Monday, June 24, 2013

Greedy Africans Are Starving Our Cars

“You’ve heard of Live Aid? Well, this is Drive Aid,” an ardent young man says, as he approaches London pedestrians. “Greedy people in developing nations are eating huge amounts of food that could easily be turned into biofuel to power our cars. African acreage the size of Belgium is being used for food, and we’re saying it should go to cars here in the UK. Can we have your support?”

Londoners reacted with disbelief and outrage, the ActionAid UK video shows, and refused to sign his mock petition. The amusing stunt drove home a vital point: Biofuel programs are turning food into fuel, converting cropland into fuel production sites, and disrupting food supplies for hungry people worldwide. The misguided programs are having serious environmental consequences, as well.

Why, then, can’t politicians, bureaucrats and environmentalists display the common sense exhibited by London’s citizenry? Why did President Obama tell Africans (many of whom are malnourished) in July 2009 that they should refrain from using “dirty” fossil fuels and use their “bountiful” biofuel and other renewable energy resources, instead? When will Congress pull the plug on Renewable Fuel Standards?

Ethanol and other biofuels might have made some sense when Congress passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and established mandates (or “standards”) requiring that refiners and consumer purchase large quantities of ethanol and other biofuels. Back then, despite growing evidence to the contrary, many people thought we were running out of oil and gas, and believed manmade global warming threatened the planet. But this is not 2005. Those rationales are no longer persuasive.

The hydraulic fracturing revolution has obliterated the Club of Rome “peak oil” notion that we are rapidly exhausting the world’s petroleum. Climategate and other IPCC scandals demonstrated that the “science” behind climate cataclysm claims is conjectural, manipulated and even fraudulent. And actual observations of temperatures, storms, droughts, sea levels and Arctic ice have refused to cooperate with computer models and Hansen-Gore-EPA-IPCC disaster scenarios.

In fact, biofuels and Renewable Fuel Standards cannot be justified on any grounds.

The United States is using 40 million acres of cropland (Iowa plus New Jersey) and 45% of its corn crop to produce 14 billion gallons of ethanol annually. This amount of corn could feed some 570 million people, out of the 1.2 billion who still struggle to survive on $1.25 per day.

This corn-centric agriculture is displacing wheat and other crops, dramatically increasing grain and food prices, and keeping land under cultivation that would otherwise be returned to wildlife habitat. It requires millions of pounds of insecticides, billions of pounds of fertilizer, vast amounts of petroleum-based energy, and billions of gallons of water – to produce a fuel that gets one-third less mileage per gallon than gasoline and achieves no overall reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Ethanol mandates have caused US corn prices to rocket from $1.96 per average bushel in 2005 to as much as $7.50 in autumn 2012 and $6.68 in June 2013. Corn growers and ethanol makers get rich. However, soaring corn prices mean beef, pork, poultry, egg and fish producers pay more for corn-based feed; grocery manufacturers pay more for corn, meat, fish and corn syrup; families pay more for everything on their dinner table; and starving Africans go hungry because aid agencies cannot buy as much food.

By 2022, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (amending the 2005 law) requires 15 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol and 21 billion gallons of cellulosic and other non-corn-based biofuels. That will monumentally worsen all these problems.

Equally insane, the Environmental Protection Agency’s draft rule for 2013 required that refiners purchase 14 million gallons of cellulosic biofuels. There’s a teensy problem: the fuel doesn’t exist. A mere 4,900 gallons were produced in March, and zero the other months. So companies are forced to buy fantasy fuel, fined big bucks if they do not, and punished if they get conned into buying fraudulent “renewable fuel credits” from “socially responsible” companies like Clean Green Fuel, Absolute Fuels and Green Diesel.

Ethanol collects water, which can result in engine stalls. It corrodes plastic, rubber and soft metal parts. Pre-2001 car engines, parts and systems may not be able to handle E15 fuel blends (15% ethanol, 85% gasoline), adversely affecting engine, fuel pump and sensor durability. Older cars, motorcycles and boats fueled with E15 could conk out in dangerously inopportune places; at the very least they could require costly engine repairs. Lawn mowers and other gasoline-powered equipment are equally susceptible.

On a global scale, the biofuels frenzy is diverting millions of acres of farmland from food crops, converting millions of acres of rainforest and other wildlife habitat into farmland, and employing billions of gallons of water, to produce corn, jatropha, palm oil and other crops for use in producing politically correct biodiesel and other biofuels.

