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Cooler Heads Digest 06 November 2015 


6 November 2015

In the News

Hiatus Controversy: Show Me the Data
Judith Curry, Climate Etc., 6 November 2015

Obama Strong Arms on Climate
James Rust, Master Resource, 5 November 2015

The Climate Wars and the Damage to Science
Matt Ridley, Global Warming Policy Foundation, 5 November 2015

Poll: Most Americans Understand, Aren’t Too Worried about Climate Change
CBS/Associated Press, 4 November 2015

Who’s Playing Politics on the Keystone Pipeline?
Marlo Lewis, Open Market, 4 November 2015

Courts Rein in Obama’s Regulatory Overreach
H. Sterling Burnett, Real Clear Policy, 4 November 2015

Global Warming Alarmists Don’t Like It When Someone Follows the Money
Andrew Follett, Daily Caller, 3 November 2015

Amazon’s Wind Energy Power Claim Is 100% Myth
Paul Chesser, National Legal and Policy Center, 3 November 2015

The March to Paris Has Begun
Marita Noon, Oil Pro, 2 November 2015

Obscure Part of Clean Air Act Could Kill Obama’s Climate Plan
Kyle Feldscher, Washington Examiner, 2 November 2015

Obama’s Court Quagmire
Timothy Cama, The Hill, 2 November 2015

News You Can Use
Good News: Antarctic Ice Increasing

According to a NASA study by Jay Zwally and colleagues published this week in the Journal of Glaciology, satellite data indicates that Antarctica is gaining more ice from snowfall than it is losing from coastal discharges and ice melt. In other words, currently and over the 1992-2008 study period, Antarctica is contributing to a net reduction in sea level rise. Read NASA’s press release here.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

O Says No to Keystone XL

President Barack Obama on 6th November determined that the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline is not in the national interest and therefore denied the cross-border permit necessary for the pipeline to be built.  The President’s shameful decision concludes the administration’s shameful six year delay in making a decision.

My view for a long time has been that the Obama Administration’s strategy was to delay the decision until TransCanada Corporation gave up.  That strategy came up against TransCanada’s request on 2nd November to suspend the State Department’s consideration of its application until 2017—that is, until President Obama has left office and a new President could approve the permit.

One day later, White House press secretary Josh Earnest responded to TransCanada’s request by saying, “Our expectation at this point … is that the President will make a decision by the end of his administration on the Keystone pipeline.”  Instead of by the end of next year, the President made a decision by the end of this week.  My guess is that he did so now because COP-21 begins in Paris at the end of the month and he hopes to build support from environmental pressure groups for what is almost certainly going to be a modest and uninspiring climate treaty.

Billionaire Democratic Party donor Tom Steyer and founder Bill McKibben made Keystone into a decisive moment in the climate debate.  McKibben repeatedly said (quoting James Hansen, former head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies) that building Keystone would be “game over for the climate.” Democrats are counting on Steyer to spend more in the 2016 elections than the $75 million he reportedly spent in the 2014 elections.   

House Committee Passes Bill To Check EPA Climate Regulations

The House Energy and Commerce’s subcommittee on energy on 3rd November marked up the two resolutions of disapproval of the EPA’s greenhouse gas rules for power plants.  House Joint Resolutions 71 and 72 passed 15 to 12 on strict party line votes.

The resolutions brought under the Congressional Review Act would, if enacted, overturn key parts of President Obama’s climate agenda—71 for the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) and 72 for the Existing Source Performance Standards (ESPS). Passage of these resolutions by the House and Senate will undermine the administration’s ability to negotiate a new climate treaty at the UN climate conference in Paris in December because the ESPS and NSPS provide the largest chunk of the emission cuts needed to meet the U.S.’s 26-28% emission reduction commitment.

Across the States
Myron Ebell

NY AG Launches Investigation into Exxon

New York’s Attorney General has begun an investigation of Exxon Mobil’s possible climate crimes.  According to a story in the New York Times by Justin Gillis and Clifford Krauss:

“According to people with knowledge of the investigation, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman issued a subpoena Wednesday evening to Exxon Mobil, demanding extensive financial records, emails and other documents.  The investigation focuses on whether statements the company made to investors about climate risks as recently as this year were consistent with the company’s own long-running scientific research.  The people said the inquiry would include a period of at least a decade during which Exxon Mobil funded outside groups that sought to undermine climate science, even as its in-house scientists were outlining the potential consequences — and uncertainties — to company executives.”

This latest witch hunt to prosecute climate criminals follows a suggestion by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), who in a 4th June op-ed published by the Washington Post called for an investigation of fossil fuel companies under RICO—the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. 

On 16th September, Inside Climate News released the results of an eight month investigation that concluded Exxon Mobil had been covering up the fact that its own scientists had warned the company beginning in 1977 of the risks to the climate of burning fossil fuels.

