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Entries in Cooler Heads Digest (244)

Saturday
Jan302016

Cooler Heads Digest 29 January 2016 

29 January 2016

In the News

Cherry Picking by D’Arrigo
Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit, 29 January 2016

Revenge Play at EPA
Jeffrey St. Clair, Counterpunch, 29 January 2016

Eco-Rapper Crowdfunds for “Peer Reviewed” Hip Hop Album
James Delingpole, Breitbart, 29 January 2016

Doomsday Clockamamie
Marlo Lewis, Open Market, 28 January 2016

If All Presidents Had Made Energy Policy Like Obama…
Peter Grossman, Washington Examiner, 28 January 2016

State Attorney General Climate Change Investigations Are Unconstitutional
Hans Bader, Open Market, 27 January 2016

Apocalypse Delayed
David French, National Review, 27 January 2016

Emails Show Steyer-EPA Coordination To Undermine Agency Critics
Lachlan Markay, Washington Free Beacon, 27 January 2016

Columbia Journalism School’s Exxon Hit Undermines Virtues of Journalism
Richard Osborne, Crain’s, 26 January 2016

Is Any Component of Obama’s Energy Policy Not Shrouded in Obfuscation?
William Yeatman, Open Market, 26 January 2016

Spain Installed Not a Single Wind Turbine in 2015
Alex Morales, Bloomberg Business, 26 January 2016

News You Can Use
More Than 300 Scientists Announce Support for House Science Committee’s NOAA Investigation

The Daily Caller’s Andrew Follett reports that more than 300 scientists sent a letter to House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, expressing their support for the Committee’s efforts to ensure that NOAA’s climate science publications comply with the Data Quality Act.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

Twenty-Six States Appeal to Supreme Court To Stay EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Rule for New Power Plants

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on 26th January filed on behalf of twenty-six States an appeal of the DC Circuit Court’s refusal to grant an immediate stay of the EPA’s final greenhouse gas rule for new power plants. The U. S. Chamber, National Association of Manufacturers, American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, National Federation of Independent Business, and twelve other industry associations filed a similar appeal on 27th January. Murray Energy announced last week that they would also file an appeal.

The AGs’ 63-page petition makes an impressive case that the so-called “Clean Power” Plan is so legally flawed that it will eventually be overturned in court, but that so much economic damage will be done before the litigation is completed that the rule must be suspended as soon as possible.

The States’ petition begins by reminding the Justices what happened with the Utility Mercury Air Toxics Standards rule:

“This Court’s decision last Term in Michigan v. EPA starkly illustrates the need for a stay in this case.  The day after this Court ruled in Michigan that EPA had violated the Clean Air Act in enacting its rule regulating fossil fuel-fired power plants under Section 112 of the CAA, EPA boasted in an official blog post that the Court’s decision was effectively a nullity.  Because the rule had not been stayed during the years of litigation, EPA assured its supporters that ‘the majority of power plants are already in compliance or well on their way to compliance.’ … In short EPA extracted ‘nearly $10 billion a year’ in compliance before this Court could even review the rule, and then successfully used that unlawfully-mandated compliance to keep the rule in place even after this Court declared that the agency had violated the law.  In the present case, EPA is seeking to similarly circumvent judicial review, but on an even larger scale and this time directly targeting the States.”

In addition to West Virginia and Texas, the following States signed the petition: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina (counsel for the Council on Environmental Quality rather than the AG), New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Chief Justice Roberts asked the EPA to respond to the petition by 4th February.  The federal Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit has scheduled oral arguments in the underlying case challenging the power plant rule for 2nd June.  Written briefs by the petitioners are due by 19th February, and by the respondents by 28th March.      

Around the World
Myron Ebell

UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Secretariat Announces Steps for Signing and Ratifying the Paris Climate Treaty.  The Next Step Is Up To the Senate.

The Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) released on 29th January a statement and a technical document that leave no doubt that the Paris Agreement is a treaty according to all international criteria that requires depositing “instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession” by the parties.  President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern, and their legal allies in environmental pressure groups may quibble all they want that, although it may be considered a treaty by the United Nations and the entire international community, it’s still just a piece of paper that doesn’t rise to the level of a treaty requiring ratification by the Senate; but they cannot hide the reality that it is a treaty and according to the U. S. Constitution cannot go into force in the U. S. until it has been ratified by the U. S. Senate.

Read the rest at GlobalWarming.org.

Science Update
Marlo Lewis

Revisiting Gore’s Hurricane Prediction

In An Inconvenient Truth (pp. 94-95), Al Gore blamed global warming for Hurricane Katrina and the devastation of New Orleans. Not in so many words but through heavy-handed insinuation no movie goer could miss.

