Friday, March 20, 2009

EPW Republicans Send Clear Message: Keep Climate Change Out of the Budget Process

Senator Inhofe, along with his Republicans colleagues on the EPW Committee, sent the following Dear Colleague letter on Thursday:

Link to Letter

March 19, 2009

Dear Colleague:

The President's 2010 Budget proposal contains a risky, ill defined new energy tax that has the potential to continue the economic recession for many years to come. We are writing this letter to alert you to this situation and ask that you join us in a budget resolution amendment to strike any such provision.

Specifically, the President's 2010 Budget proposal asks to collect $646 billion dollars in new "Climate Revenues" from the American people. The government will collect these new revenues through a cap and trade scheme in which "allowances" are sold to the highest bidder. The government won't tax consumers directly, but it will impose new costs on energy producers and users who will in turn pass those higher costs on to consumers, which will result in higher electricity bills, gasoline prices, grocery bills, and anything else made from conventional energy sources. In short, consumers will feel as if they are paying a new tax on energy.

The stated price tag for this new energy tax is $646 billion, yet recent news reports indicate that administration officials are privately admitting their program will actually generate between "two and three times" this amount of revenue, or between $1.3 trillion and $1.9 trillion. However, these numbers represent only the cost from 2012 through 2019. The budget summary describes the energy tax extending at least through 2050. At the 2012 through 2019 average annual rate, families and workers would face through 2050 between $6.3 trillion and $9.3 trillion in higher energy taxes.

On the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, we have had experience with these types of proposals. We, and the full Senate, debated a proposal by Senators Boxer, Lieberman and Warner that the sponsors themselves indicated would generate $6.7 trillion from consumers. As you may recall, the Senate defeated this proposal, in part because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated that by 2050 it would annually cost the average family $4,377 and raise gasoline prices $1.40 per gallon. Experts estimated it would kill up to 4 million jobs by 2030. As you can see, a $4,377 per family total cost or a lost job would greatly outweigh any $800 per family payroll tax break offered by the administration.

The budget resolution is not the right place for the careful bipartisan dialogue we need to get these issues straight, or to fully account for the legitimate concerns of energy consumers, economists, and industry. While the budget resolution the Senate will debate is not yet available, we will offer an amendment to strip any climate revenue provision it contains. We urge you to be ready to join our efforts to resist the erosion of proper democratic principles.


Sen. James M. Inhofe

Sen. George V. Voinovich

Sen. David Vitter

Sen. John Barrasso

Sen. Arlen Specter

Sen. Mike Crapo

Sen. Christopher S. Bond

Sen. Lamar Alexander


Inhofe Exposes Cap and Tax Scheme in Obama Budget

Senator Inhofe went to the Senate Floor this week to expose the cap and trade tax scheme included in President Obama’s budget. Following his remarks, Senator Inhofe was interviewed on Fox News regarding his speech, which you can watch here. 

Below are excerpts of his Senate Floor speech:  

“The Administration’s decision to include cap and trade—and the revenues generated by it—in the budget forces my colleagues here in the Senate to no longer hide the ball…  It allows us to have an honest debate about the costs of a program of this magnitude on the American people—not to mention the enormous redistribution of wealth for pet projects and programs under the umbrella of ‘clean energy.’ To put it simply, they are realizing that cap and trade is a regressive energy tax that hits the Midwest and the South harder than the East or West Coasts. 

“In this time of recession and economic pain, the Administration and proponents of mandatory global warming controls now need to be honest with the American people. The purpose of these programs is to ration fossil-based energy by making it more expensive, and therefore less appealing for public consumption. It is a regressive tax that imposes a greater burden (relative to resources) on the poor than on the rich.  That is because the poor spend a larger percentage of their income on energy costs than the rich. 

“There is nothing in it for taxpayers, consumers or the climate.  If it is time for anything, it is time for us to get realistic about these policies, and focus on what is achievable, both globally and domestically, to help bring down energy costs to consumers and make us more energy secure so the American public doesn’t get yet another raw deal. 

“Let us be honest. The total costs of the program will be well over the $646 billion when you factor in the private sector mandates and the total costs to reduce emissions. If past economic models are any indication, the total costs of a program could be 3 times more expensive than what the Administration’s numbers predict. And the Administration’s numbers of just the auction revenues aren’t small, roughly $80 billion per year.”   

