Filed under: China, Communism, Global Warming, Junk Science, Regulation, Science/Technology | Tags: China's Collapsing Green Sector, From Largest Producer to Broke, Solar and Wind Failure
China has gone in for “renewable energy” in a big way. Their solar panel industry has gone from nothing to becoming the world’s largest producer in only five years. But the industry has now crashed with with negative profit margins, idle factories and soaring levels of debt.
Suntech, a solar panel manufacturer, has been a national champion which became the world’s largest, filed for bankruptcy in March after it defaulted on payment of $541 million of bonds. The Chinese government is scrambling to clean up the mess by offering tax breaks to all solar companies who acquire or merge with their competitors.
LDK Solar, another leading Chinese producer, was forced to turn to provincial and local government for protection from its creditors. LDK was the brainchild of the local Communist Party Secretary, and received millions of dollars in state subsidies, cheap financing, land and electricity in 2005. The local government is pumping in money to keep it from sinking, but the company has already shed 20,000 of its 30,000 employees and its shares are 98% below their peak.
China’s solar panel sector remains massively overbuilt. Demand for solar panels has been shrinking as governments in the West learn that it was the subsidies that made solar energy attractive.
Wind power is little different. Sinovel — one of the world’s largest wind turbine manufactures — was earning hundreds of millions of dollars in profits in 2010, to millions of dollars of losses that grow by the day. Revenues are a fifth of what they were in 2010. In 2012, 17% of all windmills lay idle, the power they produce too expensive to connect to the grid. In some regions, 50% of all windmills remain unconnected to the grid.
China’s green sector crash is a textbook example of a command and control economy, where “experts” substitute their ideas for the complex supply and demand decisions of a free market. The Chinese state gave Chinese manufacturers near-monopoly powers and almost free money. The Bank of China, one of the largest state-owned commercial banks, says that 21% of its solar loans are in or near default. The average debt ratio is 75.8%.
To save face, China’s central planners have switched from subsidizing suppliers to subsidizing demand by demanding that power producers meet green targets in the domestic market. China can, of course force consumers to buy solar energy, but that doesn’t really solve anything. Chinese power customers would just pay the price in more expensive and less reliable power.
Filed under: Canada, Capitalism, Economy, Energy, Junk Science, National Security | Tags: Meaningless Words, Pretentionness, World Energy Rankings
About those national rankings: A new World Economic Forum (WEF) survey on the world’s “best sustainable energy systems” places energy self-sufficient Canada below Latvia, Costa Rica, Columbia and Romania. Huh?
The Geneva-based think tank’s latest survey of countries with the most “sustainable energy systems” put Norway as the country with the best energy system in the world. You always have to watch out when they start throwing that “sustainability” word around. It is an ever-so fashionable word, always to be thrown in to any paper deemed to be truly “serious.” And Geneva is always to be considered “serious.”
Canada, our neighbor to the north, producer of one of the world’s largest amounts of crude oil, natural gas, wind, nuclear and hydroelectricity, suddenly finds itself ranked below Latvia, which is almost entirely dependent on Russia for its fossil fuel supply. It had, however, “diversified” enough to warrant a ranking four places above self-sufficient Canada.
“The WEF,” the Financial Post says, “arrived at its befuddling conclusion after ranking countries on economic growth, environmental sustainability and energy security performance, and ‘analysing the complex trade-offs and dependencies that affect country efforts.’”
This report is absurd, of course, but governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have fallen into a pattern of using words that are fashionable but essentially meaningless to show that they are “with it,” to be taken seriously. Call them navy blue pin-striped words, or Rolex words. And “sustainable” is one of the worst. Sustainable means it will last over time, and we clearly have no idea. Tomorrow is unknown.
“Diversity” is more popular in academia than in the energy business, but a way of sneaking in a bunch of unaffordable “alternate energy”systems, beloved by environmentalists, yet only exist with ongoing governmental subsidies. In either case, it is nonsense. In academia it is supposed to be desirable to have students of varying races and ethnicities, but undesirable to have diversity in their thought or politics. All will conform.
