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Cooler Heads Digest 02 October 2015 


2 October 2015


The Competitive Enterprise Institute, FreedomWorks, Institute for Energy Research, and Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council submitted a joint comment letter on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) proposed rule, “Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Efficiency standards for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles – Phase 2.”

In the News

U.S. Continues To Distance Itself as the World Leader of Natural Gas
Chris Pederson, Platts, 2 October 2015

House Panel Probing Taxpayer Support for Efforts to Investigate Climate Change Skeptics
Lachlan Markay, Washington Free Beacon, 1 October 2015

Eliminating the Path to Energy Poverty
Nicolas Loris,, 30 September 2015

Petition: Forget “Climate Change,” Energy Empowers the Poor
E. Calvin Beisner, LinkedIn, 30 September 2015

The Energy Election
Joel Kotkin, Real Clear Politics, 30 September 2015

Shale Shock: A New, Better Energy World
Steve Goreham, Master Resource, 30 September 2015

$9 Billion of Crappy Renewable Energy: Just What the World Needs
James Delingpole, Breitbart, 29 September

New Name, But Still “Cap and Trade”
Rep. Ed Whitfield, The Hill, 29 September 2015

EPA’s Clean Power Plan Oversteps Federal Authority
Terry Jarrett, Real Clear Energy, 29 September 2015

News You Can Use
Pope News Roundup

Here are some notable columns on Pope Francis’s U.S. visit and his views on climate and the environment: Victor Davis Hanson; Michael Grunwald; Maureen Mullarkey; and George Will.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

EPA Issues Job Killing Ozone Rule

The Environmental Protection Agency released its final rule to reduce ozone levels on 1st October.  The current National Ambient Air Quality Standard of 75 parts per billion will be reduced to 70 parts per billion.

The new 70 parts per billion limit will cost hundreds of billions of dollars in compliance costs, but major industry groups took some satisfaction in the fact that it wasn’t worse.  Then-EPA Administrator Richard Windsor (aka Lisa Jackson) in 2011 proposed 65 ppb.  The White House then decided to delay that rule until after the 2012 elections because the potential costs were so colossal that the issue could have threatened President Obama’s re-election.

The final rule will undoubtedly be litigated by environmental pressure groups and by industry groups.  The environmental groups will have a strong case that the standard should be lowered to 65 ppb at the most.  That’s because the EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee stated in a 26th June 2014 letter that: “[O]ur policy advice is to set the level of the standard lower than 70 ppb within a range down to 60 ppb, taking into account your judgement regarding the desired margin of safety to protect the public health, and taking into account that lower levels will provide incrementally greater margins of safety.”  As my CEI colleague William Yeatman noted, federal courts have been very deferential to the recommendations made by the EPA’s scientific advisory boards.

On top of the EPA’s Clean Air Act rules for greenhouse gas emissions, mercury emissions, cross-state air pollution, and regional haze and its Clean Water Act wetlands rule, the ozone rule guarantees that the EPA has become the number one job-killing agency in the Obama Administration.  EPA’s top political appointees and senior civil servants have probably held several big taxpayer-funded parties to celebrate this cumulative achievement and are probably in line for numerous awards from President Obama.

Professor Who Advocates Criminalizing Global Warming Skepticism Has Taken $63 Million in Federal Grants

In early September, twenty professors sent a letter President Barack Obama, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and White House science adviser John Holdren that congratulates the President on his climate policies to raise energy prices and impoverish Americans and then urges that another tool be used to save the planet: criminalize opponents of global warming alarmism.  Here is the key request in the letter:

“We appreciate that you are making aggressive and imaginative use of the limited tools available to you in the face of a recalcitrant Congress.  One additional tool—recently proposed by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse [D-RI]—is a RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) investigation of corporations and other organizations that have knowingly deceived the American people about the risks of climate change, as a means to forestall America’s response to climate change.  The actions of these organizations have been extensively documented in peer-reviewed academic research (Brulle 2013) and in recent books….”

The lead signer was Professor Jagadish Shukla of George Mason University in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC.  Five other signers are also from GMU: Edward Maibach, Paul Dirmeyer, Barry Klinger, Paul Schopf, and David Straus.  Columbia University can proudly claim three signers: Michela Biasutti, Mark Cane, and Lisa Goddard.   

Two signers profess at the University of Washington: Edward Sarachik and Michael Wallace.  Two more are at the University of Maryland: Eugenia Kalnay and William Lau.  And two more are at Florida State University: T. N. Krishnamurti and Vasu Misra.  Alan Robock of Rutgers University, Ben Kirtman of the University of Miami, and Robert Dickinson of the University of Texas are the sole signers from their universities.  Kevin Trenberth at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder and Alan Betts of Pittsford, Vermont complete the Gang of 20. 

