Thursday, August 06, 2015
Tell a big enough lie often enough...
Folksy assertions and an obvious lie from Obama below. How can renewable power be cheaper when you have to back it up with other plant for the times when the wind doesn't blow and the sun is not out? Roughly doubling the capital costs of generation has got to push up prices. Saying anything else is a Goebbels performance
"No challenge poses a greater threat to our future and future generations than a changing climate," President Obama said Monday in a speech announcing his plan to achieve a 32-percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by the year 2030.
Although President Obama did not name the critics of his Clean Power Plan on Monday, he clearly was addressing Republicans.
"We've hear the same stale arguments before," he said. "Every time America has made progress, it's been despite these kinds of claims. Whenever America sets clear rules and smarter standards for our air, our water, our children's health, we get the same scary stories about killing jobs and businesses and freedom."
Obama then told a story about arriving in Los Angeles for college as an 18-year-old, in late August.
"I was moving from Hawaii. And I got to the campus, and I decided I had a lot of pent-up energy, and I wanted to take a run, and after about five minutes, suddenly, I had this weird feeling like I couldn't breathe. And the reason was, back in 1979, Los Angeles still was so full of smog that there were days where people who were vulnerable just could not go outside, and they were fairly frequent."
He got personal again at the end of his speech: "I don't want my grandkids not to be able to swim in Hawaii or not to be able to climb a mountain and see glacier because we didn't do something about it. I don't want millions of people's lives disrupted and this world more dangerous because we didn't do something about it. That'd be shameful of us. "This is our moment to get this right and leave something better for our kids. Let's make most of that opportunity."
At Monday's White House briefing, spokesman Josh Earnest said the Clean Power Plan will prompt states and individual utilities to "ramp up their investments in efficiency, ramp up their investments in renewable energy, which is cheaper to produce than energy that's produced by coal
, and making those kinds of investments will lead to savings in the utility bills of customers down the line, and that is what we're focused on, both in terms of saving consumers money but also a whole set of benefits that are associated with shifting to renewable energy or the use of less energy."
President Obama refuted critics who "claim that this plan will cost you money, even though this plan, the analysis shows, will ultimately save the average American nearly $85 a year on their energy bills." [I guess the EPA has produced some hokum to "prove" that scrapping coal will lower prices but Obama himself said a few years back that doing so would cause electricity prices to soar]
Obama's Clean Power Plan Is Costly Political Theater
On Monday, Barack Obama announced new rules for his long-dreaded Clean Power Plan. This past spring, we warned that Obama’s agenda to combat global warming would be finalized during the hottest days of summer. As with almost every other agenda under Obama, it’s even worse than expected — and all to prevent warming of 0.01 degrees Celsius.
Winston Churchill once said, “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance and the gospel of envy. Its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.” And make no mistake: Obama’s plan has little or nothing to do with climate and everything to do with his social justice worldview, in which he wants to handicap the U.S. ostensibly to the benefit of the rest of the world.
Obama was originally set to unveil his new rules outside of the White House. However, due to the sweltering heat, he chose to move the announcement inside. Naturally, Leftmedia talkingheads couldn’t pass on the opportunity to blubber that “Mother Nature … was making his point for him.” But newsflash: It’s always hot in August. Clearly, the central planners were aiming for a bit of theatrics.
As for the details, according to The Wall Street Journal, the new rule “would require a 32% cut in power-plant carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 from 2005 levels, an increase from the 30% target proposed last year.” According to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, the estimated annual cost by 2030 will be $8.4 billion. But keep in mind that government estimates are always low.
The new regulations will require states to create a plan to reduce power-plant emissions in order to reach the nationwide carbon reduction target. The state compliance plans are supposed to be completed by 2018, and states should reach their first targets for reduction by 2022. If a state doesn’t comply, then it will be forced by the EPA to adopt a federal plan.
The Journal further notes, “The final rule calls for the nation to get 28% of its electricity from renewable resources by 2030, versus roughly 13% last year. Industry experts say cutting carbon emissions 32% by 2030 will require billions of dollars in investments for new transmission lines that accommodate more solar and wind power and new pipelines to feed natural-gas-fired power plants, as coal becomes less important as a fuel.”
