American Elephants


The Day of Reckoning Approaches: Drowning In Energy Subsidies by The Elephant's Child

Back in 2008, then candidate Barack Obama claimed in a speech in Golden Colorado, that his planned investments in “green” energy would create “five million new jobs that pay well and can’t ever be outsourced, ” Robert Bryce notes in the Wall Street Journal.  It was all bunk.

President Obama not only does not change his mind, he doesn’t learn from what is going on in the world. In his State of the Union speech, the president claimed credit for his “all of the above” energy policy, not mentioning that he has fought tooth and nail — every bit of energy production except wind and solar. He has attempted through the EPA to shut down the coal industry which provides nearly half of our electricity.

Increasing amounts of natural gas come from fracking by private investors on private land, which is fortunate, for Obama has opposed any drilling on public lands. He is still talking about “carbon pollution”— whatever he thinks that is — carbon dioxide is a natural fertilizer for plants, and as our climate cools will help crops to avoid damage from the cold.

In December, the Center for European Policy Studies, a Brussels-based think tank, reported that European steelmakers are paying twice as much for electricity and four times as much for natural gas as their U.S. competitors. In Denmark, the wind-energy capital of Europe, residential electricity now costs about 41 cents per kilowatt-hour, more than three times the U.S. average rate. Robert Bryce notes:

Proof came last month when both the European Union and the German government announced separately that they were both rolling back aggressive subsidies and mandates for renewable energy. The reason: staggering costs. Spain has racked up some $35 billion in debt—known as the “tariff deficit”—thanks to excessive renewable-energy subsidies. In Germany, renewable-energy subsidies are now costing German consumers and industry about $32 billion a year. The costs have become so onerous that on Jan. 21 Germany’s economy and energy minister Sigmar Gabriel told energy conference attendees in Berlin that his country is risking “dramatic deindustrialization” if it doesn’t reduce energy costs.

It may take 20 years or more for Europe to recover from the waste of their investments in wind and solar.

The American energy landscape has undergone a big change — not thanks to, but in despite the actions of the U.S. government.  U.S. net imports of petroleum have declined from 12.5 million barrels per day in 2005 to 8.6 mbd in 2011. Dependence on imports has dropped from its 60 percent peak in 2005 to 45 percent the level it was back in 1995. This 30 percent reduction in just seven years is equivalent to three times the number of barrels nominally imported from Saudi Arabia. Some of the drop is related to the recession-induced drop in consumption, some to the blend with ethanol. Since 2008, technologies like deep-water drilling, hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling have increased crude oil output by 18 percent.

The idea of “energy independence” has been way oversold. Oil is a commodity. Assume all of the petroleum in the world goes into one big storage tank. Producers pour oil in, consumers take it out. Everybody pays essentially the same price, and the international oil companies determine what happens to the oil once it enters the global market. When the Arab oil-producing countries declared an embargo of the U.S. and selected European countries way back in 1973, there was no real shortage in the U.S. The long gas lines and price hikes had more to do with panicked consumer behavior and the complete bungling of the Federal energy bureaucracy. The Soviet Union has threatened boycotts of European countries, which has been one of the reasons for the ramp-up of wind and solar in the European Union. There has been talk about a crisis that might be caused by a blockage of the Straits of Hormuz. But America is not dependent on the Persian Gulf for its oil supply. Most of U.S. oil imports come from North America. When there is a supply disruption somewhere in the world, it affects everyone.

A huge calculating error in official U.S. government climate data shows beyond a doubt that climate scientists unjustifiably added on a whole degree of phantom warning to the official “raw” temperature record. Skeptics believe the discovery may trigger a real climate scandal in Congress and sound the death knell on American climate policy. Independent data analyst Steven Goddard released his study of the official adjusted U.S. temperature records relied upon by NASA, NOAA, USHCN and scientists around the world to “prove” that our climate has been dangerously warming. Goddard found a startling disparity between the “raw” thermometer readings, as reported by measuring stations, and the “adjusted” temperatures. The adjustments, in effect, turn a 90 year cooling trend into a warming trend.

