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Literal Smears



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Readers of the Wall Street Journal this morning will have noticed several really expensive ads depicting pretty faces smeared with coal dust and the headline “Face it: Coal is filthy.”

I wrote about this on The Corner when these ads started running in Texas. They aren’t financed by the usual enviro groups, but by a shadowy organization called the Clean Sky Coalition. As is its right, it doesn’t reveal its funding, but the Austin American Statesman discovered that it is funded by natural gas corporations. It’s as clear as case of bootleggers joining baptists as you could ever find.

The Dallas Morning News had the following to say:

Smokescreen

The secretive group responsible for the “Coal is Filthy” advertising campaign should come clean about its moneymen and motives. The newly created Texas Clean Sky Coalition has tried to link itself to established environmental groups while conveniently failing to mention that some of its funding comes from competitors who own natural gas power plants. Coal is a dirty and dangerous way to meet our state’s energy needs, but these shadowy tactics stink up the debate.

Well, coal is also the most efficient way to get affordable energy to people, and air standards in Dallas are pretty good. Arguing that coal is something it isn’t in order to get a competitive advantage by legislation that one can’t get via the free market is actually a pretty filthy practice itself.

Disclosure: The organization for which I work, CEI, accepts contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations including the energy industry. CEI does not accept any government funding.

The Ethanol Hoax



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This Nation piece is (not surprisingly) front-loaded with a lot of needless sarcasm and bluster, and I’m sure the writer buys in to a lot of the global warming alarmism we spend so much time decrying here at Planet Gore. But it gets one thing right: Ethanol, despite what the New York Times seems to want us to think, is not the grand energy solution that a lot of its boosters claim.

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Giving It All Away



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The Washington Post has this depressing bit about the Gingrich/Kerry debate yesterday:

Even his one big difference with Kerry — Gingrich favored tax incentives to reduce carbon dioxide rather than a government “cap and trade” program — was negotiable. “I am not automatically saying that coercion and bureaucracy is not an answer,” he granted.

Fred Thompson



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While doing a radio show moments ago a caller asked who, after Newt’s dismal showing, might have have the guts to tackle, not pander to, the climate alarmist stance as a presidential candidate. The host, WIBC’s Greg Garrison, noted that at that very moment Fox was announcing that former Senator Fred Thompson — who has already been as good as one could ever hope a political candidate could possibly be on the issue given its pitfalls — has announced his lymphoma, to note that it is in remission, mind you.

Details later, prayers immediately.

Al’s Balancing Act



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Good politics, bad policy says Sam Thernstrom

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Planet Kucinich



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Well, this is certainly worth, um, “analysis”.

Choice excerpts:

“News reports have indicated that refinery profit margins on the West Coast have increased substantially, from an average of $17 per barrel over the past five years to $39 per barrel currently.

“The number of refineries in California has fallen by more than half since the early 1980s, but more important, the remaining refineries have not increased supply capacity to keep pace with consumer demand. West Coast refineries ran at about 76% of capacity in 1985. Outages at one refinery were easily compensated for by increased production at other refineries. Now, West Coast refineries are running at nearly 92% of capacity, leaving little room even for maintenance without spiking prices due to lack of supply.

It simply defies explanation that there could possibly have been a decline in the number of new oil refineries built in California since the early 1980s, what with lawmakers of Cong. Kucinich’s caliber around (yes, he had yet to grace Congress’ hallowed halls, but his, er, type, is no stranger).

As we approach this year’s peak driving season, the Subcommittee wishes to know how these factors of decreasing capacity, decreasing supply, rising profitability and increasing market concentration may be related to cause new record highs in the price of gasoline.

That vexing question requires a Blue-Ribbon Commission.

The Douglas-Douglas Debate



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Newt seems to have a more sensible position on global warming than Kerry, but this debate sure wasn’t his best day.

 

I think the root of Newt’s problem was that he implicitly agreed not just that humans have impacted global temperatures, but that we are on the verge of a global disaster that demands immediate, radical action. Once he had conceded this unsupportable premise, he was then reduced to arguing that his “market-based, technological” approach could address the crisis faster and better than a cap-and-trade system for carbon.

Scientific Predictions



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While we talk about what the world might be like in 2054, Hall of Record reminds us of 1954.

Brrrrr!



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As every “since…..!” story begs, whose fault was it then?

