Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Hansen's logic supports intelligent design

Global warming has long been used to justify burdensome regulations that increase costs, increases unemployment, increases dependency on government, and reduces our individual freedom.

Now, a recent global warming propaganda "study" says that meteorological and climate events over the last few years are so statistically rare that they must be man-made global warming. Translation: Global warming has been debunked by science.

“The relentless, weather-gone-crazy type of heat that has blistered the United States and other parts of the world in recent years is so rare that it can't be anything but man-made global warming, says a new statistical analysis from a top government scientist.

The research by a man often called the "godfather of global warming" says that the likelihood of such temperatures occurring from the 1950s through the 1980s was rarer than 1 in 300. Now, the odds are closer to 1 in 10, according to the study by NASA scientist James Hansen. He says that statistically what's happening is not random or normal, but pure and simple climate change…

"Rather than say, 'Is this because of climate change?' That's the wrong question. What you can say is, 'How likely is this to have occurred with the absence of global warming?' It's so extraordinarily unlikely that it has to be due to global warming," Weaver said.” (NBC)

This is an amazing scientific capitulation. This is an admission that science hasn’t been able to conclusively prove anything when it comes to global warming and/or its causes. They haven’t been able to link specific droughts or hurricanes to global warming, and haven’t been able to pin a bad fire season on it. The climate is just so complex that scientists haven’t been able to understand all the variables and how they interact… much less the source of any changes to those variables.

So, instead, the “godfather of global warming” has essentially said, “Nope, we can’t figure out the puzzle because it’s too complex. But statistically this is so unusual that it must be man-made global warming.”

Welcome to the world of Intelligent Design, Mr. Hansen.

Intelligent Design is a theory that competes with evolution. It states that many aspects of what we see in the species are too rare to be the result of anything other than a deliberate intelligent design. In other words, it wasn’t random mutations that evolved the species but a guiding hand implementing a purposeful intelligent design. While the theory doesn’t purport to define the “intelligence” that guided the changes to the species (could be God, could be aliens, as far as the theory is concerned), the implications are obvious.

While supporters of Intelligent Design have made many scientific arguments in favor of the theory, those arguments have been faced with objection from the more traditional “scientific community.” That’s healthy. Science is supposed to be about proposing theories and then others trying to tear it down. So for every argument an Intelligent Design supporter offers, an evolutionist will offer a counter-argument.

This has led to another approach for some supporters of Intelligent Design.

Rather than trying to prove something that cannot be scientifically proven (because there is no way to truly reproduce a test condition), they have taken to analyzing the issue statistically. They assign what they consider to be reasonable odds for various events taking place, and then use statistics to calculate the probability that those things could have all happened to produce the species we see around us.

But this statistical approach to the theory of Intelligent Design has long been disparaged by traditional scientists. One paper wrote criticizing the statistical approach to Intelligent Design wrote:

“The biosphere, even with all its marvels, as far as is now known very probably can be a simple accident; we mortals have no reason to reject such a presumption”

Another stated:

“The weakness is that statistical associations are not reliable indicators of causality.”

Another critique of statistics used to support Intelligent Design wrote:

“Probability and statistics are well developed disciplines with wide applicability to many branches of science, and it is not surprising that elaborate probabilistic arguments against evolution have been attempted. Careful evaluation of these arguments, however, reveals their inadequacies.”

Now the “godfather of global warming” is resorting to the same types of statistics to make the case for global warming. He explicitly says that the scientific community has been asking the wrong question—rather than trying to scientifically explain how any given event is a result of global warming (something that they don’t have the scientific knowledge to explain), the better question is to ask whether it’s statistically possible for the event to not be a result of global warming.

We find ourselves in a situation where if this global warming paper—based on statistics—is embraced by the media and/or the scientific community, the media and scientific community must also embrace the statistical arguments in favor of Intelligent Design.

So liberals have to pick their poison: 1) Accept the death of global warming because it’s being supported by the same arguments as Intelligent Design. 2) Accept Intelligent Design because it’s supported by the same arguments as global warming.

