Archive for the ‘energy’ Category

The New Congress Must Save the USA from the EPA

by Alan Caruba on Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

This is article 80 of 80 in the topic EPA
EPA headquarters in Washington, DC
By Alan Caruba
When the Republican Party takes over majority control of Congress in January, it will face a number of battles that must be fought with the Obama administration ranging from its amnesty intentions to the repeal of ObamaCare, but high among the battles is the need to rein in the metastasizing power of the Environmental Protection Agency.
In many ways, it is the most essential battle because it involves the provision of sufficient electrical energy to the nation to keep its lights on. EPA “interpretations” of the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts have become an outrageous usurpation of power that the Constitution says belongs exclusively to the Congress.
As a policy advisor to The Heartland Institute, a free market think tank, I recall how in 2012 its president, Joe Bast, submitted 16,000 signed petitions to Congress calling on it to “rein in the EPA.” At the time he noted that “Today’s EPA spends billions of dollars (approximately $9 billion in 2012) imposing senseless regulations. Compliance with its unnecessary rules costs hundreds of billions of dollars more.”
Heartland’s Science Director, Dr. Jay Lehr, said “EPA’s budget could safely be cut by 80 percent or more without endangering the environment or human health. Most of what EPA does today could be done better by state government agencies, many of which didn’t exist or had much less expertise back in 1970 when EPA was created.”
The EPA has declared virtually everything a pollutant including the carbon dioxide (CO2) that 320 million Americans exhale with every breath. It has pursued President Obama’s “war on coal” for six years with a disastrous effect on coal miners, those who work for coal-fired plants that produce electricity, and on consumers who are seeing their energy bills soar.
As Edwin D. Hill, the president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, noted in August, “The EPA’s plan, according to its own estimates, will require closing coal-fired plants over the next five years that generate between 41 and 49 gigawatts (49,000 megawatts) of electricity” and its plan would “result in the loss of some 52,000 permanent direct jobs in utilities, mining and rail, and at least another 100,000 jobs in related industries. High skill, middle-class jobs would be lost, falling heavily in rural communities that have few comparable employment opportunities.”
“The United States cannot lose more than 100 gigawatts of power in five years without severely compromising the reliability and safety of the electrical grid,” warned Hill.
In October the Institute for Energy Research criticized the EPA’s war on coal based on its Mercury and Air Toxics Rule and its Cross State Air Pollution Rule, noting that 72.7 gigawatts of electrical generating capacity have already, or are scheduled to retire. “That’s enough to reliably power 44.7 million homes, or every home in every state west of the Mississippi river, excluding Texas.” How widespread are the closures? There are now 37 states with projected power plant closures, up from 30 in 2011. The five hardest hit states are Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Kentucky, and Georgia.
If a foreign nation had attacked the U.S.

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The Great Renewable Energy Rip-Off

by Alan Caruba on Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

This is article 268 of 268 in the topic energy

 

By Alan Caruba
One of the lesser known attempts to prove that renewable energy, wind and solar power, can replace traditional energy sources–coal, oil, and natural gas–went belly up in much the same way current wind and solar companies depend on tapping the taxpayer for government subsidies in order to stay in business. Google’s Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal initiative begun in 2007 and shut down four years later.
Two members of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Ross Koningstein and David Fork, worked on the project. Both men have excellent credentials in aerospace engineering and applied physicals, respectively, but neither had a clue about climatology. Expertise in one field rarely translates to another unless it is closely allied.

At the start of the project “we shared the attitude of many stalward environmentalists. We felt that with steady improvements to today’s renewable energy technologies, our society could stave off catastrophic climate change. We now know that to be a false hope, but that doesn’t mean the planet is doomed.”