It seemed plausible because Gore invoked an “emerging consensus linking global warming to the increasing destructive power of hurricanes . . . based in part on research showing a significant increase in the number of category 4 and 5 hurricanes.”

The research to which Gore alluded was Webster et al. (2005), a study which found a significant increase in the number and percentage of category 4 and 5 hurricanes during 1970-2004. The study was hotly debated at the time. For example, on the same day Science magazine published the Webster study, climatologist Patrick Michaels published a critique. Michaels showed that, in the Atlantic basin—the hurricane formation area with the best data over the longest period—the “trends” observed by Webster et al. disappeared once data going back to 1940 were included. Roughly the same number and percentage of intense hurricanes occurred during 1940-1970 as occurred during 1970-2004.

This week’s edition of CO2Science.Org reviews “Extremely Intense Hurricanes: Revisiting Webster et al. (2005) after 10 Years,” a study by Phil Klotzbach of Colorado State University and Christopher Landsea of NOAA/NWS/National Hurricane Center.

Klotzbach and Landsea examine whether the “trends” found by Webster et al. continue after an additional 10 years of data. The two researchers find that “the global frequency of category 4 and 5 hurricanes has shown a small, insignificant downward trend while the percentage of category 4 and 5 hurricanes has shown a small, insignificant upward trend between 1990 and 2014.” They further report that “Accumulated cyclone energy globally has experienced a large and significant downward trend during the same period.” In other words, there has been a large decrease in the overall destructive power of hurricanes based on an assessment of the number, strength, and duration of all individual hurricanes worldwide.

Klotzbach and Landsea conclude that the intense-hurricane trends observed by Webster et al. were primarily due to “observational improvements at the various global tropical cyclone warning centers, primarily in the first two decades of that study.”

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
Jan232016

Cooler Heads Digest 22 January 2016 

22 January 2016

Announcements

The U. S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy has published an important new study titled, What’s in a Target?: How the Final ‘Clean Power’ Plan Uses Unreasonable Renewable Energy Assumptions To Increase the Stringency of State Emissions Requirements.

In the News

What Does the Peer-Reviewed Literature Say about Trends in East Coast Winter Storms
Roger Pielke, Jr., The Climate Fix, 22 January 2016

RFF Goes Nice on Renewables
Robert Bradley, Jr., Master Resource, 21 January 2016

U.S. Fracking Shatters OPEC Oil Cartel
David Kreutzer, PoliZette, 21 January 2016

In 1997, NOAA Claimed That the Earth Was 3.83 Degrees Warmer Than Today
Anthony Watts, WattsUpWithThat, 21 January 2016

Senators Seek Federal Probe into Illegal EPA Propaganda
Devin Henry, The Hill, 21 January 2016

Big Ethanol’s War on Ted Cruz
Ed Kilgore, New York Magazine, 20 January 2016

Majority of Americans Don’t Buy Climate Change Threat; State Department Blames Polling
Penny Starr, CNSNews, 18 January 2016

Remember: That Snow You See Out of Your Window Is a Thingof the Past
James Delingpole, Breitbart, 17 January 2016

News You Can Use
Survey: Business Fears Overregulation, Not Climate Change

According to a survey of 1,400 CEOs from around the world compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and published this week, climate change ranked last among 11 potential business threats. Over-regulation was number 1.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

DC Circuit Refuses To Stay the “Clean Power” Plan

A three-judge panel of the U. S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit on 21st January ruled against issuing a stay of the EPA’s greenhouse gas rule for new power plants until litigation is completed.  The panel also announced that they will expedite hearing the suit that seeks to overturn the so-called “Clean Power” Plan and scheduled oral arguments for 2nd June.

Murray Energy, one of the leading plaintiffs in the suit, announced that they will appeal the Circuit Court ruling to the Supreme Court.  West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said that the coalition of 27 States that he leads in the litigation is also considering appealing the ruling.  

Here is an Excerpt from the Murray Energy press release:

“[T]his lack of a stay sets up the same horrific scenario we saw in our Utility MACT lawsuit, whereby we won in the Supreme Court of the United States, but our victory was moot because the Utility MACT rule had already forced the closure of 411 coal-fired power plant units in America.  Frankly, our court system is far too slow to assure the checks and balances from the Judicial Branch over the Executive Branch that the Fathers of our Constitution envisioned, and the Obama Administration uses this to the fullest, destroying the jobs and family livelihoods of our coal miners in the process. This is an absolute tragedy for America.”

