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Entries in Global Warming (315)

Saturday
Feb282015

Cooler Heads Digest 27 February 2015 

27 February 2015

Announcements

In the News

Five Reasons the Polar Bears Are Doing Fine
Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller, 27 February 2015

Sorry EPA, There’s No Evidence You Care about Reliability
Daniel Simmons, Institute for Energy Research, 26 February 2015

Sharon Stone Is Being Sued for Skipping an Anti-Chevron Protest
Paul Barrett, Bloomberg, 26 February 2015

Global Warming: Follow the Money (on the NY Times Attack on Willie Soon)
Henry Payne, National Review Online, 25 February 2015

The Climate Debate: Ad Hominem Will Just Not Do
Robert Bradley, Jr., Master Resource, 24 February 2015

Cap-and-Trade Is Alive and Well—Despite Having Never Passed Congress
Seton Motley, PJ Tattler, 24 February 2015

Australia’s Wind Market Deflates
David Kreutzer, Washington Times, 23 February 2015

California Governor Brown Tied to Scandal That Took Down Oregon Governor
Katy Grimes, Flash Report, 23 February 2015

News You Can Use
Exorbitant Costs of EPA’s Ozone Rule

According to a study published this week by the National Association of Manufacturers, EPA’s recently proposed ozone standard would reduce U.S. GDP by $140 billion per year and $1.7 trillion from 2017 to 2040 and result in 1.4 million fewer job equivalents on average through 2040.

Science Update
Myron Ebell

New York Times Repeats Scurrilous Greenpeace Attack on Willie Soon Without Checking the Facts

New York’s Times republished a Greenpeace press release on the front page of its Sunday, 22nd February edition that attacks Willie Soon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics for obtaining $1.2 million in funding for his research over the last decade from energy corporations, electric utilities, and charitable foundations related to those companies.  The press release, cleverly disguised as an article supposedly written by Times reporters Justin Gillis and John Schwartz, also claims that Dr. Soon did not adequately disclose the sources of his funding in articles published in scientific journals.

According to documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by Greenpeace and its closely affiliated so-called “Climate Investigations Center,” Soon received $409,000 from the Southern Company, a major utility, and $230,000 from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation to fund his research.  The Greenpeace press release as republished in the Times notes that “Mr. Koch’s fortune derives partly from oil refining.”  Yes, and the biggest charitable foundation donor to environmental pressure groups is the Pew Charitable Trusts, which was founded on the Pew family’s Sun Oil Company earnings.  Other major givers to green groups are the various Rockefeller foundations, which are based on earnings from Standard Oil (of which Exxon Mobil and Chevron are among the many successor companies).  So what’s Greenpeace’s point?  And everyone knows that scientists who accept funding from the EPA are never influenced by the source of their funding.  That’s why the EPA funds so much research that contradicts its policies.  Right?

I have known Willie Soon for about fifteen years.  I respect him highly, particularly for the great integrity he has shown in pursuing his politically incorrect research under scurrilous attacks like the one reprinted in the NY Times.  If Willie valued money over science, he would have joined the Global Warming Pep Squad long ago.

For the rest of my take on the New York Times’s disgraceful hit piece, see this post on global warming.org.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

House Democrat Joins in Witch Hunt Started by Greenpeace-Times Hit on Willie Soon

Representative Raul Grijalva (D-Az.), ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, quickly followed up on the Greenpeace-New York Times’s hit piece on Willie Soon (see above), with letters to the presidents of seven universities asking them to provide details about seven professors who are either prominent global warming skeptics or are not sufficiently loyal to every doctrine in the alarmist canon. The letters were sent to MIT (concerning Richard Lindzen), Alabama (John Christy), Delaware (David Legates), Georgia Tech (Judith Curry), Arizona State (Robert Balling), Colorado (Roger Pielke, Jr.), and Pepperdine (Steven Hayward).

Grijalva asks for a lot of information for each targeted professor: all drafts of testimony to government bodies; communications regarding that testimony; all sources and amounts of external funding; communications regarding that funding; all financial disclosure forms filed; and total annual compensation paid by the university.

I was heartened to see that the American Meteorological Association quickly sent a letter of complaint to Rep. Grijalva. AMS Executive Director Keith L Seitter wrote:

Despite its commitment to transparency and full disclosure within the scientific process, the AMS is concerned by the “Letters to Seven Universities Asking for Documents on Climate Change Research”….  Publicly singling out specific researchers based on perspectives they have expressed and implying a failure to appropriately disclose funding sources — and thereby questioning their scientific integrity — sends a chilling message to all academic researchers. Further, requesting copies of the researcher’s communications related to external funding opportunities or the preparation of testimony impinges on the free pursuit of ideas that is central to the concept of academic freedom.

Professor Roger Pielke, Jr., a political scientist who accepts the so-called consensus view on global warming and supports a carbon tax and the EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations, but whose research has shown that the costs of natural disasters have not increased as a result of global warming, stated on his blog:

I have no funding, declared or undeclared, with any fossil fuel company or interest. I never have. Representative Grijalva knows this too, because when I have testified before the US Congress, I have disclosed my funding and possible conflicts of interest. So I know with complete certainty that this investigation is a politically-motivated “witch hunt” designed to intimidate me (and others) and to smear my name.

