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Saturday
Oct042014

Cooler Heads Digest 03 October 2014 

3 October 2014

In the News

Democratic Leaders, an Industry Lobby, and a Nonprofit Walk into an Election
Timothy Carney, Washington Examiner, 3 October 2014

Enron: RFK Jr.’s Corporate Climate Champion
Robert Bradley, Jr., Master Resource, 3 October 2014

RFK Jr.’s Absurd Attack on the Koch Brothers
Larry Kudlow, CNBC, 1 October 2014

Let’s Find out How Much “Clean Power” the Feds Really Have
Brian Potts & David Zoppo, Wall Street Journal, 1 October 2014

U.S. Professor: Blame Climate Change for Islamic State
James Delingpole, Breitbart London, 1 October 2014

Google’s Climate Name Calling
Holman Jenkins, Wall Street Journal, 30 September 2014

The Logic in Exporting U.S. Oil
Robert Samuelson, Washington Post, 28 September 2014

Rockefeller Fund’s Fossil Fuel Dump Namesake
Stephen Moore & Kathleen Hartnett-White, Investor’s Business Daily, 26 September 2014

News You Can Use
Quietest Atlantic Hurricane Season Since 1986

September is normally the peak of the hurricane season, but it ended this week having occasioned only two named storms. According to Dr. Jeff Masters, this is the quietest Atlantic hurricane season since 1986.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

Washington Post Discovers Connection Between Rising Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Economic Activity

The Washington Post’s coverage of climate change issues seldom connects to reality.  But at the end of a week that started with the 120,000-person strong People’s Climate March and peaked with the all-day United Nations Climate Summit in New York City, the Post ran a story on Saturday, 27th September, that explicitly links rising U. S. greenhouse with economic growth.  A front-page, top-left story by Joby Warrick was headlined, “Carbon Output Rises in U. S.”  The sub-head told the story: “Turn in greenhouse gas emissions coincides with economic recovery.”  The article is available online here with a different headline and no sub-headline. 

Correlation is of course not necessarily causation, but Warrick was clear that there is a causal link: “The higher emissions are primarily a reflection of a rebounding economy, as U.S. businesses burned more gas and oil to meet higher demand.”  This may be a minor recognition of reality in the establishment media, but I think we have to take progress where we can find it.

Across the States
Myron Ebell

Big Wind Encounters Turbulence in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas

According to an excellent article by Sean Murphy of the Associated Press in Oklahoma, wind farms are becoming politically controversial in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas. In the past decade, wind energy in Oklahoma has increased from 113 windmills in three projects to 1,700 windmills in 30 projects.

Murphy writes: “A decade ago, states offered wind-energy developers an open-armed embrace, envisioning a bright future for an industry that would offer cheap electricity, new jobs and steady income for large landowners, especially in rural areas with few other economic prospects.  To ensure the opportunity didn’t slip away, lawmakers promised little or no regulation and generous tax breaks.”

However: “But now that wind turbines stand tall across many parts of the nation’s windy heartland, some leaders in Oklahoma and other states fear their efforts succeeded too well, attracting an industry that gobbles up huge subsidies, draws frequent complaints and uses its powerful lobby to resist any reforms…. Opposition is also mounting about the loss of scenic views, the noise from spinning blades, the flashing lights that dot the horizon at night and a lack of public notice about where the turbines will be erected.”

While “the growing cost of the subsidies could decimate state funding for schools, highways and prisons,” the political establishment in Oklahoma is just starting to wake up to the problems that result from creating a new special interest funded by government largesse.  “With the rapid expansion came political clout. The industry now has nearly a dozen registered lobbyists working to stop new regulations and preserve generous subsidies that are expected to top $40 million this year.”

When Sam Brownback, now governor of Kansas, served in the U. S. Senate, he was the chief Republican sponsor of legislation to create a federal renewable energy mandate and strongly supported the federal wind production tax credit.  He is now in a tough re-election race and recently softened his enthusiasm for Big Wind in order to try to win back part of his disgruntled Republican base.  Republicans in the state legislature tried to repeal Kansas’s renewable energy mandate earlier this year, but the bill was narrowly defeated by strong opposition from Brownback and the wind industry. 

Governor Brownback now says that while he supports the wind industry in Kansas, he thinks it has matured sufficiently so that the state’s 20% by 2020 renewable mandate can be repealed or modified.  But Kansas not only has a renewable mandate.  It also provides permanent property tax exemptions for windmills. 

