COLE JEFFREY points below to the way geological history enlightens us about atmospheric CO2 levels. Very long-term history confirms that plantlife has a huge hunger for CO2. Plantlife expands and contracts greatly in response to CO2 availability. It is so good at absorbing CO2 that it created the present oxygen-rich atmosphere of the earth out of an original CO2 atmosphere.
Geological history tells us therefore that the recent rise in CO2 will also be absorbed -- as plantlife expands to soak it up. And crop yields are already rising for that reason. While plantlife exists, a high-CO2 atmosphere is therefore impossible for any length of time
Since most modeling scenarios show that earth cannot or will not be able to deal with anthropogenic CO2, it is believed that anthropogenic CO2 will cause untold disasters. The two most predominant issues for anthropogenic CO2 are, 1.) Is the increase of anthropogenic CO2 a factor for influencing the climate. And 2.) Can the planet deal with an increase of atmospheric CO2.
To look at the issue of GW/CC, a scale of 400,000 Years Before Present (YBP), 10 Million YBP, or even a 600 Million YBP is not an adequate scale to understand how Earth has dealt with atmospheric CO2 levels and volumes. There are a few mitigating factors that Earth has had to contend with that are exponentially larger factors than the small percentage of anthropogenic CO2 humans currently or will emit even if anthropogenic CO2 emissions double or triple that of today’s emission rate.
To understand the causes and effects of anthropogenic CO2, understanding how Earth evolved from 2 to 3 Billion YBP is needed. About 2 Billion YBP, Earth was a planet of water until volcanic activity breached the oceans surface to create land. Through photosynthesis, stromatolite microbes that formed in shallow waters converted the near saturated CO2 red atmosphere into the blue oxygen atmosphere similar to today’s atmosphere, and the olive green iron rich oceans into the oxygen blue oceans similar to today’s oceans.
Tectonic activity converged the land masses into the single land mass of Rodinia about 1 billion years ago, which was a barren rock surface devoid of life. It is widely accepted that since Rodinia was one large land mass stretching from pole to pole, Rodinia blocked the ocean currents from being able to circulate to the poles causing the Snowball Earth Event about 700 Million YBP, though recent findings suggest that a Gamma Ray Burst may have stripped Earth of its atmosphere causing the temperature to drop to an average mean temperature of -40 to – 60 degrees Fahrenheit causing the Snowball Earth Event.
Since Earth was blanketed in ice, it is widely accepted that Earths internal temperatures rose causing volcanic venting and eruptions about 650 Million YBP, raising atmospheric CO2 levels which allowed the atmospheric temperatures to rise, releasing the glacial blanket. This allowed for the Cambrian explosion of life on land and in water. It is estimated that the amount of water in the mantle is from 2 to 12 times the amounts of water on the surface, allowing for the release of large amounts of CO2 through volcanic venting and eruptions.
So when the atmospheric CO2 levels rose to more than 7000 PPMA due to volcanic activity, the explosion of stromatolites flora and algae that formed in the Cambrian explosion, were more than sufficient to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Due to tectonic activity and volcanic venting and eruption, Rodinia broke apart and reformed into the continent of Pangea.
About 250 million YBP, high amounts of CO2, approximately 49 billion tons of CO2 per year (1.66 X today’s anthropogenic emission rate) were vented during the Siberian Traps Event alone, and with the additional volcanic venting caused massive flora growth, which was the means that herds of tens of tons dinosaurs could exist, since flora is the base of the food chain.
Dinosaur size was a biological adaptation of favorable environmental conditions, and the abundant food supply attributed to high CO2 emission volumes and levels. The average size animal during the reign of dinosaurs was the size of a Grizzly Bear. Today, the average size animal is the size of a medium size dog.
About 65 Million YBP, the continent of Pangea was breaking up into the continental configuration we know today. During that time, a meteor struck the Chicxulub peninsula which is attributed to the demise of dinosaurs, but the meteor impact may have been the trigger of the Deccan Trap eruption, causing massive CO2 venting again, approximately equal to today’s 30 billion tons per year of anthropogenic CO2 from the Deccan Traps alone.