Department of the Interior Proposes New Methane Rule

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell on 22nd January proposed new rules to reduce methane emissions into the atmosphere from oil and gas production on federal lands.  The Bureau of Land Management’s rules are intended to reduce venting, flaring, and leakage of methane (which is the principal component of natural gas) and will be phased in over several years.  The rules are part of President Barack Obama’s climate agenda to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025 and therefore are also part of the administration’s commitment in the Paris Climate Treaty. 

The Department of the Interior’s press release states:

“[T]he proposed rule would require oil and gas producers to adopt currently available technologies, processes and equipment that would limit the rate of flaring at oil wells on public and tribal lands, and would require operators to periodically inspect their operations for leaks, and to replace outdated equipment that vents large quantities of gas into the air. Operators would also be required to limit venting from storage tanks and use best practices to limit gas losses when removing liquids from wells. The new measures would also clarify when operators owe royalties on flared gas, and ensure that BLM’s regulations provide congressionally authorized flexibility to set royalty rates at or above 12.5 percent of the value of production.”

Links to the proposed rule, a “fact sheet,” the Regulatory Impact Analysis, and the Environmental Assessment can be found at the bottom of the press release

Across the States
Marlo Lewis

Gov. Brown Doubles Down on Deniers

In his State of the State speech on 21st January, California Gov. Jerry Brown gave “deniers” another tongue lashing: “Incredibly - though last year was the hottest on record - there are still those, particularly in Washington, who are in denial. But even the deniers can't deny the carbon pollution that exists all over the world. It is causing serious injury and respiratory disease to people of all ages, but especially the young and very old.”

Once again Gov. Brown peddles the two main propaganda points of the climate alarm playbook: (1) assert that global warming = catastrophe = moral imperative to put an energy-starved world on an energy diet, ignoring both the much slower-than-predicted rate of warming and the dramatic long-term decline in weather-related mortality; and, (2) conflate carbon dioxide with industrial air contaminants by calling both “carbon pollution.”

To cope with the California drought, Brown calls for investment in “new technologies—including desalination.” But desalination is expensive, one reason being it’s an “energy hog.” Cheap energy makes desalination more affordable. Climate policies like California’s make the state’s electric rates among the highest in the nation.

Gov. Brown took pride in the state’s memorandum of understanding with more than 100 other jurisdictions—a commitment to “bring per capita greenhouse gases down to two tons per person.” For perspective, the U.S. average is 17 tons per capita. Two tons per capita is roughly the average in India, a country where more than one-fifth of the population still has no electricity.

In Memoriam
Myron Ebell

Robert M. Carter, RIP

It is with great sadness that I report thedeath of Robert M. Carter on 19th January in Townsville, Queensland, Australia, several days after suffering a heart attack.  He was 74. The Heartland Institute has a tribute by Joe Bast plus tributes from many friends and colleagues. It also has videos of many of Bob’s excellent talks at Heartland International Climate Conferences.  A short, more formal obituary may be found here

Bob was a fine man, an outstanding scientist, and one of the leading climate realists in Australia and the world.  It was my good fortune to get to know Bob and his wife Anne over the last decade when he came to America to speak at Heartland’s climate conferences.  He was in good form at Heartland’s conference in Paris on 7th December. I and many, many people around the world have lost a good friend.  The Cooler Heads Coalition has lost an esteemed ally.  May he rest in peace.

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
Jan162016

Cooler Heads Digest 15 January 2016 

15 January 2016

In the News

The Buzz on Alex and Global Warming
Patrick Michaels & Chip Knappenberger, Cato at Liberty, 15 January 2016

Groups Defending Power Plan Rule Secretly Talked with EPA, Emails Show
Lachlan Markay, Washington Free Beacon, 15 January 2016

Climate Alarmists Invent a New Excuse: The Satellites Are Lying
James Delingpole, Breitbart, 15 January 2016

Michael Mann Turns His Back on Peer Review
Ronald Bailey, Reason Hit & Run, 15 January 2016

COP 21’s Shared Narrative Under Attack by Left
Robert Bradley, Jr., Master Resource, 14 January 2016

EPA Ploughs Ahead with $9.6 BillionMercury Rule, Despite Supreme Court’s Concerns
Susan Dudley, Forbes, 14 January 2016

Why Big Oil’s Crony Bid To Tax Carbon Will Hurt Your Family
Ken Blackwell, Washington Examiner, 14 January 2016

Under Scrutiny, Stanford Professor Deletes Data on Green Jobs Paper
Steve Everley, Energy in Depth, 13 January 2016