Oklahoma does not have a renewable energy mandate, but offers generous tax credits and a five-year exemption from local property taxes.  Both Oklahoma and Kansas compensate local counties and school districts for their lost property tax revenue.

Last week’s Digest included a link to an op-ed by Susan Combs, the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, titled, “Time for Wind To Stand on Its Own.”  It was based on a report she released, Texas Power Challenge, which concludes that Texas’s renewable energy mandate is undermining the reliability of the state’s electricity supply during periods of peak demand in the summer months. Marlo Lewis, my CEI colleague, wrote a post on GlobalWarming.org in 2012 that discovers similar problems with wind in Oklahoma.

Judge Upholds EPA Retroactive Veto of WV Mine Permit
William Yeatman

On September 30th, D.C. Federal District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson upheld EPA’s 2011 retroactive veto of a Clean Water Act permit issued to Arch Coal for the Spruce Fork mine in Logan County, West Virginia. This is the latest in the legal saga involving EPA’s controversial decision to revoke the permit after it had been issued.

In March, 2013, Judge Berman Jackson found that EPA did not have the authority to retroactively veto a Clean Water Act permit, a decision that was subsequently overturned by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. After the Supreme Court refused to take up an appeal of the D.C. Circuit’s decision, it became settled law that EPA does indeed have the authority to revoke a Clean Water Act ‘dredge and fill’ permit at any time.

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s upholding of the D.C. Circuit’s reversal, the case returned to Judge Jackson Berman, in order for her to determine whether EPA lawfully exercised its newfound authority. In a 50 page ruling rendered Tuesday, she found EPA’s reasons for issuing the veto were not “arbitrary and capricious,” and therefore lawful.

It’s an unfortunate outcome that will likely be appealed. As I explain in this study, EPA claimed that salamanders, fish, and birds would be harmed, but, in fact, the agency produced evidence only that the proposed surface coal mine would harm a short-lived insect, the Mayfly, which isn’t even an endangered species. For this, EPA killed a project that would have created 250 well paying jobs.

Science Update
Marlo Lewis

Yet Another Study Finds Low Climate Sensitivity

There are three overarching issues in UN IPCC science reports: (1) detection (is global warming occurring?), (2) attribution (if so, what’s causing it?), and (3) climate sensitivity (how much warming will result from a given increase in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations?).

Detection was an unresolved question until 1998, when the Remote System Sensing (RSS) team discovered an orbital decay-induced spurious cooling in the University of Alabama-Huntsville (UAH) satellite record. The UAH scientists corrected their record, the weather balloon record was also revised, and surface temperature records also indicated warming, so all three data sources showed a warming trend. Only at that point did global (as distinct from urban or local) warming become a “fact” — a trend confirmed by multiple independent observations. But then, irony of ironies, global warming plateaued in the RSS record, and “the pause” has persisted for nearly 18 years.

Attribution of some non-negligible portion of recent warming to carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions is acknowledged today by most scientists, but for years climate campaigners claimed greater certainty than the scientific evidence warranted. The IPCC’s First Assessment Report (1990) stated: “The size of the warming is broadly consistent with predictions of climate models, but it is also of the same magnitude as natural variability. Thus the observed increase could be largely due to this natural variability….The unequivocal detection of the enhanced greenhouse effect is not likely for a decade or more.”

The IPCC’s Second Assessment Report (1995) famously concluded: The “balance of evidence suggests that there is a discernible human influence on global climate.” Note too that even this iconic formulation is not an assertion of fact, only an assessment of what is suggested by the “balance of evidence.” One might say “the science” on attribution finally caught up with what climate campaigners zealously believed but often falsely asserted as “settled.”

Ever since the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), the heart of the scientific debate has been about climate sensitivity. This is also the key scientific issue for public policy. Sensitivity estimates chiefly determine how much warming is predicted for the 21st century and beyond. Scary climate impact scenarios assume climate sensitivities of 3°C and more for a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentrations above pre-industrial levels.

Cato Institute scientists Patrick Michaels and Chip Knappenberger keep a running tab on studies since 2011 that find lower climate sensitivity than IPCC AR4’s best estimate of 3°C for doubled CO2. Their list as of February 2014 contained 18 studies.

Recently, Judith Curry of Georgia Tech and independent UK researcher Nick Lewis published a study that arguably presents the most substantial challenge yet to high-end warming projections.

