American Elephants


The New York Times Continues To Try to Save You from the Horrors of Global Warming. Sigh! by The Elephant's Child
March 5, 2010, 11:59 pm
Filed under: Economy, Energy, Law, Science/Technology | Tags: , , ,

“The Newest Hybrid Model” is the title of a story on the front page of today’s business section of the New York Times.  The article is headed by a dramatic photo of 500 acres of solar panels sitting next to an unimpressive natural gas plant in Indiantown, Fla., owned by Florida Power & Light.

The natural gas plant — which occupies no more than 15 acres — produces 3,800 megawatts of reliable electricity.  The mammoth 500-acre solar array next to it (about 3/4 of a square mile) will produce 75 megawatts of electricity at its maximum — that is, on a hot summer afternoon.  (Fortunately this is the time of peak demand from air-conditioning).

According to the Times:

The solar array…is an experiment in whether conventional power generation can be married with renewable power in a way that lowers costs and spares the environment.

This isn’t quite right. Solar power depends on— the sun.  At night, or when the sky is cloudy, solar power requires backup from a conventional power source.  This plant will dispense with the fiction that solar can stand on its own.  So you have a 500 acre solar array that will add an additional 2 percent generating capacity onto a stand-alone gas plant.  This, the Times claims is a big advance.

The Times enthuses:

The latter is critical if the nation is to succeed in reducing its emissions of carbon dioxide. Power plants account for over a third of domestic greenhouse gas emissions that are responsible for global warming.

Why are they doing this when it economically seems to make no sense?  Some state legislatures have decided, prodded by the greens, that “renewable energy” is the future.  And probably more because they know some other state that is doing it, and they want to seem as “forward thinking” as their neighbors.  There is no such thing as “renewable” energy anyway.

This is not science or technology, but politics and hype. With the collapse of the entire “global warming” agenda, and the exposure of the fraud that backed it, it is time for legislatures to catch up and recognize that wasting this kind of money when state finances are in such troubled territory is beyond foolish.  Most legislatures, however, would rather raise taxes.



Some Politicians Have Not Yet Grasped That Whatever They Say Can Be Captured By You Tube! by The Elephant's Child

Poor Harry Reid.  He keeps making commercials for his opponents in the next election.  Or you could title this “Things I Wish I had Never Said.”

Not getting worse has become the new success.  The national unemployment rate remained constant in February, but employers shed a net 36,000 jobs.

The administration made encouraging noises.  President Obama was visiting an Arlington, VA small business to speak on “clean energy and job creation.” The “severe storms all along the East Coast are estimated to have had a depressing effect on the numbers,” Obama said.   Others said that jobs should have ticked up a little because of all the people hired to deal with the snow.

The President remains convinced that “clean energy” is just the thing, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary.



Utah to US: Give us Back Our Land! by American Elephant
March 5, 2010, 9:01 am
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Politics, The Constitution | Tags: , ,

Lawmakers in Utah, where the federal government owns approximately 70% of the land, are using eminent domain laws to seize their land back from Uncle Sam.

They argue that states never ceded the powers of eminent domain to the federal government, it’s certainly nowhere to be found in the Constitution, and therefore states still retain sovereignty over all the lands within their borders. If that is the case, then the controversial Kelo decision by the Supreme Court should mean that a state can use eminent domain to take land back from the federal government for use for another purpose. The reasoning seems sound to me. Courts will be under tremendous pressure from the left to find otherwise. If states can take back land that the federal government now owns, then prepare for drilling at ANWR for one thing. If they cannot, then what really is the point of having states at all? Delegation? I rather think that’s how the left sees it.

A case we will all undoubtedly be hearing a great deal about in the future.

(h/t Instapundit)



The Science Is Settled, The Politics Are Something Else. by The Elephant's Child

Today the Obama administration — the Department of Energy (DOE), filed to withdraw the application for the geologic repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada that was supposed to begin collecting used fuel in 1998.

The Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 set January 31, 1998, as the deadline for the federal government to begin disposing of  used fuel.  More than a decade since the deadline, the government has not settled on a policy for how to do it.