President May Have Exaggerated Role of Stimulus in Clean Energy, Experts Say
Coral Davenport & Diane Cardwell, New York Times, 13 January 2016

“No Extinctions”: Polar Bears Survived Periods When the Arctic Had No Ice
Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller, 11 January 2016

News You Can Use
Next Ice Age Averted by Global Warming

Anthropogenic global warming has "canceled the next ice age," according to a study published this week in the science journal Nature.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

Obama’s Interior Department Suspends New Coal Leases on Federal Lands for Three Years While Conducting Review of Program

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell on 15th January signed secretarial order 3338, which suspends new coal leases on federal lands while a three-year review of the BLM’s coal leasing program is conducted.  How to account for the so-called “Social Cost of Carbon” will almost certainly be a major focus.

Secretary Jewell also announced that some “good government reforms” have already been decided; these include “establishing a publicly available database to account for the carbon emitted from fossil fuels developed on public lands.”  Note that this database will include carbon dioxide emissions from oil and gas production on federal lands as well as coal production.    

The review will take the form of a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) and “will .whether and how the program may be improved and modernized to foster the orderly development of BLM administered coal on federal lands in a manner that gives proper consideration to the impact of that development on important stewardship values, while also offering a fair return to the American public.” 

The process will begin with “public sessions in early 2016 to help determine the precise scope of the review.”  Stage one will conclude with an interim report before President Obama leaves office in January 2017.  The final PEIS is expected to be completed within three years.

According to the secretarial order, as of the 2014 fiscal year, the “BLM administered 310 coal leases, encompassing 475,692 acres in 10 States, with an estimated 7.75 billion tons of recoverable federal coal reserves.”  Approximately 40 percent of U. S. coal production comes from federal leases.  Eighty-five percent of federal coal production comes from the Powder River Basin in Wyoming and Montana Federal coal produces approximately 14 percent of U. S. electricity and accounts for approximately 10 percent of U. S. greenhouse gas emissions.

Federal land in Wyoming produces more coal than federal land in Montana, but reserves in Montana are much larger.  Senator Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Representative Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) were among the leading promoters of re-authorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which is used to buy private land and turn it into federal land.  The Omnibus Appropriations Bill passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama in December includes a three-year LWCF re-authorization and doubles the appropriation for FY 2016 over FY 2015 to $450 million.  That was even $50 million more than President Obama had requested. 

Both Sen. Daines and Rep. Zinke have made numerous statements supporting the LWCF and more federal land acquisition in Montana, which is already 30% federally owned.  Given their boosterism of socialized land ownership, it will be interesting to see how these two Republicans respond to the Department of the Interior’s three-year moratorium on coal leasing and the PEIS of the leasing program.         

Science Update
Marlo Lewis

Do Melting Icebergs Combat Global Warming?

Grant R. Bigg and two colleagues at the University of Sheffield in the UK appear to have discovered a negative warming feedback in Antarctica. The causal chain runs as follows. (1) Global warming (supposedly) accelerates the calving of giant icebergs (longer than 18Km) in Antarctica. (2) As the icebergs move and melt, they deposit iron and other micronutrients in the Southern Ocean. (3) The nutrients fertilize phytoplankton, producing immense algae blooms up to 1,000 km in length. (4) The algae consume carbon dioxide (CO2). (5) When the algae and organisms that eat them die, they sink to the ocean bottom, sequestering CO2 that would otherwise enter the atmosphere.

The Southern Ocean is thought to be responsible for 10% of total oceanic carbon sequestration worldwide. Biggs and his colleagues estimate that phytoplankton fertilization by giant icebergs account for up to one-fifth of the Southern Ocean carbon sink. They opine: “If giant iceberg calving increases this century as expected, this negative feedback on the carbon cycle may become more important than we previously thought.” For more information about the study, see this post on WattsUpWithThat.

What are the policy implications? Many ocean areas are nutrient poor. In a 1998 paper written for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, atmospheric scientist S. Fred Singer discussed a small-scale experiment indicating that “the growth of phytoplankton can be dramatically increased by the addition of minute quantities of inorganic iron to surface water.” Singer argued for a “large-scale demonstration to prove the technical and economic feasibility of lowering the atmospheric CO2 content at a fraction of the cost now contemplated for emissions reduction.” He concluded: “While it may never be necessary to reduce atmospheric CO2, it will be comforting to know that we have the technical capability to do so.”