Although “the pause” and the associated growing divergence between models and observations is the impetus for some recent research on sensitivity, Curry and Lewis debunk claims that lower sensitivity estimates depend on the pause, which might be a short-term effect of natural variability.

In a nutshell, Curry and Lewis estimate equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS – the long-term warming effect of CO2 doubling) and transient climate response (TCR – the warming effect of CO2 doubling over a 70-year period) by comparing average global temperature and IPCC heat accumulation estimates for two periods: a base period of 1859-1882 and a final period of 1995-2011. As described on Curry’s blog:

“Our paper derives ECS and TCR estimates using the AR5 [IPCC Fifth Assessment Report] forcing and heat uptake estimates and uncertainty ranges. The analysis uses a global energy budget model that links ECS and TCR to changes in global mean surface temperature (GMST), radiative forcing and the rate of ocean heat uptake between a base and a final period.”

Here’s the bottom line. Whereas the “best estimates” for ECS and TCR in AR4 were 3°C and 2°C, respectively, Curry and Lewis’s mid-range estimates are 1.64°C and 1.33°C.

If those had been the IPCC’s sensitivity estimates since 1990, would policymakers even be debating global warming today?

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.

Tuesday
Sep302014

ALG's Daily Grind - Global warming zealot McCarthy of EPA plays race card 

6

Sept. 29, 2014

Permission to republish original opeds granted.

Global warming zealot McCarthy of EPA plays race card
EPA head Gina McCarthy: "Carbon pollution standards are an issue of justice. If we want to protect communities of color, we need to protect them from climate change."

Does Gross out at Pimco mean higher interest rates?
Did Bill Gross get out of Pimco while the getting was good?

York: Would a midterm loss crack the Dems' stonewall on the Keystone pipeline?
"A Washington Post-ABC News poll in March found that 65 percent favor building the pipeline, versus 22 who oppose. On how many other issues is the White House standing up against a three-to-one majority of opinion?"

Tuesday
Sep302014

ALG's Daily Grind - EPA: Hurting poor families worst 

6

Sept. 30, 2014

Permission to republish original opeds and cartoons granted.

EPA: Hurting poor families worst
A $40 per month increase will force a choice between purchasing enough food to feed a cold family or warming the bedrooms they return to — malnourished, or suffering otherwise from a lack of household resources to fund Obama's jihad on affordable energy.

Cartoon: The limits of air power
How will ISIS responds to U.S. air strikes?

The Internet already has a Magna Carta, it's called the First Amendment
If Internet innovator Tim Berners-Lee supports net neutrality because he fears corporate Internet control, what greater danger of global censorship than concentrating the assignment of domain names and IP address into a single, unaccountable, private foundation in ICANN?

Horowitz: Obama already shut down the government
"[A]fter granting Obama everything he wanted on the budget, Export-Import Bank, and arming the sinister Syrian rebels, it's mission accomplished.  There was no government shutdown… [except] Obama has already shut down the government.  He has completely vitiated the basic system of governance established by our founding documents."

Tuesday
Sep302014

CEI Today: 1982 Tylenol anniversary, new Warren T. Brookes journalism fellow, driverless car event, and more 

Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014
In the News Today

 

THE 1982 TYLENOL SCARE - MICHELLE MINTON

Cyanide, Tylenol and How Free Markets Make You Safer

 

Today is the anniversary of one of the most significant food and drug related events in recent memory. Often discussed in college business classes these days, the 1982 Tylenol poisonings is usually heralded as the prime example of how companies should handle a consumer relations disaster. However, it is also a shining example of how the market itself—acting to protect its customers and thus its profits—can improve public safety. > Read more


> Interview Michelle Minton

 

ANNOUNCING...

Journalist Carrie Sheffield Selected as CEI’s Warren T. Brookes Journalism Fellow

 

The Competitive Enterprise Institute is pleased to announce that Carrie Sheffield, a New York-based columnist and broadcaster, has been selected as CEI’s 2014-2015 Warren T. Brookes Journalism Fellow. > Read more
 

COST OF REGULATION - WAYNE CREWS   

 

Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner: Federal regs cost $1.88 trillion, more with Obama's 'pen and phone' rules

 

Burdensome federal regulations cost American taxpayers and businesses a shocking $1.88 trillion annually — far more than the administration estimates — and that doesn’t include the impact of President Obama’s “pen and phone” rulemaking, according to a “Costberg” analysis from the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute. > Read more


> Interview Wayne Crews
 

More in the news...

 

Can Europe Move Past Its Economic Malaise?