However, new pipelines for natural gas won’t be necessary. Obama has called natural gas a “bridge fuel” and has hailed its use as a way for the nation to move away from coal in the quest toward renewable energy. But the final version of Obama’s plan does not increase the use of natural gas; it maintains current levels. So he’s slamming the door shut on coal, and, while he’s at it, stopping the expansion of the use of natural gas. Obama’s leaving no room for more jobs to be created in the private sector.
But hey, since there will be new regulations to enforce, the EPA will need more manpower. Indeed, Obama’s EPA announced that it will hire an additional 800 new regulators. Obviously, 15,000 EPA workers aren’t enough to enforce the proposed regulations. It just shows how much Obama cares about creating jobs, right? Washington jobs, that is, which by the way will assist in putting private sector companies out of business for not complying with EPA demands. This is not quite what we would call the American Dream.
Neither is the cost of complying with the EPA’s proposal. Obama once admitted that, under his plan, energy prices would necessarily skyrocket. A study by the Energy Information Administration confirms that’s exactly what’s happening. If Obama’s plan is implemented, electricity prices will rise on average 4%, though some higher estimates predict increases of 12%-17%. Regardless, Americans will pay more, which doesn’t bode well for those struggling to make ends meet.
Yet the issue of climate change is more important to Obama than those struggling today. He wants it to be part of his legacy of fundamentally transforming America. Ahead of the climate change summit in Paris later this year, he wants to be seen as leading the way on combating emissions. He wants to be seen as the leader who saved the planet from capitalism. In addition, as with all issues, he wants environmental stewardship to be a divisive political game.
Why is it that liberal elites in the Democratic Party are portrayed as the authorities on all things environment? Why is it that conservatives and members of the Republican Party are portrayed as anti-science deniers, as haters of the environment, as if we delight in destroying the planet?
The short answer is that it gives an additional platform for Democrats. It provides an agenda for more control over how we live our lives. It becomes a wedge issue to drive votes in elections. And it pits state sovereignty against federal authority.
Fortunately, at least for now, many state governments have resisted the EPA power plan and Obama’s climate change agenda. Many state governments have insisted they will not comply, as it will ruin their economies. The issue will likely make it to the courts, and we hope the Supreme Court will rebuke the EPA once again, as it did in Michigan v. EPA. Liberty depends on reigning in the EPA, not emissions.
California’s Green-Energy Policies Are Driving Rising Numbers Into Energy Poverty
California has consistently been at the forefront of U.S. energy policy, including aggressive efforts to promote renewable generation, discourage consumption, and create a “low-carbon” economy. By 2020, California will require that one-third of electricity consumed in the Golden State be generated from renewable sources.
Not only is electricity purchased from renewable sources by the state’s utilities more expensive than electricity purchased in the wholesale market; California requires utilities to adopt rate structures that raise the price of electricity as consumption increases. The state is also home to a carbon cap-and-trade program aimed at reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 80 percent below 1990 levels—roughly 433 million tons of CO2 equivalent—by 2050.
The supply and cost of electricity in California are affected by public programs designed to incentivize development of renewable sources: subsidies to encourage development of solar photovoltaic (PV) power at residential and commercial locations; “feed-in” tariffs to encourage small (less than 3 megawatts capacity) PV and bioenergy resources; a carbon cap-and-trade program to reduce GHG emissions; and, most significantly, a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) mandate.
Partly to meet such mandates, California’s average residential electricity prices have increased significantly: the cost of acquiring energy from renewable sources is far higher than the market price of power. Further, because most wind and solar generation is developed in remote locations, California’s utilities have constructed hundreds of miles of new high-voltage transmission lines, whose costs are passed on to households.
Despite projections of imminent cost-competitiveness with fossil fuels, renewable generation continues to be considerably more expensive. During 2003-2013, overall average cost of renewable generation acquired by the aforementioned utilities rose by 55 percent, from $54/MWh to $84/MWh. In contrast, in 2013, the average wholesale market price of generation was slightly more than $46/MWh.