Other words that fall into the same general category are “fairness,” (who decides?), “equality,” (how?) “tolerance,”( regarding what?). The words become more meaningless as they are used to excess, and no thought is dedicated to what they really mean in the context where they are used.
Silly report. Canada ranked a paltry 14th, and the United States, soon to become the world’s number one energy producer ranked a distant 37th out of 124 countries.
Filed under: Science/Technology, Economy, Global Warming, Energy, Democrat Corruption, Taxes, Capitalism, Junk Science, Regulation | Tags: Decarbonization Fail, Public Subsidy Forever, End User Energy Cost
The German energy giant RWE just pulled the plug on one of the world’s largest wind parks, the £4 billion Atlantic Array in the Bristol Channel. RWE did so for the stark reason that “the economics do not stack up”. It’s a mantra that well reflects the entire chaotic, incoherent and frankly competing elements at the heart of Europe’s energy policies.
Big renewable energy projects will always require state intervention and public cash in pursuit of the illusory aims of decarbonization. Private investment and business venture capital, are of sounder mind, and not inclined to take on the monumental risks involved, without the safety net of government guarantees and continuing public subsidies. Often better known as crony capitalism.
A democratic electorate views its key priorities with a combination of skepticism and common sense, particularly when their first priorities, like an improving economy have gone a glimmering. RWE had complained that the government was treating environmental subsidies as a “political football” which is an accurate representation of the ideological differences at the heart of the coalition.
The British Liberal Democrat energy secretariat is philosophically committed to paying for renewable energy, apparently whatever the cost to the end energy user. George Osborne’s Conservative Treasury, on the other hand, is quite aware of the political cost of the consumer’s energy bills. Britain has been dealing with “energy poverty,” for a number of years. But the whole thing goes back to Germany’s panicked knee-jerk reaction to abandon nuclear power in the wake of Fukushima. That led to the early closure of perfectly operational power stations, many owned by RWE. That short-sighted reaction now threatens Germany with a serious power shortage. RWE knew that the Atlantic Array needed more, not less government subsidies, and there is no prospect of that happening. They have embarked on a fast track divestment of their assets, divested itself of part of its UK gas and electricity sector and are outsourcing 1,400 jobs from Europe to India.
This is a stark warning to the rest of the world that renewable energy projects come with a need for constant government subsidy. These projects do not pay for themselves. Australia is drafting legislation to abolish the country’s carbon pricing mechanism to assuage the consumer anger over soaring energy prices. Green Dreams are all very well, but business is business, and the public has had enough of governmental green dreams. Somebody really needs to tell President Obama.
Filed under: Economy, Environment, Global Warming, Junk Science, Regulation, Science/Technology | Tags: A Little Humor, Climate Change, The Dreaded Deniers
Filed under: Economy, Energy, Environment, Freedom, Junk Science, Law, Regulation | Tags: Cancelling Inconvenient Laws, Climate Change Is Not the Threat, Does Duke Energy Get Off?
The Justice Department announced a couple of weeks ago that “a subsidiary of Duke Energy has agreed to pay $1 million for killing golden eagles and other federally protected birds at two of the company’s wind projects in Wyoming. The guilty plea was long overdue victory for the rule of law and a sign that green energy might be going out of vogue.”
“As Justice noted in its news release, this if the first time a case has been brought against a wind company for violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The 1918 law makes it a federal crime to kill any bird of more than 1,000 different species. Over the past few decades, federal authorities have brought hundreds of cases against oil and gas companies for killing birds, while the wind industry has enjoyed a de facto exemption. By bringing criminal charges against Duke for killing 14 golden eagles and 149 other protected birds, Justice has ended the legal double standard on enforcement.”
Triumph of hope over Obama priorities. The Obama administration is about to approve a rule that will ensure the death of golden and bald eagles for the next 30 more years. Hundreds of thousands of birds die each year flying into the deadly turbine blades atop the towers of a wind farm. Many wind farms are built in mountain passes where wind is more likely, but that is the birds migrating course as well. The birds that are not chopped up by turbines are often fried by solar arrays.
