Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Newt Gingrich talks global warming with Bill O'Reilly

Newt Gingrich attempted to rewrite his 2006 book A Contract with the Earth as he answered a series of questions about global warming posed by Fox News pundit Bill O'Reilly during a November 28, 2011 interview:

Bill O’Reilly: First of all, Nancy Pelosi, you sitting there talking about global warming on TV. What was that all about?
Newt Gingrich: Well, I’ve said it’s one of the dumbest things I’ve done in recent years. 
It was an effort on my part to say that conservatives are concerned about the environment. We have better solutions.
I actively opposed cap and trade. I testified against it the same day Al Gore testified for it.
But the commercial was just a mistake.
Bill O’Reilly: Okay, now do you believe in manmade global warming? That because the planet is polluted and we spew a lot of stuff into the air, that has influenced the way climate has come about? Do you believe that?
Newt Gingrich: I don’t think we know.
I think that the evidence is not complete, and I think that we’re a long way from being able to translate a computer program into actual science.
Bill O’Reilly: Alright, so you’re an agnostic on the subject. Would that be accurate?
Newt Gingrich: It would be fair to say that I am open minded. Certainly not prepared to spend trillions of dollars on a theory.
Bill O’Reilly: Nancy Pelosi is obviously the poster woman for the far left. And what was the benefit – put the issue aside of global warming, the environment, because I think that’s an important issue and I know you’ve been interested in it and have been for many years. Put that aside.
Did you think that being associated with her in any forum would be damaging to you?
Newt Gingrich: No, you know I thought at the time – look, I was a private citizen. I wasn’t contemplating public life. And I thought – I’d just written a book called A Contract with the Earth with Terry Maple on a conservative approach to the environment, and how to use incentives and business and common sense to have a better environment without the EPA.
Uh, and so I wanted to be in the middle of an argument about the environment to make a case that conservatives can actually have better ideas about the environment than liberals do.

In A Contract with the Earth, Newt Gingrich and his coauthor actually sang a very different tune, writing:

Information is ubiquitous, but our advanced information technology is the reason we know so much about global climate change and the decline of species, wetlands, and forests throughout the world.

They also lamented the politicization of science:

Unfortunately, we have experienced such political polarization on environmental issues that scientists are not completely trusted.

Far from explaining how “to have a better environment without the EPA”, A Contract with the Earth praised the Environmental Protection Agency for “promoting the use of landfill gas as a renewable green source of energy” and as a way to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Gingrich and Maple also hailed the use of alternative forms of energy to power EPA facilities as “ahead of the curve” and setting “a good example for other agencies.”

Barack Obama, EU leaders Joint Statement on Durban Climate Change Conference

U.S. President Barack Obama and senior leaders from the European Union affirmed their commitment to making progress at the Durban Climate Change Conference in a Joint Statement issued after a meeting at the White House on November 28, 2011:

On climate change, we affirm our intent to work closely together to ensure a positive, balanced outcome in Durban, including mitigation, transparency and financing.  We stand fully behind the commitments we made last year in Cancun.  We affirm that Durban should deliver on operationalizing the Cancun agreements and helping the international community move a step further towards a comprehensive, global framework with the participation of all, including robust and transparent greenhouse gas emissions reduction commitments by all major economies, recalling the 2°C objective agreed upon in Cancun.  With this in mind, we will cooperate closely in other relevant fora, notably the Major Economies Forum.  We also intend to work together to address other global sources of emissions, including from the aviation and maritime sectors, in the appropriate multilateral forums and consistent with applicable agreements.

The Joint Statement also touched upon the issue of clean energy:

We recognize the vital role of the U.S.-EU Energy Council in fostering cooperation on energy security, renewables and other clean energy technologies, energy efficiency, and effective policies for facilitating trade and bringing clean energy technologies to market.  We affirm the value of common approaches toward safe and sustainable development of energy resources and the diversification of supplies.  We also call for reinforced bilateral and multilateral cooperation with a special focus on critical materials, smart grid technologies, hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, and nuclear fusion. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

President Barack Obama: Recycling creates green jobs

In an election season that has highlighted the largely partisan divide on climate change and green energy among U.S. politicians, President Barack Obama found a few moments to celebrate one environmental protection strategy that continues to enjoy bipartisan support: recycling.

Obama marked American Recycles Day on November 15, 2011 with the following Presidential Proclamation:

As Americans, we have a responsibility to ensure future generations benefit from an abundance of natural resources and a healthy planet.  To meet this obligation, we must take steps to consume carefully, recycle a wide variety of products and materials, and reuse whenever possible.  On America Recycles Day, we celebrate the commitment of individuals across our country to live sustainably, and we rededicate ourselves to thoughtful resource management at home and in the workplace. 
For decades, American families have advanced the common good of our Nation by recycling regularly and promoting conservation.  During the First and Second World Wars, families participated in scrap drives, gathering cloth, paper, and metals for reuse in manufacturing that helped fuel our military and our economic growth.  Since then, we have bolstered recycling programs through individual action, community engagement, and national initiatives, and we have broadened our efforts to include a vast array of pioneering industrial processes that will drive our clean economy and create green jobs.  These advances cut waste, preserve our natural bounty, and spur the robust and sustainable economic growth that will carry us through this century and into the next.
To meet the economic and environmental challenges that confront our country today, we must update and expand existing recycling programs and dedicate ourselves to devising new strategies to accommodate emerging technologies.  Our Nation generates over two million tons of used electronics annually, and without following proper recycling and management practices, the disposal of our old computers, monitors, and cell phones can release toxic materials into our environment, endanger human health, and prevent the recovery and reuse of valuable resources.  For the well-being of our people and our planet, we must consider the full lifecycle impacts of our products and strive to manage our resources in a sustainable way. 
To ensure America remains a global leader in developing new, sustainable electronics technologies, my Administration launched the National Strategy for Electronics Stewardship earlier this year.  The strategy establishes a framework for responsible electronics design, purchasing, management, and recycling that will accelerate our burgeoning electronics recycling market and create jobs for the future here at home.  To lead by example, my Administration is committed to efficient use, reuse, and proper disposal of electronics within the Federal Government, and we are collaborating with certified recycling centers to handle and dispose of used electronics safely and effectively.  We are also forging new partnerships with the private sector that will advance electronics recycling across our country.  Through collaboration and shared responsibility, we are protecting public health, preserving environmental quality, and laying the foundation for a 21st century economy.
America Recycles Day offers us an opportunity to reflect on the remarkable strides we have made in the pursuit of sustainability, and to challenge ourselves to do even more.  As we rise to meet this challenge, we fulfill a promise to our children that they will inherit a world more beautiful and prosperous than the one we received.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 15, 2011, as America Recycles Day.  I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate programs and activities, and I encourage all Americans to continue their recycling efforts throughout the year.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifteenth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Climate change MIA during CNN national security debate

Climate change received zero attention when the Republican presidential candidates met on November 22, 2011 at the CNN National Security Debate.

