The Week That Was (Feb 16, 2008)–Brought to you by SEPP


Quotes of the Week:

"Some people have a gift for stupidity, an almost mystic ability to withstand any form of logic."—Albert Einstein


With ‘global warmer’ John McCain almost certainly the Republican nominee, all I want to hear from him is:  "If the facts change, I'll change my opinion. What do you do, sir? "  J. M. Keynes.
After he is elected, we'll try to show him that the facts have changed.

But if facts cannot change his mind, then America is in serious trouble indeed.


Warm-monger Obama pledges to cut global warming pollution
Excerpt: "We cannot wait to stop global warming," Obama said.  "We cannot wait to fix this country." He pledged to put mandatory caps on carbon dioxide emissions from industry.  And he talked about it often enough to imply it was one of his top priorities...


The warm-mongers are screwing up energy policy, raising costs, and harming security: 59 coal plants cancelled or placed on hold in 2007 [ITEM #1].  Natural gas to replace cheap and secure coal – a bad idea  [ITEM #2].  Gas prices have already quadrupled; we may soon require massive imports of LNG  -- a worse idea.   The Free Enterprise Education Institute warms of the threat to economic freedom from the growing alliance of industry and Greens [ITEM #3].


Global warming saves lives [ITEM #4].  CBO study exposes Cap-and-Trade flaws [ITEM #5]. Alternative energies are a bad joke [ITEM #6]  And this includes ethanol [ITEM # 7]No Carbon tax but more coal needed [ITEM # 8]. 

Arab oil sheiks to reap huge Kyoto profits [ITEM #9] while Japan transfers wealth to Russia [ITEM #10]. 


Beyond Group Think on Climate Change: If More CO2 is Bad.. Then What? By ROBERT BRYCE


Apocalypse? NO! Why 'global warming' is not a global crisis
Are Al Gore and the UN right about global warming being a planetary emergency? NO! says the Viscount Monckton of Brenchley in a devastating 2007 presentation delivered at Cambridge University.  Watch Lord Monckton place climate science into largely layman terms, exposing climate scare after climate scare. DVD available in NTSC (US & Canada) and PAL (Europe and Asia).

Order here:


And finally:  A Heartland Institute invitation to the Climate Conference in NY City, March 2-4, with hundreds of GW skeptics [See TWTW of Feb 9].  This momentous event will be difficult to ignore.  For details, see




59 coal plants cancelled or placed on hold in 2007

Posted  February 9, 2008 2:15 PM | Posted By : Mark Goldes


Between 2000 and 2006, over 150 coal plant proposals were fielded by utilities in the United States. By the end of 2007, 10 of those proposed plants had been constructed, and an additional 25 plants were under construction. But during 2007 a large number of proposed plants were cancelled, abandoned, or put on hold: 59 according to the list below. Several conclusions can be drawn from this tally.


Climate concerns have begun to play a major role in plant abandonments and cancellations: Concerns about global warming played a major role in 15 cases. These included five proposed Florida plants (Glades, Taylor, Seminole, Polk, and Stanton), seven proposals in Western states that have newly implemented strict carbon regulations on coal (Avista's unnamed unit, Sunflower's Holcomb unit 3; Idaho Power's unnamed unit; Energy Northwest's Pacific Mountain Energy Center; PacifiCorp's Intermountain Power, Bridger IGCC demonstration, and Bridger expansion); and Sunflower's Holcomb units 1 and 2.


Coal plants are being eliminated from long-range plans: Increasingly, coal plants are disappearing before they can even be named, due to increasing regulatory scrutiny of long-range integrated resource plans. In addition to the plants abandoned by PacifiCorp and Idaho Power Company, it is likely that other utilities around the United States have eliminated coal plants from their long-term planning rosters without public announcement.


Renewables are elbowing out coal: Regulators in several states have begun favoring utility-scale renewables over coal. In Delaware, regulators cancelled a coal power plant proposed by NRG Energy in favor of an alternative proposal that combined wind and natural gas. In California, the combination of a strict carbon emissions standard and a renewable portfolio standard has prompted utilities to enter into contracts for large thermal solar projects sponsored by Ausra, BrightSource, and Solel. Solar thermal companies have found success in recruiting top utility executives such as Robert Fishman, who left an executive VP position at CalPine to take the helm at Ausra.


