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Entries in Cooler Heads Digest (175)

Saturday
Jul262014

Cooler Heads Digest 25 July 2014 

25 July 2014

Announcements

On Monday, July 28, from 11:00 AM to 12:15 PM, the Heritage Foundation will host a panel on "Federal Overreach at the Environmental Protection Agency," moderated by Nicolas Loris, and featuring Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Penn.), CEI’s William Yeatman, and David Kreutzer from Heritage. RSVP here.

In the News

Obama on Climate Change: We Must Make Sure the Planet Works
Charlie Spiering, Big Government, 25 July 2014

Fracking, InsideClimate, and Public Integrity
Steve Everley, Energy in Depth, 24 July 2014

California Environmentalism Conflicting with Pocketbook Concerns
Molly Peterson, KPCC, 24 July 2014

Mark Levin Sues EPA for Destroying Emails
C. J. Ciaramella, Washington Free Beacon, 24 July 2014

Surprise: Greens’ Preferred Sue and Settle Court Is in California Bay Area
William Yeatman, GlobalWarming.org, 23 July 2014

The Struggle to Mainstream Electric Vehicles
Allen Brooks, Master Resource, 23 July 2014

Federal Lands Deserve an Energy Boom Too
Robert Bradley, Jr., Forbes, 21 July 2014

Sue and Settle: Another Way for Greens to Halt Progress
Stephen Moore, Investor’s Business Daily, 21 July 2014

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Is “Obsessive and Dangerous”
Laura Helmuth, Slate, 20 July 2014

News You Can Use

Poll: Americans Give Low Priority to Climate Change

Just 4 percent of respondents in a new Politico poll of likely voters in competitive Senate states and House districts identified the environment as the national issue that concerns them the most. The highest ranking concerns were the economy and jobs, which were chosen by 21 percent and 10 percent of respondents, respectively.

Inside the Beltway

Senate EPW Republicans Audition Arguments against EPA’s Clean Power Plan

On Wednesday morning, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy testified on the agency’s climate regulations for existing power plants before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, during which the minority party auditioned a number of arguments in opposition to the rule.

The regulation is known as the Clean Power Plan. It was proposed on June 2 and would, if finalized in its current form, effectively overhaul the electric industry in accordance with EPA’s climate goals.

Sens. David Vitter (R-La.) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) argued that the rule represented an unprecedented executive power grab, which is true. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) argued that the Clean Power Plan would shut down coal-fired power plants, which is also true. And Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) presented evidence that the rule wouldn’t actually impact global temperatures and is, therefore, all pain and no gain.

These polemics are all spot-on. However, the finest argument was put forth by Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wy.), who argued that the rule was an outrageous example of regulatory capture. Here’s what he said:

On July 6th of this year, the New York Times wrote a piece about the outsized role that the NRDC had in developing the EPA’s new regulations to curb power plant emissions…The article says it was a remarkable victory for the NRDC. Now, for those outside the beltway, NRDC is a $120 million a year lobbying machine, backed by Hollywood elites. It is absolutely shameful to me that the EPA, under the direction of this administrator, would allow a team of lawyers and lobbyists to draft their regulations…

EPA has decided to push a rule that was drafted behind closed doors by powerful, wealthy Washington lawyers and lobbyists at the NRDC. Let’s be clear, NRDC is a wealthy, elite, powerful lobbying machine with more influence over decision making in Washington than any ordinary U.S. citizen. They have millions which gives them access. The EPA turns a deaf ear on those that don’t.

Bravo, Mr. Barrasso!

The Wyoming Senator concluded his opening statement by throwing down a gauntlet. He challenged EPA and NRDC to comply with the Committee’s information requests, in order to ascertain the extent to which EPA has been captured by green special interests.

Across the States

Activist Judge in West Virginia Issues Another Anti-Coal Decision

West Virginia District Judge Robert Chambers issued another suspiciously anti-coal ruling this week when he granted partial summary judgment to the plaintiffs, the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Sierra Club, and West Virginia Highlands Conservancy and found Alpha Coal liable for selenium pollution that violates the Clean Water Act and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act.

The ruling is flawed on a number of counts. For starters, selenium discharge wasn’t included in the permits pursuant to these two statutes, so it’s unclear how Alpha could be responsible for controlling it. This isn’t a cause for alarm: The plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that the discharges of selenium actually caused any deleterious impacts.