To top off this seemingly inexhaustible list of policy idiocies, all this ethanol and other biofuel could easily be replaced with newly abundant oil and gas supplies. Amazing new seismic, deepwater, deep drilling, hydraulic fracturing and other technologies have led to discoveries of huge new reserves of oil and natural gas – and enabled companies to extract far more petroleum from reservoirs once thought to have been depleted.

That means we can now get vastly more energy from far less land; with far fewer impacts on environmental quality, biodiversity and endangered species; and with none of the nasty effects on food supplies, food prices and world hunger that biofuel lunacy entails.

We could do that – if radical greens in the Obama Administration, United Nations and eco pressure groups would end their ideological opposition to leasing, drilling, fracking, Outer Continental Shelf and Arctic National Wildlife Refuge development, Canadian oil sands, the Keystone pipeline and countless other projects. We could do so, if they would stop behaving like environmentalist Bull Connors, arrogantly blocking the doors to human and civil rights progress.

This colossal global biofuels industry exists only because resource depletion and climate Armageddon ideologies do not die easily – and because politicians lavish government mandates and billions of dollars in taxpayer and consumer subsidies on firms that have persuasive lobbyists and reliable track records for channeling millions of those dollars back to the politicians who keep the racket going.

The ActionAid UK video has lent some good British gallows humor to a serious issue. As another well-known Brit might say, it is time rein in a global SPECTRE that has wreaked too much human and environmental havoc.

To get that long overdue effort underway, Congress needs to amend the 2005 Energy Policy Act, eliminate the Renewable Fuel Standards and end the taxpayer subsidies.

A few thousand farmers and ethanol makers will undoubtedly feel some pain. A few hundred politicians will have less money in their reelection coffers. However, countless wild creatures will breathe much easier in their newly safe natural habitats – and millions of families will enjoy a new birth of freedom, a new wave of economic opportunity, and welcome relief from hunger and malnutrition.


Will California finally choose greenbacks over Green ideology?

By Marita Noon

If there is any place the gang Green can expect to get its way, it would surely be California. The state has the highest renewable energy standards in the country, the legislature is currently dominated by a liberal supermajority, and Governor Jerry Brown’s environmental record runs deep.

When the Energy Information Agency reported that California’s Monterey Shale potentially contains more than 15 billion barrels of oil — a supply three times greater than North Dakota’s Bakken and the Texas Eagle Ford formations — environmental groups ratcheted up their efforts to keep the resource in the ground. The weapon of choice? Demonize the technology that allows the oil and gas to be released from the sedimentary rock: hydraulic fracturing — commonly called “fracking.”

California’s legislature had nearly a dozen different bills designed to impede, restrict, or ban fracking. With lawmakers on their side, environmentalists grew cocky. When the bills made it out of committee, Patrick Sullivan, of the anti-fracking group Center for Biological Diversity, claimed: “There’s huge momentum in the legislature to halt this dangerous practice.”

Imagine their shock when the rank and file Democrats revolted and defeated AB1323, 37-24 — with 12 Democrats voting with 25 Republicans. Another 18 abstained. According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), “It’s a good bet they were ‘no’ votes who didn’t want to publicly cross their leadership.” The WSJ called the vote: “a rare rout for The Sierra Club and other greens.”

It seems that California’s “politicians are beginning to wonder if cultivating greenie obsessions has been worth stopping economic development,” writes Mark Whittington for “The environmental lobby … has seen the limit of its power.”

This is especially interesting in light of the columns I’ve been writing lately. Remember Environmentalists Endangered and, more recently, Renewable Energy’s Reversal of Fortune? Then, last week, in my column The Sierra Club Exposed, I referenced a Sierra Club director who claims that Latino voters care more about conservation than energy drilling.

Yet, who are the Democrats who split with their party to block the fracking bans that would “throw thousands of Californians out of work?” Those representing poor and minority areas with unemployment rates of 12 percent or more. Six of the seven black and most of the Latino assembly Democrats refused to vote for the ban, while wealthy, mostly white Democratic coastal districts voted for it. Whittington says the vote is “dividing the state’s all powerful Democratic party, pitting rich against poor, white against minorities and coastal California against central California… powerful rich elites who have pushed an environmentalist agenda at the expense of the common people.”