Is the climate crisis a matter of national security? Experts at the Department of Defense and seem to think so. Just last month, the DOD’s Defense Science Board Task Force issued a report warning that:

Changes in climate patterns and their impact on the physical environment can create profound effects on populations in parts of the world and present new challenges to global security and stability. Failure to anticipate and mitigate these changes increases the threat of more failed states with instabilities and potential for conflict inherent in such failures.

Apparently none of the GOP presidential candidates got the memo. When the issue of energy independence did come up at the CNN National Security Debate, they continued to call for policies that would simply replace foreign oil from countries like Iran with oil drilled domestically or in Canada, an approach that is likely to increase global greenhouse gas emissions.

It’s a shame that moderator Wolf Bitzer failed to raise the issue of climate change during the debate, as Americans deserve to know where the presidential candidates stand on all matters on national security. 

For more of the latest news on climate change and the 2012 election: 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Newt Gingrich "Answering the Attacks" on global warming, cap and trade

Newt Gingrich is going to new lengths to quash criticism by climate skeptics. A new page on Newt2012.org seeks to “Answer the Attacks” on the former House Speaker, including his apparent flip-flop on the issues of global warming and cap and trade.

According to the new webpage:

Newt does not believe there is a settled scientific conclusion about whether industrial development has dramatically contributed to a warming of the atmosphere.   
Newt absolutely opposes “cap and trade” as well as any system of taxing carbon emissions. He testified before Congress against it in 2009 and led a grassroots effort while the Chairman of American Solutions to block its passage in the House and Senate. 
Newt believes that cap and trade would kill hundreds of thousands of American jobs, cause electricity and fuel prices to skyrocket, and make America poorer.  In contrast, Gingrich believes the best way to protect the environment is through markets, incentives, and entrepreneurs, who quite often are deploying innovative new technologies.
As for the question of whether industrial development has dramatically contributed to a warming of the atmosphere, Newt has noted there is no settled scientific conclusion.  Many scientists believe it is the case.  Others do not.  But this unsettled scientific question has nothing to do with the best approach to protecting our environment, which is always markets, incentives, and entrepreneurs creating better and more efficient products and services.

In “Answering the Attacks”, Newt Gingrich also makes a half hearted attempt to explain his 2007 television ad with Nancy Pelosi, which was sponsored by Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection:

Q: So why did Newt do the ad with Nancy Pelosi in 2007 calling for action to address climate change?
Newt does not believe there is a settled scientific conclusion about whether industrial development has dramatically contributed to a warming of the atmosphere.
Through his entire career, Newt has supported pro-market, pro-entrepreneur, innovative solutions to our environmental challenges, which he believes are superior to the liberal pro-bureaucracy, pro-tax, pro-regulation approach to the environment. 
Newt believes that conservatives cannot be absent from the conversation about the environment and instead that conservatives must offer and explain why conservative solutions are better. Unfortunately, the attempt to get that message out through the ad with Nancy Pelosi failed.  On November 8, 2011, Newt told FOX News’ Bret Baier that doing that commercial with Pelosi was “probably the dumbest single thing I’ve ever done”.
Newt will continue to oppose the Democrats’ destructive cap-and-trade and carbon tax proposals, continue to support expanded domestic oil and gas drilling, and continue to fight for a fundamental replacement of the job-killing Environmental Protection Agency with an Environmental Solutions Agency.

Photo by Gage Skidmore

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Newt Gingrich: global warming "should not be a priority"

Newt Gingrich talked at length about global warming during a November 16, 2011 appearance on the Mark Levin Show. Here's what the former House Speaker and 2012 Republican presidential candidate had to say:

Mark Levin: Global warming: Yes, now or you don’t know?
Newt Gingrich: I think that I don’t know, but I do know that I am opposed to cap and trade and I am opposed to any kind of massive government response.
I think there is no evidence that justifies a large government centralized response of any kind right now.
The most you can argue for I think is more research.
Mark Levin: Now on this research issue, we have the UN’s IPCC findings that have been widely discredited. 
We have over 30,000 experts, including 9,000 with Ph.Ds, who signed a petition saying “No” to manmade global warming and no to scientific consensus because that’s not what science is, it’s not about consensus.
 Newt Gingrich: Right.
(cross talk)
… for example the recent Cern study. Cern is a research center in Switzerland – which came out and said that based on their analysis of space based data, the current models are off by at least 400 percent and how they explained heat leaving the earth.
In fact, much more heat leaves the earth than the current models suggest, and therefore any plausible danger of warming is dramatically smaller than any of these computerized models suggest.
Mark Levin: Well the science has been so thoroughly bastardized and politicized, how would you get to the bottom of it?
Newt Gingrich: Well, I think ultimately you’ve got to look for evidence rather than arguments.
You know, when Einstein first discovered relativity, none of the older physicists believed him. And most of them died not believing him.
I mean, science operates by somebody going out there, looking at the facts, trying to figure out what’s going on. And fairly often in science, one person who’s right matters more than 3,000 people who sign a petition.
Mark Levin: Right, but hold on now, they have to be proven right. So who’s Einstein right now? There isn’t one.
Newt Gingrich: That’s exactly right. I think all I can suggest to you is that there has to be transparency of the data. It has to appear in the court of public opinion.
And ultimately on a political issue, remember what you do in this kind of a setting is a political question, not a scientific... 
The American people have the right to see the data. And the American people have the right to render judgement.
Mark Levin: But the data’s all over the place. I’ve studied it. I’ve put it in my book. There’s a bunch of other people who’ve written about it. Spencer and Horner, and I could go on and on and on and on, so it seems to me it should not be our number one or number two or number 10 priority.
Newt Gingrich: Exactly. Well, I don’t think it should be a priority at all right now, except for research.
I think that the objective reality is we have no proof that justifies a large scale government program that distorts the economy and centralizes power in bureaucrats.
There is no proof to justify that program. 

