American Elephants

Fulfilling Environmentalist Fantasies, by Executive Order. by The Elephant's Child

Kenneth P. Green, a fellow at AEI,  has laid bare the Obama team’s energy strangulation strategy. Rather than rely on science or economics, they just intend to make other sources of energy unavailable.  For the most part they won’t even rely on legislation, but on executive regulation.  Mother Earth, in the crazed view of the greenies, is to be left untouched, pristine.  Resource utilization is considered “rape of the planet.”  And the Obama administration owes big debts to the Environmental Lobby, who financed his election.  Obama pays his debts.

The Obama administration strategy on energy is slowly becoming clearer.  In the interests of so-called “clean energy,” the tactic is to strangle all other sources of energy. The pattern is obvious.

  • To guarantee that coal becomes too expensive to burn, even as Obama pretends to support it, the EPA just suspended permits for mountaintop mining of coal, a move that could affect 200 coal mining operations in the Appalachians.  Job destruction in a depressed area.
  • To ensure that nuclear power does not expand, even as he claims to support it, President Obama is defunding the extensively studied Yucca Mountain Repository. This increases uncertainty about waste disposal and scares off potential investors.
  • To make sure that we do not develop our own oil and natural gas resources, which Obama claims to support, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has voided some leases in Utah and initiated a “review” of other oil and natural gas leases sold under the Bush administration.  Congress is planning to lock away another 2 million square miles of land as “wilderness areas” and many of them are known reserves of oil, natural gas and oil shale.
  • In California there is a pitched battle over plans to build solar power installations in the Mojave desert, highly desired as a source of ‘renewable energy’ by the greenies, and violently opposed by the greenies because it would disturb native wildlife such as desert turtles and would require power lines to carry the electricity to California cities.
  • Then there is the Cape Wind project, where Robert Kennedy Jr., noisy eco-lawyer-gadfly, has opposed any offshore wind that might mess up the view and sailing grounds from the Kennedy compound.  He is all for wind power, as long as it is somewhere else and  not in any place windy.
  • Hydropower dams are the source of the most effective renewable  and clean energy, but are opposed by  environmentalists as interfering with the free flow of rivers that should remain “wild”, and annoying the fish.  More dams are being torn out than are being built.

There has been no significant warming of the planet since 1995, including the year claimed to be the warmest in 1998.  The sun has gone quiet with no sunspots, and the earth has cooled in the last five years, warming and cooling as it has always done.

The natural cycles of warming and cooling suggest that we are in for some seriously cold weather in coming years. The illusion that wind and solar can produce enough power to keep us warm is beyond reason.  And greenies would quickly turn up to protest (and take legal action against) new power grids, extensive solar arrays, or large wind farms.  They want the Earth to be pristine, the new Eden, and will fight to achieve their fantasies.

Protecting the Earth, holy ground, from any exploitation is far more important to them than protecting human health and welfare.  They are using carbon as the boogeyman, though carbon is a colorless, odorless gas that we all exhale when we breathe.  The carbon in the atmosphere is merely a trace gas, and comes from the oceans,  increasing as a result of warming hundreds of years after any increases in warming.  Since it increases after the warming of the atmosphere, it cannot be a cause of warming.

The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is at a low, and for optimum beneficial effect (it is a natural plant fertilizer) we need more of it, not less.

The Dim Bulbs at the EPA Have Plans for You. by The Elephant's Child

A week ago, the New York Times  carried this headline: “Do New Bulbs Save Energy if They Don’t Work?” People are finding out that the new bulbs are a little more complicated than advertised.  In San Francisco, the Zurchers have a box of  Feit  Electric bulbs that didn’t work.  Inspired by “An Inconvenient Truth” they had decided to replace all of their incandescent bulbs with new compact fluorescent.  But not every fixture will take a CFL bulb.  The bulbs were supposed to burn for 10,000 hours.  If screwed into a fixture where heat will build up — the bulbs will burn out quickly.

What happened?  The Energy Department (a government agency) asked manufacturers in 1998 to create cheaper models and then helped find large-volume buyers to buy them.  That jump-started a mass market and eventually led to sales of discounted bulbs at retailers like Costco and Home Depot.

Consumers are supposed to get some protection by buying bulbs certified under the government’s Energy Star program. In 2007-8 tests, five of 29 models failed to meet specifications for such categories as lifespan, luminosity and on-off cycling. The government is expanding the watchdog program, promising to test samples of 20 percent of the thousands of certified bulb models each year.

“Experts and bulb manufacturers say that consumers need to play a role in solving the problems by learning more about the limitations of compact fluorescent bulbs.  The Federal Trade Commission has begun to study whether it should force improvements in the labels of the bulbs.”

You do understand that the government has ordered the phase out of incandescent bulbs in 2014, don’t you? (You didn’t read that provision in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007?) The bulbs don’t do well in recessed ceiling fixtures, or with 3-way sockets or dimmers. You don’t mind replacing most of your lamps and fixtures, I’m sure.  One should be aware that CFLs can take one to three minutes to reach full brightness.  This is normal, not a defect. Although they are supposed to last for 10,000 hours, and save as much as $5.40 a year in electricity costs, some bulbs died within a few hours.

Because all fluorescent contain mercury, a toxic metal, they must never be put in the trash, but must be transported to a certified disposal point.  We received a card from our city government that named the certified disposal points.  Most charged a fee per bulb for disposal, and none accepted regular long fluorescent bulbs except the city waste disposal station which is about five miles away, but so far, free.

Because of the mercury, if you drop one and it breaks, you have to call the hazmat crew to dispose of it — that’s somewhere in the $200-$300 range.

The bulbs are manufactured in China, effectively killing of the domestic industry that made incandescent bulbs which will no longer be available. I seem to remember some pious talk about outsourcing and not allowing any more business being moved offshore.  But that was then, and this is now, and the Nanny Government, as usual, doesn’t think things through, never considers consequences, and doesn’t read the bills they pass anyway.

This joins the list of low flush toilets, low-flow shower heads and other annoyances that they have inflicted on us. With the forthcoming designation from the dim bulbs at the EPA of carbon dioxide (you know, the stuff you exhale) as a pollutant, they will have the authority to regulate — well, practically everything.  And now the government will decide just what kind of cars you may have.   Orwellian doesn’t even begin to describe it.  I hope someone is taking notes.

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