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Entries in Climate Change (309)

Saturday
Dec132014

Cooler Heads Digest 12 December 2014 

12 December 2014

In the News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inside the Beltway
William Yeatman

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

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

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

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

Interior Department Contractor Validates “War on Coal”

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

FERC Agrees to Vet Reliability Impact of Clean Power Plan

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

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

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

Across the States
William Yeatman

NOAA Report: California Draught Due to Natural Causes

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

Around the World
Myron Ebell

Dispatches from COP-20 in Lima, Peru

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

The Cooler Heads Digest is the weekly e-mail publication of the Cooler Heads Coalition. For the latest news and commentary, check out the Coalition’s website, www.GlobalWarming.org.

Friday
Dec122014

CEI Today: China, Gore and Kerry at the climate conference, plus a White House fail on regulatory disclosure 

Friday, Dec. 12, 2014
In the News Today

 


CHINA AT THE CLIMATE CONFERENCE- CHRISTOPHER HORNER


The Blaze: China Recoils on Transparency at Climate Conference, but Obama Administration Still Confident in Deal

Despite China’s refusal this week to accept international scrutiny of its pledged reductions in carbon emissions, President Barack Obama said Thursday that China will abide by “higher standards and in a verifiable way.”

Asserting the bilateral agreement is entirely separate from the Lima conference makes little sense, “unless their spin is the Chinese will allow inspection of the Beijing deal but not a multilateral deal,” said Chris Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

“We’ve known all along this was trust but don’t verify,” Horner told TheBlaze. “Politically, this was meant to get ahead of multilateral talks to take away the argument that China is not doing anything. All this [China’s action this week] does is expose the Beijing’s bilateral.”
> Read The Blaze report


> Interview Chris Horner
 

REPORTS FROM COP-20 IN LIMA - MYRON EBELL

It was Climate Action Day at the UN climate conference in Lima, Peru.  A three-hour “high level” session featured a number of prominent elected leaders, UN officials, and climate activists. It gave me a chance to hear former star of stage and screen Al Gore twice more.  Gore said that, “We are designing the future of humankind here in Lima and then Paris” next year.  If that isn’t scary enough, U. S. Secretary of State John Kerry flew in a few hours later to give a speech in the main press conference room.  It wasn’t an official speech to the COP, but was meant to show the delegates and the world that the Obama Administration is determined to make the negotiations succeed.
> Secretary of State John Kerry Tries To Out-Gore Al Gore

> Al Gore Preaches Hellfire And Redemption

> United States Makes Impressive But Misleading Presentation

> 350.org Protests Allowing Fossil Fuel Lobbyists To Attend


WHITE HOUSE REGULATORY DISCLOSURE - WAYNE CREWS
 

Deteriorating White House Regulatory Disclosure Needs Active Congressional Review

 

Among many regulatory reforms needed in the new 114th Congress, here is yet one more way that regulatory disclosure needs a shot in the arm.

The Regulatory Plan and the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions, which is supposed to appear twice a year, has undergone some internal reporting changes at the Office of Management and Budget that cause fewer long-term rules to be reported. Note that Obama’s economically significant rules are nearly 50 percent higher than Bush’s and his “significant” rules are way above. > Read more

> Interview Wayne Crews
 

 

    

 

CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government.  For more information about CEI, please visit our website, cei.org.  Follow CEI on Twitter! Twitter.com/ceidotorg.

 

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Monday
Nov172014

CEI Today: Obama's climate deal, Gruber's Obamacare, net neutrality, and Internet taxes 

Monday, Nov. 17, 2014
In the News Today

 


OBAMA'S CLIMATE DEAL WITH CHINA - WILLIAM YEATMAN


The Profound Political Illegitimacy of Obama’s Climate “Deal” with China

 

Regardless whether the President's much ballyhooed “deal” with China to mitigate climate change agreement has teeth, it enjoys zero political legitimacy. > Read more

> Interview William Yeatman

 

PELOSI & GRUBER ON OBAMACARE - JOHN BERLAU

Gruber’s “Speakola” Virus and Pelosi’s Selective Memory
 
 
Until very recently, one of the key sources that Obamacare supporters have relied on to establish that purpose are statements and writings by the key architects of the law. > Read more
 

NET NEUTRALITY - RYAN RADIA

Two views on danger of 'net neutrality'

If this is a free speech issue, says the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Ryan Radia, "it's not about speech being regulated by the government."
"It's about speech being regulated by private companies," Radia suggests. "If you build a network, you own it, you operate it and you decide that your policy will be just to allow certain types of messages. You should be free to do that. Of course your subscribers are free to choose who their provider is." >
Read more