Senator Whitehouse’s call for a RICO investigation was repeated last month in a letter to President Obama and Attorney General Loretta Lynch from twenty university professors organized by Drs. Jagadish Shukla and Edward Maibach at Virginia’s George Mason University. My CEI colleague Marlo Lewis has written an excellent article on the RICO Twenty.

And just before New York’s Times broke the news of AG Schneiderman’s investigation of Exxon Mobil, Professor Naomi Oreskes (a global warming propagandist who masquerades as a science historian at Harvard) and Representative Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) piled on with an op-ed in the Hill headlined, “The Harm Exxon Mobil Has Done.”  Their op-ed repeats the Inside Climate News claims and then repeats the call for a criminal investigation of Exxon Mobil. Oreskes and Lieu have nothing new to say, but I admire their timing. 

Update on State Lawsuits against EPA Climate Regulations

Twenty-three States this week filed a legal challenge to the EPA’s Carbon Pollution Standards in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. The regulation would require new coal-fired power plants to install carbon capture and sequestration. As I explain here, the States have a strong case, because carbon capture and sequestration is “exorbitantly expensive.” Also this week, Mississippi became the 27th State to sue the EPA over the Clean Power Plan. That regulation would place the nation’s electric grid under the thumb of the agency.

Around the World
Myron Ebell

China Burns 17% More Coal Than Reported

China has been burning up to 17% more coal per year than previously reported, according to new data released by the Chinese government.  New York’s Times announced this news in a top-left, front-page story on 4th November. According to reporter Chris Buckley, “The sharp upward revision in official figures means that China has released much more carbon dioxide — almost a billion more tons a year according to initial calculations — than previously estimated.  The increase alone is greater than the whole German economy emits annually from fossil fuels.”

This is important news in at least three respects.  First, it means that global greenhouse gas emissions have been much larger during a period when the global mean temperature has not gone up as predicted.  This suggests that the climate could be even less sensitive to carbon dioxide levels than recent research has found.  The alarmists are going to have to move quickly to explain this possibility away.

Second, the gap between the greenhouse gas reductions promised by the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions submitted to the forthcoming Paris climate treaty and the official calculations of total greenhouse gas reductions necessary to avoid a two-degree Celsius increase in the global mean temperature has widened considerably.  As I reported in last week’s Digest, Christiana Figueres, executive director of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, called the INDCs a “down payment” on the greenhouse gas reductions that would be required “to prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system,” which is the “ultimate objective” of the UNFCCC. If the additional Chinese emissions are added to the total, then the down payment is even smaller than the UNFCCC secretariat’s recent calculations, which means much more to be done.  The draft text of the Paris climate treaty contains an automatic review and adjustment of targets and timetables of emissions reductions every five years.

Third, the upward revision in Chinese emissions raises the importance of the transparency issue in the Paris climate negotiations.  The United States and the European Union have insisted that the reporting of national greenhouse gas emissions must be subject to external monitoring and verification.  China recently agreed that more transparency was necessary, but has not yet agreed to these demands in the negotiations, which are scheduled to conclude with a new climate treaty at COP-21 (the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC) in Paris in December.        

India Moves To Outlaw Greenpeace

The Indian State of Tamil Nadu has cancelled the registration of Greenpeace India for violating the rules governing nonprofit organizations and for making fraudulent financial statements. The radical environmental pressure group can appeal its delisting to the state government and after that can file an appeal in court.

If its appeals fail, then Greenpeace India will have one month to dissolve itself.  If it fails to do so, Tamil Nadu’s registrar of societies can then appoint a liquidator.

India’s national government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been after Greenpeace India since coming to power in 2014.  India’s Intelligence Bureau published a report that Greenpeace India’s campaigns against coal and nuclear power plants threatened national economic security. In April, the Ministry of Home Affairs froze Greenpeace’s bank accounts for not accurately reporting donations from foreign sources.  A court unfroze some of the accounts, but in early September the ministry revoked Greenpeace India’s license to receive foreign donations.   

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,


Daily Signal - Sen. Mike Lee: Congress Must Have a Say Before Obama Commits to 'Unilateral' International Climate Change Plan 

The Daily Signal

Nov. 5, 2015

Good morning from the nation's capital, where lawmakers are pretty hot about President Obama's plan to cut an international deal in Paris on global warming. In a speech at The Heritage Foundation, Sen. Mike Lee warns that he'd better come to Congress first. LGBT advocates, meanwhile, assess why Houston voters rejected new protections for sexual orientation and gender identity. And in one D.C. suburb, a school board member is unseated after backing a transgender policy.


