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Entries in Climate Change (321)

Saturday
Mar282015

Cooler Heads Digest 27 March 2015 

27 March 2015

Announcements

  • The Competitive Enterprise invites you to celebrate Human Achievement Hour by turning on your lights from 8:30 to 9:30 PM on Saturday, 28th March.  This celebration of human progress and advancement is an alternative to “Earth Hour,” the annual event calling on people and business to turn off their lights for an hour as a symbolic gesture against climate change. Learn how to participate further here.
  • Competitive Enterprise Institute, on behalf of 14 other pro-market organizations, this week submitted a joint comment letter critiquing on the Counsel for Environmental Quality’s proposal to require a National Environmental Policy Act analysis of project-related greenhouse gas emissions and climate change effects.

In the News

America’s Energy Scorecard (Let Freedom Ring!)
Robert Bradley, Jr., Master Resource, 27 March 2015

Is Global Warming a Moral Cause?
Joe Bast, Somewhat Reasonable, 27 March 2015

It’s Time To Reclaim the Planet from Environmentalists
Dan Ziegler, The Federalist, 27 March 2015

Subpoena Proper after EPA Chief Deletes Nearly 6,000 Text Messages, Experts Testify
S. A. Miller, Washington Times, 26 March 2015

House Democrat: Global Warming Will Force Women To Trade Sexual Favors for Food
Chad Merta, Sun Times, 26 March 2015

In New York State, Fracking Ban Fuels Secession Talk
Tina Susman, Los Angeles Times, 26 March 2015

“97% Consensus” Claim Does Not Stand Up to Scrutiny
Richard Tol, Occasional Thoughts, 25 March 2015

Climate Science Doubts: Not Because of Payment, But Because the Science Is Bad
Christopher Essex, Breitbart, 25 March 2015

Missing the Mark on Climate Change Skepticism
Scott Armstrong, Washington Times, 24 March 2015

Pump the Brakes on Fracking Regulations
Editorial, National Review, 23 March 2015

News You Can Use
Poll: Record Number of Americans Have Positive Views on Environment

According to a Gallup poll published this week, half of Americans rate the overall quality of the environment as “excellent” or “good,” the most positive views of the environment since Gallup began asking this question in 2001.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

Senate Vote-a-Rama Includes Climate Votes

The House of Representatives and the Senate both approved budget resolutions this week, but all the fun was on the Senate side.  There were floor votes on 57 amendments on a wide range of issues, including climate policy.  The fun peaked with the Thursday night “Vote-a-Rama” and finally ended with passage of S. Con. Res. 11 by a 52 to 46 vote at 3:19 AM on 27th March.

There were four key votes on climate policy.  First, by a 58 to 42 vote, the Senate approved Senator Roy Blunt’s (R-Mo.) amendment against a carbon tax.  All 54 Republicans were joined by four Democrats in opposing a carbon tax.  They were: Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.).  We can now assume that all the other Democratic Senators support raising energy prices with a carbon tax.

Second, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) offered an amendment that would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from “withholding highway funds from States that refuse to submit State Implementation Plans required under the [so-called] Clean Power Plan of the Agency.”  It passed 57-43, with all 54 Republicans plus Democrats Manchin, Donnelly, and Heitkamp voting Yes.

Third, five Republicans voted for Senator Bernie Sanders’s amendment to recognize that climate change is real and the Senate should take action to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.  The Republicans voting Yes were: Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Susan Collins (R-Me.), and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.).  Democratic Senators Manchin and Heitkamp voted No.  The Sanders amendment failed on a 49-50 vote

Fourth, the Senate approved by a 53-47 vote a somewhat similar amendment offered by Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.).  It calls on the Senate to listen to the advice of the Secretary of Defense, National Intelligence Director, NASA Administrator, and NOAA Administrator on the threats posed by human-caused climate change.  Seven Republicans voted for the Bennet amendment: Senators Portman, Kirk, Ayotte, Graham, Collins, Dean Heller (R-Nev.), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).  No Democrats voted against the amendment.

People often complain that all these Senate budget votes don’t mean anything.  That’s true, but they are often important test votes on important issues.  We now know where Senators stand on the EPA’s “Clean Power” Plan, which means that both sides now know who needs education and persuasion. 

We also now know that there is absolutely no support for a carbon tax among Senate Republicans, even despite a recent white paper by Jerry Taylor of the new Niskanen Center on “The Conservative Case for a Carbon Tax.” Perhaps, conservatives in the Senate haven't had time to read it.  But even if they do find time, I doubt that any will be persuaded.  I find it entirely unconvincing, and in fact now have a clearer understanding of how goofy both politically and as public policy a carbon tax would be.    

