Wednesday, July 11, 2018

All-Renewable Energy Is a Prescription for Disaster

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stunned the Democratic establishment by crushing incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley in the primary race in New York’s 14th Congressional District.

She successfully portrayed Crowley as out of touch with his constituents. “He works for corporations, and I work for people,” she said. But for all of Ocasio-Cortez’s woman-of-the-people claims, her energy politics are completely disconnected from reality. More important, they’re deeply regressive and, if implemented, would hurt the very same poor and middle-class voters she claims to champion.

Ocasio-Cortez’s website says: “In order to address runaway global climate change, Alexandria strongly supports transitioning the United States to a carbon-free, 100 percent renewable energy system.”

By endorsing an all-renewable scheme, Ocasio-Cortez... shows that she doesn’t care how the pursuit of that agenda will drive up electricity costs.

Perhaps it’s not surprising that Ocasio-Cortez, who campaigned for Bernie Sanders, has endorsed the same all-renewable agenda that Sanders pushed in his failed bid for the White House. What is surprising is that for all her apparent political savvy, she didn’t bother to see if such a scheme is workable or affordable.

It isn’t. Last year, an all-star group of scientists thoroughly debunked the work of Mark Jacobson, the Stanford engineering professor who for years has been claiming the US can run solely on renewables. In 2016, Sanders adopted Jacobson’s entire renewable scheme and made it his energy platform.

In a paper last June in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the scientists — including Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution, Dan Kammen of the University of California, Berkeley, former EPA Science Advisory Board chairman Granger Morgan and Jane Long of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory — concluded that Jacobson’s all-renewable scheme used “invalid modeling tools, contained modeling errors, and made implausible and inadequately supported assumptions.”

Those errors “render it unreliable as a guide about the likely cost, technical reliability, or feasibility of a 100-percent wind, solar and hydroelectric power system.”

The scientists also concluded that Jacobson’s all-renewable proposal would require covering about 500,000 square kilometers — a land area larger than the state of California — with nothing but wind turbines.

The idea of covering that much land with wind turbines is preposterous on its face, particularly given that rural residents from New York and numerous other states are already rejecting the encroachment of Big Wind.

Furthermore, by endorsing an all-renewable scheme, Ocasio-Cortez, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, shows that she doesn’t care how the pursuit of that agenda will drive up electricity costs. Indeed, major renewable-energy mandates usually result in soaring electricity prices.

Consider Germany, which is pushing to have 80 percent of its electricity coming from renewables by 2050. According to a recent report by Agora Energiewende, a think tank that focuses on Germany’s energy sector, between 2007 and 2018, residential electricity prices in Germany jumped by 50 percent.

German residential customers now have some of the highest-priced electricity in Europe: about $0.37 per kilowatt-hour. That’s nearly three times the price of residential electricity in the US.


Pruitt might be gone, but the work of reining in the out of control EPA must continue

By Natalia Castro

From his nomination to his resignation, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt was under constant attack by the left. Whether you believe the countless accusation the left threw at the Administrator or not, one thing is clear: just because Pruitt is gone, does not mean the EPA can stop the massive regulator rollback they have embarked upon with Pruitt as their leader. Pruitt helped size back one of President Obama’s most intrusive and overstepping agencies, whoever President Trump appoints as the new EPA Administrator must continue on this course no matter what the left throws at them.

The left repeatedly scrutinized Administrator Pruitt’s security expenses, despite the fact that those expenses were necessary considering the abundance of threats Pruitt began receiving after taking his position.

As Pruitt did his job better and better, the attacks got stronger and stronger.

In his first year in office, Pruitt’s EPA began receiving public comments to replace the Clean Power Plan and blocked the implementation of the Waters of the U.S. rule. These were two rules, both enacted under the Obama administration, dramatically expanded the federal government’s control over local waterways and imposed impossible emissions regulations on businesses.

Under Pruitt, the EPA also ended the practice of sue and settle lawsuits as a means of broadening the EPA’s authority. Previously, an environmental group would sue the EPA for not protecting the environment in some way, and rather than fighting the case; the EPA would settle. This effectively expanded the EPA’s scope of authority through litigation.

Sue and settle lawsuits allow the judicial branch and the executive branch to work together to sidestep the authority of the legislative branch, a violation of Article 1 of the Constitution.

