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Category — Climate policy

EPA’s CO2 Power Grab: Economic Consequences (Part 3)

“The climate change adaption program could make EPA a powerful master that could dictate to all departments in the government. Already the Department of Energy, Department of Interior, Department of Agriculture, and Department of Defense have numerous programs that promote President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.”

At her public announcement June 2, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy made the following comments about the economic consequences of the Clean Power Plan:

I know people are wondering: can we cut pollution while keeping our energy affordable and reliable? We can, and we will. Critics claim your energy bills will skyrocket.  They’re wrong.  Any small, short-term change in electricity prices would be within normal fluctuations the power sector already deals with.  And any small price increase—think about the price of a gallon of milk a month—is dwarfed by huge benefits. This is an investment in better health and a better future for our kids.

Here is her math:

In 2030, the Clean Power Plan will deliver climate and health benefits of up to $90 billion dollars.  And for soot and smog reductions alone, that means for every dollar we invest in the plan, families will see $7 dollars in health benefits. And if states are smart about taking advantage of efficiency opportunities, and I know they are, when the effects of this plan are in place in 2030, average electricity bills will be 8 percent cheaper.

Bottom line? [Read more →]

July 11, 2014   No Comments

Fighting Executive Fiat on Climate

“EPA’s actions routinely violate the Information Quality Act…. The closed circle of well-paid ‘peer reviewers’ employed by EPA, coupled with its close relationships with numerous Big Green environmentalist pressure groups, hardly satisfies [IQA] requirements. Worse, EPA consistently drags its feet on responses to FOIA requests….”

The Food and Drug Administration requires that companies seeking approvals of medical product meet high standards for the quality, integrity, and transparency of data and information submitted in support of applications. Missing information means products won’t be approved; improprieties in studies or submissions mean companies and employees can face fines, jail, or other penalties.

What if the same standards applied to government agencies regarding the scientists and institutions they hired or utilized? Their taxpayer-supported work affects virtually every American.

Last year, according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Congress enacted 72 new laws, while federal agencies promulgated 3,659 new rules. The Code of Federal Regulations now stands at more than 175,000 pages. Each year, these rules cost American businesses and families $1.86 trillion – equal to a hidden $15,000 tax on every family. State and local jurisdictions add still more taxes and regulations.

More Regulation After Bad

It’s hardly surprising that America’s economy shrank by 1% the first quarter of 2014, our labor participation rate is a miserable 63% and real unemployment stands at 14% (and much worse for blacks and Hispanics). Keynesian economics did not work in the 1930s; and it has not worked in our time. Little wonder that a recent Gallup poll found that 56% of respondents said the economy, unemployment, and dissatisfaction with government was the most serious problems facing our nation – versus 3% who said environmental issues was the most important problem (with climate change only a small segment of that). [Read more →]

June 17, 2014   2 Comments

Warsaw Climate Talks Freshly Expose Real Agenda: Global Wealth Redistribution

The international global-warming theater is again in session. The doomed-from-the-start, out-of-time Kyoto Protocol of 2007 (“this agreement will be good for Enron stock!“) was followed by the failure of the Copenhagen Summit in 2009. The frequent flyers are now in Warsaw in hopes of making progress towards the Paris, France finale in December 2015 for a global agreement to–in the United Nations’ formulation–keep global temperatures from rising beyond 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.

To say that the confab is off to a slow start is an understatement. First, Poland (the sponsoring country) held a two day conference touting its home grown coal industry. Australia is on track to eliminate itssocialistic” carbon tax and cutting ‘green’ energy subsidies. And Japan declared its intention to deemphasize its CO2 reduction plans, adding “gloom” to the Warsaw conference.

All this comes on top of an inconvenient truth: European countries have failed to reduce CO2 emissions despite huge efforts that have impoverished electricity users and national treasuries. [Read more →]

November 19, 2013   2 Comments

‘Blowing Smoke’ at Obama CO2 Policy: POWER’s Peltier Retires in High Style

“Obama’s sloppy use of science was carefully crafted to gain public support for ‘carbon pollution’ as the source of climate change. Using the term 20 times in his speech, he again conflated carbon dioxide, which is essential to plant life on this planet, with anthropogenic emissions (particularly from coal-fired power plants) as the principal cause of climate change. This rhetorical trick should now be obvious to all who were listening closely (or reading the transcript, as I did).”

Robert Peltier, Dr. Peltier, has been many things in his life: professor, marine, policeman, electric utility manager, and scholar/writer. He is honest and a realist, which led him to the free-market side of the energy debate.

Peltier has written a number of posts for MasterResource over the years (see Appendix A). We hope to hear from him in the future if his retirement priorities allow.

Here is Peltier’s final editorial from the August issue of POWER. Enjoy–and let’s hope Robert adds his weight to the coming free-market correction of errant state and federal energy policies premised on energy and climate alarmism. [Read more →]

September 27, 2013   1 Comment

Is the Carbon Tax Seance Over? (A reality check for a trumped-up ‘conservative’ cause)

When asked if a carbon tax was preferable to EPA regulations on greenhouse gases, David Kreutzer, a research fellow with the Heritage Foundation who sat on yesterday’s panel, described the question as a trap.