The more likely outcome is, of course, that this is just another one or two-day fluff piece to be promoted by the media to plant seeds of support in the minds of readers that don’t consider the wider implications of the assertion. Given this now “scientific” paradox between global warming and Intelligent Design, it’s safe to say that future global warming “science” won’t be built on this statistical paper.

But, regardless, what we can conclude is that global warming “science” is dead. They’ve given up on fudge-factor-filled climate models. They’ve given up trying to scientifically explain how it’s really possible for humans to have the impact they say we have on the climate. They’ve simply given up. Instead, they want us to trust their statistics.

Global warming has been dying a slow death for years. But global warming is now dead.

And, ironically, it was killed by the arguments liberals use against Intelligent Design.


Big Wind Boondoggle by Big-Spending Republicans

Big-spending Republicans should be afraid following the upset victories by Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz in Texas on Tuesday, over the establishment candidate David Dewhurst, and Richard Mourdock, over six-term incumbent Richard Lugar, in Indiana on May 9. On Thursday, Washington Post editorial board member, Jonathan Capeheartsaid: “Folks might not like the Tea Party much. But that’s not stopping this loosely affiliated band of people fed up with government spending and deficits from sending like-minded souls to Congress.”

Bloomberg Newssaid of the Cruz victory: “The Tea Party has no leader, no hierarchy and no national fundraising network, yet the insurgent political movement born of frustration at government spending has bolstered its clout—and its potential for aggravation—in the Republican Party with the nomination of U.S. Senate candidate and political newcomer Ted Cruz in Texas.”

The common thread in these quotes: “people fed up with government spending” and “born of frustration at government spending,” highlights the heart of the Tea Party movement—even though, is it just a “loosely affiliated band of people” with “no leader, no hierarchy and no national funding network.” The recent upsets reflect the grassroots’ growing dissatisfaction with the Republican Party’s failure to control spending.

Other than the August 14 senate race in Wisconsin where Mark Neumann and Eric Hovde are battling each other for the tea party backingin the race with establishment candidate, former governor Tommy Thompson, the extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy may be the next line of battle between the Tea Party Republicans and establishment Republicans hesitant to curb their big-spending ways.

I have writtenseveralcolumnsin opposition to the PTC extension, but if you are not familiar with it, David Kreutzer of the Heritage Foundation explains it this way: “The wholesale prices of electricity in the different U.S. markets average from less than three cents per kilowatt hour (kW-h) to about 4.5 cents per kW-h. The PTC provides a subsidy of 2.2 cents per kW-h to wind energy producers. So this PTC subsidy is equivalent to 50 percent to 70 percent of the wholesale price of electricity.” To which Phil Kerpen of American Commitment adds: “So taxpayers pick up more than half the cost for wind power—and even then many wind projects are struggling. It will never work, at any cost, because the concept of large-scale industrial wind power is based on bad science.”

When thinking about the PTC, it is important to realize that we, the taxpayers, have already been subsidizing the wind energy industry for more than 20 years and that the wind energy lobbyists, advocates, and manufacturers acknowledge that if the PTC is not extended, the industry cannot survive.

Surprisingly, the first shot in the spend/don’t spend battle over the extension of the PTC came from the “moderate” presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, when he came out on Mondaywith a statement regarding allowing the “longstanding tax credits that help finance wind energy projects” to expire, as scheduled, at the end of this year—a position in line with the Tea Party’s “frustration at government spending.”

According to Shawn McCoy, a spokesman for Romney’s Iowa campaign, “He will allow the wind credit to expire, end the stimulus boondoggles, and create a level playing field on which all sources of energy can compete on their merits. Wind energy will thrive wherever it is economically competitive, and wherever private sector competitors with far more experience than the president believe the investment will produce results.”

While this newly announced position splits Romney and Obama, it also splits the more conservative Republicans and the establishment Republicans—especially those from “wind states” such as Senator Charles Grassley (IA) and Senator Orrin Hatch (UT).