Sen. Mike Lee: Congress Must Have a Say Before Obama Commits to 'Unilateral' International Climate Change Plan

"At its core, the [Obama administration's] plan is an attempt to enshrine in an international agreement President Obama's unilateral environmental regulatory regime, which remains deeply unpopular among the American people," warned Lee.

Read More


Why LGBT Advocates Think They Lost in Houston Election

On Wednesday, members of the campaign and LGBT supporters dissected what went wrong in Houston, which voted for President Barack Obama in 2012 and 2008, and how they can prevent it from happening again.

Read More


What This College President Thinks Obama's College Scorecard Is Missing

The Department of Education has released its "College Scorecard," a searchable college-affordability database that President Obama described as containing "reliable data on every institution of higher education." Unfortunately, that simply isn't true.

Read More


Why Did the Environmental Protection Agency Spend $1.4 Million on Guns?

The agency has spent millions of dollars over the last decade on guns, ammo, body armor, camouflage equipment, unmanned aircraft, amphibious assault ships, radar and night-vision gear, and other military-style weaponry and surveillance activities.

Read More


The CIA's Secret Himalayan Hotel for Tibetan Guerrillas

It's been 43 years since the CIA cut off support to the Tibetan guerrillas that the agency trained and armed to fight a covert war against China. Yet, a monument to the CIA's secret war in Tibet is still standing in Pokhara, Nepal.

Read More


Challenger Unseats School Board Member Who Supported Transgender Policy

Opponents of the policy argued that allowing biologically male or female students who identify as the opposite sex to intermingle in single-gender spaces such as restrooms and locker rooms raises safety and privacy concerns.

Read More

The Daily Signal

The Daily Signal is brought to you by more than half a million members of The Heritage Foundation.


CEI Today: Transportation bill, Freddie Mac's loss, Antarctica gaining, and more 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015
In the News Today




Freddie Mac’s Loss Shows Need to Protect Taxpayers from GSE Raids


The release of Freddie Mac’s new quarterly report shows a sudden Q3 loss – “it’s déjà vu all over again.” After seemingly smooth sailing under which Freddie and its sister Fannie Mae turned profits over the last couple years, this net loss of $475 million raises the specter of yet another government bailout. > Read more




The Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act


Unlike the Senate bill, which relies on imaginary pay-fors to support obscene spending increases, the House bill maintains less irresponsible baseline funding adjusted year-to-year for inflation. > Read more

The highway funding bill also reauthorizes the Export-Import Bank, an institution that has become a big source of corporate welfare. >Signs of Life for Ex-Im?


Yet another amendment to the highway bill would lift the ban on oil exports and siphon off some of that tax revenue to help pay for highway authorizations. >House Moves To Lift Oil Export Ban


> Interview an expert



Antarctica: Still No Time to Sell the Beach House?


With the COP 21 climate treaty conference in Paris only weeks away, federal agencies are trying harder than ever to spook the public about the so-called climate crisis.

This can be tricky when an agency-funded study indicates the state of the climate is better, rather than worse, than they thought. > Read more

> Interview Marlo Lewis

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Cooler Heads Digest 30 October 2015 

30 October 2015


On Wednesday, November 4th, from 2:30-4:00 PM, the Heritage Foundation and the Competitive Enterprise Institute will co-host a panel on “A Preview of the Paris Climate Change Conference.” Speakers will be: Senator Mike Lee, Harlan Watson, Chris Horner, and Nick Loris. RSVP or watch live here.

In the News

Dumbest Global Warming Study Ever Wins Raves from New York Times
Steve Milloy, PJ Media, 30 October 2015

Chevron and the Case of the Tainted Witness
Paul Barrett, Bloomberg, 29 October 2015

Murray Energy & 5 States File Suit against EPA’s Ozone Rule
Devin Henry, The Hill, 28 October 2015

Winemakers Will Adapt, International Body Says of Climate Change
Sybille de La Hamaide & Pascale Denis, Reuters, 28 October 2015

Did Federal Agency Commit Climate Fraud?
Investor’s Business Daily, 28 October 2015

Obama’s Greenhouse of Cards: Doomed to Collapse or Too Big to Fail?
Marlo Lewis,, 27 October 2015

Hypocrisy at Universities over Oil Company Divestment
Judith Curry, Climate, Etc., 27 October 2015

Consumer Reports Rescinds Recommendation for Tesla’s Model S
Paul Chesser, National Legal and Policy Center, 27 October 2015

Is Tesla Doomed?
Bob Lutz, Road & Track, 26 October 2015

Did We Really Save the Ozone Layer?
Steve Goreham, Watts Up With That?, 26 October 2015

News You Can Use
Terrible Cost-Benefit Ratio of Obama’s Paris Promise

Meeting the climate change goals proposed by President Barack Obama for the upcoming United Nations conference in Paris will cost $38 to $45 billion annually and reduce global temperatures by less than two-tenths of one degree, according to a report released Thursday by the American Action Forum.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

Congressional Resolutions To Block EPA’s Climate Rules Are Introduced and Set To Move Quickly

Representative Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s energy subcommittee, introduced resolutions of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to block the Environmental Protection Agency from implementing its greenhouse gas rules for new and existing power plants on 26th October.  The subcommittee announced on Friday that it would mark up House Joint Resolutions 71 and 72 on Tuesday, 3rd November. Action by the full committee should quickly follow.  Votes on the House floor could then be held soon after the House returns on 16th November from its Veterans Day week-long recess.