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
Jan092016

Cooler Heads Digest 08 January 2016 

8 January 2016

In the News

Climate Exaggeration
Rep. Lamar Smith, Washington Examiner, 7 January 2016

My Bet Against Electric Cars
Charles Lane, Washington Post, 7 January 2016

Kemper Power Plant Could Face More Delays
Steve Wilson, Mississippi Watchdog, 7 January 2015  

Advisors Tell EPA To Change ‘Systemic’ Fracking Findings Based on ‘Outliers’
Katie Brown, Energy In Depth, 7 January 2015

Munich Re: El Nino and Global Warming Make Natural Disasters Less Expensive
Anthony Watts, Watts Up With That, 6 January 2016

SolarCity and the Silver Spoon
Marita Noon, Oil Pro, 5 January 2016

Colorado Environmentalists Propose Ballot Measures To Ban Fracking
Andrew Follett, Daily Caller, 6 January 2016

Is Solar Power Really Renewable—and Free?
Roy Cordato, Master Resource, 5 January 2016

How the National Solar Lobby Passed the Investment Tax Credit
Stephen Lacey, Greentech Media, 4 January 2016

Obama’s Energy Record: Markets Beat Government
Kennedy Maize, Power Magazine, 1 January 2016

Unnatural Consensus on Climate Change
Judith Curry, Financial Post, 30 December 2016

Climate Models Have Been Wrong About Global Warming for Six Decades
Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller, 28 December 2016

How Exxon Mobil and Sierra Club Conspired To Enact Carbon Tax in 2009
Eric Roston, Bloomberg News, 22 December 2016

2016 Presidential Candidates on the “Clean Power” Plan
League of Conservation Voters, 14 December 2016

News You Can Use
More Warmest Year Blather    

Heritage Foundation energy and climate economist David Kreutzer concisely explains why we shouldn’t be concerned if 2015 was the second hottest year on record, as NOAA claims.  Satellite and weather balloon data clearly show a deceleration in atmospheric warming over the past 19 years compared to the 1980s and ’90s.  The climate models on which disaster forecasts depend overestimate observed warming by 200 to 300 percent.  NOAA and IPCC data show no long-term increase in hurricanes, floods, and droughts.  For additional commentary, see “Warmest Year Blather – A Distraction from the Big Picture by Marlo Lewis.

Inside the Beltway
Marlo Lewis

Department of Energy Finalized 13 Efficiency Standards in 2015

The Department of Energy (DOE) finalized 13 energy-efficiency standards last year including four standards after Christmas. The standards are part of President Obama’s “climate action plan,” which seeks via energy-efficiency measures to reduce cumulative greenhouse gas emissions by at least 3 billion tons by 2030.

On December 17, DOE announced new efficiency standards for commercial air conditioners and furnaces. DOE boasts that over the lifetime of the products, business will save $167 billion on their utility bills.

Color me skeptical. If equipment meeting the standards is as profitable to businesses as DOE claims, cost-conscious buyers will demand it and profit-seeking manufacturers will produce it. Much of the projected savings will occur anyway absent the standards.

Alternatively, if demand for the equipment would not exist apart from the standards, that is a sign most firms regard other investments as more lucrative or that they doubt DOE’s estimate of how much compliant equipment will cost or how well it will perform.

Unsurprisingly, end users do not appear to have had much input. The air conditioner and furnace standards are the product of a negotiated rulemaking undertaken by the Appliance Standards and Rulemaking Federal Advisory Committee (ASRAC). As described by DOE, ASRAC members include “the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute and Air Conditioning Contractors of America, along with some of the nation’s leading manufacturers, utilities, and efficiency organizations.”  

After Christmas, ASRAC also finalized energy-efficiency standards for new commercial and industrial water pumps, beverage vending machines, residential boilers, and commercial pre-rinse spray valves.

For those interested in the details of all six standards, see this post by Lauren Urbanek of the Natural Resources Defense Council, one of the organizations that participated in the negotiated rulemaking.

Across the States
Myron Ebell

Solar Companies Pull Out of Nevada After Subsidies Are Cut

Two major solar panel installation companies announced this week that they will pull out of Nevada as a result of the state Public Utilities Commission’s decision last month to lower rates paid to retail customers for excess power produced by their rooftop solar panels and to raise monthly service charges.  SolarCity is cutting 550 jobs, and Sunrun’s pullout will cause “hundreds of job losses.”

The Nevada PUC voted 3-0 on 22nd December to reduce over five years the net metering rate paid for electricity provided by rooftop solar panels from the retail to the wholesale price.  This translates into a cut of approximately 75%.  In addition, the PUC increased the monthly service charge for hooking up solar panels to the grid. 