The Siberian Traps flowed about 1 million cubic miles of lava, which would cover the United States in 1 thousand feet of lava, and the Deccan Traps flowed about 600,000 cubic miles of lava which would cover the United States in about 600 feet of lava. Though these were not minor events, Earth’s stromatolite flora and algae and other means, were more than adequate to remove the high volumes of CO2 emitted from the mantle plumes events and other volcanic activity exceeding today’s CO2 emission rate of 1.03 trillion tons annually.
Due to the continental positions and tectonic activity, the climate was as much as twenty degrees warmer than current average mean temperatures. Earths orbit, gyroscopic progression of Earth’s rotation, Solar activity, ocean currents, and the volcanic activity all contributed to the tropical environment that allowed life to thrive.
That all changed 2 Million years ago when volcanic activity breached the ocean surface in the Isthmus Of Panama cutting off the Atlantic and Pacific ocean current creating the Gulf Of Mexico current stream, and along with Earths orbit, gyroscopic progression of Earth’s rotation, Solar activity, and the change in ocean currents, contributing to the approximate 100 thousand year cyclic climate conditions earth has experienced for the last 800 thousand years or so.
CO2 and temperatures became cyclical due to the division of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, due to the 600 to 2400 year lag in CO2 rise after the temperature rises along with the other astro factors. With higher levels of atmospheric CO2, flora stromatolite and algae populations rise abundantly.
Farmers are experiencing the highest crop yield per acre than ever in thousands of years of recorded history, partly due to farming techniques and fertilizer technologies, but more predominantly due to higher atmospheric CO2 levels.
Then comes the next part of the cycle -- when the upturn in CO2 availability has been used up, plantlife recedes
CO2 then falls below the 200 Parts Per Million Atmosphere (PPMA) threshold because when CO2 levels are above the 200 PPMA, along with other factors, photosynthesis life thrives more abundantly, causing the absorption rate of CO2 to exceed the CO2 emission rate. Then, at or slightly below 200 PPMA, growth of life that uses photosynthesis is stifled.
When CO2 levels are at 180 PPMA photosynthesis flora begin to respire (exhale) CO2, and at levels of 150 PPMA all photosynthesis flora will die, including food crops that rely on photosynthesis. With a reduction in growth of photosynthesis life due to lower atmospheric CO2 levels (at or below 200 PPMA), atmospheric CO2 levels are able to rise again.
As atmospheric CO2 levels rise, the photosynthesis organisms thrive and over populate, eventually causing atmospheric CO2 levels to drop to the levels that atmospheric CO2 cannot support the photosynthesis organisms (below the 200 PPMA threshold), causing an amount of photosynthesis organisms to stifle growth, allowing atmospheric CO2 levels to rise again.
A lag in growth and reduction of photosynthetic life is a probable factor for the rise and fall of atmospheric CO2 levels. If growth and reduction were near the rise and fall of CO2 emissions, then atmospheric CO2 levels would remain near constant levels. This is a mechanism for why the atmospheric CO2 levels rise and fall cyclically, along with Earths orbit, gyroscopic progression of Earth’s rotation, Solar activity, ocean currents, and volcanic activity.
Greenhouses deliberately use CO2 generators to keep the atmospheric CO2 levels at levels 2 to 4 times today’s CO2 PPMA rate of 385 PPMA to the levels of 1000 to 1500 PPMA. With the lag in growth and reduction of photosynthesis organisms when atmospheric CO2 levels rise and fall, there is a lag in CO2 rise after the rise of temperatures which contribute to cyclic factors – temperature rise precedes CO2 rise; CO2 rise does not precede temperature rise.
Today about 1 trillion tons of CO2 are emitted annually naturally, and humans only contribute 30 billion tons of CO2 annually, which is only 3% of total CO2 emissions. At that rate, humans would have to cease all fuel burning for cooking of foods, about 50% of electrical generation, all automotive transportation, and heating in the winter for more than 33 years to be equal to the naturally emitted CO2 annual amounts.
