Friday, April 20, 2012

Climate Alarmist Calls For Burning Down Skeptics’ Homes

Writing for Forbes Magazine, climate change alarmist Steve Zwick calls for skeptics of man-made global warming to be tracked, hunted down and have their homes burned to the ground, yet another shocking illustration of how eco-fascism is rife within the environmentalist lobby.

Comparing climate change skeptics to residents in Tennessee who refused to pay a $75 fee, resulting in firemen sitting back and watching their houses burn down, Zwick rants that anyone who actively questions global warming propaganda should face the same treatment.

“We know who the active denialists are – not the people who buy the lies, mind you, but the people who create the lies. Let’s start keeping track of them now, and when the famines come, let’s make them pay. Let’s let their houses burn. Let’s swap their safe land for submerged islands. Let’s force them to bear the cost of rising food prices,” writes Zwick, adding, “They broke the climate. Why should the rest of us have to pay for it?”

As we have profusely documented, as polls show that fewer and fewer Americans are convinced by the pseudo-science behind man-made global warming, promulgated as it is by control freaks like Zwick who care more about money and power than they do the environment, AGW adherents are becoming increasingly authoritarian in their pronouncements.

Even as the science itself disproves their theories – Arctic ice is thickening, polar bears and penguins are thriving, Himalayan glaciers are growing – climate change alarmists are only becoming more aggressive in their attacks against anyone who dares question the global warming mantra.

Earlier month we highlighted Professor Kari Norgaard’s call for climate skeptics to be likened to racists and ‘treated’ for having a mental disorder. In a letter to Barack Obama, Norgaard also called on the President to ignore the will of the people and suspend democracy in order to enforce draconian ecological mandates.

But that’s by no means represents the extreme edge of eco-fascist sentiment that has been expressed in recent years.

In 2010, UK government-backed global warming alarmist group 10:10 produced an infomercial in which children who refused to lower their carbon emissions were slaughtered in an orgy of blood and guts. After a massive backlash, the organization was forced to remove the video from their website and issue an apology.

The same year, ‘Gaia hypothesis’ creator James Lovelock asserted that “democracy must be put on hold” to combat global warming and that “a few people with authority” should be allowed to run the planet because people were too stupid to be allowed to steer their own destinies.

In 2006, an environmental magazine to which Al Gore and Bill Moyers had both granted interviews advocated that climate skeptics who are part of the “denial industry” be arrested and made to face Nuremberg-style war crimes trials.’s Mark Morano is encouraging AGW skeptics to politely inform Steve Zwick ( that calling for people who express a difference of opinion to be tracked and have their houses burned down is not a rational argument for the legitimacy of man-made global warming science.

Indeed, it’s the argument of a demented idiot who’s obviously in the throws of a childish tantrum over the fact that Americans are rejecting the global government/carbon tax agenda for which man-made global warming is a front in greater numbers than ever before.


Senate Democrats Schedule Vote On Massive Energy Tax Hike

At $4 a gallon, gas is still not dear enough, apparently. In the end, all taxes are paid by guess who?

Even as President Obama tries to evade the fact that his energy market meddling has lead to higher energy prices, his party is scheduling a vote on raising taxes on oil companies.

Because that’ll be great for gas prices, though notice that they’re doing this under the guise of ending “subsidies” for big oil. Because not taxing something is subsidizing it, I guess.
Following the votes, Senator Reid moved to proceed to Executive Calendar #337, S.2204, the Repeal Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act, and filed cloture on the motion to proceed.

Senator Reid then moved to proceed to Executive Calendar #296,S.1789, the Postal Reform bill, and filed cloture on the motion to proceed.

Senators should expect the cloture vote on the motion to proceed to the Repeal Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act at approximately 5:30pm Monday, March 26. If cloture is not invoked, the Senate would immediately proceed to vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to Postal Reform.

So what exactly is being proposed here?

Double taxation, for one thing. This proposal would end the dual capacity tax credit that allows companies (not just oil companies) to reduce their US tax burden by the amount of foreign taxes they paid on revenues earned in foreign countries. Needless to say, double taxation would put American oil companies (already a very small slice of the international oil market pie when compared to government-owned foreign companies like Citgo, owned by Venezuela’s communist regime) at a competitive disadvantage.

Another “subsidy” being ended is the Section 199 manufacturing deduction. This, again, is policy that benefits far more than just the oil industry. The deduction is available to all US companies that manufacture, grow, refine, or otherwise produce including software companies and coffee growers (even Starbucks gets this deduction).

