Archive for September, 2010

Keep the Turbines, Kill the Cats

September 30, 2010

By Paul Chesser on 9.30.10 @ 11:35AM

The Washington Post today has another of their “scientists say” articles (they’re actually just wildlife advocates — well, only certain wildlife, as you’ll see) about how too many birds are falling prey because of excessive outdoor cats:

Scientists are quietly raging about the effects that cats, both owned and stray, are having on bird populations. It’s not an issue that has received much attention, but with an estimated 90 million pet cats in the United States, two-thirds of them allowed outdoors, the cumulative effect on birds is significant, according to experts….

“Two-thirds of all bird species are in decline in the U.S.,” said Steve Holmer, a policy adviser with the American Bird Conservancy in Washington. “Cats are a contributing factor.”

The story goes on to explain that it’s really the humans’ fault — as usual — because they are letting their cats roam free. So what does the Bird Conservancy say we should do with the cats?

Cat owners should keep their cats indoors….Many veterinarians and animal welfare organizations support keeping cats indoors for their own safety, as well as to prevent them from killing wildlife. Outdoor cat colonies, sustained through the practice of Trap Neuter Release are also bad for birds, do not help reduce the overpopulation of feral cats, and are often bad for the cats themselves, who lead short, harsh lives. Instead, feral cats should be kept in enclosures, trapped and adopted to loving homes, or euthanized.

Why any animal lover would want to interfere with the natural cycle is puzzling. What makes a bird’s life more valuable than a cat’s? And if we’re concerned about animals’ safety, they should all be kept indoors. But again, it’s not a the cats’ fault; it’s the humans. Meanwhile, the Conservancy has this advice for that other serial bird killer, wind turbines:

American Bird Conservancy supports alternative energy sources, including wind power, but emphasizes that prior to the approval and implementation of new wind energy projects, potential risks to birds should be evaluated through site analyses, including assessments of bird abundance, timing, and magnitude of migration, and habitat use patterns.

Wind energy project location, design, operation, and lighting should be carefully evaluated to prevent bird mortality, as well as adverse impacts caused by habitat fragmentation, disturbance, and site avoidance. Wind power projects should be sited on areas with poor habitat where possible, such as heavily disturbed lands, (e.g. intensive agriculture).

Excellent guidelines to prevent adverse impacts of wind power generation on birds are already in existence, but these need to be turned into mandatory regulations.

So, already costly and inefficient-at-energy-producing wind turbines, which will have no effect on the climate, should be given their own “habitat” with a higher environmental compliance price tag. But you need to keep all cats indoors, or kill them. Ack.

See post here.

Big Green CEOs Earn More Than Climate ‘Deniers’

September 29, 2010

By Paul Chesser

From this morning’s edition of the Washington Examiner’s weeklong series on Big Green:

The median salary among all 15 of the highest-paid Big Green environmental officials (the nonprofits like Environmental Defense Fund, Nature Conservancy, etc.) is $261,295, while the median total compensation for the 15 is $308,465….

You know — these are the leaders of the groups who constantly wail that nature is under unrelenting assault by Big Oil, whose money and influence they say is the Goliath to the enviros’ David.

Meanwhile:

[Big Green] opposition nonprofits analyzed by The Examiner included the Heritage Foundation, American Enterprise Institute, Cato Institute, Concerned Women for America, Americans for Prosperity, Americans for Tax Reform, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Citizens Against Government Waste, National Taxpayers Union, and the American Conservative Union.

An Examiner analysis found a median salary of $228,703 among the opposition groups, or nearly $33,000 less than that received by the environmental executives. The gap is even wider when media total compensation figures are compared, with top executives at environmental opponents receiving $254,605, or nearly $54,000 less than the top 15 environmental executives.

Wait a minute?! Aren’t these largely the same conservative nonprofits that Greenpeace says are in the back pockets of the pollution-loving Big Oil (specifically, the Koch brothers)?

But then again, those Climategate guys were also sucking up to the Big Oil companies for cash themselves. And, believe it or not, so were the Big Green groups, as Amy and David Ridenour noted in June:

According to published reports, major environmental advocacy organizations that accepted major gifts from BP in recent years include the Nature Conservancy, the World Wildlife Fund, the World Resources Institute, various branches of the Audubon Society, the Wildlife Habitat Council and others….

BP also was a founding member of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, contributing substantial funding to the climate-change-related lobbying efforts of the environmental groups within it, which include the Environmental Defense Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, the Nature Conservancy and the World Resources Institute.

So the likes of Environmental Defense’s Fred Krupp ($496,174 in 2008 compensation) and the World Wildlife Fund’s Carter Roberts ($509,699 in 2009 compensation) are greedier fatcats soaked with Big Oil money than are the “climate deniers!” Read post here.

The Economics of Napoleon Obamaparte – Spread the Wealth Around

September 28, 2010

By Christopher C. Horner

I just returned from speaking to two terrific groups about California’s looming ballot initiative, Proposition 23, to delay implementation of the state’s climatically meaningless, economically suicidal state-level adoption of the Kyoto agenda, called AB 32.

On the flight out I pulled out my pocket Bastiat reader, which I carry everywhere but hadn’t re-read in a while. There, in the opening, brilliant essay “What is Seen and What is Not Seen” — a work that perfectly nails Obamanomics, and the entire ‘green jobs’ fallacy that is the latest re-branding of central planning (if in its most devastating form: mandating energy price hikes on top of generational debt) — I ran across a stunning reminder:

In noting what the state is going to do with the millions of francs voted, do not neglect to note also what the taxpayers would have done—and can no longer do—with these same millions. You see, then, that a public enterprise is a coin with two sides. On one, the figure of a busy worker, with this device: What is seen; on the other, an unemployed worker, with this device: What is not seen. The sophism that I am attacking in this essay is all the more dangerous when applied to public works, since it serves to justify the most foolishly prodigal enterprises. When a railroad or a bridge has real utility, it suffices to rely on this fact in arguing in its favor. But if one cannot do this, what does one do? One has recourse to this mumbo jumbo: “We must create jobs for the workers.”This means that the terraces of the Champ-de-Mars are ordered first to be built up and then to be torn down. The great Napoleon, it is said, thought he was doing philanthropic work when he had ditches dug and then filled in. He also said: “What difference does the result make? All we need is to see wealth spread among the laboring classes.”