Patrick Michaels asks in Forbes if the Overselling of Global Warming will lead to a new Scientific Dark Age? We have relied too much on computers to answer questions for which they have no real answer. We have constructed models of the climate which contain way too many assumptions and guesses, and people are beginning to recognize that it is politics that is driving the issue rather than science, that wind and solar aren’t really free, but make expensive energy that is no longer on offer when the subsidies are removed.



The Dumbest New Ban in 2014: Incandescent Light Bulbs. by The Elephant's Child

There has been a lot of talk about low-information voters, but it appears that it is not only voting about which they have little information. Many people are astonished to find that they cannot buy incandescent lightbulbs any more.

The lightbulb ban is pure crony-capitalism. The profit margin on regular incandescent bulbs was slim, and much better with compact fluorescent bulbs or expensive LED bulbs, but people didn’t want them. So the manufacturers joined with green groups to push for tighter lighting standards. More efficient. Save energy. To hell with the free market, consumers will be forced to buy bulbs that offer more profit for GE, Phillips and Sylvania.

If you were unsure about the meaning of “crony-capitalism” there it is. Business, unable to convince consumers to buy their preferred product, turned to the government for regulation that would rig the market in their favor. Is there a need for “more efficient” lighting? What does more efficient mean? It means that it saves energy, and by saving energy they mean emitting less carbon dioxide, which is falsely claimed to be the cause of global warming, which after 17 years of no increases  in warming is becoming a little dubious.

Carbon dioxide is a natural plant fertilizer and makes plants grow — a good thing in a cooling world. People assume that this is a good thing for the environment and will help to save the planet.

Some technologies become obsolete because they are superseded by something better — the free market at work. But this is not the case with lightbulbs. The market did not kill the traditional light bulb. Government did it, at the request of big business. And Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of General Electric became the Obama Administration Job Czar. That worked out well. The new bulbs are made in China.



The Fatally Failed Fallacies of the Obama Administration by The Elephant's Child

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I am constantly fascinated by language, and the extent to which we use it to confuse or elucidate, to sway minds and to get our way. We have terms for three of the things that can go awry:

  • Unintended consequences —nobody knew that if you did this, that would happen. Pretty straightforward. Sometimes one side has warned about the consequences, but the other denied that it would happen.
  • Paradox — A seemingly contradictory statement that may nevertheless be true. Hegel: “We learn from history that we do not learn from history.” To be thoroughly confused, consult Wikipedia’s paradox page.
  • Fallacy — An idea or opinion founded on mistaken logic or perception, a false notion. This is the word that describes the entire Obama administration, and the specific  reason that there has been no real economic recovery.

President Obama made it clear from the first that he believed the Iraq War was a “dumb war,” and the only reason for being in Afghanistan was to “get” Osama bin Laden. When bin Laden was killed, Obama clearly believed that al Qaeda had been defeated, and was “on the run.” This was mistaken logic, and al Qaeda has taken over Fallujah, and is resurgent throughout the Middle East.

President Obama was sure that spending lots of stimulus money on infrastructure would create the jobs that were needed to restore the economy to prosperity. He discovered that “all those shovel-ready jobs weren’t really shovel ready”.

He was determined to kill two birds with one stone and create green jobs while also saving the earth from global warming. There weren’t really any “green jobs,” the installers came from the manufacturers, and they tried to cover up the lack by labeling janitors, bus drivers, garbage men and secretaries in energy installations as “green jobs,” but that didn’t work. Unemployed men were trained for so-called “green jobs” in government jobs programs like installing insulation, but discovered that to be a competitive field in most communities, who didn’t need additional employees. And the globe hasn’t been warming for over 17 years.

It turned out that green energy merely raised the cost of power, was as inclined to pollute as much demonized petroleum. We have Solyndra, and dozens and dozens of other bankrupt green-energy companies. Electric cars caught fire or turned into bricks, or cost so much that only multi-millionaires could afford to buy the federally subsidized cars. The EPA pushed 15% ethanol in gasoline that would destroy many car engines, and ruin small engines like boats or lawnmowers.

The more you look, the more fallacies you find. The Keystone XL pipeline offers 20,000 direct jobs, and thousands of spin-off jobs. Obama announces a new effort to create jobs, yet refuses to approve the project, which annoys our most important trading partner, and may send the energy to China.

