Friday, September 28, 2018

A small hiatus

I last went on vacation in the year 2004 so I have begun to feel that I should get out more.  So I have decided to take two or three short breaks in the months ahead.  I will therefore be getting on a train later today for a 7 hour trip to see my gorgeous sister.  To have a great sister but rarely see her is crazy.  And the trip will be on a very modern fast train so the travel alone should be interesting.  I will be away for only a few days and will be unlikely to do any blogging while I am away.  I will however be taking a computer with me so if there is a big drama happening I might put up something.

China’s Coal Secret Revealed: China Is Building Hundreds Of New Coal Power Plants

Building work has restarted at hundreds of Chinese coal-fired power stations, according to an analysis of satellite imagery.

The research, carried out by green campaigners CoalSwarm, suggests that 259 gigawatts of new capacity are under development in China.

The authors say this is the same capacity to produce electricity as the entire US coal fleet.

The study says government attempts to cancel many plants have failed.

According to this study, there was a surge in new coal projects approved at provincial level in China between 2014 and 2016. This happened because of a decentralisation programme that shifted authority over coal plant construction approvals to local authorities.

The report says that at present China has 993 gigawatts of coal power capacity, but the approved new plants would increase this by 25%.

China’s central government has tried to rein in this boom by issuing suspension orders for more than 100 power plants but this analysis suggests that these efforts have been significantly less effective than previous news reports had indicated.

In this study, the researchers used satellite photos to examine every power plant that was subject to a suspension order. They found construction ongoing at many locations.

For instance, in September last year, China’s National Energy Administration ordered a group of plants – that together could produce 57 gigwatts of electricity – to slow down construction. The organisation also prohibited them from connecting to the grid in 2017.

However the satellite data suggests that half of this capacity appears not to have slowed down at all.

“This new evidence that China’s central government hasn’t been able to stop the runaway coal-fired power plant building is alarming – the planet can’t tolerate another US-sized block of plants to be built,” said Ted Nace, from CoalSwarm.


Owners of America's only under-construction nuclear plant agree to finish building it

After days of negotiations, the owners of America’s only under-construction nuclear plant agreed Wednesday to keep expanding it by adding two new reactors, a major victory for the fading industry and supporters of the zero-emissions power source.

The completion of the Georgia Vogtle plant's new reactors, which are half finished, had been in doubt because the project is years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget.

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement and to move forward with the construction of Vogtle Units 3 & 4, which is critical to Georgia’s energy future,” the co-owners said in a statement. “While there have been and will be challenges throughout this process, we remain committed to a constructive relationship with each other and are focused on reducing project risk and fulfilling our commitment to our member-consumers.”

Utility Southern Company and the plant’s three other owners had sought to reach a deal to limit further cost increases for the nearly $28 billion project, more than double the original projection, after blowing by a self-imposed Monday deadline to decide whether to proceed with the expansion of the Vogtle plant.

The companies said the agreement will "mitigate financial exposure.”

Southern Company’s subsidiary Georgia Power, which owns 45.7 percent of the plant -- making it the largest owner -- agreed to absorb a greater share of the cost of any additional overruns, according to details of the agreement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The deal also gives Georgia Power the option to buy out the other owners if there are more than $2.1 billion in future cost overruns, or it can choose to cancel the project.

Southern Company announced last month that costs for the project had increased by $2.2 billion, which prompted a vote on whether to complete the plant, including the other three other owners: Oglethorpe Power, the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia, and Dalton Utilities.

The Trump administration has firmly backed and invested in the plant, providing $3.7 billion in loan guarantees, viewing it as central to keeping alive the promise of clean energy from nuclear power, which emits no greenhouse gases. Vogtle has received a total of $12 billion in federal loan guarantees, with the Obama administration also supporting the plant. The new reactors would be the first to be successfully built in the U.S. in more than 30 years if they are completed as expected, beginning with the first reactor in November 2021.