Above and beyond the ability for Earth to deal with atmospheric CO2 through photosynthesis and other means, there is more solar radiation (heat dissipated into space) through water vapor which is 78 to 82% of the climate influence, when temperatures rise. CO2 is only currently 0.036% climatic influential, which translates into a rise of only 0.05 Degree C in average mean temperature if atmospheric CO2 levels are more than doubled to 800 PPMA, and the influence would only be experienced at night. Earth has natural checks and balances for regulating atmospheric CO2 levels and climate.
Since 1 trillion tons of atmospheric CO2 is being presented to change climate average mean temperatures by 1 degree C, then the average mean temperatures should rise 1 degree C every year but does not, due to the fact that Earth is able to deal with much more than the 1 trillion tons of annual anthropogenic and natural CO2 emissions.
Since there is a range of 2 to 12 times the amount of water in the mantle than on the surface through oceanic subduction, thousands of tons of water are subducted and vented daily. The entire world’s oceans are cycled about every 30 million years through the crust and mantle through subduction and venting. If subduction rates were to diminish, it is very possible for venting of water vapor into the atmosphere to cause ocean levels to rise.
Without venting, the ocean level would continuously drop, and without subduction the level would continuously rise. If the estimated volumes of water in the mantle were to be vented to the surface all at once, the ocean would be about 2 miles above Mt. Everest. Subduction and venting may be a factor for the ocean’s levels varying from 430 feet lower average mean level and 30 feet higher average mean level than today’s levels, beyond glacial storage and release of reserve waters to cause ocean average mean levels to vary.
In short, anthropogenic CO2 emissions are not, nor will not be a climate issue. If Earth could deal with the Siberian Traps and the Deccan Traps emitting tens of billions of tons of CO2 for thousands and millions of years as well as other mantle plume events in addition to the continuous rate of venting at plate boundaries, then the 30 billions tons of annually emitted anthropogenic CO2 is not nor will not be a problem for Earth to deal with, even if anthropogenic emissions are more than doubled.
By far, the largest contributing factors for Earths climate and temperature variations are influenced by Solar Output, and Water Vapor that is 78% to 82% of the temperature influence. The bottom line is that higher levels of atmospheric CO2 are more favorable for life to flourish. Keep in mind that most GW/CC presentations deliberately omit the big picture of the CO2 cycle (cherry picking the information), and there is a deliberate reason that children and teens are selected to promote GW/CC.
Climate change should be excluded from British school curriculum, says adviser
Head of government review says school syllabus needs to 'get back to the science in science'
Climate change should not be included in the national curriculum, the government adviser in charge of overhauling the school syllabus in England has said.
Tim Oates, whose wide-ranging review of the curriculum for five- to 16-year-olds will be published later this year, said it should be up to schools to decide whether – and how – to teach climate change, and other topics about the effect scientific processes have on our lives.
In an interview with the Guardian, Oates called for the national curriculum "to get back to the science in science". "We have believed that we need to keep the national curriculum up to date with topical issues, but oxidation and gravity don't date," he said. "We are not taking it back 100 years; we are taking it back to the core stuff. The curriculum has become narrowly instrumentalist."
His stance marks a turning point in the development of the national curriculum. Oates' intention is to substantially reduce the national curriculum. Under the previous government, the curriculum expanded to nearly 500 pages. His remarks also show he wants to reverse a shift in emphasis, made under the Labour government, under which teachers were encouraged to place great importance on scientific "issues" and not just scientific knowledge.
Climate change has featured in the national curriculum since 1995. In 2007, the topics "cultural understanding of science" and "applications and implications of science" were added to the curriculum for 11- to 14-year-olds.
But Bob Ward, policy and communications director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, warned that Oates' ideas might not be in pupils' best interests and could make science less interesting for children. "An emphasis on climate change in the curriculum connects the core scientific concepts to topical issues," he said. "Certain politicians feel that they don't like the concept of climate change. I hope this isn't a sign of a political agenda being exercised."
He said leaving climate change out of the national curriculum might encourage a teacher who was a climate change sceptic to abandon teaching the subject to their pupils. "This would not be in the best interests of pupils. It would be like a creationist teacher not teaching about evolution. Climate change is about science. If you remove the context of scientific concepts, you make it less interesting to children."
