Tag Archives: KEEP

KDHE, Sunflower Electric, Earthjustice, Center for Climate Strategies: different peas in the same pod

Evidence that a business seeking regulatory approval of its project enjoyed an apparently close relationship with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment should not be surprising.

Reporting in the Kansas City Star leads with “Hundreds of emails document that officials of a Kansas power plant enjoyed a cozy relationship with the Kansas regulators who issued them a building permit in December.” (Kansas agency, utility worked closely on permit for plant)

A press release from Earthjustice, the legal advocacy arm of the Sierra Club, proclaimed “A new report reveals Sunflower Electric (Sunflower) enjoyed a cozy relationship with Kansas regulators during the permitting process for the highly controversial coal-fired power plant Sunflower seeks to build in Holcomb.”

This incident — the details are not important for understanding the broad lesson — may be looked on as an example of regulatory capture. As defined in Wikipedia, “regulatory capture occurs when a state regulatory agency created to act in the public interest instead advances the commercial or special interests that dominate the industry or sector it is charged with regulating.”

In more detail, the Wikipedia article explains: “For public choice theorists, regulatory capture occurs because groups or individuals with a high-stakes interest in the outcome of policy or regulatory decisions can be expected to focus their resources and energies in attempting to gain the policy outcomes they prefer, while members of the public, each with only a tiny individual stake in the outcome, will ignore it altogether. Regulatory capture refers to when this imbalance of focused resources devoted to a particular policy outcome is successful at ‘capturing’ influence with the staff or commission members of the regulatory agency, so that the preferred policy outcomes of the special interest are implemented.”

Regulatory capture — or at least the heavy-handed attempt by special interest groups to influence public policy to fit their interests — is a non-partisan sport. We shouldn’t be surprised to see this form of government failure taking place at all times, no matter which party or politicians are in power.

As an example on point, the same type of activity happened during the administration of former Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius regarding the same electric plant that is the focus of controversy today. Her regulator, former KDHE Secretary Rod Bremby, denied the permit for the plant based on its carbon dioxide emissions, the first time that had been done in the United States.

Radical environmentalists rejoiced. Sebelius was invited to speak at an Earthjustice conference held in Denver in June, 2008. Here are a portion of her written remarks, as supplied to me at that time by her press office, thanking Earthjustice for all it had done in Kansas to help Sebelius and mold her regulatory regime:

When Big Coal pumped their money and politics into Kansas, EarthJustice was there to fight back:

  • Provided litigation and public support
  • Helped shape the media messaging and outreach
  • Rallied supporters and engaged the public to get involved

It was a victory for all of us and I appreciate their help.

About that time Sebelius established the Kansas Energy and Environmental Policy Advisory Group, or KEEP. The activities of this group were managed — at no cost to the state — by the Center for Climate Strategies, a group that expressly advocates for energy policies and regulations based on an extremist view of climate science.

The invasion of Kansas — at least the Sebelius administration — by Earthjustice and Center for Climate Studies proves the point: Regulatory capture is a non-partisan opportunity.

Earl Watkins, Sunflower Chief Executive, speaks at AFP event

Earl Watkins, President and CEO of Sunflower Electric Power Corporation recently spoke to a group of citizen activists as part of AFP – Kansas Day at the Capitol. Here’s a few notes from his talk.

Did you know that Sunflower Electric is a not-for-profit organization?

The demand for electricity changes constantly, moment-by-moment, throughout the day. Since electricity can’t be stored, matching generation to consumption of electricity is a challenge. Adding wind power makes this an even more challenging job, as wind power is very erratic.

Watkins told a story of how a group of Kansas University students contacted him as part of their investigation of the “slothful and wasteful” practices of excess electricity consumption. Watkins told how when he attended KU, he had a radio and an electric typewriter in his dorm room, not to mention the forbidden hotplate. Today, however, these students have many electrical devices in their dorm rooms — refrigerators, microwave ovens, televisions, and computers, for example. Electrical power is a huge factor in the increased quality of life, especially for college students.

The average age of Sunflower’s natural gas-powered plants is almost 40 years.

While Kansas is often portrayed as having rich wind resources, the wind doesn’t always blow when power is needed. “The fact of the matter is, of the four seasons for harvesting wind, the summer in the day is the worst,” Watkins said. The highest demand for electrical power, of course, is on hot summer afternoons.