But then Pielke, Jr., declares surrender:

The incessant attacks and smears are effective, no doubt, I have already shifted all of my academic work away from climate issues. I am simply not initiating any new research or papers on the topic and I have ring-fenced my slowly diminishing blogging on the subject. I am a full professor with tenure, so no one need worry about me — I’ll be just fine as there are plenty of interesting, research-able policy issues to occupy my time. But I can’t imagine the message being sent to younger scientists. Actually, I can: “when people are producing work in line with the scientific consensus there’s no reason to go on a witch hunt.”  When “witch hunts” are deemed legitimate in the context of popular causes, we will have fully turned science into just another arena for the exercise of power politics. The result is a big loss for both science and politics.

Markey, Boxer, and Whitehouse Join Witch Hunt with Letters to 100 Companies and Organizations About Funding Climate Deniers

Senators Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) on 25th February sent letters to 107 companies, trade associations, and non-profit groups demanding comprehensive information about all funding of research on climate or related issues over the last ten years.  I am proud to say that several members of the Cooler Heads Coalition, including the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the George C. Marshall Institute, the Heartland Institute, the American Legislative Exchange Council, the American Energy Alliance, Americans for Prosperity, and the John Locke Foundation, were on the honorable Senators’ hit list. 

There were some glaring omissions, however.  I won’t list them because their feelings have already been hurt enough.  

Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee quickly responded to the Markey-Boxer-Whitehouse stunt.  Led by Chairman James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), all eleven Republican members of the committee sent a letter on 27th February to all 100 targets plus the seven universities that received a similar letter from Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Az.).  The Republican Senators wrote:

Dissenting opinions fostered through the encouragement of all ideas is what truly facilitates intellectual prosperity and political discourse.  The letter you received from our colleagues is a wholly inappropriate effort to challenge these well-accepted truths.  We ask you to not be afraid of political repercussions or public attacks regardless of how you respond.  Above all, we ask that you continue to support scientific inquiry and discovery, and protect academic freedom despite efforts to chill free speech. 

EPA Administrator McCarthy Dissembles through Two House Hearings on EPA FY 2016 Budget
William Yeatman

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy testified twice this week before the House of Representatives about her agency’s FY 2016 budget. On Wednesday, she appeared on a joint panel of two Energy and Commerce subcommittees, and on Thursday she took questions before an Appropriations subcommittee. As I explain here on globalwarming.org, Administrator McCarthy relied on a number of tricks—including lies—to deflect tough questions.

Around the World
Myron Ebell

Pachauri Resigns as IPCC Chairman After Sexual Harassment Charges Made

Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri resigned as chairman of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on 24th February, four days after allegations of sexual harassment were published in India.

The allegations were made by a 29-year-old woman who works as a research analyst at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in New Delhi, which the 75-year-old Pachauri also heads.  Indian police are investigating the complaint.  The accuser’s name has been withheld by the police. Her attorney filed a motion to have Dr. Pachauri’s diplomatic passport seized so that he cannot leave the country while the investigation proceeds.

The complaint states that Pachauri’s harassment included unwanted e-mails and text messages of a sexual and personal nature. Dr. Pachauri has denied the allegations and has claimed that his e-mail and cell phone were hacked and the offending messages sent by the hacker.

Bob Ward, the flack for a propaganda institute at the London School of Economics, was quick to pre-emptively accuse climate skeptics of taking advantage of the scandal.  The Guardian quoted Ward: “There will no doubt be some climate change ‘sceptics’ who seek to use Dr Pachauri’s resignation as an opportunity to attack the IPCC [but its most recent report] is the most comprehensive and authoritative assessment of the causes and potential consequences of climate change that we have ever had, and that remains true with or without Dr Pachauri as chair.”

A court has granted Pachauri anticipatory bail, which protects him from arrest until 27th March.  

Dr. Pachauri is regularly described by the mainstream media as one of the world’s leading climate scientists.  He is in fact a railway engineer and railway economist.  He was elected chairman of the IPCC in 2002 over the incumbent Bob Watson and then re-elected unopposed in 2008.  His current term expires in October, and he had already declared that he would not seek a third term. 

The Guardian reported that the leading candidates to succeed him in the October election are Prof. Jean-Pascal van Ypersele from Belgium, Prof. Thomas Stocker from Switzerland, and Prof. Chris Field from the US.  Other candidates may include Prof Nebojsa Nakicenovic from Austria, South Korea’s Hoesung Lee, and the German economist Prof. Ottmar Edenhofer.

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
Feb142015

Cooler Heads Digest 13 February 2015 

13 February 2015

In the News

EPA’s Unconstitutional Clean Power Plan Brazenly Flouts the Separation of Powers
Marlo Lewis, CNS News, 12 February 2015

EPA under Fire for Concealing Controversial Scientific Data, Silencing Skeptics
Kevin Mooney, The Daily Signal, 11 February 2015

Never Mind Keystone XL: EPA Regulations Are the Real Battle
Chip Knappenberger, Cato Institute, 11 February 2015

The Climate Comintern Speaks
Benjamin Zycher, The Hill, 10 February 2015

Regarding Coal Divestment
Kathleen Hartnett White, Master Resource, 10 February 2015

Europe Loses Billion in Badly Sited Renewable Power Plants
Joseph Nyangon, Energy Collective, 10 February 2015

The Top 10 Global Warming Lies That May Shock You
James Taylor, Forbes, 9 February 2015

About “Denying,” “Deniers,” and “Denial”
Ben Pile, Climate Resistance, 9 February 2015

News You Can Use
Study: Skeptics Know More about Climate Science

FoxNews.com reported yesterday on a forthcoming paper in the journal Advances in Political Psychology by Yale Professor Dan Kahan that finds that skeptics score about the same (in fact slightly better) on climate science questions than do alarmists.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

EPA Takes 75 Pages to Explain Why Murray Energy Challenge to “Clean Power” Plan has “No Legal Basis”

The Environmental Protection Agency filed its reply brief on 12th February to the suit brought by Murray Energy that challenges the EPA’s proposed rule to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from existing coal and gas power plants.  EPA lawyers claim that the suit has “no legal basis,” but as my CEI colleague Marlo Lewis noted, it takes them 75 pages to explain why. 