As the Golden State continues its pursuit of a low-carbon economy, its green-energy policies are driving rising numbers of Californians into energy poverty. In 2012, nearly 1 million households spent more than 10 percent of their income on energy bills. In hotter, less affluent inland counties, the rate of energy poverty was as high as 15 percent of households. Absent significant policy reform, the state’s rate of energy poverty seems destined to rise higher.
To alleviate current inequities, California legislators should:
1. Conduct a Cost-Benefit Review. Commission a comprehensive, impartial cost-benefit analysis of the state’s energy policies. Do the benefits of California’s proposed GHG reductions—which, even if realized, will negligibly affect global emissions and climate—outweigh their considerable and rising cost to local businesses and households, particularly low-income Californians?
2. Make the State’s Tariff Structure More Fair. Impose a greater share of the burden of renewable mandates on wealthier households and avoid over-allocating fixed-utility costs to lower-income households, which are least likely to participate in California’s subsidized rooftop solar PV programs.
California’s energy policy is making life more difficult for its low-income residents. The state should reassess its renewable-energy campaign and decide whether forcing its residents into energy poverty is worth the benefits of lower carbon emissions.
For Endangered Galápagos Penguins, Climate Change May Come With Benefits
The Galápagos penguin—the only penguin native to the northern hemisphere—may be experiencing benefits from climate change.
Shifting equatorial winds and water temperatures, possibly related to climate change, have caused an important undersea river called the Equatorial Undercurrent to rise up and hit the Galápagos Islands a bit farther north of its historic course.
According to a new study led by researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, a steady supply of cold ocean water has rejuvenated the marine food web on the western side of the Galápagos archipelago—where a vast majority of the Galápagos penguin population resides.
With more fish to eat, adult Galápagos penguins have hatched and reared more baby penguins to adulthood, more than tripling their numbers from just a few hundred 15 years ago to more than 1,000 today. It’s also been good news for fur seals and iguanas native to the region.
“When you see a cold pool of water where you’d expect to see warm water, that indicates something is mixing that water up from below,” said Kristopher B. Karnauskas, an associate scientist with WHOI and lead author of the study. “That water is feeding everything from plankton on up. It has been strengthening in the past 30 years and expanding northwards.”
Karnauskas and his colleagues found the connection between the Equatorial Undercurrent’s shift and penguin population growth by comparing satellite data on sea surface temperatures in the Galápagos with year-on-year census counts of the Galápagos penguin.
An estimated 2,000 penguins once roamed the islands, but by the early 1980s fewer than 500 remained. Introduced predators such as cats, dogs, and rats had long weakened their health and numbers, leaving the species especially vulnerable to depleted food supplies during El Niño weather cycles. “The penguins tend to die off during El Niño events, which are a massive sweeping circulation in the whole ocean” that warms sea surface waters and drives away fish, said Karnauskas.
The Galápagos penguin gained U.S. endangered species status in 2000 and is classified as “endangered”—just two steps away from extinct—on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List.
Karnauskas believes his study's findings suggest strategies that could help the penguins' numbers continue to grow.
“The sea surface temperature trend shows that just to the north of where most of the penguins are has become more of a suitable environment than it has in the past,” he said. “If that continues, I would cautiously draw a box around the north part of the island and say, 'If there’s any place conservation can help the penguins, that’s where I would do it.' ”
John Cook returns with his usual unscientific propaganda
Since this blog watches those who watch the deniers, a post on the infamous suspected identity thief John Cook’s July 22 cnn.com piece “The 5 telltale techniques of Climate Deniers” seems in order.
His first claimed technique: Fake experts
This coming from a person who apparently photoshopped himself in a Nazi uniform then later posted comments under another’s name on the not-so-secret Skeptical Science forum. Comments attributed to Cook show he posted as Lobos Motl, a physicist who is skeptical of many of the claims of AGW. The idea that John could actually use the word “fake” seriously in a sentence says it all.
“Fake experts” means anyone who disagrees with any part of AGW, including the solutions proposed. So, besides parroting the proper attitude and allegiance, what makes someone an expert? It can’t be your degree–many acceptable and not acceptable experts have the same degrees. It’s not working in the field of climate science as there are several well-known persons who are working in the field who disagree with much of is claimed by climate science. It is belief in the entire AGW meme that makes you an expert. Not the science, not the degree. Just belief and agreement.