Senator Inhofe’s Full Floor Remarks as prepared for delivery

Watch: Inhofe Interview on Fox News Discussing High Cost of Cap-and Trade

EPA Administrator Jackson Responds to Inhofe - Barrasso Letter on Transparency


Link to EPA’s Response to Senator Barrasso

Link to EPA’s Response to Senator Inhofe


On Wednesday March 18, 2009, Senator Inhofe and Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) welcomed Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson’s response to their March 5, 2009 letter seeking information on EPA’s review of pending Bush Administration regulatory actions.  While Administrator Jackson’s letter provided helpful information, it also suggested that the agency may seek a much wider ranging review of regulations promulgated over the last 8 years.  Both Inhofe and Barrasso vowed to monitor any such review, and urged Administrator Jackson to conduct it with openness and transparency, and allow for ample public input. 


Senator Inhofe: “I am pleased that EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson responded in a timely fashion to the inquiry by me and Sen. Barrasso on the agency’s review of pending Bush Administration regulatory actions. Administrator Jackson’s response provided useful information for the EPW committee about specific actions taken by the new Administration.   According to the response, however, it seems clear that EPA could conduct a more wide-ranging review of previous regulatory decisions, including, presumably, those stretching back to 2001.  Therefore, it is my hope that this process will be conducted in an open, transparent manner, with adequate opportunities for public participation, which is a policy that President Obama has repeatedly promised to deliver.  As ranking member of the Senate EPW committee, I will continue to monitor the agency to ensure that attempts to overturn or revisit previous regulatory decisions are made according to President Obama’s policy of openness and transparency.”  


Senator Barrasso: “I appreciate the timely response by EPA Administrator Jackson.  It is clear that the Administration is taking a more wide-ranging review of the previous Administrations’ regulatory decisions than previously disclosed.  Folks in the West, whose livelihoods are so impacted by these closed doors, bureaucratic decisions in Washington, will expect these reviews to be transparent and based on sound science.  I pledge to work to ensure that happens.”



Related Link:

Inhofe, Barrasso Call for Transparency from EPA 

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Update: More Than 700 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims

Fifty-nine additional scientists from around the world have been added to the U.S. Senate Minority Report of dissenting scientists, pushing the total to over 700 skeptical international scientists - a dramatic increase from the original 650 scientists featured in the initial December 11, 2008 release. The 59 additional scientists added to the 255-page Senate Minority report since the initial release 13 ½ weeks ago represents an average of over four skeptical scientists a week.  This updated report - which includes yet another former UN IPCC scientist - represents an additional 300 (and growing) scientists and climate researchers since the initial report's release in December 2007. 

Link to Introduction of Report 

Link to Full Printable 255-Page PDF Report  

The over 700 dissenting scientists are now more than 13 times the number of UN scientists (52) who authored the media-hyped IPCC 2007 Summary for Policymakers. The 59 additional scientists hail from all over the world, including Japan, Italy, UK, Czech Republic, Canada, Netherlands, the U.S. and many are affiliated with prestigious institutions including, NASA, U.S. Navy, U.S. Defense Department, Energy Department, U.S. Air Force, the Philosophical Society of Washington (the oldest scientific society in Washington), Princeton University, Tulane University, American University, Oregon State University, U.S. Naval Academy and EPA.  

The explosion of skeptical scientific voices is accelerating unabated in 2009. A March 14, 2009 article in the Australian revealed that Japanese scientists are now at the forefront of rejecting man-made climate fears prompted by the UN IPCC.

Prominent Japanese Geologist Dr. Shigenori Maruyama, a professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology's Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences who has authored more than 125 scientific publications, said in March 2009 that "there was widespread skepticism among his colleagues about the IPCC's fourth and latest assessment report that most of the observed global temperature increase since the mid-20th century ‘is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations." Maruyama noted that when this question was raised at a Japan Geoscience Union symposium last year, ‘the result showed 90 per cent of the participants do not believe the IPCC report."  [Also See: The prestigious International Geological Congress, dubbed the geologists' equivalent of the Olympic Games, was held in Norway in August 2008 and prominently featured the voices of scientists skeptical of man-made global warming fears. [ See: Skeptical scientists overwhelm conference: '2/3 of presenters and question-askers were hostile to, even dismissive of, the UN IPCC' & see full reports here & here -More analyses of recent developments see report's introduction here. ]  

"I do not find the supposed scientific consensus among my colleagues," noted Earth Scientist Dr. Javier Cuadros on March 3, 2009. Cuadros, of the UK Natural History Museum, specializes in Clay Mineralogy and has published more than 30 scientific papers.  

Award-Winning Princeton University Physicist Dr. Robert H. Austin, who has published 170 scientific papers and was elected a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, lamented the current fears over global warming.

"Unfortunately, Climate Science has become Political Science...It is tragic that some perhaps well-meaning but politically motivated scientists who should know better have whipped up a global frenzy about a phenomena which is statistically questionable at best," Austin told the minority staff on the Environment and Public Works Committee on March 2, 2009.  