The House passed its budget resolution, H. Con. Res. 27, at 6:54 PM on 25th March by a vote of 228 to 199.   

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
Mar212015

Cooler Heads Digest 20 March 2015 

20 March 2015

Announcements

The Competitive Enterprise invites you to celebrate Human Achievement Hour by turning on your lights from 8:30 to 9:30 PM on Saturday, 28th March.  This celebration of human progress and advancement is an alternative to “Earth Hour,” the annual event calling on people and business to turn off their lights for an hour as a symbolic gesture against climate change. Learn how to participate further here.

In the News

Lawmaker: Protect Coal Plants To Help the Manatees
Sean Cockerham, Miami Herald, 20 March 2015

Bob Murray’s Mission To Save the Coal Industry (subscription required)
Timothy Puko, Wall Street Journal, 19 March 2015

The First Gasoline Tax: Less Than Romantic
Robert Bradley, Jr., Master Resource, 19 March 2015

Iowa and Ethanol
Paul Mulshine, The Star Ledger, 19 March 2015

The Implications for Climate Sensitivity of Bjorn Stevens’s New Aerosol Forcing Paper
Nicholas Lewis, Climate Audit, 19 March 2015

The Guardian’s Editor-in-Chief Hits Peak Stupid
James Delingpole, Breitbart, 18 March 2015

A Wisconsin Response to EPA about the Clean Power Plan
Stephen Heins, WisPolitics.com, 18 March 2015

EPA Wants To Monitor How Long Hotel Guests Spend in the Shower
Elizabeth Harrington, Washington Free Beacon, 17 March 2015

Ezra Klein Calls on Al Gore To Run for President
Jesse Walker, Hit and Run, 17 March 2015

The Costliest EPA Rule Yet
Margo Thorning, Washington Times, 15 March 2015

Kissing the Ring of King Corn
Bill Tucker, Forbes, 14 March 2015

News You Can Use
No Twisters in March for 1st Time Since 1969

No tornados were reported in the U.S. during March for the first time since 1969.

Inside the Beltway

Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe Blasts Clean Power Plan
Marlo Lewis

Sparks flew at the House Energy & Commerce Committee hearing on 17th March when experts clashed over the legality of EPA’s so-called “Clean Power” Plan (CPP) – the agency’s proposed regulation to cap carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from state electric power sectors.  The main fireworks were provided by Harvard Law School Professor Laurence Tribe

Professor Tribe denounced the CPP as an illegal power grab: “EPA is attempting an unconstitutional trifecta: usurping the prerogatives of the States, Congress and the Federal Courts all at once. Burning the Constitution should not become part of our national energy policy.” A few excerpts from Tribe’s 60-page testimony must here suffice to explain the “unconstitutional trifecta.”

Under the CPP, Tribe said: “EPA would not simply regulate emissions, but would also reach out to oversee electricity production, consumption, and distribution within each State – matters that have always been deemed to be wholly within a State’s powers.” The Clean Air Act provides no authority to regulate electricity markets, and the Federal Power Act gives States “exclusive jurisdiction over intrastate electricity matters.”

Tribe continued: “Such a power-grab . . . would allow an unelected agency not meaningfully answerable to the American people to make fundamentally legislative choices – and to avoid political accountability for doing so.”

This is remarkable because of Tribe’s status as a liberal legal icon.  Tribe is perhaps the leading exponent of a living or evolving Constitution.  He has argued 36 cases before the Supreme Court.  Tribe taught President Obama constitutional law and employed him as a research assistant for two years.  And he actively supported Obama’s presidential campaigns and called him “the best student I ever had.”

House Passes Two EPA Science Reform Bills
Myron Ebell

The House of Representatives this week passed two bills that would try to reform the Environmental Protection Agency’s flagrant misuse of science in formulating regulations. The Secret Science Reform Act, H. R. 1030, passed by a vote of  passed by a vote of 241 to 175.  Four Democrats joined 237 Republicans in voting Yes.  Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY) was the only Republican voting No. 

The EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act, H. R. 1029, passed on a 236 to 181 vote.  Two Democrats voted Yes, and again Rep. Gibson was the lone Republican No vote.  The bill would improve the way experts are chosen for the EPA’s scientific advisory boards.

