Thursday, August 03, 2017

Why People Like Al Gore Hate The World’s Poor

Manipulating people isn’t something of which to be proud. Granted, marketing campaigns and large corporations know how to leverage the emotions of people. The same goes for politicians. However, at what cost?

For Al Gore, the cost of manipulating people comes at the price that negates industrialization in some of the poorest places in the world. And that, my friends, is the reason the former vice president shows no regard for the poor.

As Gore prepares for the release of “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,” his highly anticipated sequel to his Academy Award-winning documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” people will continue to buy into the idea that the crisis of energy poverty comes second to climate change. This is entirely unacceptable.

Many of the world’s issues of poverty can be solved with the implementation of policies that advocate for energy affordability. However, this can be achieved only through legacy methods of energy generation — not forcing the reliance on energy production on intermittent renewable energy sources like wind and solar.

You may have heard this sentiment before, but manufacturing wind turbines, specifically, is expensive and requires raw and finished materials created by petroleum products, fossil fuels and rare earth metals. Plus, wind turbines are unreliable as a source of primary electrical generation. When they don’t spin, there is no power. When the wind picks up and the turbines spin too fast, they’re shut off. Unless there is some place in the world where the wind blows 8 to 12 mph, maybe higher, at a constant, a switch to totally renewable energy will be unsustainable on this basis.

Though a mixture of all types of energy generation can be beneficial, the truth of the matter is that sources like wind and solar do not generate enough power to provide adequate delivery for the world’s energy crisis as primary methods of delivery.

Billions of people are without reliable sources of electricity or heat (for warmth, cooking, etc.). And, through the narrative that this massive commitment for energy can be met by intermittent energy sources is entirely misguided, false and ignorant. If you can get past my credentials, my affiliations, and my beliefs, this is a question of common sense. Nothing else.

Energy poverty is a greater threat to the world than a sudden climate disaster. Here’s why. According to the International Energy Agency, 1.2 billion people lack access to modern sources of electricity. About 2.7 billion lack consumer access to natural gas, petrol products, propane and kerosene. Rather, they’re dependent on biomass. Though most biomass meant for cooking, like wood and coal, aren’t invalid ways to cook, burning gas and electricity would do wonders for the impoverished populations of the world and, yes, even the environment.

This is unchallengeable. However, limiting how many of these modern sources of energy are produced — like how shale-derived fossil fuel is produced, for example— you can’t provide the supply for the worldwide demand. Hydraulic fracturing, offshore drilling and the general exploitation of a country’s natural resources for energy development is the way to go. Having nongovernmental organizations and intergovernmental panels dictate what a developing country can do to industrialize is immoral and a clear symbol that the rich want to keep the poor, poor.

And, surprise, Al Gore, with a net worth of several hundred million dollars, falls into the category of the rich controlling the poor.

Even Fortune 500 companies and some of the biggest players in the private sector want to propagate the fear of climate change because it is profitable.

Cases of crony capitalism also come from this good ole’ boys’ club of rich, leftist politicians, big government, and big business controlling the free market, small energy producers and individuals.

The reliable solution for solving energy poverty is, in fact, legacy energy sources. Only then can people work themselves out of poverty, grow the global economy, and bring stability to their lands.


Why coal is Number One

The ‘booming’ solar energy field accounts for only one percent of American power production

Quick: what was the number one source of electricity production in the U.S. during the first half of 2017? If you answered renewable energy, you are wrong by a mile. If you answered natural gas, you were wrong by a tiny amount.

According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), which tracks energy use in production on a monthly basis, the single largest source of electric power for the first half of 2017 was coal. See chart.

That’s an amazing finding because liberals and especially environmental groups keep telling us that coal is a dead industry. They have ridiculed Donald Trump, and called him a liar, when he has said that he will revive the coal industry and the related jobs. “Coal Isn’t Coming Back,” a New York Times piece assured us a few weeks after the election. “Saving coal is one promise he (Trump) won’t be able to keep,” the author predicted. The Financial Times was even more blunt in its headline last month: “Coal Is Dead; Long Live the Sun.”

Let’s see if the left issues a retraction. Don’t hold your breath.

