Who Owns ‘Big Oil’? Not Who You Think

(CNSNews.com) — Armed with a Power Point presentation to illustrate the state of American energy, John Felmy, chief economist at the American Petroleum Institute (API), said the majority of “big oil” and natural gas ownership is in good hands – the hands of the American people.

According to a report published in 2007 by Sonecon, an economic advisory firm that analyses U.S. markets and public policy, corporate management owns only 1.5 percent of the U.S. oil and natural gas industry.

The rest is owned by tens of millions of Americans through retirement accounts (14 percent) and pension funds (26 percent). Mutual funds or other firms account for 29.5 percent ownership and individual investors own 23 percent of oil stock holdings.

Institutional investors hold the remaining 5 percent.

Felmy spoke on Thursday to the National Economists Club in Washington, D.C., about the range of conditions that affect the cost of gasoline at the pump. Some of those include decisions by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, geo-political conditions, speculation, inventories, exchange rates and inflation and even the weather.

As for the profits made by U.S. oil and natural gas companies that have been cited by congressional Democrats as reason to end tax incentives for the industry, Felmy put those earnings in perspective when it comes to high gasoline prices.

“If you took 100 percent of the earnings of the oil industry, you’d save 30 cents on the gallon,” Felmy said.

Moreover, compared to other American industries, the oil and natural gas industry’s profit margin are mid-range compared to other industries – 5.7 percent for each dollar, according to 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data.

Those industries making much higher net income/sales percentages on the dollar include beverage and tobacco products (21.7 percent), pharmaceuticals (19.4 percent), computer and peripheral equipment (17.3 percent) and chemicals (14.7 percent).

Felmy’s Power Point presentation included an image of a one dollar bill showing what American consumers are paying for with that dollar at the pump: 68 percent for crude oil and 18 percent on refining and retailing.

Fourteen percent of each dollar Americans spend at the pump goes to the federal government in the form of excise taxes.

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Republicans grill administration officials over energy policy

By Jonathan Tilove, The Times-Picayune The Times-Picayune

Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee issued a 43-page report Tuesday accusing the Obama administration of what Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., described as “nothing less than a concerted campaign to raise the price of energy as a means to force the issue of green alternatives.”

Democrats and Republicans disagree on the reason for high gasoline prices. Contractor Mylan Johnson was photographed pumping gas into his truck in Moreland Hills, Ohio, on May 5.

Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the committee, dismissed Issa’s “conspiracy theory,” countering with a 31-page Democratic staff report concluding that the key to lower gas prices is not more drilling but “countering the growing impact of excessive speculation.”

Each report amounted to a compendium of the party’s competing narratives of what and who is to blame for Americans’ pain at the pump.

The Issa report suggests that the Obama administration, in league with environmentalists, is happy to see gas prices rise by thwarting the drilling and hydraulic fracturing that would provide America with access to the largest energy stores on the planet: “greater than Saudi Arabia, China and Canada combined.”

The Cummings report cited expert estimates that oil speculation could be inflating the price of gas by as much as 30 percent, while increasing domestic production would lower prices by only about 1 percent a decade or more from now.

Democrats said that Republicans want to turn a blind eye to abuses by speculators by calling for funding cuts for the policing agency, the Commodity Futures Trading Corporation.

The release of the competing reports came against the backdrop of a hearing of the committee, at which Republicans scornfully cross-examined EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Hayes.

The hearing reached its acrimonious peak when Issa refused to let Hayes complete an answer about the litigation surrounding the administration’s moratorium last year on deepwater drilling after the BP spill, because, Issa said, he didn’t want Hayes to risk perjuring himself.

“We’ll move on because I don’t want you to say anything that ultimately will be bad considering you’re under oath,” Issa said, which led to howls from Cummings and other Democrats.

“You’ve basically implied that this gentleman may be lying,” Cummings said, insisting that Hayes “should be afforded the opportunity to answer the question.”

Issa refused, but Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., who was up next, offered the low-key Interior official who frequently testifies before Congress, often alongside his boss, Secretary Ken Salazar, an opportunity to give his answer.

Hayes said the Interior Department lifted its Gulf deepwater drilling moratorium “after a series of public meetings in which we concluded that the basis for the moratorium was satisfied.”

Hayes was also assailed for his assertion — a frequent administration talking point — that oil production in the United States is at its highest level since 2003, with Republicans suggesting the administration is trying to seize credit for decisions made years ago by the Bush administration, and avoid blame for the decline in production that’s sure to come because of Obama administration policies.

Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fla., lit into Hayes’ assertion of another Obama administration talking point — that industry is failing to drill many existing leases, both on and off shore.

“No one believes that, absolutely no one believes that,” said Mack, asserting that the administration is essentially telling the companies to scrounge for oil in mostly depleted wells rather than look for rich new strikes.

“If you offer them crap, you get crap,” Mack said.

Jackson took her licks from Republicans on the committee, who said the Environmental Protection Agency cares more about the fate of bait minnows than energy development and more about the “welfare of fish,” said Rep. Pat Meehan, R-Pa., than workers at refineries in his district.

Rants, lies, subsidies and job-killing policies

How our government subsidizes job, wealth, revenue and people-killing energy policies

Paul Driessen

President Obama’s speeches sum up his views on oil, natural gas and energy prices in just 44 words.

“We have less than 2% of the world’s oil reserves. We’re running out of places to drill. We’re running out of oil. We need to end our $4 billion in annual taxpayer subsidies to oil companies. We need to invest in clean, renewable energy.”

As Congressman Joe Wilson would say, That’s a lie! Or at least a deliberate distortion of facts.

Oil “reserves” are what can actually be produced at today’s prices, with existing technologies, and under current laws and regulations. America has vast oil, gas and coal resources – centuries of potential hydrocarbon energy. We certainly have the technology to extract it, especially at $100 a barrel. What we don’t have are laws and regulations that allow us to do so.

If the President were honest, he would say: “We’re running out of oil that Democrats, my Administration and our radical environmentalist allies will let this country produce. We’re running out of places we’ll let companies drill. We have 2% of world oil reserves, because we’ve made most of our resources off limits.”

If he were honest, he would also say: “We will demonize, penalize, hyper-regulate, tax and kill hydrocarbons. But we will mandate and subsidize wind, solar and ethanol, ignore their environmental and human costs, and extol the measly, expensive, unreliable energy they produce.

“We oppose subsidies for oil and coal companies (even in the form of tax deductions for actual expenses), because they promote drilling – and their CEOs and workers rarely vote for us. We support huge subsidies for wind, solar and ethanol, because those guys help keep us in power and drive a transition to renewables.

“We know oil, gas and coal generate royalty and tax revenues, and provide 85% of the energy that powers America and supports jobs, commuting, factories, transportation, tourism, hospitals, ambulances, churches and living standards. But we don’t care about that or about revenues, except when they come from higher taxes on corporations – or rich families that make over $250,000 … $150,000 … $65,000 a year. We detest free enterprise, and think government should control more of your energy, economy and lives.

“And we love the way supply and demand laws drive prices up. DC area gasoline is already $4.25 a gallon. That’s about half of what Energy Secretary Chu and I would like it to be: European prices. And we know restricting energy supplies even further will send all prices skyrocketing even higher.”

As crazy as they sound, these ideologies are even more frightening and demented in practice.

Oil production in the Gulf of Mexico is projected to drop 240,000 barrels a day this year. That’s $9 billion more that America will have to pay this year to import replacement oil … $1.3 billion we won’t collect in federal royalty payments … thousands of jobs that won’t be “created or saved” … and billions in corporate, personal income and sales taxes we won’t collect.

The US Geological Survey says upwards of 90 billion barrels remain to be discovered in the Arctic. ANWR alone could hold 16 billion barrels of recoverable oil, producible from areas totaling 1/20th of Washington, DC. But it’s all locked up, off limits to We the People who own it.