On Thursday, before leaving for a five-week vacation, the Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus of Montana moved a so-called tax extenders bill through the Senate Finance Committee—which would keep the PTC alive. According to the AP. “The $200 billion-plus package was approved by the Senate Finance Committee Thursday on a bipartisan 19-5 vote.” Regarding the inclusion of the PTC in the bill, AP said: “That provision was initially targeted for elimination, but garnered critical support from Republicans like Charles Grassley of Iowa.” (Apparently Grassley has decided that it’s a good strategy to publicly slap Romney's face.)

On Wednesday, before the vote, many groups, including Energy Makes America Great Inc., urged people to call the Senate Finance Committee Members and tell them not to vote for a bill that extended the PTC.

One citizen frustrated with government spending contacted Senator Grassley’s office to voice her opposition to the PTC extension. The aide asked where she was from. She told him: “Western New York State, where they are dumping these giant wind installations throughout entire townships and rendering people’s homes worthless.” The aide replied, “Well, Senator Grassley is responsible for Iowans.” To which she said, “Excuse me? As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Grassley is responsible to ALL Americans! And we are damn sick and tired of the corporate welfare that’s going on to the likes of GE, BP, and Iberdrola via the PTC, while rendering many people’s most expensive life investment worthless.” She reports that the conversation continued for a bit, during which time the aide repeated that “Senator Grassley is responsible to Iowans.” Her email with this account included a link to Grassley’s Facebook page and concluded: “Let this guy have it!! The Tea Party needs to go after this Grassley!!!”

I posted the following on his Facebook page: “As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator, you are responsible to ALL Americans. If your office is not willing to listen to opinions from all Americans, please remove yourself from this important committee.” The post was promptly removed.

Senator Grassley is not a member of the Tea Party Caucus. He is an establishment Republican, so his vote to extend the PTC should not be shocking—just disappointing. However, Senator Jerry Moran (KS) is a Tea Party Caucus Member (TPCM). He is not on the Senate Finance Committee, so he couldn’t vote on Thursday’s bill, but my call to his office—and the offices of the other Senate TPCM—revealed that Moran is the only Senate TPCM who does support the extension of the PTC. My calls found that Senators DeMint, Lee, and Paul are each opposed to the extension.

I also called through the list of House TPCMs, as the House will vote on the PTC extension if it makes it through the Senate. Most politicos believe the extension will be addressed in the lame duck session so I wanted to get them on record regarding their philosophy on the PTC extension—which means more government boondoggle, less fiscal responsibility. Due to their summer recess, my research was inconclusive, but I did find that Representatives Coffman (CO), Farenthold (TX), Fleming (LA), Lamborn (CO), McClintock (CA), Pearce (NM), Stearns (FL), and Wilson (SC) were willing to be bold and oppose the PTC extension. Kline (MN) is not a TPCM, but has been strong in his opposition to the PTC extension. Coffman (CO) supports phasing it out, Franks (AZ) is probably “No,” and Smith (TX) is leaning toward “No.” The only House TPCMs who support this government spending are King (IA) and Bartlett (MD). The following said it depends on the exact bill and were unwilling to take a philosophical stand on the issue—and therefore should receive pressure: Akin (MO), Alexander (LA), Carter (TX), Cassidy (LA), Coble (NC). Every other House TPCM was undecided or unavailable.

After the Senators get back from recess, there will be a full Senate vote on the bill—which will likely go through several revisions before a vote.

Remember, back in June 2009, the Democratically-controlled House passed the cap and trade bill? It did not make it to a vote before the Democratically-controlled Senate members left for their summer break. That summer two things happened: the Tea Party and townhall meetings. The newly energized Tea Party types showed up at the “townhalls.” Senators got an earful. When they want back to DC in September, cap and trade was dead—a great victory

This summer, Tea Party types, once again, need to give their Senators an earful—especially the Republican Senators like Grassley (IA), Hatch (UT), Crapo (ID), and Roberts (KS) who voted for the “extender bill” and TPCM Moran (KS) who will, if it makes it to a floor vote.