Another indication of the seriousness of Murray Energy’s suit is that the Natural ResourcesDefense Council, the Environmental Defense Fund, and the Sierra Club filed a lengthy amicus brief in what is the early stages of the case.  The federal DC Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments on 16th April on the case that has been consolidated with the case brought by thirteen state Attorneys General.     

House Passes Keystone, Obama Veto Will Have To Wait

The House of Representatives on 11th February passed the Senate’s amended version of the bill that would bypass President Obama and permit the Keystone XL Pipeline from Alberta’s oil sands to Gulf refineries.  The vote was 270 to 152.  Twenty-nine Democrats joined all the Republicans except for Rep. Justin Amash (R-Michigan), who was the only Republican voting No.

House and Senate leaders have decided not to send the bill to President Obama until after the week-long Presidents Day recess.  The White House has promised that the President will veto the bill.  Republicans in Congress hope that public pressure in favor of building the pipeline will build over the recess. 

Forked Tongue: EPA Double Spins Low Oil Prices
Marlo Lewis

The State Department’s Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS) on the Keystone XL Pipeline (KXL) found that if permission to build the KXL is denied, roughly the same amount of heavy crude made from Canada’s oil sands would reach U.S. refiners. The oil would just come by alternate routes, principally rail. Because the alternatives are less energy efficient, they would emit 28% to 42% more carbon dioxide (CO2) than the proposed pipeline (FSEIS, ES-34). Policy implication: Approving the KXL is the ‘climate-friendly’ choice!

That assessment is intolerable to Keystone bashers, and last week the EPA flew to their rescue.

In a Feb. 2 comment letter, EPA argued roughly as follows. State found that the extra cost of transporting crude by rail could make new oil sands development uneconomical if prices fall below $75 per barrel. Thus, in an era of low oil prices, building the KXL could make otherwise unprofitable oil sands projects profitable. If so, the KXL would increase oil sands development and the associated emissions beyond what would otherwise occur.

Now, the KXL is climatologically irrelevant. Even under the unrealistic assumption that the pipeline would operate at full capacity (830,000 barrels per day) round the clock and every barrel would be additional oil produced only because the KXL exists to deliver it, the warming contribution would be an undetectable and inconsequential 0.01°C in 2100, according to EPA’s own climate model.

Nonetheless, eco-activists hail EPA’s letter as proof that the KXL would “significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution” and, thus, fail the (monomaniacal) national-interest “litmus test” President Obama announced in his June 25, 2013 climate change speech at Georgetown University.

The Keystone bashers conveniently overlook the obvious. Oil prices are volatile. Prices are low today but neither EPA nor anyone else knows the price of oil a year from now, much less over the lifetime of the proposed project.

But EPA speaks with a forked tongue. EPA speaks with forked tongue. Last Friday, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy described low oil prices as a short-term blip that will not influence consumer buying habits and should not modify federal motor vehicle fuel-economy standards. "We don't think that this small timeline, where there is this extreme fluctuation, is going to continue," she said.

Across the States
Myron Ebell

Oregon

Oregon’s Democratic Governor John Kitzhaber announced his resignation on Friday, 13th February, as the result of revelations that Oregon’s “First Lady” Cylvia Hayes has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars in payoffs from green energy clients and non-profit groups to promote their interests.  Kitzhaber will be succeeded by Oregon’s elected Secretary of State, Kate Brown, until a special election is held in November 2016 to fill the last two years of his term.

Hayes has been Kitzhaber’s girlfriend for several years and more recently his fiancée.  The governor designated her as Oregon’s official first lady and allowed her to run her clean energy consulting business out of the governor’s mansion and gave her authority to direct state employees on policies related to her clients.  Hayes received payments from some of these clients that were not reported by her in state conflict of interest filings.  These payments included $118,000 from the Clean Economy Development Center in 2011 and 2012 and a further $85,000 in 2013, including $50,000 from the Energy Foundation.

The Clean Economy Development Center, based in Washington, DC, went out of business after the IRS revoked its tax-exempt status.  The Energy Foundation should really be called the Anti-Energy Foundation.  Based in San Francisco, it was founded in the early 1990s by the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Rockefeller Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation.  According to Kellan Howell in a Washington Times story: “Jenny Coyle, communications manager for the Energy Foundation, told the Times that the foundation provided the Clean Economy Development Center $50,000 in 2011 and $25,000 in 2012 for the fellowship program in which Ms. Hayes participated. She was the center’s only fellow.”

Among the Energy Foundation’s recent donors is the TomKat Charitable Trust, which was founded and is controlled by billionaire Democratic donor and climate activist Tom Steyer.  Howell reported that TomKat had given $200,000 in 2012 to the Energy Foundation.   Steyer’s PAC, NextGen Climate Action, also gave the Oregon Democratic Party $100,000.