Spread the wealth around. So here we have Obamanomics in a nutshell.

Elsewhere, the great French economist also bemusedly notes that schemes a la ‘green jobs’ are as sensible as cutting off everyone’s left arm, or paying children to run around town smashing windows. Imagine the jobs these inefficiencies would create! As I detail in Power Grab: How Obama’s Green Policies Will Steal Your Freedom and Bankrupt America, the same logic holds that Hurricane Katrina, like the recent Pakistani floods, was an economic Godsend.

Worse, however, ‘green jobs’ schemes do not reconstruct but are instead destructive. They are make-work but, as noted above, make work that inflicts far more harm on the economy, and therefore the people, than merely incurring debt through ditch dig-and-fill programs.

Well, what of ‘global warming’, the original, presumed best argument for ‘green jobs’, that has oddly fallen by the wayside in favor of the risible economic rationale? Not that anyone on the planet has dared assert, as opposed to imply, that the temperature would be detectably different under Kyoto, California’s AB 32, or all of the green jobs schemes in the world. Still, in response to challenging the ‘green jobs’ boondoggle, greens hysterically shriek that one is in favor of ‘doing nothing!!!” Well, dear, so are you, as the sentence immediately preceding that makes clear; we just propose doing no harm, leaving the world richer rather than poorer to deal with what you and your precious computer models assure us is our fate, with or without ‘green jobs’, AB 32, Prop 23 or Kyoto.

While digging ditches and filling them up may beat “doing nothing” in limited circumstances, it definitely beats “doing something” if that something is subsidizing and/or mandating uneconomic energy sources like windmills and solar panels.

Mandating we use more inefficient energy — be it horsepower, producing electricity by running on giant hamster wheels, or windmills and solar panels — never makes sense, given we have centuries’ supply of vastly more efficient energy sources (coal, gas, oil, nuclear). But ‘green jobs’ projects create mostly temporary make-work jobs whose “bubble” requires continued subsidies and mandates.

The distinction is that state-sponsored ditch-digging does not necessitate higher energy prices, which chase other, largely manufacturing jobs to less hostile environments. But windmill and solar panel schemes did chase, e.g., European steel jobs to India, and other exotic locations like Carroll County, Kentucky (Acerinox’s North American Stainless Steel, 175 manufacturing jobs exported from Europe to the US because of an olio of ‘green jobs’ schemes similar to California’s own hodgepodge). In short, you can make windmills from steel, but you won’t make steel using windmills.

So possibly Don Quixote is the better European model for our president obsessed with windmills. Regardless, as with Quixote and modern-day men who see Napoleon in the mirror, these policies are delusional.

See post here.

Another government mandate

September 28, 2010

By Paul Chesser, The Washington Times

Sen. Jeff Bingaman, New Mexico Democrat, and Sen. Sam Brownback, Kansas Republican (and the party’s gubernatorial nominee) must be gluttons for punishment.

Mandates to buy things – pushed by Washington – have fouled the political air. The public, which is shown in polls to hate Obamacare, hate most the part that obligates them to buy health insurance. What else do they despise? The ban on the incandescent light bulb, which begins to take effect in 2012 and will force everyone to buy higher-priced mercury-filled compact fluorescents for the rest of their lives. More than a few people hope for a repeal of both measures after the November elections.

So Americans are tired of the dictating, but what do the aforementioned senators do? They dictate more, with a proposed law that will force you to procure part of your electricity from windmills, solar farms and other costly sources. It’s called a Renewable Electricity Standard (RES), brought to you by politicians who think they know what’s good for you.

It works this way: The nation’s biggest utilities (think Exelon, Duke Energy, Xcel Energy), which supply the majority of the country’s power, are coerced into generating a minimum percentage of their electricity from alternative energy. It’s 15 percent under the Bingaman-Brownback bill. It costs much more for these resources – even after heavy subsidies from government – so the utilities must pass on the rate increases to their customers.

A study by the Washington-based Institute for Energy Research found that states with their own binding renewable electricity standards have 40 percent higher electricity prices than do states without such mandates. It is impossible to determine how much the extra costs are attributable to an RES (they are still relatively new), but the states that have them – mostly on the West Coast and in the upper Midwest and the Northeast – are generally known for greater government energy-market regulation than are those who don’t have them – mostly in the South. You get the picture.

But the implications won’t stop with the rise you see on your monthly power bill. Business and industry, which provide the products and services you consume every day, will not absorb these extra costs for the overall cause to “go green.” They will instead incorporate them in their charges to you.

So also will governments face larger electric bills, with schools, facilities and public buildings hit with the additional charges. There goes more spending of taxpayer dollars, again.

And don’t forget: Politicians love and alternative-energy companies need the subsidies that keep the solar and wind businesses alive. Without that massive infusion from taxpayers, they – the lawmakers without ribbon-cuttings and the rent-seekers without corporate welfare – could not survive.

Indeed, this summer, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) showed how dependent alternative energy interests are on taxpayers after the Senate omitted a national Renewable Electricity Standard from its energy bill. In a July 27 press release, AWEA stated, “The U.S. wind industry is in distress. Today we announced that with only 700 megawatts added in the second quarter, wind power installations to date this year have dropped by 57 percent and 71 percent from 2008 and 2009 levels, respectively, and manufacturing investment also continues to lag below 2008 and 2009 levels. An RES is a critical component to ensure the U.S. wind industry thrives.”