It’s like asking me what’s the most humane way to execute innocent people …. When conservatives talk about a carbon tax, the headline says, “Conservative supports carbon tax,” So I’m not going to be drawn into this fantasy world where we speculate on what might happen when we know it won’t, when it gives people ammo to misrepresent what I said.

So no, a carbon tax is not preferable to EPA regulations.

- Evan Lehmann, “Conservatives Attack Each Other Over Carbon Tax Plans,” ClimateWire, July 18, 2013.

“[Ken] Green delighted his mostly conservative audience by comparing a carbon tax to a vampire who must be staked, beheaded and sprinkled over water — ‘preferably holy water’.”

- Jean Chemnick, “Panel Urges Conservatives to ‘Just Say No’ to Carbon Tax,” Energy & Environment Daily, July 18, 2013.

Last week, the Institute for Energy Research (IER) held a panel event in Washington, “A U.S. Carbon Tax: The Rest of the Story,” featuring four critics of such a levy:

Robert Murphy, Senior Economist, Institute for Energy Research

Ross McKitrick, Professor of Economics at the University of Guelph, Ontario;

Kenneth Green, Senior Director of Energy and Natural Resource Studies at the Fraser Institute; and

David Kreutzer, Research Fellow in Energy Economics and Climate Change, Heritage Foundation.

Opening Comments

I moderated the panel for IER (I am founder and CEO of the organization). My comments attempted to put the current tax debate in perspective: [Read more →]

July 22, 2013   4 Comments

IMF’s Carbon Tax Shenanigans: Part I

 The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently published a report urging the world’s governments to “reform” energy subsidies estimated at $1.9 trillion in 2011. Eliminating government policies designed to rig markets in favor of particular energy companies or industries is a worthy goal. Unfortunately, that’s not the agenda the IMF is pushing.

The IMF seeks to shame U.S. policymakers into enacting a carbon tax. Assuming $25 per ton as the “social cost of carbon” (SCC), the IMF claims the U.S. massively subsidizes coal, gas, and oil — simply by not taxing the carbon content of fuels. Our total energy subsidy is estimated to be $502 billion a year, making America the world’s biggest energy subsidizer!

Not Taxing = Subsidizing?

Some may find the IMF’s terminology counter-intuitive, even Orwellian — as if not taxing carbon is a subsidy on a par with cash payments to politically-preferred companies or industries funded at direct taxpayer or ratepayer expense. If we consider just those wealth transfers accomplished by specific acts of government intervention, fossil fuels are among the least subsidized energies in the U.S.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), in 2010, federal energy subsidies (including cash grants, targeted tax breaks, R&D support, and preferential loans) totaled $37.1 billion. Renewables ($14.674 billion), end-use subsidies such as LIHEAP ($8.241 billion), and conservation programs ($6.597 billion) received substantially more than coal ($1.358 billion), natural gas and petroleum liquids ($2.820 billion), and nuclear power ($2.499 billion).

More pertinently, observes the Institute for Energy Research, per unit of energy produced, subsidies for renewable energy vastly exceed those for fossil fuels. In the electric sector, for example, “solar is being subsidized by over 1200 times more than coal and oil and natural gas electricity production, and wind is being subsidized over 80 times more than the more conventional fossil fuels on a unit of production basis.”

Source: IER (based on EIA data)

Carbon-taxers disclaim any intent to pick energy-market winners and losers, but that is in fact the core function of a carbon tax. As with cap-and-trade, the policy objective is to handicap fossil energy and, thereby, “finally make renewable energy the profitable kind of energy in America,” as President Obama charmingly put it. [Read more →]

April 9, 2013   8 Comments

Politics: The Real Manmade Climate Crisis (Secretary Kerry, take note)

“Our real manmade climate crisis takes four closely related forms…. Influence peddling…. Politicized science, markets, and ethics… Climate eco-imperialism that impoverishes and kills…. Ready-made excuses for incompetence.”

In his first address as Secretary of State, John Kerry said we must safeguard “the most sacred trust” we owe to our children and grandchildren: “an environment not ravaged by rising seas, deadly superstorms, devastating droughts, and the other hallmarks of a dramatically changing climate.”

But hyperbole is getting stale even for a politician. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and British Meteorological Office now recognize that average global temperatures haven’t budged in almost 17 years. Little evidence suggests that sea level rise, storms, droughts or other weather and climate events or trends display any statistically significant difference from what Earth and mankind have experienced over the last 100-plus years. So Mr. Kerry’s dire warnings are on thin polar ice.

The middle-of-the-road view, in fact, is shifting toward global lukewarming, as Chip Knappenberger has documented at MasterResource. And courageous climatologists such as Judith Curry are asking the hard questions that are redefining the mainstream.

However, we do face imminent climate disasters. Global warming is the greatest moral issue of our time. We must do all we can to prevent looming climate catastrophes.

