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Entries in Global Warming (328)

Saturday
Jun272015

Cooler Heads Digest 26 June 2015 

26 June 2015

Announcements

  • The Cooler Heads Digest will not be published next week. Happy Independence Day.
  • On Tuesday, 30th June, Noon to 1:30 PM, the Cato Institute will host a talk by Robert Bradley, Jr., editor of Master Resource, on “A History of Free Market Energy Thought.” Cato’s Patrick Michaels will moderate. RSVP or watch online here.

In the News

Apple’s New Top Lobbyist Has Bizarre History of Sock Puppeting
Ken Kurson, New York Observer, 26 June 2015

EPA Chief: Climate Skeptics Are Not “Normal People”
Tom Blumer, News Busters, 25 June 2015

Ozone Triggers Lying, Not Asthma
Steve Milloy, Breitbart, 24 June 2015

In a Shift, Fracking’s Foes Face a Losing Streak
Valerie Richardson, Washington Times, 24 June 2015

Keeping Energy Affordable
Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), The Hill, 24 June 2015

How the Supreme Court’s Impending Ruling on Utility MACT Might Effect the Clean Power Plan
Mark Drajem, Bloomberg, 24 June 2015

Computer-Aided Sophistry: My Power Point on the Social Cost of Carbon
Marlo Lewis, GlobalWarming.org, 23 June 2015

Study: A Mini Ice Age Heading Our Way
Colin Fernandez, Daily Mail, 23 June 2015

Pope Francis on Climate Change: An Encyclical Failure
James Rust, Master Resource, 23 June 2015

New EPA Truck Regulations Won’t Help the Environment
Nicolas Loris, Daily Signal, 23 June 2015

Top 10 Things I Learned on a Trip to the Bakken Oil Fields
Mark Perry, AEIdeas, 22 June 2015

Auto Industry Over-Regulation Is Setting Us Back
Myron Ebell, Janesville Gazette, 21 June 2015

News You Can Use
Marlo Lewis

Study: Upfront Costs of Energy Efficiency about Twice Actual Savings

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy claims energy-efficiency programs provide States an easy, affordable way to comply with the Clean Power Plan and reduce consumer electric bills at the same time. A new study by UC Berkeley and University of Chicago researchers challenges EPA’s rosy assessment. In a survey of 30,000 households, the authors found –to their surprise – that the upfront costs of home weatherization exceed savings by about two to one. In their words: “The findings suggest that the upfront investment costs are about twice the actual energy savings. Further, the model-projected savings are roughly 2.5 times the actual savings. . . .Even when accounting for the broader societal benefits of energy efficiency investments, the costs still substantially outweigh the benefits; the average rate of return is approximately minus 9.5% annually.”

Inside the Beltway

House Passes Bill To Block EPA Greenhouse Gas Regs, 247-180
Myron Ebell

The House of Representatives on 24th June passed H. R. 2042, the Ratepayer Protection Act, by a vote of 247 to 180.  The bill would block implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants until all judicial review is completed and would also allow state governors to opt out if they determine that the rule would raise electric rates or threaten electric reliability.

Eight Democrats joined 239 Republicans in voting for H. R. 2042, sponsored by Representative Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s energy subcommittee.  Democrats voting Yes were Representatives Brad Ashford (Neb.), Sanford Bishop (Ga.), Andre Carson (Ind.), Henry Cuellar (Tex.), Ann Kirkpatrick (Az.), Collin Peterson (Minn.), Terri Sewell (Ala.), and Kyrsten Sinema (Az.).

Four Republicans and 176 Democrats voted No: Republicans opposed were Representatives Carlos Curbelo (Fla.), Robert Dold (Ill.), Chris Gibson (NY), and Frank LoBiondo (NJ).  Four Democrats and two Republicans did not vote.