More plants are being abandoned than rejected: Of the 59 projects, only 15 were rejected outright by regulators, courts, or local authorities. In the remaining 44 cases, the decision was made by utilities themselves. Reasons for abandoning plants include (1) rising construction costs, (2) insufficient financing or failure to receive hoped-for government grants, (3) lowered estimates of demand, and (4) concerns about future carbon regulations.




Coal gets cold shoulder as utilities anticipate carbon legislation.

Published online 13 February 2008 | Nature  451, 753 (2008) | doi:10.1038/451753a

Jeff Tollefson


Natural gas produces fewer emissions than coal, but supplies are shrinking and its cost is rising. Electric utilities in the United States are quietly shifting their sights from coal to natural gas as the lower-risk fuel while they wait for the nation's carbon policy to be decided.


Recent proposals to build coal-fired power plants have been sunk after hitting a wall of public and political opposition in Texas, Kansas and Florida. Investors and lenders — including some of Wall Street's leading investment banks — are increasingly worried about the imposition of greenhouse-gas regulations in the coming years. Add to this the rising prices of materials such as steel and concrete, which are driving up construction costs, and coal no longer looks like the safe investment it did just a few years ago.


This new calculus hit home in 2007, when plans for more than 50 coal-fired power plants were cancelled, according to consulting firm Global Energy Decisions, based in Boulder, Colorado. In their place, experts say, utilities are turning to natural gas as a quicker, cheaper and lower-emission alternative to meet growing demand while lawmakers sort out the nation's carbon policy.


“Over the past year to two years there's been this 180-degree turn from concerns about dependence on natural gas to concerns about climate change,” says Larry Makovich, an energy analyst and senior power adviser at Cambridge Energy Research Associates in Massachusetts. “The US power sector has started to move back towards natural gas in a very substantial way.”


“There's been this 180-degree turn from concerns about dependence on natural gas to concerns about climate change.”


Cleaner-burning natural gas became the fuel of choice for new electricity generation in the 1990s, but increased demand coupled with peaking production in many US gas fields caused prices to spike in 2002. At about US$8 per million British thermal units, today's prices are more than triple the average throughout the 1990s. Building more natural gas plants could drive prices even higher — and make the nation that much more dependent on imports, which are already on the rise. Coal currently provides almost half of the nation's electricity, and is one of the few domestic energy resources that remains in abundance. Utilities also see coal, along with nuclear power and natural gas, as a critical source of constant 'base-load' power.


But given the major up-front costs and a lack of certainty about long-term economics owing to impending climate regulation, neither coal nor nuclear power look terribly attractive from an economic standpoint at the moment, says Revis James, a researcher at the Electric Power Research Institute in Washington DC. “In the long run, coal and nuclear will have to play a pretty big role,” he says. “But for now, gas seems to be the default.”


Dan Riedinger, a spokesman for the Edison Electric Institute, the industry's main trade association, acknowledges the trend towards natural gas but suggests that the expansion of coal-fired power is unlikely to halt. The resurgence of coal several years ago was “greatly exaggerated”, he says, “and I think there is certainly some hyperbole with regard to the pendulum swinging in the other direction”.




By Steve Milloy and Tom Borelli


Our goal is to inform you about a significant risk to limited government and free enterprise: the partnership between social activists and corporations.  The financial resources and political influence of corporations coupled with the grassroots advocacy potential of labor unions and environmental activists is a force too great to ignore.


We hope you will join us in challenging CEOs when their decisions threaten our free-market values.


Al Gore Planning Our Future


Today at the UN, corporations, state treasurers, special interest groups and Al Gore are meeting to discuss the investment risks and opportunities posed by climate change.


The event illustrates how social activists are using Wall Street to drive their political agenda and rob us of our liberties: global warming regulations will lead to Soviet style central planning of energy prices and reduced economic growth.


Corporate lobbying will determine the outcome of this public policy issue and we are the only voice pressuring companies to think about the consequences of their actions.  The Wall Street Journal mentioned our effort in a story on the UN meeting. Read the story.