But those cataclysms have nothing to do with alleged human contributions to planetary climate systems that have always been chaotic, unpredictable and often disastrous: ice ages, little ice ages, dust bowls, droughts and monster storms that ravaged and sometimes even toppled cities and civilizations. [Read more →]

March 4, 2013   9 Comments

EPA Overlook: Improved Health & Welfare from Greenhouse Gas Emissions

“The [EPA] Proposal ignores the obvious association between increased GHG emissions and positive health and welfare benefits. GHG emissions and improving quality of life are associated because the economy runs on energy, and that energy is principally derived from fossil fuels.”

Several detailed and extensive comments were submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding their proposed Standards of Performance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions for New Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units documenting new and influential science that the EPA did not assess when issuing the proposed standards. Instead, EPA simply deferred to their Endangerment Finding that they issued in December 2009.

As yesterday’s post pointed out, a lot is new in the rapidly evolving field of climate (change) science, and thus the EPA Endangerment Finding is getting a bit stale—or should I say becoming “endangered.” A reassessment is sorely in order. After all, how long can you base new regulations on old science?

Here, I examine another aspect of the issue that was largely overlooked by the EPA—the benefits (not only costs) of manmade greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Several commentors point to the good to the public health and welfare that came about as a result of human greenhouse gas emissions—or more specifically, the energy whose production gave rise to the GHG emissions.

One such commentor was Peabody Energy Company, the world’s largest private-sector coal company and a “leader in sustainable mining and clean coal solutions.” Peabody wanted to make darn sure that the EPA recognized not only that access to fossil-fuel produced energy that improved peoples’ lives, but also that limiting access to it, as proposed by the EPA, would result in negative consequences to public health and welfare—the very thing that the EPA’s regulations were crafted to avoid.

Here I excerpt the section from Peabody Energy Company’s rather extensive comment to the EPA in which they lay out the basics for how GHG emissions are associated with public health benefits rather than impairment as concluded by the EPA. Couple these with other positive externalities from carbon dioxide and modest GHG-induced climate change, and it isn’t hard to see why the EPA’s 2009 Endangerment Finding is out of date and out of touch. [Read more →]

July 13, 2012   5 Comments

Fighting AGW Religion in North Carolina (sea-level-rise debate gets political)

What’s been happening recently in North Carolina (NC) is a microcosm of the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) story: politics versus science, ad-hominems versus journalism, evangelists versus pragmatists, etc.

The contentiousness is over one of the main AGW battlefields: sea-level rise (SLR). North Carolina happens to have a large amount of coastline and has become the U.S. epicenter for this issue.

Background

The brief version is that this began several years ago when a state agency, the Coastal Resources Commission (CRC), selected a 20± member “science panel” to do a scientific assessment of the NC SLR situation through 2100. This could have been a very useful project if there had been balance in the personnel selections, and the panel’s assessment adhered to scientific standards. Regrettably, neither happened and the project soon jumped the rails, landing in the political agenda ditch.

In their 2010 report, the panel concluded that NC should expect a 39-inch SLR by 2100. Their case was built around a 2007 paper by Stefan Rahmstorf, and was not encumbered by a single reference to a perspective different from Rahmstorf’s. Shortly after the report was released, state agencies started making the rounds of North Carolina coastal communities, putting them on notice that they would need to make BIG changes (elevating roads and bridges, re-zoning property, changing flood maps for insurance purposes, etc.).

My Involvement

As an independent scientist, I was solicited by my coastal county to provide a scientific perspective on this report. Even though I wasn’t a SLR expert, I could clearly see that this document was a classic case of Confirmation Bias, as it violated several scientific standards. But to get into the technical specifics I solicited the inputs of about 40 international SLR experts (oceanographers, etc.). [Read more →]

June 12, 2012   12 Comments

Asian Air Pollution Warms U.S More than Our GHG Emissions (More futility for U.S. EPA)

“The whims of foreign nations, not to mention Mother Nature, can completely offset any climate changes induced by U.S. greenhouse gas emissions reductions…. So, what’s the point of forcing Americans into different energy choices?”

A new study provides evidence that air pollution emanating from Asia will warm the U.S. as much or more than warming from U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The implication? Efforts by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (and otherwise) to mitigate anthropogenic climate change is moot.

If the future temperature rise in the U.S. is subject to the whims of Asian environmental and energy policy, then what sense does it make for Americans to have their energy choices regulated by efforts aimed at mitigating future temperature increases across the country—efforts which will have less of an impact on temperatures than the policies enacted across Asia?

Maybe the EPA should reconsider the perceived effectiveness of its greenhouse gas emission regulations—at least when it comes to impacting temperatures across the U.S.

New Study

A new study just published in the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters is authored by a team led by Haiyan Teng from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, in Boulder, Colorado. The paper is titled “Potential Impacts of Asian Carbon Aerosols on Future US Warming.”

Skipping the details of this climate modeling study and cutting to the chase, here is the abstract of the paper: [Read more →]

June 7, 2012   17 Comments