Some commentators have said that the vote is meaningless because the Senate is unlikely to muster the sixty votes necessary to pass the bill or something similar and even if it did, President Obama would veto it.  I disagree.  The vote is a strong rebuke to the Obama EPA’s power grab.  It shows that a large majority supports the rider in the House’s Interior-EPA Appropriations bill that would also block the EPA’s power plant regulations.  The Interior-EPA bill reached the House floor this week and will be voted on during the week of 5th July after Congress returns from its Independence Day recess. 

The House vote also provides clear evidence to the international community that the Obama Administration’s commitment made under the forthcoming Paris Accord to reduce emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025 has little political support and is therefore unlikely to be achieved.   

RFS Repeal Bill Is Introduced
Marlo Lewis

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) has introduced S. 1584, a bill to repeal EPA’s renewable fuel standard (RFS) program. A throwback to Soviet-era central planning, the RFS requires refiners, blenders, and fuel importers to sell annually-increasing volumes of biofuels. Sen. Cassidy’s one-page bill would repeal EPA’s statutory authority for the RFS program -- §211(o) of the Clean Air Act -- other related statutory references and authorities, and all associated EPA regulations.

Sen. Cassidy’s web site indicates that a major motivation for the bill is the costly environmental damage inflicted by the RFS on Louisiana tourism, recreation, and fisheries. Most U.S. biofuel is ethanol made from corn starch. Agricultural runoff from RFS-induced corn production expands the Gulf Coast dead zone – an oxygen-depleted area ranging from 5,000 to 6,000 square miles where aquatic life cannot survive.    

Across the States
Myron Ebell

Federal Judge Temporarily Delays BLM’s New Fracking Rule

Federal District Court Judge Scott W. Skavdahl on 23rd June issued a stay that temporarily halts the Bureau of Land Management from implementing a new rule regulating hydraulic fracturing on federal lands. The rule was scheduled to go into effect the next day.

Judge Skavdahl’s reason for the stay was that the BLM had not yet published the official administrative record that includes its responses to public comments and details of how the rule was written.  The judge said that once the administrative record was filed, he would give both sides seven days to respond and then would rule within two weeks on whether to issue an injunction to suspend the rule until litigation is completed.

The judge agreed with the Western Energy Alliance and other plaintiffs that there is credible evidence that the rule could do serious financial harm to oil and gas producers on federal lands.  According to the Casper Star Tribune, “North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said about 99% of all the wells that would be covered by the federal rule are already regulated by the states.”

Indiana Rejects “Clean Power” Plan

Indiana Governor Mike Pence this week sent an open letter to President Obama informing him that Indiana would not comply with EPA’s “Clean Power” Plan as proposed. In the letter, Pence correctly noted that the “ill-conceived and poorly constructed” regulation exceeds EPA’s authority. Indiana becomes the second State, after Oklahoma, to pre-emptively refuse compliance with the “Clean Power” Plan as proposed.

Science Update
Marlo Lewis

EPA’s Bogus Climate Policy Health Report

EPA this week released Climate Change in the United States: Benefits of Global Action. As summarized by the agency’s press release, the 96-page report “compares two future scenarios: a future with significant global action on climate change, where global warming has been limited to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), and a future with no action on climate change (where global temperatures rise 9 degrees Fahrenheit). The report then quantifies the differences in health, infrastructure and ecosystem impacts under the two scenarios, producing estimates of the costs of inaction and the benefits of reducing global GHG emissions.”

Predictably, EPA concludes the costs of “inaction” dramatically outweigh those of “action.” I have not worked through the report in detail, but the key selling points strain credulity.

To begin with, there is no good reason to suppose that, absent “global action,” global temperatures will increase by 9°F (5°C). Over the past 36 years, the lower troposphere (roughly 0-25,000 feet) has warmed at a rate of 0.114°C/decade, according to the latest University of Alabama in Huntsville satellite temperature record (UAH6.0). The 36-year rate is at or below the low end of three of the IPCC’s four global warming projections for the 21st Century, known as representative concentration pathways (RCPs). It’s also right smack dab in the middle of the IPCC’s lowest projection (RCP2.6), which assumes a 70% reduction in cumulative global GHG emissions between 2010 and 2100. The warming rate in recent decades is already as low as EPA assumes is possible only through “global action.”