Annette Smith, chief executive of the Association for Science Education, said she agreed with Oates that the curriculum was too crowded. "However, what I wouldn't want to lose from the national curriculum is the idea that science is developing all the time and that it impinges on our lives," she said.
But Oates, who is director of research at Cambridge Assessment, one of the biggest exam boards in Europe, said the topics that engaged children in science "changed dramatically" from year to year. "The national curriculum shouldn't ever try to keep up with those, otherwise it would keep changing." Teachers knew best which current affairs topics related to science would interest their pupils, he said. "A lot should not be in the national curriculum at all. A lot of damage was done to the curriculum last time it was reviewed," he said.
"If you live in a town where there is a lot of manufacturing, then teachers can use that as a context to discuss the social effects of science; other groups of pupils might be more interested in how the pharmaceutical industry produces drugs. It's really important that children think through the social application of science, but the precise topics... do not have to be specified by the state."
Oates also called for algebra to be taught to pupils at an earlier age. "Algebra has crept later and later over the last few decades. We should start 'pre-algebra' with young children – aged eight, for example," he said. He said that by the age of 11, children could be solving simple algebraic equations.
He said this would bring England into line with some nations in Asia. "Algebra is so important because it is the foundation of so much of maths. In other nations, children operate with equations and algebraic expressions." He said some maths was taught only to older children, because teachers in primary school did not have the confidence to teach it themselves.
The curriculum review, which started in January, will look at 12 subjects, including maths, English, science, and art and design. It will consider which subjects should be compulsory and at what age.
At the launch of the review, Michael Gove, the education secretary, said the national curriculum was "too long ... patronising towards teachers and stifled innovation".
"Its pages are littered with irrelevant material – mainly high-sounding aims, such as the requirement to 'challenge injustice', which are wonderful in politicians' speeches, but contribute nothing to helping students deepen their stock of knowledge."
Those hated CHEMICALS!
Over these many years I have noticed a pattern of activity that I find sort of fascinating. Scares will ebb and flow, but never really go away. Even after an issue has been raised and dealt with it is clear that the activists keep these issues on the back burner for future reference as if everyone will forget what the facts actually were. And to some extent they are right because there will always be a new crop of young misinformed and uninformed potential acolytes that they can gull into the green movement; young people in search of some sense of worth; searching for something in which they can believe. Since environmentalism has become today’s secular religion they are susceptible to the Kyrie Eleison of environmentalism. Drinking the Kool Aid they soon become sickened in the fever swamps of that movement; they become filled with arrogance and a sense of self-righteous indignation at the rest of the world that no amount of valid scientific information or rational observation can cure.
I keep hearing all sorts of claims by activists and government grant chasing “scientists” that chemicals (especially pesticides) cause cancer, autism, low sperm count and a host of other unproven scares. This has been particularly true of DDT. More outrageous claims have been made against DDT than almost any product that has ever been developed, with the possible exception of bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates. Do chemicals really cause a drop in sperm count? Finally we can answer with a resounding NO!
In one of this week’s Daily Dispatches the American Council on Science and Health cited a study that clearly demonstrated that “the 1992 study by a group of Danish researchers that claimed sperm counts declined by 50 percent worldwide from 1938 to 1991”, was wrong! They point out that the study was “heavily criticized for its many flaws, methodological problems, and biases” at the time. “We know that the so-called decline in sperm count is just another myth promulgated by the ‘our stolen future’ crowd who say that environmental chemicals lead to infertility in men,” says ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross. “But now we have proof that’s simply not true.”
This leads us to DDT, which was banned by the first administrator of the EPA, Bill Ruckelshaus in 1972. And yes….it was a ban. It is true that there were exceptions written into the ban, and yes, it is true that this ban in the U.S. was not incumbent on other nations, and yes it is true that it was not a worldwide ban…..on paper. However, so much economic pressure was placed on countries that didn’t ban it outright that it became a de facto ban in all but a few nations.
Lower sperm count was one of the claims, and yet the generation of parents who were most heavily exposed to DDT were the parents of the baby boomers. Even if there was a valid study that could show this today (which there isn’t), that study wasn’t available when the ban was imposed.
