Energy & Environment

We need to put a personal face on Copenhagen (Rep. Shelley Moore Capito)

As the festivities in Copenhagen got underway last week, there was no shortage of enthusiasm from those pushing for new regulations, new caps and new taxes – all in the name of saving the planet.

With EPA Administrator Jackson officially unveiled her agency’s endangerment finding, commentators were quick to point out that this was the proverbial stick that was supposed to bully Congress into finally giving the President what he wants.

Yet – as all this unfolds – I can’t help but think about what this will all mean to mining communities in my state of West Virginia, or in Kentucky or Wyoming or other energy-producing communities across our nation.


Copenhagen’s threat to U.S. sovereignty (Rep. Doug Lamborn)

In the next few days President Obama will venture to Copenhagen, Denmark to attend the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which began last week. One of the discussed goals of this conference is the creation of a universal climate change treaty.

I am concerned that any job-killing, cap-and-tax style treaty could seriously harm American families, small businesses, and American sovereignty. Our economy is facing a skyrocketing national debt and 10 percent unemployment. The United States must reject any attempt by international bureaucrats to stifle economic growth with a massive energy tax or by huge transfers of wealth from the U.S. to other countries.


The benefits of the Renewable Energy Environmental Research Act of 2009 (Sen. Mark Begich)

As Congress begins to grapple with climate and energy issues designed to create jobs and transition the nation towards a clean energy economy, increasing domestic renewable energy generation will be critical. Existing climate-energy proposals in the House and Senate are missing an important component: who is responsible for the science, data, and environmental predictions that the growing renewable energy sector will rely on to power this technology?   Making the decision where to invest in renewable energy infrastructure requires weather, water, and climate information. 

Coming from Alaska, which suffers the nation’s highest energy costs and boasts more coastline than the rest of the country put together, I have introduced a bill with Sen. Olympia Snowe to address this problem. The Renewable Energy Environmental Research Act of 2009 directs the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to establish a comprehensive research, prediction, and environmental information program to support renewable energy, particularly related to ocean energy.


Memo to Copenhagen: Commentary is misinformed—China’s commitment is significant

China’s pledge to reduce its carbon intensity by 45 percent by 2020 has been met with praise and criticism. I believe the critics have it wrong, and show in this paper that their criticism lacks knowledge and context. Their error is no minor academic skirmish: their criticism provides cover for the opponents of climate change action in the United States, and risks blocking effective climate action.

The Chinese commitment target is a strong one by any measure. No developing country in economic history—other than post-Mao China—has cut its energy-related greenhouse gas emissions growth so deeply for so long. For a developing country to legally bind itself to achieve such a target is surprising, and reflects China’s fear of climate change.

Criticism of the Chinese goal stems in part from the fact that it allows Chinese per capita emissions to continue to grow. The Chinese government argues that China is a developing country where energy services are low and hundreds of millions of people continue to lead hardscrabble lives. Today, Americans produce four times more carbon dioxide per person than the Chinese. President Obama supports a U.S. reduction of its current emissions by almost 20 percent by 2020. If China implements its Copenhagen commitment and the United States implements President Obama’s target, U.S. per capita emissions would still be double those of China in 2020.1  It is dishonest to use China as an excuse for the United States not to take action.


Former Bush insiders still influence climate change debate

Copenhagen is the stage this week for world leaders convening at the United Nations’ climate change conference.  But no matter what happens there, big political fights loom ahead here on the issue.

Although the administration of President George W. Bush has come and gone, central figures from the Bush climate team continue to shape the debate — only now these individuals openly represent the oil, gas, mining and other energy interests.  CREW has profiled many of them in its newly released report, Smoke Screen: How Bush Insiders Distorted — And Still Influence — America’s Debate Over Climate Change.

Some officials have gone full circle, leaving an energy industry job to join the Bush White House and then returning to the energy sector.

In Smoke Screen, CREW reveals that at least 22 former Bush-era climate officials have moved into lobbying or government relations, 14 of whom are registered lobbyists.


Can Congress keep America storm resistant?

