Cooler Heads Digest
The Cooler Heads Coalition invites you to a congressional staff and media briefing on "European Progress on Reducing Global Warming Emissions: A View from Italy of the Kyoto Protocol," with Benedetto Della Vedova, member of the Italian Parliament and president of the Liberal Reform Party.
Tuesday, October 9th
Room 406, Senate Dirksen Office Building
Please RSVP by e-mail to Julie Walsh at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, please call Myron Ebell at (202) 331 2256
Paul Davidson, USA Today, 4 October 2007
London Evening Standard, 3 October 2007
Alan Caruba, NewsReleaseWire.com, 2 October 2007
Aurthur Laffer & Wayne Winegarden, Financial Post, 2 October 2007
Celia W. Dugger, New York Times, 29 September 2007
Deborah Corey Barnes, Human Events, 3 October 2007
AFP, 29 September 2007
Ben Lieberman, NRO, 28 September 2007
Dan Morgan, Washington Post, 28 September 2007
Iain Murray, NRO, 28 September 2007
Jonathan Adler, NRO, 28 September 2007
Jeff Mason, Reuters, 27 September 2007
Marlo Lewis, NRO, 26 September 2007
Inside the Beltway
CEI’s Myron Ebell
Congress's apparent lack of activity since coming back from the August recess threatens to be replaced by a feverish amount of activity. Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has released his plan for a carbon tax. It would put a 50 cents a gallon tax on gasoline and a tax of 50 dollars per ton of carbon dioxide on coal, oil, and natural gas. As my more expert colleague, Marlo Lewis, reads the proposal, the gasoline tax and the carbon tax would both be levied on gasoline, so this adds up to roughly one dollar per gallon of gas.
Dingell and Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.), Chairman of the Air Quality Subcommittee, have also released a white paper on cap-and-trade schemes to reduce greenhouse emissions. They state that their goal is to enact a cap-and-trade that would reduce emissions by 60 to 80 per cent by 2050. Dingell at least supports both his carbon tax and cap-and-trade.
Over in the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced that he hopes to be able this week to appoint conferees to negotiate a deal on the Senate and House anti-energy bills passed this summer.
But that's not the worst news out of the Senate by a long ways. The UN Law of the Sea Treaty (or LOST), which President Reagan locked in a closet in the attic, is back. Senator Joe Biden (D-Del.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, held a hearing last week and is holding another this week. Ranking Republican Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) is a strong supporter. And the Bush Administration is working hard for ratification. So are the admirals at the Pentagon.
It might surprise you to learn that enviro-litigators would use the Law of the Sea to force the United States to comply with the Kyoto Protocol. Read more below (Action Item: How LOST is a Backdoor Kyoto) about how you can help defeat LOST.
Around the world
CEI’s Marlo Lewis
The big question facing international climate negotiators is what will replace or follow the Kyoto Protocol when its emission reduction targets expire at the end of 2012.
To help shape the successor treaty to Kyoto, President Bush last week hosted a meeting of the world’s 16 largest greenhouse gas emitters. At the conference, Bush once again declined to Europeanize U.S. climate policy. The Europeans want a treaty that toughens Kyoto’s emission reduction targets and extends Kyoto’s cap-and-traded system to more countries. Bush, in contrast, called for an agreement that defines a long-term emission reduction “goal” and then lets each country “design its own separate strategies” for moving “towards” the goal based on “each country's different energy resources, different stages of development, and different economic needs.”
Bush said the major emitters’ “guiding principle is clear: We must lead the world to produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and we must do it in a way that does not undermine economic growth or prevent nations from delivering greater prosperity for their people.”
Well, yes and no. Few countries are willing to undermine their own economic growth to reduce emissions, but some relish the prospect of using climate treaties to undermine U.S. economic growth.
Several factors give European firms a competitive advantage under Kyoto, which measures emission reductions against a 1990 baseline. First, the UK and Germany each achieved huge one-time emission reductions in the 1990s through actions largely unrelated to environmental concern. The UK electric sector switched from subsidized coal to lower-carbon free-market natural gas. Germany shut down obsolete, inefficient Stalin-era power plants and steel mills in the former East Germany. Kyoto allows these one-time reductions to count against the EU’s total. Other factors operating in Europe’s favor include low-to-negative population growth and lackluster economic performance during the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Thus, it is not surprising that Yale University economist William Nordhaus calculated that Kyoto would impose higher compliance costs on the United States than on all other industrialized countries—Europe, Canada, Japan, and Russia—combined. Given Kyoto’s impotence as climate policy—it would avert a hypothetical and unverifiable 0.07C of warming by 2050—Kyoto is largely an EU trade strategy masquerading as an environmental treaty.
In the Home
CEi's Julie Walsh
The reality is, we would have much lower CO2 emissions right now if it weren’t for the anti-growth, environmental obstructionists. This is because the coal plants built today are up to 90% more efficient than the 60’s and 70’s coal plants currently in operation; therefore, it doesn’t take a mathematician to see that allowing the old plants to be replaced with new ones reduces total emissions. But the greens don’t want any coal-fired plants.
However, all the wishful thinking of myopic environmentalists isn’t going to create a solar or wind industry overnight to replace the 50% of our energy needs that coal provides. And contrary to Do-as-I-say-and-not-as-I-do Gore’s belief, we Americans are not going to stop using our air conditioners and build sod houses.
Allowing practicality to replace unrealistic expectations would allow the “cleaner” coal plants of today to be built and our CO2 emissions to be significantly lower.
LOST, the Backdoor Kyoto
There are many serious objections to LOST, but one of the chief is that it provides a backdoor route to implementing UN environmental treaties, including the Kyoto protocol.
Here's how I think it would work. Adding CO2 to the atmosphere will increase the acidity of the oceans as some of the added CO2 is absorbed by the oceans. Some biological scientists have predicted dire consequences from increasing acidification. (These effects, by the way, are a direct effect of more CO2 and are unrelated to whether or not CO2 causes any global warming.)
Complaints could be filed with one of the international tribunals created by LOST. If the tribunal decided that CO2 emissions were damaging the oceans, then the tribunal could decide that those emissions must be reduced. While most countries would probably just give lip service to this edict, such a response is not possible in the U. S.
According to the Constitution, ratified treaties have the same force as the Constitution. Under our citizen lawsuit provisions, a private citizen, such as an environmental pressure group, could then go to federal court and force the federal government to enforce the ruling of the LOST tribunal. The ruling could go far beyond the emissions reduction targets and timetables in the Kyoto Protocol.
For your quick reference, here are links to up-to-date reports detailing how this proposed Treaty’s global tax mechanism would touch American citizens without their consent; how the proposed Treaty will undermine our sovereignty, impede our entrepreneurship, and provide a door for international environmental “activists” to hurt our prosperity and our property rights. Again, all this has been done without our consent.
If this sounds like scary stuff, it is. It is imperative that we stop LOST in its tracks.
To that end, we are helping to circulate a joint letter to build grassroots opposition to the treaty. Find the letter here
Please email us your decision on signing: email@example.com
Call for Content
Have stories we may want to include in our weekly news roundup? Is your organization working on something other members of the Coalition might be interested in? Let us know by contacting William Yeatman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you or your organization is working on energy or global warming policy, please use CEI as a resource. Contact William Yeatman at email@example.com.