Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Why Millenials Embrace Oil, Fracking

Katie Kieffer

There’s hope for the future. My generation of Millennials is embracing entrepreneurial oil jobs to keep America’s lights on.

On June 2, the Obama administration proposed new carbon regulations calling for a 30 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030. Why 2030? Who knows! It’s an arbitrary date, not a number based on sound science.

Coal currently supplies 39 percent of America’s electricity. TIME Magazine reports that Obama’s proposal will promote “fuel switching” from coal to so-called clean forms of energy such as solar. Fuel switching is the politically correct term for putting Americans out of work and the power grid in jeopardy. There are consequences to this knee-jerk switch to government-subsidized “green” energy.

Millennials understand these consequences. Which is why a Pew report issued this spring found that Millennials are “somewhat less likely than older adults to describe themselves as environmentalists—just 32% say this describes them very well…” Millennials care about the environment. But, since science tells us that humans are not responsible for detrimental warming and over 15% of us are unemployed—our priority is jobs.

The Shale Boomers

Our parents are Baby Boomers. Call us the Shale Boomers.

20-something and 30-something Millennials are jumping into the oil industry. Bloomberg Businessweek reports that “After years of failing to attract and retain young talent, the industry is suddenly brimming with upstart millennials....” and that “oil and gas veterans call it ‘the great crew change.’”

Young whippersnappers are taking advantage of the shale boom to start their own businesses, and are doing well. Bloomberg reports that there has been a 60 percent increase in the Young Professionals in Energy’s Dallas chapter since 2009. That means there are now 4,000 young professionals in the Dallas chapter—and many are staking out careers in oil.

Millennials embrace oil and fracking because we understand that wind and solar is not necessarily “environmentally friendly.” That is, unless you call the birds killed by windmills and the desert land consumed with thousands of reflecting mirrors earth-friendly. Solar panels are also dependent on rare earths, which are dominantly mined by the world’s Polluter-in-Chief, China.

Second, we understand that the technology is not there yet. Both wind and solar provide intermittent energy and cannot replace the steady, reliable energy that we get from coal and natural gas. Tech-dependent Millennials are not very interested in living through a blackout.

Third, we understand that since 2007, there has been a net increase of only 0.3% jobs for young people between the ages of 22 and 34.

Where are all those jobs—especially the permanent green jobs that President Obama promised us? I’ve looked high. I’ve looked low. I’ve seen the Treasury Inspector General’s report indicating that the federal government handed out bonuses to IRS employees who did not pay their taxes. But my young friends are still living with their parents. And our parents are just as frustrated as we are! After all, they thought they could enjoy retirement instead of delaying retirement while Lois Lerner enjoys her paid vacation.

Experts estimate that Obama’s carbon regulations proposal will cull 250,000 jobs as 165 coal-fired plants have either shuttered or are set to shutter.

“Here’s a dirty little secret: people are tired of [President Obama’s] speeches. People want jobs,” Rush Limbaugh said on his talk show on November 11, 2009. Rush made that statement seven days after Obama was elected for the first time. If we were tired then, we’re exhausted now. “Dead exhausted,” as Hillary Clinton might moan.

There is hope and solutions, as I explain in my new book, “Let Me Be Clear,” that Random House is publishing on June 24. There are ways to create jobs, become entrepreneurs and take back our American Dreams. But, we must strike while the iron is hot and implement these solutions now—before the midterms and 2016 presidential elections.

Otherwise, we’ll add four more years of Hillary to a country that, at $17.5 trillion in the hole, is already “dead broke.” Let’s take action.


Washington’s Northern Virginia suburbs grapple with ‘smart growth’

Even in one of the most politically correct enclaves in the country, resistance is growing to elaborate and expensive transportation projects favored by elite planners.

In Arlington County, just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C, the local equivalent of a political bombshell exploded in an April special election for the county board.  A heavily favored proponent of installing a controversial streetcar line was soundly defeated by a candidate who called the project wasteful.

At issue was a proposed 4.9-mile streetcar that would run on Columbia Pike from the Pentagon City Metro stop to Baileys Crossroads.  The Washington Post recently reported that the cost of the project at $358 million, up $100 million from the previous estimate by the county, and $48 million above what federal transportation officials predicted last year.

Million-Dollar Super Stops

In addition to the skyrocketing cost of the streetcar, Arlington officials also have to defend proposed construction of new “Super Stops” for buses that will cost an estimated $1 million each.  Caught off guard by the groundswell of resistance to their taxpayer-funded schemes, Arlington officials are now considering a refere-BikeLanes-ndum on the streetcar project and they may scale back plans for their million-dollar bus stops.