My CEI colleague Chris Horner filed requests for public records with the various universities to obtain the signers’ statements of economic interest after it was revealed that Professor Shukla has been paying himself and his wife huge salaries from federal grants to a non-profit he controls called the Institute of Global Environment and Society (IGES) in addition to his GMU salary.  Their combined income was over $800,000 in 2013 and 2014.  In addition, federal grants were used to pay the Shuklas’ daughter.  Steve McIntyre on Climate Audit has a thorough summary of what has been discovered so far.

House Science Chairman Lamar Smith on 1st October wrote a letter to Professor Shukla that states:

“IGES appears to be almost fully funded by taxpayer money while simultaneously participating in partisan political activity by requesting a RICO investigation of companies and organizations that disagree with the Obama administration on climate change. In fact, IGES has reportedly received $63 million from taxpayers since 2001, comprising over 98 percent of its total revenue during that time.”

Chairman Smith’s letter warns Professor Shukla that the committee intends to investigate this misuse of federal funds and that all IGES records and communications should be preserved.   

VW Diesel Scandal Exposes Conflicting Regulatory Mandates

The Environmental Protection Agency on 18th September charged that Volkswagen had sold approximately 480,000 diesel cars in the U. S. that contained “defeat devices” that allowed them to pass EPA’s emissions tests, while pollution levels increased by up to forty times in normal driving. VW quickly admitted they had cheated and had sold 11 million vehicles worldwide with the devices.  The company set aside $7.6 billion to pay for penalties, recalls, and liability judgments, but many analysts thought that the total costs would eventually be much higher.

VW cheated because they are caught between regulations to reduce pollution and regulations to increase fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Meeting both these conflicting goals results in cars that few people want to buy.  Diesel engines are significantly more fuel efficient than gasoline engines, but they are also dirtier.  Making them cleaner results in lower performance and more fuel consumption. 

Mercedes and other high-end diesel car producers have gotten around that by installing very expensive technology, which increases the costs of their vehicles.  Adding five or ten thousand dollars to the cost of a car can work for luxury cars that cost over $50,000 to begin with, but not for VWs and other cars in the $20-30,000 range.  It remains to be seen how the major automakers will continue to produce cars that people want to buy as the 54.5 miles per gallon CAFÉ standard begins to take effect.

Across the States
Isaac Duarte


On 25th September, the California Air Regulatory Board approved regulations that severely limit carbon emissions from gasoline and diesel fuels. The new regulations require oil producers to reduce carbon emissions at least 10% by 2020. This decision comes hot on the heels of the removal of a similar provision in SB 350, which would have mandated a 50% cut in petroleum use by 2030. Presumably, the new regulations are Gov. Jerry Brown’s attempt to force petroleum cuts through the regulatory process rather than through the normal legislative process.


Royal Dutch Shell on 28th September announced that it would end its Arctic oil exploration activities after spending over $7 billion since 2007.  Shell said that it made the decision after the well it drilled this summer in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska’s north coast did not produce any evidence of significant oil or natural gas deposits.  The company also cited continuing low crude oil prices, high production costs, and an “unpredictable” regulatory environment as reasons for pulling out of the Arctic. 

Around the World
Isaac Duarte


On 1st October, India submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (or INDC) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.  The 38-page document recounts India’s climate policies to date and lays out its plans to reduce emissions 33-35% by 2030.  According to the INDC, India will need $2.5 trillion of foreign aid in order to take the appropriate steps.  For reference, that is slightly less than a year and a half of India’s current GDP.  Of this $2.5 trillion, only $883 billion would be used to reduce emissions.  The rest would be used to fund “adaptation action” designed to reduce the effects of climate change on Indians.  While there has been much said in the mainstream media about how ambitious India’s goals are, very little has been said about how much it will cost taxpayers in developed countries to achieve those goals.

Science Update
Marlo Lewis

Are Tropical Storms Becoming More Destructive? Will They?

Lin & Chan, 2015, a study published in Nature Communications, finds that the destructive potential of tropical cyclones (“typhoons”) in the most active and hazardous tropical cyclone basin on Earth, the Western North Pacific Main Development Region, decreased by 35% over the past decade.

Lin and Chan use a metric called the Power Dissipation Index (PDI) to measure the destructive potential of Asia-Pacific typhoons. The PDI is a product of three factors: storm frequency, duration, and intensity. In the past decade, typhoon intensity increased due to increases in ocean heat content. However, typhoon frequency and duration decreased due to stronger vertical wind shear and lower vorticity in the storm genesis region. The declines in frequency and duration overpowered the increase in intensity, producing a net decrease in PDI of approximately 35%.

