The EPA's Ambitious Regulatory Agenda

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 08 Nov 2010 13:30:00 GMT

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is engaged in a series of rule-making proceedings of extraordinary scope and ambition—going well beyond its efforts to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. All major EPA decisions are contentious, but the current flurry of regulatory initiatives raises unusually serious issues of costs and benefits, feasibility, methodology, and agency discretion. This event will begin with a presentation on air-quality trends followed by panel presentations and discussions on current rule-making proceedings and underlying issues of science, economics, and risk assessment.


8:15 a.m.

Registration and Breakfast




Presentation: Trends in Air Quality—1970, Today, and Tomorrow


Panel I: EPA’s Rule-Making Surge

  • PAUL R. NOE, American Forest & Paper Association “The Challenge of Boiler MACT and the Cumulative Air Regulatory Burden”
  • ARTHUR FRAAS, Resources for the Future “Banking on Permits: A Risky Business”
  • JEFFREY R. HOLMSTEAD, Bracewell & Giuliani “The Clean Air Act and the Rule of Law”





Panel II: Science and Economics in EPA Rule-Making

  • RICHARD A. BECKER, American Chemistry Council “The Blurred Lines between Science and Policy”
  • RICHARD B. BELZER, Regulatory Checkbook and Neutral Source “Empirical Analysis of EPA Compliance with the Information Quality Act”
  • JANE LUXTON, Pepper Hamilton LLP “Polarization on Science Issues in EPA Risk Assessment”
  • BRIAN F. MANNIX, Buckland Mill Associates “Whose Telescope is Defective? The Role of Discount-Rate Arbitrage in Energy and Climate Policy”
  • SUSAN E. DUDLEY, The George Washington University

Wohlstetter Conference Center, Twelfth Floor, AEI 1150 Seventeenth Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036

Climate Policy: Public Perception, Science, and the Political Landscape

Posted by Brad Johnson Fri, 12 Mar 2010 16:30:00 GMT

This briefing will explore public perceptions of climate change, scientific understanding, and the current political landscape. Our goal is to identify areas where these three perspectives reinforce each other and where they diverge in order to: 1) better understand the challenges and opportunities policy-makers face, 2) identify remaining needs that, if met, could help society most effectively manage risks, and 3) explore opportunities to improve communication among policy-makers, scientists, and the public.

  • Norman J. Ornstein, Ph.D. Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Michael Oppenheimer, Ph.D. Albert G. Milbank Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs, Department of Geosciences and Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University
  • Jon A. Krosnick, Ph.D. Frederic O. Glover Professor in Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of Communication, Stanford University
  • Paul Higgins, Ph.D. Senior Policy Fellow, American Meteorological Society


Norman Ornstein is a long-time observer of Congress and politics. He writes a weekly column for Roll Call and is an election analyst for CBS News. He serves as codirector of the AEI-Brookings Election Reform Project and participates in AEI’s Election Watch series. He also serves as a senior counselor to the Continuity of Government Commission. Mr. Ornstein led a working group of scholars and practitioners that helped shape the law, known as McCain-Feingold, that reformed the campaign financing system. He was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004. His many books include The Permanent Campaign and Its Future (AEI Press, 2000); the coauthored The Broken Branch: How Congress is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track (Oxford University Press, 2006); and, most recently, Vital Statistics on Congress 2008 (Brookings Institution Press, 2008), also coauthored.

Michael Oppenheimer is the Albert G. Milbank Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs at Princeton University. He is also the Director of the Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy (STEP) at the Woodrow Wilson School. He joined the Princeton faculty in 2002 after more than two decades with the Environmental Defense Fund, a non-governmental environmental organization, where he served as chief scientist and manager of the Climate and Air Program. Oppenheimer is a long-time participant in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, serving most recently as a lead author of the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report and is now a coordinating lead author of an upcoming IPCC Special Report covering climate extremes and disasters. He serves on the US National Academies Board on Energy and Environmental Systems. He is also a science advisor to the Environmental Defense Fund. His interests include science and policy of the atmosphere, particularly climate change and its impacts. Much of his research aims to understand the potential for “dangerous” outcomes of increasing levels of greenhouse gases by exploring the effects of global warming on ecosystems such as coral reefs, on the ice sheets and sea level, and on patterns of human migration. Oppenheimer is the author of more than 100 articles published in professional journals and is co-author (with Robert H. Boyle) of a 1990 book, Dead Heat: The Race Against The Greenhouse Effect. He received his Ph.D. in chemical physics from the University of Chicago.

Jon A. Krosnick is Frederic O. Glover Professor in Humanities and Social Sciences and professor of communication, political science, and psychology at Stanford University.