Things may be heating up for the planners in neighboring Fairfax County, too.  There, a proposed $100 million transportation referendum includes $85 million for new bikeways and pedestrian paths.  Not included in the referendum is another county project that would spend $92 million on an overpass spanning the Dulles Toll Road that sets aside more than 35 feet of the 59-foot-wide bridge for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Risking Life and Limb

And there’s more.  Watchdog.org’s Virginia bureau reports that Fairfax County is concerned that acquiring right-of-way for bike lanes may be too expensive.  Their solution?  “Sharrows.”  Bikes and cars would share the same lanes on certain roads. It seems not to have occurred to them that assigning cars and bikes to the same lanes could pose a huge risk to bicyclists.

Arlington and Fairfax Counties are home to tens of thousands of government workers.  These are folks who make a living spending other people’s money.  If they are raising questions about sense of these extravagant transportation projects, then something truly remarkable is going on.

It’s about time.


EPA imperialism

The proposed budget for the federal Environmental Protection Agency for fiscal year 2015 is $7.89 billion. That should be plenty of money for the EPA to colonize more of American life.

As Keith Matheny notes in the Lansing State Journal, the EPA is advancing new regulations that will make life more difficult for farmers. According to Laura Campbell of the Michigan Farm Bureau, the rules could require federal permits to modify a farm’s drainage ditches that are dry 11 months of the year. Dan Wyant, director of Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality, told Matheny that the regulations will “require more permitting, slow business down and cost more time and expense to business owners; there’s just no doubt about that.”

Iowa farmer Dean Lemke told Ron Nixon of the New York Times, “If I have to go to the EPA to figure out if I need a permit because a ditch I’m planting next to sometimes has water in it, that’s time I’m not planting. And if I’m not planting, I’m not making money.”

EPA critics have a strong case that the rules will quash economic growth, infringe on property rights, and increase the price of food. This is clearly a power grab on the part of the federal agency, and that should come as no surprise. As James V. DeLong noted in Out of Bounds, Out of Control, the EPA has few checks on its authority, writes rules with limited guidance from Congress, and has created entire programs out of thin air by changing the standard of evidence as it prosecutes alleged violations.

As we noted in EPChe: An Expensive, Oppressive Agency Gets a Symbol, the federal agency abounds in regulatory zealots. Consider how Al Armendariz, an EPA regional boss and Obama appointee, described the EPA enforcement style: “It is kind of like how the Romans used to conquer villages in the Mediterranean — they’d go into a little Turkish town somewhere and they’d find the first five guys they saw and they’d crucify them. Then that little town was really easy to manage for the next few years.”

The EPA is not the only obstruction to sound water policies. As Rep. Tom McClintock notes, federal policy abets California’s current drought by making it difficult to expand dams and water storage facilities. This stems from a “nihilistic vision of increasingly severe government-induced shortages, higher and higher electricity and water prices, massive taxpayer subsidies to politically well-connected and favored industries, and a permanently declining quality of life for our children.”


Greenpeace  try being capitalists -- but are clueless at it

Looks like the anti-capitalist, tree-hugging Greenpeace organization doesn’t practice what it preaches when it comes to the evils of capitalism.

A number of newspapers in the German speaking part of Europe are reporting how the environmental activist organization took millions of the money received as private donations and has blown it in high-risk casino-grade investments - instead of using it to protect the environment.

Spiegel here reports, “Greenpeace has been rocked by a finance scandal” and that it has “blown millions from donations“. According to Spiegel:

An employee at Greenpeace Central in Amsterdam lost a total of 3.8 million euros in currency speculation. According to Spiegel information, the money comes from donations transferred to Amsterdam Central from financially sound Greenpeace regional organizations like those in Germany…”

Note how the blame gets shifted to “an employee”, as if Greenpeace management is not accountable. Well, management is responsible and those donating deserves answers as to why their donations were being blown in dubious get-rich-quick schemes.

According to Spiegel, the employee was betting on a falling euro. Mike Townsley of Greenpeace International says the employee has since been sacked and calls the bad speculation “a serious miscalculation”, which was discovered by an “internal control system”. Greenpeace assures that the problem is solved and everything is back in order.

Instead of firing the poor employee, Greenpeace could have taken the socially compassionate step of sending him to training, or perhaps to Gamblers Anonymous. But no, instead they do the cold-hearted capitalistic thing and throw him out onto the streets. Or better yet, they could pay him a huge bonus, and then ask the government for a bailout.

Spiegel writes that the money had been earmarked to set up regional Greenpeace offices. But that money is gone, and the loss is deemed as “substantial”.

I remember Greenpeace activists asking me for a donation on the streets of Rome when I visited last April. Boy, I sure am glad I didn’t give them anything.

As one Spiegel reader comments, “Like everywhere, it’s easier to speculate with other people’s money.”


As Usual, UN Climate Talks Ends In Deadlock

The use of carbon markets to curb rising greenhouse gas emissions was dealt a blow on Sunday after two weeks of United Nations talks on designing and reforming the mechanisms ended in deadlock.

The negotiations, held as part of U.N. climate negotiations in Bonn, Germany, made scant progress as envoys representing almost 200 nations tied reforms to progress under the wider discussions and remained entrenched in diverse positions.