Obama announces a pivot to jobs, while his Environmental Protection Agency is churning out regulations that kill jobs. We have had five years of fallacy.We hired a president who had no experience at running anything, no experience in managing anything. The people with whom he surrounds himself in the White House are as new and inexperienced as the president himself. Their ideas are founded on mistaken logic or perception.

Fallacy. They don’t know what they are doing, and while they may mean well, they lack understanding of the consequences of their actions. In today’s news are more studies that show that giving people insurance — Medicaid for the uninsured — actually significantly increases their use of emergency rooms, raising health care costs rather than saving money.

But we knew that. That was the experience of Romney Care in Massachusetts — the health care the Obama administration liked to pretend they were copying. A complete fallacy in itself. As a policy is put into practice, it collapses or fails to work due to it’s own internal misconceptions.



52 Rescued From Ship Stranded in the Ice in Antarctica, No Mention of Climate Change by The Elephant's Child

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The Climate Change activists stranded with their guests on the Russian ship Akademic Shokalskiy in the ice in Antarctic summer, have been rescued by a Chinese helicopter and airlifted to a nearby Australian icebreaker, which had tried and failed to reach the stranded ship. The Russian ship’s twenty-member crew has stayed with the Akademic Shokalskiy, well supplied with food and fuel. Three rescue attempts had failed due to growing levels of sea ice and weather conditions.

The Australasian Antarctic expedition was intended to demonstrate the extent to which sea ice was disappearing due to climate change. They believed the ice was sure to be vanishing, and invited paying passengers to accompany them on their scientific expedition. They had been stranded since Christmas morning.  Forty one stories about the ‘mission’ failed to mention climate change or global warming, or why the ship was there. The fact that there has been no warming for over 17 years is rarely mentioned in the media.

Chris Turney, the expedition’s leader, is a professor of climate change at the University of South Wales.  According to Turney’s personal website the purpose of the expedition was to “discover and communicate the environmental changes taking place in the south.” A global warming mission in the Antarctic summer.

The idea that the earth was warming excessively originated  in computer climate programs, which have been demonstrated over and over to be ineffective at predicting climate. People whose livelihood and career depend on grants for study of  various aspects of global warming are seldom willing to admit that it has all been a fraud  — and the earth is always warming and cooling in long cycles that aren’t yet that  well understood.

Journalists who write on climate and environment belong to the Society of Environmental Journalists. If the panic about an overheating globe is over, what will the journalists write about? And then there’s the politics of climate change. President Obama is still convinced that saving the country from the rise of the oceans, and our fatal dependence on foreign oil requires ever more funding from taxpayers. It’s a very complicated situation, and there are lots of true believers, and lots of people who want to invest in “renewable energy,” and where did you think all those grants come from, anyway?

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ADDENDUM: It appears that the Australian icebreaker which is rescuing the intrepid Antarctic publicity climate change seekers is now stuck in the ice as well as the original ship. This is, however, weather, as is the cold spell blanketing the Eastern states. Very exciting, gives the environmental journalists a lot to write about. Manitoba is colder than Mars. Oops! Got this one wrong. The Chinese rescue helicopter came from a Chinese icebreaker the Xue Long to which the rescued climate activists were transferred. The Xue Long is having trouble with advancing ice, and is attempting to manouever through it but has notified the Australians that they may need help from their icebreaker which has been put on standby.

The idea that the global warming scientists would prove anything by looking at a small section of the ice sheet which covers 4.5 million square miles is — silly. The whole thing does not grow or shrink all at once, some parts grow, some parts shrink, and that string of volcanoes under part of the ice only confuses matters. Weather is sudden chill that creates more ice, climate is averages of what happens over time.

ADDENDUM II: The plot thickens. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has requested help from the United States Coast Guard. We still have one heavy duty just-refurbished ice breaker. The Polar Star left Seattle in early December on one of its primary missions— Operation Deep Freeze — to break a channel through to McMurdo Sound to resupply and refuel the U.S. Antarctic Program’s (USAP) McMurdo Station on Ross Island. They will cut short their planned stop in Sydney to support the AMSA’s request for assistance before moving on to break a channel through to McMurdo.