> Interview Ryan Radia
 

TAXING THE INTERNET - RYAN RADIA & HANS BADER

 

Economic and Legal Problems with Internet Sales Taxes

CEI released a new study analyzing the economic downsides and legal problems with Internet sales taxes on the state and federal levels. With Congress poised to consider a similar tax in the Marketplace Fairness Act during this lame-duck session, lawmakers should preserve states’ rights to compete and not give into big-box retailers and their lobbyists. 
> Read more


> Interview an expert
 

Wednesday, November 19


Ridesharing in the District:
How the Nation’s Capital Is Regulating Drivers-for-Hire


Featuring CEI's Marc Scibner


-event details-
 

Sign Up for the Weekly Cooler Heads Digest!

Every Friday afternoon, we send out an electronic newsletter on the latest energy and environment happenings, known as the Cooler Heads Digest. Sign up today!
 

 

    

 

CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government.  For more information about CEI, please visit our website, cei.org.  Follow CEI on Twitter! Twitter.com/ceidotorg.

 


 

CEI President Lawson Bader

@libertynkilts

If it walks like a lame duck

Saturday, 10am ET
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Saturday
Nov152014

Cooler Heads Digest 14 November 2014

14 November 2014

Announcement

The Cato Institute will host a presentation by Alex Epstein on his new book, “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels,” on Friday, November 21st, 9:00-10:00 AM at B-369 House Rayburn Office Building. Click here to learn more and RSVP.

In the News

Fossil Fuels: The Moral Choice
Alex Epstein, Fox News, 14 November 2014

The Wind Lobby’s Case against the PTC Extension
Robert Bradley, Jr., Master Resource, 14 November 2014

Obama Touts Energy Taxes as a Way To Fight Global Warming
Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller, 14 November 2014

Dr. Mann, Super-Villain
Mark Steyn, Steyn Online, 14 November 2014

Interstellar’s Rejection of Climate Change Hysteria
Sonny Bunch, Washington Free Beacon, 14 November 2014

Tom Steyer Provides a Lesson in How To Waste $67 Million
Thomas Pyle, Investor’s Business Daily, 13 November 2014

Study: Energy Jobs Lead the Recovery
Joshua Cain, Fuel Fix, 13 November 2014

The Audacity of Climate Cynicism
Washington Examiner editorial, 13 November 2014

Carbon Tax Advocates Discuss Post-Election Prospects
Marlo Lewis, GlobalWarming.org, 12 November 2014

The Coming Climate Onslaught
Andrew Restuccia & Erica Martinson, Politico, 11 November 2014

IPCC’s Latest Report: The End Is Nigh Unless Mankind Repents Its Fuelish Ways
Marlo Lewis, CNS News, 10 November 2014

Unquestionably One-Sided Climate Change Coverage
Tom Harris, Washington Times, 10 November 2014

News You Can Use
The One Statistic Climate Catastrophists Don’t Want You to Know

According to the Cato Institute’s Pat Michaels, in the decade from 2004 to 2013, worldwide climate-related deaths (including droughts, floods, extreme temperatures, wildfires, and storms) plummeted to a level 88.6 percent below that of the peak decade, from 1930 to 1939.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

Reid Rushes Senate Vote on Keystone Pipeline To Try To Save Landrieu

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) strategy to keep Democratic incumbents from being voted out of office by keeping floor votes to a minimum failed miserably on 4th November.  Voters sent Democratic incumbents packing in Arkansas, Colorado, Alaska, and North Carolina.  As a result of those defeats plus Democratic losses in open seat races in West Virginia, Montana, Iowa, and South Dakota, Republicans will take control of the Senate when the 114th Congress is sworn in on January 3rd. 

Now, to try to save Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.) from defeat in a 6th December runoff with Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Reid wants to have a vote on a bill to approve construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline from Alberta’s oil sands, across the Canada-U.S. border and down to Cushing, Okla., where it would hook up with the southern leg of the pipeline that has already been constructed and is operating (because pipelines that don’t cross an international border don’t require presidential approval).  The Senate is currently scheduled to vote on the bill on Tuesday, 18th November.  However, with Reid in control of the Senate schedule, that could change several times.

It can be seen from past votes that all 45 Republican Senators and 12 Democratic Senators will vote yes on Keystone.  That is three votes short of the 60 needed to surmount procedural hurdles and pass the bill.  So Senator Landrieu, chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has been lobbying several Democratic colleagues furiously to come up with three more votes.  As of Friday afternoon, Senators Thomas Carper (D-Del.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) have announced that they will switch. 