The “right” thinking Senators of both parties must know that we have to stop this excessive bleeding of fiscal spending while we still have a chance to stop the slide toward Spain—whose green energy policies have helped push them toward bankruptcy. If they don’t “know,” we, and their TPCM colleagues, can help them.


Be a Patriot: Expand Your Carbon Footprint Today

"I'm proposing a bold conservation program to involve every state, county, and city and every average American in our energy battle. This effort will permit you to build conservation into your homes and your lives at a cost you can afford. I ask Congress to give me authority for mandatory conservation and for standby gasoline rationing. To further conserve energy, I'm proposing tonight an extra ten billion dollars over the next decade to strengthen our public transportation systems. And I'm asking you for your good and for your nation's security to take no unnecessary trips, to use carpools or public transportation whenever you can, to park your car one extra day per week, to obey the speed limit, and to set your thermostats to save fuel. Every act of energy conservation like this is more than just common sense, I tell you it is an act of patriotism." – President Jimmy Carter, 1977

Ever since Jimmy Carter took to the airwaves to urge us all to conserve energy in one of the most demoralizing speeches given by an American president, Americans have been ignoring the radical Left’s call for “energy efficiency” in favor of a more pragmatic approach.

Instead, Americans have adopted a policy that allows consumers to pick and choose where to conserve and where to expend. That’s why despite higher gas prices, Americans still make trucks the number-one selling domestic auto even though they are less “fuel efficient.”

But over the last ten years, the left has gotten slicker in their rhetoric, more sophisticated in their packaging, and have sold American policy-makers the great swindle of energy efficiency as a matter of economics. And like all swindles, it takes money from the unsuspecting and puts money into the pockets of the liars and the cheats, leaving its victims worse off and often not knowing why.

In late September of last year, one of the liars, the American Council of Energy Efficiency (ACEEE), released their 5th annual report on energy efficient states at the National Press Club in Washington, DC in another futile and laughable attempt to bolster the liberals’ “new energy economy” with hot air rather than actual energy or money.

The ACEEE report showed that for the first time Massachusetts knocked California off the top of the list as the most energy efficient state. Also making the top ten were New York, Oregon, Vermont, District of Columbia, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Connecticut and Maryland.

The states that ranked worst in energy efficiency were South Carolina, Missouri, Mississippi, Alabama, Kansas, Oklahoma, West Virginia, South Dakota, North Dakota and Wyoming.

But don’t ask ACEEE to demonstrate the economic- that is, monetary- benefits of being energy efficient, because they can’t. Instead, using less energy is counted by ACEEE as a benefit in and of itself with invaluable social rewards much higher than money. That’s why the report conveniently ignores the fact that the most energy efficient states have higher unemployment numbers than less efficient states.

When you look at the average unemployment numbers of the most efficient and least efficient states, as of September 2011, the stats show that the more energy efficient states lagged their lesser efficient brethren by 1.1 percentage points in unemployment.

The least efficient states enjoyed an average unemployment rate of 7.48 percent while the most energy efficient states had an average rate at 9 percent joblessness, right around the US average. That’s a 12 percent advantage in jobs for the big energy users; and more than just statistical noise.

You see, liberal energy efficiency advocates don’t want efficient energy production. Instead, they want energy rationing, just like liberals want healthcare rationing, wealth rationing and resource rationing. As a result, energy efficiency programs don’t deliver the economic benefits that its boosters claim, but rather just the opposite. They promise nebulous or outright fabricated economic benefits that distress the economy and job creation as a whole.

Take, for example, another report issued by ACEEE called Emerging Hot Water Technologies and Practices for Energy Efficiency as of 2011. The Council claims that changing to more efficient ways of heating hot water can save consumers $18 billion in their one-pager on the report; but later, in the body of the report, they admit that “In some cases, the technologies do not promise high returns on investment (fast payback), but the technologies offer new or improved amenity that consumers value (shorter waits for hot water, continuous hot water, etc.). These technologies are likely to be chosen for these tangible benefits, and will also save energy.”