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Endangered, Threatened, And Extinct Species vs. Bureaucracy. by The Elephant's Child

the utah prairie dog cynomys parvidens is a federally threatened mammal species found only in parts of souther Utah
(davewelling. photoshelter.com)

The Endangered Species Act became law on December 28, 1973, forty years ago.  A law intended to conserve species and habitat has meant recovery for less than 2% of the approximately 2,100 species listed as endangered or threatened, but as an industry for enriching lawyers and environmental activist groups it has been remarkably successful. Benefiting the environment? Not so much.

The law was well intentioned, but was meant to depend on science and data. The bureaucrats in charge have administer the law poorly and ignored provisions designed to promote good science and good sense. In the late 1970s, officials erased the distinction between different levels of endangered species listings. Originally it was only when an animal or plant was labeled “endangered” — on the verge of disappearing — that landowners were hit with heavy regulations, including prohibitions on activities that could “harm” or ‘harass” the species. The Carter administration extended these restrictions to species that are “threatened” — in trouble but not facing extinction.

It is not easy to tell when a species is “endangered.” Wild animals prefer to avoid humans, which makes it hard to count them. And if there is only a small population here, is there another on the other side of the mountain? Animals move in response to food.  Animals have predators. It is very, very complicated.

Polar bears were supposed to be “endangered” but they found enough to call them “threatened,” but those designations were based on flawed predictions of melting Arctic Sea ice. The globe warms and cools in natural cycles and the bears have done fine through both cycles. Emperor penguins were supposed to be heading toward extinction in the Antarctic — again based on predictions of vanishing ice. The predictions have been wrong, the globe has not warmed for over 17 years. In 2009, the Beverly herd of Caribou which numbered over 200,000 a decade previously could not be found. But a more diligent search turned them up right where the aboriginal elders said they would be.

If there is a project that environmental activists don’t like, they will fan out over the land involved, searching for a species that might be useful to delay or halt the project.

In Cedar City, in southwest Utah, Endangered Species Act regulations have given the Utah prairie dog the run of the town since it was listed in 1973. The rabbit-size rodent is now listed as “threatened” even though there now seem to be around 40,000 in the area. Residents cannot take measures to control the population nor even try to relocate the animals to federal property. Federal regulation is not amenable to common sense. Homeowners’ yards are pockmarked, mounds and tunnels on airport property create real hazards on runways and taxiways. At one airport hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent to prevent prairie dog infestation.

Small business owner Bruce Hughes bought a 3.4 acre parcel to develop. “Then the prairie dogs moved in,” making it impossible to use the property productively.”If I killed even one, it would be a $10,000 fine and five years in federal prison. I could rob a convenience store and get off easier.” A lesson in small government where legislation should be made as close to the people concerned as possible.

Many of the most damaging Endangered Species regulations come from federal “biological opinions” issued by U.S. Fish and Wildlife or NOAA staff. Man-made drought in the San Joaquin Valley came from a “biop” that claimed that irrigation harmed a tiny fish, the delta smelt. To protect the smelt, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ordered severe restrictions on water deliveries by government water projects. At the height of the man-made drought, hundreds of thousands of acres went fallow, and unemployment in some communities reached 40%. And with so many acres lying fallow in the great Central Valley breadbasket, the cost of your groceries went up.

If the law is to be retained, its execution needs drastic reform, reliance on poorly informed science needs to stop, and some consideration needs to be paid to the jobs and communities involved. If you are interested, enter “Not Extinct” in the search bar over Bob Hope’s head. Seems that nearly a third of supposedly extinct species aren’t, which is good news indeed.

 



“The Rescue of the Planet Gets Cancelled.” by The Elephant's Child

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The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) has written a blistering criticism of climate activists’ efforts to impose a green authoritarian society over the rest of the world. They  overshot and missed the curve. The introduction reads:

The rescue of the planet gets cancelled. The climate advisory council to the government played high stakes poker. And lost. They failed at tricking their way past democracy.

A new study claims Britain’s climate change initiatives are both “staggeringly costly and excessive.” Britain’s £85 billion bill for climate policies is coming under attack. The Daily Mail has performed the valuable service of exposing the corruption that is rampant among British environmentalists; specifically, global warming alarmists.

The Mail on Sunday today reveals the extraordinary web of political and financial interests creating dozens of eco-millionaires from green levies on household energy bills.