Most studies are filled with weasel word and phrases. Then there are the “conclusions in search of data” studies, much like the Hungarian studies of Trajan and Kemeny published in 1969. Using only 3 ppm in the food per day this dose was fed to five generations of inbred Balb/c mice. They claimed a higher incidence of leukemia in the test subjects over the control animals. They also claimed they started with a leukemia free strain, yet there were incidents of leukemia in the controls.
So what was disturbing about this study? Other researchers working with comparable dosages with animals of any species or strain showed no incidences of cancer of any type. The skepticism warranted an investigation into this puzzle. Although everyone agreed something went wrong in their study they couldn’t definitely point out what went wrong. However it was shown that there were design problems in the study and there was a possibility of aflatoxin (an absolutely known carcinogen) contaminated food.
Modern studies seem to have much the same problem. Conclusions in search of data! The question I keep asking is this. If DDT was banned for scientific reasons that were obvious, factual and could be replicated; then why have they been studying it since 1972 to prove that it does________(fill in the blank). Millions have been spent on studies that have been conclusions in search of data. The mere fact that so much has been spent after the ban to prove that the ban was proper is a good indicator that everyone….and I mean everyone, on both sides of this issue, know that the science was weak or invalid, and the decision to ban DDT was a political one.
The real problem with the ban on DDT isn't the fact that we lost DDT. Why? Technically it didn’t matter (at least in the developed world) because we had a large arsenal of products to defend society’s health, food and property. Philosophically it was devastating because it became the basis for all that has come into being since then. All those tools have come under attack, and as a result we have lost important chemistry. First it was the chlorinated hydrocarbons, then it was the organophosphates and carbamates and now the pyrethroids and rodenticides are under attack. All of this goes back to the ban on DDT. That ban laid the foundation for the financial and legislative power of the environmental movement.
The Energy Disaster Continues
The cornerstone belief of American liberals is that the United States is too rich and too powerful. And, if you want to make America poorer and weaker, the easiest way to do so is by preventing the development of our energy resources. Such a policy hobbles our economy and causes massive transfers of wealth from the U.S. to other countries, many of which are hostile. Liberals think this is all to the good, but pretty much every other American disagrees.
The Obama administration's energy policies have been a disaster, assuming that American decline is not your objective. We have written many times about the administration's efforts to suppress development of our oil resources, but coal is equally important. The United States is blessed with extraordinary deposits of coal, but Obama is determined to prevent us from using it to generate cheap and plentiful electricity. Obama wasn't kidding when he said, as a candidate, that his policies would cause electricity prices to "skyrocket."
U.S. News reports that Obama's EPA is promulgating regulations that will cause hundreds of thousands of Americans to lose their jobs:
Two new EPA pollution regulations will slam the coal industry so hard that hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost, and electric rates will skyrocket 11 percent to over 23 percent, according to a new study based on government data.
Overall, the rules aimed at making the air cleaner could cost the coal-fired power plant industry $180 billion, warns a trade group. ...
Referring to the analysis of the EPA regulations from National Economic Research Associates, Miller said they would be the most expensive rules ever imposed on power plants.
That was yesterday. Today, American Electric Power announced that it will close down five coal-fired power plants and spend billions to comply with the EPA's proposed regulations:
Utility giant American Electric Power said Thursday that it will shut down five coal-fired power plants and spend billions of dollars to comply with a series of pending Environmental Protection Agency regulations. ...
The company, one of the country's largest electric utilities, estimated that it will cost between $6 billion and $8 billion in capital investments over the next decade to comply with the regulations in their current form.
The costs of complying with the regulations will result in an increase in electricity prices of 10 to 35 percent and cost 600 jobs, AEP said.
In total, AEP estimated it will have to close five coal-fired power plants by the end of 2014. Six additional plants would see major changes, including retiring some generating units, retrofitting equipment and switching to natural gas.
Of course, the administration is trying to block development of natural gas, too. Of all of the Obama administration's perverse economic policies, its anti-energy agenda is most likely to make Obama a one-term president.
