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Entries in Cooler Heads Digest (237)


Cooler Heads Digest 20 November 2015 

20 November 2015


The Cooler Heads Digest will not be published on 27th November.  The next issue will be dated 4th December.  Happy Thanksgiving!

In the News

Senator Manchin Shoots Hole Through EPA Power Plant Rule  
Marlo Lewis,, 20 November 2015

How To Halt the President’s Climate Change Ploy
Chris Horner, Washington Times, 19 November 2015

Pay Up, and Up, and Up: Developing Nations Set to Make Demands at Paris Climate Talks 
Senator Mike Lee and Representative Mike Kelly, National Review, 19 November 2015

Bob Murray’s Lawsuit To Stop ‘War on Coal’ Could Derail Obama’s Environmental Agenda 
Ben Wolfgang, Washington Times, 19 November 2015

How Green Megadonors Built a Bogus Campus Anti-Carbon Drive
Tom Pyle, New York Post, 19 November 2015

House Hearing Witness: On the “Clean Power” Plan, EPA’s Cost Estimate Is an Underestimate 
Kate Scanlon, Daily Signal, 19 November 2015

Lomborg Pushes Back Against Joe Romm’s Screed 
Bjorn Lomborg, Watts Up With That, 17 November 2015

Video: Senator Mike Lee and Panel Discussion—A Preview of the Paris Climate Change Conference 
Heritage Foundation and Competitive Enterprise Institute, 4 November 2015

Video: All day conference on Preparing for Paris: What To Expect From the UN’s 2015 Climate Conference 
Cato Institute, 30 October 2015

Video: Panel Discussion on the House’s Role in the Paris Climate Treaty 
Cooler Heads Coalition and Heritage Foundation, House Science Committee Hearing Room, 26 October 2015

Video: Panel Discussion on Legal and Constitutional Issues in the Paris Climate Treaty 
Cooler Heads Coalition and Heritage Foundation, Senate EPW Committee Hearing Room, 19 October 2015

News You Can Use
COP-21: The Show Must Go On

Soon after the terrorist attacks in Paris on 13th November, for which the Islamic State in the Levant has claimed credit, the French government announced that COP-21, the twenty-first Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, would go on as scheduled in Paris from 30th November to 11th December.  However, outside rallies and marches organized by environmental pressure groups would be cancelled.

The decision that the show must go on suits the Obama Administration.  According to a compilation by Jerome Hudson published on Breitbart, the President and his officials have stated at least twenty-two times that climate change presents a greater threat than extremist Islamic terrorism.  Senator Bernie Sanders (Independent Socialist-Vt.) went one better in the Democratic presidential debate when he said: “In fact, climate change is directly related to the growth of terrorism.” 

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

Senate Passes Resolutions Blocking EPA's Greenhouse Gas Rules

The Senate on 17th November passed resolutions of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act of the EPA’s greenhouse gas rules for new and existing power plants by 52-46 votes.  The two roll call votes on Senate Joint Resolution 23 and S. J. Res. 24 were identical. 

Forty-nine Republicans were joined by three Democrats in voting Yes.  The Democrats were Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and Joe Donnelly of Indiana.  Forty-three Democrats were joined by three Republicans in voting No.  The Republicans were Senators Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Mark Kirk of Illinois, and Susan Collins of Maine.  Two Republicans missed both votes: Senators Marco Rubio of Florida and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

The only real surprise was that Senator Mark Kirk voted No.  He had told Politico in late October that he would vote for both resolutions.  Apparently, a few hundred thousand dollars of broadcast ads in Illinois sponsored by environmental pressure groups changed his mind.  The Hill newspaper reported that the Natural Resources Defense Council sent out a press release attacking Kirk’s votes, but then had to send out a corrected press release that he had indeed voted against the EPA’s energy-rationing rules.  