Based on climate modeling studies, Lin and Chan project that global warming will induce an additional 15% decrease in the Asia-Pacific PDI. In their words, “Although both the intensity and duration increased under global warming, there was an even larger typhoon frequency reduction of 25.7%. As a result, the typhoon PDI decreased by 15.2%.”

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,


Cooler Heads Digest 25 September 2015 


25 September 2015


The Heritage Foundation this week published a paper on “Obama’s Plan to Avoid Senate Review of the Paris Protocol,” by Steven Groves.

In the News

Air Pope One
Henry Payne,, 25 September 2015

September Was Cruelest Month for Jonathan Chait’s Feature on Climate Change Policy
William Yeatman,, 24 September 2015

Shale Revolution Revitalizing U.S. Manufacturing
William Shughart, San Diego Union Tribune, 24 September 2015

None Dare Call It Conspiracy: Obama’s Coordinated Climate Campaign
Chris Horner, Investor’s Business Daily, 23 September 2015

Pope Misses the Mark on Economics
James Taylor & Jim Lakely, Forbes, 23 September 2015

Obama’s Interview on Climate Change
Jeff Goodell, Rolling Stone, 23 September 2015

An Addition to AP Stylebook Entry on Global Warming
Paul Colford, Associated Press, 22 September 2015

Not All Energy Is Created Equal
Marita Noon, Oil Price, 21 September 2015

Putting People Ahead of Climate Hysteria
Donn Dears, Master Resource, 21 September 2015

E&E Legal on the Capture of the EPA
Jim DeLong, Forbes, 18 September 2015

News You Can Use
EPA Spares No Expense on Office Furniture

The Washington Times this week reported that the Environmental Protection Agency over the past decade has spent a whopping $92.4 million to purchase, rent, install and store office furniture, or about $6,000 for every one of the agency’s 15,492 employees

Inside the Beltway

Pope Francis Barely Mentions Climate Change in Speeches at the United Nations, Congress, and the White House
Myron Ebell

Pope Francis cooled his rhetoric on climate change and the need to de-industrialize the world in order to help the poor in his three speeches to political bodies during his first trip to the United States this past week.  Francis and his Vatican entourage arrived direct from Cuba on 22nd September at Andrews Air Force Base, where he was greeted by President and Mrs. Obama.

Appearing the next morning on the White House lawn with the President, the Pope said, “I find it encouraging that you are proposing an initiative for reducing air pollution. Accepting the urgency, it seems clear to me also that climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation.”

On Thursday morning, Francis became the first Pope to address a joint meeting of Congress.  He didn’t mention climate change once, although he did call on Congress to exert itself to “to avert the most serious effects of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity.”

In his address to the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit at UN headquarters in New York City on 24th September, Pope Francis spoke at length on the connection between protecting the environment and “putting an end to exclusion.”  Francis uses “the excluded” as a catchall term for various categories of downtrodden people. 

His argument is convoluted, but here is perhaps the key passage:

“The misuse and destruction of the environment are also accompanied by a relentless process of exclusion. In effect, a selfish and boundless thirst for power and material prosperity leads both to the misuse of available natural resources and to the exclusion of the weak and disadvantaged….  Economic and social exclusion is a complete denial of human fraternity and a grave offense against human rights and the environment. The poorest are those who suffer most from such offenses, for three serious reasons: they are cast off by society, forced to live off what is discarded and suffer unjustly from the abuse of the environment. They are part of today’s widespread and quietly growing ‘culture of waste’.”

In an indication of his charming naivete, the Pope continued: “The adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the World Summit, which opens today, is an important sign of hope. I am similarly confident that the Paris Conference on Climatic Change will secure fundamental and effective agreements.” 

Hilary Clinton Opposes Keystone XL Pipeline
Marlo Lewis

Campaigning in Iowa on Tuesday, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced she opposes the Keystone XL Pipeline. Keystone foes had pressed her for months to declare her opposition, but until this week she took no side in the controversy, explaining that, as former head of the department reviewing the project, she did not want to “second guess” President Obama and Secretary Kerry, and would “wait and see” what they decide. In July, she told a New Hampshire voter who queried her on Keystone, “If it’s still undecided when I become President, I will answer your question.”

Well, officially it’s still undecided, so Clinton’s action confirms what many of us suspected – Obama and Kerry long ago decided to kill the pipeline through a deny-by-delay strategy.