The Secret Science Reform Act would prohibit the EPA from basing policy on scientific studies and data that are not publicly available.  Unfortunately, it would not apply retroactively.  The EPA has made outlandish claims for the health benefits of Clean Air Act regulations based on two large epidemiological studies based on secret data.  EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has promised Congress several times while under oath to share the data with Congress, but has failed to keep her promise.  The House Science Committee has subpoenaed the data, but the EPA has refused to comply.  

As House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) wrote in a blog post: “Regulations should not be based on undisclosed data.  American taxpayers have a right to see the data and determine for themselves if these regulations are based on sound science or a partisan agenda.  But American taxpayers and Congress are not the only ones who have been left in the dark. The data in question have not been subjected to scrutiny and analysis by independent scientists. This third-party review process is necessary to ensure that the information being used is both scientifically sound and beneficial to the American people.”

The White House has threatened a presidential veto of both bills.  Apparently, the most open and transparent administration in history does not believe that the public has a right to know whether scientific research supports their regulatory agenda.  The reason for that is simple: it doesn’t.   

Obama Orders Federal Government To Cut Its Own Emissions by 40%
Myron Ebell

President Barack Obama on 19th March signed an executive order directing the federal government to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40% below 2008 levels by 2025.  In addition, the President ordered that the federal government get 30% of its electricity from renewable sources and cut carbon dioxide emissions from its vehicle fleet by 30% by 2025.

Senator James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, attacked the President’s action as “a move to advance his personal agenda on climate at the cost of hardworking American taxpayers.”  I agree, but I think the Congress could achieve the President’s goals in a way that would benefit taxpayers and boost the economy by undertaking a massive reduction in the size and scope of the federal government.  They could start by replacing a lot of pickup trucks driven by federal land agency employees with bicycles.   

BLM Releases Final Fracking Rule
Myron Ebell

The Bureau of Land Management on 20th March released its final rule on hydraulic fracturing on federal lands. Predictably, Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, complained that the rule is unnecessary because States already regulate fracking on federal and private land and that it will increase costs and delays in producing oil and gas on federal land. Chairman Bishop is of course completely correct, but he fails to acknowledge that the Obama Administration’s goal is to lower oil and gas production on federal land and these new regulations will help achieve that goal.   

Across the States
William Yeatman

Sen. Majority Leader McConnell Launches “Just Say No” Campaign on Clean Power Plan

The Clean Air Act establishes a State-Federal partnership. Under this “cooperative federalism” regulatory regime, EPA sets nation-wide standards, and the States are responsible for implementing the standards. However, if a State decides that it would prefer to spend its limited resources on a policy area other than air quality improvement, it has a constitutional right to do nothing, and instead allow the federal government to implement the standards.

On March 4th, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)published an op-ed urging States to “Just Say No” to implementing EPA’s “Clean Power Plan.”  And in an open letter to governors published this week, Sen. McConnell elaborated on his strategy. He reasoned that the rule is an illegal power grab, and that a do-nothing strategy by the States would give Congress and the courts time to stop the regulation. To this end, it is notable that the rule is subject to a pending challenge before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, and also that the Energy and Commerce Committee this week published a draft of a bill that would effectively veto the “Clean Power” Plan.

I agree with McConnell and would add a second reason to “Just Say No”: Compliance with the “Clean Power” Plan entails a tremendous waste of resources. The rule is so expansive that it threatens to monopolize virtually all of state energy and environmental regulators’ time. They’ve much better things to do than spend all their energy trying to figure out how to build the President’s legacy.

Around the World
William Yeatman

Swiss Reject a Carbon Tax; Japan Turns to Coal

  • Ninety-two percent of Swiss voters rejected replacing the value-added tax with a carbon tax on energy, according to the Daily Caller’s PG Veer.
  • As predicted on GlobalWarming.org, Japanese utilities are continuing a sharp turn to coal in the wake of the Fukushima Daitchi disaster. While government officials initially planned on replacing nuclear energy with green energy, this proved too expensive and technologically difficult.

