Archive for Monday, June 23, 2008

Controversy surrounds emissions plan

June 23, 2008


An organization helping the state develop a plan to reduce carbon emissions is being criticized for what opponents say are its ties to "alarmist" environmentalist groups.

Conservatives and business groups said they're afraid the Center for Climate Strategies may try to enforce an extreme agenda through work with the Kansas Energy and Environmental Policy advisory group.

People who have worked with the center in Arkansas and Michigan said the center stayed within the bounds of an adviser, providing the starting point for discussions. A Minnesota businessman who worked on a similar project in his state, however, said he believed the center manipulated the process toward its own ends.

In any event, members of the Kansas policy advisory group say the makeup of its 25-member panel, including business leaders, legislative members, academics and representatives of the energy sector, should counteract any influence from the center.

Kansas in one of a dozen states working on plans for dealing with greenhouse gas emissions, which many scientists believe contribute to global climate change. The Pew Center on Global Climate Change says 26 states already have plans.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius set up the advisory panel to recommend ways to reduce emissions following one of her three vetoes of measures to allow two coal-fired power plants near Holcomb. Sebelius' top regulator shot down those plants last year because of what he considered excessive release of carbon dioxide.

That decision incited stiff debate in the Legislature with some lawmakers questioning during debates whether global warming truly exists.

Sebelius asked the Center for Climate Strategies to advise the panel, but the state is not paying for it, the governor's office said.

The fee is coming from groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and foundations including the Energy Foundation, which focuses on renewable energy and efficient energy expansion, and the Sandler Family Supporting Foundation, which has contributed to several environmental organizations.

"This organization is funded mainly by groups who approach our country's energy and environmental issues with an alarmist point of view, raising real concerns about whether those predetermined biases affect their findings," said House Speaker Melvin Neufeld, R-Ingalls, who strongly supported the Holcomb power plants.

Neufeld believes the governor's advisory panel is unnecessary and the Legislature's 11-member special energy committee should develop the state's emission's plan.

Senate President Stephen Morris, R-Hugoton, said he also had concerns about the center but added that the panel and the legislative committee could complement each other.

"We as a Legislature will have to make those policy decisions, so it makes sense to have legislators involved" with their own committee, Morris said.

The Harrisburg, Pa.-based Center for Climate Strategies released a statement saying, "The Center for Climate Strategies' track record of policy neutrality in state after state speaks for itself."

According to the group's Web site, it has cooperated with more than 20 states.


JSpizias 9 years, 8 months ago

It is good to see that some light is being put on the group that Sebelius has put in charge of developing energy policy for the state of Kansas (climatestrategies). Looking at the members she appointed it is clear that Sebelius has loaded the deck with members of "green" organizations, or as some would say climate alarmists. Information on the organization leading development of the Kansas plan is available at: MOI is to have a governor sympathetic to the views of such an organization appoint a committee to work with climatestrategies to develop a plan that can be implemented by executive order of the governor. Democratic governors of Arizona, New Mexico, and other states have used this approach to developed plans for dealing with "global warming". This approach is totally focused on reducing CO2 emission and ignores many other factors that clearly affect climate such as land use, urban heat island effects, changes in water vapor, thermohaline circulation etc. of our leading climate scientists (Roger Pielke Sr.) had this to say about predicting climate and the focus on CO2."The statement is correct that "biogeochemical processes and feedbacks :.currently represent a major impediment to our ability to make reliable climate projections for the 21st century". This is an important admission by Summit of a major shortcoming of the 2007 IPCC report. The statement, however, writes that the new center would "enable scientists across the world to advance understanding and representation of the physical processes responsible for climate variability and predictability, and provide a quantum leap in the exploration of the limits in our ability to reliably predict climate." This claim is inconsistent with the need for biological and chemical forcings and feedbacks that they recognize are needed!The 2005 National Research Council correctly identified the need for including physical, biological and chemical climate forcings and feedbacks, and for including land, ocean, continental ice and atmospheric processes as illustrated in the figure below from that report." Here is Arizona Gov. Napolitano executive order implementing the plan developed by Climate As many of our leading scientists have now noted, the Kyoto approach taken by these and other states and nations is a proven failure. is at 4 dollars a gallon and Dow chemical has just announced another 25% increase in prices, on top of a 20% increase announced 3 weeks ago, because of increased costs of energy and oil. And Obama just wishes the increase in oil price had occurred more slowly!