2009’s North Atlantic Hurricane season has thankfully just come to a close without a major U.S. disaster.  Consider the facts: no truly large storms made landfall in the United States, and, for the first year in at least a decade, not a single American family lost its home to hurricane damage.  While most early season forecasts called for between 4 and 7 significant named storms, only three ever formed in the Atlantic. 

But the almost storm-free conditions won’t last.  Nearly all meteorologists agree that we are now in a decades-long period of heavy hurricane activity.  Many scientists also think that global climate change will increase the severity of storms, amplify storm surge as sea level rises, and possibly increase the overall number of storms forming on average each year.  In short, nobody should believe that a single placid season should be a reason to celebrate.

While our two organizations have often approached a variety of issues as polar opposites this is one area where we can truly agree:  many of the problems with hurricanes stem from deliberate government action.  Many people moved into hurricane zones because governments encouraged them to buy buildings there, often providing the infrastructure that makes it possible.  Governments at all levels should look long and hard before they offer a dime of taxpayer assistance—roads, schools, power lines or anything else--for any new development that doesn’t sit well away from likely hurricane impact areas.


Cap-and-Tax bad for farmers, rural America (Rep. Frank Lucas)

We like to say that we have the safest, most abundant, most affordable food and fiber supply in the world.  But this isn’t just a boastful expression, it is a reality.  Our farmers and ranchers are responsible for feeding folks living in our country and throughout the world.

But, cap and tax legislation threatens that safe, abundant and affordable food and fiber supply.  The agriculture industry, as we know it, will not survive under the heavy burdens of a cap and tax policy.

This week the Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Credit, Energy, and Research held two important hearings to learn more about the economic impact of climate change legislation.  Despite the fact that the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly passed the Waxman-Markey climate change bill last June – a bill that I voted against—this is only the second time Members of the Agriculture Committee have had the opportunity to explore specifically the economic impact of climate change legislation on the agriculture sector.


Climategate should be in Copenhagen agenda (Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner)

Next week, diplomats and politicians from across the world will invade Copenhagen, Denmark for U.N. climate change talks that were supposed to be the culmination of years of international negotiations over a treaty designed to replace the unsuccessful Kyoto treaty, which failed to produce any reduction in greenhouse gases.

Fortunately for taxpayers, the United States never ratified Kyoto, and President Obama and other world leaders have already said that the U.S. will not agree to a repeat of the failed treaty.

Unfortunately, these talks won’t address the concern that many in the U.S. now have about the scientific integrity and transparency of climate studies. Last week, global warming alarmists were rocked by the release of a trove of e-mail correspondence - known by many as ClimateGate - from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in England.


‘Climategate’ sparks Luetkemeyer call for investigation, sparks interest in legislation (Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer)

Four months ago, I introduced legislation, H.R. 3129, to prevent the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change from bilking taxpayers out of nearly $13 million for research on man-made global warming. Despite scathing attacks from some liberal media outlets and special interest groups, I stuck by this legislation and pushed for others to sponsor it. In the wake of the “Climategate” scandal I have called for an investigation into the recently revealed emails showing that scientists for the same UN group suppressed scientific evidence and manipulated data in order to silence opposing views. I recently joined with my colleagues from the Oversight and Government Reform Committee in calling for an investigation into the “Climategate” emails obtained covertly from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit in the United Kingdom. The scientists exposed in the emails have for years been influential in driving the worldwide alarm over man-made global warming, including through the role they play providing key sets of data used by the IPCC to draw up its reports they claim prove man-made global warming.

With the UN Climate Change Conference convening in Copenhagen this week, the time to investigate is now because the “Climategate” emails seem to indicate that the same scientists who were sending data to the UN climate panel were suppressing scientific evidence and manipulating data that was used in part as justification for liberals to pass cap-and-trade legislation.


The Big Question: Does 'climate-gate' matter politically?

Some of the nation's top political commentators, legislators and intellectuals offer some insight into the biggest question burning up the blogosphere today.

Today's question:

What will be the ultimate political impact of "climate-gate"?

Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) said:

The impact is both scientific and policy related. If scientists are afraid to share their research in order to purposefully misreport real findings, that's a problem. And if politicians make policy decisions based on bad science, that's a problem. More information about these e-mails and the original research is needed now.