Understand? Squiggly light bulbs don’t sell without a government mandate. Windmills don’t sell without a mandate. And every other harebrained energy-generating scheme (like chicken-excrement incinerators) doesn’t sell without a mandate. Yet in about 30 states they get them – and subsidies, too.

See post here.

Shale Gas Will Rock the World

September 27, 2010

By AMY MYERS JAFFE

There’s an energy revolution brewing right under our feet. Over the past decade, a wave of drilling around the world has uncovered giant supplies of natural gas in shale rock. By some estimates, there’s 1,000 trillion cubic feet recoverable in North America alone—enough to supply the nation’s natural-gas needs for the next 45 years. Europe may have nearly 200 trillion cubic feet of its own.

We’ve always known the potential of shale; we just didn’t have the technology to get to it at a low enough cost. Now new techniques have driven down the price tag—and set the stage for shale gas to become what will be the game-changing resource of the decade.

I have been studying the energy markets for 30 years, and I am convinced that shale gas will revolutionize the industry—and change the world—in the coming decades. It will prevent the rise of any new cartels. It will alter geopolitics. And it will slow the transition to renewable energy.

To understand why, you have to consider that even before the shale discoveries, natural gas was destined to play a big role in our future. As environmental concerns have grown, nations have leaned more heavily on the fuel, which gives off just half the carbon dioxide of coal. But the rise of gas power seemed likely to doom the world’s consumers to a repeat of OPEC, with gas producers like Russia, Iran and Venezuela coming together in a cartel and dictating terms to the rest of the world.

The advent of abundant, low-cost gas will throw all that out the window—so long as the recent drilling catastrophe doesn’t curtail offshore oil and gas activity and push up the price of oil and eventually other forms of energy. Not only will the shale discoveries prevent a cartel from forming, but the petro-states will lose lots of the muscle they now have in world affairs, as customers over time cut them loose and turn to cheap fuel produced closer to home.

The shale boom also is likely to upend the economics of renewable energy. It may be a lot harder to persuade people to adopt green power that needs heavy subsidies when there’s a cheap, plentiful fuel out there that’s a lot cleaner than coal, even if gas isn’t as politically popular as wind or solar.

But that’s not the end of the story: I also believe this offers a tremendous new longer-term opportunity for alternative fuels. Since there’s no longer an urgent need to make them competitive immediately through subsidies, since we can use natural gas now, we can pour that money into R&D—so renewables will be ready to compete without lots of help when shale supplies run low, decades from now.

To be sure, plenty of people (including Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and many Wall Street energy analysts) aren’t convinced that shale gas has the potential to be such a game changer. Their arguments revolve around two main points: that shale-gas exploration is too expensive and that it carries environmental risks.

I’d argue they are wrong on both counts.

Take costs first. Over the past decade, new techniques have been developed that drastically cut the price tag of production. The Haynesville shale, which extends from Texas into Louisiana, is seeing costs as low as $3 per million British thermal units, down from $5 or more in the Barnett shale in the 1990s. And more cost-cutting developments are likely on the way as major oil companies get into the game. If they need to do shale for $2, I am willing to bet they can, in the next five years.

When it comes to environmental risks, critics do have a point: They say drilling for shale gas runs a risk to ground water, even though shale is generally found thousands of feet below the water table. If a well casing fails, they argue, drilling fluids can seep into aquifers.

They’re overplaying the danger of such a failure. For drilling on land, where most shale-gas deposits are, the casings have been around for decades with a good track record. But water pollution can occur if drilling fluids are disposed of improperly. So, regulations and enforcement must be tightened to ensure safety. More rules will raise costs—but, given the abundance of supply, producers can likely absorb the hit. Already, some are moving to nontoxic drilling fluids, even without imposed bans.

A pipeline being built to carry Russian natural-gas exports to Western Europe.

But the skeptics aren’t just overstating the obstacles. They’re missing two much bigger points. For one thing, they’re ignoring history: The reserves and production of new energy resources tend to increase over time, not decrease. They’re also not taking into account how quickly public opinion can change. The country can turn on a dime and embrace a cheaper energy source, casting aside political or environmental reservations. This has happened before, with the rapid spread of liquefied-natural-gas terminals over the past few years.

In short, the skeptics are missing the bigger picture—the picture I think is the much more likely one. Here’s a closer look at what I’m talking about, and how I believe the boom in shale gas will shake up the world.

One of the biggest effects of the shale boom will be to give Western and Chinese consumers fuel supplies close to home—thus scuttling a potential natural-gas cartel. Remember: Prior to the discovery of shale gas, huge declines were expected in domestic production in U.S., Canada and the North Sea. That meant an increasing reliance on foreign supplies—at a time when natural gas was becoming more important as a source of energy.

Even more troubling, most of those gas supplies were located in unstable regions. Two countries in particular had a stranglehold over supply: Russia and Iran. Before the shale discoveries, these nations were expected to account for more than half the world’s known gas resources.

Russia made no secret about its desire to leverage its position and create a cartel of gas producers—a kind of latter-day OPEC. That seemed to set the stage for a repeat of the oil issues that have worried the world over the past 40 years.

As far as I’m concerned, you can now forget all that. Shale gas will breed competition among energy companies and exporting countries—which in turn will help economic stability in industrial countries, and thwart petro-suppliers that try to empower themselves at our expense. Market competition is the best kryptonite for cartel power.

For one measure of the coming change, consider the prospects for liquefied natural gas, which has been converted to a liquid so it can be carried in a supertanker like oil. It’s the easiest way to move natural gas very long distances, so it gives a good picture of how much countries are relying on foreign supplies.

Before the shale discoveries, experts expected liquefied natural gas, or LNG, to account for half of the international gas trade by 2025, up from 5% in the 1990s. With the shale boom, that share will be more like one-third.