Southern Company has pitched Plant Vogtle since 2009 as a way to revive the U.S. nuclear industry, to supplement an aging fleet losing out to lower-cost natural gas and renewables. The owners promised that two reactors planned for the site would give the state emission-free electricity for as long as 80 years, powering 500,000 homes and businesses.

Today, 60 percent of the carbon-free energy produced in the U.S. comes from the nation's existing 99 nuclear power plants.

But in March, Westinghouse, the lead contractor on the project that designed the reactors, went bankrupt, imperiling the future of the plant.

Cost overruns forced South Carolina last year to cancel a similar plan for two nuclear reactors in the state after Westinghouse, also the reactor's designer for that project, went bankrupt.

Federal officials on Wednesday, in anticipation of the Vogtle decision, said a thriving nuclear power industry is crucial for the U.S. to limit carbon dioxide emissions.

“Nuclear energy is both clean and reliable,” Environmental Protection Agency Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler said during an address recognizing National Clean Energy Week. “President Trump and his administration are committed to reviving and revitalizing nuclear energy. We're watching what's going on in Georgia to see how that pans out for nuclear energy.”

Neil Chatterjee, a Republican commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, made similar comments at the same event.

“I am worried about what even a slight uptick in the retirement of nuclear units may have on our ability to reduce global emissions,” he said.


Growing Pressure for Clexit – (even from France)

Viv Forbes

Growing Pressure for Clexit – (even from France).  And it’s Time to Defund all UN Climate bodies

President Trump has extinguished all hopes that USA will join the Paris Climate Agreement. Since then, other countries are heading towards the Climate Exit. An increasing number of prominent people are joining the campaign to counter the falsehood that man-made CO2 emissions drive global climates, and to expose the threat that UN agencies will take control of every aspect of our lives. The list of dissidents includes:

Tim Ball of Canada led the rush for the exit:

“Canada has more culpability than any other nation for creating and perpetuating the climate deception. It is not an exaggeration to say that Canada was central to creating and mobilizing the false claim of anthropogenic global warming (AGW).”

Graham Williamson from Australia explains why this is not just about climate alarm and the war on coal – there is a far deeper agenda. This not-so-secret agenda covers climate regulations and carbon taxes, paying climate “debts’, enforcing sustainability, control of education, wealth re-distribution, enforcing  a new world order, controlling national boundaries and migration, enforcing global environmental laws and preventing environmental backsliding by deplorables.

Graham says:  "We also need UNexit.”

Once we are out of the Paris Climate Agreement we should review our membership of and contributions to all UN Agencies that threaten our sovereignty and our prosperity.

Nils-Axel Morner from Sweden supports the need for world-wide Clexit and writes on the treason of the Swedish establishment:

“The Bolin-Palme treason against Science, the IPCC and Paris illusions, and a Clexit solution.”

Professor Bernard Beauzamy from Paris says: “France Too Needs to Clexit the Paris Climate Agreement.”

Roger Tattersall from UK (which is battling to escape the suffocating blanket of the EU Brexit and Clexit.) writes:
“Brexit and Clexit – Leave-Means-Leave”

Herman A (Alex) Pope (retired from NASA in Houston in 2007) writes: “Climate changes in natural cycles and man does not cause them.”

Jerry Ellis AO (Retired Chairman BHP, retired Chancellor Monash University, and retired Chairman of Landcare) says: “I hope our new government abandons the Paris Agreement.”

He is supported by Bob Beatty, Brisbane, who says –
“Australia must Clexit - Leave While We Still Can.”

Jane M. Orient, M.D., physician, President Doctors for Disaster Preparedness says: “Why We Should all Clexit.”

Finally, Germany’s Grand Plan to Abolish Carbon Fuels Fails:

And the UN admits that the Paris deal was a fraud

The globalists made enormous gains while western politicians and media were mired in petty politics. We need to recognise the big picture, roll back the totalitarian green tide and push the need for Clexit and UNexit.


