Friday, December 3, 2010

Watch: Inhofe Message on UN Climate Conference in Cancun: Nothing is Going to Happen and Everyone Knows It

New York Times

Senator Inhofe: ‘I Was Right and They Were Wrong'

Watch Inhofe Video

Link to Hot Air Coverage of Video

Senator James Inhofe, the Oklahoma Republican who is Congress’s most outspoken climate change skeptic, has sent his regrets to the thousands of delegates and global warming campaigners who are in Cancún, Mexico, for the annual United Nations climate change conference, saying he was sorry he would not be able to make an appearance.

Mr. Inhofe caused quite a stir at last year’s meeting in Copenhagen when he showed up at the press center to declare cap-and-trade legislation dead in Washington and to call global warming a hoax pushed by environmental extremists.

On Thursday, he sent a videotaped message to a group of fellow skeptics gathered in Cancún to raise questions about both the science of global warming and the international process for trying to combat it. He was speaking to Americans for Prosperity, a group partly financed by the oil industry that opposes government action on climate change and that has sponsored many Tea Party groups.

Mr. Inhofe was his usual understated self:

“We have come a long way since the last U.N. climate meeting last year when President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Lisa Jackson, Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry and dozens of lawmakers made their way to Copenhagen to tell the world that cap-and-trade was going to pass the United States Senate,” Mr. Inhofe said in his message. “Yet the truth was it had no chance of passing. To deliver that message, I traveled to Copenhagen as a one-man truth squad.

“I was only on the ground for about two hours, perhaps the most enjoyable two hours of my life, but the message I delivered was clear; under no circumstances will Global Warming Cap and Trade legislation ever pass the United States Senate. The reporters and diplomats didn’t like it. They hated me for telling the truth. But here we are: I was right and they were wrong.

“The fact is, nothing is going to happen in Cancún this year and everyone knows it. I couldn’t be happier and poor Al Gore couldn’t be more upset: it has been widely reported that he is ‘depressed’ about Cancún.”

Mr. Inhofe applauded Americans for Prosperity and urged its followers at the climate conference to enjoy the warm weather in Mexico. “Keep up the good work — and for those of you in Cancún this week, stay strong, take no prisoners, and enjoy the party!” he said.

Full Transcript of Video Remarks

Senators: No US Overseas Aid for Climate Change

AFP 

No US overseas aid for climate change: Senators

December 02, 2010

Press Release: Administration Must Stop Wasting U.S. Taxpayer Dollars on International Climate Change Bailouts

Link to Article 

WASHINGTON - The United States must freeze climate-change aid payments to developing countries to help them implement a global plan agreed in Denmark's capital last year, four US lawmakers said Thursday.

Republican Senators John Barrasso, James Inhofe, David Vitter, and George Voinovich told US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that Washington cannot to spend the money at a time of swelling deficits and a bloated national debt.

"We remain opposed to the US commitment to full implementation of the Copenhagen Accord, which will transfer billions of US taxpayer dollars to developing nations in the name of climate change," they said in a letter.

"We do not believe that billions of US taxpayer dollars should be transferred to developing countries through unaccountable multilateral or bilateral channels for adaptation, deforestation and other international climate finance programs," they told the top US diplomat.

The lawmakers said total US climate-related government spending in 2010 reached 1.3 billion dollars, and President Barack Obama has requested 1.9 billion for 2011 -- out of 3.6 trillion dollars in annual government spending.

"We request that the administration freeze further spending requests to implement international climate change finance programs. This would include making no additional international commitments to fund such programs," they said.

Republicans routed Obama's Democratic allies in November 2 elections, retaking the House of Representatives and slicing deep into the Democratic majority in the Senate, giving them a firmer grip on the reins in Washington.

House Republicans announced late Wednesday that they were dismantling the committee, created by Democrats, focused on battling climate change, calling it a waste of money.

Watch/Read: Inhofe Welcomes Fallins Decision to Retain Ridley

Senator Inhofe spoke on the Senate Floor Monday and welcomed the announcement by Oklahoma Governor-elect Mary Fallin on her decision to retain Gary Ridley in his current role as Secretary of Transportation for Oklahoma, as well as the director of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and director of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority.

Inhofe and Ridley Making Radio Calls From Washington Discussing Oklahoma Transportation Needs

"I am pleased that Governor-elect Mary Fallin has decided to retain my good friend Gary Ridley as Oklahoma's Secretary of Transportation. Throughout the years, Gary's dedicated service to Oklahoma has proven invaluable. Simply put, he is the best Secretary of Transportation in the country. I look forward to working with both Governor-elect Fallin and Secretary Ridley to meet Oklahoma's transportation needs."