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
Mar142015

Cooler Heads Digest 13 March 2015 

13 March 2015

In the News

Green Energy Subsidies Double under Obama
Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller, 13 March 2015

Barack Goes Berserk on Climate “Deniers”
James Rust, Master Resource, 13 March 2015

With New EPA Regulations, Obama Turns Back on Middle Class
Drew Johnson, Sun Prairie Star, 13 March 2015

CEI Files Suit over EPA’s Glacial “Richard Windsor” Production
Chris Horner, GlobalWarming.org, 12 March 2015

Investigation of Funding for Climate Skeptics Countered by “Warmist” Probe
Valerie Richardson, Washington Times, 12 March 2015

Researcher Punished for Exposing Climate Fraud Beats UCLA
Matt Lamb, The College Fix, 12 March 2015

Blowing More Tax Dollars on Wind Subsidies
Fred Lucas, The Blaze, 12 March 2015

EPA Thinks You Are Stupid
Alan Caruba, Warning Signs, 11 March 2015

EPA Is Racing against Time To Pummel the Private Sector
Seton Motley, Human Events, 10 March 2015

Climate Change: It’s Real Because of the Children
James Delingpole, Breitbart, 10 March 2015

Is Climate Policy Sustainable? Sobering Slides on the EU’s Climate Treaty Proposal
Marlo Lewis, GlobalWarming.org, 4 March 2015

News You Can Use
Marlo Lewis

Uneconomical Ethanol

At current prices, a typical motorist must spend an extra $900-$2,400 annually to run a flex-fuel vehicle on E85 (motor fuel made with 85% ethanol) than on regular gasoline, according to the EPA-DOE Web site FuelEconomy.Gov. The reason is that ethanol has one-third less energy by volume than gasoline. Thus, the higher the ethanol blend, the worse mileage your car gets, and the more you have to spend on fuel to travel a given distance. For further discussion, see Root Cause of Ethanol ‘Blend Wall’? Consumers Don’t Like Ripoffs.     

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

Secretary Kerry Gives Speech on “Road to Paris”

U. S. Secretary of State John Kerry gave a major speech in Washington, DC on 12th March as part of the Atlantic Council’s Road to Paris Climate series.  There was little that was new or interesting in the speech, although Kerry did give a different explanation of how the greenhouse effect works than the one he gave in Jakarta on 16th February 2014. Here is Kerry’s new explanation:

“And with added heat comes an altered environment. It’s not particularly complicated. I don’t mean to sound haughty, but think about it for a minute. Life on Earth would not exist without a greenhouse effect. That is what has kept the average temperature up, until recently, at 57 degrees Fahrenheit, because there is this greenhouse effect. And it was called the greenhouse effect because it does exactly what a greenhouse does. When the sun pours in and bounces off at a different angle, it goes back up at a different angle. That can’t escape, and that warms things – a very simple proposition.”

He is still clueless, but this is a big improvement on his moronic explanation in Jakarta last year

Secretary Kerry also claimed that, “A report that the Department of Energy released this morning actually projects that in the United States, wind power is going to be directly competitive with conventional energy technologies within the next 10 years.”  That will be news to wind industry boosters, who have claimed for several years that wind energy is already cheaper than conventional energy. 

Across the States
Myron Ebell

Nine Likely Republican Presidential Candidates Take Positions on Ethanol Mandate at Iowa Ag Summit

Ethanol tycoon Bruce Rastetter hosted most of the potential Republican presidential candidates at the Iowa Agricultural Summit on 7th March.  Naturally, one of the main questions was, Where do you stand on the federal corn ethanol mandate?  Naturally, most of the candidates pledged their sacred honor to defending the ethanol mandate: Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Lindsey Graham.  Most notably, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R-Wisc.) switched his position and said that he now supports the ethanol mandate.  Both Walker and Bush talked vaguely about phasing it out in the distant future.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and former Governors Rick Perry (R-Tex.) and George Pataki (R-NY) made it clear that they oppose the ethanol mandate.  If anyone doubted his refusal to pander to rural Iowans, Senator Cruz added that he also opposed the wind production tax credit.  Interestingly, Cruz drew big cheers from the crowd. Perry, who has also opposed the wind PTC in the past, said that repealing the ethanol mandate needed to be part of a larger examination of subsidies and mandates.  Perry and Pataki both grew up on farms.  Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) did not attend the summit.

The Wall Street Journal put it best in an editorial: “Political cynics will say we’re, well, tilting at windmills by expecting politicians to swear off energy subsidies, but that merely proves our point about the Iowa caucuses. If they were thinking bigger, Republicans would understand that they’ll have more credibility to reform social welfare if they oppose corporate welfare.”

Around the World
Myron Ebell

Cuba’s Pristine Environment under Threat

The National Press Club held a Newsmaker press conference on 10th March at which marine biologist David Guggenheim discussed the threats to Cuba’s marine environment if it rejoins the modern world.  Dr. Guggenheim, president of Ocean Doctor, showed clips from his film, “Frozen in Time: Cuba’s Pristine Coral Reefs and Their Future After the Embargo.”     