Are Consumers Smart Enough to Understand Airline Ancillary Fees?

 

New Mexico Workers and Industry Would Benefit from Right to Work - See more at: http://workplacechoice.org/#sthash.04F3Iq2B.dpuf
 

Sign Up for the Weekly Cooler Heads Digest!

Every Friday afternoon, we send out an electronic newsletter on the latest energy and environment happenings, known as the Cooler Heads Digest. Sign up today!

 

    

CEI’s Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

Last week, 84 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register. There were 72 new final rules the previous week.


 





 

Saturday
Sep272014

Cooler Heads Digest 26 September 2014 

26 September 2014

Announcement

The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation released a joint declaration and a report to co-incide with the United Nations Climate Summit.  The declaration, titled “Protect the Poor: Ten Reasons to Oppose Harmful Climate Change Policies,” has been signed by a number of climate scientists, other scientists, economists, theologians, and religious leaders.  The report, titled, “A Call to Truth, Prudence, and Protection of the Poor 2014: The Case against Harmful Climate Change Policies Gets Stronger,” was written by Professor David R. Legates, a climate scientist at the University of Delaware, and Professor G. Cornelis van Kooten, an economist at the University of Victoria.

In the News

Global Warming Money Nexus Corrupts Real Science
Pat Michaels, Investor’s Business Daily, 26 September 2014

Google Kills Birds While Seeking Corporate Welfare
Editorial, Wall Street Journal, 26 September 2014

Department of Homeland Security Moves To Tackle Climate Change Risks
Lisa Anderson, Reuters, 25 September 2014

Time for Wind To Stand on Its Own
Texas Comptroller Susan Combs, Economics 21, 25 September 2014

Five Reasons To Counter Climate-Change Regulation
Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Market Watch, 25 September 2014

Michael Mann’s Libel Lawsuit, Continued
Sam Kazman, GlobalWarming.org, 24 September 2014

The Air Comes Out of the Climate-Change Talks
Rupert Darwall, Real Clear Politics, 24 September 2014

Why Is the UN Climate Summit Denying IPCC Climate Science?
Benjamin Zycher, The Hill, 23 September 2014

Obama Racks Up Massive CO2 Emissions on Way to UN Climate Summit
Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller, 23 September 2014

Leftist Professor Calls President Obama “Delusional” on Global Warming
Marc Morano, Climate Depot, 23 September 2014

Access Is Power
William Yeatman, National Review Online, 22 September 2014

Study Says Natural Factors, Not Humans, Behind West Coast Warming
Craig Welch, Seattle Times, 22 September 2014

Video from NYC Climate March: Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Wants To Jail His Political Opponents
Marc Morano, Climate Depot, 21 September 2014

The Crumbling Climate-Change Consensus
John Fund, National Review Online, 21 September 2013

Climate Science Is Not Settled
Steven E. Koonin, Wall Street Journal, 20 September 2014

News You Can Use
Map: Top Oil and Gas States

Two maps produced by Metric Maps showing where oil and natural gas is being produced in the United States (Alaska not included) were posted by Reid Wilson in a Washington Post blog this week. 

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

EPA’s McCarthy Again Claims Greenhouse Gas Regulations Will Boost the Economy

Congress has left town for the November elections, but unfortunately EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy was still hard at work this week.  On Thursday, 25th September, she gave a major speech at Resources for the Future in Washington, DC, on the economic benefits of her agency’s regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Her speech and following discussion can be watched here, and the EPA posted her written remarks here.

McCarthy made the following point: “As seas rise, so do insurance premiums, medical bills, and food prices. From water scarcity to wilting crops, companies like General Mills and Coca-Cola see climate change as a ‘threat to commerce.’ Paying more for soda and cereal means less cash to buy other things. That chokes economies and stunts job growth. The bottom line is: We don't act despite the economy, we act because of it.”

It certainly is true that if people pay more for food, they have less money to spend on other things.  But McCarthy was unable or unwilling to follow the logic of her example.  Because it is also true that if people pay more for energy, they have less to spend on other things.  And it is also true that increasing energy costs increases the prices of most other things. 

Ben Wolfgang in a lead front-page story in the 26th September Washington Times spelled out some of the facts that contradict McCarthy’s claim that forcing electric utilities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will spur economic growth.  McCarthy claimed: “My home State of Massachusetts cut emissions by 40% [since 1990], while its economy grew 7%.”  Wolfgang notes that McCarthy left out that most States with much higher per capita greenhouse gas emissions have been growing faster than Massachusetts.  While U. S. GDP increased by 1.8% last year, Massachusetts lagged with 1.6%.  The Texas economy grew by 3.7%. 