Meanwhile, the huge Prudhoe Bay field is slowly running dry. So the Alaska Pipeline is operating at a fraction of its capacity, which increases corrosion and blockages in the pipe, magnifies the risk of ruptures and spills, and threatens the future of all Alaskan oil. Shell Oil spent $3.5 billion acquiring and exploring leases in the Chukchi Sea – but Interior and EPA refuse to issue drilling permits, because diesel emissions from the rig could cause global warming or affect the health of Natives 20-50 miles away! It all adds up to less oil, less royalty revenue, fewer jobs and more imported oil. Just as Obama & Co. intend.

Made in America technology and innovation have unlocked centuries of new natural gas in US shale formations (and similar deposits all over the world). This game-changing development has reduced gas prices … completely unhinged Obama, Democrat and other environmental ideologues … and devastated their “we’re running out” mantra. So they’ve rallied the troops, to produce a bogus “documentary” film (“Gasland”), a sloppy Cornell University “study,” and reams of new EPA regulations, to stymie shale gas. A thorough analysis by science writer Matt Ridley provides much needed facts and perspectives. (The same horizontal drilling and “fracking” technologies are also unlocking eco-nightmarish new oil riches.)

Coal generates half of all US electricity, and 70-98% in twelve states – sustaining jobs by keeping AC, heating and machinery operating costs at about half of what is typical in states that get little or no electricity from coal. But EPA has issued 946 pages of new air quality rules and launched a massive propaganda campaign against mercury emissions – even though those power plants account for barely 0.5% of all mercury in the air Americans breathe. President Obama has said he wants to “bankrupt” the industry.

All told, over a billion acres of onshore and offshore energy prospects are locked up – costing us centuries of fuel, millions of jobs, and hundreds of billions in bonus, royalty and tax revenues. Of course, there are “no quick fixes” for our energy problems, as President Obama loves to remind us. But if we’d begun drilling in some of these places 10-20 years ago, we wouldn’t be in this fix today.

As to subsidies, even the alleged billions for oil companies are a pittance compared to subsidies for wind, solar and ethanol. Subsidies per unit of energy actually produced are even more shocking. According to the Energy Information Administration, gas-fired electricity generation received a mere 25 cents per megawatt-hour in 2007 subsidies; coal got 44 cents. By comparison, wind turbines got 23.4 dollars and photovoltaic solar received 24.3 dollars per mWh.

Moreover, oil and gas is 24/7 – with 95% reliability. The industry supports 9.2 million jobs, directly and in companies that depend on reliable, affordable oil, gas, gasoline, fertilizer, plastics, pharmaceuticals and electricity. It generates federal revenue, paying billions in taxes and royalties. The same holds true for coal.

By contrast, wind and solar produce electricity just two to eight hours a day – with backup generators making up the monumental shortfall. That means we must duplicate every megawatt of wind and solar with a MW of (mostly gas-fired) backup power – which requires even more land and raw materials to support the government-mandated transition to “eco-friendly” renewable energy systems.

More appalling, instead of generating tax or royalty revenues, wind and solar require perpetual subsidies. Solar panel maker Solyndra got a $535 “stimulus” loan in 2009; then, the day after the 2010 elections, it announced it was laying off 190 people. In April 2011 alone, the Department of Energy poured $9 billion in loan guarantees into wind and solar projects that will blanket large swaths of crop and habitat land.

Ethanol receives subsidies of $5.72 per million Btu (190 times what oil and gas companies get), so that we can burn food to make fuels that government won’t let us drill for. In 2010, American farmers turned 36% of their corn crop into ethanol, which provides 30% less energy than gasoline – meaning cars get less mileage per tank for more bucks per gallon. Making one gallon of this substandard fuel also requires some 1,700 gallons of water and large quantities of petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides. Worse, energy economist Indur Goklany calculates, biofuel policies cause up to 200,000 deaths a year in poor countries, by raising food prices, increasing malnutrition and making people more vulnerable to disease.

Overall, since assuming power in Washington, the Obama Administration has channeled over $60 billion into the “green jobs” sector. And the renewable energy subsidy train rolls on, with tanker cars of red ink bankrolled by US taxpayers and consumers – to provide less than 1% of the energy we use.

If Congress still refuses to hold inquiries and end these tax-subsidized scams, perhaps the most we can hope for is that a few courageous and publicly spirited governors and AGs will step into the breach.

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.

Wind Power Promises and Predictions Gone Awry

by Jack Sullivan, Empire Today

The predictions and promises made by wind developers for Northern New York in 2005-2007 can now be analyzed in the light of a number of wind projects that have been in operation for 3 or more years.

I have scrutinized a number of news articles, press releases, and meeting minutes from the above period on wind power. Developer promises have come to pass in nearly none of the cases.

Most of the wind plant statistics I have quoted refer to the 106.5 MW capacity Chateaugay project. (All are verifiable). I use Chateaugay because it is in Franklin County and is the largest of the four area wind plants. The other three — Clinton, Ellenburgh, and Altona — have virtually identical outputs.

John Quirke of Noble Power said that local wind projects should average 30-35% of their listed capacity. In 2010, however, the Chateaugay wind plant only averaged 20.6%. The predicted value was exaggerated 58% over actual. According to Public Service Commission Report #09E-0497, if transmission losses and wind project electric use are subtracted, the wind projects only returned about 10% of their advertised capacity to consumers.

Noble’s Mark Lyons said the Chateaugay project would produce enough electricity to power 33,000 homes. The actual output of 192,000 MWh in 2010 would power fewer than 18,000 homes, again a significant exaggeration over estimate. There is a huge caveat in these figures, since Chateaugay had 1,222 hours of no output (that’s more than 50 days). Since this down time is unpredictable, Chateaugay can supply reliable electricity to ZERO homes. The low average value of NNY wind speeds coupled with a very high degree of variability means Northern NY is NOT suitable for economically viable nor dependable industrial wind installations.

In hyping a tentative 70 turbine project for Malone, Noble’s Mark Lyons predicted it would create up to 45 jobs. This sounds like an exaggeration since the 195 turbines at Tug Hill created less than 40 jobs. The job creation aspect of wind projects is also often over-inflated. A Dept. of Energy document tells of a loan guarantee to First Wind for $117 M for a project to create 10 jobs. That’s nearly $12M per job.

All of Noble’s presenters claimed that wind would produce cheap electricity since the fuel is free. The reality? Chateaugay’s electricity cost of $38 MWh is more than 20% higher than the cost of power from the FDR Seaway hydro plant. Maybe wind power should be touted as “not so cheap electricity”. The sale of electricity in Chateaugay will not be sufficient to pay for the turbines before they are worn out!!

Chuck Hinckley said “there is no evidence of property devaluation near large wind turbines”. In fact, there are a number of well done professional studies that have found significant property devaluation near wind turbines. Studies done in Texas and Wisconsin are among the best. Some local realtors avoid listing properties near turbines because they are hard to sell.

Dan Boyd, Noble’s project manager, stated on several occasions that wind power could reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Any such effect is laughingly small. The entire 2010 energy production at the Chateaugay wind plant is equivalent to a mere 17 minutes of imported oil. Since oil and electricity generally serve different uses, the effect is negligible. To produce 25% of imported oils energy would take approx. ½ million turbines occupying 30+ million acres (5 Adirondack Parks). An impossible dream.

All of Noble’s spokepersons claimed that free and clean windpower would combat global warming. No one mentioned the huge carbon emissions debt created when building a wind project.

An in-depth study by the internationally respected Pacific Research Institute found that a typical project must operate for 7 years at full capacity before it pays back all the emissions produced in manufacture and construction. Since our local wind plants operate at about 20% capacity, it would take 30+ years to become emission free. Not bad for machinery that the manufacturer (GE) says will last 20 yrs.