A three-month investigation shows that some of the most outspoken campaigners who demand that consumers pay the colossal price of shifting to renewable energy are also getting rich from their efforts.

Here at home, the media are claiming that the 113th Congress is on track to be “the least productive” on record — as if that is a bad thing. But the Wall street Journal suggests that if gridlock lasts, Congress can still save a bundle by just not acting to extend the 20-year-old wind energy subsidy which provides a taxpayer gift to wind companies of 2.3 cents per kilowatt hour. Congress can accomplish something for taxpayers by doing nothing. Congress is also considering cutting back on the subsidies for corn ethanol. About time.

Greenpeace has tried to get some attention with a video showing a sad, bedraggled Santa telling the kids that Christmas will be cancelled this year because there isn’t enough snow and ice at the North Pole. Unfortunately, there is plenty of ice and snow and it’s growing. It melts in the summer and grows in the winter. And what melting there is in the  Antarctic is because of volcanoes under the ice, not climate.

It is no secret that President Obama’s green energy  ventures have not gone well. But the media has largely ignored the extent of the failure. The problem is widespread. The media notices a bankruptcy, but garner attention only when it happens and it is not linked to past failures. Governments cannot pick winners and losers. It has cost taxpayers billions, and the numbers of failures, the cronyism and the corruption are not getting attention.

I wrote just below about the collapse of China’s green energy economy. Nations worldwide put a lot of hope into wind turbines and solar arrays, but the technologies are beset by the same problems that they have always had. The wind is intermittent. It does not blow at the right speed all the time, and when the wind does not blow, the turbines require backup, 24/7,  from a conventional power plant. Solar arrays depend on the sun shining. Solar energy is diffuse. The sun sinks beneath the horizon at night, and does not power anything on cloudy or rainy days, and also requires 24/7 backup from a conventional power plant. The energy produced is not competitive with the energy from a conventional power plant, it is far more expensive.

Well, cronyism, corruption, help your political friends to get rich, make lots of millionaires. Sooner or later it all comes tumbling down. And it is tumbling down all over the world.

ADDENDUM: I said that Congress is considering cutting back on the subsidies for corn ethanol, which was really a misstatement. They are considering cutting back on the amount of corn ethanol put into gasoline. The subsidies were ended some time ago. The EPA wants 15% ethanol, which is damaging to older cars, and all kinds of smaller engines like leaf blowers lawnmowers, boats — and corn ethanol is not an environmental improvement over plain old gasoline, but just another wrong turn.

The rescue of the planet gets cancelled. The climate advisory council to the government played high stakes poker. And lost. They failed at tricking their way past democracy.” – See more at: http://notrickszone.com/2013/11/30/europe-climate-policy-blows-engine-huge-failure-scientists-failed-tricking-their-way-past-democracy-mood-of-resignation/#sthash.ioPEqtCC.dpuf
The rescue of the planet gets cancelled. The climate advisory council to the government played high stakes poker. And lost. They failed at tricking their way past democracy.” – See more at: http://notrickszone.com/2013/11/30/europe-climate-policy-blows-engine-huge-failure-scientists-failed-tricking-their-way-past-democracy-mood-of-resignation/#sthash.ioPEqtCC.dpuf
The rescue of the planet gets cancelled. The climate advisory council to the government played high stakes poker. And lost. They failed at tricking their way past democracy.” – See more at: http://notrickszone.com/2013/11/30/europe-climate-policy-blows-engine-huge-failure-scientists-failed-tricking-their-way-past-democracy-mood-of-resignation/#sthash.ioPEqtCC.dpuf


China’s Renewables Industry Is Collapsing. by The Elephant's Child

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China has gone in for “renewable energy” in a big way.  Their solar panel industry has gone from nothing to becoming the world’s largest producer in only five years. But the industry has now crashed with with negative profit margins, idle factories and soaring levels of debt.

Suntech, a solar panel manufacturer, has been a national champion which became the world’s largest, filed for bankruptcy in March after it defaulted on payment of $541 million of bonds. The Chinese government is scrambling to clean up the mess by offering tax breaks to all solar companies who acquire or merge with their competitors.