Fracking has been used in California for 60 years, and is used in about a third of California’s active wells. Since the start of 2011, 974 California wells have been fracked. Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association, asserts: “California has never recorded a single documented instance of fracking wastewater leaking out and contaminating the surrounding groundwater supply.” Meanwhile, environmentalists, such as Adam Snow of Food and Water Watch claim “there’s no safe way to frack.”

Fracking foes want a complete ban. But, California can’t afford not to frack.

The Global Energy Network & Price School of Public Policy, the University of Southern California, and The Communications Institute recently collaborated on a study called “Powering California: The Monterey Shale & California’s Economic Future.” The study found that development of oil from the Monterey Shale using hydraulic fracturing and other recovery technologies could result in:

* The creation of 512,000 to 2.8 million new jobs,
* Personal income growth of $40.6 billion to $222.3 billion,

* Additional local and state government revenues from $4.5 billion to $24.6 billion, and

* An increase in state GDP by 2.6 percent to 14.3 percent on a per-person basis.

In a state with $167.9 billion in long term liabilities — not counting pensions and retiree health benefits, those numbers can’t be ignored. Fresno Assemblyman Jim Patterson wants to “unleash this magnificent potential for jobs.”

Apparently, Democrats, even with a supermajority, have accepted defeat on a fracking ban and are now moving toward taxes. A driving force in California environmentalism, State Senator Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa), author of SB 241 — which would impose a tax on harvesting oil and gas — says: “California is poised to allow fracking on a monumental scale in the Monterey Shale, and if we don’t enact an oil severance prior to the time we do that, then we’re allowing … California’s resources to be extracted without taxing it.”

It is easy to see where lawmakers like Evans are going. Texas has no state income tax, but the state does tax oil and natural gas:

*   Oil production tax: 4.6 percent (0.046) of the market value of oil.

*    Regulatory Tax: 3/16 of a cent ($0.001875) per barrel.

*   Regulatory Fee: 5/16 of a cent ($0.003125) per barrel for report periods prior to September 2001. For report periods September 2001 and later, 5/8 of a cent ($0.00625) per barrel Reduced Oil Production Tax Rates for Certified Exemptions:

*    Enhanced Oil Recovery Exemption (EOR) 2.3 percent (0.023) of market value of oil; Two Year Inactive Well Exemptions 0.0 percent (0.000) of market value of oil.

With a potential of more than 15 billion barrels of oil in the Monterey shale, saying no to fracking means saying no to California’s economic salvation.

No wonder Governor Brown has yet to take a position on fracking. In fact, he sounds like he is willing to abandon his solid Green credentials — angering environmentalists who are staging protests outside his office. Like the Sierra Club pushing President Obama to use his executive order pen to designate national monuments and block oil and gas development, California’s Greens are demanding that Brown short-circuit the democratic process and ban fracking. The Center for Biological Diversity’s Rose Braz claims: “Fracking pollution threatens our air and water and Gov. Brown’s legacy as an environmental leader.”

The Green state is going brown.

In March, Gov. Brown said: “The fossil fuel deposits in California are incredible, the potential is extraordinary. But between now and development lies a lot of questions that need to be answered.” Last month, he seemed to move even closer to supporting fracking: “This is not about just saying, ideologically, yea or nay. It’s about looking at what could be a fabulous opportunity. . . . And if you remember about oil drilling, oil drilling in Long Beach, which was really pioneered I think when my father was governor, poured I don’t know how many billions into higher education.”

California Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff supports developing the Monterey Shale. “While everyone is giddy about the on-time budget just passed, it does not do anything to pay down the state’s unfunded pension and health care system for state employees. If we had the revenues from Monterey Shale we could pay down that debt and truly build a high class education system to continue what Governor Brown’s father began.”

While Brown doesn’t take the doom-and-gloomers all too seriously, most of the state sees through the fearmongering, too. A recent poll found that 60 percent of Californians were in favor of properly regulated hydraulic fracturing. Only 30 percent said they prefer a ban. Generally Democrats opposed fracking while Republicans support it; those on the coast and in the San Francisco Bay area oppose it while support was highest in the central valley and in Southern California counties outside of Los Angeles. Support increased if it could be shown that fracking would reduce energy and gasoline prices. Dan Schnur, director of USC’s Unruh Institute of Politics, states: “It’s clear that a majority of voters is comfortable with the procedure, as long as they believe appropriate regulation is in place.”