On the House side, the Energy and Commerce Committee marked up its versions of the two resolutions of disapproval.  House Joint Resolution 71, which would block the greenhouse gas rule for new power plants, was passed on a 28 to 20 vote.  H. J. Res. 72, which would block the rule for existing power plants, was passed on a 28 to 21 vote

It is expected that the House will hold floor votes on both resolutions soon after they return from the week-long Thanksgiving recess on 30th November, which happens to be the day President Barack Obama will join other national leaders in Paris for a pep rally to kick off the twenty-first Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.  COP-21 is scheduled to conclude on 11th December with agreement on a new Paris climate treaty.

The EPA’s power plant rules constitute the largest greenhouse gas emissions reductions in the U. S.’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution to the Paris treaty.  Although President Obama will veto both resolutions, passage by the Senate and House will put the international negotiators at COP-21 on notice that the administration’s promises to cut emissions are just hot air. 

House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith: Whistleblowers Confirm Suspicions About Shoddy Science at NOAA 

The chairman of the House Science Committee, Representative Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) on 18th November sent Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker a letter that follows up on a 4th November letter to NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan concerning NOAA’s failure to comply with a committee subpoena.  In his more recent letter, Chairman Smith reveals that whistleblowers at NOAA have confirmed that a temperature data study by NOAA’s Thomas R. Karl was “rushed to publication despite the concerns and objections of a number of NOAA scientists, ignoring established and standard NOAA scientific processes and potentially violating NOAA’s scientific integrity policies.”  

The phony study by Karl et al published in Science last June re-analyzes global surface temperature data and finds that there has been no pause or hiatus in global warming over the past two decades.  Here is a thorough debunking of the Karl paper published in Watts Up With That the day the study was published. There have been many more debunkings since then.  

Around the World
Myron Ebell

Congress Pushes Back on Paris Climate Treaty

Senate and House leaders this week launched several efforts to undermine President Obama’s negotiating position going into final negotiations over the Paris Climate Treaty.   

Thirty-seven Republican Senators on 19th November sent a letter to President Barack Obama that states: “We pledge that Congress will not allow U.S. taxpayer dollars to go to the Green Climate Fund until the forthcoming international climate agreement is submitted to the Senate for its constitutional advice and consent.”  The letter was organized by Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee’s subcommittee that has jurisdiction over international environmental agreements, and Senator James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee.

Senator Mike Lee (R-Ut.) on 19th February introduced a resolution, Senate Joint Resolution 25, along with 30 co-sponsors that makes the legal and constitutional case that any agreement reached at Paris is a treaty and therefore must be submitted to the Senate for its advice and consent.  A similar resolution will be introduced in the House by Representatives Mike Kelly (R-Penna.) and Bill Flores (R-Tex.) and a long list of co-sponsors.  Lee and Kelly published an op-ed that explains their resolution here.  

Also on 19th November, Senators Inhofe, Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), and Joe Manchin (D-WV) introduced a shorter resolution that warns international negotiators that any climate agreement “shall have no force or effect in the United States and no funds shall be authorized in support of that protocol, amendment, extension or other agreement, including for the Green Climate Fund, until that protocol, amendment, extension or other agreement has been submitted to the Senate for advice and consent.” 

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 13 November 2015 

13 November 2015


The National Association of Scholars has published an excellent new report, “Inside Divestment: The Illiberal Movement To Turn A Generation Against Fossil Fuels.” The report and a summary may be found here.

In the News

An Outbreak of Sanity Down Under
Andrew Montford, Bishop Hill, 13 November 2015

NY Attorney General Schneiderman Targets Exxon Mobil
Marlo Lewis,, 12 November 2015

Obama’s Wacky Science Advisor Is Living His Dream
Robert Bradley, Jr., Master Resource, 12 November 2015

What Climate Alarmists Want: : “A World without Capitalism”
Editorial, Investor’s Business Daily, 10 November 2015

Atlantic Hurricanes Down 80% from 10 Years Ago
Roy Spencer,, 9 November 2015

The Climate Change Inquisition Begins
Robert Tracinski, The Federalist, 9 November 2015

