The Relief Report ®


A newsletter covering regulatory reform efforts in Washington and across America, published by The National Center for Public Policy Research

501 Capitol Court, N.E.
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Issue #96 * June 19, 2001 * David A. Ridenour, Editor

Contents:

Energy Crisis Spreads: Aluminum Industry Faces Shutdown, Layoffs Due to Electricity Shortage

New Study Says the Earth May Self-Regulate Its Temperature

New E-Mail Publication Summarizes Breaking Environmental News in Ten Seconds or Less

 

Energy Crisis Spreads: Aluminum Industry Faces Shutdown, Layoffs Due to Electricity Shortage

A federal agency wants to throw 30,000 people out of work and sacrifice a $4.4 billion industry.

At issue: electricity. Or, rather, the lack of it.

In a case that puts the lie to critics who say President Bush is wrong to say we face an "energy crisis," the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), which provides electrical power to the Pacific Northwest, has decided to stop selling electricity to that region's aluminum industry, effective October 1.

The decision, which the BPA defends because energy demand exceeds supply, would mean an end to 7,500 aluminum and 23,000 related jobs.

It also confirms that the California electricity crisis will hit other states.

The BPA overpromised electricity to customers. The agency now faces the option of refusing to sell energy to certain customers or to spread the pain among all customers equally. It has chosen the former.

If its decision stands, it will put a sudden end to the region's extensive, sixty-year-old aluminum industry.

BPA officials say they'll allow the aluminum smelters to restart in two years. But industry officials say it is not a simple matter to close and restart. Companies will incur huge costs during shutdown from maintenance, utilities, debt service, insurance, taxes, environmental upkeep and more. Severe disruptions will occur in relationships with suppliers. Workers will leave the industry and sometimes the region, leaving a shortage of skilled employees.

Some believe all this is for the greater good. The Seattle Times says the industry's death will keep wholesale energy price increases at 38% over a five-year period as opposed to 91%, and keeping the aluminum jobs represents an unfair "tax" on the region.

Perhaps they should consider how taxing it is to pull the plug on the livelihood of so many workers and communities.

(For more information, see National Policy Analysis #338 "Energy Crisis Spreads: Aluminum Industry Faces Shutdown, Layoffs Due to Electricity Shortage" at http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA338.html.)

 

New Study Says the Earth May Self-Regulate Its Temperature

Science has not exactly been kind to proponents of the theory that mankind is causing global warming. It seems that not a month goes by without another scientific study casting doubts on the theory.

Just recently, a team of scientists led by Dr. Richard Lindzen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology published a paper in which they theorize that there could be a natural "vent" in the Earth's atmosphere that releases heat into space. The authors say that, if true, the existence of a de facto atmospheric thermostat that helps keep the Earth's temperature on an even keel would require global warming theorists to significantly scale back their predictions of warming allegedly caused by the buildup of greenhouse gases.

The study was published in the March 2001 issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. It examines how thin, high cirrus clouds help to regulate global temperature - and serve as a counter to global warming. In short, the study says that cirrus clouds operate much as the "iris" of an eye regulates the admission of light. The clouds open in response to rising surface temperature, permitting cooling. The clouds close when the surface temperature cools to retain heat.

The study's authors say these findings require climate modelers to scale back by as much as two-thirds the projected warming that would result from a doubling of carbon dioxide.

Lindzen says that the study's results as well as scientific evidence on other natural climate processes should give global warming theorists considerable pause before recommending economically-drastic measures to combat the unproven man-made warming threat.

Speaking bluntly, Lindzen says that, in view of the paucity of evidence for human-driven climate change, "the Kyoto Treaty is absurd."

(For more information, see National Policy Analysis #336, "Natural Heat Vent May Counter Global Warming" at http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA336.html.)

 

New E-Mail Publication Summarizes Breaking Environmental News in Ten Seconds or Less

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If you want more detail, it also supplies a second analysis that will take you less than thirty seconds to read.

And for the people with literally minutes to spare, the final section supplies more detail and advice and links for still more information.

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For a free e-mail subscription, send a blank e-mail to [email protected].*



Editorial correspondence to The Relief Report should be directed to: The National Center for Public Policy Research * 501 Capitol Court, N.E. * Washington, D.C. 20002 * (202) 543-4110 * Fax (202) 543-5975 * E-mail [email protected] * Web http://www.nationalcenter.org. Copyright 2001, The National Center for Public Policy Research. Coverage of meetings, activities or statements in the Relief Report does not imply endorsement by The National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints of material in the Relief Report permitted provided source is credited. To receive all National Center newsletters free by e-mail, visit http://www.nationalcenter.org or send an e-mail to: mailing [email protected].


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