It gets to be a real problem when you divide everything up into political interest groups, according to how much cash they donate. The Keystone XL Pipeline proved that Greens trump Unions. Unions trump Hispanics, and Hispanics trump Blacks. Where women fit into the priority line, I don’t know, or Gays. The good of the country, or the rule of law, are nowhere to be found. Politics trumps all.
The renewable energy business is also losing its lustre, as the public discovers how expensive “green jobs” are. In January Texas Comptroller Susan Combs reported that each wind related job in Texas, the top wind energy state in the union, cost taxpayers $1.75 million. People are also discovering that they don’t much like wind turbines that ruin scenic countryside, reduce property values and create excessive noise. Chris Clarke of KCET reported that the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, a new solar-thermal project in the Mojave Desert killed 52 birds just in October, killed by the intense heat generated by the project’s mirrors.
The President does not change his mind. If he believed that Infrastructure was the key to economic growth in 2008, he still believe that today. Unfortunately, the world is changing its mind. Global warming is no longer a threat, the climate has been cooling for 17 years, and “alternative energy” is way too expensive, and in light of our new wealth in oil and gas from fracking and shale-oil projects on course to make us the Saudi Arabia of the world, maybe it’s not worth it to kill all those birds so carelessly.
And the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 is just an old law. The President can just wave his hand and say that it doesn’t apply to his administration because he likes wind and solar energy better.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economy, Global Warming, Junk Science | Tags: Developing Resilience?, Federal Busy Work, Growing Government 101
President Obama has just issued an executive order “to prepare the nation for the impacts of climate change by undertaking actions to enhance climate preparedness and resilience.”
“The impacts of climate change — including an increase in prolonged periods of excessively high temperatures, more heavy downpours, an increase in wildfires, more severe droughts, permafrost thawing, ocean acidification, and sea-level rise — are already affecting communities, natural resources, ecosystems, economies, and public health across the Nation. These impacts are often most significant for communities that already face economic or health-related challenges, and for species and habitats that are already facing other pressures. Managing these risks requires deliberate preparation, close cooperation, and coordinated planning by the Federal Government, as well as by stakeholders, to facilitate Federal, State, local, tribal, private-sector, and nonprofit-sector efforts to improve climate preparedness and resilience; help safeguard our economy, infrastructure, environment, and natural resources; and provide for the continuity of executive department and agency (agency) operations, services, and programs,” the order states.
So we have a new interagency Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience and a State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. In other words, massive busy work for bureaucrats at all levels of government. Just what are “climate preparedness” and “resilience” other than meaningless bureaucratese? How do you prepare for climate? Hint: Wind turbines are apt to shut down in really cold weather. Demand for electric power will be higher. Perhaps you don’t want to shut down all those coal-fired plants after all.
We have an agency called FEMA — the Federal Emergency Management Agency whose specific task is emergencies of the hurricane and flood variety and they can’t seem to manage those effectively. Each of the “impacts” of climate change mentioned already have an agency or agencies tasked with studies, works and funds devoted to those “impacts.”
“Managing these risks requires deliberate preparation, close cooperation and coordinated planning by the Federal Government.” No it doesn’t. Global Warming ended in the Twentieth Century when it was finally understood that it was just another fraudulent panic developed to enrich the select.
The new Council and related task forces will generate volumes of reports, studies, and stacks of paperwork that no one will read, that will result in no action other than busy work for more and more government employees. We have a vast history of Councils and Task Forces and Committees, and the few who produce serious, quality work are ignored, thanked for their participation, and sent on their way, while someone in the vast halls of the federal bureaucracy will dream up an idea for another Task force and the growth of government will proceed unabated.
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Global Warming, Junk Science, Liberalism, Politics, Science/Technology | Tags: Pacific Coast Action Plan, Uselessly "Fighting Climat Change", West Coast States
Just as the world is recognizing that “climate change” is something the climate does quite regularly, and the billion dollars a day the world has spent on “fighting climate change” has all gone for naught, the lefty governments of the left coast have joined together to take action on Climate and Energy.