On announcing her opposition, Clinton criticized Keystone as “a distraction from important work we have to do on climate change.” She offered a fuller explanation the next day in a blog post on

“We shouldn’t be building a pipeline dedicated to moving North America’s dirtiest fuel through our communities — we should be focused on what it will take to make America the clean energy superpower of the 21st century. For too long, the Keystone XL pipeline has been a distraction from the real challenges facing our energy sector — and the job-creating investments that we should be making to meet them.”

The Keystone project would be funded solely by private investors putting their own capital at risk. “We” – that is, political elites – shouldn’t allow that. “We” should only allow investment in “clean energy.” Sounds like central planning.

Perhaps Clinton also means Keystone has become a political distraction for self-styled progressives. Keystone was useful when it mobilized green activists after the death of cap-and-trade in 2010, but the big game now is the “Clean Power” Plan and Paris climate treaty. Time to move on.

Clinton says she had to speak out on “an issue that matters so much to so many” because “the effects of climate change have grown more acute,” citing recent U.S. forest fires, the California drought, and “more severe storms and heat waves” around the world. Actually, there is no solid evidence carbon dioxide emissions are increasing the frequency or intensity of extreme weather, and fossil-fueled development remains indispensable for making our naturally-dangerous climate system more livable.

“Over the past five years, a 20-fold increase in the amount of oil shipped by rail has led to devastating accidents,” Clinton remarked, proving that irony can be pretty ironic sometimes. The State Department’s environmental review concluded that blocking the Keystone pipeline would dramatically increase shipments of crude-by-rail, leading to more frequent oil spills, accidents, and fatalities.

Around the World
Myron Ebell

American and Chinese Presidents Agree To Continue To Work Together To Raise U. S. Energy Prices

President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping issued a three-and-a-half page joint statement on climate change on 25th September during the Chinese leader’s state visit to Washington, DC.  This follows the climate agreement that Presidents Obama and Xi made on 12th November 2014 when Obama visited China.   

Both leaders commit “to work together and with others toward an ambitious, successful Paris outcome” that makes progress toward keeping the increase in the global mean temperature below 2 degrees centigrade.  “Paris outcome” refers to the new international agreement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol that is currently being negotiated and is due to be signed at COP-21 (the seventeenth Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) in Paris in December.

Press reports have focused on the announcement that China will begin an emissions trading (or cap-and-trade) system for greenhouse gas emissions from electric generation and most industries by 2017.  But just as with the Obama-Xi deal last year, China does not commit to actual emissions reductions. 

Instead, the statement re-affirms “their commitment to reach an ambitious agreement in 2015 that reflects the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in light of different national circumstances.”  Translated from UN-speak, this means that, as with the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, developed countries will be expected to undertake targets and timetables for reducing emissions, while developing countries will not.

Left unresolved by the joint statement is whether China will continue as a developing country (known as Non-Annex I countries in the UNFCCC) or will move on to the developed country list (Annex I).  The Chinese position has consistently been that they will remain a developing country for several more decades.

To me, the most surprising area of agreement is over transparency.  The joint statement reads: “Both sides support the inclusion in the Paris outcome of an enhanced transparency system to build mutual trust and confidence and promote effective implementation including through reporting and review of action and support in an appropriate manner. It should provide flexibility to those developing countries that need it in light of their capacities.”  The Chinese government has long resisted calls from the European Union and the U. S. to open its internal emissions data to outside inspection and verification.  We’ll have to see what “an enhanced transparency system” amounts to.

Presidents Obama and Xi are also committed to achieving full funding for the Green Climate Fund (or GCF), which is $100 billion per year starting in 2020.  The U. S. share of the GCF will be roughly $30 billion per year.  President Obama’s budget for FY 2016 requests $3 billion over the next four years to help get the GCF off the ground, but the House version of the State Department Appropriations bill prohibits sending any money to the GCF.  China announced that it will provide $3.1 billion “to help developing countries combat climate change.”  It appears that China will distribute funds directly to favored countries and not through the GCF.  