Obama Caters to Radical Environmentalists
Nicolas Loris, CNSNews, 9 November 2015

The War against ExxonMobil
Robert Samuelson, Washington Post, 8 November 2015

Will Climate Change Ruin Your Sx Life?
Ronald Bailey, Reason Hit & Run, 6 November 2015

Union: Obama Threw Workers “Under the Bus” with Keystone Decision
Timothy Cama, The Hill, 6 November 2015

A Year into the Bust, American Oilfield Ingenuity Is Still Thriving
Christopher Helman, Forbes, 4 November 2015

News You Can Use
Report Projects Big Costs for “Clean Power” Plan

According to a new economic analysis by NERA Economic Consulting, the EPA’s greenhouse gas rule for existing power plants would cost $292 billion from 2022-2033 and result in double digit electricity price increases.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

Senate Likely To Vote on Resolutions To Block EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Rules for Power Plants on 18 November

The Senate is tentatively scheduled to take up the two resolutions of disapproval of the EPA’s greenhouse gas rules for new and existing power plants on Tuesday, 17th November, and vote on them on Wednesday the 18th.  A Senate source told me that the votes are almost certain to be held next week.

Senate Joint Resolution 23, sponsored by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and 47 co-sponsors, blocks the NSPS for new power plants.  Senate Joint Resolution 24, sponsored by Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and 48 co-sponsors, blocks the ESPS for existing power plants.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is likely to mark up and pass their versions of the CRA resolutions on Wednesday as well.  The subcommittee mark-up resulted in straight party-line votes on H. J. Res. 71 and H. J. Res. 72. Because of the week-long Thanksgiving recess, the full House may not vote on the resolutions until the first week of December, which is also the first week of COP-21, the UN climate conference in Paris that is supposed to conclude negotiations on a new climate treaty.

Although President Barack Obama is almost certain to veto both resolutions, the votes will provide support for including appropriations riders in the Omnibus Appropriations Bill to block the EPA rules and will also undermine the credibility of the Obama Administration at COP-21.   

Across the States
William Yeatman

Judge Allows Deposition of EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy

Clean Air Act §321(a) requires the EPA to monitor job losses due to the agency’s environmental regulations. In March 2014, Murray Energy, an Ohio-based coal company, commenced a civil action in federal court alleging that the agency has failed to perform its §321(a) responsibilities with regard to monitoring the employment impact of the agency’s war on coal. Murray Energy’s unprecedented lawsuit survived EPA’s early legal maneuvering, and on May 29th, 2015, West Virginia federal district court judge John Preston Bailey allowed Murray to proceed with discovery against EPA, including depositions, with the purpose of discerning how EPA is accounting for the coal sector job losses that are attributable to the agency’s suite of anti-energy regulations.

EPA appealed Judge Bailey’s order, but the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals denied EPA’s request without explanation on July 9th. After conducting initial discovery, Murray Energy on October 7th notified EPA that it intended to depose EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, and the company scheduled a tentative deposition date of November 24th.

EPA requested that Judge Bailey block the scheduled deposition, but yesterday, he denied the agency’s motion. EPA has appealed the matter to the Fourth Circuit, which will decide on the matter before the deposition is set to occur on November 24th.

Around the World
Myron Ebell

Secretary Kerry Insists Paris Climate Treaty Will Not Be a Treaty; European Union and France Insist That It Will Be a Treaty

U. S. Secretary of State John Kerry told the Financial Times in an interview published on 11th November (pages 1 and 2, subscription required) that the new climate treaty being negotiated now and due to be signed at COP-21 in Paris next month was “definitely not going to be a treaty,” that is, it would be some sort of agreement that will not require ratification by the Senate. 

Kerry’s categorical assertion was immediately contradicted by the office of the European Union’s climate commissioner and by the president and foreign minister of France.  A spokeswoman for EU climate commissioner Miguel Arias Canete told the Guardian that, “The Paris agreement must be an international legally binding agreement.  The title of the agreement is yet to be decided but it will not affect its legally binding form.”