EPA claims that limiting global warming to 2°C would “avoid an estimated 12,000 deaths annually associated with extreme temperatures in 49 U.S. cities, compared to a future with no reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.” But only about 2,000 U.S. residents die each year from all forms of extreme weather, with about 31% attributed to exposure to extreme heat and 63% attributed to exposure to extreme cold, according to the Centers for Disease Control. So currently about 620 annual U.S. deaths are heat-related, and U.S. heat-related mortality has been declining, decade-by-decade, since the 1960s, despite rising urban summer air temperatures. The reason is people aren’t dumb. When hot weather becomes more frequent they adapt, reducing their vulnerability to hot weather. There is no reason to believe such progress will not continue.

EPA claims global action would “avoid approximately 13,000 deaths in 2050 and 57,000 deaths annually in 2100 from poor air quality.” That is sheer conjecture and unverifiable due to the huge noise-to-signal ratio. The 13,000 deaths EPA claims could be avoided in 2050 is less than one-thousandth of the 56 million deaths worldwide in 2012. Moreover, as EPA surely knows, U.S. air pollution emissions and concentrations keep declining despite global warming. Long before 2100, most of the world’s air pollution problems will likely have been solved absent “global action” on climate change.

Sadly, carbon reduction policies could hold back progress in combating the world’s deadliest air pollution – indoor smoke inhalation in countries that lack access to reliable, affordable, fossil energy.

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
Jun222015

CEI Today: Ex-Im Bank, the Pope & global warming, chemical regulation, and more 

Monday, June 22, 2015
In the News Today

 

EX-IM BANK - RYAN YOUNG

Reasons to Oppose the Ex-Im Bank, Part 5: Corruption

When government has a lot of money and power, it is natural for people to curry its favor. It is just as natural for those wielding money and power to use it for personal gain. The Export-Import Bank provides numerous real-world examples of this human frailty.  
> Read more 

> Interview Ryan Young
 

THE POPE & GLOBAL WARMING - MYRON EBELL

 

Pope Francis’s Climate Encyclical: Help Poor People by Dismantling Industrial Civilization

The Vatican released Pope Francis’s encyclical on climate change, Laudato Si’, on 18th June.  It is, in general, scientifically ill-informed, economically illiterate, intellectually incoherent, and morally obtuse.
 > Read more


> Interview Myron Ebell
 

CHEMICAL REGULATION - ANGELA LOGOMASINI

TSCA Reform Debate Is Not about Public Safety

Some lawmakers, environmental activists, and local government officials claim that the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) law is not sufficient protect public health. There may be an economic reason to reform this law—to preempt a growing patchwork of nonsensical state-level consumer product regulations—but there’s no legitimate “safety” reason for reform. > Read more

> Interview Angela Logomasini

 

I, WHISKEY: THE SPIRIT OF THE MARKET
OFFICIAL MOVIE TRAILER




Realclearradio.org

Bloomberg Boston
1pm & 7pm ET
Bloomberg San Francisco 10am & 4pm PT

 

    

 

CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government.  For more information about CEI, please visit our website, cei.org.  Follow CEI on Twitter! Twitter.com/ceidotorg.

 

THE MAGNIFICENT 7 - 2015 CEI DINNER VIDEO
 


Media Contacts: 202-331-2277
Annie Dwyer

Christine Hall
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Keara Vickers

CEI Issues:

Advancing Capitalism
Business & Gov't
Energy & Environment
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Human Achievement Hour
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Nanny State
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Tuesday
Jun162015

CEI Today: The Pope & global warming, Internet sales tax, Trade, Ex-Im Bank, and more 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015
In the News Today

 

THE POPE & GLOBAL WARMING - FRED L. SMITH, JR.

