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OpenMarket: Energy and Environment

  • May Common Sense Prevail: New York Delays Enforcement of Plastic Bag Ban

    February 28, 2020
    New York State’s ban on single-use plastic grocery bags was slated to start on Monday, March 1st, but a state court has just put a hold off on enforcing the ban at least until April, which is good news.  As I’ve noted many times, such bans are counter-productive because replacement products are worse for the environment, requiring more energy and making more pollution that the thin and convenient plastic bags. Bans also needlessly harm small businesses.
  • Appeals Court Rules Heathrow Expansion Unlawful, Citing Paris Climate Treaty

    February 28, 2020

    The UK Court of Appeals on February 27th declared unlawful the Department of Transport’s approval of Heathrow Airport’s expansion plans, because the government “had not taken into account its own firm policy commitments on climate change under the Paris agreement.”

    Several major news outlets posted same-day articles on the story including the UK Guardian,...

  • Report Misconstrues SAFE Rule 'Rollbacks'

    February 20, 2020
    A recent Rhodium Group report purports to show by the numbers that the fuel economy “rollbacks” effected by the Trump administration’s forthcoming Safer Affordable Fuel Efficient (SAFE) Vehicle rule are “significant” both in terms of “greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions abatement and costs to drivers.” In fact, the numbers reveal the insignificance of the SAFE rule’s GHG impacts. Furthermore, the report’s analysis of consumer costs is one-sided and, thus, potentially misleading.
  • House Republican Leaders Introduce Pointless, Costly, But Virtue-Signaling Climate Legislation

    February 15, 2020
    House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and several senior Republicans announced they were going to introduce four bills to address climate change. On the bright side, none of the bills includes a tax on carbon dioxide emissions or mandatory targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. On the dark side, the four bills propose to waste a lot of taxpayer dollars and extend subsidies for commercially uncompetitive technologies.
  • Study Finds Strong Acceleration in Ocean Circulation

    February 14, 2020
    As part of its “Climate in Crisis” series, NBC News on February 11 reported the results of a new study on “the undersea conveyor belts that help regulate Earth’s climate and influence weather systems around the world.” To quote the headline: “Climate change models predicted ocean currents would speed up—but not this soon.” Yet, in the mid-2000s, many inferred planetary peril from an apparent slowdown in the North Atlantic conveyor belt.
  • Trump Wants Less Federal Meddling in Home Energy Use, but Some in Congress Want More

    February 13, 2020
    Federal energy efficiency standards have a long history of unintended adverse consequences, from more expensive light bulbs with questionable light quality to dishwashers that take hours to finish a load. Putting the federal government in charge of residential building codes would give us more of the same.
  • House Panel Hears Testimony on USE IT Act

    February 7, 2020
    On February 6, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change held a hearing on the Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies (USE IT) Act, which seeks to incentivize research, development, demonstration, and deployment of carbon capture, utilization, and storage projects. Although the bill is bipartisan and relies on incentives, it is not a genuine compromise between Republicans’ emphasis on innovation and Democrats’ emphasis on regulation.
  • Fuel Economy Chaos - What Is it, Who Caused it, What's the Cure

    February 5, 2020
    Automakers wanted easier rules and got more than they had the courage to ask for in the Trump administration’s Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Motor Vehicle rule: repeal of California’s unlawful power to threaten their bottom lines.
  • House Energy and Commerce Democrats Release Omnibus Climate Bill

    February 3, 2020
    Senior Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee released a discussion draft of their omnibus climate bill on January 28. The draft bill begins by declaring that “it is the national goal for the United States to achieve a 100% clean economy by not later than 2050.” A 100% clean economy is later defined as “net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, or negative greenhouse gas emissions.”
  • Worst-Case Emissions Scenario RCP8.5 Is Dead: BBC

    February 1, 2020
    BBC News last week rang down the curtain on the climate science fraternity’s long running malpractice of projecting climate change impacts using a worst-case emissions scenario as if it were a business-as-usual scenario.

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