Portland’s Oregonian newspaper published an editorial last week that demanded Governor Kitzhaber resign.  The editorial commented, “Who knew following the trail of ‘clean energy’ money could make you feel so dirty?”  That is ironic, but should not be surprising.  Renewable energy technologies such as wind and solar power and ethanol cannot survive without government handouts and mandates.  Small payoffs to government officials can yield big profits. 

The Oregon Attorney General’s office and the FBI are investigating Kitzhaber and Hayes’s violations of state and federal laws.  As I remarked in an online video interview with the Wall Street Journal’s Mary Kissel a couple of hours before Kitzhaber resigned, the investigations should not stop there.  The non-profit groups that were making these payoffs should also be investigated for other similar illegal political activities.  

Willamette Week, a Portland alternative newspaper that endorsed Kitzhaber for re-election last fall and supports his climate and renewable energy policies, uncovered the scandal and deserves a huge amount of credit.  Here is a recent article from the paper that summarizes the whole scandal.  

California

California Governor Jerry Brown (D) in his state of the state address last month called on the legislature to enact legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions far below what is required in California’s AB 32 legislation.  This week State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon released a package of four bills that meets the governor’s targets.

One of the bills in the package was introduced by state Senator Fran Pavley (D), who was the chief sponsor of AB 32, enacted in 2006 when she served in the state Assembly.  Her new bill is numbered SB 32.  AB 32 requires California to reduce its total greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.  SB 32 would require that emissions be reduced by 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

Other bills in the package would require that by 2030 Californians cut their oil consumption for transportation by 50% and get 50% of their electricity from renewable sources.  Welcome to wonderland. 

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.

Sunday
Feb082015

Cooler Heads Digest 6 February 2015 

6 February 2015

Announcements

*Due to technical difficulties, there was a delay in sending out this week's newsletter*

Thirty-one groups, including the Competitive Enterprise Institute, this week sent a coalition letter to House Members endorsing reform of the Renewable Fuels Standard. Click here to read the letter. And click here to read Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s (R-Va.) bill, H.R. 703.

In the News

Top Ten Most Ridiculous Stunts Pulled by “Ban Fracking” Activists
Dave Quest, Energy in Depth, 6 February 2015

My Kid Is Going To Be Eight Feel Tall!
David Kreutzer, The Daily Signal, 5 February 2015

How Green and Peaceful Really Is Greenpeace?
Andrew Montford, The Spectator, 5 February 2015

What Would Environmentalists Do If They Owned ANWR?
Shawn Regan, Reason, 5 February 2015

Gasoline vs. Electric Cars: Energy Usage and Cost
Stanislaw Jakuba, Master Resource, 4 February 2015

Obama to States: Shut Down Coal Plants or Else
Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller, 3 February 2015

Russia’s War on Fracking
Tom Rogan, National Review, 3 February 2015

Expert Says EPA Plan Will Kill Mississippians
Emily Le Coz, Clarion-Ledger, 2 February 2015

Sierra Club: Saudi Arabia ‘Our Best Ally’ in Keystone Fight
Lachlan Markay, Washington Free Beacon, 2 February 2015

Biofuels: “A Net Detriment to the World”
Denver Post editorial, 1 February 2015

News You Can Use
War on Coal Costs Tens of Thousands of Jobs

A report by the American Action Forum found that under the Obama administration coal mines shed 3,702 jobs from 2008 to 2013 and power plants shed 39,684 jobs. 

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

Obama Budget Requests More Money for Climate Programs

President Barack Obama submitted his Fiscal Year 2016 budget requests to Congress on Monday, 2nd February.  The White House summary, available here, includes some major tax changes.  The President’s budget proposes to make renewable electricity production and investment tax credits permanent and refundable.  The estimated cost over the next decade would be $31.5 billion.  On the other hand, the President wants to take away all tax subsidies for the oil and gas industry, including $44 billion in tax breaks using the standard Section 199 deduction which all domestic manufacturing can claim. 

According to Jeremy P. Jacobs writing in Energy and Environment PM (subscription required), the budget for EPA requests $52.4 million for six legal support offices, which is an increase of $10 million over current funding.  This would allow EPA to hire more lawyers to defend its “Clean Power Plan,” the proposed regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants.  Jacobs quotes EPA’s explanation: “EPA has identified an urgent need to provide critical legal counsel in support of the EPA's Clean Power Plan."

The Environmental Protection Agency would also get $4 billion for a new “Clean Power State Incentive Fund” to help States that want to make steeper reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from power plants than required by the EPA’s proposed regulations.  The rest of EPA’s budget would increase by $452 million or approximately 6% to $8.6 billion.

President Obama also requests that the Congress appropriate $500 million for the UN Green Climate Fund.  This is the first payment towards fulfilling the President’s pledge of $3 billion over four years to the GCF.  At the UN global warming conference in Copenhagen in 2009, President Obama proposed that the developed countries provide $100 billion a year to the GCF starting in 2020.  The U. S. share might be roughly $30 to 40 billion.  It looks unlikely that the 114th Congress will appropriate the $500 million requested for this year. 

Obama’s National Security Strategy Focuses on Climate Threats

President Barack Obama this week released his administration’s official National Security Strategy.  It identifies climate change as a major threat and lays out actions to deal with it through national action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and international leadership on a new UN climate treaty. 

