American Elephants

A “Big Idea” is Not Enough. It Has To Pencil Out! by The Elephant's Child

If you can’t get something past the societal watchdogs — because they actually investigate what is involved — well then you just rename it, figure out a slightly different path and choose new and improved words to describe it.  I am referring here to Cap-and-Trade, now so thoroughly denigrated that it is dormant if not dead.

The idea there was that everyone would get a “cap” on the amount of CO2 they could emit, but big emitters could buy rights to emit more from low emitters, and there would be lots of money involved and some selected people would make a bundle. (Al Gore?) They even established a board of exchange in Chicago where rights would be traded, but thankfully that has closed.

The Green Meanies are not going to let their big ideas die without a fight. The new name is “Clean Energy Standard” (CES).  Doesn’t that sound better? Or also “Renewable Energy Standard” (RES). Who can possibly object to clean energy?

Possibly the people who look into such mundane things as costs and benefits would object. And some may even consider whether the underlying assumptions are indeed true,  something else usually ignored by those with big ideas

Are actions by governments to select, promote or mandate particular energy technologies and sources in the national and public interest?

Governments are notoriously bad at picking winner and losers. They have forced spending  of billions of tax dollars and energy consumer dollars in ways that have failed to be commercially viable, and have instead merely driven up the cost of electricity. The president’s proposal for a Clean Energy Standard is an arbitrary one, unsupported by adequate consideration of costs, risks or evidence.

Governmental action to promote the technologies selected by the government have resulted in transferring billions of dollars to developers and owners of high cost energy sources that produce little energy. From 1973 to 2010, DOE and its predecessor agencies have spent over $145 billion of tax dollars, according to energy expert Glenn Schleede,  not counting research and development costs.

In fact, electricity from wind is high in true cost and low in real value, particularly because of its intermittence, volatility, and unreliability.

Countries that have heavily promoted wind energy like Denmark and Germany have some of the world’s highest electricity costs. Neither wind nor solar are either reliable or dependable sources of energy. They must be supplemented by constantly available regular generating capacity from coal or natural gas.

There is, however, an even more basic assumption behind the CES.  William Happer, Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics at Princeton describes it in a new paper:

     [There is] a contemporary moral epidemic: the notion that increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, notably carbon dioxide, will have disastrous consequences for mankind and for the planet. …
We need to be vigilant to keep our land, air and waters free of real pollution, particulates, heavy metals, pathogens, but carbon dioxide (CO2) is not one of these pollutants. Carbon is the stuff of life.  Our bodies are made of carbon.  Every day a normal human exhales around 1 kg of CO2 —the simplest chemical stable molecule of carbon in the earth’s atmosphere.  Before the industrial period, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere was about 270 parts per million (ppm). At the present time, the concentration is about 390 ppm, 0.039% of all atmospheric molecules and less than 1% of that in our breath.  About fifty million years ago, a brief moment in the long history of life on earth, geological evidence indicates, CO2 levels were several thousand ppm, much higher than now.  And life flourished abundantly. …
The argument starts something like this, CO2 levels have increased from about 270 ppm to 390 ppm over the past 150 years or so, and the earth has warmed by about 0.8 C during that time.  Therefore the warming is due to CO2.  But correlation is not causation.  …
A rare case of good correlation between CO2 levels and temperature is provided by ice-core records of the cycles of glacial and interglacial periods of the last million years or so.  But these records show that changes in temperature preceded changes in CO2 levels, so that CO2 levels were an effect of temperature changes.

This is the merest sample of Dr. Happer’s paper — “The Truth About Greenhouse Gases“, and I would urge you to read the whole thing. The amount of taxpayer money, energy costs, regulations, mandates, lost jobs, and inflation  that are due to the misguided effort to restrain CO2 can hardly be tabulated. The sheer waste is beyond belief, and the ineffectiveness of government efforts is painful to see.

With an economy in the tank, we cannot afford the luxury of paying for ever more grants and subsidies and loan guarantees for Obama’s” hope” of a clean green economy that he hopes will create lots of jobs, with no evidence that there are green jobs and a great deal of evidence that the green jobs are the stuff of rainbows and unicorns. We have to do our homework.

What About the Tea Party? Radical? Extremists? by The Elephant's Child

The Democrats are obviously terrified by the Tea Party.  We have Maxine Waters charmingly shouting that the Tea Part can go to hell, and she wants to help them get there.  Democrats have called them “terrorists,” “extortionists,’ “racists,” the real enemy,” yet the movement is one of ordinary citizens who think the federal government should stop creating massive debt, and should rein it in by cutting spending.  I guess to a big-spending liberal, that must seem extremely threatening. If you believe that you get votes by spending money on giving voters goodies, then people who believe in free market capitalism and a government of the people, not of bureaucrats must seem really scary.

Fifty-six percent of the economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics believe that the federal deficit should be reduced primarily or only through spending cuts.  Another 37 percent favored equal parts spending cuts and tax increases and the remaining 7 percent thought it should be done through tax increases. So it would seem that the Tea Party is fairly mainstream after all.

Tea Party people seem to know American history well, have read and studied the Constitution, and to be clear on what the government is allowed to do and what it is not allowed to do.

Here’s Sunny again.  She cracks me up!

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