Then there’s the mercury problem. Through cement use, wind projects have released enough airborne mercury to render most of the fish in the Adirondacks inedible.

Mark Lyons and Chuck Hinckley insisted that Noble would pay its fair share of taxes. Yet the PILOT agreement with Franklin County has most homeowners paying 10 times the tax rate that Noble does.

In the PILOT agreement with Clinton County IDA, Noble offered to pay a bonus of $1000/MW every time the annual capacity factor of any of their projects exceeded 35%. The problem? No NY wind project has ever exceeded a 35% annual c.f. Probably none east of the Mississippi has ever done so. Did Noble know this? If so, it was a con.

Lyons insisted that all the land around turbines could have the same use it could have had before they were installed. Not quite. If a turbine had to be sited say 1500’ from a home for health and safety reasons, then future homes could be built no closer than 1500’ to existing turbines. Thus, each turbine would exclude 160+ acres from home building.

Lyons and others claimed that 1&1/2 times the tower height was a safe setback from roads, trails and other areas frequented by people. Basic physics, however, shows that debris from blades at normal operating speeds can fly up to 1000’ far more than 1&1/2 tower heights. The runaway turbine that self-destructed in Altona in 2009 could theoretically throw debris up to 1640’. 1&1/2 tower height setbacks are woefully inadequate, actually downright dangerous.

Lyons and Hinckley maintained that noise was not a problem and the sound emitted by turbines was “no louder than a refrigerator”. Neighbors soon found the turbines at times much louder than a refrigerator. Medical experts are just learning that sound undetectable to the human ear (infrasound) is causing serious health problems. This is known as Wind Turbine Syndrome(WTS). These problems have been diagnosed in hundreds of people worldwide who live near wind turbines. This has led the prestigious French Societe de Medicine to recommend 2 km. (1.24mi.) between turbines and all houses.

Lyons said their turbines only turned at 20 RPM’s therefore they were little threat to birds. A little math shows that the tip speed of a 20 RPM 240’ diameter rotor is nearly 180 mph. — certainly fast enough to do in most birds!

One has to wonder if the huge discrepancy between what the wind developers promised and what ultimately transpired is due to ignorance of a fledgling company that did not do its homework or the result of a concerted deceptive propaganda campaign designed to dupe a naïve and trusting rural populace?

Green energy failure

Ross McKitrick, Financial Post · May 17, 2011

The pledge by Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak to roll back key provisions of the Ontario Green Energy Act is a courageous move and deserves to be applauded. It will likely spark intense debates as we head into the upcoming election. It is hard to say whether public opinion will be on his side, but the facts certainly are.

The Green Energy Act (GEA) was proposed as both an environmental policy and a job-creation policy. It is misguided on both scores.

With regard to job creation, there is nothing special about subsidizing electricity generation. It’s just as harmful as subsidizing anything else. We have long and lamentable experience in Canada with failed job creation schemes based on subsidies to money-losing industries. From Sprung cucumbers to Bricklin sports cars, governments have regularly learned and relearned, at taxpayer expense, the immutable rule that if a business plan depends on subsidies, the jobs it creates are not sustainable, and if the business is profitable on its own, it doesn’t need subsidies.

An industry that depends on subsidies for its survival is not a net source of jobs. The funds for the subsidies have to be raised through taxation, and the burden of taxes kills more jobs than the subsidies create. This is as true for wind power as it is for greenhouse cucumbers, and it doesn’t matter if the taxes are visible or are hidden in the form of feed-in tariffs and artificially inflated electricity bills.

In countries like Spain and the U.K., which launched their own versions of the GEA a decade ago, the job losses are now being confirmed by independent analyses. In the U.K., a report by Verso Economics used the Scottish government’s own macroeconomic model to show that, despite receiving net transfers of about £330-million ($521-million) from the rest of the U.K. for its renewables sector, Scotland still experienced a net job loss from wind power, and for the U.K. as a whole, 3.7 jobs were lost for every job created in renewable energy.

In Spain, researchers at King Carlos University found that, on average, each job in the wind sector cost the country more than £1-million, implying a loss of 2.2 private sector jobs for every new job created in the renewables sector.

There is no magic Ontario fairy dust that will spare Ontarians from the same fate. The Green Energy Act will raise electricity costs and decrease employment. If the goal was to promote industry and create jobs, it is guaranteed to fail.

The GEA was also introduced to improve the environment. Here again it fails.

First, when people talk about “green Ontario” they usually picture peaceful rolling hills and pleasant countryside. But that is precisely what is being destroyed through the rapid proliferation of industrial wind-turbine installations across the Ontario landscape. The GEA strips local authorities of their customary planning and zoning tools for protecting environmental amenities. As a result, the “green” that people actually want to enjoy is being ruined in the name of “green” ideology.

Second, expanding the renewables portfolio is redundant since 75% of Ontario’s electricity comes from nuclear and hydro power, which do not generate emissions. Twenty-two per cent comes from coal-and natural gas-fired power plants. Ontarians have paid hundreds of millions of dollars for installation of advanced emission control devices on those plants. As a result, Ontario air pollution levels have fallen dramatically since the 1970s and 1980s, a point easily confirmed by consulting any edition of the government’s annual Air Quality in Ontario report.

The particular type of emissions that gets talked about now as the main health concern is called PM2.5, or ultra-fine particles smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter. According to Environment Canada’s emissions inventory, Ontario’s coal-fired power plants released 699 tonnes of PM2.5 in 2009. Is that a lot? One way to tell is to compare it with another source nobody worries about: residential wood fireplaces. According to the same Environment Canada emissions inventory, Ontario residential wood-burning fireplaces released 1,150 tonnes of PM2.5 in 2009, 65% more than all the coal-fired electricity generation together.

That does not mean Ontario has a crisis of air pollution from wood fires. It means PM2.5 emissions from coal-fired power plants are at levels well below what is considered not a problem when coming from other, more picturesque sources.

The Ontario Clean Air Alliance has published claims that Ontario’s coal-fired power plants cause 316 deaths, 440 hospital admissions, 522 emergency room visits and 158,000 minor illnesses each year. Its numbers are based on a 2005 simulation study for the provincial government that focused almost entirely on the effects of PM2.5. (It also considered ground-level ozone, but emphasized that most of the ozone precursors originated in the United States).

How plausible are these claims? If cor-rect, they imply that wood-burning fireplaces cause 520 deaths per year, etc. But that is nothing compared with the implied effects from people driving on unpaved roads. According to Environment Canada, dust from unpaved roads in Ontario puts a whopping 90,116 tonnes of PM2.5 into our air each year, nearly 130 times the amount from coal-fired power generation. Using the Clean Air Alliance method for computing deaths, particulates from country-road usage kills 40,739 people per year, quite the massacre considering there are only about 90,000 deaths from all causes in Ontario each year. Who knew? That quiet drive up back country roads to the cottage for a weekend of barbecues, cozy fires and marshmallow roasts is a form of genocide.

Of course such a conclusion is absurd, but it follows from the screwy way numbers are used in this debate. If we are going to say that 699 tonnes of PM2.5 from power generation kills 316 people, then 90,116 tonnes of PM2.5 from unpaved roads must kill a proportionately much larger number. Likewise, paving just eight-10ths of 1% of Ontario’s dirt roads would cut annual PM2.5 emissions by an amount equivalent to shutting down all Ontario coal-fired power plant units. And then Ontario wouldn’t need to shut them down, and the province could have inexpensive, reliable electricity from them for many years to come.

The third argument is that putting up windmills and solar panels will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But the power they generate is variable and unreliable, so fossil fuel-based power stations have to run in the background to take up the slack whenever the wind dies down or the clouds roll by. The actual reductions are less than advertised.