More to the point, this is merely the latest activist decision from Judge Chambers, who is evidently anti-coal (see “Across the States”  from the June 6 Cooler Heads Digest). In fact, Judge Chambers used to be a member of one of the plaintiff organizations (the W.V. Highlands Conservancy).

Around the World

Green Is the New Red

At a preparatory conference to the 20th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change this week in Venezuela, more than 130 environmental organizations signed the Margarita Declaration, which calls for the end of capitalism in order to fight global warming.

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
Jul192014

Cooler Heads Digest 18 July 2014 

18 July 2014

Announcements

  • Stairway Press recently published a book by Dr. Tim Ball titled, The Deliberate Corruption of Climate Science, available here.
  • On Thursday, July 24, 10:00—11:15 AM, the Heritage Foundation will host a panel on Energy Exports and Free Trade, with Rep. Cory Gardner, IHS Senior Director Jamie Webster, National Association of Manufacturers’ Ross Eisenberg, and Heritage’s Nicolas Loris. Click here to sign up.

In the News

Tom Steyer Is Explaining, and He’s Losing
Ben Zycher, The Hill, 18 July 2014

Tom Steyer Struggles To Find Big Money Donors
Andrew Restuccia & Kenneth Vogel, Politico, 16 July 2014

Winds of Vanity
Bjorn Lomborg, Project Syndicate, 16 July 2014

EPA Withdraws Plan To Garnish Wages
S. A. Miller, Washington Times, 16 July 2014

The Liberating Theory of Resourceship
Robert Bradley, Jr., Master Resource, 15 July 2014

Heartland Institute Conference Shows the Growing Power of Climate Realism
Ron Arnold, Washington Examiner, 15 July 2014

John Christy: Though Scorned by Colleagues, a Climate Skeptic Is Unbowed
Michael Wines, New York Times, 15 July 2014

Solar Thermal Electric Generation: Still Not Cheap, Not Green?
Marlo Lewis, GlobalWarming.org, 14 July 2014

California Legislators Feign Surprise at Cap-and-Trade’s High Cost
Steven Greenhut, San Diego Union-Tribune, 14 July 2014

News You Can Use
Study: People Who Claim To Worry about Climate Change Use More Electricity

People who claim to worry about climate change use more electricity than those who do not, according to a United Kingdom Department for Energy and Climate Change report released this week.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

Obama Spends Taxpayer Dollars on Climate Adaptation

President Barack Obama on 16th July announced several new programs to help local and state governments adapt to or deal with the impacts of climate change.  The President was speaking at a meeting in the White House of the State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.  The 26-member task force was created in November 2013 by the President to prepare recommendations for better co-operation between levels of government in dealing with climate change.  Obama’s new programs are based on the task force’s initial recommendations.  A final report is due in November.

The President announced that the U. S. Department of Agriculture was providing $236.3 million in grants in eight States to increase the resilience of rural electric infrastructure to more intense storms.  He announced that the Bureau of Indian Affairs would distribute $10 million in grants to tribal governments for planning to deal with the effects of climate change on tribal lands.  Obama also asked Congress to appropriate $1 billion for the Climate Resilience Fund, which is designed to help state and local governments strengthen infrastructure that will be hit by bigger storms, sea level rise, etc. 

The President also talked about the National Disaster Resilience Competition, which offers $1 billion to communities that are including planning for climate change and increasing resilience to climate change.  The grant competition is being administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

President Obama did not mention in his remarks another proposal that was contained in the written materials released by the White House.  According to a story by Evan Lehmann in ClimateWire, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will start asking “States to consider the dangers of ‘climate variability’ in plans they have to submit to Washington, D.C., in order to receive disaster aid.”  Lehmann comments: “It's a bureaucratic measure with muscle: It's possible that if States refuse to sift through the potential perils from warming, it might make them ineligible for federal funding used to repair and strengthen public facilities like roads and bridges, some experts say.”

EPA’s #2 Leaves for Climate Special Interest

Bob Perciasepe, deputy administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency, is leaving to become president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.  He will replace Eileen Claussen, who is retiring.

Politico’s Morning Energy noted that Perciasepe’s departure is part of a brain drain at the EPA. My colleague Chris Horner points out that one factor leading Perciasepe to leave the EPA now could be various appeals that Horner has filed on behalf of CEI to compel the agency to produce records requested under the Freedom of Information Act.  FOIAs have revealed that Perciasepe, like Administrator Gina McCarthy and former Administrator Lisa “Richard Windsor” Jackson, used private email accounts to conduct public business. Here is a link to the most recent appeal, dated 7th July. 

