Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Energy, Environment, Junk Science | Tags: Saving the Planet, The Solyndra Scandal, Wishful Thinking
President Obama came into office trailing a wispy cloud of green dreams — “ the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” The line that Santa Barbara wanted to paint across the city to indicate how much of the city would be underwater has proved to be completely unnecessary, and the planet is just fine. Obama had big ideas of sick things that he was going to fix, you know— the crumbling schools, the crumbling bridges, the crumbling highways, the crumbling infrastructure. Intent on being the savior of the planet, he saved nothing except government jobs, which don’t count since we have to pay for them.
If the planet is dying because of people’s SUVs, then all you have to do is get rid of the carbon that is causing the planet to warm alarmingly. Governments, particularly the wealthy ones, thought that looked like a good deal. They could support free sources of energy like wind and solar, enact taxes on carbon to bring in lots of money — what’s not to like?
It turned out that if you design a wind turbine for a wind speed of 34 mph, they are useless at wind speeds below 22 mph, and extremely dangerous at 44 mph. Wind may be free, but it is not cooperative. It blows in puffs and wafts and gales and more. It needs a full-time backup for the times when it is not blowing at 34 mph. The backup is going to be a coal-fired or natural gas fired power plant, a carbon based plant. It also requires a subsidy of about $23.37 per Mwh, Wind may be free, but all the other stuff required to turn it into electricity and send the electricity onto the grid is definitely not free.
If wind is intermittent, solar energy is diffuse. The sun goes down at night, and clouds are a problem. Solar energy requires a $24.34 subsidy, and without government support, simply goes out of business. Those nasty carbon-based fuels like coal get a subsidy of 44¢ and natural gas gets 25¢, Can you say c-o-s-t e-f-f-e-c-t-i-v-e ?
The driving force has been the idea that there is a consensus among scientists that global warming is about to warm the planet alarmingly. But there was no consensus. The planet has been cooling since 1980 — and the only place it seems to be warming is in the computer programs that the IPCC uses for its reports. Even NASA Scientist James Hansen, the father of the green global warming movement admits that the climate skeptics are winning the battle.
And it turns out that the amount of carbon in the atmosphere — is only about 380 parts per million, that is .038% or 38/1000 of 1% — but water vapor is responsible for about 95% of the greenhouse effect, and CO2 is responsible for maybe 3.5%. Of that 3.5% about 3.5% is human caused, so human contribution to the greenhouse effect is .1225%, and world governments thought that required their interference, and they were going to fix it by buying a lot of windmills. Didn’t work. Not going to work, but it’s a lot easier to go along with the enthusiasm of nice people with their hands out than to do the hard work of studying up and looking at the experience of others.
There is no evidence that we can control climate, and a lot of evidence that we must adapt. To adapt, we need a lot of abundant, reasonably priced energy. Obama’s solar panels, according to one estimate, will take 110 years to pay for themselves. As wind and solar efforts have been proving themselves futile, the administration has been shutting down as much of the abundant reasonably priced energy as they can in the delusion that if they force people into expensive wind and solar, eventually they’ll learn to like it. Those delusions have led them to treat taxpayer money as play money and assume that they can pick winners out of the vast array of losers asking for funding.
The game is up, the sponsored companies have failed or are failing, or need more subsidy. The green jobs have been a myth. The expenditures have been exorbitant. The pattern of failure keeps growing. The American Jobs Bill has failed because they could not round up enough votes from Democrats in the Senate. Which makes Obama’s plan of blaming Republicans for its defeat somewhat less convincing. The dreams have turned into a scandal, growing worse as more facts leak out.
Obama’s out of ideas.