German Green Energy Debacle: “Self Deception”…Dependence On Coal “Cemented For Years To Come”!

Germany used to be regarded as a global leader in the transition to renewable green energies — especially wind and solar power — a project dubbed the “Energiewende”. But this is no longer the case. Germany has fallen behind to the rear of the pack.

Ironically the USA is leading the world in cutting back CO2!

Germany’s “self-deception”

The Düsseldorf-based daily Rheinische Post (RP) here writes that it’s time for Germany to “face inconvenient truths” concerning green energies and that pragmatic (and not ideological) action is needed.

The title of the commentary: “Self-deception in the green energy transition“

Green, cult-like dream now colliding with harsh reality

For years the German government, activists and alarmist scientists promised that green energies — foremost wind and sun — would be plentiful, cheap and clean. “Hooray!” the entire exclaimed in jubilation.

But today in its commentary the RP concedes that “the reality looks totally different” and that it is requiring “an enormous effort” just to keep the power grids stable as waves of unpredictable green power repeatedly surge into the power grid.

According to the RP, emergency power grid interventions by grid operators cost electricity consumers last year 1,4 billion euros. German households consequently pay 47% more for their power than the average EU.

Energiewende: “risky, inefficient and expensive”

And so what have German consumers gotten in return in terms of climate and CO2 emissions for all the extra pain? Nothing.

German CO2 emissions have stagnated (i.e. haven’t fallen at all). And according to the RP: “The German transition to green energy is in reality risky, inefficient and expensive.”

Energiewende “derailed”

The RP comments that highly ballyhooed headlines of new record amounts of green energy being produced don’t change a thing with respect to the failing green energy transition, and notes that although green energies made up 37% of the gross share of gross power consumption, these clean energies amounted only to a measly 13 percent of the entire German energy mix!

The RP asks: “How could the German flagship project have derailed in this way?”

German dependence on coal “cemented for years to come”

The main reason for the failure, the RP writes, was Germany’s panicked rush to exit nuclear power in the wake Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster amid a deeply-rooted, collective and decades-old German aversion to nuclear power. This lead to the German government shutting down half of its nuclear power plants overnight and diving blindly into a rapid, unplanned expansion of wind and solar power.

The decision, the RP writes, was driven by the aim to shut down nuclear power, and not to reduce CO2.

The result, the RP comments: “Unfortunately, both goals are in direct contradiction. The politically desired phase-out of nuclear power has cemented our [German] dependence on coal for years to come. Its share is still 42 percent.”

The RP then comments that if Germany were really serious about reducing CO2, the country would not shut down its remaining nuclear power plants, which produce no “greenhouse” gas emissions.

Green energies “a naive illusion”

The RP also writes Germany should reconsider its efforts “to demonize diesel engines”, which have considerably higher fuel efficiency than gasoline engines. The move to eliminate diesel engines will make CO2 reductions more difficult. The RP also notes that electric cars “are no alternative” in terms of CO2.

100% renewables “a naive illusion”

The RP calls the idea of covering all Germany’s energy needs through renewable energy “a naive illusion” and expects that the country will have to accept the fact that it will remain dependent on fossil fuels also over the long-term.

Also the collectively naive Germans in general need to get realistic and serious about what going 100% green entails. The RP comments:

Anyone who has solar cells mounted on the roof and then flies mindlessly to vacation on the Maldives, has not understood the problem.

Public also opposes CCS

The RP finally comments on other possible technical solutions that could be employed to make the pain of having to go without fossil energies bearable, namely subsidizing CCS technology. However, a great number of Germans oppose that technology as well.

The way things are going, the RP suggests, Germany will never be able to meet its CO2 reductions targets.