LDK Solar, another leading Chinese producer, was forced to turn to provincial and local government for protection from its creditors. LDK was the brainchild of the local Communist Party Secretary, and received millions of dollars in state subsidies, cheap financing, land and electricity in 2005. The local government is pumping in money to keep it from sinking, but the company has already shed 20,000 of its 30,000 employees and its shares are 98% below their peak.

China’s solar panel sector remains massively overbuilt. Demand for solar panels has been shrinking as governments in the West learn that it was the subsidies that made solar energy attractive.

Wind power is little different. Sinovel — one of the world’s largest wind turbine manufactures — was earning hundreds of millions of dollars in profits in 2010, to millions of dollars of losses that grow by the day. Revenues are a fifth of what they were in 2010. In 2012, 17% of all windmills lay idle, the power they produce too expensive to connect to the grid. In some regions, 50% of all windmills remain unconnected to the grid.

China’s green sector crash is a textbook example of a command and control economy, where “experts” substitute their ideas for the complex supply and demand decisions of a free market. The Chinese state gave Chinese manufacturers near-monopoly powers and almost free money. The Bank of China, one of the largest state-owned commercial banks, says that 21% of its solar loans are in or near default. The average debt ratio is 75.8%.

To save face, China’s central planners have switched from subsidizing suppliers to subsidizing demand by demanding that power producers meet green targets in the domestic market. China can, of course force consumers to buy solar energy, but that doesn’t really solve anything. Chinese power customers would just pay the price in more expensive and less reliable power.



Canada Ranks Lower than Latvia In A Survey of Energy Sustainability? by The Elephant's Child

About those national rankings: A new World Economic Forum (WEF) survey on the world’s “best sustainable energy systems” places energy self-sufficient Canada below Latvia, Costa Rica, Columbia and Romania.  Huh?

The Geneva-based think tank’s latest survey of countries with the most “sustainable energy systems” put Norway as the country with the best energy system in the world. You always have to watch out when they start throwing that “sustainability” word around. It is an ever-so fashionable word, always to be thrown in to any paper deemed to be truly “serious.” And Geneva is always to be considered “serious.”

Canada, our neighbor to the north, producer of one of the world’s largest amounts of crude oil, natural gas, wind, nuclear and hydroelectricity, suddenly finds itself ranked below Latvia, which is almost entirely dependent on Russia for its fossil fuel supply. It had, however, “diversified” enough to warrant a ranking four places above self-sufficient Canada.

“The WEF,” the Financial Post says, “arrived at its befuddling conclusion after ranking countries on economic growth, environmental sustainability and energy security performance, and ‘analysing the complex trade-offs and dependencies that affect country efforts.’”

This report is absurd, of course, but governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have fallen into a pattern of using words that are fashionable but essentially meaningless to show that they are “with it,” to be taken seriously. Call them navy blue pin-striped words, or Rolex words. And “sustainable” is one of the worst. Sustainable means it will last over time, and we clearly have no idea. Tomorrow is unknown.

“Diversity” is more popular in academia than in the energy business, but a way of sneaking in a bunch of unaffordable “alternate energy”systems, beloved by environmentalists, yet only exist with ongoing governmental subsidies. In either case, it is nonsense. In academia it is supposed to be desirable to have students of varying races and ethnicities, but undesirable to have diversity in their thought or politics. All will conform.

Other words that fall into the same general category are “fairness,” (who decides?), “equality,” (how?) “tolerance,”( regarding what?). The words become more meaningless as they are used to excess, and no thought is dedicated to what they really mean in the context where they are used.

Silly report. Canada ranked a paltry 14th, and the United States, soon to become the world’s number one energy producer ranked a distant 37th out of 124 countries.



Goodbye, Atlantic Array. A Stark Warning —Is Anybody Listening? by The Elephant's Child

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The German energy giant RWE just pulled the plug on one of the world’s largest wind parks, the £4 billion Atlantic Array in the Bristol Channel. RWE did so for the stark reason that “the economics do not stack up”. It’s a mantra that well reflects the entire chaotic, incoherent and frankly competing elements at the heart of Europe’s energy policies. 

Big renewable energy projects will always require state intervention and public cash in pursuit of the illusory aims of decarbonization. Private investment and business venture capital, are of sounder mind, and not inclined to take on the monumental risks involved, without the safety net of government guarantees and continuing public subsidies. Often better known as crony capitalism.