On page 12, the document states: “Climate change is an urgent and growing threat to our national security, contributing to increased natural disasters, refugee flows, and conflicts over basic resources like food and water. The present day effects of climate change are being felt from the Arctic to the Midwest. Increased sea levels and storm surges threaten coastal regions, infrastructure, and property. In turn, the global economy suffers, compounding the growing costs of preparing and restoring infrastructure.” In addition to the President’s climate agreement with Chinese President Xi and progress in negotiations on the forthcoming Paris accord, “The substantial contribution we have pledged to the Green

Climate Fund will help the most vulnerable developing nations deal with climate change, reduce their carbon pollution, and invest in clean energy.”  The President’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget request to Congress this week includes $500 million for the Green Climate Fund. 

EPA Challenges Bottom-Line Conclusion of State Department Keystone XL Pipeline Analysis
Marlo Lewis

The State Department's Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS) on the Keystone XL Pipeline vexes environmentalists. While acknowledging that petroleum made from Canadian oil sands emits 17% more CO2 than other types of heavy crude, State concluded that roughly the same quantity of Canadian oil would be shipped to U.S. refiners whether the pipeline is approved or denied. 

The oil would just come by alternate modes of delivery, principally trains but also smaller pipelines and barges. Those other routes are not only more costly but also less energy efficient. According to State, compared to the KXL, the alternate routes would emit 28% to 42% more CO2 [FEIS ES-34]. Implication: If you're really worried about global warming, then you should support the Keystone XL Pipeline. Beautiful!

In a letter earlier this week, EPA Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance ´╗┐Cynthia Giles disputes State’s bottom-line assessment. State estimated that as long as crude oil sells for $75 per barrel or higher, "revenues to oil sands producers are likely to remain above the long-run supply costs of most projects responsible for expected levels of oil sands production growth" [FEIS, 1.4-8]. Producers would still earn profits notwithstanding the extra cost of $8 per barrel to ship the oil by rail rather than through a big new pipeline. 

Times have changed, says Giles. State published its FSEIS in January 2014, when West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude sold at about $94 per barrel. WTI crude now sells for about $50 per barrel. Giles quotes State's conclusion that at sustained oil prices of $65 to $75 per barrel the higher transportation costs of shipment by rail "could have a substantial impact on oil sands production levels -- possibly in excess of the capacity of the proposed project." Indeed, State goes on to say that “Prices below this range would challenge the supply costs of many projects, regardless of pipeline constraints, but higher transport costs could further curtail production” [FSEIS, ES-12].

Giles concludes: “In other words, the Final SEIS found that at sustained oil prices within this [$65-$75] range, construction of the pipeline is projected to change the economics of oil sands development and result in increased oil sands production, and the accompanying greenhouse gas emissions, over what would otherwise occur.” She recommends that State should give “additional weight” to the “low price scenario” in the FSEIS “due to the potential implications of lower oil prices on project impacts, especially greenhouse.”

Permit me to translate. The future of Canada’s oil sands industry looked bright a year ago. Today its fate is uncertain. Maybe a sustained period of low prices will force a large contraction and throw tens of thousands of people out of work. So let’s kick ‘em while they’re down! Let’s prevent oil companies from investing their own capital to improve the economics of their industry.

To opponents, the Keystone XL Pipeline is objectionable precisely because it will improve the efficiency of an industry they believe should not exist. They may be right that blocking Keystone will decrease rather than increase CO2 emissions. It doesn’t matter. It’s climatologically irrelevant.

Even if we make the unrealistic assumption that the KXL will always run at full capacity (830,000 barrels per day) and each barrel will be additional oil in the global supply that would otherwise remain in the ground, EPA's own climate model projects a warming contribution of 0.01ºC by century's end – an “inconsequential and unmeasurable impact,” observes Cato Institute scientist Chip Knappenberger.

Let’s cut to the chase. A for-profit business will not produce what it cannot sell. And if you can’t sell, you go out of business. EPA knows that. So do its environmentalist allies. That’s why they seek to block the KXL, oppose lifting the 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports, and oppose construction of export terminals for coal and liquefied natural gas.

The day cannot come too soon when we have an administration that does not view its mission as crippling and bankrupting major industries of the U.S. economy.

Around the World
Myron Ebell

UNFCCC: Saving the World from Global Warming Requires Total Transformation of the Global Economy, Directed by the UNFCCC

Leading global warming alarmists often claim that saving the world from global warming will be easy.  Research reports from universities and environmental groups are regularly published that show the costs will be minimal and the costs of not doing it will be astronomical.  As former Vice President Al Gore, Nobel Prize and Oscar winner, puts it, how can it be costly to replace dirty, expensive energy from coal, oil, and natural gas with clean, free energy from wind and solar? 

But every year or two, a leading alarmist lets the cat out of the bag.  At a press conference in Brussels on 3rd February, Christiana Figueres, the executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said that completely transforming the global economy in a few decades “is probably the most difficult task we [the UN? Mankind?] have ever given ourselves.”

“This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the industrial revolution,” Figueres said

Executive Secretary Figueres is apparently unaware that Communism in the Soviet Union beginning in 1917 and in Maoist China in 1949 intentionally tried to fundamentally transform their economies according to a new model.  The results were widely judged to be not altogether successful.  Perhaps the United Nations will do better.

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
Nov222014

Cooler Heads Digest 21 November 2014 

21 November 2014

Announcements

  • The Cooler Heads Digest will not be published next week due to the Thanksgiving Holiday. We will return on 5 December. Happy Thanksgiving!
  • The comment period for EPA’s proposed “Clean Power” Plan ends 1 December. Click here to submit a comment.