It is the cost of the various forms of power generation that Sunflower uses that drives the decision as how to generate power and invest in capacity. These costs per kilowatt-hour are 1.5 cents for coal, 5 cents for wind, and 9 cents for natural gas.

If the permit for the new coal plant is denied, Sunflower will be forced to build new wind and natural gas capacity. It’s estimated that the extra cost to consumers — remember these forms of generation are more expensive to build and operate than coal — is about $600 per household per year.

Afterwards I asked Watkins a few questions. One concerned Cessna Aircraft Company chairman, president and chief executive officer Jack Pelton and his role as leader of the Kansas Energy and Environmental Policy Advisory Group (KEEP). How, I asked, does Pelton expect to build airplanes in Wichita when the wind isn’t blowing? The answer is that it’s easy for him to trade Western Kansas for a relationship with the Sebelius administration. This relationship has paid off handsomely for Pelton and Cessna, with $33 million in state money heading his way, and potential for more. My post Jack Pelton, Leader of Kansas Energy and Environmental Policy Advisory Group explains.

Also, does the fact of Governor Sebelius’ impending departure from Kansas have any potential impact on the Kansas House of Representatives and its voting? He indicated that perhaps it would.

Kansas Wind Power Economic Benefit in Perspective

An editorial in the Wichita Eagle that promotes wind power as an economic benefit for for Kansas contains some reasoning that deserves examination before we commit to the author’s cause. (Emil Ramirez: Entire state could benefit from wind, February 19, 2009 Wichita Eagle.)

Unstated by Mr. Ramirez, but underlying this op-ed, is that the shift to wind power from coal is necessary to reduce carbon emissions for environmental reasons. The science behind this is far from settled. Besides, there’s very little that we in Kansas can do in light of the rapid increase in global carbon emissions. Doing something of this magnitude on shaky scientific evidence is unwise. (See KEEP’s Goal is Predetermined and Ineffectual. Ramirez, by the way, is an appointee to the Kansas Energy and Environmental Policy Advisory Group.)

One of the arguments Ramirez makes is that investment in wind power is good because it creates jobs: “every wind turbine requires hundreds of yards of concrete, miles of steel rebar, copper wire and highly skilled laborers to install.”

This is a trap that many supporters of alternative energy investment fall into: Simply because something will cost a lot and create many jobs, it’s a good policy. The best energy policy we could have, however, is one that supplies our energy needs at the lowest cost. Spending more for no good reason leads to a misapplication of capital. After all, if we view our energy policy as a jobs creation program, why not build wind turbines and haul them to western Kansas without the use of machinery? Think of the jobs that would create.

Ramirez also argues that “concerted investment in energy efficiency” will create a “a bigger boom still.” He doesn’t say so, but I suspect that his goal is to get the government to pay for energy efficiency programs. But right now, every homeowner and business has the opportunity to invest in as many energy efficiency measures as they deem desirable. Each person or firm makes their own decision, based on their judgment of the future cost of energy versus the investment required to save energy, that suits their own needs.

This voluntary conservation and investment in efficiency is much preferred to government mandate, that mandate usually backed up by taxing and spending.

Finally, Ramirez also states that wind energy “uses no water,” alluding to one of the frequent criticisms of coal-fired power plants: their water use. This criticism is unfounded. As explained in my post Holcomb, Kansas Coal Plant Water Usage in Perspective, the water that a new Kansas coal plant would use is small compared to other uses of water in Kansas. There’s also the fact that the plant has purchased water rights for the water it will use. If the power plant didn’t use this water, it would very likely be used in agriculture, probably irrigating corn to be fed to cattle or turned into ethanol.

Kansas Climate Change Group Changes

In his piece Separate But Still the Same, climate change alarmist watchdog Paul Chesser writes “A global warming alarmist group that masqueraded for the last few years as an objective consultant for many states announced this week that it has been disowned by its global warming alarmist parents.”

