Tag: climate change

The NAM Challenges EPA’s Endangerment Finding

Late Friday, the National Association of Manufacturers and a number of other parties filed a legal brief challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s finding that greenhouse gases threaten public health (the so-called endangerment finding).

The NAM’s Vice President for Litigation Quentin Riegel talks about the case below:

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For Manufacturing, Jobs, a New Approach on Climate and Energy

I’m going to be looking for other means of addressing this problem. Cap and trade was one way to skin the cat.

President Barack Obama, White House news conference, Nov. 3

John Engler, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, excerpts from conference call with reporters, Nov. 3, his response to a question from a BNA reporter about climate legislation and regulation in the wake of the 2010 elections:

I think and would expect the Republican majority in the House to be more aggressive in asserting congressional prerogative to make the policy in these areas and not simply accept the idea that in the 1970s it was ceded over to the EPA before some of these issues were even publically being discussed.

So I think the [Sen. Jay] Rockefeller proposal on the two-year funding pause for the endangerment regulations has much stronger support today than it would have had when it failed in the Senate.

Audio of Engler’s full answer to the question here. News coverage included:

Responding to a question from a Washington Post reporter, Engler said:

There is certainly more that can be done. Manufacturing, we look at it from our standpoint, we use a third of the electricity, we want to be energy efficient. We want to be able to take and have affordable energy so we can manufacturer here, and we want to be able to manage a transition to whatever the future holds over a long period of time. (continue reading…)

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Maybe Because It Was a Bad Idea?

The Washington Post’s editorial page is at its most scolding tendentiousness when it comes to climate and energy issues. Today one of the editorial writers responsible for the tone, Stephen Stromberg, deputy opinions editor, perfects the approach in a bylined op-ed, “What sank the Senate’s climate bill.” Posing the question, “Who killed the climate bill?” he observes that Senate Democratic leaders chose not to hold a vote on the legislation and some environmentalists blame compromise-minded Senators for the bill’s demise. Stromberg concludes:

But the real answer is simpler: Too many senators have little, if any, incentives to pass climate policy that’s rational in the long term and good for the country as a whole.

Let’s explore another possibility: Too many senators have little, if any, incentives to pass climate policy that’s irrational in the long term and bad for the country as a whole.

Isn’t it possible?

Perhaps Senators studied the economic analyses that concluded the Waxman-Markey bill’s regulations, government programs and more expensive energy would destroy millions of jobs and reduce economic growth.

Senators possibly chose caution after reading accounts of the politicized climate science, e.g., the Climategate e-mail scandal.

Senators might have been reluctant to accelerate the federal government’s growing control of the private sector, believing that solutions to greenhouse gas emissions are more likely to come from new technology and efficiencies produced by the free market.

It is possible that some Americans — including Senators — believe higher energy prices are not a good thing, are not “rational.” They may even argue that point of view in good faith.

Maybe, just maybe, Senators thought passing a climate bill was a bad idea.

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Throwing Another Bill Into the Climate Mix

Roll Call, “ Kerry Sparks Fight on Climate“:

In an already challenging election year for the majority, Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) rush to pass a climate change bill has many Democrats scratching their heads and charging that their 2004 presidential nominee could further imperil vulnerable Members this fall.

Climate change had been considered all but dead this year, and Senate Democrats have little appetite to take up the controversial issue after the beating that they have endured over their as-yet-unfinished health care reform efforts.

The Hill, “Sen. Kerry lobbies for climate compromise; actual bill to come“:

The three senators writing compromise climate legislation are lobbying business groups in hopes of winning their support for the effort. One obstacle: the absence of an actual bill…[snip]

As he tries to sell the legislation, Kerry is de-emphasizing its relation to climate change.

“What we are talking about is a jobs bill. It is not a climate bill. It is a jobs bill, and it is a clean air bill. It is a national security, energy independence bill,” he told reporters in the Capitol this week.

A national security, energy independence bill? Really?

