American Elephants

When Does Government Overreach Go Too Far? by The Elephant's Child

Most people know (I hope) that the federal government has determined to phase out incandescent lightbulbs beginning in 2012.  What you may not know is that the major light-bulb makers — Sylvania, GE and Phillips — essentially wrote the legislation.

CFL bulbs are manufactured in China, where environmental and regulatory burdens are not so strict, and companies don’t have to pay for health care and benefits. And there were other benefits that favored the companies.

GE gets environmental brownie points for selling “clean” light bulbs, and they get to charge more for their bulbs.  The companies are planning to make high-efficiency incandescent bulbs, but they won’t be manufactured in the GE plants in Winchester VA, or in Ohio  or Kentucky, where some 400 people have lost their jobs in closed plants.

There is enormous innovation going on in incandescent bulbs. Phillips has bulbs ($5 each) on the market, and there are all sorts of developments in the labs, but not yet in mass production.  There’s a big difference between a $5 bulb and a 25¢ incandescent.

The green energy thing is very confusing. The federal government has no business telling us what kind of light bulbs we may use. We can only guess at the backroom deals.  Obama’s 2010 budget expected a lot of income from cap-and-trade, to help balance the budget spending,  but the American people have not been cooperative.

They hate CFL bulbs. After pressure from the government, from utilities urging us to save all sorts of money by using the nasty little twisty lightbulbs, over 90 percent of light sockets are estimated to be holding incandescent bulbs. People are hoarding incandescent bulbs.  Americans are deeply opposed to cap-and-trade, very resistant to higher energy prices, and becoming increasingly resistant to politicians who are trying to push global warming alarmism.

If you assume that modern greens are logical and reasonable people who are working in good faith to clean up the planet so as to make a better life for their fellow human beings — in short, are altruistic as the word is generally understood — then much of what they do simply makes no sense.

For example, they are adamantly opposed to nuclear energy and hydroelectric dams., both of which are clean as can be.  Our assumptions must be incorrect. They seem to want us to stop using energy altogether.  Surely that cannot be true.

But the enlightened folks in Washington DC continue to believe that the ideal world of their dreams can be brought about if we just put enough enlightened people into government to regulate us ordinary Americans  into being unable to do anything annoying.

Another Billion Dollar Blunder. by The Elephant's Child
August 15, 2010, 6:55 pm
Filed under: Energy, Junk Science, Law, Taxes | Tags: ,

The Obama Administration has awarded $1 billion on August 5th for a Carbon Capture and Storage Network in Illinois.  The project was an earmark in the stimulus.

Today’s announcement will help ensure the US remains competitive in a carbon constrained economy, creating  jobs while reducing greenhouse gas pollution.  This investment in the world’s first, commercial-scale, oxy-combustion power plant will help to open up the over $300 billion market for coal unit repowering and position the country as a leader in an important part of the global clean energy economy.

The funding is to go to a power plant in a small Illinois town, a project whose longtime backers include a group of powerful lawmakers from the state, among them President Obama.  According to a press release from the Department of Energy, the one billion dollar earmark is to build FutureGen 2.0, a clean coal repowering program and carbon dioxide (CO2) storage network.

FutureGen 1.0 was called “YesterGen” because it had little scientific value.  They have revamped the project and now taxpayers are being forced to add another $1 billion to our debt for a dubious project that will only delay economic recovery.

The Energy Dept rolled out a revamped version, and scrapped plans for building FutureGen from the ground up in Mattoon, where officials welcomed the jobs that would come with the project.   Now they will retrofit an idled power plant in Meredosia, while  moving the trapped CO2 via a new pipeline system to an underground storage site in Mattoon.  Mattoon said no thanks, if they’re not getting lots of jobs out of the deal, they’re not interested.

There is an enormous amount of taxpayer money being invested by the federal government in preventing a global warming that is increasingly believed to be simply a natural phenomenon.  The problem is CO2.  Is it a “dangerous pollutant” or the elixir of life?  Dr, Roy Spencer says, in his new book The Great Global Warming Blunder, (which I heartily recommend) that:

Carbon dioxide is necessary for photosynthesis, and thus for life on Earth.  For something with such a crucial role, carbon dioxide has a surprisingly small concentration in the atmosphere: only 39 out of ever 100,000 molecules of air are CO2.  And humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions are so minuscule that it will take five full years of global fossil fuel burning to increase that concentration to 40 out of 100,000 molecules. …

That CO2 is a greenhouse gas is known beyond any reasonable doubt; and that more of it in the atmosphere should cause some amount of warming is, in my opinion, likely.  Gut the question we should be asking is, so what? How significant is our contribution to climate change compared with other, natural sources?  In fact, why do we consider all other sources of climate change to be natural, but ours as “unnatural?” All other forms of life no doubt have some small impact on climate, so why not humans? As I have previously asked, if the presence of trees can change the climate system, why not the presence of people? Why do some environmentalists insist on giving greater rights to trees than to humans?  The issue is not one of science but of religion.

The religion involves an Earth that was unchanging and pristine before humans came along.  The Earth was supposedly in a state of perpetual balance and harmony and now human pollution has upset that balance.  A remarkable amount of governmental nonsense flows from that religious belief.

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