Of the flurry of bills aimed at either explicit or de facto moratoria on fracking, one did make it out of the Senate after the author agreed to remove the fracking moratorium provision to get the bill to the Assembly. SB 4 originally called for comprehensive regulations and a fracking moratorium until January 1, 2015 — by which time the guidelines would be in place. The bill’s author, Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) — usually an environmentalist ally, describes the bill: “This is not a bill to ban, prohibit or regulate hydraulic fracturing. It’s to provide transparency to the public.”

Investors are now buying up property in the regions surrounding the Monterey Shale, knowing that development will mean economic recovery and a need for new housing and services. The gang Green is losing to greenbacks.

Once again, energy could make California great.


Obama's Enormous Climate Lies

By Alan Caruba

Putting aside Obama’s intention to further reduce our nuclear arsenal as articulated in his June 19 speech in Berlin, he has solidified his position as the World’s Greatest Liar with his statements about climate change, aka global warming, which he called “the global threat of our time.”

Let us stipulate that the global threat of our time is the rise of Islamic fanaticism in its pursuit of a worldwide caliphate. It threatens some six billion of the world’s population that represent other faiths. It is on the rise throughout the Middle East and into northern Africa’s Maghreb. It has cells in South America and it threatens the lives of millions of Americans if the jihadists acquire nuclear arms.

Regarding the President’s call for nuclear disarmament, veteran journalist Bill Gertz observed that “The president is using a new term to support his earlier disarmament call back in 2009 in Prague, and it’s called ‘peace with justice’ which has a very Marxist-Leninist ring to it. All the rhetoric of the communist groups around refer to peace with justice, (and) now the president has employed it for the first time.”

Obama continues to conjure up global warming despite overwhelming evidence that it does not exist. Dubbed “climategate”, revelations in 2009 made clear that a small group within the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) were deliberately falsifying their climate models.

There is nothing that humans can or should do regarding the Earth’s climate. It is a force that is so vast and powerful that calls for renewable energy, energy conservation, and a “carbon tax” on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are utterly false, a danger to human life, a threat to global economic development, and the work of scoundrels and charlatans.

At present, there has been no warming for almost seventeen years. The Earth is in a natural cooling cycle as the result of another natural cycle, the reduction of the Sun’s radiation that warms the Earth.

 “For the grim alternative affects all nations,” said Obama. “More severe storms, more famine and floods, new waves of refugees, coastlines that vanish, oceans that rise.”

The President is lying!

In his 2008 speech in Chicago’s Grant Park following his election, Obama said, “It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America”

The change has been, not just the election of the first black American as president, but the first president to consistently lie to Americans. The change he has wrought in his first term and is seeking to bring about in his second includes the largest seizure and nationalization of the American health system in our history and a “stimulus” that wasted billions of dollars that accomplished nothing to reduce unemployment and avoid economic stagnation.

Obama’s promise of change has reduced America’s standing in the world as the protector of peace and his decisions have helped advance the spread of the Islamic jihad.

It has produced a war on coal, the energy resource that, prior to his taking office, provided fifty percent of all the electricity Americans use every day. It has reduced access to oil and natural gas on federal lands. Obama will pursue more action in the name of climate change in the form of more regulation of power plants, new subsidies for so-called clean energy, and other big, futile, farcical, and costly government programs

Obama’s administration has given us scandals from “Fast and Furious” to the failure to come to the aid of our ambassador to Libya in Benghazi; the revelation that the IRS engaged in a deliberate program against Tea Party, patriot groups, and even Jewish organizations. It has reduced and degraded the U.S. military with programs to permit homosexuals to serve and women to be in combat units. An outbreak of sexual assaults—26,000 and most men-on-men—in the military has resulted.

In Berlin, the President said, “Our generation must move towards a global compact to confront a changing climate before it is too late, that is our job; that is our task.”

On June 25, he will announce new executive orders to implement “climate change” mandates in the face of congressional resistance. He says it will be “my vision for where I believe we need to go—a national plan to reduce carbon pollution, prepare our country for the impacts of climate change, and lead global efforts to fight it.”

Carbon dioxide is not “pollution”; it is, along with oxygen, the other gas most vital to all life on Earth.