From The Anchorage Daily News, “Lieberman to Murkowski: Forget ANWR drilling“:

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski said Wednesday that opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling might be the price of her swing vote in favor of energy and climate legislation. But The Hill reports today that Sen. Joe Lieberman — a longtime opponent of ANWR drilling — says ANWR drilling would be a “deal breaker” in his attempt to craft a bipartisan climate bill.

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An Almost Atmospheric Void

Sometimes the biggest story is what’s not reported.

Listening this morning to WAMU radio, the local NPR affiliate, we heard a brief report on the World Economic Forum in Davos from “Marketplace Morning Report,” reprising the longer story from Tuesday. Movers and shakers gather, economy a major concern.

Then the lead story in the second hour of “Morning Edition,” the NPR news magazine, touting results of its new poll, “NPR Poll Shows Vulnerability Of Obama, Democrats“:

Wednesday night’s State of the Union speech is an opportunity for President Obama to reconnect to voters who are frustrated about the state of the economy and the progress he’s been making toward fulfilling his campaign promises.

The president has said he’ll talk about economic growth — the top priority for voters, according to a new survey conducted by Republican Glen Bolger and Democrat Stan Greenberg. The poll of 800 likely voters also finds that opinion has soured on Obama’s No. 1 legislative priority this year: an overhaul of the country’s health care system.

Topics were health care, the economy, jobs, and President Obama’s tax on banks, all in a political context.

What happened to climate change? You know, global warming?

Just a month ago, President Obama delivered a call to action in Copenhagen. “The time for talk is over,” he declared.

Apparently so.

From the NPR report, the “Top Issues” pie chart, illustrating responses to the question, “Which ONE of the following issues do you think the president and Congress should be paying most attention to? Is it ...”

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A Good Discussion of Energy Policy, and a Call for a ‘Reset’

The American Petroleum Institute and Newsweek magazine sponsored a panel discussion Tuesday at the U.S. Capitol, “Climate and Energy Policy: Moving?” Moderated by Newsweek’s Howard Fineman, the forum proved a good opportunity to hear from policymakers — Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), and Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) — as well as Jack Gerard, head of the API.

The transcript of the discussion has now been posted here. We especially appreciated Jack’s calm and fact-filled presentation on the economic importance of the energy industry and the potential harm that would come from passing cap-and-trade legislation. In responding to Rep. Markey defense of Waxman-Markey, Gerard argued:

The Chairman identified his bill as market-oriented. We believe it’s anything but. In fact, that bill has already picked the winners and the losers. Unfortunately, those who consume fuels in this country like gas, diesel, et cetera, are the clear losers. We’re held accountable, responsible for 44 percent of all emissions and given 2 percent of the allowances.

Who do you think is going to bear the cost of the bill at the end of the day? And that’s why the vast majority of all economic analyses point out that we’re probably close to 2 million jobs being lost in this country as a result of the bill. We don’t believe it’s market-oriented at all.

Secondarily, consumer-focused. Same point. If you’re imposing tremendous burden on the consumers, where you’re driving their gasoline price, estimates based on EIA data, governmental data, will drive it close to $5 a gallon in the current marketplace. We believe that’s excessive and it hurts consumers.

Last point, job creator. …Every major economic analysis of the House-passed bill shows job destruction. Some are as high as multi-millions. We don’t think this bill is a job creator. We believe it’s far from it, and we believe that’s one of the key reasons why we really need to reset. Look at all the great ideas that many have, including the Chairman, and come back with a new start to get us someplace with an energy policy and a climate policy that can be integrated and work for the United States.

The one odd point about the 90-minute discussion is no one raised the issue of Climategate, that is, the documents from the Climatic Research Unit of East Anglia University that show a politicization and manipulation of research used to promote cap-and-trade legislation. Seems like an important element in a policy debate. But then, the major media have also been less than diligent in tackling the scandal.

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More Climate Calumny

The Washington Post’s editorial policy, or at least its editors, must think it’s OK for the paper’s employees to compare people who question whether anthropogenic global warming is occurring to those who deny that an historic evil, the Holocaust, took place. How else to explain columnist Dana Milbank’s slurs yesterday followed by Tom Toles’ cartoon today featuring a “climate change denier?”

