPA’s proposed rules.  Manatees living near the Florida coast rely on warm water discharged from coal-fired power plants to survive during winter. The waters around Big Bend and Crystal River power plants have been officially designated by the Fish and Wildlife Service as warm-water manatee refugees as part of their ESA plan to save the manatee.  The EPA’s proposed power plant rules are likely to force the closure of both these power plants.

EPA/NHTSA Propose Phase 2 Greenhouse Gas/Fuel Economy Regulations for Heavy-Duty Vehicles
Marlo Lewis

On 19th June, the EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) jointly proposed greenhouse gas (GHG) and fuel economy standards for model years (MYs) 2021-2027 semi-trucks, large pickups and vans, and a wide assortment of occupational trucks and buses.

The proposal marks the start of Phase 2 of the agencies’ GHG/fuel economy program for heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs). In September 2011, the agencies adopted such standards for MYs 2014-2018 HDVs.

Today’s proposal weighs in at a hefty 1,329 pages, further explicated by a 789-page regulatory impact analysis (RIA). The agencies provide several shorter summaries. The heavy tomes, however, contain all the devilish details.

The agencies’ press release crows that the proposal will reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 1 billion metric tons over the lifetime of the vehicles sold under the program. That may sound like an important contribution to climate protection. However, on page 6-45 of the RIA, the agencies estimate the rule will reduce global temperatures by 0.0026 to 0.0065 degrees C by 2100, and sea level by 0.009 to 0.022 inches – changes too small for scientists to distinguish from the ‘noise’ of natural climate variability.

The release further boasts the proposal will cut oil consumption by 1.8 billion barrels over the lifetime of the program or “greater than a year’s worth of imports from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting (OPEC) Countries.” But on page 8-78 of the RIA we find that the “lifetime” is 30 years (2020-2050). So the proposal will cut annual OPEC imports, on average, by one-thirtieth. OPEC imports now account for only 9% of total U.S. petroleum consumption, so the energy security benefits of the rule (even making the dubious assumption that import dependence poses significant security risks) are similarly miniscule.

What then is the point? The agencies claim the rule will save truckers a bundle in fuel expenditures – $170 billion in lower fuel costs over the lifetime of the compliant vehicles. The agencies acknowledge that the rule will increase vehicle engine costs by $10,140 to $12,842. But they claim truckers will recoup the extra cost in fuel savings within two years.

This should immediately raise red flags. Trucking companies are in business to make money. As the agencies acknowledge, “Unlike light-duty vehicles – which are purchased and used mainly by individuals and households – the vast majority of HDVs are purchased and operated by profit-seeking businesses for which fuel costs represent a substantial operating expense” (Proposed Rule, p. 633). Indeed, for most truckers, fuel is by far the single biggest operating expense.

So, as in their Phase 1 rulemaking for MYs 2014-2018 HDVs, the agencies struggle (and, in my opinion, fail) to explain why truckers aren’t demanding and engine manufacturers aren’t producing trucks that deliver the projected fuel savings. The proposed rule implies that trucking companies don’t want to increase their profit margins and/or truck manufacturers don’t want to compete for their business.

This much is clear. The rule will yield little to no climate and energy security benefits. It will significantly increase the cost of new HDVs, making it harder for small and independently-owned trucking companies to compete in the freight hauling industry. It will strengthen EPA and NHTSA’s control over the transport sector. And it will be binding on the trucking industry through 2030 – long after Obama and his team leave office.  

Around the World
Myron Ebell

Pope Francis’s Climate Encyclical: Help Poor People by Dismantling Industrial Civilization

The Vatican released Pope Francis’s encyclical on climate change, Laudato Si’, on 18th June.  It is, in general, scientifically ill-informed, economically illiterate, intellectually incoherent, and morally obtuse.  It is also theologically suspect, and large parts of it are leftist drivel, albeit couched in the vocabulary of Catholic social teaching.  

It has been reported that Vatican officials in the global warming debate want to make sure they do not put the Roman Catholic Church on the wrong side of science, as in the condemnation of Galileo in 1633 for believing that the Earth revolved around the Sun.  Laudato Si’ fails to get the science right (see paragraphs 20 through 26), and although the Vatican can no longer prosecute heretics, Francis has no hesitation condemning those who oppose the alleged global warming consensus (see, for example, paragraph 54)…Read the whole thing at globalwarming.org.

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
Jun132015

Cooler Heads Digest 12 June 2015 

12 June 2015

In the News

Scared Witless: Prophets and Profits of Climate Doom
Robert Bradley, Jr., Master Resource, 12 June 2015

Inhofe: “We’re Winning” the Global Warming Debate
Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller, 11 June 2015

Attacks on Skeptics Do a Disservice to Scientists and Their Profession
Anthony J. Sadar, Washington Times, 10 June 2015

Why the Left Needs Climate Change
Steven Hayward, Forbes, 9 June 2015

Ex-Im Is Not the Key to Nuclear Industry’s Competitiveness
Jack Spencer & Katie Tubb, The Daily Signal, 9 June 2015

A Climate Campaigner (Bill McKibben) and Climate Change Critic (Anthony Watts) Meet in a Bar…
Andrew Revkin, Dot Earth, 8 June 2015