Environmentalists start off with several thoroughly incorrect beliefs that are not supported by science. The first is that climate change has anything to do with human activity such as carbon dioxide and other so-called “greenhouse gases.”
The Earth is not a greenhouse. It is always in the process of absorbing and discharging heat via the atmosphere and the oceans. If it retained heat all life on Earth would die. Even on a hot summer’s day, it will cool at night. Deserts, too, are often cooler at night.  As for carbon dioxide, it is a trace gas in the atmosphere at barely 0.04%, but it is also the gas which all vegetation requires. In turn, vegetation gives off oxygen while we humans and other animals exhale carbon dioxide.
Secondly, environmentalists mistakenly believe that carbon dioxide emissions from the use of energy, particularly coal and oil, are so great that it affects the weather defined as what is happening now and the climate whose trends can only be determined decades and centuries from now. The constant claims about carbon dioxide emissions are blatantly false.
There is no basis in science for nations to reduce so-called greenhouse gas emissions. Indeed, more carbon dioxide would be a good thing for the planet’s vegetation, yielding healthier forests and greater crop yields on farms.
Thirdly, environmentalists believe that we shall run out of coal, oil, and natural gas at some point. The current estimates put that point very far in the future and, since new reserves are being found, they show no indication of not being available for a very long time to come.
“Trying to combat climate change exclusively with today’s renewable energy technologies simply won’t work,” said the two IEEE engineers. They’re right. Of all the forms of energy available wind and solar are so expensive and so unpredictable that they make no sense based on the false notion that humans can impact the Earth’s climate now or ever.
The public is never told that wind turbines and solar farms all require a traditional electrical energy producer—coal, oil, or natural gas-based—because they don’t function if the sun is not shining or the wind is not blowing. These days, we can add nuclear plants to those deemed traditional.

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The World’s Climate Change Mafia Meet in Peru

by Alan Caruba on Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

This is article 337 of 337 in the topic Global Warming
By Alan Caruba
To understand all the talk of “climate change” you must understand that everything and everyone involved—except for those of us who debunk the lies—are engaged in a criminal enterprise to transfer billions from industrialized nations to those who have failed to provide a thriving economy, often because they are run by dictators or corrupt governments who skim the money for themselves.
The lies being inflicted on Americans include Obama’s “war on coal” that is shutting down coal-fired plants that affordably and efficiently produce the electricity the nation needs, along with the six-year delay of the Keystone XL pipeline. Add in the thousands of Environmental Protection Agency regulations affecting our manufacturing, business and agricultural sectors and the price we are paying is huge.
At its heart, environmentalism hates capitalism.
One of the worst parts of this scam to take from the rich and give to the poor—otherwise known as “redistribution”—is the way the world’s media have played along since 1992 when the first Earth Summit was held in Rio. The perpetrators are headquartered in the United Nations, home to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that sets the agenda.
While the 20th session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s Conference of Parties meets in Lima, Peru this week, perhaps the most egregious and outrageous example of journalism was the December 2ndAssociated Press article, “Hotter, Weirder: How Climate Change and Changed the Earth.” It is not attributed to a specific reporter; perhaps because it is filled with lies from start to finish.
It starts with the biggest lie of all:  “WASHINGTON (AP) — In the more than two decades since world leaders first got together to try to solve global warming, life on Earth has changed, not just the climate. It’s gotten hotter, more polluted with heat-trapping gases, more crowded and just downright wilder.”
The Earth is in the 19th year of a natural cooling cycle, the result of a comparable cycle on the Sun which is producing less radiation to warm the planet. What astounds anyone who knows this is the article’s assertion that “It’s almost a sure thing that 2014 will go down as the hottest year in 135 years of record keeping, meteorologists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center say. If so, this will be the sixth time since 1992 that the world set or tied a new annual record for the warmest year.”
Would government agencies that are beholden to the existing administration for their budgets lie to the public? Yes, they would. While all fifty states experienced freezing weather within the past month, we are still being told that 2014 set new records for warmth. To borrow a phrase from Jonathan Gruber, the architect of ObamaCare, the government can tell “stupid” voters and others anything it wants in order to achieve its goals.
For the record, in 2013 and much of 2014, there have been record low numbers of tornadoes and hurricanes. There was a record gain in Arctic and Antarctic ice. There was no change in the rate of sea level rise; something measured in millimeters.  The weather is the weather and that includes dramatic events such as blizzards or droughts, but it is hardly uniform.