Our press release calls attention to the fact that Citi, Bank of America and Lehman Brothers lost billions on mortgage securities and are now trying to profit from climate change.  If the banks were unable to understand mortgages, how can they possibly understand climate change?


The War Against Coal


Unfortunately, companies believe if they proactively lobby for global warming legislation Congress and environmental activists will treat them kindly.  What they don't realize is the "just play nice" strategy will backfire because the real agenda of the activists is to use climate alarmism to ban the use of coal.


Duke Energy got caught in this trap. The company is part of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) - the coalition of companies and activists lobbying for global warming legislation.  Duke's reward: the first climate change bill to pass a Senate committee will harm its business because the legislation punishes utilities like Duke that depend on coal for the vast amount of its power.




A report commissioned by Britain's Health Department says that one blistering hot summer between now and 2017 could kill more than 6,000 Britons.  The panel of scientific experts that compiled the study believes the chance of that is 25 percent.  The panel also said global warming will bring warmer winters, which will cut down on cold-related deaths in Britain.

So should we fear human-created climate change or embrace it?

o   According to the BBC, 20,000 deaths are linked to the cold each year in the United Kingdom and that those deaths fell 3 percent a year from 1971 through 2003, a period in which summers warmed but heat-related deaths did not change.

o   In the United States, a warmer climate could save tens of thousands; Thomas Gale Moore, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution who has studied and written extensively about global warming, believes as many as 40,000 American lives would be spared each year.

Fewer deaths seems like a good thing, says Investor's Business Daily (IBD), but the alarmists have not wavered from their unrelenting rhetoric that global warming is a catastrophe in the making.  However, if the global warming claims are correct, what would warmer winters -- and a warmer world in general --bring in addition to fewer cold-related deaths?

o   Longer growing seasons and more land available for agriculture, two factors that will yield greater crop production.

o   A reduction in respiratory and cardiovascular diseases that tend to be higher during colder months.

o   Increased precipitation that will help the world solve its water scarcity issues.

o   Lower heating bills by $12 billion a year, the Energy Department reckons.

Source: Editorial, "Will Global Warming Save Lives?" Investor's Business Daily, February 14, 2008.      [Courtesy  NCPA]




Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Environment & Public Works Committee, commented today on the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) 42-page report released on February 13 showing that carbon taxes are the most efficient way to regulate CO2 emissions and could offer significant advantages over the cap-and-trade approach.


This groundbreaking CBO report validates what I have been saying all along: Cap-and-trade approaches are the wrong way to go, Senator Inhofe said. The report is unequivocal in finding that cap-and-trade approaches are inefficient compared to a straightforward tax. The report reveals that no matter how a cap-and-trade approach is modified, on a ton-for-ton basis of emission reductions, it is worse for the American economy.


This CBO report is consistent with previous analysis stating that a cap-and-trade approach would be far more burdensome than a straightforward tax. A November 2007 report from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) revealed carbon mandates will further drive up energy costs for already overburdened consumers. A separate November 2007 report from the CBO warned energy "price increases would disproportionately affect people at the lower end of the income scale" and said a tax on emissions "is generally the more efficient approach" than a cap-and-trade system. (LINK)


Not only is the entire cap-and-trade approach fatally flawed, a cost-benefit analysis of the upcoming Lieberman-Warner cap-and-trade bill reveals it is simply all economic pain for no climate gain. Numerous analyses have placed the costs at trillions of dollars. Even if you accept the dire claims of man-made global warming, this bill would not have a measurable impact on the climate.


Key quotes from new CBO Report: “Policy Options for Reducing CO2 Emissions (Feb 13, 2008)”


According to the CBO report, a carbon tax "would provide firms with an incentive to undertake more emission reductions when the cost of doing so was relatively low and allow them to reduce emissions less when the cost of doing so was particularly high."


The CBO report noted a tax would keep the costs of emission reductions in balance with the anticipated benefits, whereas a cap would not.  A tax on emissions would be the most efficient incentive-based option for reducing emissions and could be relatively easy to implement.