With a directive signed in November 2017, Pruitt required the Agency to publish notice to the public whenever they receive an intention to sue, as well as publish complaints against environmental law and a list of all consent decrees and settlement agreements that govern Agency actions within 30 days.

During the Obama Administration, the EPA utilized the Clean Air Act to settle 137 legal cases, as compared to the Bush era EPA which only settled 66.

Through promoting transparency and Article 1 accountability, Pruitt took significant steps to rein in the growing agency so businesses and individuals can thrive without government intervention.

Internally, Pruitt’s EPA has also implemented a new, agency-wide EPA Lean Management System (ELMS).

Until this year, the EPA did not track the time it took to complete permit requests, did not track legal deadlines set by Congress, did not measure correction and compliance rates following known violations of agency guidelines, and did not measure the number of drinking water systems out of compliance with EPA rules.

Essentially, EPA management has had little to no accountability. As Pruitt has explained, this caused vast inconsistencies between regional branches, created a disengaged workforce, and fueled mismanagement.

ELMS universalizes agency standards by creating clear metrics for success across all EPA programs and regional offices, integrates monthly business reviews for all senior leaders to review their office’s performance, and seeks to eliminate waste in each agency.

The newly created Office of Continuous Improvement will oversee the implementation of ELMS in 80 percent of agency units by September 30, 2020.

EPA Administrator Pruitt led the charge in rolling back an out of control agency that was drunk with power under the Obama Administration. Even without Pruitt, the agency must continue the reforms Pruitt began. President Trump must tell his next nominee to expect a war from the left because Pruitt only lost his for being extremely effective at his job.


New British homes will be fitted with electric car chargers

New homes will have to be built with electric car chargers as part of a plan to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles, it will be announced today.

Building regulations will be overhauled to require developers to include external chargepoints outside houses, flats and offices. All new streetlights will also be expected to have charging systems to ensure more drivers can power up their car battery by the roadside and the government will invest in trials of “wireless” charging technology.

The measures will be outlined in a “road to zero” strategy that will set out the government’s policy to end the sale of new conventional petrol and diesel cars or vans by 2040.

Air pollution contributes to 40,000 early deaths a year and an estimated £6 billion a year is spent on the wider health impact of toxic roadside fumes.

The blueprint being published by the Department for Transport is likely to be criticised by environmental groups for lacking ambition. The document will only commit to making new cars “effectively zero emission” within the next 22 years, leaving the door open to some cars with limited exhaust emissions.

The government also confirmed that it “sees a role” for hybrid cars, which are capable of operating through a battery and a petrol or diesel engine. It follows arguments from the car industry that an all-out ban on combustion engine cars risks “undermining” confidence in a sector which supports more than 800,000 British jobs. Some 5.5 per cent of new cars sold since the start of the year have been ultra-low emission models. Most are likely to be hybrids.

Chris Grayling, the transport secretary, will say today that the plan will pave the way “for the biggest overhaul in road transport technology since the development of the Benz patent motorcar 130 years ago”. The government wants electric car drivers to “find it easier to recharge their vehicles than motorists today who have to visit a filling station”. The strategy will commit to “making sure houses being built are electric vehicle ready”. The government will consult on a requirement for charge points to be fitted to new homes “where appropriate”. This usually involves fitting wall-mounted sockets to the outside of buildings.

The strategy will include “future-proofing streets by ensuring all new street lighting columns have charging points in areas with on-street parking” and £400 million will be spent funding companies that produce and install the charge point technology.

The government is set to reject appeals made by mayors and council leaders to bring the 2040 target forward by ten years. However, the strategy is expected to include an interim target requiring car makers to sell a proportion of zero-emission cars by 2030.

Andy McDonald, shadow transport secretary, said: “It is dangerous to row back on commitments to clean up road transport. This isn’t a road to zero, it’s a road to nowhere.”


Working With Green Groups, Local Governments Use This Kind of Lawsuit to Get Cash From Oil Giants

Cities and counties across the country are teaming up with environmental groups to drill for revenue by using public-nuisance lawsuits against some of the world’s largest energy companies.

These local governments claim oil giants, such as Exxon Mobil, Chevron, and others, have caused global warming that they say is damaging their communities, and they want to be compensated for those damages—in most cases an undisclosed amount.