Watch: Inhofe Floor Remarks on Okla. Secretary of Transportation Gary Ridley

 

EPW Passes Bipartisan Environmental Legislation

Sen. Inhofe Tuesday welcomed Committee passage of bipartisan environmental bills that protect jobs and the environment, and that will provide environmental benefits for Oklahoma and the nation.

"I am pleased that the EPW Committee was able to come together and pass common-sense environmental legislation," Inhofe said. "The Diesel Emissions Reduction Act of 2010 and the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act will reduce emissions with real public health impacts and lower the level of lead in drinking water.  Notably, they will achieve these worthy goals without sacrificing jobs or economic growth.  Here, then, are models of bipartisan environmental legislation that I hope will swiftly pass through Congress and become law by year's end."

DERA and the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water were cosponsored by Senator Inhofe and were approved by a voice vote.

DERA: A five-year reauthorization of legislation that established a voluntary national and state-level grant and loan program to reduce diesel emissions. The original DERA legislation, authored by Senators George Voinovich (R-Ohio) and Tom Carper (D-Del.), enjoyed strong bipartisan support, passing the Senate by a vote of 92 to 1. The legislation was eventually included in the final version of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Read more about the bill here. 

Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water: A bill that strengthens and clarifies national standards for lead in drinking water by uniformly reducing the allowable lead content in drinking water pipes, pipe fittings, and plumbing fixtures. Read more about the bill here.

Inhofe Vows to Block Catch-All Land and Water Package

On Wednesday, Sen. Inhofe issued the following statement in response to news reports that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) plans to move an omnibus package of land and water bills.

Also see: E&E News: Inhofe vows to block natural resources omnibus

Also see: E&E News: Last-minute water, lands, wildlife bill a Frankenstein omnibus - Hastings

"I stand in firm opposition to this package, the contents of which are still uncertain," Sen. Inhofe said.  "From what I understand thus far, it will include, among others, the Chesapeake Bay bill, sponsored by Sen. Ben Cardin and others.  I sincerely appreciate Sen. Cardin's willingness to work with me in shaping this legislation.  He has extended his hand in true bipartisan fashion.  Nevertheless, I believe this legislation still needs significant changes, principally with respect to restricting the broad, and unprecedented, scope of authority it grants to EPA over state permitting programs.  I look forward to continuing working with Sen. Cardin to see if a bipartisan compromise can be reached.

"But it won't be reached today or if this bill is thrown together with several other bills, many of which are too expansive and set unrealistic authorization levels.  The first step to controlling government spending is for the authorizers to set reasonable and achievable authorization levels. I am perfectly willing to work with my colleagues to advance some of these bills individually, but we need time to examine the changes that have been made since they emerged from the EPW committee, and we must consider their effect on the deficit. 

"If, however, Sen. Reid insists on moving these bills as an omnibus package, then I will place a hold on it to ensure the American people have more time to understand the policy, regulatory and fiscal impacts of these bills."

Policy Beat: Friedmans Folly

“I have been over into the future, and it works.” - Lincoln Steffens, after returning from the Soviet Union, 1921

In a column more puerile than profound, Thomas Friedman wonders, “What if China had a Wikileaker?”  His point is that if another Julian Assange leaked China’s diplomatic cables, we would see China laughing at America.  In Friedman’s reverie, Chinese diplomats scoff at surly travelers complaining about full-body scans; chuckle over elections in which one candidate tries “to raise more money than the other (all from businesses they are supposed to be regulating)”; and laugh at provincial Americans who “travel abroad so rarely that they don’t see how far they are falling behind.”

In Friedman’s fictional cable, the Chinese would really be floored about Republicans’ backwardness on climate change:

Most of the Republicans just elected to Congress do not believe what their scientists tell them about man-made climate change. America’s politicians are mostly lawyers — not engineers or scientists like ours — so they’ll just say crazy things about science and nobody calls them on it.

As the modern day Lincoln Steffens, Friedman is convinced that China’s communist system is the future, and it works.  As he wrote in 2009: “One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages.”  Drawbacks?  Courtesy of Amnesty International, here are those “drawbacks,” straight from China’s “reasonably enlightened group of people”:

 - “An estimated 500,000 people are currently enduring punitive detention without charge or trial, and millions are unable to access the legal system to seek redress for their grievances.” 