Australia: Victoria’s nonsensical renewable energy experiment

One of the benefits of a federation is that each state can learn from the mistakes of others. When it comes to electricity, the disastrous experiment of South Australia, with its uncontrolled promotion of renewable energy, should be a salutary lesson for all the others.

South Australia has close to the highest electricity prices in the world and a system that is so fragile it is constantly being propped up — think coal-fired electricity from Victoria and specifically purchased diesel generators. It’s an example of what not to do. But this is not how the Victorian government sees the world as it embarks on an even riskier scheme of promoting subsidised renewable ­energy in that state. Virtue-signalling to attract wavering, inner-city voters trumps concern for keeping a lid on electricity prices and maintaining the stability of the grid.

Deeply unimpressive Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio has announced the results of a reverse auction for ­investments in large-scale renewable energy. The government’s legislated target is for at least 40 per cent of electricity to come from renewable energy by 2025. The auctions aimed to ­deliver 650 megawatts (nameplate cap­acity) of new projects. In the end, projects for 928MWs were accept­ed.

But let’s be clear: reverse auc­tions involve huge subsidies to the promoters of these projects, guaranteeing cashflow at high megawatt per hour prices. By contrast, the (federal) renewable ­energy target is a less secure source of subsidy, particularly as total investment is nearing the 2020 final target and the value of the underlying certificates, the large-scale generation certificates, will fall sharply in the early 2020s.

Now, the renewable energy sector will claim wind and solar deliver cheaper electricity than new fossil fuel power plants, although this claim doesn’t take into account the associated costs of firming intermittent renewable energy. This claim is worth interrogating because, notwith­stand­ing a fall in the cost of the solar panels, there is not much in the physical construction of these projects that supports the assertion.

The real answer lies in the subsidised cost of capital that renewable energy projects underwritten by governments are able to secure. In effect, these projects can access debt finance at the long-run government bond rate. (Note that Victoria has a AAA credit rating.) Were new coal-fired plants able to access debt at this concessional rate, their cost per megawatt hour on a firmed basis would be much lower again. But because these plants need to accept direct merchant risk, their cost of capital could easily be 300 basis points above the government bond rate, assuming they can even secure debt finance in this country.

The fundamental problem of the renewable energy policy in Victoria is the refusal to learn from the problems of the South Australian experiment. These include:

The failure to impose any firming obligations on the renewable energy projects to ensure 24/7 supply of electricity.

The failure to take into ­account the extra expenses associated with investment in transmission and distribution needed to connect these often far-flung projects to the grid.

The failure to take into ­account the destruction of the economics of existing generators — in Victoria’s case, the brown coal-fired generators in the Latrobe Valley — and the effects of the early retirement of these assets.

If any Victorian voter is foolish enough to think state taxpayers or electricity consumers are getting a good deal out of these reverse auctions, they need to think again. While these costs are not directly sheeted home to the renewable energy providers — they should be — they are real and will cause economic and social damage down the track.

Consider the firming costs that are necessarily part and parcel of renewable energy. Wind farms produce at most 30 per cent of their capacity, mainly in spring and autumn. Solar farms produce slightly less than 20 per cent, with peak output at 1pm — a time of relatively low demand.

When it comes to firming and using the figures from the current Snowy operation, the cost for solar is about $40 per megawatt hour. In the case of wind, however, a firming cost cannot even be nominated ­because of the inherent unreliability of wind patterns.

So when the Victorian government quotes figures of between $53/MWh and $57/MWh for the successful renewable energy projects in the recent reverse auction, we need to add a minimum of $40/MWh for firming. This makes these projects very expensive.

In terms of the poles and wires issue, there are considerable weaknesses in the way in which the regulation and pricing systems ­operate. Effectively, a renewable energy project can be located anywhere and, as long as the regulator agrees, the cost of connecting the project to the grid is borne by all customers without any cost imposition on the operator.

Note that regulated assets are priced at a fixed margin over the cost of capital, so the transmission/distribution companies do not ­really care who bears the cost.