Get ready for electricity prices to “necessarily skyrocket”
Courtesy of the Obama administration
Have you had a lot of fun watching the price of gasoline shoot out of sight this year at the pump? That will be just the appetizer. Thanks to new regulations from the Obama administration, power companies will shut down a significant number of coal-fired plants by 2014, and without any other reliable sources of mass-produced electricity, consumers will see their bills go up as much as 60% (via Instapundit and Newsalert):
Consumers could see their electricity bills jump an estimated 40 to 60 percent in the next few years.
The reason: Pending environmental regulations will make coal-fired generating plants, which produce about half the nation’s electricity, more expensive to operate. Many are expected to be shuttered.
The increases are expected to begin to appear in 2014, and policymakers already are scrambling to find cheap and reliable alternative power sources. If they are unsuccessful, consumers can expect further increases as more expensive forms of generation take on a greater share of the electricity load.
You won’t just pay more to the utility company, either. The Chicago Tribune runs the math on public-sector cost increases in just their city:
What analysts know is that a portion of ComEd bills that pays electricity generators to reserve a portion of their power three years into the future will increase more than fourfold. That would translate into increases of $107 to $178 a year for an average residential customer in ComEd’s territory, starting in 2014, according to calculations by Chris Thomas, policy director for consumer advocacy group Citizens Utility Board.
In 2014 those so-called capacity costs are expected to add approximately $2.7 million over the previous year to electricity bills in Chicago Public Schools, $3.3 million for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District and $5.4 million to the city of Chicago, according to an analysis by Tenaska, aNebraska-based power development company that wants to develop a coal-fed power plant in central Illinois that would meet stringent regulations because it would capture and sequester emissions.
It’s the EPA gift that keeps on … taking.
On the other hand, we can consider this a rarity — an Obama promise kept: Obama told the Chronicle:
The problem is not technical, uh, and the problem is not mastery of the legislative intricacies of Washington. The problem is, uh, can you get the American people to say, “This is really important,” and force their representatives to do the right thing? That requires mobilizing a citizenry. That requires them understanding what is at stake. Uh, and climate change is a great example.
You know, when I was asked earlier about the issue of coal, uh, you know — Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. Even regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad. Because I’m capping greenhouse gases, coal power plants, you know, natural gas, you name it — whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, uh, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers.
They — you — you can already see what the arguments will be during the general election. People will say, “Ah, Obama and Al Gore, these folks, they’re going to destroy the economy, this is going to cost us eight trillion dollars,” or whatever their number is. Um, if you can’t persuade the American people that yes, there is going to be some increase in electricity rates on the front end, but that over the long term, because of combinations of more efficient energy usage, changing lightbulbs and more efficient appliance, but also technology improving how we can produce clean energy, the economy would benefit.
If we can’t make that argument persuasively enough, you — you, uh, can be Lyndon Johnson, you can be the master of Washington. You’re not going to get that done.
Even without cap-and-trade — or perhaps more accurately, even with a backdoor carbon tax through regulatory adventurism — Obama kept his promise to have electricity rates skyrocketing, and putting the burden on consumers, business, and taxpayers. Who said that every Obama promise comes with an expiration date?
Green Economy Stillborn
Recent announcements about failing green companies have mostly flown under the major media radar. After all, when President Obama hops in Air Force One for a quick trip to a green business to make a speech about his administration's nonexistent energy policy that's worth covering—when that green business shutters its doors (after absconding with millions in tax credits) that's embarrassing, to green cheerleaders and the liberal media in general.
Sadly, failure to revive the economy not withstanding, many actually believe that, if only we could provide more billions in subsidies, good green jobs would spring up like weeds. The reality is that green business cannot exists without government largess and that green economy we have heard so much about was stillborn—killed in its government funded womb by economic reality.
According to the Center for American Progress March 2010 report, clean energy will be one of the world’s biggest industries, totaling as much as $2.3 trillion by 2020. Yet everywhere there are signs that the green economy is faltering before it has begun.