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Take Your Pick of Lies About Ozone, Methane or Mercury

by Alan Caruba on Sunday, November 30th, 2014

This is article 191 of 191 in the topic Government Regulations

By Alan Caruba

Is it surprising that the Environmental Protection Agency continues to tell big fat lies about anything it wants to ban, but is reluctant to show the “science” on which the bans are based?
There is currently a piece of legislation under consideration by Congress, the Secret Science Reform Act, to force the EPA to disclose its scientific and technical information before proposing or finalizing any regulation.
This is what Nicolas Loris of The Heritage Foundation had to say regarding the mercury air and toxics rule that the EPA claims would produce $53 billion to $140 billion in annual health and environmental benefits. “The two studies that represent the scientific foundation for 1997 ozone and PM2.5 National Ambient Air Quality Standards are highly questionable and the data concealed, even though the studies were paid for by federal taxpayers and thus should be public property.”
In addition to claims about carbon dioxide as a dreaded “greenhouse” gas, methane is also getting the attention of those opposed to “fracking”, a technique that has provided access to both natural gas and oil. James M. Taylor, a Senior Fellow with The Heartland Institute, a free market think tank, noted in January that “Natural gas has high methane content, but the methane is converted to energy when natural gas is burnt.” Citing U.S. Energy Information Administration data, Taylor noted “The ongoing decline in methane emissions supplements ongoing declines in U.S. carbon dioxide emissions.” Since 2000 both are down between 6% AND 9%.
The EPA is forever claiming billions in “health benefits” that result from their regulations. The public never gets to see the data on which such claims are based. The regulations, however, cost billions.
The day before Thanksgiving, the EPA announced that it intends to propose an updated national standard for ground-level ozone, otherwise known as smog, based in part on the enforcement of rules concerning mercury. The previous day, the Supreme Court said it would review the agency’s standards requiring reductions of mercury emissions and other elements the EPA regards as toxic air pollution.
To put all this in perspective, in August CNS News’ Penny Starr reported on a study by the National Association of Manufacturers regarding the EPA’s proposed regulation of ozone. It found that “it could be the costliest federal rule by reducing the Gross National Product by $270 billion per year and $3.4 trillion from 2017 to 2040, and adds $3.3 trillion in compliance costs for the same period.”  NAM president, Jay Timmons, said “The regulation has the capacity to stop the manufacturing comeback in its tracks.”
Concurrently with NAM, the American Petroleum Institute released an analysis of the NAM study that said “The nation’s air quality has improved over the past several years, and ozone emissions will continue to decline without new regulations.” NAM’s vice president of energy and resources policy, Ross Eisenberg, said, “We are rapidly approaching a point where we are requiring manufacturers to do the impossible.”
That, however, is exactly what the ozone regulation is intended to do.

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The Two Ukraine’s

by Alan Caruba on Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

This is article 1254 of 1257 in the topic International
By Alan Caruba
“Obama is just not up to the task—a geopolitical lightweight who was easily outmaneuvered in Syria and Iran.”
That’s Marin Katusa, writing in his new book, “The Colder War: How the Global Energy Trade Slipped from America’s Grasp” ($29.95, John Wiley and Sons, and Casey Research). Katusa is no fan of President Obama, but one might wonder who is these days other than the 48% of Americans who think he’s doing a great job. Calling them stupid as the now famed Jonathan Gruber of ObamaCare fame has done is not far from the mark.
Katusa is a successful fund manager with a specialty of investing in the energy sector and helping to create energy companies. Along the way he has been to many nations around the world to see firsthand how their governments impact the energy companies working domestically and beyond. This is particularly true of Russia’s Vladimir Putin who took the collapsed Soviet Union and brought Russia back to life as the Russian Federation. At the core of the revival were and are his energy strategies.
That is what is at work these days in the Ukraine, divided between those who want it to join the European Union and NATO, and those who want to ally with Russia. Katusa reminds us that “At one time, Ukraine was Russia. Kievan Rus, the first East Slavic state, was established by the Varangians in the ninth century.”
“At the end of the eighteenth century, Ukraine was partitioned, with a small slice going to Austria/Hungary and the rest to the Russian Empire. The second decade of the twentieth century was as chaotic for Ukraine as it was for the rest of Europe. Civil War raged from 1917 to 1921, with a host of factions vying for control of the government of the newly proclaimed Ukrainian Republic. Their sovereign state proved to be short-lived.”
“By 1922, the Ukrainian army was overpowered and the nation became the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.” World War Two was a horror for Ukraine. One out of every six Ukrainians died during the war, many of whom sided with Nazi Germany against Russia. It was recaptured in 1944 by the USSR.
Why is it important to Putin and Russia in 2014?
He wants to ensure that Ukraine, via pipelines, accommodates Russia’s natural gas production to buyers in Europe. “Half of Russia’s gas exports to the European Union (which cover 25 percent of the EU’s consumption) pass through Ukraine.”
Putin also needs to ensure that the Russian Navy has a secure port at Sebastopol on the Crimean Peninsula for to access to the Black Sea. Moreover, having Ukraine in its sphere of influence provides what the former USSR satellite nations did, a buffer that keeps NATO at a distance.