According to the Heritage Foundation,  President Obama in an Executive Memorandum on March 9, 2009:

Science and the scientific process must inform and guide decisions of my Administration on a wide range of issues, including improvement of public health, protection of the environment, increased efficiency in the use of energy and other resources, mitigation of the threat of climate change, and protection of national security.

The public must be able to trust the science and scientific process informing public policy decisions. Political officials should not suppress or alter scientific or technological findings and conclusions.

Perhaps you have noticed that the public cannot trust the science and scientific process that informs public policy decisions.

Yucca Mountain is the most studied site in the world, for the Nation’s permanent geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. It has been subjected to vigorous debate.  It is the safest site, geologically stable, suitable for 1,000 years.  It is necessary for the safe disposal of more than 55.000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste that is currently stored at over 100 sites in 39 states. The Yucca Mountain site could safely hold 120,000 tons of waste.

The issues involved around opening Yucca Mountain are purely political. The science is quite settled. It is important to pay attention to the science, except when it is inconvenient for, say, the Majority Leader of the Senate.



Sea Ice in the Baltic. by The Elephant's Child
March 5, 2010, 4:19 am
Filed under: Environment, Europe, Junk Science | Tags: , ,

I just found this video of the rescues going on for the ships stranded in the ice of the Baltic Sea, so I’m adding it.  The Baltic incident is due more to gale force winds that compact the ice and make navigation difficult.

Richard North of EU Referendum writes:

Something very similar happened during September 1983 in the Northeast passage, when an unusually early freeze-up and persistent northwesterly winds that drove heavy multi-year ice into Proliv Longa and against the Siberian coast of Chukotka. Dozens of ships were trapped, creating a major emergency which lasted several months, a fascinating account latterly published in the journal Arctic in 1985.

This brings home the salient point that mass shifts in Arctic ice have more to do with wind patterns than they do temperature, something Anthony Watts helpfully confirms in a recent post. As a result, Arctic ice extent is recovering from its 2007 low and is currently within a million square kilometres of normal and increasing as peak coverage approaches.

It is always tempting to view unusual weather events as signs of global warming, or the lack of global warming.  But they’re not.  Global warming (or not) deals with climate, and climate is a statistic.  Weather events are weather which is what is outside when you get up in the morning, or what spoils your picnic, or causes devastation on the Gulf Coast, or snow in the nation’s capital.



Just One More Thing Caused by Global Warming! by The Elephant's Child
March 5, 2010, 4:17 am
Filed under: Europe, Junk Science | Tags: , ,

Here in Seattle we have had a mild winter.  El Nino is to blame.  Elsewhere, Al Gore has visited vast global warming on the world.  Global warming has struck not only with snow in the nation’s capital, but ice on the Baltic Sea.

Around 50 ships, including 6 large ferries reportedly carrying thousands, were stranded in the ice in the Baltic Sea on Thursday, and many were not likely to be freed anytime soon.  They are waiting for help from ice breakers. Two ferries  had been freed.

Two large Viking Line ferries that regularly shuttle thousands of passengers between Sweden and Finland were waiting for help.  The two ferries were the Isabella and the Amorella and were together carrying 2,630 passengers.

We can joke about miserable winter elsewhere as we appreciate the cherry trees in bloom, crocus and daffodils and heather everywhere.  Being stuck in the ice on the Baltic Sea is undoubtedly miserable, and a little frightening.



Some Senators are Finally Catching On, Ever So Slightly. by The Elephant's Child

Well, somebody in Washington finally noticed that more than three-fourths of the $2 billion being spent on wind-energy projects  in the Stimulus bill — The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act — which is supposed to jump-start the American economy and create jobs here is actually going to foreign companies.

Democratic Senators Schumer, Casey, Sherrod Brown and Tester are calling on the Obama administration to stop spending on a renewable energy program  in the stimulus program until rules are in place to assure that the projects use predominately American labor and materials.

Buy American!  Jump-starting the economy and creating jobs in China really wasn’t what the voters had in mind,  but who pays any attention to ordinary citizens?  If they did, they’d forget the whole “green energy” business.  It’s been a failure in Spain, England, Denmark and Germany, but like all Democrat programs, past failures don’t matter because this time it will be different.  Democrats are in charge.




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