For example, consider the case of Evergreen Solar, a maker of solar wafers for solar panels. In 2008, they made a courageous decision to promote green jobs in, of all places, Massachusetts. “In 2008 we decided to build a plant in Massachusetts to be near our research and development facility,” reported CEO Michael El-Hillow. “There was a groundswell of optimism that the U.S. was going to take the lead in the drive for alternative energy.”
But things soon went awry. Market conditions changed, the economy tanked and no one was interested in pulling Evergreen Solar's fat from the fire. Bottom line, Evergreen said its manufacturing cost was $1.92 per watt, while the selling price was $1.90 per watt—even a politician should be able to do the math. As reported to Bloomsburg Businessweek, El-Hillow summed things up this way:
"One mistake was making the U.S. facility too large. We should have made it a quarter the size. I wrote to the governor of Massachusetts, and we went to everyone we could think of—Congress, our banks. Nobody could help us. Then, late last year, prices went down 10 percent in one month for the modules we sell—on top of steadily falling prices for the last three years. That left us no choice but to stop making panels in the U.S. and shift our focus to making wafers in China. The access to capital for startups there is staggering.
About 800 people in our U.S. factory will lose their jobs, but the company wouldn't have survived if we didn't make this choice. Now we'll focus on what we do best. If we had stayed here, we would have been insolvent by September. We needed to do this to survive, although my hope is that some day more jobs will come back here."
Adding insult to injury, the Massachusetts Economic Assistance Coordinating Council—the state board charged with overseeing the green tax breaks—unanimously voted to cut short Evergreen’s 20-year property tax break, originally estimated to be worth $15 million, and voided another $7.5 million in state tax credits after the company eliminated the hundreds of jobs it promised to create. According to a report in the Boston Globe, out of the $4.5 million in property tax breaks they received to date, Evergreen will only have to repay the current year’s value, about $1.5 million, and in addition to the property tax breaks, the now almost defunct solar manufacturer also received over $21 million in other grants. The fate of those funds is uncertain.
An isolated incident? Hardly. The Destiny USA project in Syracuse, New York, was selected as a green "demonstration" project under the 2004 Green Bonds program. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton Clinton, now the US Secretary of State, and Senator Charles Schumer helped to insert the program into the “American Jobs Creation Act” of 2004. It provided $2 billion in tax-exempt bonding authority for large green-technology demonstration projects and was specifically written to favor Destiny USA and three projects in other states (both Senators represented the state of New York).
Under this special program $255 million in tax exempt bonds were issued on behalf of the project. The money raised was supposedly for implementing the oodles of green features the project developer promised. To date, none of the green features have been implemented, and the developer says they never will be. From a report posted on syracuse.com:
There is no 45-megawatt electricity generating plant running on “biofuel” made from soybean oil and recycled cooking grease. If there were, it would be the largest such plant in the nation and consume more than one-third of the total U.S. biodiesel supply.
Nor are there 290,000 square feet of solar panels on the mall’s roofs and other surfaces, enough to blanket six football fields.
The fuel cells that were to make 7 megawatts of electricity, five times more than the nation’s largest existing commercial fuel-cell installation? Nowhere to be seen.
Given such grandiose plans, the backers should have suspected something was not on the up-and-up. In addition to the green features, the project was required to create at least 1000 construction jobs and 1,500 full time equivalent jobs to retain its tax free funding. Public monies squandered, no green features, no green jobs, and yet Clinton called the program “a strong, sensible piece of public policy.”
This is not just a problem in the US, bungled government programs abound in the EU and elsewhere. One of Britain’s biggest employers in the green energy industry ceased production within hours of a government announcement pledging 400,000 green jobs by 2015. According to The Sunday Times, the Vestas factory in Newport, Isle of Wight, Britain’s only significant manufacturer of wind turbines, closed idling more than 600 people employed at the plant, and a related facility in Southampton.
Vestas is a Danish wind turbine manufacturer and one of the largest green companies in the world. Proving government stupidity is widely distributed, the Scottish government gave £10 million in grants to save 100 jobs at a much smaller turbine factory in Argyll just prior to the Vestas announcement.