“British Columbia, California, Oregon & Washington Join
Forces to Combat Climate Change.”
The leaders of British Columbia, California, Oregon and Washington signed the Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy yesterday, committing their governments, and a region that represents the world’s fifth largest economy, to a comprehensive and far-reaching strategic alignment to combat climate change and promote clean energy.
Through the Action Plan, the leaders agreed that all four jurisdictions will account for the costs of carbon pollution and that , where appropriate and feasible, link programs to create consistency and predictability across the region of 53 million people. The leaders also committed to adopting and maintaining low-carbon fuel standards in each jurisdiction.
That’s what you get when politicians don’t keep up with the news. Global warming alarmism is over. The IPCC computer programs were wrong. There is no such thing as “carbon pollution.” We are a carbon life form, we exhale CO², Carbon dioxide is a natural plant fertilizer and is greening the planet, helping the world to feed increasing numbers of people.
Adding ethanol to gasoline makes the exhaust dirtier and does not contain as much energy as plain old gasoline. Oddly enough, the only really “clean” energy is nuclear energy, and I didn’t hear any of this bunch advocating more nuclear plants. They’re still bent on a carbon pricing program and “harmonizing their 2050 greenhouse gas emission targets. Sigh.
“California isn’t waiting for the rest of the world before it takes action on climate change,” said Governor Moonbeam. “Today, California, Oregon. Washington and British Columbia are all joining together to reduce green house gases.”
They’re pledging to cooperate with governments and sub-national governments around the world to press for a global agreement on climate change in 2015. Al Gore will be so pleased.
The West Coast is home to many biofuel plants, a large number of very large radical environmental groups, and a lot of wind farms and solar arrays. Lots of blather about clean energy, joining together, our obligation to future generations and the usual sustainable words. As I said in the post below, the world has “invested $1 billion a day to fight global warming — in a world where there has been no warming in this century — none at all for 16 years even while CO² increased benignly, happily greening the planet. And all that money accomplished nothing, nothing at all.
Governors don’t make time to actually get informed on matters environmental. It was an enormous fraudulent fad, and everybody recycled and packaged their goods in recycled packaging. Businesses jumped on the bandwagon in a big way, donating to environmental causes, and planting trees. Governors’ offices across the country were signed up by the Center for Climate Strategies, who approached with an impressive dog-and-pony show, an “offered governors a terrific bargain: You ration energy use and otherwise coerce the public into major lifestyle modifications and we’ll help you inflate your reputation with media attention and praise as a pragmatist.” This was in 2008, when everyone was attempting to burnish their green credentials.
Already too late — warming peaked in 1998.
Filed under: Health Care, Science/Technology | Tags: Get Your Flu Shot, You Don't Want This.
I think I may live after all. Nasty stuff. Get your Flu shot!
My eyebrows have stopped hurting, and the aches and pains seem to respond to Excedrin. Do get a flu shot if you haven’t had one. This stuff can sneak up on you— in the grocery store. the library — who knows? Nobody is polite enough to carry a sign saying “I am contagious.” They sneak up on you all unrecognized.
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Energy, Environment, Junk Science, Politics, Science/Technology | Tags: Climate Alarmism, No Warming in The 21st Century, The UN's IPCC
According the Climate Policy Initiative, the world “invested” $1 billion a day last year to “fight” global warming, which hasn’t been happening for over 16 years.
The World Economic Forum said that wasn’t enough, that we needed $700 billion to tackle climate change, but exactly what we should be doing to wage war on a climate that is no longer warming ? Stop all that carbon dioxide that is getting into the atmosphere? The CO² has been increasing even as the climate cools. It has now reached 400 ppm and is encouraging the greening of the world.