The entire documentary will be screened at the 23rd Environmental Film Festival, which will be held from 17th to  29th March in Washington, DC.   

I did not attend the press conference, but according to the press release Dr. Guggenheim believes that dire poverty and political oppression, which he refers to as “Cuba’s relative isolation” have “actually been good for its environment.”  And therefore he is concerned that ending the embargo could increase economic activity and thereby harm the environment.  

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.

Sunday
Mar082015

Cooler Heads Digest 06 March 2015 

6 March 2015

In the News

Harry Reid Secured Subsidies for Aides’ Donors
Lachlan Markay, Washington Free Beacon, 5 March 2015

Stifling Climate Research & Opinion: Another Desparado Mistake
James Rust, Master Resource, 5 March 2015

Economic, Environmental Experts Debate Carbon Tax
Tom Rezac, Daily Nebraskan, 4 March 2015

Override Vote on Keystone XL Veto Looks Doomed
Zack Colman, Washington Examiner, 4 March 2015

With the Clean Power Plan, EPA Has Given Up on Cooperative Federalism
Stephen Heins, Forbes, 4 March 2015

Washington Post: President Obama Is Lying about Keystone
Robert Rapier, R Squared, 4 March 2015

Top Five EPA Transparency Scandals during the Obama Administration
William Yeatman, GlobalWarming.org, 3 March 2015

Antarctic Sea Ice Did the Opposite of What Models Predicted
Michael Bastasch, Dally Caller, 2 March 2015

News You Can Use
Regarding the Futility of Unilateral Climate Change Mitigation, EPA’s #1 Priority

According to the Institute for Energy Research, if the U.S. eliminated all CO2 emissions now, models say it would only slow warming by 0.10°C by the end of the century

Inside the Beltway
William Yeatman

Senate EPW Hearing Rattles EPA Administrator McCarthy

Last week, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy testified twice before House subcommittees in defense of her agency’s FY2016 budget. As I explained here, she deftly negotiated those two hearings, using a skillful combination of obfuscation and mendacity.

This week, Administrator McCarthy appeared before the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee to again defend her agency’s budget. This time around, however, things didn’t go so smoothly.

For starters, I suspect she was caught off guard by the strategy adopted by EPW Chairman James Mountain Inhofe. In previous EPA FY2016 budget hearings, Members of Congress questioned specific policies adopted by EPA; Sen. Inhofe, by contrast, attacked the agency’s priorities. In particular, he questioned why EPA’s FY2016 makes climate change mitigation the agency’s #1 priority, when administrator McCarthy herself concedes that EPA’s policies won’t affect the climate. She didn’t have an answer for this line of reasoning, and I think it threw her off.

However, she became most flustered during an intense exchange with Sen. Jeff Sessions. He started out by decrying the agency’s request for a 6% increase in funding, when inflation is 2.5%. He said that he couldn’t justify such an increase to his constituents, for whom EPA was routinely cited as the #1 problem. He told her, “you are apparently unaware of the pushback that's occurring in the real world.”

Then he moved to the science behind the agency's Clean Power Plan. Sessions first asked whether McCarthy disputed research demonstrating that droughts and hurricanes had not increased; she refused to answer, and grew visibly agitated with the questioning. What followed was the highlight of their dialogue—a back-and-forth during which Administrator McCarthy refused to concede the well-established fact that climate models have overstated global warming. I’ve reposted the transcript below.

SEN. SESSIONS: And would you acknowledge that the -- and over the last 18 years that the increase in temperature has been very little and that it is well below -- as a matter of fact, 90 percent below -- most of the environmental models that showed how fast temperature would increase?

ADMINISTRATOR MCCARTHY: No, I would not agree with that, Sir. A one degree temperature is significant. I don't know what you're looking at.

SEN. SESSIONS: No, no, no. I'm asking you is [the actual temperature record] below the models or above the models?

ADMINISTRATOR MCCARTHY: I do not know what the models actually are predicting that you are referring to. There are many models and sometimes it's actually going faster, and sometimes slightly slower than the model protect predicts. But on the whole, it makes no difference to the validity and the robustness of climate science that is telling us that we are facing an absolute challenge that we must address both environmentally, economically, from a national security perspective. And for EPA, from a public health perspective.