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,


Cooler Heads Digest 18 September 2015 


18 September 2015

In the News

Dear House: Say NO to the Wind Subsidy
Robert Bradley, Jr., Master Resource, 18 September 2015

20 Climate Scientists Ask Justice Department To Conduct RICO Investigation into Deniers
Judith Curry, Climate Etc., 17 September 2015

Why Democrats Are Wrong To Use the Crude Oil Export Ban as a Bargaining Tactic
Nicolas Loris, The Daily Signal, 17 September 2015

Obama’s Not-So-Grand Energy Strategy: Aimless Authoritarianism
William Yeatman,, 16 September 2015

The President’s Decarbonization Fantasy
Luke Popovich, Washington Examiner, 16 September 2015

Naomi Klein’s Great Leap Backwards
Peter Foster, Financial Post, 15 September 2015

German Energiewende vs. American Fracking: A Tale of Two Energy Revolutions
Isaac Orr, Townhall, 15 September 2015

Is It Time To Stop the Insanity of Wasting Time and Money on More Climate Models
Tim Ball, Watts Up With That? 14 September 2015

News You Can Use
Malaria Deaths Down 60% from 2000, Despite Accelerating AGW

Despite runaway and accelerating anthropogenic global warming, the United Nations this week announced that malaria cases worldwide have been reduced 60% since 2000.

Inside the Beltway
William Yeatman

Historical Perspective on 11 House Republicans Who Support “Doing Something” on Climate Change

On Thursday, 10 republicans in the House of Representatives announced their support for a Sense of Congress Resolution on “conservative environmental stewardship" authored by Rep. Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.). The nonbinding resolution calls for action on climate change that doesn’t hurt the economy, which is a policy contradiction (see Around the World: Decoupling Belied, below). Rep. Gibson’s resolution sidesteps this incongruity and, in fact, provides no specifics at all. Over at, my colleague Marlo Lewis expertly dismantles the ultra-weak logic underlying this latest Constructive Republican Alternative Proposal for “doing something” on climate change.

To Marlo's post, I’d add only an historical perspective. The number of republicans who support Rep. Gibson’s shallow resolution is one-fourth the number of House democrats (43) who voted against a cap-and-trade (the American Clean Energy and Security Act) during Obama’s first term. Eight republicans voted for that bill.

Wind & Solar Industries: They're Mature, and They Can't Cut It as Adults

Last week, the American Wind Energy Association, which serves as wind power’s top lobbying shop, released a report warning that the industry would face a “sharp decline” in 2016, if the Congress does not extend a single subsidy by the end of 2015.

This week, Bloomberg New Energy Finance released a report stating that the solar industry in the U.S. will “nosedive” in 2017, if the Congress fails to extend the industry’s primary subsidy by the end of 2016. The sector’s chief lobbying outfit, the Solar Energy Industries Association, issued a press release supporting the report’s conclusions, and urging the Congress to act.

These reports are impossible to square with the claims, often made by green energy proponents and lobbyists, that solar or wind energy has achieved parity with fossil fuels. (Consider this New York Times headline: “Solar and Wind Energy Start to Win on Price vs. Conventional Fuels.”). If an industry’s existence would come to an end with the expiration of a single tax break, then it cannot be competitive.

Will wind or solar power be competitive, ever? When their tax breaks are secure, the wind and solar lobbies claim they’re vibrant industries; but every time their tax breaks are set to expire, they claim that market maturity is just around the corner, and that they need just one more extension of handouts.

But government support for wind and solar power is not new. Its roots reach back to the Carter administration. Way back then, wind and solar power’s primary problem was their intermittent production of energy. That remains true today. In this fashion, the success of the wind and solar industries is less a function of the wind and solar industries, and more so of the energy storage industry.

In this light, wind and solar energy has matured. It has progressed as far as it can go, and its best effort was to fall well short of market viability. So they’re doomed to perpetual market unreadiness, for as long as the government props them up. This should come as no surprise to anyone who doubts the government’s ability to pick winners in any market.

By extending taxpayer handouts (again) to wind and solar power industries, the Congress would compound (again) its initial mistake by throwing good money after bad (again). For more, see Robert Bradley, Jr.’s excellent post today on Master Resource, “Dear House: Say NO to Wind PTC (10th extension crucial for Obama’s energy/climate agenda).”

Around the World
Decoupling Belied

In 2014, the International Energy Agency reported that global greenhouse gas emissions had stalled, despite positive economic growth. Proponents of “doing something” about climate change seized on this announcement to claim that economic growth had become “decoupled” from increasing greenhouse gas emissions. If true, it suggested that climate change mitigation could be achieved without harming economic growth.

It turns out it wasn’t true. According to an exclusive Reuters report this week, China’s emissions were almost certainly underestimated, and, when more accurate data is used, global emissions actually increased in 2014, in lockstep with economic growth.

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,


Cooler Heads Digest 11 September 2015 


11 September 2015


Climate Change: The Facts is now available on Amazon.