Forbes: The Pope, Poverty, And Global Warming

The world waits in anticipation as Pope Francis and his advisers finalize an official Vatican statement on climate change and the environment – expected out this week. The Pope is reportedly worried about how climate change might impact the poor, and he is quite right to be concerned. > Read the Forbes commentary

> Interview Fred L. Smith, Jr.

 

INTERNET SALES TAX - JESSICA MELUGIN

 

Latest Internet sales tax bill gives states unprecedented taxing power
 

This week, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) is introducing yet another Internet sales tax bill. Critics of the current system - which requires that a seller have a physical presence, or “nexus,” in the buyer’s state to become subject to the latter state’s sales tax - often call this a tax loophole. In truth, it keeps taxing authorities accountable to those they tax. The seller, not the buyer, is the taxpayer in this online transaction. > Read The Hill commentary
 

> Interview Jessica Melugin
 

AIR TRAVEL PASSENGER CHARGES - MARC SCRIBNER

The Hill: The conservative case for a modernized Passenger Facility Charge

The battle for free market airport reforms has just begun. Congress should do the right thing and raise the cap on the Passenger Facility Charge. > Read The Hill commentary

> Interview Marc Scribner

 

TRADE PROMOTION AUTHORITY - FRAN SMITH

House TPA Rejection Protects the Past at the Expense of the Future
 

The House is poised to vote - again - on Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). Unfortunately, there has been some misinformed criticism, in Congress and elsewhere, of so-called “fast track” legislation. > Read more

> View a recent press conference about the TPA vote


> Interview Fran Smith
 

EX-IM BANK - RYAN YOUNG

 

Reasons to Oppose the Ex-Im Bank, Part 1: It's Pro-Business, Not Pro-Market
 

The upcoming Ex-Im reauthorization vote provides the perfect litmus test for which members of Congress are pro-business, and which are pro-market.  > Read more


> Interview Ryan Young
 

MORE IN THE NEWS...
 

Union Official Time Breeds Corruption

 




Realclearradio.org

Bloomberg Boston
1pm & 7pm ET
Bloomberg San Francisco 10am & 4pm PT

 

    

 

CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government.  For more information about CEI, please visit our website, cei.org.  Follow CEI on Twitter! Twitter.com/ceidotorg.

 

 

PC Newsmaker:
Are Streetcars Good For America?

TODAY!
10AM
 


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Christine Hall
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Advancing Capitalism
Business & Gov't
Energy & Environment
Finance & Entrepreneurship
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Tech and Telecom
Trade and International
Transportation & Infrastructure

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Saturday
Jun132015

Cooler Heads Digest 12 June 2015 

12 June 2015

In the News

Scared Witless: Prophets and Profits of Climate Doom
Robert Bradley, Jr., Master Resource, 12 June 2015

Inhofe: “We’re Winning” the Global Warming Debate
Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller, 11 June 2015

Attacks on Skeptics Do a Disservice to Scientists and Their Profession
Anthony J. Sadar, Washington Times, 10 June 2015

Why the Left Needs Climate Change
Steven Hayward, Forbes, 9 June 2015

Ex-Im Is Not the Key to Nuclear Industry’s Competitiveness
Jack Spencer & Katie Tubb, The Daily Signal, 9 June 2015

A Climate Campaigner (Bill McKibben) and Climate Change Critic (Anthony Watts) Meet in a Bar…
Andrew Revkin, Dot Earth, 8 June 2015

Global Warming: The Theory That Predicts Nothing and Explains Everything
Robert Tracinski, The Federalist, 8 June 2015

NOAA Plays “Hide the Pause”
James Delingpole, Big Government, 5 June 2015

Harvard Researchers Caught Lying To Boost EPA Climate Rule
Steve Milloy, Breitbart, 4 June 2015

News You Can Use
Study: EPA’s Clean Power Plan's Disparate Impact on Minorities

According to a study published this week by the National Black Chamber of Commerce, EPA’s Clean Power Plan would cause cumulative job losses for blacks and Hispanics of roughly 7 million and 12 million, respectively, over the next 20 years. Over the same time period, black families can expect their annual incomes to fall by $455, while Hispanics will take home $515 less per year.