According to the Las Vegas Sun, “The PUC’s position in the order is that higher bills are being paid by nonsolar users to provide “hidden subsidies” for those with solar panels. The PUC said solar users in Southern Nevada have been getting an annual subsidy of about $623. The subsidy for solar users in Northern Nevada is about $471.”

What is unusual about the subsidy cuts is that they are being applied retroactively to customers who have already installed solar panels.  Most rooftop solar installations are made under long-term contracts in which houseowners pay back the cost of the solar panels over ten to twenty years from their electric sales back to the grid. 

The Omnibus Appropriations Bill passed by Congress last month and signed by President Obama contains a five-year extension of federal subsidies for solar power.  (If you’re interested in how the solar lobby did it, see this article.)  If rooftop solar isn’t economic even with the federal solar investment tax credit in Las Vegas, then it’s hard to see where it might pay for itself.  Nonetheless, solar boosters have already started their annual round of ridiculous claims that solar is now cheaper than electricity produced from conventional sources.  Here is an example    

California Governor Jerry Brown Proposes To Spend Cap-n-Tax Loot To Cut Gasoline Use

California Governor Jerry Brown announced on 7th January as part of the rollout of his 2016-17 budget proposals to the state legislature that $1 billion of revenues from the state’s cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gas emissions be spent on programs to reduce use of petroleum products by Californians.  Most of the money would be spent on mass transit projects and subsidies for purchasing zero-emissions vehicles.

In September, the California Air Resources Board voted 9-0 to require a 10% reduction in the carbon content of transportation fuels by 2020.  This decision came immediately after the legislature removed a provision from a major climate bill, SB 350, to require a 50% cut in petroleum use by 2030.  Governor Brown signed the bill, but warned that he would take regulatory actions to reduce gasoline and diesel use in cars and trucks.

Around the World
Myron Ebell

TransCanada Files $15 Billion NAFTA Claim on President Obama’s Denial of Keystone Pipeline Permit

TransCanada Corporation on 6th January filed a notice of intent to file a claim for “more than $15 billion in costs and damages” caused by President Barack Obama’s 6th November decision to deny a trans-border permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline on the grounds that it violates the North American Free Trade Agreement of 1994. At the same time, TransCanada filed suit in federal court in Houston that claims that the President’s action is unconstitutional.

The NAFTA claim argues that TransCanada “had every reason to expect its application would be granted as the application met the same criteria the U.S. State Department applied when approving applications to construct other similar cross-border pipelines - including the existing Keystone pipeline, which was approved in under two years, in contrast with the seven years the Administration took to make a decision on Keystone XL.”

The court filing argues that the President’s decision usurps Congress’s constitutional authority to regulate interstate commerce.  Congress in February 2015 passed a bill to permit the pipeline, which President Obama vetoed.  The filing also points to the fact that the President’s decision was not based on the State Department’s exhaustive studies, which found no environmental or other grounds for denying the permit, but instead was based on political calculation.  In his 6th November statement, the President gave this as his reason for blocking the pipeline from Alberta’s oil sands to refineries on the U. S. Gulf: “America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change.  And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership.”


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
Dec192015

Cooler Heads Digest 18 December 2015 

18 December 2015

Announcement

Because of the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, the next Cooler Heads Digest will be published on January 8th. Happy holidays!

In the News

Obama Claims the Paris Climate Agreement Is Not a Treaty. Huh?
Marlo Lewis, Open Market, 18 December 2015

Naomi Oreskes’s Huge Carbon Footprint
Brian McNicoll, Townhall, 18 December 2015

Obama Turns Bear Grylls Show into Self-Congratulatory Global Warming Yuck Fest
Dylan Gwinn, NewsBusters, 18 December 2015

Congress Must Rein in Rogue EPA
Washington Examiner, 18 December 2015

UK Slashes Solar Subsidies
Roger Harrabin, BBC, 17 December 2015

Wind Cronyism Wins; We Lose
Lisa Linowes, Master Resource, 17 December 2015

Bernie Sanders’s Pointless Climate Plan
David Kreutzer, Fortune, 16 December 2015

Cap-and-Trade Program Touted by EPA Is Not Driving Down Emissions
Andrew Follett, Daily Caller, 16 December 2015

Obama’s Useful Idiot Jonathan Chait Declares Paris Climate Talks a Massive Success
James Delingpole, Breitbart, 15 December 2015

Study: Lettuce Has 3 Times the Carbon Footprint of Bacon
Cheyenne MacDonald, Daily Mail, 15 December 2015

India Says Paris Climate Deal Won’t Affect Plans to Double Coal Output
Krishna Das & Tommy Wilkes, Reuters, 14 December 2015

News You Can Use
NOAA’s Reliance on Low-Quality Weather Stations Skews Temperatures Up

A new study finds that the 30-year surface temperature warming trend in the continental United States (CONUS) since 1979 is about one-third lower than in NOAA’s official trends.