In the News

Renewable Fuel Standard: EPA Retreats from Cutbacks
Marlo Lewis, GlobalWarming.org, 21 November 2014

U.S. Oil Imports Fell as Output Rose in October
Mark Shenk, Bloomberg, 20 November 2014

Fossil Fuel Industries: Time to Stand Tall! (Book Review of The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels)
Erin Conners, Master Resource, 20 November 2014

Wind Energy Industry Gambles with Taxpayer Chip
Ernest Istook, Washington Times, 19 November 2014

New Polar Bear Study Is Junk Science
Susan Crockford, Polar Bear Science, 19 November 2014

Report: EPA Paid Employees $1 Million While They Were on Leave…Sometimes for Years
Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller, 19 November 2014

For Once, a Court Sided with People Rather Than “Threatened” Rodents
Ron Arnold, The Daily Signal, 18 November 2014

Spin Alert: Despite What DOE Says, Its Loans Are Not Making Money
Donald Marron, Forbes, 17 November 2014

News You Can Use
All 50 States Hit Freezing

Reuters reported this week that Tuesday was the coldest November morning across the U.S. since 1976, as temperatures in at least one location in all 50 States dipped to freezing or below.  

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

Landrieu Fails To Find Sixtieth Vote for Keystone Pipeline

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) did allow a floor vote on Tuesday, 18th November, on a bill to permit the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline from Alberta’s oil sands to Gulf refineries, but Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.) failed to find the sixtieth vote necessary to break the Democrats’ filibuster.  All 45 Republicans voted for the bill, but only 14 Democrats.

Landrieu thus failed to demonstrate her clout as the outgoing chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which cannot help her uphill effort to win re-election to the Senate in her 6th December runoff with Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.).  It also shows that 41 of her Democratic colleagues are more interested in keeping faith with their environmental billionaire donors than keeping another Democrat in the Senate.  They will have 46 seats in the 114th Congress, which should be enough for the 41 votes needed to block cloture on major Republican legislation.   

Across the States
William Yeatman

New Report Shows State-by-State Energy Costs of EPA’s Clean Power Plan

A report released this week by Energy Ventures Analysis, Inc. estimates that EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan, in combination with existing agency rules promulgated during the Obama administration, would increase the cost of electricity and natural gas by nearly $300 billion in 2020 compared with 2012. Click here for a State-by-State breakdown of how EPA’s rules would affect your electric and gas bills.

Around the World
Myron Ebell

Obama Pledges $3 billion to Green Climate Fund, Attacks Australian Prime Minister Abbott in Oz

After signing a climate agreement with Chinese president Xi Jinping at the APEC summit meeting held outside Beijing last week, President Barack Obama traveled on to the annual G-20 summit meeting in Brisbane, Australia.  In a side speech at the University of Queensland, Obama pledged $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund and then used the rest of his speech to criticize the Australian government’s climate policies. 

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott as the host of the G-20 meeting tried unsuccessfully to keep climate policy off the agenda and out of the final communique.  And he lost the full support of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who said after Obama announced $3 billion and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced $1.5 billion for the Green Climate Fund that the Canadian government would contribute as well. 

But Abbott has not backed down.  This week he re-iterated his position that the ongoing UN climate negotiations will fail if they put policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions ahead of economic growth. “It's vital that the Paris conference be a success... and for it to be a success, we can't pursue environmental improvements at the expense of economic progress.  We can't reduce emissions in ways which cost jobs because it will fail if that's what we end up trying to do.”

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop also criticized Obama’s speech during an interview on Australian television from New York where she was attending the UN Security Council meeting.  According to the Australian newspaper, American Ambassador to Australia John Berry had strongly warned the White House not to criticize the Abbott government while in Australia.

Green Climate Fund Gets $9.3 Billion in Pledges

The Green Climate Fund came close to its initial goal of $10 billion at a conference of donor nations in Berlin on 20th November.  A total of $9.3 billion has now been pledged.

President Barack Obama got things going earlier in the week at the G20 summit meeting in Australia when he pledged $3 billion.  Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe then pledged $1.5 billion.  In Berlin, new pledges included $1.1 billion from the United Kingdom and smaller amounts from Italy, Finland, New Zealand, Mongolia, and Panama.  A number of other nations have already made commitments. France and Germany are also in the billion dollar club.

The Green Climate Fund (or GCF) was first suggested by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the annual UN climate conference in 2009 in Copenhagen and then became the centerpiece of President Obama’s efforts to save the conference from total collapse.  The deal agreed in Copenhagen is that wealthier nations will give a total of $100 billion per annum starting in 2020.  The GCF will give the funds to poorer nations to help them deal with the impacts of climate change and pay for their own climate policies.  $9.3 billion is a start, but it’s far from the $100 billion per year commitment.

President Obama will no doubt try to redirect other foreign aid appropriated by Congress to meet his $3 billion pledge to the GCF.  But Congress controls all appropriations, and the 114th Congress may not agree.  In that case, the President’s pledge will be as empty as his recent climate agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping.     

Science Update
Marlo Lewis

Google Ends Green Energy Project

During 2007-2011, Google’s RE<C energy innovation center invested heavily in wind, geothermal, and solar technology, hoping to produce a gigwatt of power more cheaply than is possible with coal. The effort failed. Writing in IEEE Spectrum, Google engineers Ross Koningstein and David Fork report that by 2011, “it was clear that RE<C would not be able to deliver a technology that could compete economically with coal, and Google officially ended the initiative....”