This article describes changes made at the Center for Climate Strategies. This is of interest to us in Kansas for at least one reason. Here’s Chesser’s paraphrasing of CCS’ pitch made to states:

There is a human-caused global warming crisis and the states must do something about it, because the federal government is not. We ask the governor to issue an executive order that confirms this crisis and creates a commission to study greenhouse gas emissions — but call it a “climate commission.” Appoint members who buy into the anthropogenic global warming crisis, and include some representatives from utilities and business, but not too many or they might screw things up. Once you hire CCS, we will take care of everything for you from then on: run the meetings, set the agendas, write the meeting minutes, provide technical analysis, maintain the website, and establish the voting rules. Oh, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and other global warming alarmist foundations have provided the funding for our work, so don’t you worry! Just let CCS do its thing.

Kansas, by way of Governor Kathleen Sebelius‘s executive order establishing Kansas Energy and Environmental Policy Advisory Group (KEEP), fell for this sales pitch — con job, really — and we’ll be paying for this mistake for years to come.

A reasoned look at wind power

The Texas Public Policy Foundation has released a report titled Texas Wind Energy: Past, Present, and Future. It doesn’t have a catchy title, but the report is full of useful information about wind energy. Here’s a little bit from the executive summary:

The distinction between wind and wind energy is critical. The wind itself is free, but wind energy is anything but. Cost estimates for wind-energy generation typically include only turbine construction and maintenance. Left out are many of wind energy’s costs—transmission, grid connection and management, and backup generation—that ultimately will be borne by Texas’ electric ratepayers. Direct subsidies, tax breaks, and increased production and ancillary costs associated with wind energy could cost Texas more than $4 billion per year and at least $60 billion through 2025.

Wind, like every other energy resource, has its pros and cons, and there is no doubt that wind power should be part of Texas’ energy supply. Texas needs a variety of fuel sources, plus concerted efforts at conservation and efficiency, in order to meet its energy needs. However, wind energy should only be employed to the extent it passes economic cost-benefit muster. Instead of subsidizing private wind development and imposing billions of dollars in new transmission costs upon retail electric customers, Texas policymakers should step back and allow the energy marketplace to bring wind power online when the market is ready. Texas electricity consumers will reap the benefits of such a prudent path.

Attitudes towards global warming are changing

Global warming alarmists — in this article Christopher Booker refers to them simply as “warmists” — have become “even shriller and more frantic” in light of evidence that climate change may not be proceeding they way they’ve been predicting.

In his article in the Daily Telegraph (2008 was the year man-made global warming was disproved), Booker makes these points:

Easily one of the most important stories of 2008 has been all the evidence suggesting that this may be looked back on as the year when there was a turning point in the great worldwide panic over man-made global warming. Just when politicians in Europe and America have been adopting the most costly and damaging measures politicians have ever proposed, to combat this supposed menace, the tide has turned in three significant respects.

First, all over the world, temperatures have been dropping in a way wholly unpredicted by all those computer models which have been used as the main drivers of the scare.

Secondly, 2008 was the year when any pretence that there was a “scientific consensus” in favour of man-made global warming collapsed.

Thirdly … All those grandiose projects for “emissions trading”, “carbon capture”, building tens of thousands more useless wind turbines, switching vast areas of farmland from producing food to “biofuels”, are being exposed as no more than enormously damaging and futile gestures, costing astronomic sums we no longer possess.

In Kansas we’re considering taking very expensive actions to mitigate carbon emissions. (See coverage of Kansas Energy and Environmental Policy Advisory Group (KEEP), for example.) These actions, in the global scheme of things (and it’s not called “global warming” for nothing), are less than the proverbial drop in the bucket. At the same time, we delay doing things that we need, like the expansion of the Holcomb Station coal-fired electricity generating plant. Let’s hope that 2009 brings a reasoned and measured response to the hysteria generated by the “warmists.”

Climate change resource center launched

When evaluating the claims of radical environmental extremists, people need accurate and reliable information about global warming and climate change. To this end, I’ve started a Climate Change Resource Center page, where readers can find links to reliable sources of information.

If you know of other sources or articles that should be listed, please send them to me.

Climate change alarmism in Kansas is expensive

Today’s Wichita Eagle reports on the high cost of climate change mitigation. (Climate cleanup costs could trickle down) Before Kansans commit to expensive courses of action that will be ineffective, we need to consider the wisdom of this action.

As reported in the article, “there is the worry that regulation will drive up costs and push industry and jobs to other places.” Climate change alarmists treat these yet-to-be-passed regulations as a given, and are sure that they’ll be implemented. These regulations, however, are bad public policy, and there’s no reason why we should base current decisions on the threat of bad regulations being passed in the future. In fact, to do so would be highly irresponsible.