French President Francois Hollande was just as categorical as Kerry: “If the agreement is not legally binding, there won’t be an agreement, because that would mean it would be impossible to verify or control the undertakings that are made.”  According to Reuters, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who is president of COP-21, said that the Paris negotiations were not just “hot air” and suggested Secretary Kerry was confusing the issue because of domestic political realities: “The fact that a certain number of dispositions should have a practical effect and be legally binding is obvious, so let's not confuse things, which is perhaps what Mr. Kerry has done.”

Secretary Kerry did try to re-assure foreign governments in his interview with the Financial Times.  “[H]e claimed Republicans have no chance of taking the White House and that voters “‘will want someone who understands climate change … and wants to do something about it.’”

Kerry went on to predict that President Barack Obama would force Congress to appropriate money for the Green Climate Fund by being prepared to veto the Omnibus Appropriations bill.  But he also contradicted his view that Americans would vote for a presidential candidate who wants to “do something” about climate change: “[W]hen something is a high enough priority for a president, you have a way of getting it done, even though it’s opposed by people.”

Kerry also said that he was not opposed to Congress having some role in reviewing the Paris climate treaty, but that, “It depends on whether it is a poison-pill effort or a genuine effort just to review it.”  In these remarks, Secretary Kerry merely reflects President Barack Obama’s contempt for the Constitution and for the Congress.

Effort to Restrict Greenhouse Gases Falls Short in Dubai

Long before global warming became the leading environmental cause there were equally overblown fears that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were damaging the earth’s ozone layer.  These concerns led to the 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer, a treaty that banned the production and use of CFCs.  Now, the Obama administration has combined the two issues by targeting the substitutes for CFCs, called hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), on the grounds that they are greenhouse gases.  Domestically, EPA has enacted a regulation restricting HFC use in car air-conditioners and commercial refrigeration equipment, and the agency has promised more such regulations in 2016.

Internationally, the administration made an aggressive push for a treaty amendment limiting HFC production at the 27th meeting of the parties to the Montreal Protocol held last week in Dubai.   Despite sending EPA administrator Gina McCarthy to lead the negotiations, the U.S. delegation was only able to secure an agreement to hold more meetings next year to try to finalize a deal.  Nonetheless, the administration touted the Dubai meeting as a major step forward and momentum for a larger climate deal in Paris.

The main obstacle in Dubai was the concern raised by developing nations about the high cost of HFC substitutes.   This concern is well justified given that DuPont and Honeywell have patented a host of substitutes that sell for many times more than the HFCs they would replace.  Both of these crony capitalist companies have worked closely with the administration towards getting HFCs banned and thereby securing a captive market for their high-priced alternatives.

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 06 November 2015 


6 November 2015

In the News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

News You Can Use
Good News: Antarctic Ice Increasing

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

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

O Says No to Keystone XL

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

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

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

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

House Committee Passes Bill To Check EPA Climate Regulations

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

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

Across the States
Myron Ebell

NY AG Launches Investigation into Exxon

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

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

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

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

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

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

Update on State Lawsuits against EPA Climate Regulations

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

Around the World
Myron Ebell

China Burns 17% More Coal Than Reported

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

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

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

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

India Moves To Outlaw Greenpeace

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

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

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

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


Cooler Heads Digest 30 October 2015 

30 October 2015


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

In the News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

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

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

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

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

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

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

Around the World
Myron Ebell

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

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

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

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

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

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


Cooler Heads Digest 23 October 2015 

23 October 2015


On Friday, October 30th, the Cato Institute will hold an all day conference on “What to Expect from the UN’s 2015 Climate Change Conference.” Speakers include: Roy Spencer, Judith Curry, Richard Tol, Peter Glaser, Andrew Grossman, Harlan Watson, Chip Knappenberger, and more. RSVP or watch online here.