‘Could turn the climate change world upside down'  

The rise in skeptical scientists are responding not only to an increase in dire "predictions" of climate change, but also a steady stream of peer-reviewed studies, analyses, real world data, and inconvenient developments have further cast doubts on the claims of man-made global warming fear activists. The latest peer-reviewed study in Geophysical Research Letters is being touted as a development that "could turn the climate change world upside down." The study finds that the "Earth is undergoing natural climate shift." The March 15, 2009 article in details the research of Dr. Anastasios Tsonis of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. "We realized a lot of changes in the past century from warmer to cooler and then back to warmer were all natural," Tsonis said. "I don't think we can say much about what the humans are doing," he added.

Tsonis further added: "The temperature has flattened and is actually going down. We are seeing a new shift towards cooler temperatures that will last for probably about three decades." [ See also:  Peer-Reviewed Study Finds Global Warming could stop 'for up to 30 years! Warming 'On Hold?...'Could go into hiding for decades' study finds - - March 2, 2009 ]  

Climate ‘primarily being driven by natural forcing mechanisms' 

Climatologist and Paloeclimate researcher Dr. Diane Douglas, who has authored or edited over 200 technical reports, also declared natural factors are dominating climate, not CO2. "The recent ‘panic' to control GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions and billions of dollars being dedicated for the task has me deeply concerned that US, and other countries are spending precious global funds to stop global warming, when it is primarily being driven by natural forcing mechanisms," Douglas, who is releasing a major new paper she authored that will be presented at a UNESCO conference in Ghent, Belgium on March 20, 2009, told the minority staff on the Environment and Public Works Committee on March 10, 2009.  

Retired Award Winning NASA Atmospheric Scientist Dr. William W. Vaughan, recipient of the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, a former Division Chief of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and author of more than 100 refereed journal articles, monographs, and papers, also now points to natural causes of recent climate changes. "The cause of these global changes is fundamentally due to the Sun and its effect on the Earth as it moves about in its orbit. Not from man-made activities," Vaughan told the minority staff on the Environment and Public Works Committee on February 6, 2009.   

Geology Professor Uberto Crescenti of the University G.d'Annunzio in Italy, the past president of the Society of Italian Geologists also agrees that nature, not mankind is ruling the climate. "I think that climatic changes have natural causes according to geological data...I am very glad to sign the U.S. Senate's report of scientists against the theory of man-made global warming," Crescenti told the minority staff on the Environment and Public Works Committee on January 15, 2009.  

UN IPCC Scientist Dr. Steven M. Japar, a PhD atmospheric chemist who was part of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Second (1995) and Third (2001) Assessment Reports, and has authored 83 peer-reviewed publications and in the areas of climate change, atmospheric chemistry, air pollutions and vehicle emissions, challenged the IPCC's climate claims.

"Temperature measurements show that the [climate model-predicted mid-troposphere] hot zone is non-existent. This is more than sufficient to invalidate global climate models and projections made with them!" Japar told the minority staff on the Environment and Public Works Committee on January 7, 2009.  

Mathematical Physicist Dr. Frank Tipler, professor at Tulane University who has authored 58 peer-reviewed publications and five books, ridiculed man-made climate claims. "Whether the ice caps melt, or expand --- whatever happens --- the AGW (anthropogenic global warming) theorists claim it confirms their theory. A perfect example of a pseudo-science like astrology," Tipler wrote on December 22, 2008.

Botanist Dr. David Bellamy, a famed UK environmental campaigner, former lecturer at Durham University, and host of a popular UK TV series on wildlife, says the international promotion of man-made global warming fears are nearing their end. (Note: Bellamy was in the original 2007 U.S. Senate report.]  "The ­science has, quite simply, gone awry. In fact, it's not even science any more, it's anti-science," Bellamy, who used to believe in man-made warming, declared on November 5, 2008.  

‘Journalistic malpractice' 

Chemist Dr. Mark L. Campbell, a professor of chemistry at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, who has published numerous studies in the Journal of the American Chemical Society on topics such as methane, squarely blames the media for promoting unfounded climate fears. "The sky is not burning, and to claim that it is amounts to journalistic malpractice...the press only promotes the global warming alarmists and ignores or minimizes those of us who are skeptical," Chapman wrote on January 13, 2009.

"Scientists across the globe are catching on -- global warming is not real science.  There is a sucker born every minute who believes in it, and Al Gore is playing the role of P.T. Barnum," Chemist Max S. Strozier declared on December 22, 2009 in an email to the minority staff of the Environment and Public Works Committee. Strozier spent 26 years specializing in chemical laboratory analysis, served as a U.S. Department of Defense aerospace chemist and is a former lecturer at San Jose State University and the University of Texas.  

Recommended Reading: Weekly News Round-up

White House Admits Cap-And-Trade Tax Costs Triple Their Official Estimate - March 17, 2009 

Excerpt: The deputy director of the White House National Economic Council, Jason Furman, is giving us a glimpse at the real number, telling Senate staff the energy tax scheme would actually raise "two-to-three times" the budget's official $646 billion revenue estimate. Dow Jones reports that 5 people at the meeting confirmed the statement-we can be pretty sure he said it. It make sense, because the budget estimate was only half the official score from the Congressional Budget Office for last year's Lieberman-Warner bill, even though the Obama version is designed to have much steeper costs because it requires steeper emissions cuts.If Furman is right that the real tax hike would be two or three times the official budget estimate-and it's likely still a lowball-that would mean the actual tax hike would run well into the trillions, roughly between $1.3 trillion and $1.9 trillion between fiscal years 2012 and 2019 by Furman's own estimate.  

WSJ - White House Official Boosts Cap and Trade Revenue Estimate - March 17, 2009

Excerpt: A top White House economic adviser told Senate staff a proposed cap and trade system could raise "two-to-three times" the administration's existing $646 billion revenue estimate, according to five people at the meeting. This could mean the cap and trade system could actually generate between roughly $1.3 trillion and $1.9 trillion between fiscal years 2012 and 2019. Jason Furman, deputy director of the National Economic Council, offered the estimate at a Feb. 26 meeting on Capitol Hill with a bipartisan group of staffers, most of whom are attached to the Senate Finance Committee, according to five Senate aides who attended the meeting. They spoke on condition they wouldn't be identified by name. The meeting was held in the Finance Committee's hearing room in the Dirksen Office Building, the day the administration released its budget framework. According to those who were present, there were between 50 and 60 staff of both parties, including some staff of House lawmakers. A White House official wouldn't confirm Mr. Furman's comments, but said excess revenues from any cap and trade bill that passes Congress will be used to compensate vulnerable families, communities and businesses.  

The Hill: Climate debate focus shifts away from environment, toward jobs - March 18, 2009

Excerpt: The debate over climate change is shifting away from saving the planet and toward rescuing the American worker. In selling his controversial plan to cap carbon dioxide, for example - as he did in his address to Congress last month - President Obama has linked the need to save "our planet from the ravages of climate change" with the need to "truly transform our economy." In a subsequent speech to a group of CEOs, meanwhile, Obama again sought to sell his plan as a way to green the environment and promote economic growth. He told the business executives that he did not "accept a future where the jobs and industries of tomorrow take root beyond our borders." "You and I both know that we need ultimately to make clean, renewable energy the profitable kind of energy," Obama said. "We know that the best way to do that is through market-based caps on carbon pollution that drive the production of more renewable energy in America." 

The Detroit News - Editorial: Cap-and-trade idea needs full debate - March 20, 2009

Sen. Levin leads effort to force an honest vote:

Excerpt: Enacting a carbon cap-and-trade system is too transformational to allow it to be jammed through Congress without the full give-and-take of the legislative process and with the votes of just one party counting. Credit Michigan Sen. Carl Levin for stepping in front of his own party's bulldozer to shout, "Slow down!" Senate Democratic leaders know that cap-and-trade is an extremely divisive issue, pitting manufacturing states like Michigan against coastal states that have lost their minds to the global warming hysteria. Levin correctly notes that a system of auctioning off carbon credits could drive up the cost of energy, meaning higher prices for nearly all goods, and put manufacturing industries at risk. He has joined seven of his Democratic colleagues in protesting the attempt to circumvent the normal legislative rules to get the bill passed without a full airing.   

Boxer Says Reconciliation Still on Table, But Opposition Mounts Against Strategy - March 20, 2009

Excerpt: Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) told reporters March 19 that a strategy to use the budget reconciliation process to fast-track climate change legislation in the Senate "should remain on the table" even as opposition continued to mount against the strategy. Senate Democrats including Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) have discussed reconciliation as a way to swiftly enact President Obama's priorities such as climate change and health care with 51 votes rather than the 60 needed to end legislative debate and pass the measures on the floor. All eight Republicans on Boxer's Environment Committee, led by the panel's ranking Republican, Sen. James Inhofe (Okla.), March 19 signed a Dear Colleague letter threatening to offer an amendment "to strip any climate revenue provision" if it is included in the Senate budget resolution. The Republican committee members called on senators to join their efforts "to resist the erosion of proper democratic principles."