Reported as a counterbalance to the huge costs of complying with bad regulation is “But others argue that regulations will spur innovation, creating more jobs.” It’s true that a forced move to a “green” economy would necessitate the need for workers to do things. What’s really important, however, is whether these jobs would increase the wealth of our country. That depends partly on the validity of the threat that climate change presents, and that threat is disputed. If the threat is not real, or if the effect would be minor, then these “green” jobs have all the characteristics of “make-work” jobs. They put people to work, but produce nothing of value.

Furthermore, we might find ourselves spending huge sums to reduce greenhouse gases when other countries are increasing their emissions rapidly. Melissa Cohlmia of Koch Industries got this exactly right when she mentioned countries that “will not participate in efforts to limit greenhouse gases.” I’ve written about this before in relation to efforts in Kansas to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. A little arithmetic tells us that anything we as Kansans do is just a drop in the ocean. In fact, as I report in KEEP’s Goal is Predetermined and Ineffectual, “even if Kansas stopped producing all carbon emissions, the effect would be overcome in about 16 months of just the growth in China’s emissions.”

Rate increases in utility bills are burdensome to customers. When the local electric utility proposed raising monthly bills by $10 for the average consumer, ratepayers protested vigorously. When the City of Wichita proposed adding perhaps $3 or $4 to monthly residential water bills, council member Lavonta Williams expressed concern that this would be a hardship for many of the residents in her district. Whenever forecasts call for higher natural gas prices, we’re warned that some people will not be able to heat their homes.

How a Sub-prime Lender Influences Kansas Energy and Environment Policy

In an American Thinker article titled How allies of George Soros helped bring down Wachovia Bank, you can read about the business activities of Herbert and Marion Sandler:

Herbert and Marion Sandler, a New York lawyer and Wall Street analyst respectively, bought a small California thrift in 1963 and built it into GDW [Golden West Financial] — one of the largest thrifts in the nation. The company’s business was built on adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs. These were mortgages offered at low “teaser” rates that ratcheted upward as interest rates increased. They were often sold aggressively to unsophisticated home buyers who did not comprehend the vast financial risks they were taking, or who assumed that housing prices would rise high enough to provide a profit to them when they sold their houses. They were targets for lenders peddling mortgages that should have been stamped with a skull and crossbones, for these were among the most seductive and dangerous types of mortgage. …

The Sandlers knew their business far better than any other person could. Not only were they the founders and major owners, they famously ran the company as a husband and wife team for all these years.

Vilifying makers of sub-prime mortgages is not necessarily news. So what’s the link to Kansas?

Currently, Kansas is undergoing an evaluation of energy and environmental policy. Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius created the Kansas Energy and Environmental Policy Advisory Group (KEEP) for this purpose.

Here’s the link: in the Governor’s press release Sebelius prevents and reduces pollutants with veto, executive order, we’re told that “The process will be facilitated by the Center for Climate Strategies (CCS). Their work is supported by the Energy Foundation and the Sandler Family Supporting Foundation …”

There’s the connection.

In 2006, the Sandlers donated $1.3 billion of Golden West Financial stock to their foundation, the Sandler Family Supporting Foundation. It is this money that supports the formulation of Kansas energy and environmental policy.

Rhonda Holman’s Kansas Energy Policy: Not Good for Kansas

Wichita Eagle editorialist Rhonda Holman writes “[Kansas Governor Kathleen] Sebelius gets it. Too bad the Kansas Chamber does not.”

This is the end of her lead editorial from today titled Kansas Chamber protecting past. In it, she claims that the Kansas Chamber of Commerce is out of touch with the reality of global warming, and by extension, that our governor isn’t.

Ms. Holman cites a study showing that green investment in Kansas could add many jobs to our economy. That’s no doubt true. But these jobs have all the characteristics of public works jobs, meaning that for each job created, one is lost somewhere else. That’s because these jobs don’t add to the wealth of Kansas, as we already are producing electricity. These new jobs simply shift Kansas to using a different form of power generation, one that Ms. Holman prefers.

Now if this shift was necessary to save our planet, that might be one thing. But the consensus behind man-made global warming is not as strong as Ms. Holman claims. And even if true, it might be best to learn to deal with the changing climate rather than try to stop the change.