Perciasepe served as the number two appointed official at the EPA since 2009, the first year of the Obama Administration, and as acting administrator between the resignation of Lisa Jackson in January 2013 and the confirmation of Gina McCarthy in June 2013.  He was assistant administrator of water and then of air and radiation during the Clinton Administration.  After George W. Bush became president in 2001, Perciasepe left the EPA to become senior vice president for public policy and then in 2004 chief operating officer of the National Audubon Society. 

The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions is best known for its Business Environmental Leadership Council, which was created by founding president Eileen Claussen in 1998 when the group was called the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.  The business council supports energy-rationing policies that will increase the member companies’ profits.  Current members include Alcoa, Bank of America, BP, Conoco, Delta Airlines, DTE Energy, Duke Energy, Dow Chemical, Entergy, Exelon, General Electric, General Motors, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Intel, NRG, PG&E, Rio Tinto, Shell, Toyota, and Weyerhauser. 

Senate Narrowly Confirms FERC Nominee Bay in Bizarre Fashion

The Senate voted this week to confirm Norman Bay to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by a vote of 52 to 45.  Current FERC acting chairwoman Cheryl LaFleur was confirmed to a new term by a vote of 90 to 7. 

Under a bizarre deal with Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.), chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, agreed to support Bay’s confirmation under the condition that LaFleur continues as chairman for nine months before Bay replaces her.  Bay is President Barack Obama’s choice for chairman.  The White House reportedly approved the deal, but it remains to be seen whether they will keep the agreement.

Senator Dean Heller (R-Nev.) was the only Republican to vote for Bay’s confirmation.  Despite repeated attempts to find out, I still have no idea why Nevada’s two Senators are so determined to have the dubiously-qualified Bay as FERC chairman.   

Across the States
William Yeatman

States, Industry Appeal D.C. Circuit’s Approval of Absurd Utility MACT

This week, 23 States joined the National Mining Association and the Utility Air Regulatory Group in filing a request with the Supreme Court to rehear the D.C. Circuit Court’s split decision upholding EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, a.k.a. the Utility MACT. The appeals allege that EPA impermissibly refused to consider the costs of the regulation when it made the decision to proceed with it.

In fact, the rule would cost $9.6 billion annually; more consequentially, it threatens to shutter up to 25% of the nation’s coal fleet. These are the costs that EPA ignored. Now, consider the “benefits”: The absurd purpose of the Utility MACT is to protect a putative population of pregnant, subsistence fisherwomen who consumer hundreds of pounds of self-caught fish from exclusively the 10% most polluted bodies of fresh, inland water. Notably, EPA never identified a member of this supposed population. Rather, they are modeled to exist.

Read the State, NMA, and UARG petitions here, here, and here (respectively).

Around the World
Patrick Hannaford

Australia Says Goodbye, and Good Riddance, to the Carbon Tax

 “Today, Tony Abbott has made Australia the first country in the world to reverse action on climate change”.

Those were the words of Australia’s opposition leader, Bill Shorten, as the Senate voted to repeal Australia’s two year old carbon tax, on a vote of 39 to 32.

Introduced by the Gillard Labor Government in 2012, the Australian people quickly recognized the carbon tax for what it was: a great big new tax that would hurt the economy, raise the cost of living, and have no positive effect on the environment.

History will remember the Australian carbon tax as a political disaster. It was introduced against the will of the Australian people, and was most notable for its impact on the political careers of its proponents.

Following the vote, Prime Minister Abbott addressed the Australian people with the words: “Today, the tax that you voted to get rid of is finally gone”. This is surely a victory for democracy and common sense.

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
Jul122014

Cooler Heads Digest 11 July 2014 

 

11 July 2014

Announcements

  • The Heartland Institute’s 9th International Conference on Climate Change took place this week in Las Vegas. Click here to find video archives of all the sessions.
  • The Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow this week announced plans for a new documentary film to counter global warming alarmism. Climate Hustle is set to be hosted by C-FACT’s own Marc Morano and is currently seeking donations to make the project a reality. You can view the trailer and donate to the project here.