SEN. SESSIONS: All right. Well, let me -- of course, carbon pollution is CO2, and that's really not a pollutant. It's a plant food, and it doesn't harm anybody except that it might include temperature increases. So let me ask you one more time, are you asserting -- just give me this answer. If you take the average of the models predicting how fast the temperature would increase, is the temperature, in fact, increasing less than that or more than that?

ADMINISTRATOR MCCARTHY: I cannot answer that question specifically.

SEN. SESSIONS: Well, Mr. Chairman, I just would say this is a stunning development that the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, who should know more than anybody else in the world, who's imposing hundreds of billions of dollars in cost to prevent this climate temperature increases doesn't whether their projections have been right or wrong.

Investor’s Business Daily has a nice write-up on the heated Sessions-McCarthy exchange.

CEI Goes on Offensive on Transparency

It was a busy week for transparency advocates critical of EPA’s opacity. On Monday, a federal district court judge refused Landmark Legal Foundation’s request to impose sanctions on EPA for the agency’s egregious non-cooperation with a FOIA request. This was to be expected, as the legal threshold for sanctions is very high. However, what was unexpected was Judge Royce C. Lamberth’s scathing opinion, in which he excoriated EPA for its evident refusal to comply with federal transparency laws.

And on Tuesday, my colleague Chris Horner dropped the other shoe on Rep. Grijalva, Sen. Markey, and other McCarthy-mimics in the U.S. Congress who have launched an investigation into the funding of certain climate “skeptics” in academia. Of course, FOIA is limited to the Executive Branch of government. However, EPA keeps an in-house congressional lobby shop.

So Horner FOIA’d the EPA lobbyists, to see what correspondence with these Senate offices they may have had about Tom Steyer, the campaign he is helping underwrite against “deniers,” the Greenpeace smear, and trying to chase opponents out of their chosen field, etc. 

Across the States
William Yeatman

Unprecedented “Sue and Settle” Agreement Finalized in Northern California Court

Northern California federal district court Judge Susan Illston on Monday approved an outrageous “sue and settle” consent decree between EPA, Sierra Club, and NRDC.

Unlike most sue and settle agreements, which dictate EPA’s priorities, this consent decree actually set forth substantive policy. Under the Clean Air Act, EPA must determine which areas are meeting nation-wide standards for sulfur dioxide (SO2). Monday’s consent decree binds EPA to adopting new procedures for this process—pursuant to a separate, proposed rule! 

Multiple States—North Dakota, Arizona, Kentucky, Nevada, Louisiana, Texas, and North Carolina—tried to intervene in the case, but EPA and its green special interest  refused to allow the states a seat at the negotiating table. So the agency effectively negotiated substantive policy with special interests, to the exclusion of States. Needless to say, that's no how policymaking is supposed to work. 

Indeed, the states opposed the consent decree before Judge Illston’s court, and they opposed it administratively when EPA proposed the consent decree in the Federal Register. The agency, however, dismissed the states’ claims, and it was backed by Judge Illston. Thus, a mockery was made of the Clean Air Act’s system of “cooperative federalism.”  Read more about it here.

More State Stories

Around the World
William Yeatman

Tough Week for Green Energy Globally

  • President Obama has cited Germany’s green energy policies as a model for the U.S. to emulate. With that in mind, consider the fact that Germany’s 25,000 wind turbines operated at 14.8 percent capacity in 2014, according to a report released this week by wind energy critical site www.vernunftkraft.de.
  • The New York Times headline says it all: “Japan’s Growth in Solar Power Falters as Utilities Balk.” And they’re not “balking” because of there’s too little labor to fill all the green jobs they need. Rather, Japanese utilities are balking for the very simple reason that solar power is expensive and intermittent.  

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
Feb282015

Cooler Heads Digest 27 February 2015 

27 February 2015

Announcements

In the News

Five Reasons the Polar Bears Are Doing Fine
Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller, 27 February 2015

Sorry EPA, There’s No Evidence You Care about Reliability
Daniel Simmons, Institute for Energy Research, 26 February 2015

Sharon Stone Is Being Sued for Skipping an Anti-Chevron Protest
Paul Barrett, Bloomberg, 26 February 2015

Global Warming: Follow the Money (on the NY Times Attack on Willie Soon)
Henry Payne, National Review Online, 25 February 2015

The Climate Debate: Ad Hominem Will Just Not Do
Robert Bradley, Jr., Master Resource, 24 February 2015

Cap-and-Trade Is Alive and Well—Despite Having Never Passed Congress
Seton Motley, PJ Tattler, 24 February 2015

Australia’s Wind Market Deflates
David Kreutzer, Washington Times, 23 February 2015

California Governor Brown Tied to Scandal That Took Down Oregon Governor
Katy Grimes, Flash Report, 23 February 2015

News You Can Use
Exorbitant Costs of EPA’s Ozone Rule

According to a study published this week by the National Association of Manufacturers, EPA’s recently proposed ozone standard would reduce U.S. GDP by $140 billion per year and $1.7 trillion from 2017 to 2040 and result in 1.4 million fewer job equivalents on average through 2040.