Inside the Beltway
William Yeatman

AEI Carbon Tax Event: Niskanen Center Puts Its Cards on the Table (and it’s a terrible hand)

On Wednesday afternoon, the American Enterprise Institute hosted a debate on the merits of a carbon tax between Niskanen Center’s Jerry Taylor and AEI’s Benjamin Zycher. Video is available here.

For some time now, Taylor has been trying to convince conservatives to embrace a carbon tax. Originally, his case for the carbon tax was based on a hypothetical political compromise. That is, he urged conservatives to embrace a carbon tax as a bargaining chip that could be traded for a relaxation of EPA’s climate regulations. There are a lot of holes in this thesis, and Taylor’s line of reasoning has proved unsteady, as has been expertly explained by Robert Murphy at the Institute for Energy Research.

Evidently, Taylor’s original thesis (i.e., trading a carbon tax to stop EPA rules) does not withstand scrutiny well, because he ditched that argument during his presentation on Wednesday. Instead, he focused on the conservative appeal of a carbon tax implemented as the centerpiece of a prudent risk mitigation strategy.

Implausibly, Taylor claimed to have divined the precise odds of “catastrophic climate change.” According to Taylor, there is a 10 percent chance of climate change causing temperature increases of 11 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100 on a business-as-usual trajectory. To be fair, he conceded some uncertainty: He said that the chance of an “unimaginable disaster” may be “8 percent or 12 percent.”

Wednesday’s debate was the first I’d heard that there’s a 10 percent chance of climate catastrophe by 2100, and I’m skeptical of its worth as a “fact” on which public policy should be rendered. Moreover, it strikes me as being alarmist even by the hyperbolic standards shared by Joe Romm and his ilk on the eco-freak fringe.

There are other problems with Taylor's argument. For example, he couches his risk management proposal in the familiar terms of hedging and insurance in the financial sector. Such a comparison is, however, inapposite. Given our near total reliance on fossil fuels, the only way to fight global warming is to completely transform the global economy. Anything short of that won't save us. So we’re not talking about insuring our position within the current market; rather, we’re talking about completely remaking the current market. Those are markedly difference risk management strategies.

Another problem with his reasoning is that the putative danger undercuts the impetus for his grand political bargain. If we face a certain 10 percent chance of catastrophe, wouldn’t that warrant EPA regulations, in addition to a carbon tax? There are other problems with his argument, foremost among them being his unwillingness to proffer a price, which is no small component of his plan.

To recap: Jerry Taylor’s original argument for a carbon tax—that it could be traded for a rescission of EPA climate rules—seems to have gone by the wayside, likely due to the effectiveness of criticisms leveled by IER’s Robert Murphy. On Wednesday, at an AEI-sponsored debate, Taylor presented his new and improved argument—that it’s a “moral and ethical” imperative for conservatives to support a carbon tax as a mitigation strategy, because there is a 10 percent chance (maybe 8 percent, maybe 12 percent) that climate change will be catastrophic. For the reasons I set forth above, his new focus is no less unreasonable than the original.

Taylor’s opponent, Benjamin Zycher, did a great job, to no one’s surprise. Michael Bastasch penned an excellent write-up of the event, available here.

D.C. Circuit Court Disappoints (but there is a silver lining)

On Tuesday, a three judge panel on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a challenge brought by industry and 15 States to check EPA’s Clean Power Plan. The court ruled that the challenge was premature, because the rule hasn’t yet been finalized. Because the judges ruled on jurisdictional grounds, the court did not tip its hand regarding the merits of the petitioners’ challenge to the rule, which was based on the argument that EPA lacks the authority to issue the Clean Power Plan. (For more on the merits of the case, see here and here.)

EPA is expected to publish the final rule in august. Thereafter, opponents of the Clean Power Plan will seek a stay of the regulation, the success of which would be based in part on the likelihood of their winning on the merits. The D.C. Circuit likely would render a decision whether or not to stay the regulation in late fall or early winter.