In the News

Inside the Supreme Court Case That Could Change How America Gets Its Power
Andrew Follett, Daily Caller, 22 October 2015

Federal Investigation Blames EPA for Toxic Spill
John Siciliano, Washington Examiner, 22 October 2015

Leading Feminist Gloria Steinem: Pope Causing Global Warming by “Forcing Women to Have Children”
Katie Yoder, NewsBusters, 22 October 2015

Wishful Thinking Meets Hard Realities in Energy Production
Joseph Verruni & Patrick Michaels, Newsweek, 22 October 2015

When Enron, NYT Declared Solar “Competitive” with Fossil Fuels…in 1994
Robert Bradley, Jr., Master Resource, 21 October 2015

Paris Climate Pledges Would Cost $13.5 Trillion by 2030
Alex Morales, Bloomberg Business, 21 October 2015

Solyndra Redux: Another Government Funded Green Company on the Brink
Rob Nikolewski, Daily Signal, 21 October 2015

Have We Finally Reached Peak Lie on the Clean Power Plan
William Yeatman,, 20 October 2015

New Canadian PM Justin Trudeau Brings Same Support for Keystone XL Pipeline
Steven Mufson, Washington Post, 20 October 2015

Green Financing Has Hobbled Home Sales in California
Nichola Groom, Reuters, 19 October 2015

News You Can Use
Solar Energy Derided by Villagers in India

Climatewire this week reported on the efforts of Greenpeace activists to set up a solar-powered microgrid in Dharnai, India, which had been without electricity for three decades. According to the report, villagers protested the inauguration of the system by lining up and chanting, “We want real electricity, not fake electricity!” That is, they want reliability power 24 hours a day.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

Senate and House Move Quickly To Block EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Rules for Coal and Gas Power Plants

The EPA’s greenhouse gas emissions rules for new and existing coal and natural gas power plants were finally published in the Federal Register on Friday, 23rd October.  EPA had released the text of the final rules on 3rd August.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced that he and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) next week will file a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act to block the rule for new power plants. The Majority Leader’s office also announced that Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) will file a CRA resolution to block the rule for existing plants.

On the House side, Representative Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), chairman of the energy subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee, announced that he will file CRA resolutions of disapproval for new and existing plants on Monday.

Senate and House votes on these resolutions can be expected in the next few weeks and certainly before COP-21, the twenty-first Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, begins in Paris on 30th November.  Both resolutions will pass the House and Senate with votes from an overwhelming majority of Republicans plus a few Democrats.

Although President Barack Obama will veto both CRA resolutions, as Senator James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, said in a press release, the votes will show governments of the other countries involved in negotiating a new climate treaty, which is scheduled to be finished at COP-21, that the Obama Administration’s INDC (or Intended Nationally Determined Contribution) is opposed by Congress.  That’s because the two power plant rules are the largest part of the administration’s plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions submitted in the INDC.

The Paris climate treaty negotiators should understand that the rules are unlikely to survive because at some point congressional opposition is likely to turn into congressional action. The first opportunity to act occurs in appropriations legislation for FY 2016.  The House and Senate versions of the Interior-EPA appropriations bill contain riders that prohibit implementation of the rules in the current fiscal year.  Passage of the CRA resolutions of disapproval will provide strong support for including the riders in any Omnibus appropriations bill that Congress passes to fund the government beyond the current continuing resolution, which expires on 11th December (which is also the day COP-21 is scheduled to conclude in Paris). 

Further evidence that the power plant rules may not survive beyond the Obama Administration is provided by the lawsuits that were filed immediately after the rules were published.  For more on the lawsuits, see the item in Across the States below.      

Across the States
William Yeatman

Record Number of States Launch Legal Challenge to Clean Power Plan

Twenty six States today filed legal challenges to the Clean Power Plan in the federal court of appeals for the D.C. Circuit. As far as I’ve been able to discern, this is a record number of States to challenge a Clean Air Act rule, and more States are likely to join.