Moreover, the emission reductions achieved come at far too high a cost. Whenever energy policy is discussed, the government’s case always traces back to a confidential 2005 cost-benefit analysis that supposedly showed it was a good idea to shut down Lambton and Nanticoke coal generating stations. That report assessed the social costs of greenhouse gas emissions from keeping the power plants running at between $2.4-billion and $3.5-billion higher than the alternatives.

Even if we take those figures at face value -and there are good reasons to consider them inflated relative to the cost of purchasing emission offsets -it is less than half the cost of the Samsung deal alone, not to mention the rest of the GEA boondoggle, which doesn’t even yield enough new electrical generating capacity to replace what is lost in shutting down the coal plants.

If the goal is to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, the GEA goes about it in the most costly and ineffective way ever tried -yet another failure. There are cheaper and more effective options that don’t create big cost increases for households and businesses.

Whether the goal is to create jobs or protect the environment, the GEA is a failure, and the provincial Tories should be applauded for taking on the challenge of phasing it out.

– Ross McKitrick is a professor of economics at University of Guelph and senior fellow of the Fraser Institute.

The “Dirty Little Secret Behind the Chevy Volt”…. The Rest of the Story

Patrick Michaels is a senior fellow in Environmental Studies at the Cato Institute and the editor of the forthcoming Climate Coup: Global Warming’s Invasion of our Government and our Lives, as well as the author of several other books on global warming.

His Forbes column on the Chevy Volt is a case study in the nexus between big government corruption and big business rent-seeking.

Michaels briefly recaps the well-known consumer fraud in which GM has touted the Volt as an all-electric mass production vehicle on the supposed basis of which its sales receive a $7,500 taxpayer subsidy, which still renders it overpriced and unmarketable.

Michaels notes that “sales are anemic: 326 in December, 321 in January, and 281 in February.”

There seems to be a trend here.

Michaels adds that GM has announced a production run of 100,000 in the first two years and asks what appears to be a rhetorical question: “Who is going to buy all these cars?”

But wait! Keep hope alive! There is a positive answer to the question.

Jeffrey Immelt’s GE will buy a boatload of those uneconomic GM cars. Here the case study opens onto the inevitable political angle: Recently, President Obama selected General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt to chair his Economic Advisory Board.

GE is also awash in windmills waiting to be subsidized so they can provide unreliable, expensive power.

Consequently, and soon after his appointment, Immelt announced that GE will buy 50,000 Volts in the next two years, or half the total produced.

Assuming the corporation qualifies for the same tax credit, we (you and me) just shelled out $375,000,000 to a company to buy cars that no one else wants, so that GM will not tank and produce even more cars that no one wants. And this guy is the chair of Obama’s Economic Advisory Board?

But of course. Michaels includes this hilarious detail in his case study:

In a telling attempt to preserve battery power, the heater is exceedingly weak. Consumer Reports their tests averaged a paltry 25 miles of electric-only running, in part because it was testing in cold Connecticut. (The [GM] engineer at the Auto Show said cold weather would have little effect.) It will be interesting to see what the range is on a hot, traffic-jammed summer day, when the air conditioner will really tax the batteries. When the gas engine came on, Consumer Reports got about 30 miles to the gallon of premium fuel; which, in terms of additional cost of high-test gas, drives the effective mileage closer to 27 mpg. A conventional Honda Accord, which seats 5 (instead of the Volt’s 4), gets 34 mpg on the highway, and costs less than half of what CR paid, even with the tax break.

The story of the GM Volt deserves a place in the Harvard Business School curriculum….but of course, it won’t. It’s a classic tale of the GOVERNMENT deciding what the public needs, not the marketplace.

Freedom is lost gradually by an uninterested, uninformed, and uninvolved people.

The CFL Fraud

American Thinker

by Edmund Contoski

[SPPI Note: An extensive examination of the mercury scare can be found on the SPPI home website here: http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/mercury/ ]

A compact fluorescent light (CFL) on the ceiling burst and started a fire in a home in Hornell, N.Y. December 23, 2010. “Those are the lights everybody’s been telling us to use,” said Joe Gerych, Steuben County Fire Inspector. “It blew up like a bomb. It spattered all over.” Fire Chief Mike Robbins said the blaze destroyed the room where the fire started and everything in it, and the rest of the house suffered smoke and water damage. The Arkport Village Fire Department as well as the North Hornell Fire Department required about 15 minutes to put out the fire. Link

“Bulb explodes without warning,” reported NBCactionnews.com, May 21, 2010.

“Tom and Nancy Heim were watching TV recently, when Tom decided to turn on the floor lamp next to his recliner chair. ‘I heard this loud pop…I saw what I thought was smoke, coming out of the top of the floor lamp,’ says Tom. Nancy suddenly found glass in her lap. She says, ‘I did not see it. I just heard it, and I noticed I had glass on me.’” Link

On February 23, 2011, TV NewsChannel 5 in Tennessee covered “a newly-released investigators’ report that blames a February 12 fatal fire in Gallatin on one of those CFL bulbs.” Ben Rose, an attorney for the rehabilitative facility in which Douglas Johnson, 45, perished, said, “This result is consistent with our own private investigation. …We have heard reports of similar fires being initiated by CFLs across the country.“ Link

Here are some examples from across the country:

“GE Helical 13 Watt light bulb. After only 6 months of use. This bulb started making funny noises and flickering… Finally, exploded on my kitchen table.” — Charles of South Webster, OH January 30, 2010. Link

“My GE 20W Helical bulb in my 1/2 bathroom caught on fire on 5/3/10. The bulb snapped and glowed very brightly then caught on fire….The bulb was suppose to last 5 years but it was only about a year or so old. I tried replacing it with a GE 26W bulb and the same thing happened immediately.” — Chantelle of Danville, PA May 15, 2010 Link

“My 80 year old mother turned on her reading lamp and the bulb exploded and the lamp shade caught fire. She unpluged the lamp from the wall and the fire went out thank God.” — M. of Lahaina, HI March 30, 2010 Link

“I turned on an overhead bathroom light bulb and heard a pop and it exploded falling into the bathroom sink. Nearly all of he flying glass went straight down so little damage was done; however, I was very thankful it did not get in my eyes.” — Patricia of Sammamish, WA October 20, 2010 Link

“We purchased a 3-way light bulb this past year. [Special 3-way CFLs are made but cost more.] Last night the bulb started a fire in the lamp….Had we not been there our house might have burned down.” — Tina of Redding, CT July 10, 2010 Link

“I had a desk lamp CFL burn up right in front of me. Switched it on and tiny sparks were emanating like a Van de Graaff generator. Quickly switched it off; the plastic around the ballast was cracked and smoking” — Nisshin, November 30, 2008 Link

October 5, 2010 the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported: “Trisonic Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs Recalled Due to Fire Hazard” because of four incidents. It’s official notice states: “Hazard: light bulb can overheat and catch fire.” Link

Concerns about the toxic mercury in CFLs are downplayed by the bulbs’ advocates, but they shouldn’t be. According to EPA and other sources, the safe limit is 300 nanograms per cubic meter. When a broken CFL was reported in Maine, the state’s Department of Environmental Protection did the most extensive testing in the nation to evaluate the health risk. Its 160-page report is shocking:

Mercury concentration in the study room air often exceeds the…300 nanograms per cubic meter (ng/m3) for some period of time, with short excursions over 25,000 ng/m3, sometimes over 50,000 ng/m3. Link

The Maine report states that although following its recommended procedure for home cleanup

produces visibly clean flooring surfaces for both wood and carpets, all types of flooring surfaces tested can retain mercury sources even when visibly clean. Flooring surfaces, once visibly clean, can emit mercury immediately at the source that can be greater than 50,000 ng/m3[.]