A cap that is too tight will disproportionately increase costs over benefits and a cap that is not tight enough will disproportionately lower costs relative to benefits.  A tax, by contrast, will tend to hold the costs of emission reductions in line with the constant (although uncertain) expected benefits, encouraging greater emission reductions when costs are low and allowing more emissions when costs are high.


When analysts take into account the degree to which costs are likely to vary around a single best estimate, they conclude that a tax could offer much higher net benefits than a cap.  One study suggests that the net benefits of a worldwide tax on CO2 emissions in 2010 would be more than eight times larger than those of an equivalent inflexible cap.


Viewed another way, any long-term emission-reduction target could be met by a tax at a fraction of the cost of an inflexible cap-and-trade program.  A tax would provide a steady, predictable price from emissions.  An inflexible cap, however, could result in volatile allowance prices, making a cap-and-trade program more disruptive to the economy than a tax would be.


Price volatility could be particularly problematic with CO2 allowances because fossil fuels play such an important role in the U.S. economy.  They accounted for 85 percent of the energy consumed in the United States in 2006.  CO2 allowance prices could affect energy prices, inflation rates, and the value of imports and exports.  Volatile allowance prices could have disruptive effects on markets for energy and energy-intensive goods and services and make investment planning difficult.  The smoother price path offered by a CO2 tax would better enable firms to plan for investments in capital equipment that would reduce CO2 emissions (for example, by increasing efficiency or using low-carbon fuels) and could provide a more certain price signal for firms considering investing in the development of new emission-reduction technologies.




From  Tom Pelton blog of Baltimore Sun:  Posted by ‘Mike’   Feb 12


The idea that you can run America on "solar, wind, and biodiesel" is laughable. Since 70% of the electricity generated in the U.S. involves the burning of coal, natural gas or oil and another 20% from nuclear, a real, viable alternative energy is decades away. A single 555-megaWatt gas-fired power plant in California generates more electricity per year than do all 13,000 of that state’s wind turbines. The gas-fired plant occupies just 15 acres. The 300-foot tall wind turbines impact 106,000 acres, destroy scenic vistas, and kill tens of thousands of birds and bats every year – to provide expensive, tax-subsidized, intermittent, insufficient electricity.

I guess Obama didn't read the latest news either: "Ethanol And Other Biofuels Prove To Be A Bad Investment" - "actually creates more greenhouse gases than traditional oil-based fossil fuels and causes millions of hectares of forests to be cleared for plantations thereby destroying the livelihoods of indigenous people. In the United States, solar power meets less than 0.01 percent of electricity needs. Maybe we can get Al Gore to invent an alternative energy for Obama.

Most of the people of the world have bought into the hysterics that the IPCC and the UN have propagated about the earth's climate. The UN has a long track record for corruption, and since the IPCC is a part of the UN, we can see how science can become twisted for political gain. The UN regularly churns out exaggerated and dire reports on everything from AIDS to climate change in order to garner political and financial support for more UN personnel, studies and conferences. Just ask any of the hundreds of climate scientists who are current and former participants in the UN IPCC and have criticized the biased climate claims made by that bureaucracy. The UN does not reward whistleblowers. Our political leaders better take a hard look at the "science" that the IPCC espouses.

Paul Driessen said it best:  "We should improve energy efficiency, reduce pollution, and develop new energy technologies. But when we demand immediate action to prevent exaggerated or imaginary crises, we stifle debate, railroad through programs that don’t work, and impose horrendous unintended consequences on countless families. That is shortsighted and immoral.”




Trendy climate-change policies like ethanol and other biofuels are actually worse for the environment than fossil fuels, according to two studies published in Science, a peer-reviewed journal.

The first study, by ecologists at Princeton University and the Woods Hole Research Center, break new ground by exposing a kind of mega-accounting error:

o   Prior studies had never credited the carbon-dioxide emissions that arise when virgin forests, grasslands and the like are cleared to grow biofuel feedstocks.

o   About 2.7 times more carbon is stored in terrestrial soils and plant material than in the atmosphere, and this carbon is released when these areas are cleared (often by burning) and the soil is tilled.

o   Compounding problems is the loss of "carbon sinks" that absorb atmospheric CO2 in the bargain.

o   Previous projections had also ignored the second-order effects of transferring normal farmland to biofuels, which exerts worldwide pressure on land use.


o   When the hidden costs of conversion are included, greenhouse-gas emissions from corn ethanol over the next 30 years will be twice as high as from regular gasoline.

o   In the long term, it will take 167 years before the reduction in carbon emissions from using ethanol "pays back" the carbon released by land-use change.