monkeyhawk 9 years, 8 months ago

"The Harrisburg, Pa.-based Center for Climate Strategies "Three Mile Island - coincidence?

cato_the_elder 9 years, 8 months ago

DougCo, have you ever been appointed to a panel such as this one, at this level? If not, then you may not appreciate how "consensus building" is often synonymous with "sellout" - and the techniques that are employed to accomplish precisely that.

cato_the_elder 9 years, 8 months ago

It's a safe bet that the goal of those behind putting together this panel is to have it agreed by everyone up front that the retained firm has the "experts" to whose views deference must be given despite whatever common sense is out there to the contrary. After the panel has met a few times, the organizers will subtly establish within the group that anyone who challenges the "experts" is a naysayer, and those with the guts to speak out will be quietly pushed into the corner. This is called the "Delphi Technique," which is most notoriously taught in schools of education and is utilized to isolate from the perceived "mainstream" anyone who has the temerity to challenge the pre-determined goals of the organizers of whatever committee or panel has been formed (in this case, the governor and her associates). It is to be hoped that at least some of the panel members who have been chosen are not simply pre-determined allies of the governor, and that more than a few of them will keep open minds, practice healthy skepticism, and not become lemmings to extremist views.

Ken Lassman 9 years, 8 months ago

Cato,You have an interesting take on democracy. Besides bringing all relevant stakeholders to the same table and looking for consensus, what is your alternative? Smoke-filled rooms whose entrance is controlled by those in power? Or money? Or brute strength? Seems to me that when you have such a split in perceived goals like you have in the discussion of our state's energy future, this is the best possible track to try. The only reason I can think of why Neufeld opposes this approach is that he can't control it in a much more blatant way than what you are suggesting happens when you invite all parties to the same table.

Robert bickers 9 years, 8 months ago

Logrithmic: Stop being insulting and crass. That link is full of fear-mongering and conjecture. Was it written by the Left or the Right?I fully support new emissions laws . . . for cars. How can so many people gladly belch black smoke out of their engines? Forget CO2 - it's benign and while CO2 levels have ticked up int he last decade, temperatures are falling. Get rid of the particulate carbon that flies out of the tailpipes first as it has an immediate negative impact. Charge a small fee for it and slash the annual registration fees and - POOF! - the ever popular win-win situation.

Robert bickers 9 years, 8 months ago

"which many scientists believe contribute to global climate change"What happened to the consensus? Oh yeah, there never was one.

Ken Lassman 9 years, 8 months ago

JS, A much more relevant website is the one for the advisory group that Sebelius has formed:www.ksclimatechange.usThis is a really threatening group heavily stacked to be swayed by those evil environmentalists (please hear ironic tone in this sentence). Here's what the executive order says about who the stakeholders are:"One (1) member recommended by the President of the Kansas Senate; ne (1) member recommended by the Speaker of the Kansas House; One (1) member recommended by the Minority Leader of the Kansas Senate; One (1) member recommended by the Minority Leader of the Kansas House; One (1) member from the public energy sector; One (1) member from a rural electric cooperative; One (1) member from the municipal electric sector; Two (2) members from the agriculture sector; Two (2) members from separate nonprofit environmental organizations; Three (3) members who are scientists from an accredited state institution of higher education (one who shall be a climatologist); One (1) member of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce; One (1) member of the AFL-CIO; One (1) member who is an economist from an accredited state institution of higher education; One (1) member from the transportation sector; One (1) member from the manufacturing sector; One (1) member from the construction industry with experience in sustainable energy construction or design; and Five (5) members who are citizens at large. "Methinks you guys protest too much. Lighten up--democracy is a good thing!

Ken Lassman 9 years, 8 months ago

Cato, JSpizias,So it does appear that you prefer the smoke-filled room decisions to even an attempt at reaching some kind of consensus over energy issues facing our state. The kind of back-room arm twisting that Neufeld and the legislative leadership exercised in this last session is so much more preferrable? It was one of the most blatant attempts at bulldozing through special interest legislation in memory, and you have trouble with subtle pressures at the table where all stakeholders are called together? Give me a break. Sounds like YOU have some vested interest in the status quo to the point that the public needs take a back seat. Think about what you are saying.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.