In the News

EPA Disavows American Lung Association Air Quality Claims
Karen Kerrigan, Center for Regulatory Studies, 11 September 2015

Japan Utilities Burn Record Coal
Stephen Stapczynski, Bloomberg Business, 11 September 2015

Energy Policy Agenda for the Next Administration and Congress
Nicolas Loris, Heritage Foundation, 10 September 2015

Broken Record: Wind Power Lobby Says Industry Faces Total Collapse Without Continuation of Handouts
Jordan Blum, Fuel Fix, 9 September 2015

A Clear Power Grab on Climate
David Kreutzer, Merced Sun-Star, 8 September 2015

Obama’s Climate Alarmism Tour
James Rust, Master Resource, 8 September 2015

The Pause Is Driving Down the Long Term Warming Trend
Christopher Monckton, Watts Up with That, 8 September 2015

Climate Change: Seven Indisputable Facts
Rep. Lamar Smith, The Hill, 8 September 2015

GOP To Attack Climate Pact at Home and Abroad
Andrew Restuccia, Politico, 7 September 2015

It Could Happen Here: UK Grid in “Uncharted Territory” as Blackouts Loom
Andrew Critchlow, The Telegraph, 5 September 2015

The Case against a Carbon Tax
Robert Murphy, Patrick Michaels, & Chip Knappenberger, Cato Institute, 4 September 2015

News You Can Use
AAA: Low Gas Prices (despite Obama's policies)

The American Automobile Association predicted in a statement called “Gas Prices Under $2 on the Way” that drivers over the Labor Day holiday weekend would pay the lowest gas prices since 2004, despite the Obama administration’s policies.  

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

Rep. Paul Gosar Will File Articles of Impeachment Against EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy

Representative Paul Gosar (R-Az.) on 9th September announced that he will introduce articles of impeachment of EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy for high crimes and misdemeanors. The draft resolution finds that on three occasions McCarthy committed perjury or made false statements at committee hearings of the Congress. He is circulating a Dear Colleague letter that asks other Members of the House to co-sponsor his resolution.

The press release from Rep. Gosar’s office provides details on the occasions McCarthy lied to Congress about the EPA’s “Waters of the U. S. Rule.”  The final WOTUS rule, which was published on 29th June and went into effect on 28th August, vastly expands federal jurisdiction over wetlands under section 404 of the Clean Water Act.  Most of Arizona is desert, but much of it could now be classified as wetlands because rain storms every few years cause water to pour down dry gullies and ravines.

There are other related issues that the House may want to consider when it takes up Gosar’s articles of impeachment.  Many are detailed in Chris Horner’s report published by the Energy and Environment Legal Institute on “Improper Collusion Between Environmental Pressure Groups and the Environmental Protection Agency As Revealed by Freedom of Information Act Requests.”

Across the States
Myron Ebell

California’s Path to Climate Nirvana Hits Some Snags

Legislation to complete California’s transformation into climate nirvana hit some snags this week.  On Wednesday, 9th September, State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) and Governor Jerry Brown (D) announced that a provision to require that California petroleum consumption by motor vehicles be reduced by 50% by 2030 would be taken out of SB 350, a major piece of climate legislation.

On Thursday, State Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) announced that she was withdrawing a companion bill, SB 32, that would have put into law executive orders by Governor Brown and his predecessor, Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), that set long-term mandatory targets for reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.

SB 350 was passed out of the Assembly’s Natural Resources Committee late Thursday without the provision cutting gas use and is scheduled for a floor vote on Friday.  The California legislature’s current session ends Friday, so it’s not clear as I write whether the bill will make it through.  SB 350 still contains provisions requiring that half of the state’s electricity be produced by renewable sources by 2030 and that energy efficiency be doubled in all existing buildings by 2030.  State Senator de Leon claims that California’s electric utilities support the bill, as well as Halle Berry, Billy Crystal, Matt Damon, Jane Fonda, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Mark Ruffalo, and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Katy Grimes in California’s essential political blog, the Flash Report, noted that: “Following the press conference, de Leon was seen at a political event arriving and departing in a large, black, gas-guzzling SUV, rather than using an electric car, Toyota Prius or Nissan Leaf. Apparently climate change doesn’t begin with the state’s leadership.” State Senator Pavley was the chief sponsor of AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which was enacted while she was serving in the State Assembly.

Around the World
Myron Ebell

Pope Francis Will Try To Meet with Ailing Fidel Castro and Will Be Met by Obamas at Andrews AFB

Pope Francis will visit Cuba and the United States from 19th through 27th September.  The Vatican’s official schedule for both visits has been published on the Catholic Herald’s web site.

It has since been reported that the Pope will meet with former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, if Fidel is well enough, as well as current dictator Raul Castro while in Cuba.