Science Update
Myron Ebell

New York Times Repeats Scurrilous Greenpeace Attack on Willie Soon Without Checking the Facts

New York’s Times republished a Greenpeace press release on the front page of its Sunday, 22nd February edition that attacks Willie Soon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics for obtaining $1.2 million in funding for his research over the last decade from energy corporations, electric utilities, and charitable foundations related to those companies.  The press release, cleverly disguised as an article supposedly written by Times reporters Justin Gillis and John Schwartz, also claims that Dr. Soon did not adequately disclose the sources of his funding in articles published in scientific journals.

According to documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by Greenpeace and its closely affiliated so-called “Climate Investigations Center,” Soon received $409,000 from the Southern Company, a major utility, and $230,000 from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation to fund his research.  The Greenpeace press release as republished in the Times notes that “Mr. Koch’s fortune derives partly from oil refining.”  Yes, and the biggest charitable foundation donor to environmental pressure groups is the Pew Charitable Trusts, which was founded on the Pew family’s Sun Oil Company earnings.  Other major givers to green groups are the various Rockefeller foundations, which are based on earnings from Standard Oil (of which Exxon Mobil and Chevron are among the many successor companies).  So what’s Greenpeace’s point?  And everyone knows that scientists who accept funding from the EPA are never influenced by the source of their funding.  That’s why the EPA funds so much research that contradicts its policies.  Right?

I have known Willie Soon for about fifteen years.  I respect him highly, particularly for the great integrity he has shown in pursuing his politically incorrect research under scurrilous attacks like the one reprinted in the NY Times.  If Willie valued money over science, he would have joined the Global Warming Pep Squad long ago.

For the rest of my take on the New York Times’s disgraceful hit piece, see this post on global warming.org.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

House Democrat Joins in Witch Hunt Started by Greenpeace-Times Hit on Willie Soon

Representative Raul Grijalva (D-Az.), ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, quickly followed up on the Greenpeace-New York Times’s hit piece on Willie Soon (see above), with letters to the presidents of seven universities asking them to provide details about seven professors who are either prominent global warming skeptics or are not sufficiently loyal to every doctrine in the alarmist canon. The letters were sent to MIT (concerning Richard Lindzen), Alabama (John Christy), Delaware (David Legates), Georgia Tech (Judith Curry), Arizona State (Robert Balling), Colorado (Roger Pielke, Jr.), and Pepperdine (Steven Hayward).

Grijalva asks for a lot of information for each targeted professor: all drafts of testimony to government bodies; communications regarding that testimony; all sources and amounts of external funding; communications regarding that funding; all financial disclosure forms filed; and total annual compensation paid by the university.

I was heartened to see that the American Meteorological Association quickly sent a letter of complaint to Rep. Grijalva. AMS Executive Director Keith L Seitter wrote:

Despite its commitment to transparency and full disclosure within the scientific process, the AMS is concerned by the “Letters to Seven Universities Asking for Documents on Climate Change Research”….  Publicly singling out specific researchers based on perspectives they have expressed and implying a failure to appropriately disclose funding sources — and thereby questioning their scientific integrity — sends a chilling message to all academic researchers. Further, requesting copies of the researcher’s communications related to external funding opportunities or the preparation of testimony impinges on the free pursuit of ideas that is central to the concept of academic freedom.

Professor Roger Pielke, Jr., a political scientist who accepts the so-called consensus view on global warming and supports a carbon tax and the EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations, but whose research has shown that the costs of natural disasters have not increased as a result of global warming, stated on his blog:

I have no funding, declared or undeclared, with any fossil fuel company or interest. I never have. Representative Grijalva knows this too, because when I have testified before the US Congress, I have disclosed my funding and possible conflicts of interest. So I know with complete certainty that this investigation is a politically-motivated “witch hunt” designed to intimidate me (and others) and to smear my name.