In the News

Economic Consequences of EPA’s Climate Regime
James Rust, Master Resource, 11 July 2014

Worried Moms: Global Warming Endangers Our Kids
Paul Strand, CBN News, 10 July 2014

$6 a Gallon? Where Gas Prices Could Be without the U.S. Energy Boom
Rob Nikolewski, Daily Signal, 10 July 2014

House Republicans Threaten To Subpoena EPA over Carbon Rules
Timothy Cama, The Hill, 9 July 2014

Rebutting the ‘Conservative Case’ for a Carbon Tax
Marlo Lewis, GlobalWarming.org, 9 July 2014

Obama Concedes His Climate Plan Could Raise Electricity Prices
Andrew Powaleny, The Hill, 9 July 2014

Power Grab: EPA Wants To Garnish Wages of Accused Polluters
S. A. Miller, Washington Times, 8 July 2014

‘Rolling Coal’ Trucks Troll Environmentalists
Daniel Strauss, Talking Points Memo, 7 July 2014

News You Can Use
We’re #1 (in Oil & Natural Gas Liquids)

According to new analysis by the International Energy Agency and the Bank of America, the United States is now the world’s largest oil and natural gas liquids producer, overtaking both Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Inside the Betway
Myron Ebell

House Passes Energy Appropriations Bill with Climate Riders

The House of Representatives on 19th July passed and sent to the Senate the FY 2015 Energy and Water Appropriations bill,  H. R. 4293, by a vote of 253 to 170. Several amendments that limit or forbid funds being used by the Department of Energy to implement the Obama Administration’s climate and energy-rationing agenda were adopted.

By 229-188, the House approved an amendment offered by Representative David McKinley (R-WV) that would prohibit spending on the National Climate Assessment, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the UN’s Agenda 21, and the Social Cost of Carbon. By 227-191, the House approved Rep. James Lankford’s (R-Okla.) amendment to block DOE funds being used to prepare, propose, or promulgate any regulation that relies on the Social Cost of Carbon guidance document.

An amendment offered by Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Az.) to prohibit funding of the DOE’s Climate Model Development and Validation program passed 226-194.  And once again, the House added the rider offered by Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Tex.) that prevents the Department of Energy from spending any money to implement or enforce the ban on incandescent light bulbs contained in the (anti-) Energy Independence and Security of 2007. The vote was 226 to 193.

Unlike the Senate, where even Democrats in the majority are prevented by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) from offering amendments, the House Rules Committee allowed a number of amendments to be offered by Democratic Members.  Several were adopted. 

New York Times Reports NRDC Wrote EPA Climate Regs

The New York Times published a story on 7th July that explains how David Doniger, David Hawkins, and Daniel Lashof at the Natural Resources Defense Council spent two years writing the 110-page blueprint for the Environmental Protection Agency’s recently released proposed rule to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants.  I normally find the New York Times unbearably rancid, but this article by reporter-green advocate Coral Davenport is worth reading. 

The claim that NRDC wrote the EPA’s new reg, which have been made previously in less detailed form by several opponents, was immediately denied in an internal e-mail by EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy that was leaked to the mainstream media.  According the Hill newspaper, McCarthy wrote, “According to an article from Monday, you just cut and pasted a particular [non-governmental organization’s] proposal and called it a day. If you're laughing right now, it's because you know just how preposterous that is.”

Although I think that the New York Times story is accurate and McCarthy knows it, there are good reasons why the Obama Administration needs to deny it.  Environmental pressure groups got a lot of mileage out of dubious charges that the George W. Bush Administration’s energy plan was largely written by Big Oil.  It might look equally bad that the Obama Administration’s energy-rationing regulations have been written by Big Green.    

Personnel Moves at API, LCV, and NextGen

The American Petroleum Institute announced this week that Louis Finkel has been hired as their new executive vice president and top lobbyist.  Finkel was most recently executive vice president of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, but he spent several years as the chief of staff for Democrats on the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee.  He has also worked on several Democratic campaigns and was briefly a lobbyist for Exxon Mobil, the largest member company of API and supporter of a carbon tax. 

Fuel Fix quoted Finkel: “I’m a Democrat; I always have been,” he said during a meeting Thursday with reporters. “I spent a lot of time on the Hill in Democratic politics, both in government service (and) working in campaigns.”    He made it clear that API would support the re-election of Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Mark Begich (D-Alaska):  “We need to be supportive of members on both sides of the aisle when they are supportive of our policy objectives,” Finkel said. “We’ve had an opportunity over a long window with both Landrieu and Begich to watch them and work with them and see how they are going to perform. They’ve been supportive and there’s no reason for us to not continue our support.”  But he did admit that Senator Mark Udall’s (D-Colo.) record on oil and gas issues is “mixed.”