The White House announced this week that President and Mrs. Obama will meet the Pope on his arrival at Andrews Air Force Base on 22nd September. Pope Francis will address a joint session of Congress on the morning of 24th September.  He is then likely to appear on a balcony of the West Front of the Capitol to speak to a “Moral Action for Climate Justice” mass rally on the Mall. The Pope will address the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Summit in New York City on the 25th.

Science Update
Marlo Lewis

Southern Ocean Carbon Sink Stronger than Previously Thought

Two new studies, one published in Geophysical Research Letters (GRL), the other in Science, find that the Southern Ocean carbon sink has become stronger rather than weaker, contrary to what some scientists previously thought.

In climate parlance, a “carbon sink” is anything that absorbs more carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere than it releases, while a “source” is anything that emits more CO2 than it absorbs. Oceans, forests, and soils comprise the world’s major sinks. The balance between sinks and sources determines the “airborne fraction” – the annual percentage of CO2 emissions that accumulates in the atmosphere.

The GRL paper, which focuses on the Drake Passage, the roughest and windiest part of the Southern Ocean, is based on more than one million observations made by ocean-going vessels during 2002-2015. The Science paper, which examines the entire Southern Ocean, incorporates the GRL study data plus other data going back almost three decades.

As summarized by the American Geophysical Union, which publishes GRL, the studies “conclude that the Southern Ocean has increasingly taken up more carbon dioxide during the last 13 years.” That’s a big deal. Although covering only 26% of total ocean area, the Southern Ocean accounts for nearly 40% of all CO2 absorbed by the world’s oceans.

The increasing efficiency of the Southern Ocean carbon sink conflicts with one of the Obama administration’s rationales for upping its “social cost of carbon” (SCC) estimates by roughly 60% between 2010 and 2013.

The administration bases its SCC estimates on three so-called integrated assessment models – computer programs combining speculative climatology with speculative economics. For its 2013 estimates, the administration used a version of the Dynamic Integrated Climate-Economy (DICE) model that assumes a weakening of ocean sinks. 

As noted in our comment letter on the 2013 estimates, empirical studies find that the CO2 airborne fraction has held constant in recent decades, indicating no decline in the efficiency of ocean sinks. The new Southern Ocean studies provide additional evidence that ocean sinks are keeping up with anthropogenic emissions.   

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,


Cooler Heads Digest 04 September 2015 


4 September 2015


Copies of Mark Steyn’s latest book, "A Disgrace to the Profession": The World's Scientists on Michael E Mann, his Hockey Stick and their Damage to Science,” are now available.  

In the News

Crude Protectionism: Oil Export Ban Shows Cracks
Timothy Carney, Washington Examiner, 4 September 2015

Watchdog Can’t Verify EPA Grant Performance
Mark Tapscott, Daily Caller, 4 September 2015

Economic Growth Is the Best Climate Change Policy
Marlo Lewis,, 3 September 2015

The Enronization of Climate Science Revisited
Robert Bradley, Jr., Master Resource, 3 September 2015

Securing America’s Energy Future
Marco Rubio, National Review, 1 September 2015

Denmark’s Government Readies U-Turn on Ambitious Climate Targets
Peter Levring, Bloomberg Business, 1 September 2015

Solyndra Autopsy: Did Watchdog Go Easy on Department of Energy
Rob Nikolewski,, 31 August 2015

U.S. Producing More Natural Gas Than Ever
Bill Loveless, USA Today, 30 August 2015

How Japan Fuels Global Coal
Darius Dixon, Politico Magazine, August 2015

News You Can Use
Government Study: Lifting Oil Export Ban Won’t Impact Gas Prices

Gas prices “would be either unchanged or slightly reduced” if the Congress ended the ban on crude oil exports, according to an Energy Information Administration analysis published this week.

Across the States
Myron Ebell

President Obama Uses Alaska as a Backdrop for Climate Agenda

President Barack Obama followed up his disgraceful speech in Las Vegas last week with an insulting tour of Alaska, which included another disgraceful speech, from Monday, 31st August, through Wednesday, 2nd September.  In his speech to the Arctic Conference in Anchorage, the President claimed that “[F]ew things will disrupt our lives as profoundly as climate change.  Few things can have as negative an impact on our economy as climate change.”   

The President’s speech was full of high-sounding sentiments as well as the usual junk science and even junkier economics, but he couldn’t resist a few low blows: “So the time to heed the critics and the cynics and the deniers is past.  The time to plead ignorance is surely past.  Those who want to ignore the science, they are increasingly alone.  They’re on their own shrinking island.” 