The stalemate gives investors little sign that there will be a pickup in demand under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), the U.N.'s current main carbon market which has seen activity dry up after funneling over $400 billion into emission-cutting projects in developing countries over the past decade.

It also offers no guidance on how the growing patchwork of national and regional carbon markets worldwide will fit into a future international framework to tackle climate change.

“It is disappointing we didn’t move forward,” said Elina Bardram, an official at the European Commission representing the 28 EU nations at the talks.

“We believe there is a future for markets ... (but) to agree on something that wouldn’t be robust enough for us to engage on later on would just not make any sense,” she told journalists at a briefing after the talks ended on Sunday.


Big-emitting businesses and rich nations including the United States, Japan, and members of the European Union, favor designing new market-based mechanisms to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions as cheaply as possible.

Poorer nations have been more wary, particularly as most CDM investment went to wealthier emerging nations such as Brazil and China for industrial gas destruction projects, which generated healthy profits for companies but led to little sustainable development and had their environmental integrity questioned.

Negotiations over a raft of CDM reform proposals broke down over whether to study how to convert the CDM to generate net emission reductions, rather than merely to generate carbon credits that can be used by developing countries to offset their emissions.

Efforts to include the option were led by a group of over 40 low-lying island developing nations most at risk of being submerged by rising sea levels due to global warming.

It was also backed by the EU, which has used the lion's share of CDM credits to date but wants to scale up global emission reduction efforts and encourage richer developing countries to pay for their own emission cuts.

Some other developing nations blocked the move, reflecting a wider 20-year distinction in U.N. climate negotiations that has put the onus on industrialized nations to curb global greenhouse gas output because of their historical responsibility for emissions and capacity to pay.

The deadlock dismayed other poorer nations keen to tap CDM investment.

"We are disappointed by the lack of progress; the CDM has not yet seen its way to Africa," said a spokesman for Sudan on behalf of a bloc of 54 African nations.


In a separate strand of the talks, governments failed to make much progress on efforts to launch a platform to help set common standards and accounting rules for reducing emissions and tie together national and regional emissions trading schemes.

Separate text listing elements of such a platform, referred to a "Framework for Various Approaches", was promoted by a group of richer nations including United States and Japan, which are both designing their own programs to use foreign carbon credits.

But this was removed after meeting resistance from developing nations, which first want rich governments to take on deeper emission reduction targets at home.

Small island states and the EU are also concerned about advancing work on the framework without safeguards to assess the environmental integrity of new schemes, according to negotiators and observers to the mostly closed-door talks.

The EU, whose draft contribution towards a Paris deal contained no firm additional demand for foreign carbon credits to 2030, has been criticised by investor groups for undermining its leadership role in new carbon market development.

But the EU's Bardram defended the approach. She said the bloc was committed to developing market-based measures in the long term if other nations made comparable commitments.

“We do need to allow for a situation to develop whereby other partners have sufficient ambition for a truly global market to develop," she said.

The U.N. talks are scheduled to resume at the next negotiating round in December in Lima, Peru.


India rebelling against Greenpeace destructiveness

All set to take action against Greenpeace India, the ministry of home affairs served a show cause notice to the international NGO on Friday asking why its permission to get foreign funding under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 (FCRA) should not be withdrawn. At least ten more NGO's could receive similar notices within a week.

Greenpeace, a NGO working on environment issues, has been in the centre of controversy with a Intelligence Bureau (IB) report indicting it for fuelling anti-nuclear agitations and adversely effecting Indian economy. A senior MHA official told ET the evidence against Greenpeace was foolproof and it would be difficult for the organisation to defend itself.

At least 10 more NGO's will be sent notices under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 by the Union Home Ministry by next week, asking them to explain their funding and spending pattern as a "stricter fund monitoring" regime for NGO's is set to kick in and a "review is already underway" after the IB has raised an alert, a ministry official said.

The NGO's facing the heat would include six NGOs involved in opposing genetically modified organisms and certain NGO's in the North-East in touch with Dutch NGO Cordaid. An earlier IB report had named Cordaid role in agitations that led to the Home Ministry withdrawing Cordaid's permission to get foreign funding.

A similar action is expected against Greenpeace. A recent Home Ministry report dated December 6, 2013 said the NGO sector in India is vulnerable to the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing.

The stricter regime against NGOs would involve immediate measures to ensure registered NGO's file their statutory annual returns to the government. The review initiated at the Home Ministry has shown that nearly half the registered NGOs under FCRA - 20,825 out of the 43,527 to be precise - did not file annual returns with the central government which contain details of foreign receipts and utilization.

"This is a matter of grave concern and will be rectified soon under a stricter regime," a senior Home Ministry official said.

A Home Ministry official said Greenpeace was also sent a questionnaire two months ago, asking the NGO to explain its funding and operations. This was part of an ongoing exercise at IB to study the role of NGO's post the anti-nuclear protests at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu. This inquiry revealed certain alleged irregularities on part of Greenpeace.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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