The recommended cleanup procedures are onerous, inconvenient, time consuming and must be followed exactly to avoid exacerbating the health risk and incurring financial expense. For example, EPA Link recommends:

Never use a vacuum cleaner to clean up mercury… The vacuum will put mercury into the air and increase exposure.” You will also be looking at the cost of a new vacuum cleaner, because the Maine DEP research found it “difficult to impossible” to decontaminate a vacuum even with the advantage of sophisticated instruments the homeowner doesn’t have.

Never use a broom to clean up mercury. It will break the mercury into smaller droplets and spread them.

Never pour mercury down a drain. It may lodge in the plumbing and cause future problems during plumbing repairs…or cause pollution of the septic tank or sewage treatment plant.

Never wash clothing or other items that have come in direct contact with mercury in a washing machine, because mercury may contaminate the machine and/or pollute sewage.

On December 2, 2010, Germany’s Federal Environment Agency (UBA) reported mercury levels from broken CFLs twenty times higher than regulations allow in the surrounding air for up to five hours after breakage. Link Based on a new method to measure mercury from broken CFLs, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection reports that only one-third of the mercury release occurs during the first 8 hours after breakage. During the following two-week period, 17% to 40 percent of the mercury is released into the air. Link According to the Maine study, dangerous levels of mercury can remain in the air for days, weeks, or in at least one case, months.

Utility companies are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to subsidize consumer purchases of CFLs, but the benefits are “less than expected,” according to the Wall Street Journal. One reason is that the bulbs are burning out faster than expected. When Pacific Gas & Electric began the program, “it figured the useful life of each bulb would be 9.4 years. Now, with experience, it has cut its estimate to 6.3 years, which limits the energy savings.” PG&E had overstated bulb life by 49 percent! As a result of this and other factors, the energy savings were a whopping 73 percent less than the 1.7 billion kilowatt hours projected by PG&E. Link

Cost comparisons between CFLs and incandescents are misleading for reasons beside CFL’s falling far short of their advertised bulb life and energy savings. In California, for example, the average cost of CFLs subsidized by the utility companies is $1.30 compared to $4 for unsubsidized bulbs. But that cost comparison doesn’t include the fact the utility companies use ratepayer funds to subsidize the bulbs. The state also subsidizes the bulbs with rewards and incentives to the utilities. PG&E collected $104 million of this money. So the taxpayers as well as the ratepayers are paying in ways that aren’t included in the claims about how much money is saved with CFLs. Link

CFLs often don’t fit existing light fixtures, such as small-base lamps, candelabras, and chandeliers, which will have to be replaced. But the costs of replacements are not included in the calculations that CFLs will save money. Say goodbye to those candelabras — even the expensive ones — as well as the aesthetic satisfaction they may give. That counts for zero in the government’s calculations.

When a CFL is switched on, it provides as little as half of its rated output and can take up to three minutes to reach efficient operation, though the observer will not notice the difference. So all those short on-and-off periods include operating the bulbs at far less than the efficiency claimed for them, and they shorten bulb life, too. A study by H. Sterling Burnett, Senior Fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis, and co-author Amanda Berg concludes:

Applications in which lighting is used only briefly (such as closets, bathrooms, motion detectors and so forth) will cause CFL bulbs to burn out as quickly as regular incandescent bulbs. Link

The U.S. Department of Energy found that CFLs often grow dimmer over time. It found that after only 40 percent of their rated service life, one-fourth of CFLs no longer produced the full amount of light. In tests conducted by the London Times, 11-watt CFLs produced only 58% of the light of an equivalent 60-watt incandescent — even after a 10-minute warm-up to allow the CFLs to reach maximum output. Link So the consumer gets less light than he expected, and the energy efficiency drops, too. And the cost estimates of the savings from CFLs are overstated because the customer is shortchanged on the amount of illumination he is paying for.

CFLs also will not operate at low temperatures, making them unsuitable for outdoor applications. Most say so right on the packaging. Safety experts say outdoor lighting is one of the most effective steps a person can take for home or business security, and motion detector lights have grown increasingly popular. So legislating incandescents out of existence will decrease safety. The same will be true of the disappearance of timers, which many people use to turn lights on and off when they are away, giving the appearance of someone being home and thereby discouraging break-ins. And the cost of throwing out timers and dimmers is not included in the costs of CFLs, nor is the cost of buying the more expensive CFLs specially made for those purposes, when they are available. The same is true for ceiling fans and garage door openers, where ordinary CFLs cannot be used because of vibration, and special CFLs for this purpose are far more expensive.

On May 15, 2007 Michael Scott, a Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter, wrote that General Electric announced “by 2010 it will offer incandescent bulbs twice as efficient as those sold today and four times as efficient by 2012.“ Link The first part has already proven true since 2,000-hour rated bulbs appeared on the market in 2010. As a result, the claims that CFL bulbs last “x” number of times longer than incandescents should have reduced the “x” by half. Instead, we continue to hear repetition of the comparisons made years ago of CFLs to 1,000-hour incandescents (or even 750-hour ones of a few years earlier) rather than the 2,000 hour ones that are now readily available. Nor have the claims about CFLs been adjusted for the fact it has been demonstrated over and over and over again that CFLs fall far short of their predicted bulb life. And if the efficiency of incandescents doubles again by 2012 — when the legislation intended to eliminate them from stores takes effect — any cost-over-lifetime advantage for CFLs will be wiped out. Kevin Nolan, Vice President of Technology for GE Consumer & Industrial, has stated: “In addition to offering significant energy savings comparable to CFLs,” the new bulbs will provide “all the desirable benefits including light quality and instant-on convenience as incandescent lamps currently provide at a price that will be less than CFLs.” Link

The advocates of CFLs complain that 90 percent of the energy from incandescents is wasted because it is given off as heat while only 10 percent gives illumination. It seems to have eluded these people that the heat can be a resource to be utilized, rather than wasted. A study by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy Link states: “The heat of incandescent lights — more than 341 Btu per bulb per hour — can help to warm a room. Therefore, if the cost of electricity is low relative to the cost of home heating fuel, there may be an economic case for changing to incandescent bulbs in colder seasons.” The extent to which the heat from incandescents reduces home heating bills in the winter — and CFLs cause higher heating bills — is not included in cost comparisons. (Nor from my own experience in Minnesota do air conditioning costs resulting from summer use of incandescents come anywhere close to the winter savings on heating.)

Reducing the use of fossil fuels and lowering carbon dioxide emissions are given as reasons, besides cost, for switching to CFLs. But at least 85 percent of the CFLs are produced in China, with India in second place by a wide margin over any other country. Why is it that those who champion CFLs as a “green” solution for saving energy never consider the fossil fuel energy required to ship them 8,000 miles from China or India across the ocean to the U.S.?

CFLs emit a high percentage of ultraviolet rays. UV can damage oil paintings, acrylic paintings, photographs, upholstery fabrics, furniture, and flooring finishes. (Link Link Link Link) It can not only fade the colors in upholstery fabrics but actually weaken the fibers.

Vu1, a high tech lighting company, states: “Many light fixtures and lamp shades are made of — or incorporate — plastics. UV has a tendency to attack plastic.” Link Its website shows a picture of a premium lampshade whose plastic liner was discolored, brittle, and shattered in several places from the UV of a CFL. Shouldn’t UV damage be factored into all those claims that CFLs will save you money?

Lisa Brosseau, an associate professor in environmental science, says many people store used CFLs in the packages in which they were sold and later transport them that way to recycling centers. She states, “The recent University of Minnesota study I conducted with my team of researchers found that these packages do not contain mercury vapor below permissible workplace exposure levels, as defined by state and federal authorities…and represent a real health and safety concern to those involved in [CFL] storage, transport and disposal, as well as a legal hazard for any businesses that do not adhere to these stipulations.” Link, Link

Since an estimated 400 to 620 million CFLs are discarded annually, certainly a significant number of burned-out ones will accidentally be broken when handling and transporting them for disposal.