“First, renewable energy sources like solar and wind need to get cheap -- not just as cheap as a coal- or natural-gas-fired power plant, but so much cheaper that it makes economic sense to abandon traditional fossil fuels soon. Furthermore, the power system needs to be redesigned so renewable sources, like rooftop solar panels, can be as responsive and useful on the grid as a traditional power plant is now, the engineers wrote.

Second, the world needs as-yet-uninvented technologies to pull CO2 from the atmosphere.”

Then and only then would a zero-carbon system be a “thrifty choice” – a solution the world confidently embraces because it makes people wealthier.

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
Nov152014

Cooler Heads Digest 14 November 2014

14 November 2014

Announcement

The Cato Institute will host a presentation by Alex Epstein on his new book, “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels,” on Friday, November 21st, 9:00-10:00 AM at B-369 House Rayburn Office Building. Click here to learn more and RSVP.

In the News

Fossil Fuels: The Moral Choice
Alex Epstein, Fox News, 14 November 2014

The Wind Lobby’s Case against the PTC Extension
Robert Bradley, Jr., Master Resource, 14 November 2014

Obama Touts Energy Taxes as a Way To Fight Global Warming
Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller, 14 November 2014

Dr. Mann, Super-Villain
Mark Steyn, Steyn Online, 14 November 2014

Interstellar’s Rejection of Climate Change Hysteria
Sonny Bunch, Washington Free Beacon, 14 November 2014

Tom Steyer Provides a Lesson in How To Waste $67 Million
Thomas Pyle, Investor’s Business Daily, 13 November 2014

Study: Energy Jobs Lead the Recovery
Joshua Cain, Fuel Fix, 13 November 2014

The Audacity of Climate Cynicism
Washington Examiner editorial, 13 November 2014

Carbon Tax Advocates Discuss Post-Election Prospects
Marlo Lewis, GlobalWarming.org, 12 November 2014

The Coming Climate Onslaught
Andrew Restuccia & Erica Martinson, Politico, 11 November 2014

IPCC’s Latest Report: The End Is Nigh Unless Mankind Repents Its Fuelish Ways
Marlo Lewis, CNS News, 10 November 2014

Unquestionably One-Sided Climate Change Coverage
Tom Harris, Washington Times, 10 November 2014

News You Can Use
The One Statistic Climate Catastrophists Don’t Want You to Know

According to the Cato Institute’s Pat Michaels, in the decade from 2004 to 2013, worldwide climate-related deaths (including droughts, floods, extreme temperatures, wildfires, and storms) plummeted to a level 88.6 percent below that of the peak decade, from 1930 to 1939.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

Reid Rushes Senate Vote on Keystone Pipeline To Try To Save Landrieu

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) strategy to keep Democratic incumbents from being voted out of office by keeping floor votes to a minimum failed miserably on 4th November.  Voters sent Democratic incumbents packing in Arkansas, Colorado, Alaska, and North Carolina.  As a result of those defeats plus Democratic losses in open seat races in West Virginia, Montana, Iowa, and South Dakota, Republicans will take control of the Senate when the 114th Congress is sworn in on January 3rd. 

Now, to try to save Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.) from defeat in a 6th December runoff with Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Reid wants to have a vote on a bill to approve construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline from Alberta’s oil sands, across the Canada-U.S. border and down to Cushing, Okla., where it would hook up with the southern leg of the pipeline that has already been constructed and is operating (because pipelines that don’t cross an international border don’t require presidential approval).  The Senate is currently scheduled to vote on the bill on Tuesday, 18th November.  However, with Reid in control of the Senate schedule, that could change several times.

It can be seen from past votes that all 45 Republican Senators and 12 Democratic Senators will vote yes on Keystone.  That is three votes short of the 60 needed to surmount procedural hurdles and pass the bill.  So Senator Landrieu, chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has been lobbying several Democratic colleagues furiously to come up with three more votes.  As of Friday afternoon, Senators Thomas Carper (D-Del.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) have announced that they will switch. 

It really doesn’t matter whether Landrieu finds the sixtieth vote or not.  She is almost certain to lose to Cassidy in the runoff because she got 42% of the vote on election day, while Cassidy got 41% and Rob Maness, the other Republican in the race, got 14%.  Nor is it clear what passing Keystone out of the Democratic-controlled Senate will do to help Landrieu.  The White House is still signaling that President Obama may veto the bill.  And if it doesn’t reach the president’s desk this month, it surely will early next year when Republicans control the Senate.

That’s why the Republican leadership in the House did not stand in the way.  On Friday, 14th November, the House voted 252 to 161 in favor of H. R. 5682, which approves the Keystone Pipeline.   Thirty-one Democrats votes Yes.  This is the ninth time the House has passed a Keystone bill.  Oh, and by the way, the sponsor of H. R. 5682 is Rep. Bill Cassidy. 

If the Senate goes along next Tuesday, expect anti-Keystone activists led by billionaire Democratic donor Tom Steyer and Bill McKibben’s 350.org to form a human chain around the White House, as they did on 4th March.  Currently, 350.org is planning a rally on the Mall in Washington on 17th February 2015, which is Presidents’ Day. 