One of the reasons economic growth is much stronger in States like Texas than in Massachusetts, California, and New York is that electric rates are much lower in Texas.  Wolfgang notes that Texans pay an average of 9.36 cents per kilowatt hour, while in Massachusetts the average rate has gone up to 14.96 cents per kwh.  That’s largely because Massachusetts belongs to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which the EPA touts as a model of how to comply with its proposed rule for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

McCarthy went on to disparage those who oppose the EPA’s energy-rationing policies.  “It’s worrisome when we hear those critics say, and I quote, ‘I’m not a scientist, but climate action is going to ruin the economy.’  Well, as the President has said, those critics have one thing right: they’re not scientists.  They’re not economists, either.  But guess what, we’ve got some pretty good ones at EPA…and across the federal government.”  There undoubtedly are some pretty good economists in the federal government.  Unfortunately, McCarthy has not learned anything from them.

Around the World
Myron Ebell

Lots of Speeches at UN Climate Summit Pep Rally   

I tried to watch some of the speeches by 120 or so heads of state and prime ministers at the United Nations Climate Summit on 23rd September, but most of what I heard was painfully boring and dim.  UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a Wall Street Journal op-ed summarized the “progress” made at the summit and claimed that “climate change is now higher on the global political agenda than it has ever been.”

China’s Vice Premier announced that China would soon announce a date for when its greenhouse gas emissions would peak.  The European Union committed to reduce emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.  And most importantly, according to Ban, “…73 national governments, 11 regional governments and more than 1,000 businesses and investors signaled support for carbon pricing at the summit. Together, these leaders represent 52% of global gross domestic product, 54% of global greenhouse-gas emissions and almost half of the world's population.

Here is the video and transcript of U. S. President Barack Obama’s address. The President took credit for the fact that, “Over the past eight years, the United States has reduced our total carbon pollution by more than any other nation on Earth,” but didn’t mention that the ongoing recession was the single biggest cause.  He continued: “But we have to do more,” and then listed the main elements of his Climate Action Plan.

The only announcement by President Obama of new policy that I could see was this: “Today, I’m directing our federal agencies to begin factoring climate resilience into our international development programs and investments.”  But he didn’t say anything about when the U. S. was going to start making major contributions to the Green Climate Fund. On the other hand, French President Francois Hollande announced that, “France will contribute a billion dollars over the next few years.” 

At the annual UN global warming meeting, COP-15, in Copenhagen in 2009, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama saved the negotiations on a new international agreement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol from total collapse by proposing that a Green Climate Fund be created that would provide $100 billion per year in assistance to poorer countries by 2020.  The wealthier nations clearly have a long way to go to come up with $100 billion total, let alone annually.    

Organizers Claim 310,000 at the NYC People’s Climate March; Expert Estimates 120,000

The People’s Climate March in New York City on Sunday, 21st September, achieved its goal of being the largest climate march in history, but perhaps it was not nearly as large as the 310,000 (or close to 400,000) marchers claimed by the organizers and accepted by the mainstream media. Fire on the Mountain, a Canadian web site, congratulated the organizers and participants with a blog post that began, “What a splendid march!”  But it then continues with an expert estimate of the number of people marching and concludes: “1. There were well over 100,000 people, likely a bit upwards of 120,000 in the march. 2. No way in hell were there 310,000 people on that march.”

Lots of famous people flew in to join the march.  Notably, former Vice President Al Gore was there, and yet the weather remained sunny, warm and pleasant throughout the day and indeed through the UN Climate Summit on Tuesday, at which Gore also spoke.  I guess the Gore Effect is weakening. UN Messenger of Peace Leonardo DiCaprio spoke at the march and at the summit. 

Besides the famous, the marchers spanned the political and social spectrum. Besides the well-meaning do-gooders and the environmental activists, there were a number of hardcore radical leftists.  A list of the 1500-plus co-sponsoring organizations gives a good idea of the range of opinion represented.  The Sisters of Mercy, Presbyterians for Earth Care, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Saint Edward the Martyr Episcopal Church, and the Islamic Environmental Group of Wisconsin are on the list.  But so too are the Socialist Party USA, Socialist Action, Socialist Alternative, and the Communist Party USA.  They were all marching, but it’s not clear how they might harmonize their agendas.       

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.