The Brosseau study found: “The only package that kept mercury vapor emissions below permissible exposure levels, as defined by state and federal authorities, was a double box with a zip closure foil-plastic laminate bag between the cardboard layers.” Link Who is going to pay for these, and shouldn’t the cost be included in all those comparisons of how cheap CFLs are compared to incandescent bulbs? Incandescents don’t need them. Dr. Brosseau says the “law requires” this special protection if CFLs “are transported by the Unites States Postal Service or a common carrier or collected via curbside programs and mail-back businesses.” A situation has now been created where huge numbers of Americans are violating the law every day, and compliance would be very expensive for curbside recycling programs and further downgrade CFL cost effectiveness.

And shouldn’t the consumers’ cost — not to mention the inconvenience — of transporting burned-out bulbs to recycling collection points be included in the cost of CFLs? Incandescent bulbs don’t require such trips; they can simply be tossed into regular trash, a procedure widely prohibited for CFLs by state and local ordinances to prevent contamination of landfills with mercury.

What about the industrial cost of recycling, which amounts to about 50 cents per CFL bulb? That’s another cost that isn’t included in cost comparisons with incandescents, but it should be because it’s a cost that incandescents don’t have.

Only about 2 percent of CFLs are recycled. The rest are disposed of improperly and end up in landfills, thus creating future environmental problems. It is ironic that advocates of Big Government typically argue that free market solutions sacrifice long-term environmental interests for short term financial gains while government is farsighted. But the CFLs the government is telling people to buy now for financial savings will result in mercury pollution turning up in landfills in future decades. The cost of preventive measures now, or landfill clean-up measures later, are not included in tally of all the money and energy people are told will be saved by buying CFLs.

The law intent on eliminating incandescents flies in the face of the Maine DEP safety recommendation that “homeowners consider not utilizing fluorescent lamps in situations where they could easily be broken, in bedrooms used by infants, small children, or pregnant women, or over carpets in rooms frequented by infants, small children and pregnant women.”

On February 15, 2010 a TV station reported a fire in Hinsdale, Illinois from a CFL plugged into a dimmer. Channel 2 CBS reporter Anne State said the producer of the news program tried to find a CFL that could be used with dimmers but discovered they were “very hard to find and cost more.” Link

On April 30, 2008 the Cumberland Times-News reported the Rick Jenkins family lost everything in a fire caused by a CFL connected to a dimmer switch. Many types of CFLs include package warnings not to connect them to dimmer switches. “I don’t read light bulbs,” said Jenkins. “I wouldn’t think I’d ever have to.” Link

Many CFL advocates will no doubt say, “Serves those people right for not reading the package.” What kind of society are we creating when if you commit the “crime” of not reading a regulation you can lose your house? Far more serious crimes — actual felonies — are committed every day with far less punishment, very often nothing more than probation. And what about the people who can’t read the regulations even if they wanted to? The U.S. Dept. of Education reported January 2009 that 32 million U.S. adults lack the basic literary skill to read a newspaper or the instructions on a bottle of pills. Link Is it realistic to depend on them reading the warnings on CFLs? And if they don’t, they might lose their homes? Wouldn’t it just be better to remove the threat of this danger by simply letting people buy incandescent bulbs?

Once again, a government claiming that it knows what is best for people — and that takes away their right to choose for themselves in the matter — is a dismal failure. In light of the facts just presented, the federal law effectively banning incandescent light bulbs should be switched off.

NASA-Funded Group Doctors Sea Level Data – James Taylor

by James Taylor on WindMillsEverywhere

Read full article on Forbes

Catastrophic sea level rise is one of the most valued hole cards played by alarmists in the global warming debate. In An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore showed computer generated images of what Manhattan would look like if sea level rose 20 feet. Building on this theme, elevation charts of coastal cities have become a staple in global warming presentations by Al Gore wannabes. But what happens when sea level in the real world does not rise nearly as much as alarmists predict? If you are a NASA-funded gatekeeper of sea level data, you merely doctor the data.

Faced with the embarrassing fact that sea level is not rising nearly as much as has been predicted, the University of Colorado’s NASA-funded Sea Level Research Group has announced it will begin adding a nonexistent 0.3 millimeters per year to its Global Mean Sea Level Time Series. As a result, alarmists will be able to present sea level charts asserting an accelerating rise in sea level that is not occurring in the real world.

Human civilization readily adapted to the seven inches of sea level rise that occurred during the twentieth century. Alarmists, however, claim global warming will cause sea level to rise much more rapidly during the present century. United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) computer models project approximately 15 inches of sea level rise during the 21st century. That’s more than double the sea level rise that occurred during the twentieth century. A more “mainstream” prediction among alarmists is 3 feet of sea level rise this century. Some alarmists have even projected 20 feet of global sea level rise this century.

Satellite measurements, however, show global sea level rose merely 0.83 inches during the first decade of the 21st century (a pace of just 8 inches for the entire century), and has barely risen at all since 2006. This puts alarmists in the embarrassing position of defending predictions that are not coming true in the real world.

The University of Colorado Sea Level Research Group is coming to their rescue. The NASA-funded group claims glacial melt is removing weight that had been pressing down on land masses, which in turn is causing land mass to rise. This welcome news mitigates sea-level rise from melting glacial ice, meaning sea level will rise less than previously thought. However, it is very inconvenient for alarmist sea level predictions. Therefore, instead of reporting the amount by which sea level is rising in the real world, the Sea Level Research Group has begun adding 0.3 millimeters per year of fictitious sea level rise to “compensate” for rising land mass.

The extra 0.3 millimeters of fictitious sea level rise will add up to 1.2 inches over the course of the 21st century. While this is not monumental in and of itself, it will allow alarmists to paint a dramatically different picture of sea level rise than is occurring in the real world. For example, the current pace of 8 inches of sea level rise for the present century is essentially no different than the 7 inches of sea level rise that occurred last century. However, with an artificially enhanced 9.2 inches of sea level rise, alarmists can claim sea level is rising 31 percent faster than it did last century.

Even under this scenario, sea level is not rising nearly as fast as IPCC and other alarmists have predicted. Nevertheless, a quick Google search of “sea level” and “global warming” shows an overwhelming number of items claiming dramatic and accelerating sea level rise, with very few items reporting that alarmist predictions and computer models are being contradicted by real-world data. The newly adjusted NASA-funded sea level data will merely add fuel to the errant fire.

James M. Taylor is senior fellow for environment policy at The Heartland Institute and managing editor of Environment & Climate News.

To learn more about some of the most desperate, bizarre and truly offensive ways we are being terrorized by so called ‘man made climate change’ and in the War on Carbon please check out my four part feature called, ‘The Indoctrination Zone – Converting You to Carbon Slavery’

Global Warming Fraud Creates Third World Food Crisis

Written by John O’Sullivan, guest post | May 12 2011

How saving the planet causes famine: the climate crisis melts away but global food shortage is legacy of the foolish rush to biofuels.

Evidence for dangerous, human-caused global warming was always slim, now it lies cruelly exposed both by a cruel blowback and it’s not just coming from within the science.

A far more devastating catastrophe is unfolding and it is entirely the product of the mad rush to biofuels: third world famine. Today a whopping 6.5 percent of the world’s grain has been stripped from the global food supply. That’s the kind of catastrophic cut in food supply that triggers a tipping point so that Third World hunger explodes into mass starvation. Why did it happen?

Kyoto Protocol: The Trigger to Mass Starvation

What mechanism prompted mankind to instigate this genocide of the world’s poor? The Kyoto Protocol. International governments signed up to the idea that biofuels were going to be the better, cleaner, greener source for mankind’s energy needs in a new utopia predicted for us by ‘expert’s inside the United Nations.