What makes climate science so special that only a few designated persons who all agree 100% on the meaning of climate change are the only experts? Answer: Nothing. It’s a smoke screen to silence any legitimate opposition (actually ALL opposition). What makes climate science special is it’s about agreement, not science and not about truth.
His second claimed technique:
Logical fallacies are used by climate deniers. He uses the fallacy of “jumping to conclusions” as an example. Climate change was natural in the past so it is now.
John’s analogy–you find someone dead with a knife in their back. You conclude they died of natural causes because people have done so in the past. I’m starting to see why John was a cartoonist. Rational thought is not required. I know of no one who would jump to such a conclusion. When someone says the climate has always changed, they are stating a fact. The most egregious error in John’s claimed improper technique is that scientifically speaking, the person making the claim of “unnatural” has to prove their claim. The knife in the back is relatively solid proof of an unnatural death, unless someone just stabbed a knife into a dead person. Of course, if John knows the AGW scientists cannot prove that current warming or lack thereof is not natural, the smoke and mirrors game here does make sense.
His third claimed technique:
Impossible expectations. Like models that accurately predict? Really? Out of 102 models averaged, it seems none accurately predicted the leveling of temperatures over the past 18 years. None.
John, I have a great deal on a used car for you. About half the time it starts, sometimes it keeps running and sometimes not, it leaks anywhere from 1/2 to 3 quarts of oil, the wipers are random, tires hold air for a while and one or two doors open from the outside. Should work well if you don’t have impossible expectations of the car.
His fourth claimed technique:
Cherry picking. What’s this with the fruit fetish anyway?
Every single scientist on the planet picks and chooses the data he/she uses. If the data supports their theory/hypothesis with one selection but not another, the additional nonconforming data must be included. That’s not what climate scientists do, however. Often the values chosen seem to be chosen merely because they fit the theory. Then there is the constant adjusting of temperatures that goes on. While some adjustments may be needed, continual adjustment seems to point to making the data fit the theory.
Interestingly enough, John seems to be admitting there has been a leveling of off of temperatures in this statement: “For example, a persistent myth is that global warming stopped in recent decades. This is done by focusing on one slice of our climate system — the surface temperature record. Further, it relies on cherry-picking short time periods. This ignores the long-term trend and more importantly, ignores the many warming indicators telling us that our planet continues to build up heat.” There’s really no indication of what those many warming factors are nor why we should pay attention to something besides atmospheric temperatures. The global average temperature is the gold standard of climate change theory, yet suddenly we are to ignore it and move on? Maybe. After all, it didn’t cooperate and keep increasing. Reality can be such a pain.
Climate scientists often do not start in the late 1800’s and run the entire record when demonstrating warming, so the claim of cherry-picking would apply to climate scientists as well. Any elimination of any data can be claimed to be cherry-picking by someone, accurately or not.
John claims species are migrating to warmer climates yet there is scant if any evidence that this is occurring at a more rapid pace than in the past. Perhaps eyeballing some things are fine for climate science. Using actual data might result in fruit picking. He also mentions Greenland and Antarctica losing ice, but no mention of the Arctic. Do I smell pie baking?
His fifth technique:
Conspiracy theory beliefs. John complains skeptics claim there is a conspiracy of scientists and politicians to push AGW. (Coming from a person with virtually zero science knowledge and no advanced degrees who suddenly works for a university doing research studies, that might not be a really good idea.)
I’m following John’s lead here and going with an informal fallacy I am calling “the fallacy of self-delusion”. Global warming advocates constantly claim oil and gas are in a conspiracy to silence the AGW scientists. They are so incredibly self-deluded they do not see their own major conspiratorial claims. The good new is John’s fifth technique puts climate change advocates squarely in the science denier camp. Confirmation that climate change advocates are indeed science deniers.
Australian wind Inquiry Recommends careful regulation
The Senate Inquiry into wind farms has tabled a final report. The report recommends a series of ‘National Wind Farm Guidelines’ to be enforced against state governments which would have their eligibility to participate in the Clean Energy Certificate market created under the Renewable Energy Target threatened if they fail to comply.