Also last year, Vestas, announced the closing of five production plants across Scandinavia and cut 3,000 jobs—green jobs. The group said the surge in demand for wind power it had hoped for in Europe had not materialized and it is closing four plants in Denmark and one in Sweden, including one in Viborg where it has been manufacturing since 1989. The company is moving production out of Scandinavia to Spain, perhaps not the brightest of moves.
A Spanish study reports that since 2000, Spain spent $759,899 (€571,138) to create each “green job,” including subsidies of more than $1.33 million (€1 million) for each wind industry job. The study also calculates that the programs that created those jobs resulted in the destruction of nearly 110,500 jobs elsewhere in the economy. That means 2.2 jobs were destroyed for every “green job” created.
Vestas wind turbines at Meroicinha, Portugal. PhotoVestas.
In reality, green jobs are few and fleeting, and cost considerably more than true private sector jobs. Regardless, activists continue to push for green jobs—but this isn't really about building a clean, green economy. An example of such advocacy can be found on the website for the 2011 Green Jobs Conference, held this past February.
The tagline for this national conference was “good jobs, green jobs,” so one would expect to find numerous workshops on how to lure green industry to a community, how to start a green company and success stories from across the country. Instead, the lead workshop was entitled “Confronting Science Deniers: Lessons from Minnesota’s Sixth District,” a purely political propaganda vehicle for eco-leftists. Here is the description:
Across the country during this past midterm elections, clean energy supporters faced opponents who rejected the science of global warming and the potential for its solutions to create good jobs building the clean energy economy. This panel will focus on efforts to counter science deniers and to advance investments in clean energy as a positive economic agenda for the country. BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director David Foster will join Tarryl Clark — the former state legislator who challenged Tea Party favorite Michele Bachmann in Minnesota’s sixth district — for a discussion on how clean energy played a role in the 2010 elections.
This isn't about promoting green jobs or a green economy, it is anti-conservative political activism with a large dollop of climate alarmist balderdash. And this was not the only blatantly political topic. Other sessions covered the Gulf oil “crisis,” how wonderful new government regulations were going to force better fuel economy for large vehicles, and how to solve poverty, pollution and low union representation among truck drivers. There was precious little about how to make green business successful, and without successful green businesses there are no sustainable green jobs.
Until green jobs are about jobs, and the green economy is about economics there will be nothing but failed public programs that only enrich green scam artists. What green industry there is exists only because of government handouts and subsidies—make work projects that cost dearly and disappear as soon as government funding dries up. Time after time, program after program, governments have failed to create sustainable green jobs.
This all stems from not having a rational energy policy (also not a purely American problem). A cogent energy policy may well have salubrious effects on the environment and unemployment rates, even reducing those over-hyped CO2 emissions that global warming fanatics are forever prattling about (see “Why Global Warming is really an Energy Problem”). But being rational about energy has become even less likely in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear accident, with nations like Switzerland, Germany and Japan all reversing promising nuclear programs.
As politicians run for cover, like cockroaches when the light is turned on, energy policies founder. The only lucrative green jobs belong to those who travel the globe telling everyone about how great the new green economy will be; how green jobs will fix the world economy and rescue us all from penury. Just as the global warming/climate change/planetary boundaries scam has funneled public funds into the pockets of green con-artists, the green jobs scam enriches the ranks of transnational progressives, many of whom see the green economy as cover for their underlying agendas.
Meanwhile, Barack Obama, that most politically correct of American presidents, continues to flog the fictional green economy, telling people that there's a great day a coming. But the Obama plan for a green economy has gone off the rails. It was supposed to bring energy independence—America is no more independent in its energy supply today than when Mr. Obama was elected. It was supposed to bring green jobs, jobs that “can not be sent offshore”—as we have just seen, when the economy sours the first jobs to go are green. It's time to wake up and smell the compost.
With the US economy possibly headed for a double dip recession and unemployment again on the rise, the time for such PC poppycock is past. Want good, green energy sector jobs? Build more nuke plants—they last for 25 years or more and provide steady high paying jobs while producing the energy the world needs. As long as green jobs mean political handouts the green economy will remain a stillborn monument to environmental delusions and political pandering.
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