Rep. John Sullivan (R-Okla.) said:

While the ultimate political impact of the climate-gate scandal remains to be seen, it raises serious and disturbing questions on the validity of the science used to measure climate change just days before the Copenhagen climate conference.

Corrupt scientific data simply cannot be used to implement a binding climate change treaty as is the case now, and the Administration should not even consider entrusting the economic future of our nation to an international climate treaty in light of the climate-gate scandal.

Michelle D. Bernard, president and CEO of the Independent Women’s Forum, said:

With unemployment at 10 percent, there was little chance that cap-and-trade legislation was going anywhere in this Congress. Even if most Americans express a general concern about climate change and a desire to improve the environment, they are much more concerned about joblessness and under-employment, and they know that making energy more expensive can only slow growth and discourage job creation.
Although expectations for climate change legislation were already low, this scandal will have an important political effect: It will add to the already overwhelming perception that the government can't be trusted. So far this year, the public has seen Congress pass an $800 billion stimulus bill, which was discovered to be loaded with pork and wasteful spending. The White House has offered numbers of how many jobs have been saved, only to have those numbers quickly exposed as error-filled.  The public has seen corporate bailouts followed by outrageous executive bonuses, and learned that politically-connected banks have scored huge profits while collecting taxpayer support.

And here we have climate-gate, evidence that scientists -- who are supposed to be above politics and in pursuit only of the truth -- sending emails about falsifying data, avoiding disclosure requirements and rigging the peer review process. The public who has learned about this outrageous behavior has to be mystified that so many public leaders don't seem interested in examining just how widespread this malfeasance is (especially given that many of the scientists receive taxpayer support) and seem only to want to brush it aside so they can continue to advance policies predicated on the idea of a scientific “consensus” that is now suspect.
The bottom line: The main political consequence is an already cynical public is becoming even more jaded. 

Justin Raimondo, editorial director at, said:

No, not yet -- not until the "mainstream" news media simplifies the story and then makes it generally available in a simple narrative form. Perhaps some brave politician will express skepticism about the global warming religion, and the media can report it that way.

John F. McManus, president of The John Birch Society, said:

The ultimate impact should be a complete rejection of the fraud claiming that humans are causing global warming. It is reasonable to expect that some political fallout will occur because truth about this matter is gaining momentum. 31,000 physical scientists (meteorologists, atmospheric experts, and others in related scientific fields) have signed a petition rejecting the notion that humans are causing warming. That should have been enough. Only one-quarter the number of scientists promote the absurd Al Gore theory and most of them are social scientists not involved in physical science fields.  As for impact of the discovery of fraudulent doctoring of data  related to this issue, consider that East Anglia's Jones, one of the culprits, has just stepped down from his post. Politicians in the U.S. had better realize that the truth is gaining momentum. Any who continue to promote the discredited view could pay a price.

Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit blogger, said:

Of course ClimateGate matters politically, and the damage has only begun. Rasmussen polling shows a sharp decline in belief in global warming, and what's most striking about that is that the traditional-media cheerleading for Copenhagen, Cap-And-Trade, etc., has continued unabated. Most traditional news outlets (Jon Stewart doesnt't count) have ignored or downplayed the ClimateGate story so far, meaning that what we're seeing in the polls at the moment is the impact of alternative media alone.

The Big-Media stonewalling may or may not break down, but the story is already out, and politicians playing to the debunked Big Media storyline just look more and more foolish -- or dishonest -- to more and more voters the longer they keep this up.  This won't help their electoral prospects. It also has ramifications for health care: If you can't trust them on global warming, can you trust them on cancer screenings?

Bernie Quigley, Pundits Blog contributor, said:

It brings a correction. We are at a phase now of almost hysteria; a kind of scientific fin de siecle seeing the end of the world here, there and everywhere. People like Al Gore have taken on cult status much as esoteric religious figures do on occasion. I think it is a fear of the future ahead; a fear of the end of things in our own lives; a fear of the passing influence of a generation. This is how fin de siecle worked in the late 1800s. We are still at the turning and the century hasn’t really begun yet but it is just around the corner. When the world starts again the priests of environmental hysteria will disappear much as the Sixties gurus did.