While Tuesday’s ruling was a disappointment, environmental lawyer Brian Potts points to a possible silver lining. In an excellent Forbes op-ed published on Thursday, Potts notes that under the D.C. Circuit Court’s rules, there’s a substantial likelihood that the same panel of judges that heard Tuesday’s case will adjudicate the next challenge. This bodes well for opponents of the rule, as the three judges are all known to be sensitive to EPA overreach.

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
May302015

Cooler Heads Digest 29 May 2015 

29 May 2015

Announcements

The Heartland Institute’s Tenth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC-10) will take place on Thursday, June 11 and Friday, June 12, 2015, at the Washington Court Hotel in Washington, D.C. Learn more here.

In the News

EPA’s Triple Threat to the Economy
John Eick, Washington Examiner, 29 May 2015

IRS Hands Out $14 Billion for Green Energy, Doesn’t Keep Track of It
Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller, 29 May 2015

Will EPA Scrap the Carbon Capture Mandate?
Marlo Lewis, GlobalWarming.org, 28 May 2015

Wisconsin Gov. Walker Says His State Won’t Comply with Clean Power Plan
Matthew Daly, Associated Press, 28 May 2015

Mr. Obama, “97 Percent of Experts” Is a Bogus Statistic
Richard Tol, FoxNews.com, 28 May 2015

End the Ban on Oil Exports
Merrill Matthews, The Hill, 28 May 2015

Self-Service Gasoline: Legalizing Freedom
Robert Bradley, Jr., Master Resource, 26 May 2015

News You Can Use
New Report: Climate Hypocrites

The Media Research Center this month published a new report that details the extent to which media go out of their way to ignore or excuse the hypocrisy of celebrity “environmentalists” who fly their private jets around the world, rent mega-yachts and live in massive mansions. Click here to read "Climate Hypocrites and the Media That Love Them."

Inside the Beltway

EPA Proposes Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Biofuel Mandates for 2014, 2015, and 2016
Marlo Lewis

EPA on 29th May proposed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) biofuel blending targets for 2014, 2015, and 2016. The agency expects to complete the rulemaking by Nov. 30, which means it will be two years late finalizing the 2014 targets and one year late finalizing the 2015 targets.

The 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA), which established the RFS program in its current form, mandates that refiners, blenders, and fuel importers increase the amount of biofuel sold in the nation’s motor fuel supply from 4 billion gallons in 2006 to 36 billion gallons in 2022. However, EISA also authorizes EPA to adjust the annual targets based on various factors including “the sufficiency of infrastructure to deliver and use renewable fuel.”

In Nov. 2013, EPA concluded that the 2014 RFS mandate would exceed the “blend wall” — the maximum quantity of ethanol that can be sold in a given year. The blend wall is a product of two factors: the overall size of the motor fuel market and practical constraints on how much can be blended into each gallon of motor fuel sold. Warranty and liability concerns, lack of compatible fueling infrastructure, and, most importantly, anemic consumer demand, effectively limit the standard blend to E10 — motor fuel containing up to 10% ethanol.

Based on the arithmetic of the blend wall, EPA in Nov. 2013 proposed to trim the overall 2014 statutory target from 18.15 billion gallons to 15.21 billion gallons — a 16% cut. That sparked a firestorm of protest from biofuel interests, and EPA has been dithering over the targets ever since – until today.

The targets proposed get mixed reviews from biofuel lobbyists. On the one hand, the targets are lower than the corresponding EISA targets. On the other hand, the proposed 2016 target will exceed the E10 blend wall by 840 million gallons.

EPA assumes up to 600 million of those gallons can be sold via increased sales of E85 – motor fuel blended with up to 85% ethanol. In a coordinated move, the USDA yesterday announced plans to spend $100 million subsidizing the installation of E85 blender pumps.