The study, led by Anthony Watts of surfacestations.org, compares the temperature trend of 410 “unperturbed” weather stations that have not been moved, had equipment changes, or changes in time of observations, and thus require no “adjustments” to their temperature record, with the temperature trend in hundreds of poorly-sited U.S. weather stations as well as NOAA’s adjusted trend for all 1218 stations. Bizarrely, NOAA’s adjusted trend is the warmest of the three trends—warmer even than the trend of poorly-sited stations.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

Republican House and Senate Give Huge Victory to President Obama’s Climate Agenda

The House and Senate on 18th September passed omnibus appropriations legislation that provides $1.15 trillion to fund the federal government for the remainder of FY 2016.  Attached to the omnibus was a $620-plus billion package of tax cut extenders. The final bill dropped riders to prevent implementation of the EPA’s greenhouse gas rules for new and existing power plants and to prevent funds in the State Department budget from being transferred into the Green Climate Fund.  However, Congress appropriated no funds for the Green Climate Fund.

The tax extenders package includes multi-year re-authorizations for the Wind Production Tax Credit and the Solar Investment Tax Credit.  The wind credit was extended to 2019, but declines by 20% for facilities that begin construction in 2017 and then 20% more each year thereafter.  The credits will still apply to the first ten years of production for all wind facilities that start construction before 2020.

The solar credit remains at 30% of construction costs through 2019 and then declines to 23% in 2020, 22% in 2021, and 10% in 2022 for non-residential and third-party-owned residential installations.  The credit for solar installations by homeowners drops to zero in 2022.  The renewal of renewable energy subsidies shows that crony corporate welfare still flourishes in the Republican 114th Congress. 

The omnibus package does include a provision that lifts the 42-year-old ban on crude oil exports.  The U. S. is the only country in the world that bans crude oil exports.

The final vote in the House on H. R. 2029 was 316 to 113, with 5 not voting. One-hundred fifty Republicans and 166 Democrats voted Yes, while 95 Republicans and 18 Democrats voted No.  An earlier House vote of 318 to 109 attached the tax package to the omnibus appropriations bill. 

In the Senate, the vote was 65 to 33.  Twenty-seven Republicans and 38 Democrats voted Yes, while 26 Republicans and 7 Democrats voted No.  Two Senators missed the vote.

The omnibus and tax extenders package is a huge victory for President Obama’s climate agenda.  Unfortunately, most conservative Republicans who supported the EPA and GCF riders and opposed the renewable tax subsidies had little leverage in the behind-the-scenes negotiations because they had already announced that they would vote against the omnibus.  A Senate Appropriations Committee staffer told me that this allowed House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to call the shots in the negotiations.  He added that he had never seen anything like it; and he concurred that conservatives were primarily responsible for their own ineffectiveness.           

Around the World
Myron Ebell

COP-21 Adopts Big, New Paris Climate Treaty (But We’re Not Supposed To Call It a Treaty)

COP-21 (the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) concluded in Paris only one day late on Saturday, 12th December, with the adoption of a new climate treaty at 7:29 PM CET.  The new “Paris Agreement,” as it is being called in order to conceal the fact that it is a treaty, represents a significant victory for President Barack Obama and the European Union.  It is the result of several years of intensive negotiations that were initiated with the adoption of the Durban Platform at COP-21 in 2011.  This “successful” outcome, so different from the collapse of COP-15 in 2009 in Copenhagen, was at the end made possible by the skill of the French diplomats, particularly French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who ran the final negotiations.

Many commentators immediately opined that the new treaty is of little consequence and poses few dangers to the global or U. S. economies.  The most confident assertion (as well as detailed analysis) from conservative commentators that I have read that the Paris Agreement is a “welcome fizzle” was by Rich Lowry in National Review. I don’t agree with his analysis or conclusions.  Although many issues remain to be worked out in future negotiations and decided at future COPs, the treaty poses multiple threats to the economy, and which together constitute a big step on the road to a global energy-rationing regime.  I will write more about the treaty’s provisions in future articles in the Digest.  For now, I will only note that, unlike the Kyoto Protocol, it is a perpetual agreement that includes automatic reviews of greenhouse gas emissions-reduction targets and timetables every five years.   