The age of climate alarmism is coming to an end. You many not have noticed that the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a summary of its Fifth Assessment Report late last month — criticized and mocked by many leading climate scientists. The distinguished journal Science even editorialized that this should be the last report issued by the UN body. Ouch. The UN’s IPCC has been the guidebook for governments all over the world, yet few realize that the IPCC doesn’t do science. They even say so on their website.
Given five tries to convince the world that human activity is causing catastrophic warming of the planet, runaway sea-level rise and various weather disasters, the public still doesn’t buy it.
Country people, farmers, who have to be alert to changes in the weather and the climate in their daily lives are far less apt to buy it than city apartment dwellers who may encounter nature on occasional weekends. The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report concedes for the first time that global temperatures have not risen since 1998, despite a 7 percent rise in carbon dioxide.
Nearly all the UN-approved climate computer models were wrong. The attempt to accurately model all of the variables of natural climate in a computer program simply didn’t work. We don’t know enough about climate. And much of what we thought we knew was wrong. The IPCC admits that the “hockey stick” graph it featured in past reports wasn’t accurate. It looked like a hockey stick only because it ignored the Medieval Warm Period when temperatures were much warmer than today, and a period when Greenland was green and wine grapes grew in England.
Reported temperatures from weather stations across the country turned out to be way off, because of faulty placement of the temperature gauges next to air-conditioner outlets and concrete heat-retaining walls.
Despite Europe’s boom in solar and wind energy, CO² emissions haven’t been reduced by even a single gram, and it’s the EU’s own policies that are to blame. Australia had an election to get rid of the government and the hated carbon tax. Governments are beginning to back off. One billion a day should wake a few people up.
The true believers who have a quasi-religious belief in global warming are not going to give up easily. Their religious faith is more political than anything, and that faith is central to their identity. The European Union will pay £165 billion for its current climate policies each and every year for the next 87 years. Britain’s climate policies — subsidizing windmills, wood-burners, anaerobic digesters, electric vehicles and all the rest —is due to cost them £1.8 trillion over the course of this century. That will, they hope, lower the air temperature by about 0.005ºC — which will be undetectable by normal thermometers. The accepted consensus is that every £100 spent fighting climate change will bring £3 of benefits. Perhaps someone could tell Mr. Obama about this.
This winter is expected to be a cold one. We’ll see what the opinions are in the Spring.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Environment, Junk Science, Law, Politics, The United States | Tags: "Connectivity", America's Navigable Waters, EPA Power Grab
Congress passed the Clean Air Act in 1970, and the Clean Water Act in 1972. Who is going to vote against clean air or clean water? The problems arose, as so many problems have, in the Congressional habit of writing broad bills and leaving the details to the concerned agency to develop. In this case the newly formed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) went to work to sort out the particulars, which they have, with a vengeance.
In the 1970s there were problems. Los Angeles was more frequently blanketed with a thick yellow-brown smog than with the few stray days when you could see mountains in the distance. The Cuyahoga River caught on fire. In some places sewers emptied into rivers or lakes. People hadn’t given much thought to the environment as such, for Mother Nature seemed to be taking care of it pretty well. But then Paul Ehrlich wrote The Population Bomb, insisting that mass starvation was just around the Malthusian corner, and Rachel Carson came up with Silent Spring, terrifying everyone of DDT and all pesticides, unfortunately for the millions of children in Africa dying of Malaria.
Zealots are always looking for a place where they can indulge their zealotry, and they seem to have flocked to the EPA. The Agency has something over 17,360 full-time employees (as of 2011), and unsurprisingly during the recent government shutdown, most of them were regarded as non-essential. Tasked to make the air clean and the water clean, they have opted for purity instead, with no understanding that purity is impossible and not desirable anyway.
In the interest of clean air, the agency tried valiantly to regulate farm dust, which no one at the agency seemed to recognize as improbable, as dust is part of the nature of farming. Farms are places with dirt roads, plowed and tilled fields, which is how farming is done.