Finkel replaces Marty Durbin, who earlier this year became head of America’s Natural Gas Alliance.  Durbin was also a Hill staffer for Democrats and is the nephew of Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the Majority Whip.

In other personnel moves, Daniel Weiss has left the comically-named Center for American Progress to become senior vice president for campaigns at the League of Conservation Voters. Before his stint as director of climate strategy at CAP, Weiss served for eight years as political director at the Sierra Club.   

And earlier this year, Daniel Lashof, who has been one of the top leaders of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s climate and energy-rationing program for 25 years, was named chief operating officer of NextGen Climate America.  It is the 501(c)(3) arm of NextGen Climate Action.  Both were founded by and are funded by California investment fund billionaire Tom Steyer. Lashof has been in charge of NRDC’s climate programs since 2008, during which period NRDC has spent $200 million on devising and promoting policies to increase energy prices and impoverish Americans and, indeed, people around the world.

Across the States
Myron Ebell

Wyoming

Several science education groups and one environmental pressure group have launched the “Climate Science Students Bill of Rights” to lobby for the climate science “education” components in the Next Generation Science Standards.  The Wyoming legislature passed a rider in March that prohibits the Wyoming Board of Education from adopting the standards because they require the teaching of junk climate science.  The Wyoming Board of Education recently decided to delay implementing any part of the NGSS until the Wyoming legislature repeals its prohibition. 

The groups in the new coalition include the Union of Concerned Scientists, a hard-left anti-nuclear pressure group, the National Center for Science Education, the Alliance for Climate Education, and Climate Parents. An effort in the Oklahoma legislature to block the NGSS for the same reason as in Wyoming failed, and Governor Mary Fallin (R) recently implemented the standards, including their global warming propaganda components.      

Colorado & New York

New York’s highest court ruled on 30th June that cities and towns have the authority to ban hydraulic fracturing within their jurisdictions.  The Court of Appeals upheld lower court rulings that dismissed challenges to bans enacted by the towns of Dryden and Middlefield. 

In Colorado, the Democratic-controlled legislature and Governor John Hickenlooper (D) have failed to agree on a bill that would allow cities and counties to regulate hydraulic fracturing but not allow them to ban it. Five local jurisdictions have voted to ban fracking, but only the State has authority to regulate oil and gas production under current law. Up to nine anti-fracking and three pro-fracking measures will now appear on the general election ballot in November. 

Around the World
Patrick Hannaford

Carbon Tax Repeal fails, but Government Still Hopeful.

In disappointing news, the Australian Senate this week rejected legislation to scrap the carbon tax. The legislation was rejected by 37 to 35 votes, after the Palmer United Party (PUP) made a last minute decision to renege on their agreement with the government.

Although reports differ, it appears that PUP leader Clive Palmer was not satisfied with amendments agreed to by the government and demanded harsher penalties for energy companies that do not pass on savings to consumers. Not being able to introduce their amendment for constitutional reasons – tax legislation must be introduced in the House of Representatives - the Palmer United Party then decided to oppose the legislation, breaking their agreement with the Government and their own election promise. Despite the setback, the Liberal-National coalition government remains confident and is set to re-introduce the legislation in parliament on Monday.

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.

Monday
Jun302014

Cooler Heads Digest 27 June 2014 

27 June 2014

Announcements

  • The Texas Public Policy Foundation this month published a new study by Kathleen Hartnett White titled, “Fossil Fuels: The Moral Case.” Click here to read the report.
     
  • The Digest will not be published next Friday, July 4. Happy Independence Day.

In the News

$10,000 Bet on Climate Change: Asking the Wrong Question
E. Calvin Beisner, Master Resource, 26 June 2014

ISIS and Doing Stupid S---
David Kreutzer, The Hill, 26 June 2014

House Committee Moves Secret Science Bill; Greens Fret
William Yeatman, Global Warming.org, 26 June 2014

EPA Employees Told To Stop Pooping in Hallway (actual title!)
Eric Katz, Fedblog, 25 June 2014

EPA Joins IRA Lost E-mails Club
Erica Martinson, Politico, 25 June 2014

On Climate Change, Who Are the Real ‘Deniers’?
Cal Thomas, Washington Examiner, 25 June 2014

Global Warming Believers Deny Reality
Richard Rahn, Washington Times, 23 June 2014