A leading international authority on questionnaire design and survey research methods, Professor Krosnick has taught courses for professionals on survey methods for 25 years around the world and has served as a methodology consultant to government agencies, commercial firms, and academic scholars. His books include “Introduction to Survey Research, Polling, and Data Analysis” and “The Handbook of Questionnaire Design” (forthcoming, Oxford University Press), which reviews 100 years of research on how different ways of asking questions can yield different answers from survey respondents and on how to design questions to measure most accurately. His recent research has focused on how other aspects of survey methodology (e.g., collecting data by interviewing face-to-face vs. by telephone or on paper questionnaires) can be optimized to maximize accuracy.

Dr. Krosnick is also a world-recognized expert on the psychology of attitudes, especially in the area of politics. He is co-principal investigator of the American National Election Study, the nation’s preeminent academic research project exploring voter decision-making and political campaign effects. For 30 years, Dr. Krosnick has studied how the American public’s political attitudes are formed, change, and shape thinking and action. His publication explore the causes of people decisions about whether to vote, for whom to vote, whether to approve of the President’s performance, whether to take action to influence government policy-making on a specific issue, and much more.

Dr. Krosnick’s scholarship has been recognized with the Phillip Brickman Memorial Prize, the Pi Sigma Alpha Award, the Erik Erikson Early Career Award for Excellence and Creativity, a fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and membership as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

As an expert witness in court, he has testified evaluating the quality of surveys presented as evidence by opposing counsel and has conducted original survey research to inform courts in cases involving unreimbursed expenses, uncompensated overtime work, exempt/non-exempt misclassification, patent/trademark violation, health effects of accidents, consequences of being misinformed about the results of standardized academic tests, economic valuation of environmental damage, change of venue motions, and other topics.

At Stanford, Dr. Krosnick directs the Political Psychology Research Group (PPRG). PPRG is a cross-disciplinary team of scholars who conduct empirical studies of the psychology of political behavior and studies seeking to optimize research methodology for studying political psychology. The group’s studies employ a wide range of research methods, including surveys, experiments, and content analysis, and the group often conducts collaborative research studies with leading news media organizations, including ABC News, The Associated Press, the Washington Post, and Time Magazine. Support for the group’s work has come from U.S. Government agencies (e.g., the National Science Foundation, the Bureau of Labor Statistics), private foundations (e.g., the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation), and Institutes at Stanford (e.g., the Woods Institute for the Environment). Dr. Krosnick also directs the Summer Institute in Political Psychology, an annual event that brings 60 students and professions from around the world to Stanford for intensive training in political psychology theory and methods.

In his spare time, Dr. Krosnick plays drums with a contemporary jazz group called Charged Particles that has released two CD’s internationally and tours across the U.S. and abroad (

ExxonMobil Continues Funding Global Warming Denial Groups Despite Repeated Pledges to Stop

Posted by Wonk Room Fri, 03 Jul 2009 13:22:00 GMT

From the Wonk Room.

exxonFrom 1998 to 2005, ExxonMobil directed almost $16 million to a group of 43 lobby groups in an effort to confuse Americans about global warming. After being criticized by the Royal Society in 2006, Exxon promised to end funding to groups questioning climate change. In May 2008, Exxon again issued a public mea culpa and pledged to cut funding to groups that “divert attention” from the need to develop and invest in clean energy. Yet, in 2008, while cutting contributions to the most extreme groups, Exxon still funded the National Center for Policy Analysis, the Heritage Foundation, and the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, all groups which publicly question or deny global warming:

Company records for 2008 show that ExxonMobil gave $75,000 (£45,500) to the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) in Dallas, Texas and $50,000 (£30,551) to the Heritage Foundation in Washington. It also gave $245,000 (£149,702) to the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research in Washington. The list of donations in the company’s 2008 Worldwide Contributions and Community investments is likely to trigger further anger from environmental activists, who have accused ExxonMobil of giving tens of millions to climate change sceptics in the past decade.

Exxon’s continued duplicity should come as no surprise. Just as ExxonMobil makes public promises to end funding to groups that work to deny climate change, it also has devoted millions to ad campaigns touting clean energy without actually investing significantly in renewable energy. In 2007, Exxon-Mobil spent $100 million on advertising and “green-washing” campaigns in an attempt to exaggerate their commitment to renewable energy, producing ads that focused on global warming, efficiency, and alternative energy. That’s despite the fact that ExxonMobil spent more on CEO Rex Tillerson’s salary than on renewable energy in 2007. While Tillerson took in $21.7 million, Exxon invested only $10 million or so in renewable energy – just a tenth of the amount they spent talking about investing in clean energy.

Exxon is staffed by and supports those who deny the most basic facts of climate change and global warming. In June 2005, White House official Philip Cooney had to resign from Bush’s Council on Environmental Quality after being caught altering documents to hide links between fossil fuels and global warming. ExxonMobil waited only three days to hire him. In fact, ExxonMobil didn’t admit that global warming is occurring until 2007.

This latest evidence of Exxon’s continued opposition to clean energy comes less than a month after the American Petroleum Institute released a report revealing just how little the top Big Oil companies invest in renewable energy.