Canadian Geophysicist Norm Kalmanovitch is as concerned as many independent scientists at the alarming rate at which this international food crisis is now escalating.

Kalmanovitch is semi-retired now and not in fear of having his scientific career tarnished by blowback from speaking out. He argues that the facts easily demonstrate that the Kyoto Protocol is based entirely on fraudulent science.

Misguided Climate Scientist Primed the Politicians

Honest scientific inquiry serves the single purpose of advancing human knowledge and understanding free of any bias or ulterior motivation and it is clear that promoting “human caused global warming” a full nine years after the world had already started cooling serves no such lofty purpose.

Kalmanovitch accuses a small clique of self-serving climate researchers for violating the fundamental ethics of science protocol and propagating the false science that made the Kyoto Accord the international vehicle for crimes against humanity. Listening to his arguments you cannot help but see he has a point.

So what was the root catalyst for this cataclysm? Astonishingly, you can pin a lot of it on one well-intentioned but misguided do-gooder. His name: Professor James Hansen. Hansen was NASA’s bright-eyed scientist back in 1988. The eager climate modeler appeared before a Congressional Committee and prophesized that mankind would kill the planet if it continued to burn coal and gasoline at modern industrial rates.

Kalmanovich explains, “When you look closely at the climate change issue it is remarkable that the only actual evidence ever cited for a relationship between CO2 emissions and global warming is climate models.”

Hansen made unfounded and highly alarmist claims based on his computer forecasts. He predicted doomsday scenarios that panicked Congress and that wave of fear stampeded the world into believing in a non-existent crisis. Global temperatures have never rocketed as Hansen forecast. In fact all five global temperature datasets show zero net global warming over the past decade in spite of record increases in CO2 emissions from fossil fuels (climate scientists have now grudgingly conceded no statistically significant rise in temperatures has occurred since 1998 from their doomsaying). But once the stampede was launched it caused a rush to biofuels that stripped millions of crop acreage from the world’s food basket.

But more sickening is that many have made sizeable fortunes from trumpeting a short period of warming that lasted from (1975-1998); a vast international array of speculators in wind, solar, wave and biofuels alternatives are onboard the great global warming gravy train.

Hansen’s friends in the infant science of climatology have also fed well off government grants where the ‘climate change’ industry generates tens of billions annually in this self-perpetuating Ponzi scheme that symbiotically melded the interests of speculators with climate researchers.

In effect, those great riches and shining scientific careers were together built upon exploiting a 0.6 C rise in temperatures that all but vanished in the first decade of the 21st Century.

Alternative Scientific Views Now Come to the Fore

But since Hansen’s watershed moment in 1988 the science has moved on and many independent scientists, not on the government grant gravy train, have cast their eyes over the numbers for carbon dioxide (CO2), the prime bogeyman of climate alarmism.

From physical measurement of the Earth’s radiative spectrum impartial eyes saw that the 14.77 micron band of the Earth’s thermal radiation accessed by CO2, is so close to saturation that it is a physical impossibility for any increase in that trace gas to have anywhere near the effect claimed.

Analysts then looked back at the natural warming since the 1830’s that ushered in the end of the Little Ice Age, a time 100 years before any scientist claims humans had impact on the climate. They say natural warming in the order of 0.5°Centigrade per century. We can calculate this to show that the maximum possible effect from CO2 increases is just 0.1°C per century of the claimed 0.6°C per century of the observed temperature increase.

Hansen and his self-serving followers in climatology conveniently chose to ignore such inconvenient truths. Kalmanovich seethes,

“They falsely attributed the effect of CO2 to the full 0.6°C and incorporated a range of wavelengths from 7 to 14 microns when CO2 only has an effect over a range from 13.5 to 17microns and the wavelength band is at least 80 percent saturated. Though never stated explicitly this formed the basis for the CO2 forcing parameter which Hansen used in his earlier climate models and is still used by the IPCC today with the basic formula of 5.35ln(2) = 3.71watts/m2 for a doubling of CO2.”

Like other independent scientists Kalmanovich saw that the fuss all stems from a 1981 paper by Hansen that was peer reviewed and published in SCIENCE magazine. Here’s where Hansen’s alarmist and skewed climate models captivated scientific literature on the matter. It is by repeated reference to Hansen’s original paper and his 1988 modification of it that the current climate change issue was premised.

In REAL Science Correlation Does not prove Causation

All the other evidence is either of warming or misrepresentations of the greenhouse effect but never of an actual relationship between the two other than a stated correlation stating that CO2 increased and global temperature increased and therefore CO2 caused the global temperature increase.

Kalmanovich’s findings have been corroborated by a group of independent scientists calling themselves the ‘Slayers’ who claim to have refuted the greenhouse gas effect.

They agree that correlation between temperatures and CO2 is easily refuted and they cite the same numbers used by the IPCC in the 2001 report.

That report shows cyclic warming and cooling trends that are completely out of step with CO2 emissions as explained by Kalmanovich, “it shows rapid warming from 1910 to 1942 with only a trivial 14 per cent increase in CO2 emissions. That is followed by 33 years of a global cooling trend with a 500 percent increase in CO2 emissions from 1942 to 1975.”

Greenhouse Gas Theory Falls Apart

Kalmanovich argues that is more than enough physical evidence to completely destroy the greenhouse gas theory. But that requires the doomsayers to accept numbers and scientific arguments that they have not yet been prepared to do.

The irony of this travesty is that Hansen himself never claims in absolute terms that CO2 emissions cause global warming. Kalmanovich notes, “Hansen instead uses the output from his climate models to make this claim absolving him of having his statements challenged.”

This technique was masterfully employed by Al Gore in his Inconvenient Truth in which he makes no claims directly but shows out of context snippets of evidence to make the claims for him.

Here is Kalmanovich in depth reasoning:

The satellite measurements of outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) demonstrate that OLR is responding strictly to the fourth power of the Earth’s absolute temperature in perfect accordance to basic physics theory, but is in no way responding to the 57.1% increase in CO2 emissions from fossil fuels since 1979. This completely refutes the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change, which is based on an assumed “enhanced greenhouse effect” from increased greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but these satellite measurements demonstrate conclusively that this enhanced greenhouse effect from GHG emissions never actually existed!

This single physical observation makes the Kyoto Protocol completely fraudulent, and anyone promoting the concept of CO2 emissions from fossil fuels enhancing the greenhouse effect in support of this fraudulent Kyoto Accord, must be seen as complicit in this fraud.

Kalmanovich then reaches a devastating conclusion:

“This is not a trivial scientific error because over 6.5% of the world’s grain has been removed from the global food supply to serve as feedstock for the 85 billion litres of ethanol produced annually as fuel in accordance with the dictates of this fraudulent UN Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change.”

It is basic food staples that are being removed from the global food supply; the wealthier portion of the world’s 6.6 billion people end up paying substantially more for their food but the poor simply starve, making this Kyoto Accord a true “crime against humanity” and those who have fabricated the false science on which this crime is based are therefore guilty of being complicit in this “crime against humanity”.

Green Energy Promise Just a Pipe Dream

Americans are fast waking up to the harsh reality that this is all pain for no gain. There is stagnation in constructing conventional power generating sources in the wake of large government subsidies to wind and solar power generating facilities. That has dramatically increased power bills but has provided virtually zero additional peak power to consumers.

There is also a huge moral issue in the US. It removes more food from the global food supply than any other country in the manufacture of ethanol for fuel, making Americans key culprit in this crime against humanity. In the United States a staggering 39.7 percent of the world’s ethanol is created from crops that should be used as food.

The new moral question now to be posed is: if the US government was truly looking after the interests of the people then shouldn’t better investment ought to be made in natural gas and coal conversions to liquid fuels? That would bring the price of gas to under $2.50/gal. President Obama could then do away with subsidizing biofuels production, which only serves to raise the price of gas at the pumps and add to world hunger.