The second study comes from the University of Minnesota and the Nature Conservancy, and explores what the authors call the "carbon debt," when native ecosystems are converted to biofuel stock.  Until the debt is repaid, biofuels from those fields will be greater net emitters than the fossil fuels they replace:

o   The authors find that the debt for corn ethanol in the United States is between 48 and 93 years.

o   In Indonesia and Malaysia, which have a 1.5 percent annual rate of deforestation to produce palm oil for Western European biodiesel, the debt is as high as 423 years.

Source: Editorial, "Greenhouse Affect," Wall Street Journal, February 13, 2008.

For Princeton University and Woods Hole Research Center study:

For University of Minnesota and the Nature Conservancy study:



National Post, 12 February 2008 by Terence Corcoran

Too much can never be said of the great climate change policy farce. As many parts of the world suffer through harsh cold spells, record snow and deep-freeze conditions, governments and politicians continue to pursue hilariously contradictory policies to make the world colder still.  Or so they claim. What's really going on is another matter. Consider the latest news on oil and coal.

In the United States, Canada, Europe, Japan and other countries, there is official endorsement of carbon taxes and carbon trading to raise the price of carbon-based energy so as reduce emissions.  How bizarre, then, to read the statement signed by finance ministers from these same nations calling for lower oil prices.

Oil prices, said the G7 finance ministers following their meeting in Tokyo over the weekend, are too high. The ministers of the G7 governments that want to raise oil prices through taxes at home called on the IMF to "conduct further research" to find out why prices are so high. High oil prices are bad for growth and development.

The most absurd call from the ministers, in the context of their own official carbon policies, was the following: "We encourage OPEC and other oil-producing countries to raise production, and reiterate the need to enhance refinery capacity and improve energy efficiency."  More oil output, more capacity. What happened to the great Pigovian carbon tax push?

Even more bizarre was this: "It should be avoided to artificially lower domestic energy prices through fiscal measures, as it works against market-based adjustment of energy demand, and raises gas emissions."  The G7 here stands against "artificial" oil price fixes via fiscal measures--the same G7 that advocates artificially higher prices via fiscal measures. The G7 doesn't want to "work against market-based adjustments"--except, presumably, in cases where it does want to work against market-based adjustments.

You couldn't caricature this stuff it's so obviously loopy.

The world is also heading into a climate storm over coal. As we know, coal is bad; it unleashes a lot of carbon. The United States is blocking coal development at home. Canada is shutting down coal plants--or trying to. But China--it's set to become the global coal king. The Wall Street Journal reports China's burgeoning demand, with two new coal plants coming on stream every day, is driving prices sky high. Japan is boosting its coal demand. The New York Times reported the other day that China's coalmines have been ordered to increase production. Britain also needs to keep using coal.

The United States in particular seems ready to shoot itself in the economic foot over coal to save the planet--when it looks like it will just be saving the Chinese economy.

Under carbon cap-and-trade schemes, imposed globally, how much carbon would the U.S. and Canada have to buy to offset the coal and oil consumption  increases now underway all over the globe? Maybe the IMF could look into that as part of its research.





AMEI News, 12 February 2008


United Arab Emirates approves oil and gas projects under the Kyoto Protocol's CDM. The approval was given on during the meeting of the DNA's Higher Committee chaired by H.E. Mohammed bin Dha'en Al-Hameli, the UAE Minister of Energy.


The CDM part of the Kyoto Protocol encourages companies in developing countries to reduce their greenhouse gas - mainly Carbon Dioxide - emissions by offering them a tradable Certified Emission Reduction (CER) or 'carbon credit' against every ton of carbon dioxide equivalent reduced.


In order to realize CERs, a company must develop a CDM project consisting of various steps including GHG emission analysis, regulatory documentation, approval by the host country and registration at the United Nations.