Don't take air conditioning for granted

Rachel Lucas reports from Italy

I’ve mentioned before we have no air conditioning because this is Italy and either A/C just doesn’t exist or if it does, you use it at your own financial risk to the tune of about 600 euros a month. Well in the last week or so, it’s reached that time of year that this means I AM IN HELL PLEASE KILL ME GOD. You think I’m being dramatic, you turn off your A/C next time it’s 92 degrees in your town, and also move to a country where there are no air-conditioned stores or restaurants for you to go hang out in. Oh and also you don’t have a car to drive anywhere in air conditioned bliss; you have to walk everywhere, including the grocery store. And then you gotta haul all that shit back on foot to your no-air-conditioning apartment. You could take public transportation but guess what, even if it advertises itself as “cooled”, it certainly is not, and you get to spend that ride standing squashed up against hundreds of other sweaty, cranky individuals.

La dolce vita, I keep hearing this called.

This is the life progressives envision for America, as well.

Energy – electrical and gasoline – used to be cheap in America. Heat in winter and cooling in the summer was available to almost everybody. And it could be again, but for the lying con artists pretending that simple human comfort is damaging the planet.

You’ll note that all of the Ruling Class who preach this gospel have air-conditioned everything, right?


British summers will be as hot and dry as 1976, the Met Office said three years ago... and now they're predicting a soaking decade

They haven't got a clue

The Met Office has been accused of damaging the UK’s tourism industry over its prediction last week that Britain faces the likelihood of a decade of soggy summers – because just three years ago it told us to prepare for repeats of the drought of 1976.

In May 2010 its climate extremes scientist Eleanor Burke warned we would roast in the summer months and be faced with tap water bans.

Yet last week yet another glimpse into the future by Met Office experts and colleagues from leading UK universities suggested rainy summers are on the cards for the foreseeable future.

Three years ago The Met Office said hose pipe bans would be needed because of continually hot and dry summers

Back in 2010, Ms Burke said the nation should brace itself for a repeat of the extraordinary  16-month drought period up to August 1976 when some parts of England suffered 45 days in a row without rain, and temperatures stayed at 90F (32C).

Emphasising the need to expect the worst, Ms Burke said preparations should include ‘designing buildings to cope with the heat, putting in place emergency plans in hospitals and schools, growing heat-resistant crops and (imposing) hose pipe bans’.

Even more recently – in January 2012 – the government’s first Climate Change Risk Assessment, compiled with the help of Met Office scientists, predicted a decrease in summer rainfall over coming decades and sizzling sunshine that would persuade holidaymakers to stay at  home rather than head for the Mediterranean.

But last week meteorologists at a Met Office conference into climate change in Exeter said a warmer North Atlantic meant Britain faced a higher chance of wet summers for up to ten years.

Now tourism bosses have accused the experts of driving UK holidaymakers abroad by presenting ‘academic machinations’ as reliable weather predictions.

One even suggested delegates to last week’s conference should be made to bet their pensions on a decade of soggy summers if they were so sure of their claims.

The anger has emerged most strongly in the South West – the most popular holiday-at-home destination for Britons – where tourism leaders say a bad summer forecast wipes out £300million worth of income in Devon and Cornwall alone.

Visit Cornwall head Malcolm Bell, said: ‘I wish that these so-called experts would keep their mouths shut.

‘In recent years the Met Office got the “barbecue summer” wrong, the hosepipe ban wrong – their credibility is shot. So why not just shut up.

‘If you run a campsite or have a seaside business it’s a massive problem. People thinking of a holiday are driven abroad or simply don’t bother.

‘A bad summer forecast brings a five to ten per cent drop in business. That’s a loss of £300million to Devon and Cornwall and a lot of jobs and businesses on the line.
Pictured, a flooded road in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire

Tourism experts say businesses could lose money after the latest warning about soggy summers. Pictured, a flooded road in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire

‘Are the forecasters prepared to put their salaries and pensions on that? Somehow I doubt it.’

He added: ‘There is absolutely no certainty in long-range predictions. They are just academic machinations but when they emerge they fuel British paranoia about the weather.’

The North West, Britain’s third most popular domestic  holiday destination thanks to the Lake District, is less weather-dependent.

But Ian Stephens, of Cumbria Tourism, said long and medium term forecasts had ‘real potential to damage UK tourism’.

‘Meteorological organisations need to work with the tourism industry to better understand how weather influences the tourism decision-making process.’