Across the States
William Yeatman

Southern Co. CEO: EPA’s “Clean Power” Plan Would Cause Rolling Blackouts

In an interview two days ago with Bloomberg, Thomas Fanning, the CEO of Southern Company, which provides electricity service to a four state region in the southeast, said that “I don’t think we have the ability to maintain a reliable system” and also comply with EPA’s “Clean Power” Plan.  

Fanning’s statement is only the latest warning about the threat to electric reliability posed by EPA’s rule. In recent testimony before the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Commissioner Philip Moeller voiced his concern about the possibility of cascading blackouts within the 15 state region served by the Midcontinent Independent Service Operator. And in October comments to the EPA, the Southwest Power Pool, a regional transmission organization that serves an 8 state region, warned that the rule, if left unchanged, would cause rolling blackouts within its footprint. Thus, grid operators & federal energy regulators have issued warnings that the EPA’s Clean Power Plan could turn out the lights in 27 States.

Around the World
Myron Ebell

Obama, Xi Agree on Meaningless Climate Deal

U. S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a commitment by both countries to limit greenhouse gas emissions by 2025-30, at the end of the APEC summit meeting in China on Wednesday.  President Obama pledged that the United States would reduce it emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025, while President Xi pledged that China’s emissions would peak by “around 2030, with the intention to try to peak early, and to increase the share of non-fossil fuel share of all energy to around 20% by 2030.”  That quote is from the White House fact sheet on the agreement.

The Obama Administration’s long-stated goal has been to reduce emissions by 17% below 2005 levels by 2020.  That works out to an annual cut of 1.2% from 2005 onward.  The new goal would require a much faster rate of cuts.  The White House calculated that if the faster rate doesn’t begin until 2020, then the annual cut would work out to 2.3-2.8% from 2020 to 2025.

It is not clear what President Xi’s commitment means, but President Obama’s signature on the deal has no legal force.  And it will be up to future Presidents and Congresses after he leaves office in January 2017 to decide whether to require the emissions reductions agreed to.

Leaders of the official climate establishment quickly claimed that the U. S.-China agreement will provide new momentum to the international negotiations on a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol, which will continue at the annual United Nations climate conference in December in Lima.  A new international agreement is supposed to be signed at the next UN conference scheduled for December 2015 in Paris.

Here for example is what former Senator Timothy Wirth said in a written statement: “Today’s announcement is the political breakthrough we’ve been waiting for….  If the two biggest players on climate are able to get together, from two very different perspectives, the rest of the world can see that it’s possible to make real progress.”  Wirth is the vice chairman of Ted Turner’s United Nations Foundation and served as Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs during the Clinton Administration, where he prepared the groundwork for the Kyoto Protocol in 1997.

However, it doesn’t appear that there is much that is new in the agreement.  The Reuters story by David Stanway reporting from the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation) summit in Beijing got it right in the headline: “China, US agree limits on emissions, but experts see little new.”

Stanway continues:

For China, the targets add little to its existing commitments to wean itself off carbon, environmental experts said.  ‘The statement is an upbeat signal to motivate other countries, but the timeline China has committed to is not a binding target,’ said Li Junfeng, an influential Chinese climate policy adviser linked to China’s state planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission.

There is also the little obstacle of Congress.  Republicans take control of the Senate in January.  Majorities in both the House and Senate will be opposed to the Obama Administration’s climate agenda.  It seems certain that they will be even more opposed to the new 26% cut by 2025 goal than they are to the 17% by 2020 goal.  My guess is that there will be votes on a resolution disavowing President Obama’s new commitments in both the House and Senate early in the 114th Congress.

That would complicate the State Department’s plans to announce its commitments that will be part of the Paris accord by the end of March.  In fact, if the House and Senate do disavow the deal with China, it would be a major international embarrassment to President Obama and would be a severe blow to the chances for a significant agreement in Paris in December 2015.

Reactions to Obama-Xi Climate Agreement

Among many insightful commentaries on the O-Xi deal, I recommend my CEI colleague Chris Horner’s post on GlobalWarming.org on the potential legal consequences and Rupert Darwall’s post on National Review Online on the economic consequences.  The Onion had the best headline: “China Vows To Begin Aggressively Falsifying Air Pollution Numbers.”

The establishment press and leftist columnists were ecstatic.  Here’s a sample.  New York Times editorial headline: “A major breakthrough on climate change.”  Washington Post editorial headline: “A landmark climate deal.”  Paul Krugman in the NY Times: “We have a deal, and it’s pretty big.”  Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed: “A game-changing climate deal.” And Al Gore’s group, the Climate Reality Project, began its e-mail on the O-Xi deal: “Climate wins don’t come much bigger.”

Politico reporter Michael Grunwald damped down the enthusiasm in a long article that points out the agreement was “just words.”  Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani gave Politico this pithy analysis:  "We have plans to continue to reduce emissions and we have agreed to continue to increase those plans to reduce emissions. And we have, over the years, shown our good faith by actually doing that.  So, that's our quid. What's the pro quo? They're going to continue to emit carbon and then after 16 years, they're going to freeze that emission, as far as I can tell, at the level they bring it up to in 16 years.”   Investor’s Business Daily had a good editorial slamming the deal that included a useful graph.   

Republican leaders in Congress were quick to announce that the President’s climate deal with China didn’t stand a chance in Congress.  Senator James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) called it a charade.  And here is Senator Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) reaction.  Inhofe will become chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee in January.  McConnell will become majority leader of the Senate.  

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.