Even if global warming is due to man’s activity, there’s very little we in Kansas can do to stop it. As illustrated in the article KEEP’s Goal is Predetermined and Ineffectual, Kansas is just a tiny speck on the Earth. Other countries overwhelm anything we can do in Kansas:

So even if Kansas stopped producing all carbon emissions, the effect would be overcome in about 16 months of just the growth in China’s emissions. This doesn’t take into account the huge emissions China already produces, or the rapid growth in other countries.

That’s right. Even if we stopped all carbon emissions in Kansas, the growth of emissions in China would very quickly negate our extreme sacrifice.

That’s the reality of the arithmetic of carbon emissions. But Ms. Holman thinks this is okay.

One of the comments left in response to Ms. Holman’s editorial argued in favor of solar and wind power and stated “Zero energy cost forever and zero drawdown of the Ogallala [sic] aquifer — what’s not to like?” This comment writer might want to take notice of impending expiration of the wind production tax credit, which gives money to subsidize the production of these two types of power. Without this subsidy, supporters of wind and solar power concede that investment in these forms of energy will likely cease. Furthermore, our local electric utility is asking for a rate increase, in part due to the expensive cost of wind power. See Tax incentive for wind energy producers set to expire and Kansas Electric Rates Increase Because of Wind Power Generation.

Cap-and-trade harmful to Kansas

An op-ed in the Wichita Eagle (Amy J. Blankenbiller: Cap-and-trade would be harmful to Kansans) makes the case that some cures for global warming may cause more harm than good.

The author warns that “we could be heading toward ‘solutions’ that are much more harmful to Kansas consumers and businesses than the environmental benefits they aim to provide.”

Specifically, prices for the forms of energy that most Americans use — electricity, natural gas, and gasoline — would rise rapidly. If we need any evidence that increases in energy prices are harmful, consider the reaction to a proposal to increase electricity rates in Wichita by a relatively modest amount. (See Kansas Electric Rates Increase Because of Wind Power Generation.)

The important questions: “With Kansas accountable for only 0.25 percent of total greenhouse-gas emissions, the real questions become: What impact did we have on global climate change? And at what cost?”

Alaska Climate Change Sub-Cabinet: Not an Example of Sarah Palin’s Transparent Government

Paul Chesser of Climate Strategies Watch has done some investigative work seeking to understand the role of The Center for Climate Strategies in Alaska.

(The Alaska Climate Change Sub-Cabinet plays the same role there that the Kansas Energy and Environmental Policy Advisory Group (KEEP) plays here.)

In his excellent and informative post Palin, Alaska’s Climate Commission, and (Lack of) Transparency, Paul traces the formation of the climate change panel in Alaska by Governor Sarah Palin and CCS’s involvement in that. At the same time, he illustrates the frustration that those making records requests of government agencies often experience.

You can also read about CCS’s appointment recommendations. Did CCS also make these recommendations in Kansas? I’d like to know. But as Paul’s article shows, sometimes finding the answer to these questions is difficult and time-consuming.

Kansas Energy and Environmental Policy Advisory Group: Its Heritage

Paul Chesser of Climate Strategies Watch has done some investigative work looking into the background and affiliations of the Center for Climate Strategies. This is important because CCS is the radical environmentalist group that Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius is using to run the activities of the Kansas Energy and Environmental Policy Advisory Group, or KEEP.

The blog post announcing this work is Center for Climate Strategies in Black & White. The work is ongoing.

Kansas Climate Change Mitigation Will Be Costly

A recent presentation in Kansas revealed that fighting global warming in Kansas will be quite costly, and will harm lower-income families most.

The Wichita Eagle article Business leaders hear climate talk reports that The National Association of Manufacturers calculated that cap-and-trade proposals before Congress would cost the average Kansas family $304 per month in the form of higher prices for energy. That’s a very large penalty for Kansas families, especially low-income families, to pay to mitigate something that not all scientists agree is a problem.

Then, even if you agree that global warming is a problem, there’s very little that Kansans can do in light of global factors outside our control. As reported in KEEP’s Goal is Predetermined and Ineffectual, the rate of growth of carbon emissions in China and other countries is so large that it overwhelms any attempt by Kansans to reduce their emissions. Even a complete cessation of carbon emissions by Kansans would quickly be negated by China’s growth. And, China is not willing to take steps to mitigate their output.