Last night a Met Office spokesman said: ‘New research suggests long-term Atlantic currents may be playing an important role in wet summers.

‘These are understood to operate on cycles of a decade or more, and it appears we are well into the “wet” phase of this cycle. That does not mean every summer will be a washout.

‘We have worked with the tourism industry to provide detailed forecasts for 5,000 resorts, beaches and attractions so visitors can plan their day out with confidence and make the most of the great British weather come rain or shine.’


Cheap Energy: A Human Right Killed By Bad Obama Math

A few months ago, in his State of the Union address, President Obama proudly pledged to tackle climate change—despite opposition from Republicans. To date, precious little action to combat climate change has been seen from the White House—which pleases most Republicans and angers the left.

Environmental activists are some of Obama’s most ardent supporters, but they are frustrated and losing patience with the president. He hasn’t been definitive on killing the Keystone pipeline; as the Washington Post reports, he’s “fallen back from the broad clean energy agenda he envisioned when he first took office”—even to the point of supporting natural gas exploration and recently approving Liquefied Natural Gas export terminals that will increase demand by shipping US natural gas to foreign markets; and he seems to have acquiesced to a fossil fuel future by proposing adaptations to make “coastal communities more resistant to increasingly severe storms and floods.”

The environmental community wants to see bold steps toward a fossil-fuel free future.

Michael Brune, executive director for the Sierra Club, groused: “On climate, we’re worse off than we were when the president’s second term started.”

Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), is calling on the president to “outline exactly how he plans to combat global warming by 2016.”

In a new campaign being launched by the NRDC, filmmaker Robert Redford states: “Four months ago, President Obama spoke of our obligations to combat climate change, saying failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.” Ads from the NRDC feature Redford challenging Obama to live up to the “courage of his convictions.”

Even those within his own party are pressuring the president.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) has called climate change “the issue of our time.” He believes that Obama should announce the implementation of strong regulatory steps that will “revive this great issue.” Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) recently pushed the president to oppose the pipeline—despite polling that shows the vast majority of the public supports it: “I encouraged him to follow through on the correct policy position, suggesting polling numbers aren’t always in support of smart policy.”

With his base is looking for immediate remedies, his popularity is plunging, and more negative news is hitting the airwaves every day, an announcement—as Whitehouse wants—of “strong regulatory steps” to “revive this great issue” could be advisable. It would give environmentalists the aggressive action they are itching for and divert the discussion from the various scandals plaguing his presidency.

Instead, when the White House made a decision to raise the social cost of carbon emissions by 60%—which will have a costly impact on the economy with wide-ranging implications for everything from power plants to the Keystone pipeline, there were no optics: no fanfare, no press conference, no announcement.

Tucked into a rule about microwave ovens’ efficiency standards (With everything going on in the world, we are worrying about microwave ovens?), is an increase in the figure the government uses to weigh costs and benefits of proposed regulations. The “so-called social cost of carbon,” represents the “approximate losses from global warming such as flood damage and diminished crops.” The Daily Caller describes this social cost of carbon dioxide emissions as “a monetary estimate of the damages caused by carbon emissions” that “all federal agencies must use when formulating regulations.” The White House Office of Management and Budget raised the cost of a metric ton of carbon from the current $23.80 to $38.00 in 2015—which gives the administration “justification to be more aggressive than they otherwise would be,” explained Jeff Holmstead, air quality chief at the Environmental Protection Agency under President George W. Bush.

It seems that this “determination” was intended as appeasement to Obama’s agitated base while not damaging his falling popularity—though it probably fails at both.

Frank Ackerman, an economist at Tufts University who published a book about the economics of global warming calls the social cost of carbon: “the most important number you’ve never heard of.” According to Bloomberg BusinessWeek, he said: “This is a very strange way to make policy about something this important.” And added, “The Obama administration ‘hasn’t always leveled with us about what is happening behind closed doors.’”

Why bury “something this important” in an afternoon announcement about something that is virtually insignificant? The answer, I believe, is found in a small piece of the Washington Post story cited previously. Apparently, the White House’s own research found that when Obama, in his State of the Union speech, “vowed to act on climate change if Congress refused to do so,” a focus group’s “favorability” rating “plummeted.” White House transcripts reveal that Obama knows that “the politics of this are tough.” At an April fund raising event at the San Francisco home of billionaire and environmental activist Tom Steyer, Obama defended his lack of action on climate change: “if you haven’t seen a raise in a decade, if your house is still $25,000, $30,000 underwater … you may be concerned about the temperature of the planet, but it’s probably not rising to your number one concern.”

