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: 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.
Filed under: Economy, Environment, Energy, Democrat Corruption, Junk Science | Tags: Arctic Ice, Most Ice Since 2000, True Believers Deny Everything
Headline, BBC, Wednesday, 12 December, 2007: Arctic summers ice-free “by 2013′. The true believers were ready for an expedition rowing to the North Pole to call attention to the perils of global warming. Talk about tempting fate!
They gave up around the end of August., and returned to Greenland.
Severe weather conditions hindered our early progress and now ice chokes the passage ahead. …
Residents of Resolute say 20 years have not seen anything like. Its ice, ice and more ice. Larsen, Peel, Bellot, Regent and Barrow Strait are all choked. …
This has been the coldest season with the most ice since we started Arctic Watch in 2000. Almost no whales. The NW Passage is still blocked with ice. Some of the bays still have not melted.
Did this failure cause any second thoughts? Of course not. “Our message remains unaffected though, bringing awareness to the pressing issues of climate change in the arctic.”
(click to enlarge)
We cannot predict the future. Even the elegant climate models of the IPCC cannot predict the future. Nobody can. We can guess, based on the present, but predictions are a matter of luck. You could, however, expect colder weather since there has been no warming of the climate for the last 16 years — no warming in the 21st century whatsoever. From The Telegraph
There has been a 60 per cent increase in the amount of ocean covered with ice compared to this time last year, they equivalent of almost a million square miles.
In a rebound from 2012′s record low an unbroken ice sheet more than half the size of Europe already stretches from the Canadian islands to Russia’s northern shores, days before the annual re-freeze is even set to begin.
The Northwest Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific has remained blocked by pack-ice all year, forcing some ships to change their routes.
A leaked report to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) seen by the Mail on Sunday, has led some scientists to claim that the world is heading for a period of cooling that will not end until the middle of this century.
We don’t know how long the cooling will continue, nor whether it is the start of a new ice age, and some climate scientists suggest. Climate models are an attempt to reproduce in an elaborate computer program the climate of the Earth. There are some things that we know, without question, and an enormous amount we don’t know, but only speculate about.
The modelers started with what we know for sure, then what we think we know, and then some intelligent guesses, followed by pure fantasy based on nothing except the emotions of the modeller. That’s where we got the panic about the globe overheating, and the oceans rising, and a world to save. And look at what has flowed from that mistake.
Australia has just thrown out the Labour Party, partly because they instituted a nonsensical tax on carbon. Most of the countries of Europe have gone hog-wild with eliminating coal-fired power plants and the thrifty electricity they produced, in favor of solar panels and wind turbines and alternative energy. It was costly, very costly. The green jobs promised did not appear, and the wind — even in the windiest spots — remains intermittent, the turbines break down, and the electricity is expensive. Even in Spain, where Northern Europeans flock for the sun, solar energy has cost their economy dearly.
More important, the CO² in the atmosphere has continued to increase as the climate ceased its warming trend, and the oceans have not risen, the arctic is not melting, and the planet is greening. Carbon dioxide is a natural fertilizer, and the greening of the planet means more food for the needy, and more trees for the tree lovers.
Michael Barone’s latest column asks the question we’ve been asking for years: “If the globe isn’t warming, does that undercut EPA regulation of carbon dioxide?” Of course it does. The supposed consensus (there is no consensus in science) that global warming is a threat was the basis of the Supreme Court’s 2007 ruling in Massachusetts v. EPA requiring EPA to regulate carbon dioxide emissions. The Court ruled that carbon dioxide which is non-poisonous and a necessary element in life, is a pollutant subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act of 1970.
We await the Court’s reversal, but we may have to wait a long time. The warmists are true believers, and will not give up easily. The new Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, actually stood up in a meeting of her department and announced that she “hoped there were no Deniers in her Department.” Not an order, but certainly intimidation of anyone with a differing opinion. In America. This has been a growing trend on the Left for some time, erupting in full force in the Obama administration. They are right, you see, and they do not tolerate dissent.
Will their fervor evaporate or even lessen in the face of a cooling climate, a frozen Arctic? Seas that fail to rise? Nah. Obama said he would stop the rise of the oceans, so there you go.
Filed under: Architecture, Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economy, Environment, Junk Science, Liberalism, Statism | Tags: Dense Cities-No Suburbs, Life As A Sardine, Obama's Self-Agenda
Those of us on the right who have spent time puzzling over the supposed agenda of the Left and the Greens and where they intersect, have run into their idea that cities should become much more dense, with corridors connecting the large cities (think high-speed rail) with lots of environment in between. No suburbs. Where the small towns and the farms go, I’m not sure — they will, I assume still need to eat if all food is not grown in a laboratory.
Whether we sardines still get to go out into the environment for pleasure is questionable. Just what the environment contains is not clear. National Parks without people? Abundant wildlife — unmolested? Certainly no drilling for fossil fuels, that’s already off the agenda. I always considered it the fantasies of the loony left and the green dreamers, but there is evidence that it is not entirely deranged fantasy.