On the Senate side, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) along with 47 co-sponsors introduced Senate Joint Resolution 23 to block the new power plant rule on 27th October.  On the same day, Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and 48 co-sponsors introduced S. J. Res. 24 to block the rule for existing power plants.  CRA resolutions can go to the Senate floor without going through committee, so it is likely that the Senate will vote on the resolutions before the House does.  Under the CRA, resolutions of disapproval are not subject to cloture votes and thus only require a majority of those voting to pass.

DC Circuit Won’t Decide on Stay of EPA’s Power Plant Rule until after Paris Climate Conference

A panel of three judges of the federal D. C. Circuit Court of Appeals have decided not to rule on the petition to stay the EPA’s greenhouse gas rule for existing power plants until well after the U. N.’s climate conference ends in Paris on 11th December.  The petitioners led by Patrick Morrisey, attorney general of West Virginia, had asked the court for expedited review of their request for a stay of the rule until litigation against it is completed.

The court instead agreed to the Environmental Protection Agency’s suggested schedule, which calls for briefs for all sides to be submitted by 23rd December. The court will then hear oral arguments before making a decision. My CEI colleague Marlo Lewis has an excellent summary of the arguments of the petitioners at

Around the World
Myron Ebell

Christiana Figueres, Head of UNFCCC, Says Paris Treaty Is a “Down Payment” on Actions That Must Be Taken To Avoid Dangerous Climate Change

The national pledges that have been made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are to make up the forthcoming Paris climate treaty will reduce future global warming, but not enough, according to a report by the secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.   

The secretariat’s analysis of all the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) concludes that if all commitments to reduce emissions are fulfilled, the rise in the global mean temperature will be kept under three degrees C, but will be more than the two degrees agreed upon as the safe upper limit of warming.

Christiana Figueres, executive director of the UNFCCC, said that the INDCs “represent a clear and determined down payment.” Figueres went on to say, “It is a very good step, it is actually a remarkable step, but it is not enough,” and that all countries will need to do more. The various drafts of the Paris climate treaty have all contained an automatic review of national commitments every five years that could require further actions to reduce emissions.

The UNFCCC’s conclusion that the INDCs will fail to keep future warming below the safety threshold is based on the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s model results.  The IPCC assumes that they can calculate how much warming will be caused by various levels of total emissions.  If actual temperature datasets are used instead, it appears that the increase in the global mean temperature since the beginning of the twentieth century will be below two degrees C well into the twenty-first century.  

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,


Daily Signal - Lawmakers Probe Taxpayer-Funded Academic Who Wants Obama to Prosecute Climate Change Skeptics 

The Daily Signal

Oct. 27, 2015

Lawmakers Probe Taxpayer-Funded Academic Who Wants Obama to Prosecute Climate Change Skeptics

This professor is one of 20 publicly subsidized academics who signed a letter to President Barack Obama calling for a probe of "corporations and other organizations that have knowingly deceived the American people about the risks of climate change."

Read More


Will Obama's New Guidelines Actually Reduce Testing in Schools? Probably Not Much

The Department of Education will work "aggressively" with states and school districts to curb testing, but the Obama administration's plan is expected to affect students only slightly.

Read More


62 House Republicans Join Democrats to Clear Path for Vote Reviving Export-Import Bank

Despite opposition from the vast majority of Republicans, the House passed a motion to discharge a bill reauthorizing Ex-Im from the Financial Services Committee, 246-177.

Read More


Be Careful What You Wish For. Getting Rid of the Senate Filibuster Is a Bad Idea.

This "quick fix" is one that conservatives would come to regret.

Read More


Baker Who Doesn't Want to Make Wedding Cakes for Same-Sex Couples Takes His Case to Colorado Supreme Court

In August, the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled that Jack Phillips and his bakery, Masterpiece Cakeshop, must bake cakes for same-sex weddings, even though this violates Phillips' Christian view on marriage.

Read More


How Marriage, Strong Families Contribute to Economic Growth

The well-being of the family and the economy go hand-in-hand. America can thrive only if its most vital institution, the family, is strong.

Read More

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The Daily Signal is brought to you by more than half a million members of The Heritage Foundation.