The term is an ugly attempt to silence people who disagree with the so-called scientific consensus. Newspapers should be supporters of robust public debate, and the yet the Post countenances the calumny. Very sad.

P.S. As a commenter on the Toles cartoon notes, how interesting that the insult used to be “global warming denier” and now it’s “climate change denier.” Well, of course the climate is always changing. No one denies that.

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It’s the Kerry-Boxer Bill? Not Boxer-Kerry? Huh…

From The New York Times, Climate Wire, “Kerry Gives Dems Chance to Frame Climate Debate Around Security“:

John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) both say there is little to read into the fact that Kerry is listed as the lead sponsor of the global warming bill (pdf) the pair unveiled Wednesday.

But perceptions are another thing, and there are certainly reasons for why Kerry got top billing ahead of Boxer, the chairwoman of the committee with lead jurisdiction over the climate change agenda. The decision also leaves some observers asking who will be in charge moving forward.

Really a fascinating insider piece on the politics of climate change legislation, or rather, the authorship of climate change legislation.

One possible factor the reporter might have missed: Sen. Boxer is running for re-election in 2010, and her potential opponent, Republican state Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, supports expanded energy development and voted against the California global warming bill, AB 32. Former Vice President Al Gore has already sent a fundraising letter for Boxer attacking DeVore on climate change. So moving her to second billing might have some political calculations.

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Boxer-Kerry Cap-and-Trade Bill: Embrace the Blanks!

From The New York Times, “Senators’ Climate Draft Mirrors House Bill, With Some Exceptions“:

Both the early draft and the Boxer-Kerry bill due for release tomorrow will leave blank key information about how the senators intend to distribute hundreds of billions of dollars in emission allowances. Following the path of Democratic leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, those figures will come next month when Boxer releases a chairman’s mark of the bill before an EPW Committee markup.

For advocates of the legislation to establish government control over carbon dioxide the overriding concern is not this provision or that, but getting the tax and regulatory regime in place. First, enact the law, and later on you can make the targets, limits and charges more onerous.

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Senate May Attempt to Restructure Economy Only Once in 2009

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Tuesday downplayed the prospects for Senate action on cap-and-trade climate legislation this year. From The New York Times, “2010? Reid’s Comments Add Uncertainty to Climate Vote’s Timing “:

Reid had suggested that the global warming legislation could be tossed to the sidelines because of a packed legislative agenda that includes equally bruising battles over health care and Wall Street reform.

“So, you know, we are going to have a busy, busy time the rest of this year,” Reid said. “And, of course, nothing terminates at the end of this year. We still have next year to complete things if we have to.”

The odds of Congress acting on what amounts to a major new tax on energy seems unlikely during an election year. The Times also quotes Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND), a member of the Democratic leadership, who is up for re-election in 2010 in North Dakota, an energy-producing state: “I think its increasingly difficult to have a climate change bill done before the end of the year.” (Reid is also up for election.)

Maybe this will swing the debate: “Sweden Urges US Senate To Pass Climate Bill“:

STOCKHOLM — Sweden’s environment minister urged the U.S. Senate on Monday to pass legislation to control greenhouse gases, saying a delay in the vote is impeding negotiations on a new international climate treaty.

Minister Andreas Carlgren said America’s complex debate over health care reforms is sidelining its vote on a climate bill that is needed to persuade other nations — especially the fast-growing economies of India and China — to commit to lowering their greenhouse gas emissions at the Copenhagen climate summit in December.

“It is crucial that the Americans deliver a reliable emission pathway,” Carlgren said, referring to a plan for how emissions will be cut to stated targets. “But that is dependent on the Senate’s lawmaking.”

Only by acting to raise the costs of energy and destroy jobs can the United States demonstrate its seriousness in Copenhagen, or so goes the argument. Is it proportional? The more jobs we destroy, the more serious we are?

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