It really doesn’t matter whether Landrieu finds the sixtieth vote or not.  She is almost certain to lose to Cassidy in the runoff because she got 42% of the vote on election day, while Cassidy got 41% and Rob Maness, the other Republican in the race, got 14%.  Nor is it clear what passing Keystone out of the Democratic-controlled Senate will do to help Landrieu.  The White House is still signaling that President Obama may veto the bill.  And if it doesn’t reach the president’s desk this month, it surely will early next year when Republicans control the Senate.

That’s why the Republican leadership in the House did not stand in the way.  On Friday, 14th November, the House voted 252 to 161 in favor of H. R. 5682, which approves the Keystone Pipeline.   Thirty-one Democrats votes Yes.  This is the ninth time the House has passed a Keystone bill.  Oh, and by the way, the sponsor of H. R. 5682 is Rep. Bill Cassidy. 

If the Senate goes along next Tuesday, expect anti-Keystone activists led by billionaire Democratic donor Tom Steyer and Bill McKibben’s 350.org to form a human chain around the White House, as they did on 4th March.  Currently, 350.org is planning a rally on the Mall in Washington on 17th February 2015, which is Presidents’ Day. 

Across the States
William Yeatman

Southern Co. CEO: EPA’s “Clean Power” Plan Would Cause Rolling Blackouts

In an interview two days ago with Bloomberg, Thomas Fanning, the CEO of Southern Company, which provides electricity service to a four state region in the southeast, said that “I don’t think we have the ability to maintain a reliable system” and also comply with EPA’s “Clean Power” Plan.  

Fanning’s statement is only the latest warning about the threat to electric reliability posed by EPA’s rule. In recent testimony before the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Commissioner Philip Moeller voiced his concern about the possibility of cascading blackouts within the 15 state region served by the Midcontinent Independent Service Operator. And in October comments to the EPA, the Southwest Power Pool, a regional transmission organization that serves an 8 state region, warned that the rule, if left unchanged, would cause rolling blackouts within its footprint. Thus, grid operators & federal energy regulators have issued warnings that the EPA’s Clean Power Plan could turn out the lights in 27 States.

Around the World
Myron Ebell

Obama, Xi Agree on Meaningless Climate Deal

U. S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a commitment by both countries to limit greenhouse gas emissions by 2025-30, at the end of the APEC summit meeting in China on Wednesday.  President Obama pledged that the United States would reduce it emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025, while President Xi pledged that China’s emissions would peak by “around 2030, with the intention to try to peak early, and to increase the share of non-fossil fuel share of all energy to around 20% by 2030.”  That quote is from the White House fact sheet on the agreement.

The Obama Administration’s long-stated goal has been to reduce emissions by 17% below 2005 levels by 2020.  That works out to an annual cut of 1.2% from 2005 onward.  The new goal would require a much faster rate of cuts.  The White House calculated that if the faster rate doesn’t begin until 2020, then the annual cut would work out to 2.3-2.8% from 2020 to 2025.

It is not clear what President Xi’s commitment means, but President Obama’s signature on the deal has no legal force.  And it will be up to future Presidents and Congresses after he leaves office in January 2017 to decide whether to require the emissions reductions agreed to.

Leaders of the official climate establishment quickly claimed that the U. S.-China agreement will provide new momentum to the international negotiations on a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol, which will continue at the annual United Nations climate conference in December in Lima.  A new international agreement is supposed to be signed at the next UN conference scheduled for December 2015 in Paris.

Here for example is what former Senator Timothy Wirth said in a written statement: “Today’s announcement is the political breakthrough we’ve been waiting for….  If the two biggest players on climate are able to get together, from two very different perspectives, the rest of the world can see that it’s possible to make real progress.”  Wirth is the vice chairman of Ted Turner’s United Nations Foundation and served as Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs during the Clinton Administration, where he prepared the groundwork for the Kyoto Protocol in 1997.

However, it doesn’t appear that there is much that is new in the agreement.  The Reuters story by David Stanway reporting from the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation) summit in Beijing got it right in the headline: “China, US agree limits on emissions, but experts see little new.”

Stanway continues:

For China, the targets add little to its existing commitments to wean itself off carbon, environmental experts said.  ‘The statement is an upbeat signal to motivate other countries, but the timeline China has committed to is not a binding target,’ said Li Junfeng, an influential Chinese climate policy adviser linked to China’s state planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission.

There is also the little obstacle of Congress.  Republicans take control of the Senate in January.  Majorities in both the House and Senate will be opposed to the Obama Administration’s climate agenda.  It seems certain that they will be even more opposed to the new 26% cut by 2025 goal than they are to the 17% by 2020 goal.  My guess is that there will be votes on a resolution disavowing President Obama’s new commitments in both the House and Senate early in the 114th Congress.