Quicker hot water is not a tangible benefit, unless of course, someone is making the mathematical argument that all the time spent during the life of a person waiting for hot water can be used for some other productive purpose. In either event ACEEE doesn’t make that argument. In fact, consumers would likely pay more for a device that delivers hot water on demand.

Instead, ACEEE undercuts the great consumer benefits of “continuous hot water” by pointing out that the entire market for energy efficiency has been artificially created by the Energy Star program, another legislative mandate foisted on the economy by the federal government. In other words, consumers found the benefits of energy efficiency so unattractive that the federal government had to create a market for it by telling manufacturers: “Thou shall comply with Energy Star 4.0.”

Energy Star is supposed to a “voluntary” program, but in fact, as we found out with incandescent light-bulbs, voluntary inevitably becomes mandatory because the math doesn’t add up. The cost to make a new home Energy Star compliant is estimated by the EPA to be around $4,000-$5,000, while the savings for consumers for all Energy Star-rated appliances only amounted to around $18 million in reduced energy bills for 2010, also according to the EPA. That means that after the first 4500 Energy Star-compliant homes, the program is costing money. But the agency is quick to point out that carbon reduction under Energy Star equals 33 million vehicles. And if you can tell me what that’s worth, you can have a Nobel Prize. And if you can tell me what the Nobel Prize is worth…well never mind.

That industries are finding creative ways of complying with the Energy Star mandates is a credit to what is left of free markets in the United States, rather than an affirmation of a federal policy unsustainable by the cost-benefit analysis of its energy efficiency mandates. Energy Star guidelines only measure energy savings, not total cost in relation to energy savings. An appliance can have half of the life and twice the cost while still being rated as Energy Star efficient because it uses 20 percent less energy than a competing device.

The only way the liberal economic charade of energy efficiency makes sense is if you start from the proposition that all energy consumption is bad and must be reduced no matter the cost. I would argue the inverse. I would argue that energy consumption is good; that the United States should do what it can to enlarge its carbon footprint, not shrink it. It’s the misbegotten idea that energy costs our economy rather than fuels it that is one of the prime weaknesses of any economic policy enacted by liberals.

That belief does doesn’t just cost us jobs, it costs liberals elections, too.

And that is more than just common sense, I tell you; it is an act of patriotism.


British government warned: Wind Energy Is Extraordinarily Expensive And Inefficient

By Dr Gordon Hughes, a Professor of Economics at the University of Edinburgh where he teaches courses in the Economics of Natural Resources and Public Economics

In his economic analysis, submitted by the GWPF to the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee, Prof Hughes concludes that meeting the Government's target for renewable generation would increase households electricity bills by 40-60% by 2020.

The necessary investment for this Wind scenario would amount to about £124 billion. The same electricity demand could be met from 21.5 GW of combined cycle gas plants with a capital cost of £13 billion - the latter option is cheaper by an order of magnitude.

According to Professor Hughes, "the average household electricity bill would increase from £528 per year at 2010 prices to a range from £730 to £840 in 2020 under the Mixed Wind scenario. These figures amount to increases of 38% to 58% in the average household bill relative to the baseline under the Gas scenario. The equivalent ranges for the other scenarios are 29-46% for the More Onshore Wind scenario and 40-62% for the Future Offshore Wind scenario."

"The key problems with current policies for wind power are simple. They require a huge commitment of investment to a technology that is not very green, in the sense of saving a lot of CO2, but which is certainly very expensive and inflexible. Unless the current Government scales back its commitment to wind power very substantially, its policy will be worse than a mistake, it will be a blunder," Professor Hughes said.


UK’s Energy Policy ‘Schizophrenia’ Spreads to Europe

Who’d have thought it? The medievalists at Greenpeace have finally made a useful contribution to the energy debate by insisting Britain has two energy policies. They’re right. As the ideological fault-line in the UK coalition government is increasingly laid bare by the in-fighting between (Conservative) Chancellor George Osborne’s Treasury Department and (Lib Dem) Ed Davey’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the signs are that a new economic energy realism is also biting in Europe.