The Designated National Authority for CDM in the UAE is mandated to approve CDM projects prior to their registration at the United Nations, by ensuring that the projects help achieve sustainable development and lead to the transfer of environmentally safe and sound technology. The Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) was nominated in 2005 as the DNA for the UAE.


Masdar, the landmark initiative by the Abu Dhabi Government to promote advanced energy and sustainability, has worked with EAD for the past six months to build the DNA's technical capacity. Criteria for sustainable development and approval of projects have been developed according to best international practices. The UAE's DNA is one of the first in the GCC to become operational under a comprehensive institutional framework.


'We have worked with Masdar to build a comprehensive model for CDM which aims at promoting sustainability in line with our national development goals and socio-economic priorities, and we are willing to share our experience with other countries in the region' said Majid Al Mansouri, Secretary General of EAD and Chairman of the CDM Executive Committee.


The approved CDM projects have been developed by Masdar. These projects, which will be implemented by various companies of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) group, represent the first CDM projects in the oil and gas industry in the UAE. They involve CO2 recovery and utilization in urea production at Ruwais Fertilizer Industries (FERTIL) as well as gas flaring reduction at Abu Dhabi Gas Liquefaction Limited (ADGAS), Abu Dhabi Oil Refining Company (TAKREER) and TOTAL ABK.


Masdar CEO, Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, described these projects as a demonstration of ADNOC's commitment to reduce the environmental impact of the oil and gas industry in Abu Dhabi. 'These projects mark the first milestone in our cooperation with ADNOC to develop the CDM potential across its various operating companies,' added Dr Al Jaber.


Masdar is currently developing a portfolio of CDM projects with major asset owners in the UAE and the Middle East, including Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA) and Dubai Aluminum (DUBAL). Projects include energy efficiency, industrial process improvement, flare gas recovery and power plant upgrades.


Copyright 2008, AMEI      [Courtesy CCNet]




By Jeffrey Ball, The Wall Street Journal, 11 February 2008


Japan, famous for its hybrid cars and solar panels, may become an environmental pioneer in another sense: buying cheap carbon offsets abroad to minimize the burden on its domestic industry to clean up its act at home.


Under Kyoto, these won't be enough. Japanese and Russian officials agreed over the weekend to launch talks about Japan buying surplus greenhouse-gas emission permits from Russia. Such a sale would mark a major - and controversial - development in the geopolitics of what to do about global warming.


At issue is the Kyoto Protocol, the international global-warming treaty. It requires countries to cut their emissions below 1990 levels. That date is crucial in determining who wins and loses under the treaty.


The economies of Eastern European countries imploded after 1990 - and thus their emissions did too. As a result, Kyoto gives those Eastern European countries massive numbers of paper emission permits that they can sell to the highest bidder. The credits are known in the trade as "hot air." No country has more of them than Russia.


The prospect that industrialized economies such as Japan or those in Western Europe would get relief from their Kyoto cleanup obligations simply by buying paper emission credits from Russia has angered many environmentalists. But the treaty clearly allows such sales. One idea under discussion is that countries that do buy Eastern European hot air would require as a condition of the purchase that Eastern European countries promise to spend some of the revenue on "green" projects - retooling its factories to improve their energy efficiency, for instance. How that would work in practice is anyone's guess.


What's certain is that Japan is chafing under the emission-reduction promise it made under the Kyoto treaty. As we wrote last month, Japan pledged to cut its emissions 6% below 1990 levels by 2012. But as of 2006, Japan's emissions were 6.4% above 1990 levels - despite all those Prius hybrids that Toyota Motor Corp. sells.


Many Western European countries that signed up for Kyoto find themselves in a similar pickle. Japan is in an even tougher spot. Its past record of energy efficiency means it already has made many of the cheapest environmental improvements available to an industrialized economy. What's left to do is more expensive - and likely more disruptive to Japanese industry, which now is complaining loudly about its Kyoto burden.


Japanese and Russian officials are scheduled to get together later this month to talk more about a mutually beneficial sale of hot-air emission credits. Stay tuned.


Copyright 2008, WSJ      [Courtesy CCNet]