The libertarian Pacific Legal Foundation last week filed a lawsuit against the Obama-supported bureaucrats who have created “Plan Bay Area,” an ambitions blueprint to block the creation of new suburbs and force the next 30 years of development in the nine-county San Francisco metropolitan region into a few hyper-dense Manhattan-style enclaves.
Stanley Kurtz describes the agenda: The bureaucratic name for “this kind of social engineering is TOD, Transit Oriented Development,” short for letting suburban highways deteriorate while squeezing as many apartments and businesses as possible into tiny neighborhoods around subway stations, so people stop using their cars.”
With help from the Obama administration, ambitious plans to impose TOD are about to drop on the Minneapolis–St Paul metropolitan area. The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s new “fair housing’ rule is laying the groundwork for the nationalization of TOD.
The Pacific Legal Foundation’s lawsuit slams TOD as a bunch of “draconian development prescriptions” designed to “micro-manage people’s lifestyle choices.” There is a way forward, Pacific Legal says “without curtailing people’s freedom to live in detached homes in suburban and rural areas with lawns and gardens.
Shall we say that — not everyone’s idea of trying to do the correct thing for the common good — is the same? No, that is far too mild. Do read the whole article . Stanley Kurtz is a serious scholar who has laid out the history, philosophy, and strategy behind Obama’s second-term assault on America’s suburbs in his latest book Spreading the Wealth. An earlier post explains how the plan is advancing in San Francisco. In the Twin Cities, Katherine Kersten, a conservative journalist, writes about the situation in Minneapolis–St. Paul. I guess you file this under “That Sinking Feeling” or”I Can’t Handle One More Thing to Worry About.”
Obama does not like suburbs. He’s a city person. (Nevermind the multimillion dollar residences he chooses for vacations and where he is presently installed). This is the area where the Left goes all haywire. They feel tremendous empathy for the poor and the underclass. They want them to be equal to everyone else, so no one will discriminate, because discrimination is bad. Making them equal involves taking the undeserved wealth of the very rich and big corporations and using it to fix the poor and the underclass. They keep trying different things, and assume that if they can just give them the accoutrements of the middle class, and enough stuff, then their pathology will disappear.
They have had “the War on Poverty,” Welfare, AFDC, Head Start, SNAP, Free Phones, Job Training, raised the minimum wage, Busing, Affirmative Action, taxed the rich, tried a Luxury Tax, given more and more money to the public schools, subsidized student loans, added program after program. Today they are forcing everyone on ObamaCare which will force the people to demand single-payer government health care so we can match Britain’s worst in the world health care. Program on top of program — and there are still poor people and still an underclass. It has been said recently that if you just junked all the poverty programs, you could give each poor family $69.000 a year to get by on, and save money. I can’t vouch for the numbers.
The Welfare to Work program from the Bush administration worked. Women who had never worked held jobs, got paid, moved up, and felt pride and accomplishment in getting off welfare. Welfare may help needy people get by, but it is also demeaning. Temporary help for those in need is one thing; becoming a dependent of the government is quite another. A healthy growing economy offers opportunity for all. Most of the social pathology exhibited by the underclass has its origin in ideas that have filtered down from the intelligentsia. Long-term poverty is caused by a dysfunctional set of values that is continually reinforced by an elite culture searching for victims.
The Obama Agenda does not offer opportunity, nor hope, nor change. Oh, he speaks with focus-group tested words, but Obama’s agenda is a self–agenda, He has lots of programs — the usual ‘infrastructure’ (that aren’t shovel ready) the green jobs, but the high-paying jobs on the Keystone pipeline will have to wait. They have passed out lots of free phones, but the jobs-training programs don’t lead to jobs, and the green jobs don’t exist, And opportunity? There’s not much of that around for anybody.
Filed under: Energy, Environment, Global Warming, Junk Science, Politics, Science/Technology | Tags: "Organizing for Action", Rally for Climate Change, Zero Turnout
The polls have been quite clear. People are concerned about jobs, unemployment, the economy, and a long list of things, Right at the bottom is always climate. In the midst of nationwide concern about administration scandals, the IRS, the NSA surveillance, Obama was out asking the people to care about the climate and saving mother earth.
While the Obamas were enjoying a holiday at Martha’s Vineyard, Organizing for Action, the former Obama campaign group morphed into a nonprofit advocacy group planned a “Climate Change Day of Action Rally“in Washington DC, but it rained in Georgetown and nobody came. Wit an embarrassing zero turnout, the event page disappeared.
There is something particularly amusing when people whose deepest concern is supposedly the climate of the earth, refuse to turn out in a little rain. Perhaps they can fix the climate so all days are equal and we don’t have to worry about going out in the rain, except on government preferred days.
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Energy, Europe, Junk Science, The United States | Tags: Distorting Markets, Germany's Energiewende, Subsidies Don't Work
Country after country in Europe is abandoning, curtailing or reneging on once-generous support for renewable energy. Green dreams are giving way to hard economic realities. In a time of straightened budgets and recession, they are beginning to recognize that their ill conceived projects have been a self-inflicted economic and political debacle.
