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19 December 2014

In the News
Climate Policy Risk: Who’s in Denial?
Marlo Lewis, GlobalWarming.org, 19 December 2014
Study: Beaver Dams Make Global Warming Worse
Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller, 19 December 2014
Obama Operative Joins Taxpayer-Backed Solar Company
Lachlan Markay, Washington Free Beacon, 17 December 2014
Japan’s Turn to Coal Belies Claim That Climate Change Mitigation Comes Cheap
William Yeatman, GlobalWarming.org, 16 December 2014
Poll: Two-Thirds of Americans Oppose Federal Gas Tax Increase
Marc Scribner, Open Market, 16 December 2014
Cape Wind To Miss 2014 Goal To Close Project Financing
Richard Kessler, Recharge, 16 December 2014
The Anti-Fracking Fringe
Steve Everley, The Hill, 16 December 2014
Special Interests Influence Costly EPA Regulations
Larry Bell, Newsmax, 16 December 2014

News You Can Use
NAS Study: Gasoline Better for Environment Than Electric Cars
According to a study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
“Powering vehicles with corn ethanol or with coal-based or ‘grid average’ electricity increases monetized
environmental health impacts by 80% or more relative to using conventional gasoline.” Study co-author
Julian Marshall told the Associated Press, “it’s kind of hard to beat gasoline” for public and
environmental health.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

CEQ Releases New Guidance on Including Climate in Environmental
Impact Statements
The White House Council on Environmental Quality on 18th December released the second draft version
of a guidance document on how federal agencies should consider climate impacts in preparing
Environmental Impact Assessments under the National Environmental Policy Act. The first draft version
was released in 2010. CEQ invited public comments for 60 days.
In keeping with NEPA regulations that require Environmental Impact Statements to consider the direct,
indirect, and cumulative environmental impacts of proposed projects and actions, the guidance
document recommends that the direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of greenhouse gas emissions
be included in preparing EISs. This includes “upstream” and “downstream” emissions connected to the
project. Thus a new bridge that would allow the transport of tens of millions of tons of energy-intensive
goods over its lifetime could have an enormous carbon footprint.
Reports stated that the guidance document recommends that climate impacts be considered in the
NEPA process when any project or action would increase greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25,000
metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent annually. This is not correct. The document states that a
quantitative analysis is only necessary when emissions exceed 25,000 tons annually. Considering the
impacts of lower annual emissions is required but does not necessarily require quantification.
The guidance does contain a caution on the use of the Social Cost of Carbon guidance document: “When
using the federal social cost of carbon, the agency should disclose the fact that these estimates vary
over time, are associated with different discount rates and risks, and are intended to be updated as
scientific and economic understanding improves.” In other words, today’s Social Cost of Carbon
estimate may be much lower than tomorrow’s. The document also notes that global general circulation
models “may have limitations on how they can be used in regional or local impact studies.”
The guidance also cautions that providing a boilerplate paragraph that the emissions from a proposed
action constitute “only a small fraction of global emissions is more a statement about the nature of the
climate change challenge,” and “is not helpful to the decision maker or public” because that is true of
every particular action.
Some news reports have suggested that the guidance will apply mainly to new fossil energy production
on federal lands or offshore areas. This is also incorrect. The guidance applies to all matters that fall
under NEPA regulation: “all federal proposed actions, including individual federal site-specific actions,
federal grants for funding of small-scale or broad-scale activities, federal rulemaking actions, and federal
land and resource management decisions. Federal rulemaking decisions includes Clean Water Act and
other federal permits required to build new factories, bridges, highways, airports, and mines, as well as
pipelines, coal terminals, offshore oil fields, etc.
Under the NEPA process, one of the alternatives must always be, “no action,” which means, don’t
proceed with the project being studied. Once direct, indirect, and cumulative greenhouse gas emissions

are included, it is likely that any big new project will be found to have environmental impacts so large
that the “no action” alternative will be preferred by federal regulators.

Congress Extends Wind PTC for 2014
The Senate adjourned on 16th December, but not before passing by a vote of 76 to 16 a package of tax
cut extenders retroactively for 2014. Included in the package is the wind production tax credit. The
House passed the bill earlier, so it now goes to the President for his signature. By extending the wind
PTC (and other deductions) for only the current year, the Congress has decided to punt the issue to the
new 114th Congress next year.

Across the States
Marlo Lewis

Cap-n-Tax Comeback?
Cap-and-trade crashed and burned in Congress when the November 2010 elections cashiered 29
Democrats who had voted in June 2009 for the Waxman-Markey bill. Many factors including
Climategate and the burgeoning skeptic movement torpedoed Waxman-Markey, but perhaps the most
important was the bill’s exposure as “cap-n-tax” – a stealth energy tax and wealth-transfer scheme. For
example, Treasury documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act revealed that the
Obama administration expected to raise up to $400 billion in annual revenues from carbon permit
auctions.
So is cap-and-trade ‘really most sincerely dead’? No, because big-spending politicians always want more
boodle, and there’s only so much blood you can squeeze out of taxpayers, especially in states like
Washington, which levy no individual or corporate income taxes.
The Evergreen State is facing a $2.35 billion budget deficit over the next two years. So this week,
Governor Jay Inslee (D) proposed ($) a cap-and-trade program that would “apply to roughly 130 entities
in oil and gas and electrical sectors.”
Inslee estimates the plan would raise $400 million annually, covering 40% of a proposed $12 billion, 12year transportation improvement program. To reassure environmentalists, carbon permit fees would
not (horror of horrors) fund highway projects and encourage people to drive, Inslee aides said cap-andtrade revenues “would go only toward green uses, such as transit grants or incentives for electric
vehicles, and to maintain existing roads.”
Still, won’t taxpayers ultimately foot the bill in the form of higher prices for goods and services produced
or delivered with carbon energy? Nah, as Inslee explained, the fees would only be collected from “big
polluters.” And if the good folks in Washington believe cap-and-trade is a free lunch, then they have the
government they deserve.