Since last summer, New York City, one county in Washington state, eight cities and counties in California, and three Colorado jurisdictions have challenged the oil giants through public-nuisance lawsuits.

However, some legal experts contend these lawsuits are a misuse of public-nuisance law—which is intended to protect the public from a safety or health hazard, rather than advance regulations.

Last week, U.S. District Judge William Alsup for the Northern District of California dismissed a lawsuit brought by San Francisco and Oakland against Chevron, Shell, BP, ExxonMobil, and ConocoPhillips.

The two cities wanted the five energy companies to pay for infrastructure improvements to protect their residents from sea-level rise and other purported effects of climate change.

In April, 15 Republicans state attorneys general, led by Curtis Hill of Indiana, filed an amicus brief supporting the dismissal of the case.

The states of Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming joined Indiana in the amicus brief regarding the San Francisco and Oakland lawsuit.

“We oppose any type of overreach, whether by the federal government, state governments, or municipal governments,” Hill told The Daily Signal.

Hill said his office is monitoring the other lawsuits.

“These municipalities were seeking to regulate what was out of their nexus,” Hill said. “This was a shakedown. These nuisance lawsuits are used to hold up industry, specifically the energy-manufacturing industry.”

Alsup cited U.S. Supreme Court precedent, finding the Clean Air Act gives the Environmental Protection Agency authority over emission standards, which displaced nuisance claims on emissions. The judge, an appointee of President Bill Clinton, also said other branches of government should decide the matter.

The National Association of Manufacturers has led the effort against public-nuisance lawsuits through legal action and advocacy.

“Other municipalities around the country who have filed similar lawsuits should take note, as those complaints are likely to end the same way,” NAM President Jay Timmons said in a statement. “New York City, [Boulder, Colorado], and the other California municipalities should withdraw their complaints and follow the lead of others that are focused on meaningful solutions.”

But with an appeal on the way from San Francisco and Oakland, the other pending cases aren’t likely going anywhere.

Richard Wiles, executive director of the Center for Climate Integrity, an advocacy group backing the lawsuits, told Reuters, “This fight is just getting started, and we expect to win.”

Federal law defines a public nuisance as a circumstance that injures or endangers the safety, health, comfort, or property of others. More broadly, a public nuisance at the state or local level could be defined as an activity affecting the health or safety of an entire community.

In either case, it’s distinguished from a private nuisance that would affect relatively few. The contrast would be the public nuisance of a factory spewing toxic chemicals into an entire city, as opposed to the private nuisance of playing loud music at 3 a.m., waking up the neighbors.

The municipalities are twisting an area of the law that has no application to climate issues, said Hans von Spakovsky, senior legal fellow with The Heritage Foundation.

“They are trying to use the courts in an area where it is up to the legislature, particularly Congress, to legislate,” von Spakovsky told The Daily Signal.

“They have no chance of winning if the judges in the case follow the law,” von Spakovsky said. “If they get an ideological judge who doesn’t care about the law—well, they might have some success. But, ultimately, any case like this, if it goes to the Supreme Court, is going to get thrown out.

“Eventually one of them will eventually get to the Supreme Court if the plaintiffs are foolish enough to keep appealing the decisions,” he said.

In January, New York City sued Chevron, BP, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Shell in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

The city announced it also would divest its $189 billion public pension fund of investments in fossil-fuel companies over the next five years. The lawsuit claims the companies knew carbon emissions caused climate change, but were dishonest about the risks. The suit seeks to hold the oil companies liable for an undisclosed amount.

“New York City is standing up for future generations by becoming the first major U.S. city to divest our pension funds from fossil fuels,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in announcing the legal action. “At the same time, we’re bringing the fight against climate change straight to the fossil-fuel companies that knew about its effects and intentionally misled the public to protect their profits.

“As climate change continues to worsen, it’s up to the fossil-fuel companies whose greed put us in this position to shoulder the cost of making New York safer and more resilient,” he said.

The first hearing was held on June 13 before federal Judge John Keenan of the Southern District of New York, who was reportedly skeptical of the city’s position that oil companies are to blame for purported global-warming damage.

“The firehouses all have trucks. The sanitation department has trucks. If you open the door and go out to Foley Square, you’re going to see five police cars,” said Keenan, an appointee of President Ronald Reagan. “Does the city have clean hands?”