In the U.S., the impact of shale gas and deep-water drilling is already apparent. Import terminals for LNG sit virtually empty, and the prospects that the U.S. will become even more dependent on foreign imports are receding. Also, soaring shale-gas production in the U.S. has meant that cargoes of LNG from Qatar and elsewhere are going to European buyers, easing their dependence on Russia. So, Russia has had to accept far lower prices from formerly captive customers, slashing prices to Ukraine by 30%, for instance.

But the political fallout from shale gas will do a lot more than stifle natural-gas cartels. It will throw world politics for a loop—putting some longtime troublemakers in their place and possibly bringing some rivals into the Western fold.

Again, remember that as their energy-producing influence grew, nations like Russia, Venezuela and Iran became more successful in resisting Western interference in their affairs—and exporting their ideologies and strategic agendas through energy-linked deal-making and threats of cutoffs.

In 2006 and 2007, disputes with Ukraine led Russia to cut off supplies, leaving customers in Kiev and Western Europe briefly without fuel in the dead of winter. That cutoff effectively shifted Ukraine’s internal politics: The country turned away from the pro-NATO, anti-Moscow candidate and toward a coalition more to Moscow’s liking.

It looked like the U.S. and Europe would see their global power eclipse as they kowtowed to their energy suppliers. But shale gas is going to defang the energy diplomacy of petro-nations. Consuming nations throughout Europe and Asia will be able to turn to major U.S. oil companies and their own shale rock for cheap natural gas, and tell the Chavezes and Putins of the world where to stick their supplies—back in the ground.

Europe, for instance, receives 25% of its natural-gas supply via pipelines from Russia, with some consumers almost completely dependent on the big supplier. In the wake of Russia’s strong-arming of Ukraine, Europe has been actively diversifying its supply, and shale gas will make that task cheaper and easier.

Shale-gas resources are believed to extend into countries such as Poland, Romania, Sweden, Austria, Germany—and Ukraine. Once European shale gas comes, the Kremlin will be hard-pressed to use its energy exports as a political lever.

I would also argue that greater shale-gas production in Europe will make it harder for Iran to profit from exporting natural gas. Iran is currently hampered by Western sanctions against investment in its energy sector, so by the time it can get its natural gas ready for export, the marketing window to Europe will likely be closed by the availability of inexpensive shale gas.

And that may lead Tehran to tone down its nuclear efforts. Look at it this way: If Iran can’t sell its gas in Europe, what options does it have? Piping to the Indian subcontinent is impractical, and LNG markets will be crowded with lower-cost, competing supplies.

It’s admittedly a long shot, but if the regime acts rationally, it will realize it has a chance to win some global goodwill by shifting away from nuclear-power efforts—and using its cheap natural-gas supplies to generate electricity at home.

Overall, the Middle East might get a bit poorer as gas eats into the market for oil. If the drop in revenue is severe enough, it could bring instability.

Shale-gas development could also mean big changes for China. The need for energy imports has taken China to problematic nations such as Iran, Sudan and Burma, making it harder for the West to forge global policies to address the problems those countries create. But with newly accessible natural gas available at home, China could well turn away from imports—and the hot spots that produce them.

The less vulnerable China is to imported oil and gas, the more likely it would be to support sanctions or other measures against petro-states with human-rights problems or aggressive agendas. Moreover, the less Beijing worries about U.S. control of sea lanes, the easier it will be for the U.S. and China to build trust. So, domestic shale gas for China may help integrate Beijing into a Pax Americana global system.

With natural gas cheap and abundant, the prospects for renewable energy will change just as drastically. I have been a big believer that renewable energy was about to see its time. Prior to the shale-gas revolution, I thought rising hydrocarbon prices would propel renewables and nuclear power into the marketplace easily—albeit with a little shove from a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system.

But the shale discoveries complicate the issue, making it harder for wind, solar and biomass energy, as well as nuclear, to compete on economic grounds. Subsidies that made renewables competitive with shale gas would get more expensive, as would loan guarantees and incentives for new nuclear plants. Shale gas also hurts the energy-independence argument for renewables: Shale gas is domestic, just like wind and solar, so we won’t be shipping those dollars to the Middle East.

But that doesn’t mean we should stop investing in renewables. As large as our shale-gas resources are, they’re still exhaustible, and eventually we will still need to transition to energy that is cleaner and more plentiful. So, what should we do?

First, avoid the urge to protect coal states and let cheaper natural gas displace coal, which accounts for about half of all power generated in the U.S. Ample natural gas for electricity generation could also make it easier to shift to electric vehicles—once again helping the environment and lessening our dependence on the Middle East.

Then, I think we still need to invest in renewables—but smartly. States with renewable-energy potential, such as windy Texas or sunny California, should keep their mandates that a fixed percentage of electricity must be generated by alternative sources. That will give companies incentives and opportunities to bring renewables to market and lower costs over time through experience and innovation. Yes, renewables may seem relatively more expensive in those states as shale gas hits the market. And, yes, that may mean getting more help from government subsidies. But I don’t think the cost would be prohibitive, and the long-term benefits are worth it.

Still, I don’t believe we should set national mandates—which would get prohibitively expensive in states without abundant renewable resources. Instead of pouring money into subsidies to make such a plan work, the federal government should invest in R&D to make renewables competitive down the road without big subsidies.

In the end, what’s important to understand is that shale gas may be the key to solving some of our most pressing short-term crises, a way to bridge the gap to a more-secure energy and economic future.

The trade deficit has crippled our economy and shows no signs of abating as long as we remain tethered to imported energy. Why ship dollars abroad where they can destabilize global financial markets—and then hit us back in lost jobs and savings—when we can develop the resources we have here in our own country? Shall we pay Vladimir Putin and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to develop our natural gas—or the citizens of Pennsylvania and Louisiana? See post here.

Ms. Jaffe is the Wallace S. Wilson Fellow for Energy Studies at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University and co-author of “Oil, Dollars, Debt and Crises: The Global Curse of Black Gold.” She can be reached at reports@wsj.com.

Correction & Amplification:
Natural gas from a working well flows directly through a pipeline system to a processing facility, and then on to consumers through other pipeline systems. A diagram of a shale-gas well in an earlier version of this article.

Environmentalism – What Has It Become?

September 25, 2010

BY MICHAEL R. FOX – On May 18, 2010 Vice president Al Gore gave an incredibly depressing commencement speech at the University of Tennessee. According to Gore, doom was imminent, even if he had to fudge the climate data to make it sound frightening. Glaciers are melting (some are growing, some are receding, as they have for centuries—Antarctica, for example, is growing, sea levels are rising—but very little. Just check with world expert Nils Axel Morner. It is difficult to measure Gore’s impact on those who were there at Commencement or had read his speech, but it could not have been good.

Then on September 1, an environmental extremist named James Jay Lee took hostages at the Discovery Channel’s office in Silver Springs, Maryland. He was armed and claimed also to have explosives with him (http://tinyurl.com/2auvlyn). Lee made some very extreme demands which he posted on the web. (http://tinyurl.com/29nbala).

In the world most of us live in we are accountable for our own actions and beliefs. While some have unfairly suggested that gloomy, depressing, hateful speeches by Al Gore may have influenced Lee’s actions, however that would be as easy as it would be wrong. Nobody made Lee kidnap those 3 people in the Discovery Channel’s building, nobody made him threaten their lives, and nobody forced him to write his extreme manifesto. Unquestionably, however, there are many in the environmental movement who hold the same extreme views as quoted directly from his manifesto:

How people can live without producing more filthy children
All programs on Discovery Health-TLC must stop encouraging the birth of any more parasitic human infants talk about ways to disassemble civilization Civilization must be exposed for the filth it is. That, and all its disgusting religious-cultural roots and greed.

Broadcast this message until the pollution of the planet is reversed and the human population goes down! This is your obligation. If you think it isn’t, then get hell off the planet! There is much more but we can see the nature of his extreme, contemptible anti-human views. Hopefully we can all agree that these are very extreme views to be held by a fellow American. We should dismiss him as an extremist, a loner gone off the rails, with little or no political impact on the world, our nation, or those around him. He would have few, if any friends who would share these extremist views.

Consider another person with many similar extremist views. This fellow believed that

Women could be forced to abort their pregnancies, whether they wanted to or not; The population at large could be sterilized by infertility drugs intentionally put into the nation’s drinking water or in food; Single mothers and teen mothers should have their babies seized from them against their will and given away to other couples to raise;
People who “contribute to social deterioration” (i.e. undesirables) “can be required by law to exercise reproductive responsibility” — in other words, be compelled to have abortions or be sterilized.

A transnational “Planetary Regime” should assume control of the global economy and also dictate the most intimate details of Americans’ lives — using an armed international police force. You might want to dismiss these extreme statements also, as the words of some angry, anti-human crank. But they aren’t.

These are the words of Obama’s science advisor, a man whom Obama seeks out for such scientific advice. These are the words of Dr. John Holdren. He co-authored the book, “Ecoscience” in 1977, where he wrote those words above. He and co-authors, Dr. Paul Ehrlich and Anne Ehrlich, wrote this book and put many of their horrendous thoughts in writing. He is now the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, and Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology — informally known as the United States’ Science Czar.

An extraordinary analysis of Holdren’s writings appears at (http://tinyurl.com/26p5422). This is an incredibly detail analyses of Holdren’s exact words, and goes right to the exact written source and the exact pages in Ecoscience where Holdren’s horrendous quotes, values, and contempt for human life appeared. With the exact words and the exact pages presented, the doubters have no wiggle room.

What on Earth is it about Holdren which Obama approves, and would motivate him to appoint him to high office? Do they share the same values? What is it about the National Academy of Sciences which nominated him for membership in the National Academy of Sciences( NAS)? The NAS is just not that prestigious anymore, and is losing ground. What is it about the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) which elected him their president? Should we conclude that Holdren’s belief system of population control, sterilization of women, and the killing of infants is something deserving of the name “Science”, and were so compelling that they elected him president by the AAAS?

Should we still presume that the AAAS can be serious about science and the horrendous people it elects to their high offices? Should we ever take seriously any document or policy statement from the National Academy of Sciences, so long as they have demonstrably bad judgment in nominating Holdren and Ehrlich to the NAS membership?

It seems strange that as a society we dismiss the rantings and extreme views of the gunman who held employees of the Discovery Channel hostage, and called for the cessation of producing “filthy children”. On the other hand we highly honor a well-connected Ph.D., with similar extreme views, and even appoint him to be the president’s science advisor. It makes no sense.

Strangely as a society we dismiss the rantings and extreme views of a gunman who held hostage employees of the Discovery channel, who called for the cessation of producing “filthy children”. On the other hand we highly honor a well-connected Ph.D. with similar extreme views, by appointing him to be the president’s science advisor. It makes no sense.

However, as Eric Hoffer observed “One of the surprising privileges of intellectuals is that they are free to be scandalously asinine without harming their reputation.” —as quoted by Thomas Sowell in his book, “Intellectuals and Society”. Obama should know better. And Americans deserve better. See story here.

“Why They Go Green” (WSJ editorial says much in few words)

September 25, 2010

By Robert Bradley Jr.
September 23, 2010

When will Democrats and true environmentalists wake up to windpower, or what Robert Bryce calls the ethanol of electricity? Industrial wind is a scam when seen in all of its dimensions–economic, environmental, and esthetic. Bryce has identified five myths of green energy–and post after post at MasterResource by Kent Hawkins, Jon Boone, and John Droz Jr. have shown that meaningful CO2 reductions from windpower are highly debatable.

Industrial wind is chock full of environmental negatives and isn’t nearly as effective at reducing air emissions than advertised. Big Wind is corporate welfare with companies like GE and FPL skipping their federal taxes. Wind today is the legacy of Enron, the Ken Lay model of political capitalism. Wind is an assault on lower-income energy users, not only taxpayers. (And Democrats are supposed to be for the little guy….)

Yet the Left marches onward with no inkling of a need–given their own purported values–to make midcourse corrections.

Industrial wind and on-grid solar were supposed to be competitive by now. Beginning in the 1980s, the (false) promises have come again and again from wind and solar proponents. Read the quotations here.

And now, desperation has set in for an industry that needs more government (point-of-a-gun) energy policy to continue its artificial boom. And so a fundraiser yesterday was held by the renewable lobby for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D. Nevada) that caught the eye of the Wall Street Journal, which published this short op-ed, Why They Go Green:

In a free energy market, companies succeed by producing cheaper, better products than competitors. In a “green” energy market, companies succeed by holding Beltway fundraisers. For more on the distinction, ask Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who will benefit today from a tony Washington money-raising breakfast hosted by top “renewable energy” industry groups.

Democrats may be losing altitude with most of struggling corporate America, but it’s all about the love with the green sector, floating above economic realities thanks to stimulus handouts and other perks funneled them by the majority. Mr. Reid has been a strong advocate of this transfer, and the industry is showing it knows how to give back.

That, and watching its back. The companies that belong to the American Wind Energy Association or the Solar Energy Industries Association (among the fundraiser’s hosts) produce costly products that can’t compete against traditional fuels. Their business plans are written around Washington subsidies and mandates. They’re obviously worried a Republican majority might pare back the grants, loans and tax credits, in the name of cutting government waste. One can hope.

As the event invitation noted—in requesting $2,500 to attend—Mr. Reid’s Nevada Senate competition against Republican Sharron Angle is an “incredibly important race.” Indeed it is if your balance sheets depend on the Democrats’ special way with taxpayer money.

Can Democrats and the Left wise up and chuck windpower and on-grid solar? (Off-grid solar has a free-market niche.) Industrial wind is an environmental loser, not only an economic loser. The good news is that change is in the air as the grassroots environmental movement is rethinking–and rejecting–industrial windpower. When will Big Environmental question Big Wind–or do they secretly love industrial wind because its power is more expensive and less reliable than what industrial society needs?

Read more here.

World’s biggest offshore turbine site is switched on today

September 24, 2010

By David Derbyshire

It means that Britain is now the biggest offshore wind generator in the world, producing more electricity from sea-based turbines than the rest of the globe put together.

According to the wind industry, the UK’s wind farms now have a capacity of 5 gigawatts (GW) or enough power for nearly three million homes.

The creation of the monster farm is part of the Government’s ‘dash for wind’ – a massive expansion of green energy planned over the next decade which will see around 10,000 new turbines going up at sea and across the country.

The Government claims the wind farms are needed to slash greenhouse gas emissions from coal, oil and gas-fired power stations and meet Europe’s tough climate change targets.

To meet the targets, the UK will have to generate around a third of its electricity from renewables – such as wind, wave and wood-burning – by 2020.

However, critics say the expansion is costly and that the UK will become too dependent on the variable power of the wind.

While the last government enthusiastically embraced wind power, critics say it will fulfil barely a fraction of Britain’s energy needs – and at a huge cost. They also argue that huge wind turbines are a scar on Britain’s landscape, even when sited a few miles out to sea.

Dr Benny Peiser of the sceptical Global Warming Policy Foundation think-tank said: ‘It’s a complete waste of money. It costs three times as much to generate electricity from offshore wind and the cost is passed to taxpayers and in fuel bills.

‘And you need to back up wind farms with fossil fuel power stations when there’s no wind blowing.

‘Economically it doesn’t make sense and the savings in carbon emissions are not as great as their supporters claim.’

But a spokesman for the wind industry association RenewableUK said: ‘Five gigawatts is an important milestone.

‘Renewable energy generally and wind energy in particular is not alternative energy any longer – it is absolutely mainstream.’

The Thanet Offshore Wind Farm lies 7.5miles off Foreness Point, Margate, and will be visible from the coast on a clear day.

Swedish energy giant Vattenfall – which spent £780million on the array – refuses to say how long it will take for the farm to pay for itself.

Each turbine towers nearly 380 feet over the sea and stretches another 82 feet to the sea bed below. Working at full capacity, each can generate 3MW of electricity.

‘Until now we have been in the commissioning period where we have been testing each of the turbines,’ said a company spokesman yesterday.

‘All of them are now able to generate electricity, although they are not up to their full capacity yet.’

However, the farm will only generate its 300MW if the wind is blowing at 16 metres per second. The company estimates that on average, the farm will work at 35 to 40 per cent capacity.


City power: Each turbine towers nearly 380 feet over the sea and stretches another 82 feet to the sea bed below.Working at full capacity, each can generate 3MW of electricity.

Like all wind farms, the turbines have to be switched off if the wind is too strong.

‘You have to bear in mind that coal and gas-fired power stations don’t work at full capacity either – and even nuclear power stations are taken off line,’ the spokesman added.

According to the wind industry, Britain currently has another 18GW of wind capacity in construction and in the planning system. If that is added, wind farms could make up to a third of the country’s annual energy consumption.

Maria McCaffery of RenewableUK added: ‘Today’s developments are of tremendous significance.

‘In 2002 the UK was generating around 2 per cent of all electricity from renewables. We are now on the threshold of 10 per cent having increased outputs five-fold.’

Almost three quarters of the wind power generated in Britain actually comes from on shore turbines.

But the Government is also placing its faith in offshore farms, to take advantage of the strong winds around the coast.

The sort of high-pressure weather system that brought freezing temperatures to the UK last winter – and dramatically increased demand from the National Grid – is often accompanied by very little wind.

Read more here.

Unsustainable cow manure

September 22, 2010

Sustainable, affordable, eco-friendly renewable energy, my eye

By Paul Driessen

Seek a sustainable future! Wind, solar and biofuels will ensure an eco-friendly, climate-protecting, planet-saving, sustainable inheritance for our children. Or so we are told by activists and politicians intent on enacting new renewable energy standards, mandates and subsidies during a lame duck session. It may be useful to address some basic issues, before going further down the road to Renewable Utopia.

First, when exactly is something not sustainable? When known deposits (proven reserves) may be depleted in ten years? 50? 100? What if looming depletion results from government policies that forbid access to lands that might contain new deposits – as with US onshore and offshore prospects for oil, gas, coal, uranium, rare earth minerals and other vital resources?

Rising prices, new theories about mineral formation, and improved discovery and extraction technologies and techniques typically expand energy and mineral reserves – postponing depletion by years or decades, as in the case of oil and natural gas. But legislation, regulation, taxation and litigation prevent these processes from working properly, hasten depletion, and make “sustainability” an even more politicized, manipulated and meaningless concept.

Second, should the quest for mandated “sustainable” technologies be based on real, immediate threats – or will imaginary or exaggerated crises suffice? Dangerous manmade global cooling morphed into dangerous manmade global warming, then into “global climate disruption” – driven by computer models and disaster scenarios, doctored temperature data, manipulated peer reviews, and bogus claims about melting glaciers and rising sea levels. Shouldn’t policies that replace reliable, affordable energy with expensive, intermittent, land-intensive, subsidized sources be based on solid, replicable science?

Third, shouldn’t inconvenient sustainability issues be resolved before we proceed any further, by applying the same guidelines to renewable energy as courts, regulators and eco-activists apply to petroleum?
Most oil, gas, coal and uranium operations impact limited acreage for limited times – and affected areas must be restored to natural conditions when production ends. Effects on air and water quality, habitats and protected species are addressed through regulations, lease restrictions and fines. The operations generate vast amounts of affordable, reliable energy from relatively small tracts of land, and substantial revenues.

Wind turbines generate small amounts of expensive, unreliable electricity from gargantuan installations on thousands of acres. Turbines and their associated transmission lines dominate scenic vistas, disrupt habitats and migratory routes, affect water drainage patterns, impede crop dusting and other activities, and kill bats, raptors and other birds, including endangered species that would bring major fines if the corporate killers were oil or mining companies. And yet, wind operators receive exemptions from environmental review, biodiversity and endangered species laws that traditional energy companies must follow – on the ground that such rules would raise costs and delay construction of “eco-friendly” projects.

Kentucky’s Cardinal coal mine alone produces 75% of the Btu energy generated by all the wind turbines and solar panels in the USA, Power Hungry author Robert Bryce calculates. Unspoiled vistas, rural and maritime tranquility, and bald eagles will all be endangered if 20% wind power mandates are enacted.

The Palo Verde Nuclear Power Station near Phoenix generates nearly 900 times more electricity than Nevada’s Nellis Air Force Base photovoltaic panels, on less land, for 1/15 the cost per kWh – and does it 90% of the time, versus 30% of the time for the Nellis array. Generating Palo Verde’s electrical output via Nellis technology would require solar arrays across an area ten times larger than Washington, DC.

Building enough photovoltaic arrays to power greater Los Angeles would mean blanketing thousands of square miles of desert habitat. Once built, solar and wind systems will be there just this side of forever, since there will be no energy production if we let them decay, after shutting down whatever hydrocarbon operations aren’t needed to fuel backup generators that keep wind and solar facilities operational.

Wind and solar power also mean there is a sudden demand for tons of rare earth elements that weren’t terribly important a decade ago. They exist in very low concentrations, require mining and milling massive amounts of rock and ore to get the needed minerals, and thus impose huge ecological impacts.

If mountaintop removal to extract high quality coal at reduced risk to miners is unacceptable and unsustainable – how is it eco-friendly and sustainable to clear-cut mountain vistas for wind turbines? Blanket thousands of square miles with habitat-suffocating solar panels? Or remove mountains of rock to mine low-grade rare earth mineral deposits for solar panel films, hybrid batteries and turbine magnets?

Since any undiscovered US rare earth deposits are likely locked up in wilderness and other restricted land use areas, virtually no exploration or development will take place here. We will thus be dependent on foreign suppliers, like China, which are using them in their own manufacturing operations – and selling us finished wind turbines, solar panels and hybrid car batteries. The United States will thus be dependent on foreign suppliers for renewable energy, just as we rely on foreign countries for oil and uranium.

To claim any of this is ecologically or economically sustainable strains credulity.

Green jobs will mostly be overseas, subsidized by US tax and energy dollars – other people’s money (OPM). Indeed, Americans have already spent over $20 billion in stimulus money on “green” energy projects. However, 80% of the funding for some of them went to China, India, South Korea and Spain, and three-fourth of the turbines for eleven US wind projects were made overseas. This is intolerable, indefensible and unsustainable. But it gets worse.

Denver’s Nature and Science Museum used $720,000 in stimulus money to install photovoltaic panels and reduce its electricity bills by 20 percent. The panels may last 25 years, whereas it will take 110 years to save enough on those bills to pay for the panels – and by then four more sets of panels will be needed.

As to biofuels, the US Navy recently waxed ecstatic over its success with camellia-based eco-fuel in fighter jets. But the PC biofuel costs $67.50 per gallon, versus $5.00 per gallon for commercial jet fuel.
To meet the 36-billion-gallons-a-year-by-2022 federal ethanol diktat, we would have to grow corn on cropland and wildlife habitat the size of Georgia, to get 15 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol – plus switchgrass on farmlands and habitats the size of South Carolina, to produce 21 billion gallons of “advanced biofuel.” By contrast, we could produce 670 billion gallons of oil from frozen tundra equal to 1/20 of Washington, DC, if the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge weren’t off limits.

OPM-subsidized ethanol also means a few corn growers and ethanol refiners make hefty profits. But chicken and beef producers, manufacturers that need corn syrup, and families of all stripes get pounded by soaring costs, to generate a fuel that gets one-third less mileage per tank than gasoline.

Hydrocarbons fueled the most amazing and sustained progress in human history. Rejecting further progress – in the name of sustainability or climate protection – requires solid evidence that we face catastrophes if we don’t switch to “sustainable” alternatives. Computer-generated disaster scenarios and bald assertions by Al Gore, Harry Reid, John Holdren and President Obama just don’t make the grade.

We need to improve energy efficiency and conserve resources. Science and technology will continue the great strides we have made in that regard. Politically motivated mandates will impose huge costs for few benefits. Sustainability claims will simply redistribute smaller shares of a shrinking economic pie.

“Renewable” energy subsidies may sustain the jobs of lobbyists, activists, politicians, bureaucrats and politically connected companies. But they will kill millions of other people’s jobs.
Let’s be sure to remind our elected officials of this along their campaign trails – and on November 2. PDF


Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and Congress of Racial Equality, and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death.

Britain’s energy policy is in crisis

September 22, 2010

By Christopher Booker, UK Telegraph
Published: 6:45PM BST 18 Sep 2010


Subsidies for solar panels have been a costly disaster in Europe

Forget the latest proposal by Caroline Spelman, our Environment Secretary, that all hospitals should in future be built on hills, to stop them being submerged beneath the rising seas brought by global warming (even that serial panic-monger Al Gore predicts that sea levels will rise by only 20 feet). A more serious problem is the chaos inflicted on our energy policy by our willing compliance with an EU obligation to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 34 per cent within 10 years.

Behind the fog of official spin, it becomes ever more obvious that the schemes devised to meet the EU target of generating nearly a third of our energy from renewable sources by 2020 – six times more than at present – are a massive self-delusion. Even though they will cost us hundreds of billions of pounds, paid largely through soaring electricity bills, the energy they produce will be derisory – certainly nowhere near enough to plug the looming 40 per cent shortfall in our supplies, as many of our older power stations are forced to close.

Take the Government’s proposed Renewable Heat Incentive, the costs of which could, by 2030, outweigh its benefits by as much as £13 billion. The hope is that by 2020, Britain will have installed two million “heat pumps” to extract warmth from the air and soil. But a taxpayer-funded study by the Energy Saving Trust found that, of 83 air-sourced systems already installed at up to £20,000 each, only one was efficient enough to qualify as “renewable energy”. This was so embarrassing that many of the higher figures have been given as estimates to provide a more reassuring picture.

Equally questionable is our enthusiasm for solar panels. Ignoring the costly disaster of similar schemes in Spain and Germany, we have now copied them by offering absurdly inflated subsidies (“feed-in tariffs”) that force us all to pay their owners between three and eight times the going rate for the tiny amount of power they produce. Last year, solar’s contribution to the grid averaged 2.3 megawatts – so minuscule that it was barely a 1,000th of the output of one large coal-fired power station.

Then there is the generation of power and heat from burning biomass, such as wood and straw. Drax, the giant 3.9-gigawatt coal-fired power station in Yorkshire, has the largest facility in the world for co-firing one of its six boilers with biomass. But so rigged against biomass is the subsidy structure that Drax cannot afford to use much of it, because its cost is a third higher than that of coal, under a system not due to be reviewed until 2013. Drax’s plan to spend £2 billion on three dedicated biomass plants, generating more than 800 megawatts, has now been stalled for the same reason.

Next, there is the farce of those electric cars, which make no economic or environmental sense. Only a few thousand have been sold and, even with a £5,000 public subsidy, the forthcoming Nissan Leaf will cost £23,000 and be able to travel only 100 miles before its battery needs an eight-hour recharge, with electricity derived from fossil fuels, reducing any supposed saving on CO2.

At least the Government has dropped the idea of spending £30 billion on the Severn tidal barrage, which would produce little more electricity than a CO2-free nuclear power station, at 10 times the cost. But it has ruled that permission will be given to build four of the new coal-fired power stations we desperately need only if we pay £14 billion to fit them with “carbon capture and storage”, piping off their CO2 to bury it in holes under the North Sea. This would double the cost of their electricity – and recent studies show it to be no more than a fantasy anyway, because the required injection rates would soon shatter the rock structure.

The Government’s flagship “renewables” policy is to spend £100 billion on 10,000 onshore and offshore wind turbines, adding to the 3,000 we already have (which are so inefficient that their combined output last year was equivalent to one modest coal-fired plant). Apart from the colossal cost (suppliers must buy electricity from wind at double or treble the price of conventional power, passed on through our energy bills), there is no way that more than a fraction of the 6,000 offshore turbines the Government dreams of could be built by 2020, since this would require erecting two such huge structures every day for 10 years, when installing just one can take weeks. Even so, the more turbines we have, the more we will need new gas-fired power plants to provide back-up for when the wind drops – emitting as much CO2 as the turbines nominally save.

If all this sounds like pure lunacy, we must recall that two years ago, our MPs voted all but unanimously for the Climate Change Act. This commits Britain, uniquely in the world, to cutting its CO2 emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, at a cost of up to £18 billion a year, or £734 billion in total. This is what our politicians have made the law of the land, although in practice it could only be achieved by closing down virtually all our economy.

Now, no doubt, we have to add in the cost of building all our hospitals on hilltops, to prevent them vanishing under those Noah-like inundations that our Environment Secretary is fixated on. But, of course, none of this will have any impact on reducing overall CO2 emissions. We contribute less than 2 per cent to the global total, while China’s emissions alone increase by more than that every year.


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