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Question: Did Chinese agree to global warming agreement because it doesn’t change anything or because they know that with Republicans controlling the Senate no treaty will be approved?

by John Lott on Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

This is article 267 of 268 in the topic energy

The promise of 20% of energy from non fossil fuels actually requires a slower growth rate for those sources than has been true up until now.  Meanwhile, the US has agreed to a dramatically greater reduction in carbon emissions.

As part of its plan, the U.S. said Wednesday it would double the average pace of its carbon-dioxide reductions after 2020, eyeing an overall reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions of between 26% and 28% by 2025, compared with 2005 levels. . . .

But the agreement requires that the Senate pass the UN Treaty.  It seems extremely convenient for China to make this agreement immediately after Republicans take control of the Senate.  It is unlikely that an agreement would have been ratified with the Democrats in control, but with the Republicans there, it will allow Obama to attack them when the treaty is defeated.

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Being Anti-Energy is Being Anti-Humanity

by Alan Caruba on Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

This is article 266 of 268 in the topic energy

By Alan Caruba

Everything you need to know about how perverse and dangerous the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is summed up in its latest report. Released on November 2, it issued the same tired, old and untrue claims of “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems”
The IPCC wants the world to stop using coal, oil and natural gas, saying that they must be “phased out almost entirely” by the end of the century. The report reeks of their contempt for humanity.
Losing electricity, no matter where you live, is losing every technology that enhances and preserves your life. You lose the ability to cool or warm your home, apartment or workplace. You lose the ability to keep food safe in your refrigerator and freezer. You most certainly lose the lighting. You lose the ability to turn on your computer or television. Indeed, to use everything you take for granted.
Since the discovery and generation of energy with coal, oil and natural gas, generations have lived lives not only different from all who preceded them, but better in so many ways, not the least of which is extended life expectancy. Nations with energy are places where people live longer, healthier lives. They are also wealthier nations where the energy translates into industry, jobs, transportation, and all the other attributes of modern life.
Although we usually don’t associate energy with morality, Alex Epstein has. His book, “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels” ($27.95, Portfolio, an imprint of the Penguin Group) is the finest case for the role coal, oil and natural gas has played in our lives and the positive, emancipating impact they have had on humanity. Everyone should read it.
“I hold human life as the standard of value” says Epstein. “I think that our fossil fuel use so far has been a moral choice because it has enabled billions of people to live longer and more fulfilling lives, and I think the cuts proposed by the environmentalists in the 1970s were wrong because of all the death and suffering they would have inflicted on human beings.”
“Eighty-seven percent of the energy mankind uses every second comes from burning one of the fossil fuels: coal, oil or natural gas.” That has not stopped environmentalists from denouncing coal and oil as “dirty” or because their use generates carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. What they never tell you is how small those emissions are and that they play an infinitesimal role to influence the Earth’s weather or climate. They never tell you that the Earth has centuries more of untapped reserves. The modern world could not exist without them.
“In the last eighty years, as CO2 emissions have most rapidly escalated, the annual rate of climate-related deaths worldwidefell by an incredible rate of 98 percent. That means the incidence of death from climate is fifty times lower than it was eighty years ago.”
Epstein points to “the power of fossil-fueled machines to build a durable civilization that is highly resilient to extreme heat, extreme cold, floods, storms, and so on” to demonstrate the foolishness of those who oppose their use. Primary among them is the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