As a result, his Organizing for America team—“formed to advance the president’s second term agenda”—has been laying the “groundwork with the American public before unveiling a formal climate strategy.” Teasing out the increase in the social cost of carbon was likely part of the strategy, intended to test the waters ahead of the planned climate announcements from the White House. Likewise, his comments in Berlin, where he reintroduced the subject, calling climate change “the global threat of our time.” The next day, headlines read: “Obama to renew emissions push.” It is believed that the new “measures to tackle climate change” will “effectively ban new coal-fired power plants”—to which I add, will effectively ban “cheap electricity.”

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports that US power generation is, once again, using more coal—reversing the trend toward natural gas: “A flood of inexpensive natural gas led to the highest-ever use of that fuel for electricity generation while coal-fired electricity fell to its lowest level in a quarter-century.” Natural gas prices have been creeping higher and have pushed an increased use of coal in attempt to keep electricity costs as low as possible—after all, progressives and career environmentalists Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhous, of the Breakthrough Institute, posit: cheap electricity is a public good and a human right that has saved the forests, produced more food on less land, and lifted incomes.

Wait, wait, wait! Regular readers of my affordable energy advocacy should give pause here. It is not me saying that cheap electricity is a basic human right—though I believe it, it is Shellenberger and Nordhous whose own biographies describe them as “leading global thinkers on energy, climate, security, human development, and politics” and whose book, Breakthrough, has been called “the best thing to happen to environmentalism since Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.”

In a treatise, that I believe should be required reading for everyone, titled: “Has there been a great progressive reversal? How the left abandoned cheap electricity,” they outline a historic shift that’s taken the left from being champions of the poor to being “developed-world progressives, comfortably ensconced in their own modernity.”

They explain: eighty years ago, “The best forests had been cut down to use as fuel for wood stoves. Soils were being rapidly depleted of nutrients, resulting in falling yields and a desperate search for new croplands. Poor farmers were plagued by malaria and had inadequate medical care. Few had indoor plumbing and even fewer had electricity.” Cheap electricity changed all that and Senator Al Gore Sr. fought for it.

Today, “Environmentalists demand that we make carbon-based energy more expensive” and the left calls it “A threat to the planet and harmful to the poor.” Shellenberger and Nordhous state: “In the name of democracy it now offers the global poor not what they want—cheap electricity—but more of what they don’t want, namely intermittent and expensive power” which “offers the poor no path to the kinds of high-energy lifestyles Western environmentalists take for granted.”

Believers in anthropogenic global warming, they acknowledge that “modernization” does have “side effects,” but they believe that these are problems that can be “dealt with.” They claim that “energy poverty causes more harm to the poor than global warming” and that “modern energy”—a term they use interchangeable with “cheap energy”—“makes the poor vastly less vulnerable to climate impacts.”

Shellenberger and Nordhous close their eye-opening commentary by stating that the 1.3 billion people who lack cheap grid electricity should get it. “It will dramatically improve their lives, reduce deforestation, and make them more resilient to climate impacts. … Any effort worthy of being called progressive, liberal, or environmental, must embrace a high energy planet.”

Their logic is tough to dispute. While I do not agree that global warming is a manmade crisis, I certainly support their conclusions about the importance of cheap energy as a human right and public good.

This whole line of reasoning, begs some questions:

·  Why did the left abandon cheap energy? (Remember, in California, it was the rich, white Democrat representatives who voted to ban fracking while the black and Hispanics, in districts in need of jobs, didn’t vote for the ban.)

·  Why is the Obama administration willing to make policy that will cause its favorability rating to “plummet,” raise the price of energy, and disproportionately hurt the poor?

·  Why does America continue subsidies that emphasize activity rather than outcomes and continue to follow the failed energy policies of socialist Europe?

Your answers to these questions should scare you and bring another question to your mind: How do we stop this and save America?




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  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 and here


1 comment:

The Worden Report said...

If we have indeed reached a critical threshold (see pic at, then how much good can a few executive orders do? It is no wonder that Obama, like George W Bush earlier, has shifted rhetoric from “global warming” to “climate change” in order to gain more supporters (see In short, have we been rearranging chairs on the deck as the ship slowly but inevitably sinks?