American Elephants

Sarah Palin Get Your Gun, Cus Polar Bear is IN, Baby! by American Elephant
March 11, 2010, 7:55 am
Filed under: Environment, Pop Culture | Tags: , , ,

Yes, that’s a real iceberg. Or part of one. Lagerfeld had it shipped in from Sweden for Chanel’s ready to wear show (undoubtedly at outrageous expense, creating a titanic carbon footprint) where it dutifully and fabulously melted to the patter of fashionably enthusiastic, eco-friendly golf-claps. Supermodels splashayed the arctic catwalk apparently wearing the polar bears from Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth and the slaughtered remains of half the population of Endor.

The only message one could possibly draw from such a display is that if global warming is killing the polar bears anyway (it’s not), we might as well wear their carcasses.

Either that or “climate change” has just about jumped the shark.

Green Jobs, The Last Redoubt of the True Believers. They Remain Uninterested in the Evidence. by The Elephant's Child
February 21, 2010, 5:06 pm
Filed under: Economy, Energy, Environment, Junk Science | Tags: , ,

Donald Hertzmark of Master Resource does a little math experiment.  In the interests of green tech, and what it can do for the U.S. economy, he chose a number at random: $287.4 billion dollars.

What can you do with $287.4 billion?  Well, in green tech you can construct about 136.9 GW of wind generation.  At an average plant factor of 25% this will yield about 299.7 billion kWh per year.

Is There Any Other Way to Generate 300 billion kWh/year in the USA?

Actually, there is.  If you took 2 trillion ft3/year of gas from shale deposits, put that gas into 45.6 GW of CCGT units operating at 75% plant factors, then voilà, your 299.7 billion kWh would appear.  To produce 2 trillion ft3 of gas from shale annually you need about $85 billion (present value) in fixed investment and production costs over 20 years.  You also need to build the CCGT plants, for say, $38.8 billion.

So the “bad” future, the one that produces reliable and clean electricity from natural gas (domestic US gas, no laughing Russians I bet), will cost about $123.4 billion, or 43% what the windy future costs.  And the terrible thing about it, from the green point of view, is that not one cent (well, about $0.00025 per kWh) comes from taxpayers.  Willing investors and customers will be all that is needed to support the investments and production.  What are we going to do with the $164 billion that’s left over?

Actually, there are a lot of things we can do with $164 billion, but it’s not really the government’s business if we stop fooling around with subsidies for wind and solar (subsidized at a rate of about $0.024/kWh in the US).  People can invest in new plants, skills training, technology research.  In short, we can invest in figuring out new and better ways to use that energy we have so efficiently generated from gas.  While energy is the master resource, it is not the purpose of the economy.  We love energy for what it does, not what it is.  The greenies love the machines more than they love the economy.  That’s why they are willing to destroy the economy in order to build the machines.

As ever more evidence accumulates that the army of global warmism is on life support, a new battle line is arising.  “The American economy is ill, energy is important, green jobs will save us, so we must promote green jobs, give us your money.” The trouble is that their much hyped stalwarts — wind, solar, ethanol, and high-speed trains —are simply not up to the jobCap-and-trade and/or a carbon tax were supposed to force that support, but they have failed.

There are very few things that the government does well.  To deflate the enormously overblown budget, a good start would be to defund every agency, bureaucracy, office and program that funds attempts to eliminate, reduce or sequester carbon dioxide or replace it with “renewable” energy. And lose the subsidies for useless “green technology,” and “green jobs.”

The European Union has already volunteered to be an example for us.  They are watching their future sink into a sea of red ink by subsidizing “renewable” energy and putting excessive taxes on electricity and fuels to pay for the subsidies. ” Spain”s annual subsidy bill for renewable energy is now about $38 billion — more than twice as much as the U.S. Federal government spends — to subsidize energy for an economy just one-ninth the size of the U.S. ”

Just this once, could we pay attention to the evidence?  A good intention is not a successful policy.  It may seem old-fashioned, but studying the evidence is how you learn.  You learn what has been successful and what has failed, so you emulate success and try to correct for failure.  Beats the hopey-changey stuff every time.