Let’s also be clear about another thing: the abrupt closure of the Hazelwood power station in 2016 was a disaster for the state and the consequences still reverberate. At the time, Labor Premier Daniel Andrews made the ludicrous claim that retail prices would rise by less than 4 per cent in 2017. The actual rise was four times higher.

There are also some important short-term issues for Victoria, ­including the forecast shortfall of generating capacity of close to 400MW during the coming summer. The Australian Energy Market Operator says a combin­ation of demand management — paying customers to power down — and extra diesel generation will be sufficient to see the state through those very warm days. But it will be a close call.

The Victorian case — and let’s not forget Queensland’s equally bizarre promotion of renewable energy projects, again many in far-flung places — should provide the backdrop to some much needed changes to the operation of the National Electricity Market. The rapid penetration of large and small-scale renewable energy ­demands some new rules to ensure the stability and reliability of the grid as well as deliver lower prices.

These changes must involve the imposition of more obligations on renewable energy providers who have been afforded too many favours. There are three main changes that are required: day ahead pricing; scheduled generation by requiring firmed cap­acity; and developer charges on generators for the cost of extra transmission and distribution.

There is no doubt these changes will be resisted by the ­renewable energy sector. But without them, the stability and reli­ability of the grid will be imperilled. It was one thing for a small state such as South Australia to lose its head and overinvest in renewable energy; it is another thing altogether for several states to do so.

The AEMO is clear we need to extend the lives of our thermal plants for as long as possible but the actions of foolhardy governments promoting renewable energy to secure inner-city votes threaten this outcome. At the very least, consumers in those states should bear the full costs of their governments’ foolish policies.

The hope is that federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor can deal with some of these issues before it is too late.




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


Thursday, September 27, 2018

Again: Their own figures contradict global Warmists

I have on a few occasions mentioned that global warming was demonstrably wrong from the outset.  The theory was that after WWII there was a big expansion of industry worldwide that pumped lots of CO2 into the atmosphere and that the earth warmed as a result of that. But what actually happened would almost be enough to convince one that God opposes Warmists. Let me go over that again before I go on to a new hole in the theory.

Yes. On theory, more CO2 should produce more warming.  Yes. There was a great rise in CO2 output in the postwar era. But, No.  Global temperatures did not rise.  There was a "long hiatus" between 1945 and 1975.  That is a pretty exact refutation of global warming theory.  Warmists mutter about "special factors" giving that theory-destroying result but what special factors could exactly match and cancel out 30 years of warming?  It is a non-explanation.

Warmists also say "There are always gaps". But that is fatal too. ANY gap disproves the theory.  When a CO2 molecule arrives in the atmosphere it is just an inert little puff of gas with no capacity to "decide" what it can do.  It just does what it does and does it immediately.  So if it causes warming it must do that at once -- not after some "gap" in time.  So there is no escape.  The long hiatus is a conclusive disproof of global warming.

I have said all that before but I have repeated it because I think it can not be repeated enough.  It is basic science but usually passes unmentioned.

So let me go on to another absurdity in Warmism.  It is broadly agreed that the amount of global warming was 8 tenths of one degree Celsius over the 20th century.  So did all that warming take place after 1945?  Far from it.  Because of the long hiatus, most of the 0.8C warming happened BEFORE 1945.

But the warming before 1945 was supposed to be natural.  So NATURAL warming exceeded the warming attributed to anthropogenic emissions of CO2.  So why is the warming after 1945 man-made when natural factors did an even bigger job of producing warming?  If the warming before 1945 was natural, how can we be sure that the warming after 1945 was not natural too?  If the warming after 1945 was greater than the warming before 1945, the Warmists could have had some case -- but the post-1945 warming was in fact LESS than the prior warming.

Even if the warming before and after 1945 was split 50/50, you would still need evidence to show that the post-1945 warming was anything but a continuation of a natural trend.

