American Elephants

Pouring Gasoline on the Flames! Michael Ramirez Identifies the Problem. by The Elephant's Child

(click to enlarge)*

I suspect that everywhere you went today, the conversation turned to the price of gas. One of the puzzling things is why the price seems to change (and go up) daily, hourly.  It is because the station owner has to charge a price that reflects how much his next tanker-load of gasoline will cost, so he can pay for it, rather than how much the one he has now cost.  Is the driver of costs the violence in Libya? The insecure state of the Suez Canal? Or is it Obama’s goofy green energy initiatives? If Obama opened up drilling, the price of gas would start to drop. Past history proves it.

The administration’s energy policy is clearly at fault.  In 2035, Obama says, 80 percent of our energy will come from ‘renewable energy sources.”  Not going to happen.

We are told, by people who know him, that Obama does not change his mind.  That his ideas are set in concrete.  IMHO, If that is indeed so, I assume that Obama believes in global warming and the dire necessity of reducing emissions of CO2. He has said that carbon-based sources of energy are dirty and must be replaced.  I think he sees his vision of a Clean, Green 21st Century economy as his coming greatest accomplishment that will make him a world-historic figure. A higher price of oil will force reluctant Americans to buy his electric cars, use more public transportation, and change their behavior to demand the greener world that he envisions.  I wish he’d drop the 21st Century bit.

Not going to happen.  Not because of reluctant Americans, but because these technologies simply do not work.  Perhaps someday there will be a marvelous breakthrough in electric battery technology, but so far there is no such thing, and they are reaching the limits of what conventional technology can do. The problems with wind and solar are not matters of technology but matters of the nature of the source. Wind is unpredictable and intermittent. And for over ten percent of the time it does not blow at all. Solar is too diffuse — night, clouds, rain — to be an efficient way to produce power.

We have plenty of oil, more than Saudi Arabia does. The Bakken formation alone may hold double the amount of oil that Saudi Arabia has. When Obama slapped a moratorium on drilling after the BP disaster, the price began going up. A rise in the price of oil drives all prices up. Everything you buy has transportation costs.

We are a carbon-based life-form. We exhale CO2. CO2 makes the plants of the earth grow and resist drought and cold, and release more oxygen. How did a bunch of green political activists manage to convince gullible people that carbon dioxide is a pollutant? We knew the schools were deficient in teaching math and science, but the proof is doing real world damage. Our schools have a lot to answer for.
*See Michael Ramirez work at Investors. com.


Remarkably Gullible and Malignantly Green! by The Elephant's Child
March 8, 2011, 6:51 pm
Filed under: Politics

When the world of hope and change meets the real world, green dreams slip into nightmares:

— The Telegraph reports that breakfast cereal manufacturers in Britain must stop using recycled cardboard in packaging after a study indicated that current boxes could pose a cancer risk.  Researchers in Switzerland found that mineral oils in printing ink from recycled newspapers used in cardboard can get into foods — even passing through protective plastic bags.  Individual meals would contain only a tiny dose of the chemicals.

— Obama’s regulations of 60 mpg by 2025 will raise the price of a car by an average of $6,400 per vehicle.  The willful random mandates set by Washington’s green zealots would also gut manufacturing jobs, costing an estimated 220,000 auto manufacturing jobs as sales fall.

— Neil Anderson who has owned and operated a passive solar company on Cape Cod for 35 years was proud of the wind turbine that is one of his closest neighbors — until they switched it on.  He is an energy conservationist, but Wind One is 262 feet tall, and the blades extend just shy of 400 feet, about half the height of the John Hancock building in Boston.  The noise, the headaches, the loss of sleep, the ringing in the ears have as many as 50 people complaining. And it is dangerous.

— Roger Penske, the Detroit billionaire who built a truck rental and auto-dealership empire, bailed on his agreement to sell the tiny Daimler Benz Smart car.  Since selling 24,622 units since 2008, sales of Smart For Two have slumped, even as overall U.S. vehicle sales rebounded in 2020, Smart Car sales have plummeted 60 percent.