The committee, which was dominated by senators who have publicly voiced their aversion to the wind energy sector, also recommended the establishment by statute of an ‘Independent Expert Committee on Industrial Sound’ (IECIS).
The committee on industrial sound would carry the remit of “conducting independent, multi-disciplinary research into the adverse impacts and risks to individual and community health and wellbeing associated with wind turbine projects”.
Earlier this year the National Health and Medical Research Council completed its own report which found that “there is no direct evidence that exposure to wind farm noise affects physical or mental health”.
But the committee took aim at a number of respected institutions and academics who concurred with the international consensus that wind farms are not harmful to human health.
The Australian Medical Association was accused of a “lack of rigour” and “slavish repetition of the findings of the National Health and Medical Research Council’s reviews,” which the committee was also highly critical of.
Instead, it recommended the committee on industrial sound become the dominant body and assume responsibility for developing a system of ‘National Wind Farm Guidelines’ in an attempt to push states to accept Federal standards on “visual amenity”, noise levels, standard buffer zones from residences, and community consultation processes.
The report is predicated on the position that “the wind sector in Australia is suffering from a crisis in community confidence” and that this must be solved through greater Federal involvement, despite recent polling indicating voters want the Commonwealth to do more to boost clean energy.
“There is deep scepticism within many local communities about the way in which wind operators are monitored and the complicit role of state governments in fudging results that find compliance,” the report said.
Under the recommendations state and territory governments would be required to “seek the advice of the Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Industrial Sound [as to] whether the proposed project poses risks to individual and community health” before granting approval.
State governments would then be unable to approve a project until the Federal Health Minister was satisfied the “risks to human health” had been mitigated.
The Federal government has already agreed to key recommendations of the report, including establishing the committee on industrial sound by the beginning of September this year and creating a Wind Farm Commissioner to handle grievances.
Labor Senator Anne Urquhart has already made her party’s grievances clear, with Labor slamming the report as “reckless, ridiculous and irresponsible”, a position which raises questions about whether the Federal government will be willing to open a new legislative battle front to implement key recommendations.
Senator Urquhart was the only Labor member on the committee and she prepared a dissenting report to prosecute the opposition’s argument that “this isn’t just an attack on wind” but rather the nation’s “entire renewable energy industry”.
“The majority report is belligerently deaf to the expert advice that wind energy is not only safe, but it is affordable and should play a critical role in Australia’s transition to a low-carbon economy,” Urquhart said
“Not one professional scientific, medical or acoustics body in the world holds the proposition that wind farms are dangerous to human health, and yet the majority report predicates a raft of onerous recommendations on this completely unsubstantiated claim.”
Federal Labor recently announced a policy of achieving 50 per cent renewable energy within 15 years and its state satellites are likely to share Uruhart’s concerns over “the Prime Minister’s blind obsession with destroying an industry that promises billions of dollars of investment and thousands of jobs in regional communities”.
The Victorian Labor government recently called on the Commonwealth to relax the Renewable Energy Target’s foundational legislation after the opposition was forced to cut it by 20 per cent, but yesterday’s recommendations could create far bigger headaches if successfully implemented.
The report recommends a project’s ability to attract subsidies under the Renewable Energy Target be contingent on its compliance with Federal guidelines on matters such as “visual amenity” and noise levels, including retrospectively with companies given “a period of no more than five years with which to comply”.
It also argues that all new projects should be eligible to trade under the Renewable Energy Target for no more than five years and that this should be subject to a requirement to “link the issuing of renewable energy certificates with confirmed greenhouse gas reduction”.
In 2013, wind power attracted 60 per cent of Renewable Energy Certificates and accounted for 63 per cent of total renewable-generated electricity.
In its dissenting report Labor criticised the Inquiry’s terms of reference for not considering “the broader imperative … to mitigate the impact of climate change”.
“In short,” the dissenting report reads, “the terms of reference have been framed so as to avoid consideration of the primary issues that must be addressed by public policy regarding Australia's energy generation mix”.
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Posted by JR at 12:33 AM