Views and debates on climate change policy
Home | Panelists | Staff Blog | RSS

William O'Keefe
CEO, George C. Marshall Institute

William O'Keefe

William O'Keefe is CEO at the George C. Marshall Institute, a think tank that promotes better use of science in public policy. He is a former COO at the American Petroleum Institute.

Archive: William O'Keefe

Energy policy is beyond EPA's mission

The first thing that Congress should now do is to make its intent clear by legislative action, either by passing Senator Rockefeller's proposal or using the appropriations process to deny EPA funds to regulate CO2.

By William O'Keefe | June 16, 2010; 11:08 AM ET | Comments (6)

Self-serving political scapegoating

The President's Pittsburgh comments suggest that he has prejudged the outcome and determined the solution is to split with oil altogether. That is a shortsighted, knee-jerk reaction.

By William O'Keefe | June 7, 2010; 11:01 AM ET | Comments (0)

Kerry-Lieberman natural gas provision is a loser

This provision is just one more example of the effort to buy support for a bad climate bill and reward special interests with taxpayer dollars.

By William O'Keefe | May 21, 2010; 04:16 PM ET | Comments (1)

Climate proposals fall short

The suggestion that two accidents should generate more support for climate change legislation implies that legislation could reduce risks associated with energy production without damaging our economic wellbeing. Nothing could be further from the truth.

By William O'Keefe | May 11, 2010; 03:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Lower risks, don't eliminate them

Those who want to impose another moratorium are the same people who object to oil imports. They can't have it both ways. Either we produce oil domestically or we import it.

By William O'Keefe | May 5, 2010; 05:22 PM ET | Comments (5)

KGL: "Kill the Good Life"

The outcome may be no climate bill this year. That outcome would be good for the American people because the Senate seems to be wedded to a fatally flawed approach: cap and trade.

By William O'Keefe | April 27, 2010; 10:10 AM ET | Comments (1)

How clean is clean enough?

By any reasonable and objective measure, there has been tremendous environmental progress since the first Earth Day. Though there will always be more that can be done, no one can deny that air and water are much cleaner and exposure to toxins are much less.

By William O'Keefe | April 19, 2010; 09:14 AM ET | Comments (2)

Economic consequences

This is not so much a question of right track or wrong track as it is a question of timing and perspective. At a time when the economy is struggling to recover from the worst recession in at least three decades, the last thing that is needed is imposing higher costs on businesses and consumers and creating greater uncertainty on the part of the private sector.

By William O'Keefe | April 7, 2010; 02:36 PM ET | Comments (2)

Just another political scam

If truth in advertising requirements applied to political slogans and proposals, energy independence would never have survived its first utterance from President Nixon.

By William O'Keefe | March 31, 2010; 06:40 AM ET | Comments (14)

Cost is a challenge to CCS

Carbon capture and sequestration is neither a magic bullet nor hype. It is an option, but only one, in the portfolio of potential actions for reducing emissions

By William O'Keefe | March 25, 2010; 03:57 PM ET | Comments (3)

Economy is too large for offsets

Emission offsets are elegant in theory but ugly in practice. They prove that what is appealing in a scholarly paper might have a lot less appeal and practicality when attempted in practice.

By William O'Keefe | March 19, 2010; 02:20 PM ET | Comments (4)

Understand the context first

The report that methane is bubbling from the Arctic faster than expected will encourage other scientists to undertake additional research to replicate, validate and extend our knowledge and understanding about arctic methane releases and their implications

By William O'Keefe | March 10, 2010; 02:17 PM ET | Comments (7)

Establish decision-making foundation

The discussion of alternatives should begin with a new paradigm. For the past 20 years, the foundation for climate legislation has been projections of an impending catastrophe. What we have seen over that period of time is a climate which has not been a lot different than that existed over comparable periods since the end of the Little Ice Age

By William O'Keefe | March 5, 2010; 09:37 AM ET | Comments (2)

A prescription for an economic disaster

It is a horrible idea and EPA, given the recent comments by Administrator Lisa Jackson, may be coming to the same conclusion. Since greenhouse gas emissions are the byproduct of energy use to fuel economic growth and raise our standard of living, EPA regulation would inevitably involve attempting to regulate and manage the economy.

By William O'Keefe | February 23, 2010; 02:44 PM ET | Comments (6)

Reassess scientific knowledge

Attempting to use the recent snows to bolster assertions that either confirms or undermines the notion of human-caused global warming adds more confusion to the debate and misdirects where we should focus our attention. No small number of weather events are sufficient to draw a conclusion about human influence on the climate system

By William O'Keefe | February 18, 2010; 11:48 AM ET | Comments (4)

Let competition choose energy sources

If private companies are unwilling to risk their capital on new nuclear plants, why should the tax payer take on part of that risk? The answer is we shouldn't.

By William O'Keefe | February 11, 2010; 11:13 AM ET | Comments (15)

Solar and wind can't replace conventional power generation

The notion that so called green technologies can significantly replace fossil energy in a large way is a fiction and pursuing that illusion will only waste more taxpayer dollars. The most recent EIA Outlook document forecasts that by 2035 we...