But then Pielke, Jr., declares surrender:

The incessant attacks and smears are effective, no doubt, I have already shifted all of my academic work away from climate issues. I am simply not initiating any new research or papers on the topic and I have ring-fenced my slowly diminishing blogging on the subject. I am a full professor with tenure, so no one need worry about me — I’ll be just fine as there are plenty of interesting, research-able policy issues to occupy my time. But I can’t imagine the message being sent to younger scientists. Actually, I can: “when people are producing work in line with the scientific consensus there’s no reason to go on a witch hunt.”  When “witch hunts” are deemed legitimate in the context of popular causes, we will have fully turned science into just another arena for the exercise of power politics. The result is a big loss for both science and politics.

Markey, Boxer, and Whitehouse Join Witch Hunt with Letters to 100 Companies and Organizations About Funding Climate Deniers

Senators Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) on 25th February sent letters to 107 companies, trade associations, and non-profit groups demanding comprehensive information about all funding of research on climate or related issues over the last ten years.  I am proud to say that several members of the Cooler Heads Coalition, including the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the George C. Marshall Institute, the Heartland Institute, the American Legislative Exchange Council, the American Energy Alliance, Americans for Prosperity, and the John Locke Foundation, were on the honorable Senators’ hit list. 

There were some glaring omissions, however.  I won’t list them because their feelings have already been hurt enough.  

Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee quickly responded to the Markey-Boxer-Whitehouse stunt.  Led by Chairman James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), all eleven Republican members of the committee sent a letter on 27th February to all 100 targets plus the seven universities that received a similar letter from Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Az.).  The Republican Senators wrote:

Dissenting opinions fostered through the encouragement of all ideas is what truly facilitates intellectual prosperity and political discourse.  The letter you received from our colleagues is a wholly inappropriate effort to challenge these well-accepted truths.  We ask you to not be afraid of political repercussions or public attacks regardless of how you respond.  Above all, we ask that you continue to support scientific inquiry and discovery, and protect academic freedom despite efforts to chill free speech. 

EPA Administrator McCarthy Dissembles through Two House Hearings on EPA FY 2016 Budget
William Yeatman

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy testified twice this week before the House of Representatives about her agency’s FY 2016 budget. On Wednesday, she appeared on a joint panel of two Energy and Commerce subcommittees, and on Thursday she took questions before an Appropriations subcommittee. As I explain here on globalwarming.org, Administrator McCarthy relied on a number of tricks—including lies—to deflect tough questions.

Around the World
Myron Ebell

Pachauri Resigns as IPCC Chairman After Sexual Harassment Charges Made

Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri resigned as chairman of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on 24th February, four days after allegations of sexual harassment were published in India.

The allegations were made by a 29-year-old woman who works as a research analyst at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in New Delhi, which the 75-year-old Pachauri also heads.  Indian police are investigating the complaint.  The accuser’s name has been withheld by the police. Her attorney filed a motion to have Dr. Pachauri’s diplomatic passport seized so that he cannot leave the country while the investigation proceeds.

The complaint states that Pachauri’s harassment included unwanted e-mails and text messages of a sexual and personal nature. Dr. Pachauri has denied the allegations and has claimed that his e-mail and cell phone were hacked and the offending messages sent by the hacker.

Bob Ward, the flack for a propaganda institute at the London School of Economics, was quick to pre-emptively accuse climate skeptics of taking advantage of the scandal.  The Guardian quoted Ward: “There will no doubt be some climate change ‘sceptics’ who seek to use Dr Pachauri’s resignation as an opportunity to attack the IPCC [but its most recent report] is the most comprehensive and authoritative assessment of the causes and potential consequences of climate change that we have ever had, and that remains true with or without Dr Pachauri as chair.”

A court has granted Pachauri anticipatory bail, which protects him from arrest until 27th March.  

Dr. Pachauri is regularly described by the mainstream media as one of the world’s leading climate scientists.  He is in fact a railway engineer and railway economist.  He was elected chairman of the IPCC in 2002 over the incumbent Bob Watson and then re-elected unopposed in 2008.  His current term expires in October, and he had already declared that he would not seek a third term. 

The Guardian reported that the leading candidates to succeed him in the October election are Prof. Jean-Pascal van Ypersele from Belgium, Prof. Thomas Stocker from Switzerland, and Prof. Chris Field from the US.  Other candidates may include Prof Nebojsa Nakicenovic from Austria, South Korea’s Hoesung Lee, and the German economist Prof. Ottmar Edenhofer.

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.