 - “Harassment, surveillance, house arrest, and imprisonment of human rights defenders are on the rise, and censorship of the Internet and other media has grown.” 

 - “Repression of minority groups, including Tibetans, Uighurs and Mongolians, and of Falun Gong practitioners and Christians who practice their religion outside state-sanctioned churches continues.”

 - “Women and girls continued to suffer violence and discrimination.”

 - “China remains the leading executioner in the world.”

And so on.  As with Americans once enthralled by Stalin’s Soviet Union, Friedman sees windmills and solar panels more than China’s brutally repressive regime. 

But apparently repression is the price to pay for realizing China’s green revolution, by which Friedman means: China is rapidly deploying wind, solar, and other green technologies - putting America at a strategic and economic disadvantage.  The future is here, and it’s in China. 

Or is it?  According to the World Resources Institute, here is China’s energy future:

 

That’s right, in China, coal “will remain the dominant power source” (Asian Development Bank); the “government’s energy policies are dominated by the country’s growing demand for oil” (Energy Information Administration); and wind and solar are “a sideshow” (Columnist Robert Samuelson). 

Dan Henninger, an exceedingly more clear-eyed and sensible columnist for the Wall Street Journal, incisively and concisely summed up Friedman’s moral blindness. “The New York Times’s Thomas Friedman asked yesterday: ‘What if China had a Wikileaker?’ The three-word answer: They’d execute him.”    

Policy Beat: Spread the Wealth Around

If you've ever wondered why the international community convenes climate meetings in far-flung locales (Cancun, or perhaps Bali), then look no further than Otto Edenhofer, a German economist and an official with the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).  Such grand confabs are not, as one would suppose, about climate change, its causes, or actions to avert and adapt to it. 

In fact, as Edenhofer sees it, such things are irrelevant, as the climate conference is "not a climate conference, but one of the largest economic conferences since the Second World War."  Indeed.

What does he mean?  In an interview with German media outlet Neue Zurcher Zeitung, Edenhofer said that developed countries, i.e. the United States, have "expropriated the atmosphere of the world community."  "But one must say clearly," he asserted, "that we redistribute de facto the world's wealth by climate policy."  In other words, as one debunked economist might have put it, the expropriators should be expropriated.

If that doesn't put it bluntly enough, Edenhofer goes on to say: "One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy.  This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore, with problems such as deforestation or the ozone hole."  [Emphasis ours.]

It apparently has a lot to do with the American taxpayer, who would be part of the expropriated class.  The big winner, in Edenhofer's view, would be Africa, "and huge amounts of money will flow there." 

Edenhofer's remarks are of a piece with former French President Jacques Chirac, who said in 2000 that Kyoto Protocol was the "first component of an authentic global governance." And Margot Wallstrom, the European Union's former Environment Commissioner, who said in 2001 that Kyoto is about "trying to create a level playing field for big businesses throughout the world."  Which is to say that Cancun is about something other than saving the planet from the ravages of humanity. 

Rather, it is about using climate change as a stalking horse for more regulation and control of the private economy, and about redistributing wealth from American taxpayers to, among others, China and India.  For Cancun is based on the principle that, as one Presidential candidate famously put it, when "you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody." 

In the News... BMI: Global Warming Alarmist Admits Senators Prediction about Cap-and-Trade Legislation was Correct

Business and Media Institute 

Bloomberg BusinessWeek's Eric Pooley: Inhofe 'Was Right' About U.S. Climate Bill

Global warming alarmist admits senator's prediction about cap-and-trade legislation was correct; portrays ClimateGate as step back.

By Jeff Poor

Thursday, December 02, 2010 

Link to Article  

Leave it to navel-gazing so-called climate journalists to get to the bottom of the aftermath of ClimateGate.

The Yale Forum on Climate Change & The Media asked - what did the 'climate journalism community' learn over the 12 months stemming from the controversy, or as it prefaced, 'pseudo-controversies,' specifically the 'cherry-picked' and 'hacked' emails that came out of ClimateGate.

Some of the journalist's surveyed by Yale Forum dismissed ClimateGate altogether. However, one of those journalists surveyed offered a surprising claim. Eric Pooley, a writer for Bloomberg BusinessWeek, said ClimateGate did have a lasting impact on moving the ball away from what many alarmists would like to see.