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Obama’s Revenge

by Alan Caruba on Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

This is article 41 of 46 in the topic 2014 Elections

By Alan Caruba

The Democratic Party that supported President Obama’s agenda for the past six years was dramatically rejected in the midterm elections and the message for the new Republican-controlled Senate and House is to aggressively take action on stalled legislation to improve the economy and address other issues that have suffered neglect.
The GOP is going to be up against the revenge Obama will take on America in the remaining two years. The midterms will not generate any humility in Obama; only anger and resentment.
Republicans were not elected to “work with” Obama. They were elected to stop his agenda and actions that have been harmful to the nation. The big question coming out of this electoral mandate is whether the inside-the-beltway Republicans in Washington will do what the voters want.
Obama promised a “transformation” of America, a nation dedicated to individual freedom and liberty, and it has taken this long for many to realize that his definition of transformation was an ever-increasing Big Government to control every aspect of our lives:
# the education of our youth who lack knowledge of civics, math, and science,
# the deprivation and reduction of access to vital sources of energy,
# the refusal to protect U.S. sovereignty by ignoring our immigration laws and border security,
# the reduction of our military power to levels rivaling pre-World War Two,
# the failure to resist the growth of Islamic fanaticism,
# the historic and dangerous increase of our national debt,
# the failure to take fundamental steps to revive the economy by cutting taxes and reducing regulations,
# the destruction of our market-based healthcare system.
Obama will take the electoral rejection very personally and, as we have seen in his contempt for working with Congress and his smears of the Republican Party, no one should doubt he will use the remainder of his term in office to wreak as much damage as possible; to prove he is right and the rest of the nation is wrong.
Much of what he will do was put off until after the midterm elections because he knew the level of rejection would be even greater. Now he is free to misuse “executive orders” unless the new Congress takes steps to defund and legislatively stop them. Investigations into the scandals that have become synonymous with his administration must be vigorously pursued.
What can we anticipate?
Obama will do everything he can to leave American vulnerable to increased illegal immigration including a rumored amnesty that would provide work permits and green cards to millions who would compete with jobless natural born and naturalized Americans. He has already refused to spend funds that have been allocated to secure our borders.
When Attorney General Eric Holder exits the Department of Justice expect Obama to nominate someone even more radical and divisive.
In the next two years you can expect the Environmental Protection Agency, already producing more regulations than any other element of the government, to go into overdrive to shut down as many power plants as possible, reducing the production of electricity on which the nation depends.
Obama has done little to respond to the growing global Islamist movement, showing favor to terrorist groups such as Hamas, but his greatest effort has been to provide Iran with the approval to advance its nuclear weapons capability by opening negotiations that, if agreed to, would put it within mere months of being able to put nuclear warheads on missiles and in bombs.