Global Warming: The Theory That Predicts Nothing and Explains Everything
Robert Tracinski, The Federalist, 8 June 2015

NOAA Plays “Hide the Pause”
James Delingpole, Big Government, 5 June 2015

Harvard Researchers Caught Lying To Boost EPA Climate Rule
Steve Milloy, Breitbart, 4 June 2015

News You Can Use
Study: EPA’s Clean Power Plan's Disparate Impact on Minorities

According to a study published this week by the National Black Chamber of Commerce, EPA’s Clean Power Plan would cause cumulative job losses for blacks and Hispanics of roughly 7 million and 12 million, respectively, over the next 20 years. Over the same time period, black families can expect their annual incomes to fall by $455, while Hispanics will take home $515 less per year.

Inside the Beltway
William Yeatman

AEI Carbon Tax Event: Niskanen Center Puts Its Cards on the Table (and it’s a terrible hand)

On Wednesday afternoon, the American Enterprise Institute hosted a debate on the merits of a carbon tax between Niskanen Center’s Jerry Taylor and AEI’s Benjamin Zycher. Video is available here.

For some time now, Taylor has been trying to convince conservatives to embrace a carbon tax. Originally, his case for the carbon tax was based on a hypothetical political compromise. That is, he urged conservatives to embrace a carbon tax as a bargaining chip that could be traded for a relaxation of EPA’s climate regulations. There are a lot of holes in this thesis, and Taylor’s line of reasoning has proved unsteady, as has been expertly explained by Robert Murphy at the Institute for Energy Research.

Evidently, Taylor’s original thesis (i.e., trading a carbon tax to stop EPA rules) does not withstand scrutiny well, because he ditched that argument during his presentation on Wednesday. Instead, he focused on the conservative appeal of a carbon tax implemented as the centerpiece of a prudent risk mitigation strategy.

Implausibly, Taylor claimed to have divined the precise odds of “catastrophic climate change.” According to Taylor, there is a 10 percent chance of climate change causing temperature increases of 11 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100 on a business-as-usual trajectory. To be fair, he conceded some uncertainty: He said that the chance of an “unimaginable disaster” may be “8 percent or 12 percent.”

Wednesday’s debate was the first I’d heard that there’s a 10 percent chance of climate catastrophe by 2100, and I’m skeptical of its worth as a “fact” on which public policy should be rendered. Moreover, it strikes me as being alarmist even by the hyperbolic standards shared by Joe Romm and his ilk on the eco-freak fringe.

There are other problems with Taylor's argument. For example, he couches his risk management proposal in the familiar terms of hedging and insurance in the financial sector. Such a comparison is, however, inapposite. Given our near total reliance on fossil fuels, the only way to fight global warming is to completely transform the global economy. Anything short of that won't save us. So we’re not talking about insuring our position within the current market; rather, we’re talking about completely remaking the current market. Those are markedly difference risk management strategies.

Another problem with his reasoning is that the putative danger undercuts the impetus for his grand political bargain. If we face a certain 10 percent chance of catastrophe, wouldn’t that warrant EPA regulations, in addition to a carbon tax? There are other problems with his argument, foremost among them being his unwillingness to proffer a price, which is no small component of his plan.

To recap: Jerry Taylor’s original argument for a carbon tax—that it could be traded for a rescission of EPA climate rules—seems to have gone by the wayside, likely due to the effectiveness of criticisms leveled by IER’s Robert Murphy. On Wednesday, at an AEI-sponsored debate, Taylor presented his new and improved argument—that it’s a “moral and ethical” imperative for conservatives to support a carbon tax as a mitigation strategy, because there is a 10 percent chance (maybe 8 percent, maybe 12 percent) that climate change will be catastrophic. For the reasons I set forth above, his new focus is no less unreasonable than the original.

Taylor’s opponent, Benjamin Zycher, did a great job, to no one’s surprise. Michael Bastasch penned an excellent write-up of the event, available here.

D.C. Circuit Court Disappoints (but there is a silver lining)

On Tuesday, a three judge panel on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a challenge brought by industry and 15 States to check EPA’s Clean Power Plan. The court ruled that the challenge was premature, because the rule hasn’t yet been finalized. Because the judges ruled on jurisdictional grounds, the court did not tip its hand regarding the merits of the petitioners’ challenge to the rule, which was based on the argument that EPA lacks the authority to issue the Clean Power Plan. (For more on the merits of the case, see here and here.)

EPA is expected to publish the final rule in august. Thereafter, opponents of the Clean Power Plan will seek a stay of the regulation, the success of which would be based in part on the likelihood of their winning on the merits. The D.C. Circuit likely would render a decision whether or not to stay the regulation in late fall or early winter.

While Tuesday’s ruling was a disappointment, environmental lawyer Brian Potts points to a possible silver lining. In an excellent Forbes op-ed published on Thursday, Potts notes that under the D.C. Circuit Court’s rules, there’s a substantial likelihood that the same panel of judges that heard Tuesday’s case will adjudicate the next challenge. This bodes well for opponents of the rule, as the three judges are all known to be sensitive to EPA overreach.

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.