By William O'Keefe | February 3, 2010; 01:20 PM ET | Comments (17)

Time to put an end to the IPCC

The time has come to close the book on the IPCC and say Rest In Peace. It has become a tool for affirmation of climate orthodoxy instead of a vehicle to assess reality.

By William O'Keefe | January 27, 2010; 07:02 AM ET | Comments (21)

Legislation will likely be delayed

What does the outcome of the Massachusetts Senate election mean for the chances of a climate bill passing the Senate this year? Pundits will be dissecting the Massachusetts "black swan" for weeks, while both parties will spin it to their...

By William O'Keefe | January 21, 2010; 02:10 PM ET | Comments (2)

Look beyond preconceptions

What we are experiencing this winter is weather. The weather on any given day or during any given season doesn't tell a lot about our climate. But, weather over time is our climate and if a pattern persists over time, it can be indicative of a change in climate.

By William O'Keefe | January 13, 2010; 03:06 PM ET | Comments (8)

Supplemental comments on climate science

This is a supplemental posting to respond to comments asserting that my focus on climate models was misleading and disingenuous. Nothing could be further from the truth. Climate models are important because it is their projections of catastrophic warming from...

By William O'Keefe | January 11, 2010; 04:45 PM ET | Comments (0)

Climate science still not clear

The outlook for climate legislation this year is not bright for a number of reasons. Hence, it would be useful and instructive to reassess the basis for the current set of policy proposals, which are based on a climate catastrophe later this century and which if implemented would severely constrain fossil energy use and impose large costs on the economy.

By William O'Keefe | January 5, 2010; 08:45 AM ET | Comments (16)

Surely not the real deal

Developing countries got an empty promise of a lot of money which they probably will never see. Given the governance of many developing countries, whatever money flows their way will probably end up in the pockets of corrupt rulers.

By William O'Keefe | December 23, 2009; 07:18 AM ET | Comments (0)

Cooperation on technology is necessary

This has been a continuing source of tension between rich and poor countries since COP-1 and there has been little progress because the COP process is predicated on an imminent catastrophe instead of a long term challenge that will take a long term perspective to address effectively.

By William O'Keefe | December 15, 2009; 09:03 AM ET | Comments (1)

It's all about priorities

A balanced economic, energy and climate policy based on carbon intensity improvements would more likely be successful than one built on arbitrary reductions that can only be achieved by inflicting more harm on the economy. The Chinese have their priorities right. Congress and President Obama do not.

By William O'Keefe | December 1, 2009; 10:22 AM ET | Comments (0)

Potential impact on public's integreity of science

It would be a mistake in my opinion to address this issue along the lines of the question. It is larger and more important than so called "renowned scientists" and skeptics.

By William O'Keefe | November 24, 2009; 01:24 PM ET | Comments (3)

The consequences of ignoring realities

The politicians who have been pushing for an agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol with a global agreement mandating drastic emission reductions by 2050 -- up to 83 percent -- are the responsible parties, although they will never admit it....

By William O'Keefe | November 16, 2009; 07:30 PM ET | Comments (3)

Climate policy options

There are basically three policy options for dealing with greenhouse gas emissions -- cap and trade, carbon tax, and policies and measures. For the most part, countries that ratified the Kyoto Protocol have tried the cap and trade approach. Sweden...

By William O'Keefe | November 11, 2009; 06:55 AM ET | Comments (0)

How Republicans block legislation is key

What do Republicans have to gain, or lose, from blocking climate change legislation? The answer depends not on whether the Republicans block the cap-and-trade legislation -- which they should -- but how they do it. If they block the...

By William O'Keefe | November 3, 2009; 08:28 AM ET | Comments (5)

Avoid subsidies as incentive

The promise of nuclear energy is like the horizon, it recedes as it is approached. Proposals to move rapidly from fossil energy for electric power generation to low and no carbon power are predicated on a resurgence of the nuclear...

By William O'Keefe | October 28, 2009; 07:55 AM ET | Comments (2)

Offsets create complications

The issue of "offsets" is complicated. In the short run, they can slow the growth in emissions but they are not the equivalent of cutting emissions. And, in the long run, they are likely to create more problems than benefits....

By William O'Keefe | October 21, 2009; 07:10 AM ET | Comments (0)

Operating as Hypotheses

In science, there is always some level of doubt, which is why scientists try to falsify an accepted theory and in doing so advance our understanding and produce new knowledge. Only in climate science is questioning and skepticism not considered...

By William O'Keefe | October 14, 2009; 02:51 PM ET | Comments (30)

Debate, Not a Nobel Prize, Should Impact Agenda

It would be unfortunate if the rationale cited by the Nobel committee in awarding this prestigious prize to President Obama gave increased momentum to his climate agenda. What we need is a more vigorous and open debate on policy options,...

By William O'Keefe | October 10, 2009; 10:19 AM ET | Comments (0)

In Copenhagen, Focus on Realistic Possibilities

President Clinton failed to send the Kyoto Treaty to the Senate for ratification because the Senate had already indicated by a 95-0 vote that it would not approve a treaty that exempted developing countries and which would damage our economy. ...

By William O'Keefe | October 4, 2009; 04:10 PM ET | Comments (0)

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company