In a Yale Forum post from Nov. 23, Pooley said 'famously skeptical' Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., was right about one thing - ClimateGate kept legislation from being passed in the United States on global warming:

"[W]e can try [to counter skepticism] - and of course many of us have been trying. I saw some of my colleagues get a wake-up call last December in the big COP 15 media center in Copenhagen. I was talking with some climate journalists after Senator James Inhofe, the famously skeptical Oklahoman, came through the room. Some journalists began joking about Inhofe, so-called 'climategate,' and the absurdity of those who claimed that the hacked e-mails were proof that climate scientists had cooked their data. The journalists were right - those claims were absurd - but they were also missing the point. Inhofe had just predicted that a U.S. climate bill was 'not going to happen,' and he was right."

Giving credit where credit is due is a step forward, but Pooley made it clear he was disappointed that ClimateGate was a set back for global warming alarmists:

"While climate journalists in Copenhagen were studying the fine points of the latest REDD proposal, 'climategate' was going viral on the internet and in the mainstream media. Soon CNN was hosting a debate on the validity of climate science, and I was pulling out my calendar to remind myself what year it was. Surely we couldn't still be arguing the basic science in 2009 and 2010."

News From Cancun! Diplomats Head to Sunny Cancun - Lawmakers Stay Home - Letter Hits a Nerve - Calls for Rationing - Capitalism is the Problem

 

NYT / Climatewire: Diplomats Head to Sunny Cancun, but U.S. Lawmakers Stay Home - Cancun, Mexico, may be the center of the global warming universe this week. But members of Congress say their thoughts are a world away from the international treaty talks. From "the House is in session" to "I haven't thought about it," Republicans and Democrats alike have excuses aplenty for skipping the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change talks. The conference opened yesterday and goes through Dec. 10. The apathy is palpable, and a far cry from the atmosphere last year when President Obama and the leaders of more than 100 other nations descended in droves upon the chilly Danish capital of Copenhagen to hawk their views at the climate circus. That conference saw U.S. congressional champions of cap-and-trade legislation as well as skeptics jostling to share their views on the prospects for American domestic action and a new international treaty.

Reuters: Bolivia Assails Rich, Carbon Market at Cancun Talks - Bolivia, among the strongest opponents of the Copenhagen climate accord last year, assailed rich nations at Cancun climate talks on Tuesday but stopped short of threatening to disrupt the two-week conference. … Expectations for the Cancun talks have been dampened because there is little sign of compromise between delegates representing nearly 200 countries over many of the issues that led to deadlock and acrimony last year in Copenhagen. Bolivian President Evo Morales has fingered capitalism as the root of many of the problems facing the world and has urged his fellow leaders to explore alternatives, such as a declaration of rights for the earth as a means of tackling climate change.

Mother Jones: Senate Republicans to World: We're Not Paying for Climate - But they certainly hit a nerve in the letter. Other countries are growing increasingly worried that the US will not follow through on its commitment to provide money for a climate fund. How to create the fund is a big part of the negotiations here. The US budgeted $1.3 billion for climate financing for 2010, and the Obama administration requested $1.9 billion for 2011 (though that has not been approved). But there's concern that, with Republicans in charge of the House, getting the US to commit more money for climate will be impossible. The senators' letter stands as a reminder that, if they have anything to say about it, the US certainly won't. Republicans don't control the Senate right now of course, but they can effectively block aid. And they do control the House, where the vast majority of GOP members also dispute that the planet is warming--which means they could cause problems in terms of the US delivering the funds is has promised.

Telegraph UK: Cancun: Scientists Call for Rationing   - Global warming is now such a serious threat to mankind that climate change experts are calling for Second World War-style rationing in rich countries to bring down carbon emissions. …This could mean a limit on electricity so people are forced to turn the heating down, turn off the lights and replace old electrical goods like huge fridges with more efficient models. Food that has travelled from abroad may be limited and goods that require a lot of energy to manufacture.  “The Second World War and the concept of rationing is something we need to seriously consider if we are to address the scale of the problem we face,” he said.

Wash. Examiner: British climatologist: Halt Economic Growth in ‘Rich’ World  - Prof. Anderson admitted that electricity rationing would likely be necessary to achieve the desired decrease in carbon emissions. “I am not saying we have to go back to living in caves,” he said. But getting rid of full size refrigerators, wearing sweaters instead of turning on the furnace, and not being able to afford petrol for the family car  - all of which he calls necessary “adjustments in everyday life” – comes pretty darn close. Meanwhile, back in the home country, global warming is literally on ice: “Snow storms paralyze the country…300 passengers spend night on train…Empty shelves at food stores as severe [cold] weather hits deliveries… Forecasters warned of the big freeze tightening its grip for the rest of the week, with more snow on the way and temperatures expected to plunge as low as -25 C," blared stories and headlines in the Daily Mail. 