According to the EIA’s July report, “EIA estimates that the share of total U.S. generation fueled by natural gas during the first half of this year averaged 29 percent. In contrast, coal’s share of generation rose from 28 percent in the first half of 2016 to 30 percent in first half of 2017.” For the full year 2017, EIA estimates that coal will generate 3.453 million kilowatts per day, while natural gas, because of a rise in its retail price this year, will generate a hair less, or 3.432 million kilowatts. Wind and solar remain niche sources of energy providing about one-seventh as much power as coal and gas.

That’s not all. The Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis released July 21, 2017, reports that “mining increased 21.6 percent. The first quarter growth primarily reflected increases in oil and gas extraction, as well as support activities for mining. This was the largest increase since the fourth quarter of 2014.”No other major American industry had such gains and across all industries output was up less than 2 percent.

As for the drilling and mining industries, they have gained more than 50,000 jobs since President Trump’s election with 8,000 added in June alone. Many of these were in the oil and gas industry, but some were in coal, whose output has increased 12 percent this year.

Liberals complain that coal activity isn’t a major producer of jobs because the industry is producing a lot more coal with a lot fewer workers. That is absolutely true. Ladies and gentlemen, that is called productivity. A new study by the Institute for Energy Research points out that it takes wind and solar at least 30 times more man hours to produce a kilowatt of electricity than are required to produce that same energy from coal or oil. If you don’t think this productivity advantage of fossil fuels is a good thing, then you probably think we should bring farm jobs back by abolishing tractors and modern farm equipment.

But coal jobs are not just tied to the actual mining of coal. Coal is tied to steel jobs, trucking jobs, and manufacturing jobs. Using cheap and efficient energy makes every other American industry more productive, and thus makes American employers far more competitive in global markets. Productivity creates higher paying jobs in America, it doesn’t destroy them.

We are not the only country that is using a lot more coal. Of all places, The New York Times reports that “Chinese companies are building or planning to build more than 700 new coal plants at home and around the world, some in countries that burn little or no coal.” India is building hundreds more.

Does any of this sound like the last gasps of an industry that is “dead?” The reason these nations are turning to coal and natural gas is very simple: price and reliability. On both measures fossil fuels are much more efficient than wind and solar generation. Here and abroad solar and wind only survive due to massive government subsidies that mask the real cost. For all the talk of the “booming” solar energy field, it accounts for one percent of American power production.

Amazing that even with the tens of billions of dollars of subsidies to tilt the playing field away from fossil fuels and regulations meant to kill them, they are still flourishing as never before.


Transforming the Science Used For (Climate) Regulations

The massive number of rules and regulations issued in the United States annually impose billions of dollars in costs on individuals and businesses. Regulatory costs top $1.9 trillion annually, amounting to $14,842 per U.S. household. That’s nearly $15,000 unavailable to pay for health insurance, medicine or medical bills, college expenses, groceries, a new car, or vacations.

Because the economic and human health implications of regulations are profound, the science they are built upon must be unimpeachable. Yet the public can have little confidence the rules forced upon them are scientifically justified. Regulatory agencies repeatedly take actions to keep the science they’ve used to justify regulations secret, hidden from review by outside researchers and the congressional committees charged with exercising oversight over them.

The science used to justify the Obama administration’s climate policies lacked transparency. Nevertheless, because the costs of those policies in terms of dollars and cents and personal freedom are so high, they are slowly being brought to light. The revelations demonstrate why secret science must not be allowed to shape federal regulations going forward.

A number of questions have been raised concerning the science used to justify the Obama administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Power Plan (CPP) rules. A recent study by James Wallace II, Joseph D’Aleo, and Craig Idso shows the warming trend upon which EPA’s endangerment finding was based relied on politically manipulated global average surface temperature (GAST) data sets. The three GAST data sets were adjusted to remove historic cyclical temperature patterns, making the past temperatures appear cooler than was measured and current temperatures seem warmer than has been measured, resulting in a steeper- than-measured increase in temperature across the twentieth century.

The U.S. Office of Management and Budget estimates every $7.5 million to $12 million in regulatory costs imposed on the economy results in a life lost. We can all be thankful CPP never took effect.