The graph at the head of this blog is drawn with rather thick  lines but you can still  easily see the 1945 - 1975 hiatus and the fact that there was at least as much warming before 1945 as there was afterwards.

Global warming theory flies in the face of reality.  If it were a scientific theory and not a money-grabbing racket, it would have been abandoned long ago -- JR

More deliberate fraud from the professional Warmists

Still no mention of the well-known land subsidence on the U.S. East coast.  As pointed out in "Sea Levels, Land Levels, and Tide Gauges" (1993) by K.O. Emery and David G. Aubrey, mean sea level is masked by much larger changes due to changes in Land Level. To quote them: "With respect to estimating globally coherent changes in sea level during the last 100 years. the biases arising from vertical land movements mean that estimates based on crude averages of tide-gauge data are subject to large uncertainties; significant elements of the physics involved may be missed".

Sea level rise caused Hurricane Florence’s storm surge to be much worse, new data analysis by non-profit First Street Foundation has found. And the economic impact is expected to be in the billions.

More than 51,000 homes were hit by the storm surge that came with Hurricane Florence, which hit the Carolinas as a Category 1 storm. But as researchers found, 1 in 5 of these homes — which saw water cover more than a quarter of their property — were damaged due to sea level rise.

Comparing today’s sea level to 1970 data, researchers concluded that some 11,000 homes hit by Florence would not have been impacted had sea levels remained stable. But since 1970, seas have risen by about 6 inches — meaning that the damage experienced by 20 percent of homes can be linked to this increase.

And with climate change, according to the Army Corps of Engineers’ projection, if seas rise by a further 15 inches (more than a foot) by 2050, the same storm surge as experienced with Florence would have double the impact, putting an estimated 102,000 homes at risk.

A damaged home and streets littered with debris are seen after Hurricane Irma passed through Florida on September 13, 2017. Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images,
Major insurers lost billions on natural disasters in 2017, they say climate change a ‘serious’ risk
Climate change is making these storms more intense, and more expensive.

Climate change is making hurricanes stronger and wetter. Storm surges are made worse with higher sea levels because it means the surge is beginning from a higher starting point — there is more water available for the hurricane to push onto the land. Plus, with all this water comes less friction which would otherwise slow down the surge. Instead, more water rushes farther inland.

More damaged homes also means higher costs. New figures released on Tuesday reveal just how expensive Florence will be. According to risk modeling firm RMS, the storm is expected to rack up a bill of anywhere between $800 million to $1.2 billion in losses for the National Flood Insurance Program.

And the losses linked specifically to storm surge and inland flood damage are expected to reach between $700 million and $1.2 billion. In total, Florence will see between $2.8 and $5 billion in insured losses.

However, as RMS analysis shows, an estimated 70 percent of homes hit by Florence were uninsured.

A sign warns people away from Union Point Park after is was flooded by the Neuse River during Hurricane Florence September 13, 2018 in New Bern, North Carolina. (Credit: Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Many homeowners hit by Hurricane Florence may not be able to pay for its destruction
Some FEMA flood maps in the area are also outdated.

One recent analysis by McClatchy found that the number of homes in North and South Carolina with flood insurance dropped significantly only a couple miles inland from the Atlantic coast. Part of this is likely due to the fact that many FEMA flood zone maps are out of date and so people may not know they’re living in a risky area.

And it’s not just storm surges fueled by sea level rise that are making homes more vulnerable — it’s also a matter of where homes are being built. As the analysis by First Street Foundation notes, changes in housing development are also a “significant” factor in why so many homes were hit by Florence.

Over the past several decades, wetlands and farmland in the Carolinas have been developed for urban use. Researchers compared housing development patterns in 1970 and today and found that as a result, more than half of the homes hit by Florence can be linked to increased development.