In late July Davey’s DECC won a pyrrhic victory against the UK Chancellor’s Treasury Department keeping a proposed cut of 25 percent to wind subsidies to a mere 10 percent. But the price for Davey was green-lighting a UK government push in support of natural gas; a move that will, ultimately, prove devastating to the anti-fossil fuel ambitions of Davey and his Lib Dem colleagues policies – although not for the free market and the UK economy.

UK onshore wind farms still depend on the lifeline of 100 percent taxpayer subsidy, with offshore running at around 200 percent. In 2012, UK wind farm subsidies will hit £1 billion for the first time. With end consumers footing the tab for this exercise in ideological economic plunder, power companies and wind farm developers alike are clearly greatly ‘incentivized’ to maximise their windfall ‘dividend’.

According to Renewable Energy Foundation (REF) figures, current renewable energy targets are on course to provide the power companies with a windfall of £100 billion from the subsidy regime by 2030. The top ten wind farm developing companies are set to net a mere £800 million between them in the next year alone. The Danish company Dong is the chief beneficiary of this government largesse, expecting to rake in over £156 million. And that’s before the additional guaranteed profit from its power sales to the National Grid via the market-skewing Renewables Obligation scheme, which guarantees ‘green’ electricity producers a fixed price.

Chancellor Osborne knows that UK industry has been hit hard by energy costs, especially the steel and chemical industries. Osborne knows he has little control over international energy prices. But he knows he can do something about the network of green levies augmenting those prices. Of late he has promised to help local communities block onshore wind farm developments against revised planning regulations which have effectively disenfranchised local communities. Osborne has called for an end to the UK’s unilateral climate and renewable targets and ditch entirely the post-2020 EU-imposed decarbonization strategy. Coupled with the Treasury’s austerity programme that is imposing much-needed cuts to the UK’s bloated public sector, the call for Osborne’s political head is, not surprisingly, on the increase, aided by a strong leftwing media.

Business Green’s James Murray is typical; recent commentaries being replete with the kind of anti-intellectual bunk that only a Guardian network publication could muster. If Osborne is successful, Murray has it, “the history of UK climate change policy” will ultimately be written “probably from a bunker in Northern Scandinavia”; Osborne having “finally shattered” the political climate consensus. For Murray, the Climate Change Act that currently enshrines the UK’s ludicrously over-ambitious, economy-sapping, decarbonisation targets is an inviolable bulwark against the “Tea-party-fication of British politics” and Osborne’s “fossilised vision for Gas-land UK”.

But the fact is, George Osborne’s Treasury is acting in the interest of the country. Osborne and the Treasury are proceeding on solid market advice that gas-fired electricity will remain far cheaper than renewables. This is clearly borne out by the revolutionising of manufacturing industry and reduction in energy costs in America – the direct result of the U.S. shale gas revolution. Osborne is also well aware that Britain is sitting on at least 20 trillion cubic feet of shale gas of its own, enough on its own to meet the country’s gas needs for two years without factoring in North Sea or other imported gas supplies. Meanwhile, North Sea energy is – due to ever-developing technology – the national gift that just refuses to quit. The recent acquisition of 8 percent of North Sea resources by China’s SINOPEC bearing out the fact.

But while George Osborne’s vision is certainly aimed at derailing the Green Deal Decarbonization Gravy Train, the accusation of climate ‘vandalism’ must be levelled far wider than just at him. The U.S. economy is in severe danger of being revived by what is happening in its shale gas and oil sectors. Just for good measure, the switch to gas has had a surprising ‘green’ benefit; a significant reduction in carbon emissions; a decarbonising ‘success’ story that appears not to have been missed at EU HQ.

A similar tension to that causing rift among UK government departments has emerged at the EU. In late July, the European Energy Commissioner G√ľnter Oettinger spoke warmly of how the US is aiming to “re-industrialise the country first by oil” and “by accepting some risks with offshore drilling for own resources” including “tar sands and others”. In contrast, laments Oettinger “we import oil and have high taxation”. Europe’s energy minister has also recently mooted the notion of increasing European industrialisation from 18 to 20 percent by 2020; an achievement that would have to be fossil-fuel driven.