The oil industry receives the Section 199 deduction at a 6% rate, as opposed to the rest of the industries who take the deduction (fully 1/3 of all corporations operating in the US) at 9%.

The deduction is for income derived from property manufactured, produced, grown or extracted in the United States. Basically, if you make something, you can deduct 9% of its value (6% if you’re in the oil industry) from your taxes.

Obama wants to end this for the oil industry. Because it’s a “subsidy.” Which is a neat play on words. When he throws taxpayer dollars at “green energy” flops like Solyndra, it’s “investment.” When we let oil companies keep some of their own money, it’s a “subsidy.”


EPA trying to force up the price of natural gas

Cheaper electricity not allowed

Oil and gas companies will have to capture toxic and climate-altering gases from wells, storage sites and pipelines under new air quality standards issued on Wednesday by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The rule is the first federal effort to address serious air pollution associated with the natural gas drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which releases toxic and cancer-causing chemicals like benzene and hexane, as well as methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.

The standards were proposed last summer in response to complaints from citizens and environmental groups that gases escaping from the 13,000 wells drilled each year by fracking were causing health problems and widespread air pollution.

Industry groups said meeting the proposed standards would cost hundreds of millions of dollars and slow the boom in domestic natural gas production. The original proposal was significantly revised, giving industry more than two years to comply and lowering the cost.

“Because these regulations rely on technologies and practices that are already in use by some companies and required by some states, they are practical, flexible, affordable and achievable,” Gina McCarthy, head of the E.P.A.’s office of air and radiation, said in a conference call. “Natural gas is key to our clean energy future.”

She said the new rule would reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds by 190,000 to 290,000 tons per year and toxic air pollutants by 12,000 to 20,000 tons a year.

The agency said that the industry could meet the standards by deploying existing technology, and that nearly half the wells drilled using hydraulic fracturing already had the gas capture equipment, known as “green completions.”

The agency said that once the rule was fully effective, in January 2015, the industry would save $11 million to $19 million a year because drillers would be able to capture and sell the methane that is now burned off, or flared.

Methane is a potent heat-trapping gas, 20 times more powerful in its effect on the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. The E.P.A. estimates that capturing methane from thousands of new wells will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 28 million to 44 million tons a year, making the rule one of the federal government’s largest measures to mitigate climate change.

The American Petroleum Institute, which had lobbied to weaken the proposed rule, said the revised standards issued Wednesday were an improvement over the original proposal. Howard Feldman, the institute’s director of regulatory and scientific affairs, said the industry had already adopted many of the requirements of the new rule and welcomed the delay in its effective date.

“The industry has led efforts to reduce emissions by developing new technologies that were adopted in the rule,” Mr. Feldman said. “E.P.A. has made some improvement in the rules that allow our companies to continue reducing emissions while producing the oil and natural gas our country needs.”

Other industry groups were less generous. The Western Energy Alliance, a group of independent oil and gas companies, said the new rule’s costs far outweighed its benefits and accused the E.P.A. of using the Clean Air Act illegally to deal with global warming.

Kathleen Sgamma, the group’s vice president for government affairs, also asserted that the rules were not flexible enough “to account for new exploratory areas where infrastructure does not yet exist.”

“Small businesses disproportionately operate in such conditions, and this rule could make exploring in new areas cost-prohibitive,” she said.

Environmental advocacy groups said the new rule was a step forward for clean air. The American Lung Association said that the reduction of a variety of emissions, including sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and volatile organic compounds, would improve the health of people living downwind from oil and gas operations.

Ann Brewster Weeks, senior counsel for the Clean Air Task Force, said reductions in emissions that contribute to smog and global warming were good news but objected to the E.P.A.’s concessions on the timetable.

“Over the past few months, lobbyists for the gas industry have pushed to carve large exemptions out of the rule with arguments about the cost of the rules and asserted difficulty of complying,” she said. “These arguments are false, as we’ve made clear.”

“Regrettably, E.P.A. gave in to these claims in a few crucial ways,” she added. “Most significantly, they delayed the most important requirement — to clean up air pollution from fracked wells — for two and a half years.”


First Solar lays off 2,000 "green jobs" as Europe demand wanes

First Solar Inc. will lay off 2,000 workers and close its factory in Germany following a collapse in solar panel prices that has erased the industry's profits and forced some smaller companies into bankruptcy.

America's biggest solar manufacturer said the layoffs amount to 30 percent of its global workforce. It's an about-face for a company that doubled the number of employees at the Frankfurt, Germany, plant to more than 1,200 just last year. First Solar will also shutter some production in Malaysia. It plans additional job cuts in Europe and the U.S.