President Obama used Alaska as a backdrop for his climate agenda, while carefully avoiding sights of any of the damaging effects of his policies on Alaskans.  He did not visit King Cove in the Aleutians, where the refusal of the Department of the Interior to allow building an eleven-mile road to the nearest town with access to medical care endangers the lives of its residents whenever bad weather makes helicopter and boat travel impossible.  He did not visit the site of the proposed Pebble Mine, which the EPA is blocking.  He did not visit the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, where he adamantly opposes oil production.

Instead, President Obama looked at a receding glacier and became the first sitting president to travel north of the Arctic Circle.  He also cleverly announced that Mount McKinley would be officially re-named Denali.  The name of the National Park created in 1917 that contains the highest mountain in North America was re-named Denali in 1980.  Rather than change some of his administration’s destructive policies, the president opted to please Alaskans with this cheap symbolism.

While the trip did gain widespread media coverage for the President’s climate agenda, it also raised claims of hypocrisy from environmental pressure groups.  They noted that while he was talking climate, his administration was going ahead with allowing oil exploration in the Arctic Ocean’s Chukchi Sea.

A more substantive setback occurred at the Arctic Conference.  It concluded with the signing of a declaration on climate change and the necessity for action.  Russia, China, and India declined to sign the declaration. The President in his speech to the conference had touted his climate agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping, which was signed last year in Beijing. 

Around the World
Myron Ebell

UN Climate Negotiators Make Slow Progress in Bonn This Week

Another week of UN climate negotiations ended in Bonn, Germany, on 4th September with expressions of mild optimism that progress was being made from negotiators and environmental groups.  The most upbeat assessment came from Dan Reifsnyder, co-chairman of the negotiations and a senior U. S. State Department official.  Reifsnyder said: "We've achieved an enormous amount of clarity in this session."

The World Resources Institute said in a press release: “In Bonn, countries made important progress in crafting the core architecture of the global agreement.  Negotiators had meaningful discussions on key elements, such as whether to regularly ramp up countries’ commitments and set long-term goals to phase out emissions and enhance climate resilience.”

Informal negotiations will continue behind the scenes throughout the fall, but only one more official session is currently scheduled before the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP-21) convenes in Paris on 30th November.  That session is set for Bonn from 19th to 23rd October. The Paris Accord, a new international climate agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol, is supposed to be signed before COP-21 ends on 11th December.

Despite the claims of progress in the Bonn negotiations, Fiona Harvey reported in the Guardian that a group of senior international figures have called on world leaders to intervene in the negotiations to overcome multiple obstacles in the way of an agreement. The letter from “The Elders” urges heads of state to use the UN Summit on Sustainable Development, scheduled for 25th-27th September at UN Headquarters in New York City, “to inject new urgency into the Paris negotiations.  Give your negotiators the mandate to draft a binding international agreement under the UNFCCC which will limit the increase in average global temperature to less than 2 degrees Celsius.”

 Ten Major Energy Companies Support Paris Accord, But 18 Don’t

CDP—formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project—this week announced in a press release that: “Disclosures from thousands of the world’s largest listed companies reveal that many of the most significant producers of fossil fuels support an international deal that will limit warming to 2 degrees as an outcome of the upcoming UN climate conference, COP-21.” However, the list of the top 28 energy companies released by CDP reveals a mixed picture. 

CDP asked the following question: “Would your organization’s board of directors support an international agreement between governments on climate change, which seeks to limit global temperature rise to under 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels in line with IPCC scenarios such as RCP2.6?”  By my count, ten energy corporations answered Yes.

The ten top energy companies that support a strong Paris Accord to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are: Anglo American, BG Group, BHP Billiton, Eni SpA, Gazprom, Repsol, Royal Dutch Shell, Sasol, Statoil, and Total.  None of these is an American company.

But CDP listed the response from 18 other companies as either “No opinion,” “Blank,” or “Non public disclosure.”  These companies are: Anadarko Petroleum, Apache, BP, Chevron, China Petroleum and Chemical, Conoco Phillips, Devon Energy, Ecopetrol Sa, Exxon Mobil, Glencore, Hess, Lukoil, Occidental Petroleum, Petrochina, Petrobras, Rio Tinto, RWE, and Suncor Energy.  Eight of these companies are American.

But CDP’s survey shows that many non-energy companies support the Paris Accord: “CDP data shows that companies that have formulated an opinion on a global climate deal are overwhelmingly in support: 805 companies answer yes, versus 111 that said no.  A high number of companies (1,075) state that they have no opinion, and 331 did not answer the question.”

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,