EPA, with reason to paint the benefits of its plan in the best light possible, estimates CPP would prevent 21,000 premature deaths through 2030. The Energy Information Administration pegged the cumulative costs of the rule through 2030 at $1.23 trillion in lost gross domestic product. Thus, the estimated 21,000 lives saved are dwarfed by the 102,500 to 164,000 early deaths CPP could be expected to cause.

Importantly, almost all the lives anticipated to be saved by CPP were due not to reduced carbon dioxide emissions—since carbon dioxide is not toxic at any reasonably expected level—but as “co-benefits” of reducing regulated pollutants, primarily particulate matter. Steve Milloy, founder of, recently requested the New England Journal of Medicine retract the key studies used by EPA to claim reducing particulate matter will save thousands of lives annually. In support of his request, Milloy cites a series of articles showing air pollution at current levels is not causing illness or premature deaths in the United States.

In CCW 240 I detailed how researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) violated their agency’s own data quality and documentation policies in a rush to publish now thoroughly discredited studies that purported to show there had been no 18-year-long pause in rising temperatures in order to bolster President Barack Obama’s efforts to negotiate the Paris climate agreement. Prior to this disclosure, NOAA had rebuffed efforts by the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology to obtain the studies’ underlying data and any documents related to its findings. Now we know why. After the agency refused to deliver all the requested data, the committee issued its first subpoena in 21 years to compel disclosure of the taxpayer-funded research. Ultimately the committee issued a record 25 subpoenas for scientific research used to shape rules during Obama’s final two years in office. Regulatory agencies often ignored the subpoenas. This is unacceptable.

Federal agencies should be required to disclose all the science, models, and information exchanges used to make agency decisions, and no agency should be allowed to use any report to support or justify a rule if the research is not open to verification by outside parties. Every government research contract should require recipients to make available all assumptions, models, data, and e-mail exchanges related to the contracted research upon receiving a Freedom of Information Act request or a request by the congressional committee with oversight responsibility.

Researchers who reject such oversight and the universities or private research institutes employing them should be denied government research grants until they agree to these terms. Transparency of all taxpayer-funded research or any research used to make rules imposed on the public should be the norm.

In addition, regulatory agencies should be required to supply any information requested by any congressional committee with oversight authority over them. Any agency employee or administrator who refuses to comply with a congressional request for information in a timely manner should be open to discipline, including fines and immediate termination.


Climate Change Isn’t the End of the World

Even if world temperatures rise, the appropriate policy response is still an open question

Climate change is often misunderstood as a package deal: If global warming is “real,” both sides of the debate seem to assume, the climate lobby’s policy agenda follows inexorably.

It does not. Climate policy advocates need to do a much better job of quantitatively analyzing economic costs and the actual, rather than symbolic, benefits of their policies. Skeptics would also do well to focus more attention on economic and policy analysis.

To arrive at a wise policy response, we first need to consider how much economic damage climate change will do. Current models struggle to come up with economic costs commensurate with apocalyptic political rhetoric. Typical costs are well below 10% of gross domestic product in the year 2100 and beyond.

That’s a lot of money—but it’s a lot of years, too. Even 10% less GDP in 100 years corresponds to 0.1 percentage point less annual GDP growth. Climate change therefore does not justify policies that cost more than 0.1 percentage point of growth. If the goal is 10% more GDP in 100 years, pro-growth tax, regulatory and entitlement reforms would be far more effective.

Yes, the costs are not evenly spread. Some places will do better and some will do worse. The American South might be a worse place to grow wheat; Southern Canada might be a better one. In a century, Miami might find itself in approximately the same situation as the Dutch city of Rotterdam today.

But spread over a century, the costs of moving and adapting are not as imposing as they seem. Rotterdam’s dikes are expensive, but not prohibitively so. Most buildings are rebuilt about every 50 years. If we simply stopped building in flood-prone areas and started building on higher ground, even the costs of moving cities would be bearable. Migration is costly. But much of the world’s population moved from farms to cities in the 20th century. Allowing people to move to better climates in the 21st will be equally possible. Such investments in climate adaptation are small compared with the investments we will regularly make in houses, businesses, infrastructure and education.