Problems with Leo the Eco-Hero



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Roy Spencer elsewhere on NRO today:

The glaring hypocrisy of the global-warming crowd would be more amusing if it weren’t so serious. We heap our pious contempt on big polluters when we’re the ones who are driving this pollution. We could simply stop our consuming, of course — though that’s certainly not what Al Gore and his ilk do: They simply purchase forgiveness in the form of carbon credits, thus avoiding the inconvenience of actually reducing their fossil-fuel use. As for me, I’m offsetting my carbon footprint by not cutting down the big trees in my backyard like I had planned to do.

Indeed, why does it seem that environmental concerns are almost exclusively a pastime of the affluent? Maybe because most of humanity is still too poor, too busy trying to make ends meet, and too busy tending to the sick and dying who don’t have access to clean water, refrigerated food, or modern health-care.

Voluntaryism Works



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I admit to being rather stunned that Newt — clearly trying so hard to not give a clip usable for the “he’s mean!” lobby against him (yes, after that Mr. Nice performance I have no doubt he is running) — not only allowed,but, as Iain notes, invited a guy to run roughshod over his own time, without rebuke, through interruptions that Newt could have quite civilly admonished–and mostly in rambling discourse that demonstrated an inability or unwillingness to finish a thought, and typically not even a sentence. He just kept throwing out every possible buzzword and catchphrase with no apparent plan to complete any particular train of thought.

And that’s not thoughtless ad hominem; my challenge to you is wait for the transcript then try to make heads or tails of this gushing flow of ice caps and whales and corals and these entire systems and and and…when unaccompanied by all of the gesticulation. Assuming I can get one,  I will note my favorites.

On at least five occasions I was sure that Newt was poised to note that, not only are all mandates not created equal, but this list of success stories in the US was a litany of promises made, period, that no one has successfully used cap-and-trade to reduce emissions, and indeed Europe’s emissions have increased faster than the US beginning the year they abandoned “voluntaryism” (gee, could Bush or Newt get away with that one?) in favor of Kerry’s Wirtschaftswunder of a rationing scheme, a performance gap that is widening. Europe publishes their own charts for heaven’s sake! It shuts down Kerry’s entire, um…it’s hard to say argument…approach.

Newt also let go the horns of low-hanging fruit about the wonders and glories and salvation found in corporate rent-seeking. Exposing that wouldn’t mesh with the “nice” theme I suppose. In short, that was not Newt’s moment. Hopefully, he will rethink the appeasement approach to debating.

Kerry: America is an Outlaw



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“We’re living outrageously, an outlaw,” compared to Europe’s (failed) attempts to meet Kyoto standards.

I’m Afraid to Say...



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Kerry is running rings around Newt at the moment, constantly interrupting him and taking his time, while painting Newt as using government solutions while he is using private sector solutions.

Newt is responding with the question of what encourages China and India most, which is where he could turn the tables on Kerry by arguing the adaptation point.

He should also be able to point out how the labor-intensive nature of wind power, which Kerry is lauding as job-creating, is an indicator of how uncompetitive it is.

Kerry Traps Newt



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He gets Newt to say to “Senator Inhofe” and his colleagues that, “The evidence is such that we must take the most efficient possible steps.” That goes way beyond the sort of no-regrets strategy that he’s been sailing close to, and also ignores the whole mitigation versus adaptation debate which is so important. He’s gone down the mitigation first route, which, as I argue below, is really putting the cart before the horse.

Voluntary Environmentalism



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Kerry argues that there is not one example of voluntary measures solving an environmental problem. Newt disagrees, as a former teacher of environmental science. So would these guys.

There’s No Downside, says Kerry



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He actually argues that if he and his friends are wrong, then the worst that can happen is that there are more jobs in America. The EIA would disagree.

Kerry on Europe’s Mess



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He argues that the Europeans don’t know how to do cap and trade, but America does…

A mistake by Newt



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I’m surprised that Newt makes a basic debating mistake by asking Kerry to clarify his plan, which he then uses as an excuse to make another full speech.

Kerry Responds



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He doesn’t think a carbon cap will be bureaucratic or invite litigation, again citing rent-seekers’ demands for regulation as evidence of their good intentions.

He claims that his approach is a market one. The father of free-market environmentalism disagrees.

He also says that China wants to limit its emissions. Really?

Newt Responds



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He argues that a coercive regulatory litigation regime is just impractical, enormously complicated and transfers a massive amount of power to bureaucrats.

Newt then praises Theodore Roosevelt and argues for tax credits. Ah well.

Yet he then reminds us of the mess that is Superfund, which he sees as the way any carbon bureaucracy will go.

He next reminds us of how the EU is exporting pollution in the name of its emissions trading regime.

Ah, but then he endorses the massive ethanol boondoggle and praises carbon capture and storage, which is a promising technology but even with massive investment many years away from being a working one.

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