Why is 2011 the Critical Year?

Europe views 2011 as a critical year as member countries ramp up their production and use of ethanol to meet the European Union’s Renewable Energy Directive. In this year alone, Europe is expected to produce 5.4 billion liters of ethanol that is a 15 per cent increase over 2010 (see table).

The Global Renewable Fuels Alliance promotes “biofuels friendly policies internationally and represent over 65 per cent of the global biofuels production from 44 countries.” They predict only growth in this voracious business and if their numbers are correct, a death sentence is being issued on millions more in the future.

(Note that these are imperial gallons and not U.S. gallons. This is why the 2010 value of 18,934 million gallons is 85,763 million liters and not 73,653 million liters as would be calculated for US gallons).

In this mad, bad crazy world western good intentions spawned a crime against humanity; the law of unintended consequences turned the Kyoto Accord into a perverse death sentence to millions. Now we must put an end to this genocide.

Coal Production – The UN’s ‘Contract and Converge’ Game Playing Out Again

By Dennis Ambler, SPPI Blog

Contract and Converge is the UN agenda for wealth redistribution, which requires the West to cut back on our use of hydrocarbon energy and allows developing nations to expand theirs so that they can catch us up.

Brazil Company invests 2 billion USD to develop Mozambique vast coal reserves

The world’s largest iron-ore producer, Brazil’s Vale will double investments in Mozambique to 4 billion US dollars in the next four years, said Chief Executive Officer Roger Agnelli, on Monday. The Rio de Janeiro-based company invested 2 billion USD since it acquired the Moatize coal mine in 2004, said Agnelli in Tete province, 2,000 kilometres north of the capital Maputo.

Vale started operations at the 1.7 billion USD Moatize this weekend and is expected to produce 11 million metric tons of metallurgic and thermal coal a year once fully operational, the company said. Moatize employs 7,500 workers and its coal will be transported along a 600-kilometer railway line to the port of Beira in central Mozambique. Vale plans to set up a coal-to-liquid plant in Mozambique, Agnelli said, declining to give more details. The southern African country’s government supports the plan to produce fuels from coal, said Mineral Resources Minister Esperanca Bias. “We want to add value to coal produced in the country,” she said in an interview. “But first we have to see how the project is operating”.

Mozambican President Armando Guebuza presided over the inauguration ceremony Sunday in Moatize. The former Portuguese colony of Mozambique has billions of tons of coal reserves, but until now they have been largely untapped.

Later this year, India’s Tata Steel and Australia’s Riversdale Mining are expected to jointly open another major coal mine in nearby Benga.

Don’t expect James Hansen to visit Mozambique anytime soon to campaign about their coal “death trains”.

Meanwhile, back in the US,
Sierra Club’s “Beyond Coal” Campaign Is Beyond the Pale, by William Yeatman on May 9, 2011

“Last Thursday, the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee of the House Transportation Committee held a hearing on “Environmental Protection Agency Mining Policies: Assault on Appalachia.” Video and written testimony are available here. For detailed descriptions of the EPA’s outrageous war on Appalachian coal production.

Suffice it to say, EPA has subverted the Administrative Procedures Act to enact a de facto moratorium on mining. It engineered a new Clean Water Act “pollutant,” saline effluent, which the EPA claims degrades water quality downstream from mines by harming a short lived insect that isn’t an endangered species. The hearing on Thursday was part 1; this Wednesday, the subcommittee is scheduled to hear from EPA administrator Lisa Jackson.

I attended the hearing, and at the media table, I picked up a Sierra Club “Beyond Coal Campaign” press release, by Director Mary Anne Hitt. It is an excellent window into the lying and exaggerations frequently employed by environmental extremists in order to demonize coal. Below, I reprint the entire press release, sentence by sentence (in bold), each followed by a rebuttal (in italics).”

Sierra Club: “This Committee’s leadership is trying to stack the deck against Appalachian miners, families and businesses.”

Stacking the deck!? This is absurd. To be sure, all four witnesses before the Subcommittee were opposed to the EPA’s war on Appalachian coal, but that was by BIPARTISAN agreement. Indeed, the only Democrat to show up was Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV), the Ranking Member, who opposes the EPA’s machinations more than Republicans, due to the fact that his State is the largest coal producer in Appalachia, and is, therefore, harmed most.

Sierra Club: “Despite the severe threats that mountaintop removal coal mining poses to the health of Appalachian families and the environment, not a single community member affected by mountaintop removal has been invited to speak to this Committee.”

For starters, mountaintop mining poses no threat “to the health of Appalachian families” and essentially zero impact on the “environment.” As I explain in detail here, the EPA’s war on Appalachian coal is predicated on protecting an insect that lives for a day, and which isn’t even an endangered species.

As for the Sierra Club’s nonsense about the Committee not having invited a “single community member affected by mountaintop removal,” there is an extremely likely explanation: No such “community member” exists. In May 2010, I travelled to Charleston, West Virginia, to attend an EPA field hearing on its Appalachian coal crackdown. It took place in the Charleston Civic Center, and there were probably 2,000 people in the room, of which I’d guestimate that 1,980 were against the EPA. Of those that supported the EPA’s assault on Appalachian coal production, 10 worked for the EPA, and the rest were from environmentalist organizations. There were no “community members affected by mountaintop removal.” The upshot is that the only people in this affair who are “affected” are the coal industry and support industry workers who are at risk of losing their jobs.

Sierra Club: “Mountaintop removal is not the economic cure-all that many in Congress claim it to be.”

Wrong again! Mountaintop mining might be anathema to radical environmentalists at the Sierra Club, but it’s absolutely essential for the Appalachian coal industry’s competitiveness vis a vis coal production west of the Mississippi.

Sierra Club: “In reality, it costs miners their jobs through mechanization, jeopardizes their health and puts state budgets even deeper into debt.”

Regarding the first clause: If mountaintop mining “costs miners their jobs,” then why do miners support it? As for the second clause, it is an unequivocal fact that local and state governments in Appalachian States rely on the coal industry for a significant part of their tax revenues. For example, at the May EPA field hearing, Logan County (West Virginia) School Superintendent Wilma Zigmond said that, “coal keeps the lights on and our schools running,” after noting that property taxes from coal mines contribute more than $17 million annually.

Sierra Club: “There is a better way.”

Really! That’s great. Please, tell me this better way! (I sure hope it’s not windmills and solar panels)

Sierra Club: “Clean, safe and affordable alternatives exist to power our nation – without the high economic and health costs or destruction that come with mountaintop removal coal mining.”

Doh! She was talking about wind mills and solar panels. The fact is, you can’t replace reliable, affordable energy (like coal power) with unreliable, expensive energy (like wind mills and solar panels). It just doesn’t work. I’ll also reiterate that the “high economic and health costs or destruction that come with mountaintop removal mining” is limited to an insect that lives for a day, and which isn’t even an endangered species.

Sierra Club: “In this time of economic uncertainty, it is more important than ever for Americans to seek out safe, cost-effective solutions to our energy crisis.”

This is ridiculous. “In this time of economic uncertainty,” it is important for people to have jobs, WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT THE SIERRA CLUB OPPOSES. Moreover, the most “cost-effective” solution to our “energy crisis (?)” is coal. I’ll grant that coal mining is more dangerous to Americans than the manufacture of wind turbines and solar panels in China. [To be sure, as a free marketer, I’m a proponent of China’s right to sell America wind turbines and solar panels without restrictions, in order to cheapest meet the foolish green energy production quotas that our politicians subject us to.]

Sierra Club: “Mountaintop removal coal mining simply doesn’t fit this bill.”

Perhaps in bizzarro world, but not here on planet earth.