Cooler Heads Digest

Cooler Heads Digest

July 18, 2007

News

EU to Outlaw Sports Cars to Fight Global Warming?Doron Levin, Bloomberg, 10 July 2007

Are IPCC Climate Change Predictions Scientifically Valid?Tim Worstell, Adam Smith Institute Web Log, 12 July 2007

Enviros' Covert Global Warming StrategyPaul Chesser (of SPN member John Locke Foundation), Washington Times, 12 July 2007

Professor Makes African Case Against Emissions Reduction StrategiesKofi Benti, allafrica.com, 11 July 2007

Ethanol Mandates Push Up the Price of Ice CreamSuzy Jagger, Carl Mortished, The Times, 16 July 2007

Live Earth Hypocrisy Mark Steyn , Washington times, 17 July 2007

The Green InquisitionDeepak Lal , India 's Business Standard, 17 July 2007

Biofuels Boondoggle Poised to Starve the World's PoorestJavier Blas, Jenny Wiggens, Financial Times, 15 July 2007

 

Inside the Beltway

The House majority leadership is still trying to decide on what should be in an anti-energy package to bring to the floor before the August recess begins.  They are taking so long that it is now likely that it will be a fairly small package and will be announced, sent to the Rules Committee, and sent to the floor within just a few days.  The results of these rush jobs are always the same: slipshod legislative language, no one knowing the details of what's in the bill, and little time to mount opposition. 

Speaker Pelosi's package will certainly contain some version of the gasoline anti-price gouging provisions that have already passed the House and the Senate and the increased efficiency standards for all sorts of appliances, including light bulbs.  It will probably also include some version of the President's miracle fuel mandate that passed the Senate last month.  The current ethanol mandate of 7.5 billion gallons is already raising fuel and food prices, so increasing it to around 35 billion gallons is a disastrous mistake.  The final package may be relatively modest, but it's still going to increase energy prices significantly.

House Democrats are still arguing about the higher CAFÉ standards in the Senate-passed bill and about a renewable portfolio standard for electric utilities, which the Senate dropped.  There is also the messy business of adding a tax title to pay for all the new subsidies for renewables and energy efficiency.  The oil industry devoted a lot of effort to defeating the tax title in the Senate, the new taxes being aimed at them.  The tax title was dropped after a cloture vote, which requires sixty votes, failing narrowly.

Across the States

Last week, Florida 's Governor's Charlie Crist held a two-day conference on global warming.  Unfortunately, Governor Crist doesn't seem to understand the science behind global warming.  Crist stated, “Drought, endangered agriculture, violent storms, and changing sea levels , and their impact on Florida 's economy—these are just a few of the reason why we must take action.”  The problem with this statement is that the science does not show that climate change is going to cause more droughts in Florida, or that it is going to be harmful to agriculture, or that it is going to cause more violent storms.  In fact, a recent study found that global warming will cause weaker hurricanes.  Sea level is indeed rising, but the most recent research shows that sea level is rising at a slower rate today than it did 100 years ago. 

Despite not understanding the science, Crist decided to “do something” about climate change by signing three executive orders . The first order requires the state government to reduce their total greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2025.  The second order forces electrical utilities to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to 2000 levels by 2017, to 1990 levels by 2025, and 20 percent below 1990 by 2050.  The order also adopted California 's carbon dioxide motor vehicle standard, which requires a 22 percent reduction in vehicle emissions by 2012 and a 30 percent reduction by 2016.  This incredibly ambitious executive order also requires consumer appliances to be more energy-efficient and electricity companies to use renewable energy to produce 20 percent of the electricity in Florida by 2020.  The third order creates a partnership between Florida and England and Germany to allow Britons and Germans to come to Florida on vacation - oops, to “discuss and promote initiatives that broaden the Kyoto Protocol and reduce the emission of greenhouse gases beyond 2012.”  There has been no word on whether the Governor's regulation through executive orders actually carries the weight of law.  Stay tuned.

Around the World

India is heading down the adaptation route in its approach to dealing with global warming.  Its national policy, commissioned by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, will examine water conservation, forest replanting and energy efficiency, but will not consider mandatory cuts on carbon emissions.  As the developing nations attempt to square the circle of dealing with the possible effects of climate change with the need to lift billions rapidly out of poverty, the Indian model is likely to be the one they follow.

Meanwhile, the Alliance for Climate Protection has not yet released any figures for the amount of money raised by the Live Earth concerts, which were promised the week after the concerts.  With viewing figures falling massively short of the hyped 2 billion (see last issue), it is quite possible that the concerts missed their fundraising targets by some distance as well.

In the Home

In all of the talk of global-warming and the “solution” of “market-friendly” carbon-trading emissions credits—cap and trade—it's important to point out that emission allowances would not be “consumer-friendly.” 

The reason why consumers' prices would increase even if allowances to emit carbon dioxide are given away free of charge is counterintuitive.  It would seem that there should be no effect on the consumer, but consumers' prices actually increase whether the credits are sold or given away to industries. The Congressional Budget Office explains this phenomenon in their April 25, 2007 report :

 A common misconception is that freely distributing emission allowances to producers would prevent consumer prices from rising as a result of the cap.  Although producers would not bear out-of-pocket cost for allowances they were given, using those allowances would create an “opportunity cost” for them because it would mean forgoing the income that they could earn by selling the allowances. Producers would pass that opportunity cost on to their customers in the same way that they would pass along actual expenses.

The exception to this scenario is if allowances are given to electricity generators whose rates are set by regulations, who are, therefore, prevented from passing the opportunity cost along to consumers.  In every other case, free credits equal higher prices to consumers.

News You Can Use India's Refuge Trap

India is building a 2,000 mile fence along its border with Bangladesh The fence has received scant media attention, which is strange given its sinister purpose. By building this fence, India hopes to keep out the millions of expected refugees fleeing low lying Bangladesh because of rises in sea level caused by global warming.

Remember this next time Al Gore berates a western audience for its failure to address the “moral issue of our time” – global warming.

Action Item: Is a Covert Green Group Working in Your State to Enact Climate Change Policy without Debate?

On 12 July 2007, the Washington Times printed an op-ed by John Locke Foundation investigative reporter Paul Chesser.

Paul documents the way environmental foundation money is paying for an environmental front group, the Center for Climate Strategies, to influence governors and state legislative leaders in many states guised as a neutral consulting firm. Using the global climate crisis as the wedge, the process justifies the entire environmentalist policy agenda: smart growth, higher gas taxes, higher utility rates to pay for renewable energy, etc.

Please take the time to read Paul's article here .

The John Locke Foundation has first hand experience with this in North Carolina . If the Center for Climate Strategies is working in your state, and you have questions or need information about this group and its actions, please call Michael Sanera, Research Director and Local Government Analyst, or Roy Cordato, VP for Research, at the John Locke Foundation (919 828 3876).