National Journal: Vast Beach, Golf, and Spa Compound Playing Host to Climate Summit  - The Moon Palace, the vast beach, golf and spa resort compound playing host to this year's climate summit, is lending a distinct character to the proceedings. Instead, delegations have been assigned suites of rooms usually reserved for honeymooners or spring break revelers. There are 22 wings at the Moon, with names like Tequila, Fiesta, Pinata, Mango. ...You get the idea. The heaviest hitters - the U.S., China, India, the E.U., -- are all in Sombrero. Your National Journal correspondent headed over there today, taking the hibiscus-lined paths and almost tripping en route over a giant iguana that was sunbathing in the humid 90-degree heat. 

UPI: Japan Refuses to Extend Kyoto Treaty  - Japan has stirred the climate negotiations taking place in Cancun, Mexico, at the onset with its blunt declaration that it would not agree to extend the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012. Japan's chief cabinet secretary, Yoshito Sengoku, told reporters Monday in Cancun that Tokyo would "sternly oppose debate for extending the Kyoto Protocol into a second phase which is unfair and ineffective." The Kyoto Protocol, the first phase of which expires in 2012, was adopted in 1997. Jun Arima, deputy director general for environmental affairs at Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, publicly confirmed Tuesday Tokyo's opposition to an extension, saying, "Japan will not inscribe its target under the Kyoto Protocol on any conditions or under any circumstances."

Bloomberg: Debate on Kyoto Extension Threatens Climate Talks - China, India and Brazil led developing nations in saying Japan’s refusal to help extend the Kyoto Protocol to curb greenhouse gas emissions may halt work on a global accord to combat global warming.  Those limits expire in December 2012, and with no other agreement to replace Kyoto, delegates at the United Nation climate talks in Cancun, Mexico, say extending the pact is crucial.  “The Kyoto Protocol is the very basis of the framework to address climate change through international cooperation,” China’s envoy, Su Wei told reporters in Cancun. “If the pillar is collapsed, you can guess the consequences.” …Japan’s position is important because the talks require a consensus and Japan is the world’s fourth-biggest polluter behind China, the U.S. and Russia. The issue raises the prospect this year’s discussions will fail to reach any agreement on combating climate change, ending in discord like the meeting in Copenhagen in 2009.

E&E News: Prospects for Delivering Climate Policy 'in Chunks' Get Tougher - Republicans and Democrats alike undercut Obama's vow to slash America's emissions about 17 percent below 2005 levels this decade and help mobilize $100 billion annually by 2020 in return for commitments from developing nations. And, lawmakers warned, U.S. climate envoys at U.N. climate treaty talks in Cancun, Mexico, this month should not be getting the world's hopes up. Since that time, the Senate failed to pass legislation that would have triggered those emission cuts. Then Republicans swept the midterm elections, taking control of the House and winning a larger margin in the Senate. The result, analysts say: zero chance of sweeping climate change legislation in the near future and stiff resistance to sending billions of dollars overseas. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said Obama went "went too far" in Copenhagen.  … Cap and trade, Graham noted, "has no future between now and anytime I can see." But he praised the Obama administration for being willing to increase investment in nuclear power, and argued that a clean energy standard could be touted abroad as well as at home.

National Journal: Difficult Situation  - It’s a promise that the rest of the world has seen the United States make—and break—time and again. At the 1997 Kyoto summit, then-Vice President Al Gore made the same pledge—even as the Senate passed a resolution refusing to ratify the Kyoto treaty. At last year’s summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, President Obama declared that the United States would lead the way in forging a treaty to replace Kyoto, starting with action at home. But even with a Democratic Congress, the climate bill went down in flames.  And now, with a new Republican House, action on climate—and, very likely, on major clean energy initiatives—seems doomed for at least two years. All sides agree this has put the United States in an extremely difficult position in these talks. “The near-term situation in the U.S. is bad and you can’t sugarcoat that. We don’t have legislation coming any time soon. It’s a very difficult situation for the U.S. in negotiations right now to suggest that that’s possible in the near term,” said Jennifer Haverkamp, who is leading the Cancun team for the Environmental Defense Fund, an influential advocacy group.