A study by British public relations consultancy CCGroup analysed 138 articles about renewables published during July last year in the five most widely circulated British national newspapers: The Sun, the Times, The Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and Daily Mirror, which have a combined daily circulation of about 6.5 million.
The study found a number of trends in the reporting of news about renewable energy. The media’s sentiment toward the renewable industry was cold. More than 51 percent of the articles published were negative or very negative toward the industry.
EU member states have spent about €600 billion ($882 billion) on renewable energy projects since 2005, Germany’s green energy transition alone may cost consumers up to €1 trillion by 2030. These billions of Euros are being paid by ordinary families in what is certainly one of the biggest wealth transfers from the poor to the rich in modern European history. Rising energy bills are dampening consumer spending, a poisonous development for a Continent struggling with a severe economic crisis.
Germany has Europe’s most expensive electricity at 26.8 euro cents a kilowatt hour. Angela Merkel has warned that the rapid expansion of green energy is weakening Germany’s competitive advantage in the global economy. More than half the world’s solar panels are installed in Germany, meeting almost 40 percent of the nation’s peak electricity demand. But during many weeks in December and January, Germany’s 1.1 million solar power systems generated almost no electricity. Solar panels just stopped generating, and Germany had to import nuclear energy fro m France and the Czech Republic.
Siemens, one of Germany’s biggest companies is abandoning the industry. They announced in June that they are closing the entire solar division, at a loss of about €1 billion. Last month they fired the chief executive. Interestingly, as I was writing this I was startled to hear a commercial extolling the wonders of solar energy — from Siemens. They’re going to unload their excess stock on us?
One of the unintended consequences of Germany’s Energiewwende has been that preferential treatment for wind and solar has meant that natural gas plants have become unprofitable, and are being mothballed. Governments are not successful in picking winners and losers, Competition and the free market will do a far better job of directing investment. Government subsidies simply suppress the information that the marketplace is trying to send.
Would someone please explain this to President Obama?
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Economy, Energy, Environment, Global Warming, Junk Science | Tags: Big Cost to Taxpayers, Big Profits for Promoters, The Shepherds Flat Wind Farm
Back in 2011, Robert Bryce wrote about America’s Worst Wind-Energy Project.
The more people know about the wind-energy business, the less they like it. And when it comes to lousy wind deals, General Electric’s Shepherds Flat project in northern Oregon is a real stinker….
The majority of the funding for the $1.9 billion, 845-megawatt Shepherds Flat wind project in Oregon is coming courtesy of federal taxpayers. And that largesse will provide a windfall for General Electric and its partners on the deal who include Google, Sumitomo, and Caithness Energy. Not only is the Energy Department giving GE and its partners a $1.06 billion loan guarantee, but as soon as GE’s 338 turbines start turning at Shepherds Flat, the Treasury Department will send the project developers a cash grant of $490 million.
The deal was so lucrative for the project developers that last October, some of Obama’s top advisers…wrote a memo saying that the project’s backers had “little skin in the game” while the government would be providing “a significant subsidy (65+ percent).” The memo goes on to say that, while the project backers would only provide equity equal to about 11 percent of the total cost of the wind project, they would receive an “estimated return on equity of 30 percent.” (emphasis added)
Bryce also quoted the CEO of Duke Energy as saying that wind capacity is growing because energy companies can goose their profits by putting up turbines so they can collect subsidies from taxpayers. One of GE’s partners in the deal said they were pleased about bringing “green energy jobs to our economy.” If you count only the $490 million cash grant for GE when the project is finished the cost of the “green energy” jobs will be about $16.3 million each.
Shepherds Flat is the world’s largest wind farm, about halfway between The Dalles and Pendleton in Oregon, south of the Columbia River. Interestingly, what energy is produced goes not to Oregon, but to Southern California which is always hungry for Northwest power. The Obama administration’s loan guarantee for Solyndra got lots of attention, but Shepherds Flat is an even better example of corporate welfare, and a huge drain on taxpayer funds when the economy is in the tank. The Oregonian newspaper has launched an investigation about the federal Energy Department’s loan-guarantee program and the state of Oregon’s decision to award a total of $30 million to the project — “frosting on a multilayered cake of federal, state and local subsidies.” Reporter Ted Sickinger said “Its developers gorged themselves on hundreds of millions of dollars from taxpayers, and government officials were well aware it was over-subsidized.”
Oregon is oversupplied with green activists, so the Shepherds Flat project added luster to Oregon’s green ambitions. Sickinger added “Though its renewable energy credits flow to California, it generates lots of clean power. Politicians can point to property taxes and community service fees for rural counties, big lease payments for a handful of landowners and 45 permanent jobs.”
The Oregon Department of Energy ignored its own rules, legislators’ intent and taxpayers’ interest in reaffirming its decision to define Shepherds Flat wind farm as three separate facilities and provide its owners three separate $10 million tax credits.
So there you go. They brag about the wonders of clean, green energy, yet when you peel back the covers, it’s pretty slimy underneath.