— Government Motors exciting new Chevy Volt, Obama’s favored and highly subsidized electric hybrid car, with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $40,280, has managed to squeak out sales of only 281 Volts in February.  (That’s after the rebate). But at that, they beat the Nissan Leaf, a pure electric, which sold only 67 cars. GM is making only 1,000 of the cars this year, so demand outweighs available cars. One Florida dealer is asking $65,590 for a Volt.

— You can get the $7,500 federal incentive if you buy a $100,000 Tesla electric car, and California will add another $5000 if you buy a Tesla or Volt.  Of course Tesla got big federal subsidies to make the car in the first place.

A Glimpse of American History by The Elephant's Child

Between 1887 and 1892, John C.H. Grabill sent 188 photographs to the Library of Congress for copyright protection.  Grabill is known as a western photographer, who documented many areas of western life, Native Americans and western landscapes.  Much of his work was centered around Deadwood.  He was particularly known for his photographs in the aftermath of the Wounded Knee Massacre on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

This is a fascinating glimpse of  western history. You could spend hours in this album, or revisit frequently.  Worth all the time you can spare.

Beware the Snake Oil Salesmen! by The Elephant's Child

It’s hard to visualize just how big these things are.  In Europe, and I don’t know the location, adventurous souls are climbing turbines and jumping off with parachutes (parafoils?).

When those who are pushing for more wind farms talk about “capacity” they are talking about the amount of energy that could be produced if the wind was blowing at a constant speed of about 30 mph.

The problem with wind is not the turbines, the problem is the nature of wind. It is intermittent. It blows in puffs and gusts, in gales, zephyrs, breezes, squalls or not at all, and there may be no wind for days. In a gale, the turbines may have to shut down to avoid damage.  Each turbine requires 24/7  backup for the times when the wind does not blow, or does not blow strongly enough, or too strongly.  The usual backup power plant is fired with natural gas, but power plants are not meant to cycle on and off so frequently to compensate for intermittent wind. You can build bigger and better turbines, but it won’t solve the problem of intermittent and unpredictable wind.

Europe has been far ahead of us in falling for the promise of wind energy. They fell for the global warming fraud with a greater degree of panic, and for the promise of “green energy” and “green jobs.” That did not work out well.  Britain, however, had long-standing power plants that needed replacement and were required to be shut down at a certain point. Enthusiasm for green energy and EU imposed greenhouse gas targets have created enormous problems for the British people.

“Electricity consumers in the United Kingdom will need to get used to flicking the switch and finding the power unavailable” according to Steve Holliday, CEO of National Grid, the country’s grid operator. “The grid is going to be a very different system in 2020, 2030.  We keep thinking that we want it to be there and provide power when we need it.  It’s going to be much smarter than that.”

“We are going to change our own behavior and consume it when it is available and available cheaply.”

Holliday says that blackouts may be a feature of power systems that replace reliable coal plants with wind turbines to meet greenhouse gas targets.  Have to do it, but it will mean lifestyle changes.  Maybe they should get the EU to bag the “greenhouse” nonsense, instead.  Britain had a higher number of deaths from the cold this year and more energy poverty.

Under the so-called “smart grid” that the UK is developing, the government-regulated utility will be able to decide when and where power should be delivered, to ensure that it meets the highest social purpose.

The government might decide that the needs of some industries take precedence over others, or that the needs of industry might trump that of residential consumers. Government would also be able to price power prohibitively if it is used for non-essential purposes.  Smart grids are being developed by utilities worldwide to allow the government to control electricity use in the home, down to the individual appliance, and be capable of turning them off if the power is needed elsewhere.

So Britain’s wind farms aren’t having back-up power plants?  I can think of a few objections.  You cannot predict when the wind will blow.  Mr. Dalrymple requires a 3 hour surgery for some major repairs — how do you schedule the operation?  A manufacturing plant has machines that must run all day — processes can’t simply be suddenly halted. Long periods without wind often come during especially cold periods.  It doesn’t matter how “smart” your grid might be if whether or not power is produced at all is completely unpredictable.

We must take Britain seriously. Their long romance with the welfare state provides us with vast evidence of what not to do.  Their National Health Service is a growing disaster, and they are trying to save it with major reform that returns authority to doctors and patients. Their welfare state has created a permanent underclass. And their belief in the fraud of global warming is leading them to another disaster. We must pay attention to the evidence.

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