Greenpeace in Financial Disarray
Adam Vaughan, Guardian, 23 June 2014

Act Locally, Wish Globally
Kevin Williamson, National Review Online, 23 June 2014

News You Can Use
Poll: More Than Half of Americans Don’t Believe in AGW

Daily Caller’s Michael Bastasch this week reported on a new Pew Research Center poll showing that 35 percent of Americans say there is not enough solid evidence that mankind is warming the Earth, while another 18 percent says the world has warmed due to “natural patterns” and not human activity. That’s a 53 percent majority against AGW.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

Supreme Court Talks Tough, Then Turns EPA Loose

The Supreme Court on Monday, 23rd June, handed down its decision on the appeal of the EPA’s endangerment finding. The court’s decision was written by Justice Antonin Scalia.  He used very strong language several times to scold the Environmental Protection Agency for wanting to expand their regulatory authority beyond statutory limits.  For example, on page 19, Scalia writes:

“The fact that EPA’s greenhouse-gas-inclusive interpretation of the PSD and Title V triggers would place plainly excessive demands on limited governmental resources is alone a good reason for rejecting it; but that is not the only reason. EPA’s interpretation is also unreasonable because it would bring about an enormous and transformative expansion in EPA’s regulatory authority without clear congressional authorization. When an agency claims to discover in a long-extant statute an unheralded power to regulate ‘a significant portion of the American economy,’ Brown & Williamson, 529 U. S., at 159, we typically greet its announcement with a measure of skepticism. We expect Congress to speak clearly if it wishes to assign to an agency decisions of vast ‘economic and political significance.’”

That sounds good, and many opponents of the EPA’s regulation of greenhouse gas emissions using the Clean Air Act have hailed the decision as finally pushing back against the EPA.  The Wall Street Journal, for example, called the decision “a constitutional tutorial for Obama” and “a smackdown” and claimed that “the Justices feed several major climate regulations into the wood chipper.”

That is the rhetoric of Scalia’s majority decision, but the substance is quite different.  As Scalia notes, the Court’s decision allows the EPA to regulate 83% of greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources instead of the 86% that EPA proposed to regulate.  My CEI colleague, William Yeatman, offers expert commentary on GlobalWarming.org

The opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito, with the concurrence of Justice Clarence Thomas, is much more coherent and well-reasoned than Scalia’s decision.  It is worth reading and can be found at the end of the Supreme Court’s online post.

Obama Celebrates First Anniversary of Climate Plan

President Barack Obama marked the first anniversary of his climate action plan on 25th June by speaking at the annual fundraising dinner of the League of Conservation Voters.  It was a bland speech except for his excoriation of climate change deniers in Congress.  The president once again did not mention that he never mentioned that he would concentrate on climate policies in his second term during his 2012 re-election campaign.  

On the same day White House officials and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew met with Tom Steyer, the California billionaire who has spent millions opposing the Keystone XL Pipeline and promises to spend $100 million more to elect Democrats to the Senate this fall, and Hank Paulson, former Treasury Secretary and former head of Goldman Sachs. They discussed a new report that their group, Risky Business, released this week on the economic risks of global warming, particularly for big business.  The other principal in Risky Business is Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York City. I never mention Paulson without pointing out that CEI actively opposed his confirmation as Treasury Secretary in the waning years of the George W. Bush administration. 

The visit by Steyer and Paulson to the White House was a bit too much even for Democrats in Congress who are trying to get re-elected by accusing billionaires Charles and David Koch of trying to buy the election for Republicans.  An unnamed House Democrat told the Washington Examiner, “It stinks.” 

House Passes Energy Bills for Senate to Ignore

The House of Representatives this week passed three access-to-energy bills.  H. R. 4899, the Lowering Gasoline Prices to Fuel an America that Works Act, was sent to the Senate, where it will die, by a vote of 229 to 185. The bill directs the Department of Interior to expand oil production in federal offshore areas and in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska.

H. R. 6, the Domestic Freedom and Global Prosperity Act, was sent to the Senate on a 266 to 150 vote. The bill expedites the permitting process for liquefied natural gas export terminals.  It was sponsored by Representative Cory Gardner (R-Colo.).   He is running for the Senate against incumbent Mark Udall (D-Colo.).  After Gardner introduced his bill, Udall quickly followed by introducing a similar bill in the Senate. 