In April, the litigation moved to Colorado. The city of Boulder, the county of Boulder, and the county of San Miguel together filed a lawsuit against ExxonMobil and Suncor for damages related to climate change.

EarthRights International, one of the environmental groups representing the three Colorado governments, said in a statement last week it wasn’t deterred by the court ruling in the San Francisco-Oakland case.

“Other lawsuits—including ERI’s own lawsuit on behalf of communities in Colorado—are proceeding and will not necessarily follow the same path,” the statement says. “Meanwhile, evidence continues to emerge of the oil industry’s role in misleading the public and delaying the shift toward carbon-neutral energy sources.”

Back in California, cases were filed separately in July 2017 by the city of Imperial Beach, Marin County, and San Mateo County—initially, in California state court—against Chevron, Exxon Mobil, BP, Shell, and other energy companies.

The cases were being heard together by federal Judge Vince Chhabria of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, who accepted the plaintiffs’ motion to remand the case back to state court.

But the defendants filed an appeal, asking the court to stay the proceedings until the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decides if all of the climate cases should be heard at the state or federal level. Chhabria, an appointee of President Barack Obama, granted the defendants’ stay, and the 9th Circuit will hear the matter later this month.

Separately, the city of Santa Cruz and county of Santa Cruz in December sued Chevron, Exxon Mobil, BP, Shell, and other companies. They are seeking damages for extreme flooding the plaintiffs blame on the harvesting and burning of fossil fuels.

The city of Richmond, California, filed another climate public-nuisance lawsuit in January against Chevron, Exxon Mobil, BP, Shell, and 25 other companies, alleging that harvesting natural resources and producing fuel has led to rising sea levels that threaten the city’s property.

Both cases were filed in state courts, but moved to federal court, where Chhabria is also deciding whether to send them back to state court.

In May, King County, Washington, filed a lawsuit against BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, and Shell, claiming public nuisance. It wants to force the companies to fund an abatement program.


Conservative candidate in Australian by-election fails to bow down before global warming

The Liberal National party candidate for Longman, Trevor Ruthenberg, has refused to clarify whether he believes climate change is happening, after telling a group of environmentalists he had a different “understanding of the science” when confronted about the link between burning coal and global warming.

Ruthenberg, a former Queensland state MP, is contesting the marginal electorate on Brisbane’s northern fringe for the LNP at the upcoming byelection.

In a video recorded on Saturday and seen by Guardian Australia, Ruthenberg is shown talking to members of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, who were campaigning in Longman before the 26 July super Saturday byelection.

On the same day, his Queensland-based party’s conference supported motions including removing subsidies for renewables, committing to build a new coal-fired power station in the north and bankrolling a rail link to the Galilee basin.
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In the video, Ruthenberg is challenged by AYCC campaigners who say: “You can’t mine and burn coal responsibly.”

Ruthenberg responds: “There you and I will fundamentally disagree.”

One campaigner says science shows that coal is a major contributor to climate change and is fuelling global warming.

“I’m saying that your understanding of science, and wherever you’re getting science, and my understanding of science, are not the same science,” Ruthenberg says.

He is then asked by another campaigner: “I just want to clarify, do you mean that you do not believe in climate change?”

“No, not at all,” Ruthenberg says.

The campaigner says: “But 99% of scientists agree that climate change is happening.”

“Yeah, OK,” the candidate responds.

Ruthenberg has been contacted and asked to clarify his comments, including whether he believes that climate change is human-made. He was also offered the opportunity to explain the alternative understanding of the science he was referring to.

Briana Collins from the Australian Youth Climate Coalition said the comments were “outrageous” especially given Longman includes Bribie Island, where the local council says 63% of homes are at risk to sea level rises.

“Young people are tired of politicians who refuse to protect our future from dangerous global warming,” she says. “If Trevor Ruthenberg wants to represent the people of Longman, he cannot support climate-wrecking coalmines and giving public money to Adani’s mine.”

Longman is notionally a Labor electorate with a margin of 0.8%. Susan Lamb won the seat for Labor in 2016 and is contesting the byelection, after she resigned in May under a dual citizenship cloud.

The Moreton Bay region has pockets of strong One Nation support.




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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