"The solar market has changed, and so must we," Mark Widmar, First Solar's chief financial officer, told analysts in a conference call.

The price of solar panels, which generate electricity from sunlight, has plummeted recently. An influx of Chinese competitors has led to a rapid buildup in supply. At the same time governments in Europe, the biggest market for solar power, are reducing generous subsidy programs that had fueled demand. From March to December last year, solar panel prices dropped 50 percent, said Aaron Chew, an analyst with the Maxim Group.

Cheaper solar is good news for consumers, but manufacturers are struggling to stay afloat. Last year, Solyndra LLC of Fremont, Calif., Evergreen Solar Inc. of Marlboro, Mass., and Spectrawatt Inc. of Hopewell Junction, N.Y. all declared bankruptcy.

"Nobody's making money in this business right now," Chew said.

Analysts said job cuts, factory closures and even mergers are to be expected in a relatively young industry that still welcomes new players every year. They see the industry following in the footsteps of television and computer makers by locating factories in Asia, where labor costs are low and governments provide few regulatory obstacles.

"It's a very healthy thing," Jefferies & Co. analyst Jesse Pichel said. "This is a shakeout period for solar in which uncompetitive technologies are getting kicked out."

First Solar specializes in "thin film" solar modules that are cheaper than those made by competitors. But the decline in global panel prices has eroded its status as the industry's low-cost leader. First Solar's modules are also less efficient than others, limiting their use. For instance, they're ideal for large-scale projects that deliver power to the electrical grid, but they less effective for smaller systems used on rooftops.

The company lost $39.5 million in 2011 after earning $664.2 million in 2010. Its shares have dropped nearly 85 percent in the past 12 months. They rose about 10.3 percent Tuesday to $22.96 after the company announced the cuts.

"It is essential that we reduce production and decrease expenses," First Solar Chairman and CEO Mike Ahearn in a statement. "These actions will enable us to focus our resources on developing the markets where we expect to generate significant growth in coming years," such as the U.S. and China.

First Solar expects the restructuring to reduce its manufacturing costs by $30-$60 million this year and another $100-$120 million a year afterward. It will book a charge of $245 to $370 million, mostly in its first-quarter results.

Analysts said First Solar needs to cut costs even more and demonstrate that its panels are as durable as its competitors. Pichel said that

as prices continue to fall, consumers will likely favor more efficient, polysilicon panels made by other solar companies. Goldman Sachs analyst Brian Lee downgraded First Solar to "Neutral" from "Buy" and cut 2014 earnings expectations to $4 from $5.75 per share.

Meanwhile, sales of solar panels and related equipment should keep rising, but nowhere near the blistering pace of the past several years. Solar installations are expected to increase by 3.7 percent this year, compared with a 49.7 percent increase from 2010 to 2011, according to energy research group GTM Research.


Wind mania crippling Germany's largest company

German engineering conglomerate Siemens is poised to scrap its full-year net profit target due to losses related to offshore wind projects, Financial Times Deutschland reported, citing company sources.

The newspaper said on Tuesday Siemens would book charges at its Power Transmission business for the financial second quarter at about the same level as in the first quarter, when they stood at 203 million euros ($265 million).

Udo Niehage, who heads the unit, is set to take on new duties at the company, a Siemens source told Reuters. Siemens declined to comment.

"The problems at the Power Transmission division are well known since the first quarter. However, the magnitude seems to be worse than previously expected," DZ Bank analyst Karsten Oblinger said.

Siemens, which sees itself at the forefront of Germany's push for greener energy, has struggled to make a profit from connecting offshore wind farms to mainland power grids.

The company, Germany's largest by market capitalisation, blamed an unexpectedly sharp fall in first-quarter core profit partly on complex regulations that delayed offshore wind projects.

A spokesman for Siemens, which is due to publish results for its second quarter ended March on April 25, declined to comment on the newspaper report on Tuesday.

Shares in Siemens eased by 0.4 percent to 71.47 euros by 1130 GMT, underperforming the German blue-chip index, which was 1.3 percent higher.

Analysts had already doubted whether Siemens would reach its target of unchanged net profit from continuing operations of 6 billion euros, excluding one-offs, for the full year ending in September.

Finance chief Joe Kaeser earlier this month acknowledged that most analysts' estimates were between 5.2 billion euros and 5.4 billion euros, but said Siemens's guidance remained valid unless it issued a new one.

The Power Transmission unit, which supplies high-voltage cable systems and grid access, posted first-quarter revenue of 1.47 billion euros - or about 8 percent of group revenue - and a loss of 145 million euros.