A democratic electorate views its key priorities with a combination of skepticism and common sense, particularly when their first priorities, like an improving economy have gone a glimmering. RWE had complained that the government was treating environmental subsidies as a “political football” which is an accurate representation of the ideological differences at the heart of the coalition.

The British Liberal Democrat energy secretariat is philosophically committed to paying for renewable energy, apparently whatever the cost to the end energy user. George Osborne’s Conservative Treasury, on the other hand, is quite aware of the political cost of the consumer’s energy bills. Britain has been dealing with “energy poverty,” for a number of years. But the whole thing goes back to Germany’s panicked knee-jerk reaction to abandon nuclear power in the wake of Fukushima. That led to the early closure of perfectly operational power stations, many owned by RWE. That short-sighted reaction now threatens Germany with a serious power shortage. RWE knew that the Atlantic Array needed more, not less government subsidies, and there is no prospect of that happening. They have embarked on a fast track divestment of their assets, divested itself of part of its UK gas and electricity sector and are outsourcing 1,400 jobs from Europe to India.

This is a stark warning to the rest of the world that renewable energy projects come with a need for constant government subsidy. These projects do not pay for themselves. Australia is drafting legislation to abolish the country’s carbon pricing mechanism to assuage the consumer anger over soaring energy prices. Green Dreams are all very well, but business is business, and the public has had enough of governmental green dreams. Somebody really needs to tell President Obama.



How Global Warming Deniers View the Problem of Global Warming by The Elephant's Child

Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!



Nevermind the Law. Just Go Ahead and Kill the Birds! by The Elephant's Child

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The Justice Department announced a couple of weeks ago that “a subsidiary of Duke Energy has agreed to pay $1 million for killing golden eagles and other federally protected birds at two of the company’s wind projects in Wyoming. The guilty plea was long overdue victory for the rule of law and a sign that green energy might be going out of vogue.”

“As Justice noted in its news release, this is the first time a case has been brought against a wind company for violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The 1918 law makes it a federal crime to kill any bird of more than 1,000 different species. Over the past few decades, federal authorities have brought hundreds of cases against oil and gas companies for killing birds, while the wind industry has enjoyed a de facto exemption. By bringing criminal charges against Duke for killing 14 golden eagles and 149 other protected birds, Justice has ended the legal double standard on enforcement.”

Triumph of hope over Obama priorities. The Obama administration is about to approve a rule that will ensure the death of golden and bald eagles for the next 30 more years. Hundreds of thousands of birds die each year flying into the deadly turbine blades atop the towers of a wind farm. Many wind farms are built in mountain passes where wind is more likely, but that is the birds migrating course as well. The birds that are not chopped up by turbines are often fried by solar arrays.

It gets to be a real problem when you divide everything up into political interest groups, according to how much cash they donate. The Keystone XL Pipeline proved that Greens trump Unions. Unions trump Hispanics, and Hispanics trump Blacks. Where women fit into the priority line, I don’t know, or Gays. The good of the country, or the rule of law, are nowhere to be found. Politics trumps all.

The renewable energy business is also losing its lustre, as the public discovers how expensive “green jobs” are. In January Texas Comptroller Susan Combs reported that each wind related job in Texas, the top wind energy state in the union, cost taxpayers $1.75 million. People are also discovering that they don’t much like wind turbines that ruin scenic countryside, reduce property values and create excessive noise. Chris Clarke of KCET reported that the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, a new solar-thermal project in the Mojave Desert killed 52 birds just in October, killed by the intense heat generated by the project’s mirrors.

The President does not change his mind. If he believed that Infrastructure was the key to economic growth in 2008, he still believes that today. Unfortunately, the world is changing its mind. Global warming is no longer a threat, the climate has been cooling for 17 years, and “alternative energy” is way too expensive, and in light of our new wealth in oil and gas from fracking and shale-oil projects on course to make us the Saudi Arabia of the world, maybe it’s not worth it to kill all those birds so carelessly.

And the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 is just an old law. The President can just wave his hand and say that it doesn’t apply to his administration because he likes wind and solar energy better.



Uh Oh! Executive Order: Prepare the US for the Impact of Climate Change! by The Elephant's Child

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.

 




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