New York Governor Cuomo Bans Fracking
Citing health concerns, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) on Thursday announced a statewide ban
on “fracking,” the combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing drilling processes that has
led to an American energy boom. Cuomo’s decision codifies a de facto moratorium on fracking that had
been in place for 6 years, predating his administration.
According to the New York Times, Governor Cuomo appeared “determined” to portray the
announcement — and its consequences for upstate New York — as “decisions made by experts
objectively weighing the facts, not by him.” When asked about global warming, he even responded that
“he wasn’t a scientist,” rather than spouting off about how alarming it is, which earned the ire of Grist.
Of course, the decision was wholly political. For starters, fracking has been done in hundreds of
thousands of wells across the U.S., without polluting a single utility scale aquifer. Indeed, New York’s
neighbor Pennsylvania has revitalized formerly depressed rural communities by allowing for the safe
and responsible use of fracking.
Instead of a true public health purpose, Cuomo banned fracking to get the greens off his back. Fordham
professor Zephyr Teachout won a surprising 34 percent of the Democratic Party gubernatorial primary
vote against Cuomo, by running a near single issue campaign in opposition to Governor Cumo’s
indecision fracking. Moreover, the incumbent was reportedly taken aback by the aggressiveness of antifracking activists on the campaign trail.

Around the World
Myron Ebell

COP-20 in Lima Finally Ends with Just Enough Progress To Keep the
Bandwagon Rolling
I was in Lima for the last week of the twentieth Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework
Convention on Climate Change, which concluded a day and a half late at around 4 AM on Sunday, 14th
December. COP-20 was fairly dull and low key. Attendance was also noticeably lower than at past
COPs. Partly that is due to the fact that the big show is scheduled for COP-21 in Paris next December,
when a new international agreement is scheduled to be signed. And it’s partly due to the fact that the
UNFCCC Secretariat has cut way back on the number of observers representing NGOs allowed to attend.
The main show was meetings at least once and often several times a day of the Ad Hoc Committee for
Advancing the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action, known as the ADP. Wrangling over the Draft
Decision of the ADP is what kept COP-20 going into the early hours of Sunday morning. As Todd Stern,
the chief U. S. negotiator, noted in his remarks to the ADP Saturday afternoon, the wrangling was
unnecessary because all of the opposing positions were contained in the Elements, a lengthy document
attached to the Draft Decision. That is, nothing had been decided, so everyone could relax.

That did not satisfy a number of factions within the 195 parties. They are concerned that the new
agreement will blur the clearly differentiated responsibilities of the developed countries (listed as Annex
1) responsible for the emissions causing the global warming crisis and the developing countries (listed as
Non-Annex 1) not responsible. One sticking point is whether developing countries that have developed
since 1992, when the UNFCCC was signed at the Rio Earth Summit, will ever move from Non-Annex 1 to
Annex 1 status. Countries such as China, which now has the highest annual greenhouse gas emissions,
and Chile and Mexico, which now belong to the OECD.
Other negotiating streams at COP-20 were held on the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and
Damage and the Green Climate Fund. The Lima Ministerial Declaration on Education and AwarenessRaising was also adopted. All the COP-20 documents may be found here.

Greenpeace Damages Nazca Lines, a World Heritage Site in Peru
The only real excitement connected to COP-20 was provided 250 miles south of Lima by the despicable
folks at Greenpeace. As revealed by our good friends at CFACT (a founding member of the Cooler Heads
Coalition) and then reported by mainstream media around the world, Greenpeace activists “irreparably
damaged” the famous pre-historic Nazca lines, which are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Greenpeace laid down large yellow cloth letters that said: “TIME FOR CHANGE! THE FUTURE IS
RENEWABLE. GREENPEACE.” They placed their message in an area adjacent to the image of a
hummingbird, one of the most famous images in the Nazca lines. Entry to the area is strictly
prohibited. Peru’s vice minister for culture, Luis Jaime Castillo, was quoted in the Guardian: “This has
been done without any respect for our laws. It was done in the middle of the night. They went ahead
and stepped on our hummingbird, and looking at the pictures we can see there’s very severe
damage. Nobody can go on these lines without permission – not even the president of Peru!”
After Peruvian authorities announced that they would prosecute the perpetrators for the crime of
attacking an archaeological monument, the Greenpeace employees apparently escaped the
country. The crime is punishable by up to six years in prison. It was reported this week that Peru may
seek extradition.
Greenpeace’s executive director flew to Lima to apologize and said that Greenpeace would help with
the investigation. Greenpeace said in a statement: “We fully understand that this looks bad. We came
across as careless and crass.” But it has also been reported that Greenpeace has not given Peruvian
authorities the names of the perpetrators.
A video of the damage was aired on the PBS News Hour and was posted here.
The Nazca lines are geoglyphs—huge figures scratched on the desert ground by the Nazca culture
between 400 and 650 AD.