ADDENDUM: Spain is Europe’s second worst economy with nearly 20% unemployment (thanks in part to all those green jobs) and a crumbling GDP.  The leadership of the Socialist Prime Minister José Luis Zapatero have blamed the collapse on everything but their socialist policies.

Government Spending Once Again Becomes the Problem, Not the Solution. by The Elephant's Child
July 22, 2009, 9:10 pm
Filed under: Economy, Energy, Science/Technology | Tags: , , ,


monopsony is a situation in which a product or service is only bought by one customer.  Jo Nova has done a new study now available at The Science and Public Policy Institute that reveals that the U.S. Government has spent more than $79 billion of taxpayer money since 1989 on policies related to climate change, including science and technology research, administration, propaganda campaigns, foreign aid and tax breaks.  Most of this spending was unnecessary and useless.

An informal movement of scientists around the world has sprung up to test the integrity of the “global warming” theory and to compete with this lavishly funded, very organized climate monopsony.  Over and over, they have exposed major errors.

Worldwide, carbon trading reached $126 billion in 2008. Experts are predicting that the carbon market will reach $2-$10 trillion in the near future. The largest single commodity traded on global exchanges will be hot air.

Exxon-Mobil is continually attacked for funding climate skeptics for $23 million — less than one thousandth of what the U.S. Government spends on climate activists and alarmists.

This huge expenditure is designed to prove the non-existent connection between carbon dioxide and climate.   Government bodies, big business rent-seekers and environmental NGOs recruit, control and reward their own scientists who use climate modeling to justify power, control, wealth and population reduction.  Robert Ferguson, SPPIs president asks:

Are politicians paying out billions of our dollars for evidence-driven policy-making, or policy-driven evidence-making? The truth is more crucial than ever, because American lives, property and constitutional liberties are at risk.

If the Waxman-Markey climate bill passes, billions more will be expended to pay for environmentalists useless fantasies.

Stop Spending! Just Stop! It’s Not Working and It’s Not Helping. by The Elephant's Child

President “Transparency Is the Touchstone of my Administration” Obama has noticed that while the official calendar calls for a revised budget estimate to be issued in July, um, we’ll just put it off till at least mid-August.  President Obama wants major health care reform and, if possible, a global warming bill from Congress before they recess in August.  And we don’t want any inconvenient budget overruns mentioned just now.

As details of the cost of these policies begins to emerge (reading thousand-page bills takes time) Americans are beginning to get glimpses of the trillions of dollars in spending that will do nothing whatsoever to improve health care or lessen the amount of CO2 in the air.

This year alone, the deficit will be upwards of $1.8 trillion, and earlier deficit estimates total up the red ink through 2019 at $9.3 trillion.

Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) says that what began as a “modest” $700 billion program to buy up bad mortgages has morphed into 12 programs with $3 trillion in government commitments.

According to Barofsky’s testimony, total efforts to “stabilize and support the financial system” since 2007 could eventually “reach up to $23.7 trillion.”

The total take by government at all levels will be well over 50 percent of GDP, or the destruction of the American economy.  Investors Business Daily puts it well:

Good governance begins with honesty. Unfortunately, the Democrats’ plans to expand the scope and reach of government to nearly every part of Americans’ lives have been marked by fiscal deception and budget chicanery. The American people deserve better.

It has been exactly six months since Barack Obama was inaugurated.  Is the honeymoon over?

The Bears Are Doing Just Fine! Really! by The Elephant's Child
June 28, 2009, 9:31 pm
Filed under: Environment, Science/Technology | Tags: ,

polar bears

New headlines will soon be featured in the world’s newspapers, as long as they are not still overshadowed by the death of Michael Jackson and the affair of Mark Sanford.  Watch for them, they will report something along the lines that “scientists say that vanishing Arctic ice threatens the extinction of our beautiful polar bears.”