And economics is the central question—unlike with other environmental problems such as chemical pollution. Carbon dioxide hurts nobody’s health. It’s good for plants. Climate change need not endanger anyone. If it did—and you do hear such claims—then living in hot Arizona rather than cool Maine, or living with Louisiana’s frequent floods, would be considered a health catastrophe today.

Global warming is not the only risk our society faces. Even if science tells us that climate change is real and man-made, it does not tell us, as President Obama asserted, that climate change is the greatest threat to humanity. Really? Greater than nuclear explosions, a world war, global pandemics, crop failures and civil chaos?

No. Healthy societies do not fall apart over slow, widely predicted, relatively small economic adjustments of the sort painted by climate analysis. Societies do fall apart from war, disease or chaos. Climate policy must compete with other long-term threats for always-scarce resources.

Facing this reality, some advocate that we buy some “insurance.” Sure, they argue, the projected economic cost seems small, but it could turn out to be a lot worse. But the same argument applies to any possible risk. If you buy overpriced insurance against every potential danger, you soon run out of money. You can sensibly insure only when the premium is in line with the risk—which brings us back where we started, to the need for quantifying probabilities, costs, benefits and alternatives. And uncertainty goes both ways. Nobody forecast fracking, or that it would make the U.S. the world’s carbon-reduction leader. Strategic waiting is a rational response to a slow-moving uncertain peril with fast-changing technology.

Global warming is not even the obvious top environmental threat. Dirty water, dirty air and insect-borne diseases are a far greater problem today for most people world-wide. Habitat loss and human predation are a far greater problem for most animals. Elephants won’t make it to see a warmer climate. Ask them how they would prefer to spend $1 trillion—subsidizing high-speed trains or a human-free park the size of Montana.

Then, we need to know what effect proposed policies have and at what cost. Scientific, quantifiable or even vaguely plausible cause-and-effect thinking are missing from much advocacy for policies to reduce carbon emissions. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s “scientific” recommendations, for example, include “reduced gender inequality & marginalization in other forms,” “provisioning of adequate housing,” “cash transfers” and “awareness raising & integrating into education.” Even if some of these are worthy goals, they are not scientifically valid, cost-benefit-tested policies to cool the planet.

Climate policy advocates’ apocalyptic vision demands serious analysis, and mushy thinking undermines their case. If carbon emissions pose the greatest threat to humanity, it follows that the costs of nuclear power—waste disposal and the occasional meltdown—might be bearable. It follows that the costs of genetically modified foods and modern pesticides, which can feed us with less land and lower carbon emissions, might be bearable. It follows that if the future of civilization is really at stake, adaptation or geo-engineering should not be unmentionable. And it follows that symbolic, ineffective, political grab-bag policies should be intolerable.


South Australia to buy nine new power generators

A confession of failure. With huge blackouts, "Green" power was a disaster.  They have in fact walked away from low CO2 power sources altogether.  They were going to build a gas-fired generator but have abandoned that in favour of good ol' smoky diesels.  They have clearly lost their mojo

South Australia will buy nine new generators to overcome any shortfalls in electricity during summer. The government says the generators will be installed at two temporary locations for the next two summers before being moved to one permanent site.

They have the capacity to provide up to 276 megawatts but will only dispatch energy to the grid if there are shortfalls that could result in load shedding.

The nine new aeroderivative turbines, which work like jet engines to produce electricity, will be initially fuelled by diesel before being connected to a gas supply.

They replace the government's plan to build a new gas-fired power station and to put temporary diesel generators in key locations across the state.

Premier Jay Weatherill says the generators will be funded within the existing $550 million energy plan, with the bill to be lower than the previous options.

The plan also includes construction of the world's biggest battery in the state's mid-north by tech billionaire Elon Musk and was developed following the statewide blackout in September 2016 and major load shedding in February.

"Rather than purchasing temporary generators before building a new gas plant, this solution will deliver long-term, back-up generation for South Australia before this summer," the premier said on Tuesday. "Importantly, this solution will deliver more generation capacity than originally planned while emitting less carbon pollution."

The temporary locations to be used will be alongside Adelaide's desalination plant in the city's south and on the soon-to-be-vacated Holden car assembly plant in the northern suburbs.

Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said the existing infrastructure at the two sites made them good strategic locations for connection to the energy grid. He said work was continuing to select the permanent location.




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


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