$304 per month, or $3,648 per year, would be a crushing blow to the budgets of many Kansas families. This burden would be on top of many thousands of jobs lost. As reported in Kansas companies put out of business by high fuel costs, the high cost of diesel fuel has caused some trucking companies in Kansas to close, and others have reduced the number of trucks they operate. Those who think that these extra fuel and energy costs can be absorbed by families and the economy with no adverse effects are not being realistic.

For more information, view the slide presentation here. The Lieberman-Warner Cap and Trade Bill: Quick Summary and Analysis is an easy-to-read analysis of the cap-and-trade proposal.

Kansas Energy and Environmental Policy Advisory Group: Hiding Budget Numbers

Paul Chesser of Climate Strategies Watch writes about the budget transparency of the Kansas Energy and Environmental Policy Advisory Group, or KEEP.

Kansas government often has troubles with transparency. One of the main problems with KEEP is that policy is being formulated under the guidance of an outside radical environmentalist group, instead of in the legislature by Kansans, where it belongs.

Climate Strategies Watch is a great place to learn more about the Center for Climate Strategies. For example: “CCS portrays itself as a technical advisory service organization that does not advocate for specific policies that will affect climate change. However, certain facts about CCS belie this claim and prove the group is controlled by global warming alarmists who seek solutions that will dramatically increase energy costs and raise taxes, in addition to infringing upon freedom and property rights.”

Maryland Previews Kansas Climate Change Panel

In Kansas, the Kansas Energy and Environmental Policy Advisory Group, or KEEP, is meeting and planning the future of Kansas energy policy.

If we want to see what the conclusions of this effort will look like, we can look to the just-completed effort in Maryland. Yes, we’ll have to make a few adjustments, as Maryland has a seashore and Kansas doesn’t, but the basic thrust of the report is likely to be much the same.

That’s because in both states, the Center for Climate Strategies runs the show. Or, as one columnist wrote in Stupid environmentalist tricks in College Park:

The MCCC [Maryland Climate Change Commission] itself is a kangaroo court conceived and controlled by the Center for Climate Strategies, a subsidiary of an avowed alarmist advocacy group posing as a disinterested technical consultant. If you want a sneak peek at what is in store for Maryland, just look at CCS’ other state reports; the recommendations are all nearly identical.

It will be interesting to see just how little the report prepared for Kansas differs from the cookie-cutter reports prepared for other states whose governors have been foolish enough to let this radical environmentalist group operate in their states.

Center For Climate Strategies in Kansas: Good Economic Analysis?

As the Kansas Energy and Environmental Policy Advisory Group deliberates over the future of the environment in Kansas, we ought to examine the quality of the work product that the Center for Climate Strategies has produced in other states.

The Beacon Hill Institute has performed an analysis of some of the work CCS has performed, and the results are troubling. This press release contains a link to the study document. This study is short at six pages, and I would encourage you to read the entire document.

One of the things CCS does is to claim that reducing greenhouse gas emissions is actually good economic strategy, using cost-benefit analysis. The Beacon Hiss Institute report, however, finds three serious flaws with the methodology CCS used in its Arizona work. Specifically, CCS fails to quantify benefits meaningfully, misinterprets costs to be benefits, and its estimates of costs leave out important factors.

To me, the misinterpretation of costs as being benefits is a common mistake that these studies make. They often point to the jobs that will be created, as though that in itself is a good. But workers need to be paid, and often the source of that pay is not considered.

KEEP’s Goal is Predetermined and Ineffectual

Earlier this year, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius created the Kansas Energy and Environmental Policy Advisory Group, or KEEP. Its goal, as stated in the press release announcing its creation, is to “…explore opportunities in all sectors of our economy to accomplish the goal of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions…”

Nancy Jackson of the Climate and Energy Project echoed these marching orders in her recent Wichita Eagle opinion piece.

This predetermined goal, difficult as it will be to achieve, means nothing to the earth’s climate. What Kansas could do, even if we took the most drastic measure possible, is canceled by the action of others.

As reported in Science Daily, “The growth in China’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions is far outpacing previous estimates … Auffhammer [one of the study’s authors] said this paper should serve as an alarm challenging the widely held belief that actions taken by the wealthy, industrialized nations alone represent a viable strategy towards the goal of stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide.”

The increase in China’s emissions is staggering and swamps any attempt at reductions by other countries, much less a small state like Kansas. From 2000 to 2010, it is estimated that China’s growth in emissions will be about five times larger than the reductions pledged in the Kyoto Protocol.

How does the growth in China’s emissions compare to Kansas’ emissions? According to the Energy Information Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Energy, in 2005 Kansas produced about 78 million metric tons of carbon emissions from all sources.

Then, according the source in Science Daily, China’s average annual growth in emissions in the current decade is about 60 million tons. So even if Kansas stopped producing all carbon emissions, the effect would be overcome in about 16 months of just the growth in China’s emissions. This doesn’t take into account the huge emissions China already produces, or the rapid growth in other countries.

The reality is that any reduction or even slowing of the growth of carbon emissions in Kansas is meaningless in the context of global emissions. We in Kansas need to ask why our governor and radical environmentalists like Nancy Jackson are willing to sacrifice the economy of Kansas for this ineffectual goal.

Jack Pelton, Leader of Kansas Energy and Environmental Policy Advisory Group

Earlier this year, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius created the Kansas Energy and Environmental Policy Advisory Group (KEEP) and appointed Cessna Aircraft Company chairman, president and chief executive officer Jack Pelton as its leader.

This was a smart political move by Governor Sebelius. She appears to have put the planning for our state’s energy future in the hands of an independent, skeptical businessman, someone who will be concerned about the bottom line. Someone who won’t be overly influenced by the emotional appeals of environmentalists.

Kansans need to understand, however, that Jack Pelton may not want to, or be able to, exhibit the independence necessary to formulate sound energy and environmental policy in Kansas.

In a Wichita Eagle editorial on May 18, 2008, Pelton said he believes that carbon dioxide emissions must be reduced: “We are tasked with helping develop a plan to ensure Kansas energy needs are met now and in the future through policies and technologies that reduce the state’s carbon footprint.” To me, this sounds as though he’s already formed a conclusion — and one that happens to agree with our governor’s.

That agreement with Governor Sebelius may not be a coincidence. Other motives may be a factor. That’s because earlier this year, the State of Kansas approved $33 million in incentives for Cessna, with Wichita and Sedgwick County adding another $10 million. The governor signed the legislation in a televised ceremony at Cessna’s facilities in Wichita. This award to Cessna is part of $150 million in aircraft incentives the state authorized.

(As is often the case with economic development incentives, the state won’t directly give Cessna the money. Instead, it will issue bonds that Cessna will repay with its employee withholding taxes. Confusing maneuvers like this allow governments to say they aren’t actually giving money to companies. Instead, they’re merely issuing bonds which will be repaid, never mind what they’re being repaid with.)

His company having received a gift like that, how could Pelton turn down the governor’s request to lead KEEP? Given Kathleen Sebelius’ national political ambitions based on her green environmentalist credentials, how can he be expected to do anything that would ruffle her feathers?

When you combine these factors with the fact that KEEP is being facilitated by The Center for Climate Strategies, Kansans should be very skeptical of the conclusions and recommendations that will emerge from this process.

Kansas Climate Profile: Cause For Alarm?

The Science and Public Policy Institute has released a series of state climate profiles. The Kansas Climate Profile is very interesting to read, especially in light of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius and the creation of the Kansas Energy and Environmental Policy Advisory Group, or (KEEP).

One of the things that I’ve not been able to understand is how people believe that what we do in Kansas — like denying a permit for a coal-fired power plant — can have any impact on the global climate. After all, we are just a small part of the planet, and some large countries show no inclination to slow down their production of increasing quantities of greenhouse gases.

Just how small is the contribution of Kansas to global carbon dioxide emissions? Vanishingly small: “… even a complete cessation of all CO2 emissions in Kansas would be entirely subsumed by rising global emissions in about one month’s time.” So we in Kansas could stop all production of carbon dioxide from all sources, and in one month our sacrifice would be canceled.

Another interesting item from the report is this: “Future projections indicate that Kansas will be less impacted by rising global temperatures — natural or otherwise — than any other state in the country.”

As KEEP conducts its meetings that are directed by a group with a clear ideological bent, will it be exposed to information like this?