The States are seeking to have the court delay implementation of the regulation until the legal challenge to the merits of the rule runs its course. The reason that States are seeking to pause implementation of the rule is the fact that capital-intensive businesses like electric utilities (the regulated entities) have to plan capital allocation years in advance. As such, many utilities don’t have the opportunity to wait until the litigation reaches a conclusion, which would take about three years, before they decide whether or not to comply with the regulation. In this manner, EPA could achieve compliance with the rule, even if the Supreme Court ultimately finds the Clean Power Plan to be illegal. The solution to this problem is to ask the court to pause or “stay” the rule until it decides on the rule's legality.

The bar for achieving a stay is high. However, the rule is unprecedented in the harm it would inflict, so I think the odds of success are relatively good. The D.C. Circuit will likely decide in early 2016. Were the D.C. Circuit to demur on a stay, I suspect that the petitioners would appeal such a decision to the Supreme Court.

Around the World
Myron Ebell

Bonn Climate Negotiations Still Come Down To One Question: Where’s the Cash? 

The last officially scheduled negotiating session before COP-21 (the twenty-first Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) in Paris concluded on Friday, 23 October.  The main achievement of the eleventh part of the second session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhancing Action, as the week-long negotiations are officially called, was to expand the draft text of the Paris climate treaty from the 20 pages they began with on Monday to 63 pages by Friday.

Although some slight progress can be seen here and there (for example, on mitigation and transparency issues), wide differences remain between the developing countries and the G-77, the group of 135 developing countries.  As always, the G-77 want to know where’s the cash. Or as the BBC’s headline put it, “Questions over cash dominate.”  The BBC’s story summarized the core of the disagreements in Bonn this week: “The G77 group are looking for increases on the $100b per annum from 2020 that was previously promised.  They have dismissed recent research from the OECD suggesting that richer countries had provided $62bn in 2014-15 as climate finance.  The poorer countries want money to come from new public sources and question the reliability of private finance.”

The $100 billion in climate aid was proposed by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at COP-15 in Copenhagen in 2009 and endorsed by President Barack Obama.  The Green Climate Fund was officially created by COP-16 in Cancun the next year.  The GCF is now in operation and gearing up to start receiving and distributing $100 billion per year beginning in 2020.  You can visit the GCF web site here.

In addition to the $100 billion per year, the developing countries want to be compensated for their losses and damages from the impacts of climate change—typhoons, hurricanes, droughts, floods, etc.  COP-19 in Warsaw in 2013 created the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage. Negotiations continue on how to compensate for L & D.

Science Update
Marlo Lewis

Has Global Warming Increased U.S. Hurricane Damages?

Estrada et al. (2015), a study published this week in Nature Geoscience, finds “an upward trend in economic losses between 1900 and 2005 that cannot be explained” by changes in societal factors such as increases in wealth, population, and inflation. The researchers also find “an upward trend in both the number and intensity of hurricanes in the North Atlantic basin” that is “consistent with” the global rise in average surface air temperature. They estimate that, in 2005, $2 billion to $4 billion in annual losses “could be attributable to climate change.”

University of Colorado prof. Roger Pielke, Jr. finds the study wrong on all counts.

Pielke provides a graph of North Atlantic hurricane strength, using a metric called the Power Dissipation Index (PDI), from 1950 through 2014. The graph covers the entire basin, not just hurricanes making landfall. Although there is considerable inter-annual and decadal variability, there is no long-term trend in hurricane strength.

More critically, Estrada et al. end their dataset in 2005, a big year for PDI and damages from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Thus, the researchers leave out of the dataset the record-breaking nine-year (2006-2014) “drought” of major (category 3, 4, 5) U.S. hurricane landfalls.

In other graphs, Pielke shows that U.S. hurricane landfall frequency and intensity have both declined 20% from 1900 to the present. Comparing two fifty-year periods, Pielke notes that there were 23 major U.S. hurricane landfalls during 1915-1954 but only nine major hurricane landfalls during 1965-2015. There were 40% fewer major U.S. hurricane landfalls in the later, globally-warmer 50-year period.

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