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Obama’s War on U.S. Energy

by Alan Caruba on Sunday, October 26th, 2014

This is article 265 of 268 in the topic energy
By Alan Caruba
September 19th was an anniversary you did not read or hear about in the nation’s news media. It marked six years—2008—since the first permit application for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline was submitted to the federal government. Can you imagine how many jobs its construction would have created during a period of recovery from the 2008 financial crisis? President Obama is universally credited with delaying it.
Thomas Pyle, the president of the American Energy Alliance, pointed out that World War II, the construction of the Hoover Dam, and the Lewis and Clark Expedition all took place in less time. In a September Forbes article, he noted that “Earlier this year a Washington Post/ABC News poll found that 65 percent of Americans support building the pipeline, while only 22 percent oppose it. In Washington three-to-one margins are usually referred to as mandates.”
In contrast, in March 2013 the then-Interior Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, boasted “In just over four years, we have advanced 17 wind, solar, and geothermal projects on our public lands.”  It is not these projects that Americans depend upon for energy. The opposite is a stark explanation why coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear energy remain the heart blood of the economy.
The Daily Caller reported in July that the “U.S. Bureau of Land Management is currently sitting on a backlog of 3,500 applications that need approval to move forward on drilling for oil and natural gas on federal land,” just part of Obama’s war on U.S. energy.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, fossil fuels met 82% of U.S. energy demand in 2013.
Petroleum, primarily used for transportation, supplied 36% of the energy demand in 2013. Natural gas represented 27%. Coal represented 20% and generated almost 40% of all electricity. In the six years since Obama took office that is a loss of 10%!
The much ballyhooed “renewable sources” of energy, justified by the false claim that carbon dioxide emissions are causing global warming or climate change, are a very small part of the nation’s power providers. Wind power represented 1.6% and solar power represented three-tenths of 1%! Hydropower supplied 2.6% making it the largest source of so-called renewable energy.
Politically, it has been Democrats advocating renewable sources and siding with the President’s delay of the oil pipeline and the Environmental Protection Agency’s assault on coal-fired plants to produce electricity. By contrast, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has been busy putting forth legislation to fix aspects of our energy problems and needs.
Some of the bills that were introduced included H.R. 2728: The Protecting State’s Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act; H.R. 3: The Northern Route Approval Act (regarding the keystone XL Pipeline; H.R. 1900: The Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act; H.R. 2201: The North American Energy Infrastructure Act; and H.R. 6: The Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act, intended to expedite the export of liquefied natural gas to our allies around the world. The global market is growing at a colossal pace.
These bills will likely all die in the U.S. Senate, controlled by the Democratic Party. The Nov 4 midterm elections can change that if enough Republicans are elected to gain control.
It’s not just natural gas that is helping the economy improve.

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The Empire of Progressive Poverty

by Daniel Greenfield on Sunday, October 5th, 2014

This is article 189 of 191 in the topic Government Regulations

Controlling a large number of people isn’t easy. The United States alone consists of 312 million people spread out across nearly 4 million square miles. Add on nearly 500 million for the population of the European Union and another nearly 4 million square miles of territory. Then pile on Canada with 34 million people and another 4 million square miles, Australia with 22 million and 3 million square miles and a few other stragglers here and there, and the postmodern rulers of the progressive empire have to cope with nearly a billion people spread out across 15 million square miles.

Large territories and large numbers of people are very difficult to govern. Structures tend to break down and people further away from the centers of power don’t listen to the boys at the top. The only way to make a going proposition of it is to consolidate as much power as possible at the center and the very act of centralizing power leads to tyranny.

The most direct chokehold possible is physical. China’s rulers, faced with vast territory and population, turned to the water empire. The modern West is quickly rediscovering a more sophisticated form of hydraulic despotism, cloaked in talk of saving the planet and providing for everyone’s needs.

Western resources are not innately centralized, which makes seizing control of them and routing them through a central point more difficult. This has to be done legislatively and has to be justified by a universal benefit or a crisis. One example of this is FDR’s Agricultural Adjustment Act which allowed the government to control wheat grown on a farm for private consumption. Another is nationalizing health care by routing the commercial activity of medicine through government organs. Both services and commodities can be controlled in this manner.

But the larger challenge is that the West is rich and a water empire depends on scarcity. Central control is much less potent if there is plenty of the commodity or service available. It’s only when shortages are created in bread or health care that the system really wields power by rationing a scarce commodity or service.

If a resource is scarce, then the water empire has to distribute it efficiently. But if a resource is widely available, then the water empire has to find ways of making it scarce, until the demand vastly outstrips the supply.

The modern water empire is dependent for its power on manufactured shortages. The rise of the progressive state was closely tied to its exploitation of shortages. Its challenge has been to win the race with industrial productivity by manufacturing shortages and destroying wealth faster than it could be created. While the machine of industry created wealth, the machine of government destroyed it. Today the machine of government is very close to winning the race, creating a state of permanent shortages.

Manufactured shortages are the great project of modern governments. This manufacture is done by prohibitively increasing the cost of creating and distributing products and services, by controlling the means of production in the name of wealth redistribution and by prohibiting the production on the grounds that it is immoral or dangerous. Over the 20th century the transition was made from the first to the second and finally to the third.

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