The Clean Water Act charged the agency with keeping the navigable waters of the United States clean. What Congress probably had in mind was shutting down any sewers emptying improperly and keeping the boats from dumping oil and stopping the Cuyahoga River from catching fire. In many places the water naturally contains some methane. Not harmful to people, but it can catch fire. There was the big arsenic flap where some springs were found to contain arsenic in what were presumed to be dangerous quantities. The EPA made a nationwide regulation determining how every municipality would be required to treat their water to remove any trace of arsenic. Many communities had no arsenic in their water, but the agency demanded expensive water treatment anyway. In the case of safety for humans, many things that are poisonous in large quantities are perfectly safe in small quantities. The rule is always “the dose makes the poison.”
If you have been incensed over low-flow shower heads, blame the EPA for trying to “save” water. If you have been irritated with “high-efficiency” toilets that have to be flushed twice, enormously expensive “high-efficiency” washers and dryers that seem not to get clothes clean, blame the EPA. If you have obediently purchased “Energy Star” appliances only to find that they aren’t saving energy, welcome to the club.
Back in May, 2011, I wrote a post about the “EPA Using Clean Water Act To Seize More Power,” and chose a picture of a small mountain stream to illustrate the EPA’s stretch of the term “navigable waters” to grab more authority. In June of 2012, I wrote another post about their attempt to re-define “navigable waters” to include snow-melt and the run-off after a rainstorm, pictured in the roadside gutter above. The term “Navigable” means that boats can go there. In 2006 a U.S. Supreme Court case from Michigan produced five different opinions and no clear definition of which waterways were covered and which were not. This left the government with a clean slate to write its own interpretation — everything they wanted to regulate.
Now they have done it. The EPA has packed a government advisory board with federal grant recipients so they can regulate virtually every acre in the United States, probably including your back yard, should you annoy them.
The EPA’s proposed rule — the “Water Body Connectivity Report” removes that limiting word “navigable” from “navigable waters of the United States” and replaces it with “connectivity of streams and wetlands to downstream waters” as the test for Clean Water Act regulatory authority. Whoa! Change a few words to add a meaningless science buzzword to grab for power— “connectivity.” They cannot quantify the significance of the runoff from your driveway, or the puddles on the lawn, but if they get away with this, if you annoy the administration, they may come after you for destroying wetlands. Everybody’s yard here becomes a wetland in the winter — this is Seattle.
Anybody remember the Supreme Court case Sackett v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency? A couple in Priest Lake, Idaho bought a small piece of land to build their dream home with a view of the lake, when the EPA descended on them, declaring the lot a “wetland.” The Supreme Court slapped down the EPA, but Zealots are not restrained by mere court rulings. They have been slapped down repeatedly by courts all over the country and it hasn’t slowed them down at all. They tell themselves that they are protecting the health of the people, but they blithely make up statistics to prove that they are doing so. Every rule will be accompanied with numbers deaths from various causes that have been prevented by their rulings.
Fortunately two powerful members of Congress have noticed and demanded in a news release to know why “EPA skirts the Law to Expand Regulatory Authority.” The Chairman of the House Science , Space, and Technology Committee, Lamar Smith of Texas, and Rep Chris Stewart of Utah, chairman of the environment subcommittee have written to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. They accuse the EPA of “pushing through a rule with vast economic and regulatory implications before the agency’s Science Advisory Board has had an opportunity to review the underlying science.”
The EPA says its rule-making will be based on the final version of the Science Advisory Board’s (SAB) scientific assessment. The SAB is paid to verify whether the EPA report is technically accurate. The law requires that the SAB must be free of conflicts of interest, unbiased, and transparent. “Transparent” is not doing too well in this administration. The SAB does not do science. They just review a review. The EPA Office of Research and Development has conducted a scientific literature search, picking useful studies for review by the SAB.
The board is stacked with those who are recipients of EPA grants, government agencies and academia. No industry-friendly scientists were allowed by McCarthy to be on the board, although there were plenty of candidates from important industries. No hard-headed state or local water officials were included, despite nominees from Arizona, Missouri, North Carolina, Wyoming and New York City.
The EPA tries not to leave things to chance. Zealots are not easily restrained.