The green lobbies, alerted to Oettinger’s “unguarded” comments, are plainly concerned that the UK’s energy policy schizophrenia has not only spread to Europe but is indicative of growing sentiment in Europe’s capitals. Europe is already undermining its own decarbonisation regime by investing heavily in coal, now the cheapest electric power fuel. Perpetuated by its own anti-fracking, anti-shale gas policies, Europe continues to remain largely dependent on Russia’s gas imports.

Yet, late last year, the IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates (IHS CERA) released a report showing that Europe’s shale gas and coal-bed methane prospects rival that of North America. However, the evidence that Europe’s biting economic crisis is driving a greater, fossil-fuelled, energy realism is mounting. Spain has not only been forced to terminate its renewable energy subsidies, it has recently committed to imposing a tax on renewable-sourced energy. Bulgaria has eased a ban that prevents exploitation of its shale energy potential.

But, most significantly, for Germany, Europe’s largest economy, energy is fast-becoming a key issue in the run up to next year’s election with the country’s politicians stalling over the switch from nuclear power to reliance on renewable power. Germany’s banks have recently been banned from financing offshore windfarms. And with over 600,000 households being disconnected annually as electricity bills soar, Germans voters are well aware that up to 22 trillion cubic meters (780 Tcf) of shale gas reserves may lie right under their feet.

Ultimately, Joe Citizen is going to have to resolve the growing ‘schizophrenia’ at the ballot box as the issue of green energy taxes rises up the political agenda. And which way ‘Joe’ votes ought to be guided by one of two beliefs: one in the transformational gas-fired US experience – the other in the Greenpeace-Murray “bunker in northern Scandinavia” fantasy.

Tough call that.


Australia: Low income earners burnt as cost of solar subsidy spirals

RENTERS, pensioners and other low-income earners are paying for their wealthier neighbours to enjoy cheaper power under the state's skyrocketing solar subsidy system.

The Queensland Consumers Association says costs to subsidise solar are forecast to triple, as the state's bill to fund the scheme continues to grow.

More than 100,000 applications were received last month from homeowners wanting to profit from the state's generous 44c per kilowatt hour tariff - twice the retail power rate - which will continue for 16 years.

By installing solar systems up to 5kW, the mostly well-heeled applicants stand to earn $200-$300 a quarter from a subsidy that is costing their non-solar neighbours more each year.

One of those who applied was Algester resident Ron Ruys, who feels badly for his neighbours who are indirectly helping to pay for a $10,000 5kW system that will earn him extra income.

"I'm going to do it and I'm going to make money out of it," he said. "But it is unfair to other people because of the subsidy. I don't think people know what the 44c means to their bill."

Energy Minister Mark McArdle has estimated the tariff would cost $1.8 billion by 2028 if the scheme remained unchanged. The July 9 deadline limiting future payments at an 8c cent rate.

The Government projects that the annual cost of the subsidy will rise from $50 to $100 for each household from the surge in applications, and another $50 for upgrades to the power grid.

Whether the increases will become a reality depends on whether the Government is successful in cutting expenses elsewhere in the budgets of power suppliers, including "community services".

Queensland Consumers Association vice-president Ian Jarratt said the threat of a $100 annual hike should be a concern for many people trying to stretch their income.

"A dollar is always more for a pensioner," he said.

The association said it voiced concerns about the scheme's cost several years ago to state officials. "Things had been done far too quickly and not thought through enough, especially about the cost to consumers who could not afford to install solar systems," Mr Jarratt said.

The solar scheme has had some benefits: creating employment for thousands of installers, reducing the state's dependence on coal and lowering carbon emissions.

Prices of home solar systems have dropped 50 per cent.

Installer numbers have increased from 78 in 2008 to more than 1100 today. The number of customers has increased from 1200 to around 180,000.

On the downside, "all Queensland households and small businesses indirectly foot the bill", Mr McArdle said.

The Government said it was obliged by legislation to continue the 44c tariff for the next 16 years, and risked lawsuits if it reneged.



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 blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


No comments: