Friday, January 29, 2010

Watch/Listen/Read Senator Inhofes Response To President Obamas State of the Union Address

Senator Inhofe responded to President Obama's State of the Union address in a Youtube video release Wednesday night. You can also get the Senator's take on the SOTU by listening to his interviews with Joe Kelley of KRMG and Pat Campbell of KFAQ available here: Link to KRMG interview ; Link to KFAQ interview

Click here to watch Sen. Inhofe's Response on YouTube

"Tonight, as usual, President Obama was eloquent in the delivery of his State of the Union address.  Though he indicated that he understands the message voters are sending to Washington, overall, it seems doubtful that he does.  Americans have spoken and they don't want Obama's government-run Health Care that the Democrats are trying to push through.  They don't want Cap and Trade legislation, they don't want to close GITMO, and they don't want more government debt, deficit spending, or bailouts.

"I applaud President Obama for promoting the elimination of the Capital Gains Tax, and tax credits for new hiring in the private sector, however, then the spending starts.  Instead of spending another $100 billion for a Recovery Act, he should spend it on the roads, highways, and bridges America desperately needs.

"Tonight, out of one side of his mouth, President Obama advocated freezing some government spending, but out of the other side of his mouth, he advocated spending increases. While freezing spending is a good idea, given the unprecedented explosion of federal spending the Democrats have instituted during the last year, what he is offering seems more like a budgetary bait-and-switch that does not address our nation's fiscal problems.  As you can see from this chart, instead of freezing spending at the bloated levels of the past year, we should return to the comparatively more modest spending levels of previous years.  I mean, he increases spending by over 20 percent, and then freezes it.

"When it comes to energy, the American people want a common sense approach to meet our needs.  America has the largest reserve of recoverable oil and gas in the world, but Obama and the Democrats put those reserves off limits.  We could become energy independent if President Obama and the Democrats would only allow us to develop our own resources.

"I was pleased to hear him advocate for increasing certain tax credits while creating incentives for retirement savings.  We need real answers for the 15 million people without work.  An approach similar to the failed $787 billion stimulus bill will not work.  We need a serious approach to job creation that reduces the burden on the private sector, provides more for our national security, and invests more to fix our crumbling highway infrastructure.  We didn't get that tonight."

A Terrible, Horrible, Bad Week for Global Warming Alarmists

Major news outlets reported this week on more disturbing developments involving the IPCC. First we had climategate, then glaciergate, and now there is amazongate...  U.N.'s Global Warming Report Under Fresh Attack for Rainforest Claims  - A United Nations report on climate change that has been lambasted for its faulty research is under new attack for yet another instance of what critics say is sloppy science -- guiding global warming policy based on a study of forest fires. A view of the Amazon basin forest north of Manaus, Brazil. A U.N. report stated that global warming is threatening the forests -- a statement that was recently discredited.  A United Nations report on climate change that has been lambasted for its faulty research is under new attack for yet another instance of what its critics say is sloppy science -- adding to a growing scandal that has undermined the credibility of scientists and policymakers who back the U.N.'s  findings about global warming.

The Times UK: Scientists in stolen e-mail scandal hid climate data - The university at the centre of the climate change row over stolen e-mails broke the law by refusing to hand over its raw data for public scrutiny.  The University of East Anglia breached the Freedom of Information Act by refusing to comply with requests for data concerning claims by its scientists that man-made emissions were causing global warming. The Information Commissioner's Office decided that UEA failed in its duties under the Act but said that it could not prosecute those involved because the complaint was made too late, The Times has learnt. The ICO is now seeking to change the law to allow prosecutions if a complaint is made more than six months after a breach. The stolen e-mails , revealed on the eve of the Copenhagen summit, showed how the university's Climatic Research Unit attempted to thwart requests for scientific data and other information, and suggest that senior figures at the university were involved in decisions to refuse the requests.

Reuters: World may not do climate deal this year - DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - Global climate talks may have to continue into 2011 after failing last month to agree on a Kyoto successor, the U.N.'s climate chief and Denmark's new climate minister told Reuters on Friday. The world failed to commit in Copenhagen last month to succeed or extend the existing Kyoto Protocol from 2013. The U.N.'s top climate official, Yvo de Boer, could not guarantee a deal in Mexico, the next scheduled ministerial meeting. A lack of trust and the economic crisis complicated prospects for a deal in Mexico in December, added President Felipe Calderon, the prospective host of those talks. "Whether we can achieve that in Mexico or need a bit more time remains to be seen and will become clearer in the course of the year," de Boer said on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, where executives said they would invest in low-carbon technologies regardless of a global climate deal. "It's very difficult to pin down. One of the lessons from Copenhagen was don't rush it, take the time you need to get full engagement of all countries and make sure people are confident about what is being agreed."

ABC News: Can Climate Forecasts Still Be Trusted? - Briffa's unusually declining temperature graph points to a serious conundrum that no one has been able to explain yet: Since the 1960s, the tree-ring data no longer reflect actual temperature changes. But why, then, should tree-ring data be valid for periods before that? At least the fourth IPCC report, published in 2007, discusses the problems with the tree-ring data at length. But even the current, valid report contains controversial passages. Chapter 1.3.8, for example, contains a discussion of the possible relationship between climate change and the increased incidence of natural disasters, which, after Hurricane Katrina in the United States, have now become a politically charged issue. At the IPCC report, the damage associated with such events "are very likely to increase due to increased frequencies and intensities of some extreme weather events" (italics in original). The report cites as evidence a study that supposedly demonstrates precisely this trend.

FT: Climate sceptics bask in warmth of bad news  - Climate scientists were desperately hoping for a fresh start this year after the disappointing outcome of last month's Copenhagen conference and the "Climategate" debacle, in which e-mails stolen from the University of East Anglia allegedly showed scientists suppressing data that did not suit their case for man-made global warming.  But far from enjoying a respite, bad news has continued to flow. On Thursday, for example, the UK Information Commissioner's Office said UEA's climatic research unit breached freedom of information rules by failing to provide data requested by climate sceptics, though complaints were made too late for the university to face legal action.

NYT: From Inside and Out, Climate Panel is Pushed to Change -  There is growing pressure on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, from within and without, to change some practices to ensure the credibility of its future reports. The latest push came on Monday in New Delhi, where leaders of countries that formed an influential bloc at last month's Copenhagen climate talks were meeting to assess next steps. The Business Standard of India quoted Xie Zhenhua, vice chairman of China's National Development and Reform Commission, as calling for the panel's next set of reports  to contain a broader set of scientific viewpoints on evidence for global warming:

PEW Poll: Global Warming Ranks "bottom of the public's list of priorities"  -  A new poll released today from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press shows that global warming ranks dead last on a list of priorities of Americans. From the report:  "Dealing with global warming ranks at the bottom of the public's list of priorities; just 28% consider this a top priority, the lowest measure for any issue tested in the survey. Since 2007, when the item was first included on the priorities list, dealing with global warming has consistently ranked at or near the bottom. Even so, the percentage that now says addressing global warming should be a top priority has fallen 10 points from 2007, when 38% considered it a top priority. Such a low ranking is driven in part by indifference among Republicans: just 11% consider global warming a top priority, compared with 43% of Democrats and 25% of independents."

WSJ: Obama and the Copenhagen Syndrome - In September, Mr. Obama paid a semi-impromptu visit to Copenhagen to make a personal appeal for Chicago's 2016 Olympic bid. It failed. The nice way to think about it: The president was trying to win one for Team America. Less nice: It was a feckless and unpresidential errand on behalf of the Chicago political machine to which he remains beholden. Instead, the president chose to raise expectations by showing up at the end of the conference, as if he were sure that the magic would not fail him twice. It did. "The debacle of Copenhagen is also Barack Obama's debacle," editorialized Der Spiegel, a left-of-center publication. No points in old Europe for the old college try.

E&E News: Obama holds firm on comprehensive bill, but most senators shrug - Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) urged Obama to scale back his effort on climate. "I think this is a very difficult time, given the state of the economy," Bayh said. "And the lack of a firm commitment on the part of other nations. That makes it more difficult. That's not to say progress can't be made. If I were advising the president, I would focus on energy security, job creation in the energy space that would have the additional advantage of helping to address carbon emissions but do it an economically friendly way."Leading Senate Republicans were quick to pile on too. "Cap and trade is dead in the Senate," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). "This year? Nah, not going to happen," said Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.). "It's not even worth talking about."

Wash. Post: China to rich nations: Hand out climate money now - NEW DELHI -- Brazil, China, India and South Africa called Sunday for developed countries to quickly begin handing over the $10 billion pledged in Copenhagen to poor countries to help them deal with the effects of climate change. The first funds should go to the least developed countries, including small island states and African countries, said Xie Zhenhua, China's top climate change negotiator after a meeting of the representatives of the four nations in New Delhi. The four developing world giants - known as BASIC - also said they would their submit plans for combatting climate change to the U.N. this week.

Exclusive: CBS News' Sharyl Attkisson Follows the Money from Copenhagen to the U.S. Taxpayer - For 15 Democratic and 6 Republican Congressmen, food and rooms for two nights cost $4,406 tax dollars each. That's $2,200 a day - more than most Americans spend on their monthly mortgage payment. CBS News asked members of Congress and staff about whether they're mindful that it's public tax dollars they're spending. Many said they had never even seen the bills or the expense reports. Copenhagen Congressional Junket  Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., is a key climate change player. He went to Copenhagen last year. Last week, we asked him about the $2,200-a-day bill for room and food. "I can't believe that," Rep. Waxman said. "I can't believe it, but I don't know."

Policy Beat: EPA Endangerment Finding Relies on Conclusions of the UN IPCC

In the last in our series on EPA's endangerment finding, we take a closer look at the basis on which the finding was made.  EPA's finding rests predominantly on the conclusions of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).  As the apotheosis of green aspirations, the IPCC is, as one top Administration official described it, the "gold standard" of climate change research.  The "scientific consensus" on climate change and its causes is, as historian Naomi Oreskes stated, "clearly expressed in the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change." 

There is no daylight between the views of Oreskes and EPA.  In the "Technical Support Document" explaining the scientific basis of the endangerment finding, EPA stated that "the conclusions here and the information throughout this document are primarily drawn from the assessment reports of the IPCC," among other sources. 

One could readily take comfort in EPA's relying on the "gold standard" to make such a momentous finding.  Yet, what happens to endangerment when the "gold standard" loses its sheen?  We refer to the recent unpleasantness emanating from the IPCC itself.  As it turns out, the IPCC's startling assertion that Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035-asserted in the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report in 2007-was predicated on...not much at all. 

Under the headline "World misled over Himalayan glacier meltdown," the UK's Sunday Times reported that the Himalayan bit was based on a 1999 story in a news magazine, which in turn was "based on a short telephone interview with Syed Hasnain, a little-known Indian scientist then based at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi."  In 2005, the activist group World Wildlife Fund (WWF) cited the story in one of its climate change reports.  Yet, despite the fact that the WWF report was not peer-reviewed, it was referenced by the IPCC.  "When finally published," the Sunday Times wrote, "the IPCC report did give its source as the WWF study but went further, suggesting the likelihood of the glaciers melting was ‘very high'."  The IPCC defines this as having a probability of greater than 90%.

Even more galling, in an interview with the UK's Sunday Mail, Murari Lal, author of the IPCC report's chapter on Asia, said he knew there were no solid data to support the Himalayan glacier claim: "We thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policy makers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action." In other words, the Sunday Mail wrote, Lal "admitted [the glacier alarmism] was included purely to put political pressure on world leaders."

One wonders about the fiery moral indignation that would rightly ensue had a drug company executive admitted to falsifying drug research to enrich himself and the company's shareholders.  Yet we already see the hand-waving: this is one mere error amidst a sea of facts and rigorous analysis.  And as for that Climategate thing: just a few pesky emails from a few boorish paleo-climatologists.  Yet as it turns out, the Climategate scientists were central to the formation of the IPCC's reports-email after email contains names of individuals who served as IPCC authors and editors. 

We close by pointing to page 162 of EPA's endangerment finding, under the heading of ‘Examples of Key Regional Impacts as Identified by the IPCC (2007b): "Glacier melt in the Himalayas is projected to increase flooding and rock avalanches from destabilized slopes and to affect water resources within the next two to three decades. This will be followed by decreased river flows as the glaciers recede."

Inhofe Hearing Statement on Solar Energy Technology and Green Energy Jobs

Yesterday, Senator Inhofe delivered the following statement at a hearing on Solar Energy Technology and Green Energy Jobs:

Madame Chairman, Chairman Sanders, thank you for scheduling this hearing today to examine whether solar energy can fuel our economic recovery.  As I've stated many times, I support an all-of-the-above energy policy, which includes using renewable resources such as solar energy to power our economy.  While we don't have much solar in Oklahoma, my state has been a leader in wind and geothermal technologies, simply because it makes economic sense to do it there.  In fact, on January 8th, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) issued two orders authorizing OGE to purchase electricity from two new wind farms currently being developed in northwestern Oklahoma.   Both are expected to be in production by year's end and will provide an additional 280 megawatts to the state's already existing 1,130 megawatts of capacity. 

I welcome all the witnesses, including Secretary Salazar and representatives from the various solar energy companies, as well as Professor Andrew Morriss.  Professor Morriss will focus his comments on current and proposed policies to promote solar and other types of renewable energy, rather than on the technologies themselves.

We know that cap-and-trade or other schemes that raise energy prices are not the solutions that America wants or needs.  To promote clean energy you don't have to restrict or penalize other energy sources.  And the notion that energy companies will not invest in clean energy without government programs is a myth.  According to the Pacific Research Institute, U.S. based oil and gas companies invested an estimated $121.3 billion from 2000 through 2007 on emerging energy technologies in the North American market.

Madame Chairman, we need an all-of-the-above energy policy that includes renewables but not at the expense of other domestic resources.  Last fall, the Congressional Research Service released a report on America's combined recoverable oil, natural gas, and coal resources.  CRS found that they are the largest recoverable resources on earth.  CRS shows that if America opened access to its own resources, we could produce 167 billion barrels of oil, which is the equivalent of replacing America's current imports from OPEC for more than 75 years.  The report also shows that, at today's rate of use, America possesses a 90-year supply of recoverable natural gas.  To remain competitive, we need access to this resource base, which will help fuel our economic recovery and create thousands of jobs. 

While I appreciate the opportunity to talk about this issue today, I am hopeful, Madame Chairman, that you will begin to schedule hearings on other issues, especially those concerning infrastructure.  As I've said repeatedly, building highways and bridges can provide an immediate economic stimulus and create thousands of new jobs. 

This is our first hearing in 2010.  We know enough about climate change and cap-and-trade to put them aside-we know cap-and-trade means fewer jobs and higher energy prices.  So let's focus instead on advancing issues that will put people back to work and get our economy moving again. 

Democrats On The Record on Cap-and-Trade Prospects for 2010

Senate Democrats are voicing their significant reservations with moving a global warming cap and trade bill anytime soon, as their statements reveal below:

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.): "As Kerry noted, House members put themselves on the line when they approved a climate bill earlier this year. But the health backlash is only the latest roadblock in the Senate, and it's not at all clear that supporters will be able to clear all - or even any - of them. "It will take a lot of work," said Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.). ‘We need to take a break around here and step back before we try anything of any controversy.'" (GOP warns of harsh climate on energy bill, Politico)

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.): "Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said it would be good to take a break between two bills where senators have considerable differences. ‘Once health care is over, we've got to take everyone's temperature,' she said. ‘I'm pretty new but I've got to tell you, after you do one really, really big, really, really hard thing that makes everybody mad, I don't think anybody is excited about doing another really, really big thing that's really, really hard, that makes everybody mad.'" (Financial reform debate may influence future of cap and trade, E&E News)

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.): "When they do move into the environment and energy arena, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) said he would prefer Congress work on a bill that he plans to introduce with Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) that curbs conventional air pollutants like sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury. Past versions of the legislation have also included a limit on carbon dioxide emissions, but Carper said he would leave that debate for later. ‘We're not going to start there,' Carper said. ‘We're going to start with three of those P's. And we'll leave the last of those out for now.'" (Senate Dems urge short-term focus on jobs, cap-and-trade delay, E&E News)

Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska): Begich was asked about cap-and-trade legislation to deal with climate change, and said he thought that didn't have as much momentum in Congress as it did last year. Instead, he said he would focus on good energy legislation, and noted that such a bill would address the same issues as a climate bill -- developing new energy sources and new energy production technology, and finding more efficient means of delivering energy, would in effect help to curb emissions. ‘If you get into that (climate change) debate, what's the goal? Energy," Begich said. "I think that's the better use of our time.'" (Begich: Looks to long term: Senator: Alaska needs sustainable solutions, not year-to-year deals, Peninsula Clarion)

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.): "‘I think it's clear from the hiatus that a large cap-and-trade bill isn't going to go ahead at this time,' said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)."

Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.): "Until that work is done, supporters of legislation in the Senate will have a hard time overcoming the objections of manufacturing-state Democrats, who don't want to see the United States commit to reducing emissions unless China is doing the same. ‘If China will not let us verify, we're going to have a heck of a time here,' said Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.). "An agreement's no good if you can't verify.'" (Copenhagen fizzle won't help bill, Politico)

Sen. Robert Casey (D-Pa.) "Several influential Senate Democrats from around the country yesterday questioned the political wisdom of diving headfirst into a sweeping climate change and energy package when voters are more concerned about jobs and the state of the economy. From Pennsylvania to California, the senators urged President Obama to focus Congress' attention on tackling the nation's double-digit unemployment rate, otherwise they would face the same voter angst that Republican Scott Brown used to ride to victory Tuesday in the Massachusetts special election to succeed the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. "There's only so much time in a day that people can digest or get a sense what's happening in Washington," said Sen. Robert Casey (D-Pa). "And if they hear, 'Big, big bill, lots of debate and controversy' and they don't hear 'jobs' and they don't hear 'short term,' we're making a mistake." (Senate Dems urge short-term focus on jobs, cap-and-trade delay, E&ENews)

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.): "Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said the substance of the ultimate global warming and energy package will make or break the bill. Still, he doubted Democrats would have the issue on their agenda at the start of the year. ‘I think that there will be a greater focus on jobs and the economy,' Levin said. ‘I don't think that means they're going to not address climate change, but I don't think it will have quite the prominence that jobs and the economy are going to have.'" (Senate Dems urge short-term focus on jobs, cap-and-trade delay, E&ENews)

Link here for more articles from the Inhofe EPW Press Blog

In the News . . . Tulsa World: New pollution rule to hurt state, Inhofe says

Tulsa World  

New pollution rule to hurt state, Inhofe says

By: Jim Myers World Washington Bureau

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Link to Article

WASHINGTON - The Environmental Protection Agency announced a new pollution standard Monday to protect Americans from short-term exposure linked to major roads.

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., a major congressional player on such issues, warned that the EPA's move is yet another example of "more job-killing regulations" that will hurt states and local communities.

"In this case, Oklahoma will be directly affected," he said.

The top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Inhofe vowed to work closely with officials in Oklahoma to ensure that the EPA's "misguided rules" do not restrict economic development.

The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality said it was still looking at the ramifications of the announcement.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said the agency's action is the first of its kind to prevent short-term exposure to nitrogen dioxide in high-risk zones such as urban communities and areas near roads.

"This new one-hour standard is designed to protect the air we breathe and reduce health threats for millions of Americans," she said.

Short-term exposure to nitrogen dioxide has been linked to impaired lung function and increased respiratory infections, especially in people who have asthma.

The EPA set the new one-hour standard at a level of 100 parts per billion.

Establishing new monitoring requirements in urban areas, the EPA also said it will use at least 40 monitors in locations to help protect communities that are susceptible and vulnerable to elevated levels of nitrogen dioxide.

It expects to identify areas not meeting the new standard by January 2012.

Those designations will be based on the existing monitoring network, and the agency plans to redesignate areas when three years of air-quality data become available with the new monitors.

Those new monitors are expected to be operating no later than January 2013.

Earlier this month, the EPA announced its proposal to beef up the nation's smog standards.

"Improving air quality is a top priority for this EPA," Jackson said.

"We're moving into the clean, sustainable economy of the 21st century, defined by expanded innovation, stronger pollution standards and healthier communities."

The American Petroleum Institute expressed concern that the EPA is basing its new short-term standard on a faulty science record.

The EPA "rushed to a decision without completing a thorough review of the science in a manner that allowed proper public participation," the institute stated.

"There is no significant evidence that the short-term NO2 standard established today by the administrator is necessary to protect public health."

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