That would complicate the State Department’s plans to announce its commitments that will be part of the Paris accord by the end of March.  In fact, if the House and Senate do disavow the deal with China, it would be a major international embarrassment to President Obama and would be a severe blow to the chances for a significant agreement in Paris in December 2015.

Reactions to Obama-Xi Climate Agreement

Among many insightful commentaries on the O-Xi deal, I recommend my CEI colleague Chris Horner’s post on GlobalWarming.org on the potential legal consequences and Rupert Darwall’s post on National Review Online on the economic consequences.  The Onion had the best headline: “China Vows To Begin Aggressively Falsifying Air Pollution Numbers.”

The establishment press and leftist columnists were ecstatic.  Here’s a sample.  New York Times editorial headline: “A major breakthrough on climate change.”  Washington Post editorial headline: “A landmark climate deal.”  Paul Krugman in the NY Times: “We have a deal, and it’s pretty big.”  Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed: “A game-changing climate deal.” And Al Gore’s group, the Climate Reality Project, began its e-mail on the O-Xi deal: “Climate wins don’t come much bigger.”

Politico reporter Michael Grunwald damped down the enthusiasm in a long article that points out the agreement was “just words.”  Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani gave Politico this pithy analysis:  "We have plans to continue to reduce emissions and we have agreed to continue to increase those plans to reduce emissions. And we have, over the years, shown our good faith by actually doing that.  So, that's our quid. What's the pro quo? They're going to continue to emit carbon and then after 16 years, they're going to freeze that emission, as far as I can tell, at the level they bring it up to in 16 years.”   Investor’s Business Daily had a good editorial slamming the deal that included a useful graph.   

Republican leaders in Congress were quick to announce that the President’s climate deal with China didn’t stand a chance in Congress.  Senator James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) called it a charade.  And here is Senator Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) reaction.  Inhofe will become chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee in January.  McConnell will become majority leader of the Senate.  

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
Nov142014

CEI Today: Obama's climate change China Deal, Internet sales taxes, and more 

Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014
In the News Today

 

OBAMA'S CLIMATE CHANGE CHINA DEAL - MYRON EBELL & CHRIS HORNER

Ebell: It is not clear what President Xi’s commitment means, but President Obama’s signature on the deal has no legal force. And it will be up to future Presidents and Congresses after he leaves office in January 2017 to decide whether to require the emissions reductions agreed to.

 

Horner: This deal is the latest move by the president to circumvent congressional approval, in this case by using a ‘politically binding’ promise to others that he hopes make his EPA's rules untouchable here at home. > Read more


> Interview an expert
 

MARKETPLACE FAIRNESS ACT - RYAN RADIA & HANS BADER

 

Economic and Legal Problems with Internet Sales Taxes

CEI released a new study analyzing the economic downsides and legal problems with Internet sales taxes on the state and federal levels. With Congress poised to consider a similar tax in the Marketplace Fairness Act during this lame-duck session, lawmakers should preserve states’ rights to compete and not give into big-box retailers and their lobbyists.

 

The authors cite how the adoption of nexus taxes resulted in Overstock.com pulling out of its affiliate business in New York, while in North Carolina, many retailers cut ties with affiliate marketers in that state.

 

"Congress should reject legislation like the Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA) because it would take more money out of consumers’ pockets, discourage entrepreneurs, and harm small businesses. It would create a sales tax cartel punishing Internet retailers,” said CEI's Ryan Radia. > Read more

> Interview an expert
 

OBAMACARE & JONATHAN GRUBER - SAM KAZMAN

Obamacare: Cert Granted on Friday, and Gruber II on Saturday
 
Shortly after noon last Friday, the Supreme Court announced that it would review our Fourth Circuit Obamacare challenge, King v. Burwell. Saturday brought another surprise—yet another rediscovered Jonathan Gruber video:

And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to get the thing to pass.” So, the only way to get it to pass was to not call it what it was and to not let the American people know what it really was.
 > Read more


ROLL CALL
Q & A: Marc Scribner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute


Part One
& Part Two


Analyst Marc Scribner at the Competitive Enterprise Institute examines transportation policy from a staunchly pro-market standpoint. > Read the interview
 

Sign Up for the Weekly Cooler Heads Digest!

Every Friday afternoon, we send out an electronic newsletter on the latest energy and environment happenings, known as the Cooler Heads Digest. Sign up today!
 

 

    

 

CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government.  For more information about CEI, please visit our website, cei.org.  Follow CEI on Twitter! Twitter.com/ceidotorg.

 


 

CEI President Lawson Bader

@libertynkilts
 

In memory of Gordon Tullock

Saturday, 10am ET
Realclearradio.org