October 16, 2015
India’s Business Standard reported that the Indian government is not happy with the new “first draft” negotiating text of the Paris climate treaty that was released on 6th October. Nitin Sethi’s 14th October story says that India’s negotiators have concluded that, “It ignores many submissions by developing countries, breaches India's non-negotiable red lines and is inimical to the country's interests at the talks.”
India’s main complaint is the latest re-iteration of the line in the sand drawn by the G-77, the group of 135 developing countries that often negotiate as a bloc. The G-77 insists that the “...
President Obama: Foreign Policy Disasters in Middle East Are Small Potatoes Compared to Forthcoming Paris Climate Treaty TriumphOctober 16, 2015
CBS’s Sixty Minutes on 11th October aired Steve Kroft’s interview of President Barack Obama. The most heated part of the interview concerned the administration’s disastrous foreign policy in the Middle East and Russia’s intervention in Syria. At its climax, Steve Kroft said: “He's [Putin’s] challenging your leadership, Mr. President. He's challenging your leadership—” President Obama interrupted: “Well Steve, I got to tell you, if you think that running your economy into the ground and having to send troops in in order to prop up your only ally is leadership, then we've got a different definition of leadership. My definition of leadership would be leading on climate change, an international accord that potentially we'll get in Paris.”
The President’s remarks can be seen...
October 9, 2015
The co-chairmen of UN negotiations on the forthcoming Paris climate treaty released what they called a “first draft,” which they said will serve as “a concise basis for negotiations for the next negotiating sessions from October 19-23 in Bonn. The new twenty-page draft is a slimmed down version of much longer drafts released in February and July.
As Andrew Revkin points out on his New York Times blog, the new draft is a lot shorter, but it is still riddled with brackets that enclose text that has been suggested during the negotiations by one or...
October 9, 2015
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change elected Dr. Hoesung Lee as its new chairman at its meeting in Dubrovnik, Croatia, this week. Dr. Lee, who is currently one of the IPCC’s three vice chairmen, defeated five other candidates. Dr. Lee replaces two-term IPCC Chairman Rajendra K. Pachauri, who resigned in disgrace in February.
Dr. Lee is professor of the economics of climate change, energy, and sustainable development at Korea University. In an informative interview with the Carbon Brief, he said, “If you ask me to choose the most important work in climate change issues, then I'll choose carbon price. That's because it is the driver to put us into the right track.”...
October 9, 2015
The House of Representatives passed a bill on October 9, 2015, to lift the forty-year-old ban on crude oil exports by a vote of 261 to 159. Twenty-six Democrats joined 235 Republicans in voting "yes" on H.R. 702, which was sponsored by Representative Joe Barton (R-Tex.). Six Republicans and 153 Democrats voted "no".
An obscure provision to raise authorized funding to subsidize U.S.-flagged merchant ships that can be commandeered for military purposes was added to H.R. 702 by Republican leadership in order to increase Democratic support. That caused at least two conservative groups, Heritage Action and Freedom Works, to withdraw their support for the bill.
Although the bill or a similar bill has a good...
October 2, 2015
The Environmental Protection Agency on 18th September charged that Volkswagen had sold approximately 480,000 diesel cars in the U. S. that contained “defeat devices” that allowed them to pass EPA’s emissions tests, while pollution levels increased by up to forty times in normal driving. VW quickly admitted they had cheated and had sold 11 million vehicles worldwide with the devices. The company set aside $7.6 billion to pay for penalties, recalls, and liability judgments, but many analysts thought that the total costs would eventually be much higher.
VW cheated because they are caught between regulations to reduce pollution and regulations to increase fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Meeting both these...
Professor Who Advocates Criminalizing Global Warming Skepticism Has Taken $63 Million in Federal GrantsOctober 2, 2015
In early September, twenty professors sent a letter President Barack Obama, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and White House science adviser John Holdren that congratulates the President on his climate policies to raise energy prices and impoverish Americans and then urges that another tool be used to save the planet: criminalize opponents of global warming alarmism. Here is the key request in the letter:
“We appreciate that you are making aggressive and imaginative use of the limited tools available to you in the face of a recalcitrant Congress. One additional tool—recently proposed by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse [D-RI]—is a RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) investigation of corporations and other organizations that have knowingly deceived...
October 2, 2015
The Environmental Protection Agency released its final rule to reduce ozone levels on 1st October. The current National Ambient Air Quality Standard of 75 parts per billion will be reduced to 70 parts per billion.
The new 70 parts per billion limit will cost hundreds of billions of dollars in compliance costs, but major industry groups took some satisfaction in the fact that it wasn’t worse. Then-EPA Administrator Richard Windsor (aka Lisa Jackson) in 2011 proposed 65 ppb. The White House then decided to delay that rule until after the 2012 elections because the potential costs were so colossal that the issue could have threatened President Obama’s re-election.
The final rule will undoubtedly be litigated by environmental pressure groups and by industry groups. The environmental groups will have a strong case that the standard should be lowered to 65 ppb at the...
September 25, 2015
President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping issued a three-and-a-half page joint statement on climate change on 25th September during the Chinese leader’s state visit to Washington, DC. This follows the climate agreement that Presidents Obama and Xi made on 12th November 2014 when Obama visited China.
>Both leaders commit “to work together and with others toward an ambitious, successful Paris outcome” that makes progress toward keeping the increase in the global mean temperature below 2 degrees centigrade. “Paris outcome” refers to the new international agreement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol that is currently being negotiated and is due to be signed at COP-21 (the seventeenth Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on...
Pope Francis Barely Mentions Climate Change in Speeches at the United Nations, Congress, and the White HouseSeptember 25, 2015
Pope Francis cooled his rhetoric on climate change and the need to de-industrialize the world in order to help the poor in his three speeches to political bodies during his first trip to the United States this past week. Francis and his Vatican entourage arrived direct from Cuba on 22nd September at Andrews Air Force Base, where he was greeted by President and Mrs. Obama.
Appearing the next morning on the White House lawn with the President, the Pope said, “I find it encouraging that you are proposing an initiative for reducing air pollution. Accepting the urgency, it seems clear to me also that climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation.”