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has been doing his best to keep his Democratic majority by not holding votes on anything, but he may have to allow a vote on Udall’s bill.  The Hill newspaper reported this week that Reid’s strategy may be starting to hurt endangered Democratic incumbents. It pointed out that Senator Mark Begich (D-Alaska), elected in 2008 and up for re-election this November, has never been allowed a floor vote on any amendment he has offered. Many other Senators have had the same experience. 

H. R. 3301, the North American Energy Infrastructure Act, was sent to the Senate, where it will die, by a vote of 233 to 173. The bill reforms the process for permitting pipelines that cross national boundaries by, among other things, removing the president from the decision-making process.

Across the States
Myron Ebell

Judge Requires Social Cost of Carbon in NEPA Analysis

According to a story by Manuel Quinones in Environment and Energy PM ($), a federal judge in Colorado has blocked the expansion of a coal mine operated by Arch Coal because the Bureau of Land Management did not give an adequate reason for not including an analysis of the social cost of the carbon dioxide emissions that the coal from the mine would produce in its Environmental Impact Statement under the National Environmental Policy Act.  The suit was filed by Wild Earth Guardians, the Sierra Club, and High Country Conservation Advocates. 

Around the World
Patrick Hannaford

Australia Set To Repeal Carbon Tax

Australia has taken another step towards repealing its carbon tax, with the Liberal and National Parties Coalition government this week securing the votes for its signature legislation to pass the Senate.

Set to hold 33 out of 76 seats when the new Senate, which was elected last fall,  takes office in July, the Coalition will depend on the support of a collection of independent and minor party Senators in order to fulfil its election promise.

That support was secured on Thursday, with an agreement between Prime Minister Tony Abbott and newly elected MP, Clive Palmer, whose Palmer United Party (PUP) is set to control 4 votes in the Senate.

Mr. Palmer agreed to support repeal of the carbon tax, on the condition the legislation ensured that savings be passed on to consumers. However, in a characteristically inconsistent decision, Mr Palmer announced that the PUP will vote against the abolition of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the Climate Change Authority, and the Renewable Energy Target – all set up in conjunction with the carbon tax.

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
Jun212014

Cooler Heads Digest 20 June 2014 

20 June 2014

In the News

India Takes Action against Eco-Colonialism
Iain Murray, Open Market, 20 June 2014

John Holdren’s Bi-Polar Vortex, Part 2
Sam Kazman, WattsUpWithThat, 20 June 2014

Global Warming of the Earth’s Surface Has Decelerated
Matt Rogers, Washington Post, 20 June 2014

At VA, Solar Panels Are Priority #1
Washington Times editorial, 19 June 2014

Another Obama Policy Failure: Canada Approves New Oil Pipeline to Pacific Coast
Ronald Bailey, Reason Hit & Run, 18 June 2014

Attack of the Energy Snobs
Orange County Registereditorial, 18 June 2014

Fighting Executive Fiat on Climate
Paul Driessen, Master Resource, 17 June 2014

Obama Flunks Climate Science 101 at University of California, Irvine
James Delingpole, Breitbart, 15 June 2014

On Key Clean Air Act Interpretation, NRDC Cynically Reverses Itself
William Yeatman, GlobalWarming.org, 14 June 2014

News You Can Use
Greenpeace Gambles Away $5.2 Million in Donor Money

Greenpeace announced this week that it has lost $5.2 million in donations on currency speculation.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

House and Senate Committees Hold Hearings on EPA’s Power Plant Rule  

House and Senate committees held hearings this week on the EPA’s proposed rule to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants.  On the House side, a subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee took testimony from Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator of air and radiation at the EPA. On the Senate side, a subcommittee of the Environment and Public Works Committee heard from four former administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency in Republican administrations who support the EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations.  

Republican members of the Energy and Commerce Committee tried several lines of attack with McCabe. She gave no ground, but she also provided very few direct answers.  McCabe insisted that the EPA was not waging war on coal.  This incredible claim was echoed in a video interview that EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy gave to Politico.  We shall see whether President Barack Obama repeats their denials of waging war on coal when he addresses the annual dinner of the League of Conservation Voters next week. 

It was slightly embarrassing to listen to former EPA Administrators William Ruckelshaus, Christine Todd Whitman, William K. Reilly, and Lee Thomas testify before the Senate. Congressional Democrats trot them out on a regular basis to try to embarrass congressional Republicans: “You see, even Republicans who ran EPA support EPA.”  The four Republican former administrators are pathetically eager to please because getting to testify makes them feel relevant.