I predict the agencies will fail to break the blend wall and there will be another RFS crisis in a few years. Here’s why. Ethanol contains about two-thirds’ the energy of an equivalent amount of gasoline. The higher the blend, the worse mileage your car gets, and the more you have to spend to drive a given distance. For example, according to FuelEconomy.Gov, the typical owner of a flex-fuel vehicle would spend an extra $850 to $1,400 annually to operate the vehicle on E85 instead of regular gasoline.

So even if every gas station has an E85 pump, consumers will avoid the fuel in droves, because it is a bad buy. Lower energy content, inferior fuel economy, and higher consumer cost are the root cause of the blend wall. The same factors also explain why the “choice” to buy ethanol must be mandated. EPA’s fix will fail because lack of consumer acceptance is a market barrier that neither regulatory fiat nor corporate welfare can overcome.

Interior Announces Massive Land Lockup To Protect Sage Grouse Habitat
Myron Ebell

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced on 28th May in Cheyenne, Wyoming, plans to lock up land in ten western States to protect habitat of the greater sage grouse.  The habitat protections are included in 14 Bureau of Land Management resource management plans covering 165 million acres—an area roughly the size of Texas.

The Fish and Wildlife Service is under a federal court order to decide by 30th September whether to list the greater sage grouse as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.  On the other hand, a rider in the omnibus appropriations bill that Congress passed last December prevents the grouse from being listed during the 2015 fiscal year, which ends on 30th September. 

Representative Rob Bishop (R-Ut.), chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, immediately criticized Interior’s move: "If the Administration really cares about the bird they will adopt the state plans as they originally said they would. The state plans work. This proposal is only about controlling land, not saving the bird."

Another immediate negative reaction came from the western oil and gas industry.  Kathleen Sgamma, vice president of the Western Energy Alliance in Denver, said:  “The restrictions that will be put on oil and natural gas development are not based on good science and exaggerate the threat of energy development to the bird.”

Across the States
William Yeatman

Kansas Enacts Net-Negative Renewable Energy Law

Kansas governor Sam Brownback (R) yesterday signed into law SB 91, legislation that will convert the state's renewable energy standard into a voluntary goal. At face value, that sounds great. Upon closer inspection, however, the bill doesn’t amount to much. The prior, legally binding target was 20 percent renewables by 2020. As a result of SB 91, this target is now voluntary. But Kansas investor owned utilities reportedly exceeded the 20 percent target last year, so the bill doesn’t actually change the status quo. On the other hand, SB 91 exempts existing renewable energy facilities in the State, mostly wind farms, from property taxes and gives new renewable energy facilities a 10-year property tax exemption.

Tech Companies Send Silly Letter to North Carolina Lawmakers

On a similar note, the North Carolina Senate’s Finance Committee this week passed HB 332, legislation that would halve the state’s renewable energy target, from 12.5 percent to 6 percent by 2021. The bill already has passed the state House of Representatives. In the wake of HB 332’s advance in the state Senate, Apple, Facebook and Google—all of whom operate data centers in the State—sent a joint letter demanding that lawmakers shelve the measure. Notably, the letter was unsigned, most likely due to the fact that no one at any of the companies was willing to publically associate with the letter’s incorrect claim that renewable energy is cheaper than conventional energy.

Around the World
William Yeatman

Norway’s Oil Fund Divests from Coal

A parliamentary finance committee in Norway's parliament this week recommended that the country’s $900 billion sovereign wealth fund divest from all firms that generate more than 30 percent of their output or revenues from coal-related activities. The move struck many as self-unaware, in light of the fact that Norway’s sovereign wealth fund—the world’s largest—is capitalized by the country’s sale of oil and gas. Until 2006, it was formally known as “The Petroleum Fund of Norway.” And while its official name has changed to “The Government Pension Fund,” it is still known colloquially as the “oil fund.”

Japan Government Report: We Can’t Go Green Because It Would Be Too Costly

Japan’s Natural Resources and Energy Agency on Tuesday released a report that concludes the country has no choice but to rely on nuclear and hydrocarbon energy sources through 2030 because switching to renewable energy would create “pressure for drastic rise in energy cost.”

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.