Mitt Romney mocks EPA in Manchester, NH

Mitt Romney may believe that humans contribute to global warming, but that doesn’t mean he thinks the EPA should do anything about it.

"I’m all in favor of eliminating pollution," Romney told voters at a November 18, 2011 event in Manchester, NH. “Now I know there is also a movement to say that carbon dioxide should be guided or should be managed by the Environmental Protection Agency. I disagree with that."

"I exhale carbon dioxide," he also said, openly mocking the EPA. "I don’t want those guys following me around with a meter to see if I’m breathing too hard."

Politico has full coverage of Romney’s latest remarks on global warming:

Thursday, November 17, 2011

In Australia, Obama discusses Durban Climate Change Conference

Climate change was on the agenda as U.S. President Barack Obama visited Australia today,  just eleven days before the start of the next United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa.

President Obama mentioned climate change during his speech before the Australian Parliament this morning:

And we need growth that is sustainable.  This includes the clean energy that creates green jobs and combats climate change, which cannot be denied.  We see it in the stronger fires, the devastating floods, the Pacific islands confronting rising seas. And as countries with large carbon footprints, the United States and Australia have a special responsibility to lead.
Every nation will contribute to the solution in its own way -- and I know this issue is not without controversy, in both our countries.  But what we can do -- and what we are doing -- is to work together to make unprecedented investments in clean energy, to increase energy efficiency, and to meet the commitments we made at Copenhagen and Cancun.  We can do this, and we will.

He also responded to a reporter's question about U.S. climate policy during a press conference with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard:  

Mark Riley - 7 News, Australia:  Mr. President, I wanted to ask you about the other rising giant of our region -- India -- and the Prime Minister might like to add some comments.  How significant is it for the U.S. that Australia is now considering selling uranium to India? And could you clear up for us what influence or encouragement your administration gave Australia as it made that decision?  And also, the decision is so India can produce clean energy.  In that regard, you're aware that our Parliament has passed a new bill, pricing carbon -- a carbon tax, if you like.  But we're intrigued about where America is going on this issue.
And countries like Australia don’t see a carbon trading system in the world working unless America is a big part of it.  Can you tell us, is it your wish that American will have an emissions trading scheme across the nation within the next five years or so?  How heavily do you want to see America involved in an emissions trading scheme globally, or has this become too politically hard for you?
Barack Obama:  Well, first of all, with respect to India, we have not had any influence, I suspect, on Australia’s decision to explore what its relationship in terms of the peaceful use of nuclear energy in India might be.  I suspect that you’ve got some pretty smart government officials here who figured out that India is a big player, and that the Australia-India relationship is one that should be cultivated.  So I don’t think Julia or anybody else needs my advice in figuring that out.  This is part of your neighborhood, and you are going to make bilateral decisions about how to move forward. 
I think without wading into the details, the discussions that are currently taking place here in Australia around that relationship and the nuclear issue with India are ones that are compatible with international law, compatible with decisions that were made in the NPT.  And I will watch with interest what’s determined.  But this is not something between the United States and Australia; this is something between India and Australia.
With respect to carbon emissions, I share the view of your Prime Minister and most scientists in the world that climate change is a real problem and that human activity is contributing to it, and that we all have a responsibility to find ways to reduce our carbon emissions.
Each country is trying to figure out how to do that most effectively.  Here in Australia, under the leadership of the Prime Minister, you’ve moved forward with a bold strategy.  In the United States, although we haven’t passed what we call a cap-and-trade system, an exchange, what we have done is, for example, taken steps to double fuel efficiency standard on cars, which will have an enormous impact on removing carbon from the atmosphere.
We’ve invested heavily in clean energy research.  We believe very strongly that we’ve improved efficiencies and a whole step range of steps that we can meet and the commitments that we made in Copenhagen and Cancun.  And as we move forward over the next several years, my hope is, is that the United States, as one of several countries with a big carbon footprint, can find further ways to reduce our carbon emissions.  I think that’s good for the world.  I actually think, over the long term, it’s good for our economies as well, because it’s my strong belief that industries, utilities, individual consumers -- we’re all going to have to adapt how we use energy and how we think about carbon. 
Now, another belief that I think the Prime Minister and I share is that the advanced economies can’t do this alone.  So part of our insistence when we are in multilateral forum -- and I will continue to insist on this when we go to Durban -- is that if we are taking a series of step, then it’s important that emerging economies like China and India are also part of the bargain.  That doesn’t mean that they have to do exactly what we do.  We understand that in terms of per capita carbon emissions, they’ve got a long way to go before they catch up to us.  But it does mean that they’ve got to take seriously their responsibilities as well.
And so, ultimately, what we want is a mechanism whereby all countries are making an effort.  And it’s going to be a tough slog, particularly at a time when the economies are -- a lot of economies are still struggling.  But I think it’s actually one that, over the long term, can be beneficial.

Jon Huntsman: Climate change is an international issue

Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman discussed climate change as a global issue during a November 17, 2011 appearance on New Hampshire Public Radio's The Exchange, a popular call in show hosted by Laura Knoy.

Huntsman's comments came in response to a question posed by a voter in Dover, NH:

Voter: You just mentioned, actually, the concept that the complete cost of fuels, for example gasoline. And you know, I was down at your energy policy speech at UNH a few weeks ago and you managed to get through the entire talk without mentioning the words climate change.
I’m wondering to what degree climate change science would inform you policymaking and to what extent we need to incorporate those costs when we think about things like even natural gas, which is still a fossil fuel. It’s still emitting a lot of CO2 into the atmosphere.
Laura Knoy: So the environmental costs should be brought into this as well…
Jon Huntsman: Natural gas is a whole lot better in terms of how it leaves the environment and the air.
Laura Knoy: Better than coal and petroleum…
Jon Huntsman: Absolutely.
And so, are we moving in the right direction and are making a contribution to the overall climate change discussion? Absolutely, you’re better off by doing that than you are just staying where we are today.
The bigger issue with climate change is, you know we need to recognize that increasingly this is a global issue.
We can do things unilaterally and kind of hobble our job creators and economy when we need to kind of get back on our feet again without realizing and understanding that this is an international issue.
And you’ve got the largest emitter in China and many behind it like India who are not reading from the same playbook 
What I would like to do is make sure that the developed countries like China and India are basically reading the same science.
Laura Knoy: That was the argument against the Kyoto accord years back, that India and China needed to jump in first, and why should we move and hobble ourselves…
I wonder about the moral argument though Governor.
If climate change is a problem, shouldn’t we be focusing on ourselves?
You know, alright, we’ll take care of them later, whatever, but, you know, clean up your own house before can tell other people to clean up theirs.
Jon Huntsman: You know, when the Kyoto discussions were going on China was in a much different position. Now they are the #1 emitter in the world.
Laura Knoy: Well, and you would know Ambassador Jon Huntsman…
Jon Huntsman: I’ve lived there, the most polluted city in the world. That’s traditional pollutants we had to deal with. But you wake up some mornings and you can’t even see across the street.
But the emissions go right over the Pacific Ocean, a percentage of them, and they land on our doorstep in California and of course they blow across, in part, across our nation.
We deal with the downstream implications.
So I say, you’ve got to realize first and foremost it’s an international issue. And if it is an international issue we’ve got to be reading from the same body of science, the same text that allows us to understand the implications of emissions and therefore what the policy tools are that will allow us together to deal with that.
We’re not there yet today, so I say as that, you know, moves forward, what do we do in the meantime. And I can’t think of a more important step than moving this economy more towards natural gas use. 
Jon Huntsman also answered questions about energy efficiency and renewable energy. Complete audio of the program is available on NHPR.org

Photo by Gage Skidmore

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Barack Obama in Manchester, NH on Tuesday, November 22

President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit Manchester, New Hampshire on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 to discuss the American Jobs Act.

Details about the President’s visit will be posted here as they become available.

This will be Obama’s first trip to the Granite State since February 2010.


President Obama visited Manchester Central High School today, where he delivered a speech calling on Congress to pass the American Jobs Act and extend the payroll tax cut. He also acknowledged the frustrations being expressed by Americans participating in the Occupy Wall Street movement.

The White House has posted a transcript and video of the President's remarks in Manchester, NH:

Barack Obama talks carbon, environment in Hawaii

Returning to a theme that helped to propel him to victory in the 2008 election, President Barack Obama told supporters gathered at a November 14, 2011 campaign event in Ko Olina, Hawaii that “we’ve already started to see what change looks like.”

In his remarks, Obama pointed to new fuel efficiency standards as one example of how his administration is pursuing “change” when it comes to the environment and climate change:

Change is the decision we made -- not a popular one at the time -- to save the auto industry from collapse.  There were a lot of folks who said, let Detroit go bankrupt.  But we decided to not only save thousands of jobs, get hundreds of local businesses thriving again, but we are now seeing fuel-efficient cars rolling off the assembly lines, stamped with three proud words:  Made in America.  And those are going to be exported all around the world.  That's because of you.  (Applause.)  Because of the change that you brought.
Change is the decision we made to stop waiting for Congress to do something about our oil addiction and finally raise our fuel-efficiency standards on our cars and on our trucks.  And now, by the next decade, we'll be driving cars that get 56 miles per gallon.  And that means that we are not only saving consumers money, but we're also taking carbon out of the atmosphere, and it is going to make a huge difference in terms of our environment, and that's because of you and the campaign that you helped run in 2008.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Buddy Roemer opposes Big Oil subsidies (Video)

Buddy Roemer voiced his opposition to subsidies for Big Oil at the Granite State Patriots Liberty PAC Presidential Debate, held on November 10, 2011 in Hampton, NH. The former Louisiana Governor and 2012 Republican presidential candidate also implied that he would eliminate the Department of Energy if elected:

I know how to work with people and cut this budget.
Subsidies of all kinds: housing, agriculture, ethanol.
We give subsidies to Exxon and Big Oil.
Is that a disgrace?
I mean, the price of oil is $98 a barrel and we’re giving biggest corporations in America subsidies.
I would take every program – the Department of Energy’s gone. 

Video of Buddy Roemer's remarks, with the segment on Big Oil subsidies and the Department of Energy starting at 4:05:

Gary Johnson talks carbon emissions at NH presidential debate (Video)

Gary Johnson, the former Governor of New Mexico and Libertarian style Republican presidential candidate, touched upon the subject of global warming while responding to a question at the Granite State Patriots Liberty PAC Presidential Debate held on November 10, 2011 in Hampton, New Hampshire.

Transcript of Johnson's remarks on carbon emissions: 
Now here’s where the unconstitutional aspect of the President of the United States lies -- is rules and regulations.
The notion that carbon emissions -- that carbon is a pollutant – this is a rule. This is an administrative rule in lieu of law. 

Video of Johnson's comments is available on YouTube, with the carbon portion starting at 5:30:

Friday, November 11, 2011

Newt Gingrich on Keystone XL

Republican Presidential candidate and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich just Tweeted a link to the following statement attacking the Obama administration’s decision to delay approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline:

Once again, President Obama has demonstrated that he cares more about appeasing radical constituencies than making energy more affordable for American families and businesses, creating more American jobs, and lowering our dependence on oil from unfriendly nations.
Only days after we learned that at least 9% of Americans were unemployed for the 30th straight month, the President has made a decision that will only prolong this suffering by delaying a project that could have created 20,000 new American jobs next year. The Keystone XL pipeline would have sent 700,000 barrels of oil a day from Texas, Oklahoma, Montana, the Dakotas, and Alberta to Gulf Coast refineries, which would lowered staggering gas and diesel prices for Americans and replaced oil imports from overseas. 
The Keystone XL pipeline creates critical infrastructure for American energy and the American economy without a single penny of taxpayer money.  As part of my Day One Plan in the 21st Century Contract with America, I will approve this project on the first day of my administration in 2013.

President Barack Obama's position on Keystone XL

Climate change is among the factors President Barack Obama will consider when examining the impacts of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry tar sands oil into the U.S. from neighboring Canada, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters yesterday:
The President wants the best possible decision.  And I think he made clear in an interview the week before last what he views are the criteria necessary by which to judge whether the decision is the right one or how to make that decision, including issues of public health, climate change, economic growth and jobs.  All of these things have to be factored in to a decision that’s made. 

Jon Huntsman defends Keystone XL

Jon Huntsman took aim at the State Department's decision to extend the timeline for reviewing the proposed Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline until after the 2012 election in a statement released on November 10, 2011:

The Obama Administration’s decision to further delay the Keystone Pipeline is yet another example of President Obama’s lack of concern for getting Americans back to work. The pipeline will both create thousands of American jobs and move us towards energy independence.
The Obama Administration's decision to reevaluate the pipeline’s route is another political ploy from a White House more concerned with pleasing special interest groups than pursuing energy independence and job creation. 
This is another example of why the American people have lost trust in our current leadership and are looking for a president who they can count on to create jobs and turn our economy around.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

CNBC Republican Debate: Rick Perry, Rick Santorum on energy policy

In a Republican debate that saw Rick Perry forget whether or not he wants to cut the Department of Energy, the issue of energy received light treatment from GOP presidential candidates and CNBC moderators alike.

A few of the Republican presidential candidates trotted out the usual talking points.

“We can move toward energy independence,” said Jon Huntsman.

“… we have to legalize American energy,” proclaimed Michele Bachmann, the Tea Party Congresswoman from 6th District of Minnesota. 

Former Pennsylvania Rick Santorum was the only candidate who came close to making any kind of substantive remarks on energy policy at last night’s CNBC Republican debate.
And then, of course, an energy policy that everyone on this stage is going to agree with that says, we are going to produce energy in this country. I'm different than many of them, that I'm going to cut all the subsidies out and let the market work, as opposed to creating incentives for different -- different forms of energy that the government supports.
Moderator Jim Cramer, best known for his show Mad Money, challenged Santorum on the question of energy subsidies: 
Senator Santorum, I want to talk about a high-quality problem our country has.
I just came back from North Dakota. We have made the largest oil discovery in a generation there. Not only is it a -- the find a big step toward creating energy independence, it stands to create as many as 300,000 jobs. But what the guys tell me up there is that they can't handle the rush without federal help.
Would you favor incentives, incentives to get workers and businesses to where the jobs are to support this boom?
Here is how Santorum responded:
No, because we have done it in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania has Marcellus Shale. It took a while for us to ramp up, but we're drilling 3,000 to 4,000 wells.
The price of natural gas, because of Marcellus Shale, which is the second largest natural gas find in the world, has gone from $12 to $3.65. And we let the marketplace work. So, no, we didn't have the federal government come in and bail us out. 
Later in the evening, Texas Governor Rick Perry took a shot at explaining his own energy policy:
When -- when you look at what I've laid out, whether it -- the energy side and getting the energy industry going -- and Rick Santorum is absolutely correct on that, is let's get our energy industry freed up, federal lands, federal waters, pull back all of those regulations. Everybody on this stage understands it's the regulatory world that is killing America.
A complete transcript of the November 9, 2011 “Your Money, Your Vote” Republican Presidential Debate is available on CNBC.com

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Barack Obama still talking about climate change, clean energy

In an election cycle that has seen prominent Republican presidential candidates like Herman Cain and Rick Perry publicly question the science on climate change, incumbent President Barack Obama remains committed to solving the climate crisis and moving the U.S. down the path towards a clean energy economy.

Obama had this to say at a November 4, 2011 Press Conference following the G20 Summit in Cannes, France:
We agreed to keep phasing out fossil fuel subsidies -- perhaps the single-most important step we can take in the near term to fight climate change and create clean-energy economies. 
In Cannes, the leaders of the world's top 20 economies agreed to platform for "Improving energy markets and pursuing the Fight against Climate Change", stating in a Communique:
We are determined to enhance the functioning and transparency of energy markets. We commit to improve the timeliness, completeness and reliability of the JODI-oil database and to work on the JODI-gas database along the same principles. We call for continued dialogue annually between producers and consumers on a short, medium, and long-term out look forecasts for oil, gas and coal. We ask relevant organizations to make recommendations on the functioning and oversight of price reporting agencies. We reaffirm our commitment to rationalize and phase our over the medium term inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption, while providing targeted support for the poorest.
We are committed to the success of the success of the Durban Conference on Climate Change and support South Africa as the incoming President of the Conference. We call for implementation of the Cancun agreements and further progress in all areas of negotiation, including the operationalization of the Green Climate Fund, as part of a balanced outcome in Durban. We discussed the IFIs report on climate finance and asked our Finance Ministers to continue work in the field, taking into account the objectives, provisions and principles of the UNFCCC. 
And at a November 7, 2011 campaign event in Washington, D.C., Obama noted the nation still has a lot of work to do on the clean energy front:
We still don’t have an energy policy that is suitable for the needs of the future.  And although we’ve made enormous progress, I think people forget, for example, that we doubled fuel efficiency standards on cars and trucks just in the last year, which if it had been in legislative form would have probably been the most significant piece of environmental legislation in the last 30 years.  A lot of people don’t know it.  And despite some of those gains we still are way too dependent on imported oil, and we still haven’t done everything we can to transition to a clean energy economy.

Official White House photo by Pete Sousa

Newt Gingrich recalls gasohol at 2011 Iowa GOP Ronald Reagan Dinner

Newt Gingrich traced his support for ethanol back to the 1980's during his November 4, 2011 speech at the Iowa Republican Party Ronald Reagan Dinner in Des Moines:

In addition, it’s great to be back with Senator Grassley.
He and I worked together back in 1984 on a project called gasohol.
For those of you who are younger, that’s what happened a long time ago before it became ethanol.
We also worked together when I was Speaker to save it in the late 1990’s.
I have a very simple principle on why I’m for ethanol.
I believe if my choice is for money to go to Iran or go to Iowa, I pick Iowa.
If my choice is for money to go to Saudi Arabia or South Dakota, I pick South Dakota.
It’s not very complicated.


The former House Speaker and 2012 Republican presidential candidate also shared words of praise for the energy plan floated by one of his top competitors, Texas Governor Rick Perry.

“I agree with most of his energy policy, which I think is exactly in the right general direction,” Gingrich said. 

Jon Huntsmans resorts to fear mongering on EPA, coal fired power plants

By Eugene Kiely and Lalita Clozel, FactCheck.org

Jon Huntsman falsely claimed that the Obama administration’s proposed regulations to cut pollution from coal-fired electric plants will “likely” cause blackouts “this summer.” That’s not true. Huntsman’s claim is contradicted by a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission letter cited by his own campaign, and by independent assessments as well.

No Blackouts ‘This Summer’

The Environmental Protection Agency has issued or is in the process of finalizing several regulations that would significantly affect coal-fired power plants. The new regulations include, for example, the Clear Air Mercury Rule, which will regulate mercury emissions from coal-fired plants for the first time, and the Cross State Air Pollution Rule, which will reduce the release of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides from power plants in the eastern United States. In both cases, the EPA was acting under court order to comply with the Clean Air Act.

Huntsman, the former Utah governor who is running for the Republican presidential nomination, spoke of the cumulative impact of these and other EPA regulations on coal-powered generation plants during a Nov. 1 speech at the University of New Hampshire, where he unveiled his energy plan:

Huntsman, Nov. 1: Today coal is under siege from government regulations and litigation. There are even efforts to halt the export of our coal, which would destroy American jobs when we now need them most. This summer, in fact, we will likely see blackouts as a result of the administration’s assault on coal, which will take 8 percent of U.S. generating capacity offline.

We asked the Huntsman campaign to support the candidate’s claim that EPA regulations would reduce U.S. electricity capacity by 8 percent and cause blackouts “this summer.” We were referred to an Aug. 1, 2011, letter that was sent to Sen. Lisa Murkowski by FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff and two of its commissioners, John Norris and Cheryl LaFleur. The FERC was responding to Murkowski’s request for its assessment of “EPA rules affecting generation of electric power.”

But the agency’s letter does not support Huntsman’s claim. Quite the opposite.

The letter says “the retirement of coal units is expected to begin between 2015 and 2018,” and even then FERC expects to work with the industry to avoid disruptions in service. “As it has in the past, the commission would seek to find ways to require or allow utilities to operate when needed for reliability or other purposes while being compensated adequately and without violating other federal laws,” the letter says.

Wellinghoff, who was appointed to FERC by President George W. Bush and elevated to chairman by President Barack Obama, also addressed the reliability issue before a subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Sept. 14. In his prepared remarks, Wellinghoff said the industry “can plan to meet its reliability and environmental obligations.” He cited historical data to show the industry has done exactly that “when circumstances warranted.”

Wellinghoff, Sept. 14: As I have said before, available data indicates that the electric industry has added significant amounts of generating capacity when circumstances warranted. As a point of reference, EIA data shows that between 2000 and 2004, an annual average of 38.74 GW of capacity was added nationally, with a peak addition of 58.06 GW in 2002. Similarly, the electric industry has the ability to plan for the EPA regulations, which will affect the operation of some electric generation units.

To be sure, there are some who remain concerned about future reliability. FERC Commissioner Philip Moeller, who was appointed by Bush and reappointed by Obama, told the committee that “older, fossil-based generation” plants eventually should be replaced. “However,” he warned, “such retirements need to be handled in an orderly way to avoid regulatory, economic, and reliability chaos.”

But most experts do not predict chaos — and certainly not as early as this summer.

PJM Interconnection, a regional grid operator that serves 58 million customers in 13 states and the District of Columbia, issued a report in late August on the impact of two EPA rules — both of which have compliance deadlines of Jan. 1, 2015. The report concluded that “resource adequacy does not appear to be threatened” in delivery year 2014/2015.

Separately, the Bipartisan Policy Center — which was founded by four former Democratic and Republican Senate leaders — issued a report that said the impacts of the EPA regulations on the nation’s power sector are “manageable.” The potential for blackouts? The report, which was drafted by staff members of the center’s Energy Project, said “scenarios in which electric system reliability is broadly affected are unlikely to occur.”

‘Back-of-the-Envelope’ Assessment

Now, let’s look at Huntsman’s claim that the EPA regulations will reduce the nation’s electric generation by 8 percent. That figure also comes from the FERC letter to Murkowski and a press release the senator released in response to it.

Murkowski, Aug. 3: The commission’s staff has preliminarily estimated that up to 81 gigawatts of existing generation are ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’ to be retired as a consequence of new EPA rules. That’s nearly 8 percent of our installed capacity for electric generation and a retirement at that scale could have drastic consequences for many parts of our country.

But FERC’s letter also warned not to put too much stock in its estimate of coal-fired plants likely to be retired. The letter called it an “informal, preliminary assessment,” adding that “an in-depth analysis could not be conducted because complete information was not available.” In his Sept. 14 testimony, Wellinghoff pulled the plug entirely on his staff’s informal analysis. He told Congress it was an “adequate back-of-the envelope first assessment of the amount and location of potential generator retirements,” but he warned that such an informal analysis “is inadequate to use as a basis for decision making.” For one thing, Wellinghoff said, FERC “did not evaluate any alternatives that might be available to the regions to offset any generator loss such as new or planned generation or transmission, retrofits of coal-to-gas burners, demand-side resources, or energy efficiency strategies.”

There is no doubt that the EPA’s regulations and proposed regulations will have a significant impact on coal-fired power plants. American Electric Power of Columbus, Ohio, announced in June that complying with EPA regulations would cost between $6 billion and $8 billion and force the company to “retire nearly 6,000 megawatts (MW) of coal-fueled power generation; upgrade or install new advanced emissions reduction equipment on another 10,100 MW; refuel 1,070 MW of coal generation as 932 MW of natural gas capacity; and build 1,220 MW of natural gas-fueled generation.” Nearly all of the plant closings will occur by Dec. 31, 2014, or later.

Huntsman can offer his opinion that the EPA is moving too fast or that the regulations are too costly, or both. And, of course, there are those who will disagree with him. In his Nov. 1 testimony before a House oversight committee, Deputy EPA Administrator Bob Perciasepe cited both the health and economic benefits of retiring or upgrading aging power plants.

But Huntsman resorts to fear-mongering when he raises the specter of blackouts “this summer.”

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Rick Santorum talks coal power in Iowa

Rick Santorum talked briefly about energy policy at the November 4, 2011 Iowa Republican Party's Ronald Reagan Dinner in Des Moines.

The former Pennsylvania Senator and 2012 Republican presidential candidate focused his remarks on coal power and oil drilling:
And I’ve saw a lot of folks in green shirts in a lot of rural places in Iowa. Folks that represent the rural electric co-ops. And their concerned because they’re seeing their energy prices going up. And they’re going to go up a lot more if the Obama administration has its way of shutting down 60 coal fired power plants.
We’ll make sure that that regulation doesn’t go into affect. And we will open up energy in America, whether it’s ANWR, whether it’s coal mining, whether it’s drilling. We will have a free market of energy production. And we will lead the world and we will have stable long term energy prices.


Rick Santorum made no mention of renewable energy in his speech, an odd choice in a state known for its biofuel and wind power production. 

Earlier in the evening, a video celebrating Iowa's "First in the Nation" status noted, "Iowa is the nation's leader in the production of renewable energy, leading the way on lowering our dependence on foreign oil."

Friday, November 4, 2011

Herman Cain: Koch brothers' brother from another mother? - Video

Herman Cain defended his connection to the Koch brothers today at the 2011 Summit for the American Dream  in Washington, D.C.

“I’m proud to know the Koch brothers," the former CEO of Godfathers' Pizza said.

“I’m the Koch brothers brother from another mother," Cain quipped, drawing laughter from the conservative crowd.

The summit was organized by the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, a group chaired by Koch Industries Executive Vice President David Koch, a giant of the fossil fuel industry and one the world's 20 wealthiest billionaires.

AFP Foundation President Tim Phillips warmed the audience up for the main event by blaming President Obama for "green energy boondoggles" implemented "in pursuit of his global warming ideology."

Phillips also claimed that the AFP Foundation and Tea Party are allies, before going on to attack the Occupy Wall Street movement that many grassroots Tea Party activists say they support. He claimed OWS "openly call for socialism" and that the movement is "based on anger and envy."

Mitt Romney then preceded Herman Cain at the podium. As he did yesterday in Exeter, Romney again raised the specter of Solyndra as evidence that government is inherently inferior to the private sector, apparently forgetting the failed solar company was itself a private enterprise.

For his part, Cain made a call for energy independence based entirely on fossil fuels

"We've got plenty of coal, oil, natural gas, shale oil..," he listed.

Cain also threw in an attack on the EPA for good measure.

"The EPA needs an attitude adjustment," he said.

All that had one conservative commentator feeling "happier than a hippy at Zuccotti Park on free hash brownie day."

I'm betting the Koch brothers felt the same way.

Video of Herman Cain's speech at the 2011 Summit for the American Dream:

Herman Cain at the Defending the American Dream Summit from AFPhq on Vimeo.

Photo of Herman Cain courtesy of Gage Skidmore

Mitt Romney on Solyndra at Exeter Town Hall - Video and transcript

Mitt Romney claimed that the collapse of Solyndra demonstrates "...the difference between private sector and governmental sector" while delivering a speech on government spending  on November 4, 2011 in Exeter, NH:

Now, let me compare that with a government initiated enterprise called Solyndra.
Now you know the story of Solyndra. Did you know they put in about $500 million? 
Oh, by the way, at the beginning of Staples, I think it was about $5 or $10 million of investment from a number of different firms.
Solyndra, they took $500 million from the federal government.
And did you see their factory? Large enough to hold five football fields inside of it.
Their corporate headquarters looked like the Taj Mahal. They had showers that looked like spa showers.
All of these guys were living high because it was government money. It was someone else’s money. It was the taxpayers’ money.
That’s the difference between private sector and governmental sector. 

While the collapse of a solar firm that received a $535 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy is indeed disturbing, fact checkers warn too much has been made of the Solyndra's failure.

The Department of Energy has provided close to $38 billion in loan guarantees for energy projects, according to the Washington Post, with Solyndra representing just 1.3 percent of that total.

A complete video of Mitt Romney's speech in Exeter, NH is available on YouTube. Romney's remarks about Solyndra begin at the 8:20 mark:


Herman Cain, Mitt Romney Defending the American Dream Summit 2011

Republican presidential candidates Herman Cain and Mitt Romney are among the confirmed speakers for today’s Defending the American Dream Summit in Washington, D.C.

The summit is a product of the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, a pet project of fossil fuel industry tycoon David Koch, Executive Vice President for Koch Industries. In fact, two of the five members of the group’s Board of Directors also serve on the Board of Directors for Koch Industries.

As such, it’s no surprise to see anti-environmental topics like “Extreme Power Abuse: The EPA’s Job-Crushing Regulatory Assault” tucked into the event's agenda, in between such wholesome sounding sessions as "How to pimp your website". 

A live stream of the Defending the American Dream Summit is set to begin at 11:00 AM, with Herman Cain taking the stage at 1:00 PM, followed by Mitt Romney.

Update: Click here to see what Herman Cain and Mitt Romney had to say about energy, the EPA, Solyndra and, yes, the Koch brothers.

Jon Huntsman fields questions on global warming, cap and trade in New Hampshire

Jon Huntsman faced tough questions about global warming and energy policy during his November 1, 2011 meeting with the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript editorial board in Peterborough, New Hampshire. 

A complete video of the meeting has been posted to YouTube, with the energy portion starting at 21:10: 

Transcript of Jon Huntsman's comments on energy:

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript: I was hoping you’d give us a preview of your energy plan. I know that you’re gonna unveil it today, but we don’t go to press until Thursday anyways, so we’re not going to scoop anybody.
Obviously, it’s a wildly controversial issues, especially now, but I think there are a lot of disagreements about what the government’s role is in terms of incentivizing a renewable economy, if that’s even a priority.
So I know that you’ve said that you do believe that global warming is occurring and that you have variously supported and not supported cap and trade programs. So I was wondering what your platform is on cap and trade and if you could articulate for us exactly what you the role of government is in spurring a shift to a green energy economy. 
Jon Huntsman: The role of government should, number one, be bring up through reviewing regulations that make it very difficult, as I found as Governor, with respect to natural gas out West. Bring up opportunities to get more of what we have in great abundance in this country.
Number two, I believe it ought to be the role of government to break up the oil monopoly as it relates to transportation. So whether it’s light vehicles or heavy vehicles on diesel, you don’t have much of an option. I think that’s a legitimate… 
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript: Can you expand on that just a little bit?
Jon Huntsman: Yeah, I think that, you know, as we had with federal communications – with communication networks in the ‘70’s we had a monopoly. And there was an FTC review and there was a review by the judiciary committee within the Senate to break that up. And today, we all benefit on that communications side by having a whole lot more. 
I think the same thing needs to happen on oil.
I think the FTC and the Judiciary Committee in the Senate need to look at the distribution network for oil and say, “Somebody has a huge advantage here and until such time as we look at breaking it up, we’re not going to be able to allow alternative fuels and other options to become viable.”
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript: So by distribution networks, do you mean gas stations, the companies that transport oil from the production station to those has stations? At which point in the distribution network do you that there’s…
Jon Huntsman: Well, that is one part of the distribution network. For example, if you want to fire your car on natural gas, there is little in the way of distribution capabilities.
We don’t have a smart grid, for example, for electric cars. So if you want to look to the future and say, “If you want anything but the hydrocarbon called gasoline and diesel,” you’re pretty much screwed, because there is nothing available.
I found this as Governor. As Governor, I ran my car on natural gas. I didn’t think you could do that until I met some entrepreneur in the northern part of the state who said, “I want to convert your state Suburban to natural gas. I paid him out of pocket to do it.
I drove around the state with two big tanks in the back of my car for years. And, you know, with the idea that if you didn’t fill up at two or three stations where you had access, you’d find yourself in the middle of the desert stranded.
So I went to the public utilities and said, “We’re going to create a super natural gas highway in this state that’ll link one end to the other. We’re really going to give people an option. You either want to be ahead of this debate, or you’re gone be behind, but I’m asking you to help.”
So they stepped up and they decided they’d make an investment in traditional service stations along the way. This is like Colorado to Nevada, that stretch of land. And they decided to step and actually make investments so you could actually fill up from natural gas along that corridor.
I think were one of the first states to actually do anything like that.
So it’s achievable, but you’re going to have to take on the oil monopoly and you can only do that through an FTC review, with the Senate Judiciary Committee taking a look at it.
But I want to open up options for natural gas, for alternative fuels, for electric cars, in which case if you want to recharge in your garage, we need a smart grid. You can’t do it today.
So all of this supposes that over the next ten years or so we’re gonna get really smart about alternatives beyond just oil, but I think that’s a legitimate role for the government to be playing.
And then on the whole basic research side, I think between health sciences and the National Institutes of Health and what they do around cancer, for example, that’s an important investment. And I think our energy future under ARPA-E, which is the, you know, the analogous organization to DARPA at the Defense Department is also important, because therein we’re going to figure out how we can begin drawing from the sun and how we can begin drawing more from the wind. 
I mean, ultimately we’ll be there, but we’re not there today. And you can’t force technologies into the marketplace before they’re ready. We’re learning that with each passing day. The subsidies, you know, before they’re ready to be deployed into the market place, you know, they just don’t work.
But through basic research sponsored by the government, I think you begin to develop the technology sooner than you otherwise might, which then would create more of a level playing field for individual companies that will then adopt…
On solar approaches, on wind energy, we’re just not there today. We’ll be there at some point. 
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript: So you think that the role of government is in sponsoring research, not necessarily for incentivizing individual projects.
Jon Huntsman: You know it isn’t picking winners. It isn’t an industrial policy like we saw in Japan in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s. That doesn’t work.
And we’re finding that with Solyndra for example. I think there are going to be a lot more Solyndra’s, on both the Republican side and the Democrat side. People just finding money and throwing it at technologies - nascent technologies that aren’t ready for primetime. And we’ll find that they’re not ready for primetime, they can’t compete with things like natural gas. But, you know, given 20 or 30 years they’d probably be viable.
So where we are today is we’ve gotta build a bridge to tomorrow. You know, 30 years or whatever that point is we’ll be drawing from the sun and the wind. I have no doubt about that. Technologies will catch up to where we need to be. 
We’ll innovate our way forward, but how do you build a bridge from today to tomorrow. I think that will in large part be driven by freeing up materials that we need to use for transportation, like natural gas, creating a smart grid, converting our fleets more and more to where they can be flexible fuel fleets.
That’s the only way you can get from today to tomorrow in an affordable, competitive fashion.
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript: I understand that you have a three-part plan. That it’s reviewing regulations that you find to be too restrictive on the natural gas industry, and reviewing the distribution network for energy, and sponsoring research on renewable energy technology.
I’m wondering specifically with the restrictive regulations, there is a lot of controversy about this because, you know, people put that forward often as, you know, regulations are too restrictive. And the easy counter is, “Well those regulations are needed to protect the environment, to protect the health of the populations around where development and resource exploitation is taking place.”
Could you be more specific about the regulations that you find to be too restrictive and how you would unencumber industry without risking the health and safety of the environment and citizens?
Jon Huntsman: Yeah. Again, I’m all for protecting health. I’m all for a sound environment. I mean, that’s what we’re passing on to the next generation.
But when you have things like NEPA, that has been around since the 1960’s, started by Republicans by the way.
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript: What is it?
Jon Huntsman: The National Energy Policy Act, which governs how you use land and the steps and the requirements and the red tape needed to actually access things like natural gas. It’s terribly prohibitive to the point where you might as well throw up your hands in frustration before you even begin. It’s hardly competitive given what other countries in the world are doing in terms of preparing to fuel their future economy.
That’s gotta be dealt with, I mean, the prerequisites for NEPA for example.
On the EPA side, just things like the restriction that was just imposed on the large vehicle fleet, which is, you know, the 20 percent consumer of the hydrocarbon called oil. The thought you could transition that fleet towards natural gas, President Obama basically through the EPA made that impossible by putting mileage restrictions or mileage criteria on the big rig fleet, the 18 wheeler fleet, making it impossible for them to convert to natural gas. Yet, that would be the first transportation opportunity that you would logically have.
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript: Mileage restrictions meant you have to build engines that get at least this much per mile, right? To maximize our fuel use as a country, you can’t have engines that suck up gasoline. So how does that prevent development of natural gas? I don’t understand.
Jon Huntsman: Well, if you look at the restrictions that were just put on the 18 wheeler fleet, it makes it impossible for them to convert to natural gas.
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript: Why?
Jon Huntsman: You’ll have to ask the White House.
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript: No, why does it make it impossible for them to…
Jon Huntsman: It sets new criteria that are impossible to meet unless you use gasoline, unless you use diesel.
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript: …is natural gas less mileage efficient? 
Jon Huntsman: There may be a problem with that in the beginning, but uh…
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript: Okay, I was having a hard time understanding that. Everyone just assumes that natural gas must be more efficient, therefore you burn less of it per gallon…
Jon Huntsman: It’s because engines are built, as I found in my Suburban, for gas. So, you know, you make the tweaks and whatever catalytic converter or whatever, you can basically achieve the same efficiencies.
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript:  … with a lot of unintended consequences from the sound of it. That’s interesting, I wouldn’t have thought that.