By far the best testimony at the Senate hearing was given by Luther Strange, the attorney general of Alabama.  He laid out a compelling case for why the EPA’s regulation of carbon dioxide emissions under section 111d of the Clean Air Act is illegal.

Murray Energy takes up one of Attorney General Strange’s main lines of argument in a suit filed on 18th June in the federal DC Circuit Court of Appeals.  Murray Energy, a privately held company that has become one of the biggest coal producers in the U. S., argues that the Clean Air Act does not allow regulation of power plants under section 111d that are already being regulated under section 112.  Legal challenges to proposed regulations are not usually heard by federal courts because the regulations are likely to be modified as a result of expert comments received.  However, the Murray Energy filing argues that their appeal is ripe because whatever regulation is finally proposed will violate the law and that waiting until the rule is final will be highly damaging economically.

Landrieu Bill To Permit Keystone Pipeline Passes Committee, But Won’t Get Floor Vote

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on 18th June marked up a bill to cut President Barack Obama out of the decision-making process and permit construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline from Alberta’s oil sands to the U. S. The vote was 12 to 10, with all ten Republicans plus Chairman Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) voting yes.

Senator Landrieu, who is in a tough re-election race, vowed to push hard for a vote on the Senate floor.  Republicans pointed out that the fact that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is not going to allow a floor vote exposes how ineffective Landrieu is as chairman in promoting pro-energy policies in the face of her own party leader’s obstructionism.

Politico, also on 18th June, ran a big photo on its front page with the headline, “The Dark Side of the Oil Boom.”  The photo accompanied a long, investigative story by Kathryn A. Wolfe and Bob King about the safety threats posed by rapidly increasing rail transport of oil.  Curiously, the article considered the obvious alternative to rail—namely, building more pipelines—only in order to dismiss it:

“But environmentalists who warn about the dangers of crude-by-rail say it would be wrong to turn the issue into an excuse to approve Keystone.  For one thing, the Texas-bound pipeline would replace only part of the train traffic, which has spread its tendrils across the U.S.”

True, but building Keystone would solve part of the problem, and building other pipelines would solve the rest. 

Across the States

Energy Production on Federal Lands Down Again

Production of oil, gas and coal on federal lands and waters fell 7 percent last year, according to a new report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Overall, domestic oil and gas production is at historical highs—this week, for example, North Dakota for the first time exceeded 1 million of barrels of oil produced per day—but production is taking place mainly on state and private lands, over which the federal government exerts less control.

Around the World

Green Energy Pause Started about Same Time as Global Warming Pause

BP this week released its annual world energy statistical review. Coal's share of world energy consumption topped 30 percent in 2013, the highest level since 1970. The report also shows that the global percentage of non-carbon energy has paused at around 13% since about 1995.

Cooler Heads Coalition

Ray Evans, RIP

With great sadness, we report the death of our long-time friend and colleague N. Ray Evans in Melbourne, Australia on Tuesday, 18th June, at the age of 79

Ray was for many decades one of Australia’s leading public intellectuals.  He became involved in a wide range of issues from labor market reform to climate policy.  Ray early saw the threat of international and national energy-rationing policies resulting from global warming alarmism. 

In 1997, Ray was the lead organizer of Countdown to Kyoto, the largest international conference on global warming before the negotiations in December 1997 that led to the Kyoto Protocol.  It was while working at Frontiers of Freedom that I was introduced to Ray by my friend (And now CEI colleague R.J. Smith), who asked us to help organize that conference, which I attended in Canberra, Australia in August 1997. 

Ray became one of the leading voices opposing global warming alarmism and energy-rationing policies, first in his position as an executive at Western Mining Corporation and later in “retirement” as founder and director of the Lavoisier Group. The Lavoisier Group is a member of the Cooler Heads Coalition and is the pre-eminent intellectual opponent of global warming alarmism in Australia.  But he made an impact in the United States and England as well.  The Cooler Heads Coalition assisted a bit when it sponsored a notable briefing by Ray in the U. S. Capitol on the threats to sovereignty posed by international environmental agreements, such as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. 

For an example of Ray’s style of public advocacy, read his short pamphlet, Nine Facts About Climate Change.  Ray always expressed his thoughts with great clarity, vigor, and good humor.  

Here is a warm appreciation of Ray by columnist Andrew Bolt, which begins, “A very fine man has died.”  That sums up Ray.  I am one of many, many people who had the great good fortune to know him well and to work with him in a great cause.  Rest in peace, dear friend.

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.