How to fix US water policy? Less government, more market pricing

Late last week I received an invitation to testify in the Water and Power Subcommittee of the House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee on H.R. 2664, “The Reauthorization of Water Desalination Act of 2011.” We’ve posted the full 20-page testimony; my oral remarks before the committee appear below. The push for politically juiced desalination projects is a diversion from the actual problem; the absence of market pricing to allocate water scarcity.
I am Wayne Crews, VP for Policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and I thank the committee for this Tax Day invitation to speak on H.R 2664, a $2 million annual desalination program that, while it won’t break the bank, embraces principles at variance with a lightly regulated and adaptable water sector.

While it does boast crucial working applications, desalination remains an energy-intensive, by-product-laden means of making expensive usable water, despite being an ancient process.

Happily, there’s no need for panic; Water is not getting more scarce overall; it’s an earthly constant, and the nation uses even less than it did in the 1980s.

But pricing and allocation of that supply do matter. To advance tomorrow’s water policy, we must, as we say at CEI, avoid having government steer while the market rows.

When linking research like desalination to human needs, private investors can test low-probability projects, counting on the rare success to offset multiple failures. Progress requires good at killing bad projects.

Federal funding to overcome so-called “market failure” in research, on the other hand, fosters numerous avoidable conflicts: over the merits of basic vs. applied research, over government vs. industry science; over assignment of intellectual property; Over public access to data. Meanwhile, taxpayer subsidies appear not to alter the ratio of GDP spent on R&D after all.

Government steering can create artificial booms, and politics has trouble balancing research portfolio tradeoffs: Why H.R. 2664’s brackish groundwater desalination instead of seawater or countless alternative water investments? The problem affects other sectors: Why nanotechnology instead of biotech? Or the hydrogen economy? Or Robotics?

We should avoid fostering a “Declaration of Dependence” on federal dollars, because that will further mask water market prices.

Also, even as government funding comes with regulatory strings attached, it adds to risks and environmental problems by propelling risky technologies ahead of the free market’s ability to properly assimilate them. (The market’s role in regulation is something we might discuss in Q&A.)

This is important, because we observe in H.R. 2664 the seeds for new regulation propelled by the sourcing and externalities of desalination itself. Instead, market disciplines like liability and insurance must evolve alongside technology.

To me, preferred alternatives to subsidized Desalination are those institutionalizing the separation of water and state.

First, better pricing of existing supplies can make crises vanish; refer to my written testimony on this. Despite everything, gallons of water cost less than a penny, filling swimming pools and hydrating lush lawns in arid areas.

Second, improving infrastructure can reduce the waste that now depletes 17 percent of the annual water supply, as noted in a new CEI report by Bonner Cohen.

Third, better transport, including pipelines, trucking, and crude oil carriers can aid supply. Where’s the water pipeline aorta alongside and perpendicular to Keystone, one might say.

Fourth, improved trade between cities, farmers and NGOs can be essential to pricing and value.

A fifth option would be water sourcing alternatives including gray and wastewater treatment and reclamation; stormwater harvesting, and private conservation such as instream flow purchases.

Finally, we should reduce onerous permitting regulations that inflate desalination’s costs and defy the good in the H.R. 2664 vision. Otherwise, as water expert David Zetland notes, “if it’s possible to get [regulatory permitting] approval [to] raise prices so far, why not just raise prices and skip the project?”

A couple general observations:

First, as CEI’s president Fred L. Smith Jr. puts it, instead of trying to improve speeds by picking the particular R&D horses to run on the infrastructure racetrack, improve the business and regulatory track so everyone can go faster, and let jockeys keep more of their earnings. In the Appendix of my written testimony, I cover liberalization options to better enable a private sector flush with research cash.

Second, this is the water and power subcommittee, and I think it’s vital to step back and explore dismantling regulatory silos artificially separating our great network industries. That is, any investment in non-shovel-ready desalination while settling for 19th and 20th century infrastructure is sub-prime policy, particularly given that, as a free society becomes wealthier, creation of infrastructure should become easier, not harder.

The America of 100 years ago, with its paltry GDP, built overlapping, tangled infrastructure; we might have had an aesthetic problem, but never a natural monopoly problem.

The modern challenge is to welcome water resources further into the market process. We urgently need competitive market discipline to discover, not just desalination’s value relative to sourcing alternatives, but to discover the true value of water itself.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


1 comment:

slktac said...

Won't burning deniers homes add more CO2 and toxic chemicals to the atmosphere????