The Obama Administration claims that the new treaty is not a treaty in order to avoid certain defeat in a Senate ratification vote.  Nonetheless, as my CEI colleague Chris Horner has noted, it is just as much a treaty as the underlying UN Framework Convention on Climate Change of 1992 and the Kyoto Protocol of 1997.  No one disputed that they were treaties that required ratification.  In my view, a lot depends on whether the Senate and the American people let President Obama get away with claiming that it is not a treaty, but somehow binds his successors, future Congresses, and the federal courts.

The Earth Negotiations Bulletin, published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development, provides a comprehensive summary of COP-21 here. The UNFCCC’s official text of the Paris Climate Treaty can be found here

Obama Administration at COP-21 Emphasizes the Irrelevance of Congress

My CEI colleagues and I were among over 36,000 officially-accredited delegates attending COP-21 in Paris.  I was there for the second week beginning 7th December.  Besides the many official meetings and plenary sessions, there are hundreds of side events put on by national delegations and a wide variety of NGOs—environmental, indigenous peoples, women, business, and research.  It is impossible to attend more than a tiny fraction of these events.  This year I concentrated on side events put on or hosted by the U. S. State Department.  That’s because I wanted to see how the Obama Administration was going to respond to congressional opposition to the President’s climate agenda.

I wasn’t disappointed.  The point was made at several events that the Congress is irrelevant and therefore should be ignored.  EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy spoke at two events I attended.  At an event on 8th December, she stated emphatically that the EPA’s greenhouse gas rules for new and existing power plants had gone through an unprecedentedly thorough rulemaking process, that everyone had been consulted, and that the two rules had therefore been bullet-proofed from being overturned by the courts.  She then added, Yes, there are votes in Congress.  But yes, there are also presidential vetoes.  (I haven’t put this in quotes because it’s unlikely I got her words down exactly.) McCarthy was followed by a panel of utility executives from PG&E, Exelon, and Berkshire Hathaway Energy who enthusiastically endorsed the so-called “Clean Power” Plan. 

At an event on Saturday, 5th December, which I didn’t attend because I had not yet arrived in Paris, McCarthy was joined by Brian Wolff, executive vice president of the Edison Electric Institute, the trade association of investor-owned utilities.  Wolff announced that EEI supported the “Clean Power” Plan.

Other events featured state officials pledging their support for the EPA’s greenhouse gas rules.  California Governor Jerry Brown and billionaire political donor Tom Steyer were listed as speakers at one of these events I attended, but for some reason did not appear.  We had to settle for the president of the California Senate and the speaker of the California Assembly.  No mention was made of the 27 States that are suing to overturn the “Clean Power” Plan. 

The reason that the Administration and their allies in business and environmental pressure groups worked so hard to explain the irrelevance of Congress is because several Republican House and Senate staffers attending COP-21 were meeting with other delegations and explaining that both the House and Senate had voted for resolutions to block the EPA’s rules (which admittedly will be vetoed) and that the Congress was not going to appropriate the $500 million requested by President as the first U. S. contribution to the Green Climate Fund.  The staffers did what they could, but I’m afraid their efforts were overwhelmed by the Obama Administration’s offensive.  Unfortunately, the congressional schedule prevented any Republican Senators or Representatives from flying to Paris and holding a press conference at COP-21.

Science Update
Marlo Lewis

“UN climate change goal? We’re there now” – John Christy

Every month John Christy and Roy Spencer of the University of Alabama, Huntsville, report global temperature data from their satellite monitoring program, known as the UAH record in the scientific literature.

Their just published year-end report features the decadal trends in Global, Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere, and Tropical temperatures over the 37-year satellite record.

So here’s some very good news for the holiday season. The global climate system, all on its own with no help from the Paris Climate Treaty, is on track to meet the treaty’s goal of avoiding 2°C of warming above pre-industrial temperatures.

From the UAH press release:

“The average temperature of Earth’s atmosphere has warmed just over four-tenths of a degree Celsius (almost three-fourths of a degree Fahrenheit) during the past 37 years, with the greatest warming over the Arctic Ocean and Australia, said Dr. John Christy, director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Microwave sounding units on board NOAA and NASA satellites completed 37 complete years of collecting temperature data in November, giving us nearly global coverage of climate change during that time.

“If that trend was to continue for another 63 years, the composite warming for the globe would be 1.1°C (about 2 degrees Fahrenheit) for the century, Christy said. That would put the average global temperature change over 100 years well under the 2.0°C (3.6 degrees F) goal set recently at the climate change summit in Paris.”

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.