There is a conference in Copenhagen of the Polar Bear Specialist Group under the auspices of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature/Species Survival Commission, and at the very tippy top of their agenda will be the need to produce a report designed to increase fears that polar bears are being threatened with extinction by man-made global warming.  Financial support and donations from polar bear enthusiasts will hopefully be forthcoming if the report is sufficiently scary.

Dr. Mitchell Taylor, a leading world expert on polar bears, had obtained funding to attend this week’s meeting,  but he has been impolitely dis-invited.  He is known to have signed the Manhattan Declaration — the statement by 500 scientists that climate changes are natural, and not caused by CO2, but by changes in the activity of the sun and in ocean currents — and that just simply won’t do.

Dr Taylor has been researching the state of the polar bear population around the Arctic Circle for 30 years as a government employee and an academic.  His work has made headlines  by insisting that polar bear numbers are much higher than they were 30 years ago and of the 19 different polar bear populations almost all are increasing or at optimum levels.  Only two have modestly declined, for local reasons.  He has also noted that the Arctic has been warming, but not as warming activists claim, from CO2, but from current changes bringing warmer water into the arctic from the Pacific. And here it is, nearly midsummer and the temperature is still below zero, and with the cooling climate the summer melt will probably be less.

Dr. Taylor was told that his views running “counter to human-induced climate change are extremely unhelpful.”  The science, you see, is not of interest.  It is the agenda that matters.  So please, just shut up!

Hopenchange Indeed. Take a Look at This Map. by The Elephant's Child
June 25, 2009, 9:33 pm
Filed under: Global Warming, Progressivism, Taxes | Tags: , ,

PowerLine Blog has a dandy map , created by John Boehner, of  the convoluted bureaucracy that would be created if Democrats succeed in passing their Cap and Trade Bill.   This bill is such a pathetic disaster, and will do such damage to the American people.  $1,600 to $3,900 per household.  Graft and corruption.

Nancy Pelosi apparently thinks she has the votes, after twisting agricultural arms with ethanol promises.  That’s going to look really smart when crop yields drop because of the colder climate and late planting, and we start hearing stories of food riots and hunger caused by putting food crops in our gas tanks.

Another Government Loan to a Surprising Recipient. by The Elephant's Child

Our government has given a $468 million loan to Tesla Motors to build an electric sedan and the battery packs to run it.  When we have been hearing billions and trillions daily, $468 million begins to sound like chump change.  For those unfamiliar with Tesla motors, I have written about their sexy little Tesla Roadster ($110,000) here and here.  It’s a good looking little electric sports car;  when the London Times car guy tested first one and then another, um, there were a few problems.  But for $468 million they should be able to come up with a sedan.

The Chevy Volt is still much hyped by the Obama administration, and if they can get the price ($40,000) down, the  miles it can go up (40 mi.) on a charge, cover the nation with stations where one can plug in to get recharged less than 40 miles apart, and come up with new sources of energy to make the necessary electricity,  then all will be well, if GM can survive long enough to sell one that anybody wants to buy.

The problem is that the Obama administration is attempting to bankrupt the coal companies, deny nuclear permits, deny coal-fired power plant permits, and rely on “clean” wind farms which produce electricity only when the wind blows, which is definitely not all the time.

When the wind does not blow at the right speed, or when it does, there must be full-time back-up from a regular power plant.  Thus if you are depending on wind power you need more power plants, coal-fired or gas-fired, not fewer.  Wind, solar and geothermal are not cost-effective, cannot produce energy at all without vast subsidies, and there is no indication that they can ever become cost-effective.

But I wish Tesla well, I’m just not sure I understand why taxpayers should finance their experiments.

ADDENDUM: How could I forget to mention the $1.6 billion loan to Nissan to develop electric cars.  I got all wrapped up in the $468 million and completely forgot the $1.6 billion.  My bad.

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