According to one estimate by The News & Observer, roughly 610,000 homes were built within 50 miles of North Carolina’s coastline over the past 30 years. Add to this the fact that FEMA disaster aid often results in homes being re-built or repaired in the exact same vulnerable areas, and it’s no surprise that the number of people at risk isn’t declining.

“With sea levels and coastal development on the rise, the impacts of hurricane storm surges will only get worse,” Matthew Eby, executive director of First Street Foundation, said in a statement. “The time to rethink America’s sea level rise and adaptation strategy is now.”


Market forces triumphed over government ethanol mandates

A funny thing happened on the way to the gas pump.

Consumers want cheaper fuel and bought as much of it as they could without Washington telling them they had to.

That shouldn’t come as a surprise. What’s funny is that some people still needed to learn that economic incentives are a powerful motivator.

Our story begins in Washington, where government regulation is the go-to method of persuasion.

The EPA has sought to increase the use of ethanol, a “renewable” biofuel made from corn. To accomplish this goal, it orders refineries to blend ethanol with the gasoline and other products they produce. Gas sold at the pump contains roughly 10 percent ethanol.

The giant global consolidated oil companies have no problem meeting Washington’s mandate, but it’s put the squeeze on small, independent refiners across the country.

One of those refiners, Philadelphia Energy Solutions, declared bankruptcy after the cost of complying with EPA biofuel regulations hit $300 million – double the cost of its payroll.

The Trump administration has been giving the independent refineries waivers from the EPA regs to help save the thousands of good paying blue-collar industrial jobs that are at risk.

That had the Ethanol Lobby up in arms. They claimed if the government didn’t force every single refinery to adhere to mandatory quotas, there would be no market for ethanol, and demand for the biofuel would fall off a cliff.

Researchers from the University of Illinois department of agricultural economics decided to put this to the test. They wanted to see if the administration’s policy of exempting small refiners from the EPA mandates did in fact reduce demand for ethanol.

And that’s where the funny thing happened.

They found that while the Ethanol Lobby predicted a collapse in ethanol use, it just didn’t happen.

“There is little if any evidence that [demand] for ethanol was reduced as the waivers went into effect. If there has been any ethanol ‘demand destruction’ to date it was very small,” University of Illinois economics professor Scott Irwin writes.

Shorter version of the findings: People are buying just as much ethanol as before even without the government forcing independent refiners into bankruptcy.

More revealing is the reason why ethanol demand remains strong.

Professor Irwin reports, “Ethanol prices since late 2017 have become very cheap relative to gasoline. … This is the reason ethanol demand … has not been affected. … Put differently, ethanol is highly price competitive.”

Imagine that – ethanol is cheaper than gasoline, so people want to buy it.

The market works.

Time and again, we’re told renewable energy (wind, solar and biofuels) is an “infant industry” that can’t stand on its own and absolutely must have government support to survive.

This argument has been used to justify subsidies, perennial tax breaks and production mandates.

It looks like one of the infants has grown up.

The Trump administration has kept its promise, saving good paying blue-collar jobs at independent refineries across the country.

This latest study shows there are win-win solutions that can help corn farmers in the Midwest and industrial workers in the Northeast.


Total makes decade’s biggest gas find

A big natural gas discovery has been made off the Shetland Islands that experts believe could be the biggest in British waters for a decade.

Early estimates for the find made by Total, the French oil major, suggest that there could be one trillion cubic feet of gas, equivalent to more than 175 million barrels of oil, at the Glendronach prospect in the North Sea.

Analysts from Wood Mackenzie, the energy consultancy, said that figure would make it the largest find since the Culzean gasfield in 2008.

The area west of Shetland, which is relatively unexplored, is seen as one of the most exciting areas for the UK continental shelf, with oil industry giants such as Total, BP and Shell investing heavily alongside independents.


Be glad you don't live in "Green" Britain

Where I livev in Australia, ALL garbage is collected once a week -- and you don't have to sort it

More than 50,000 homes will have their bins emptied only once every four weeks under a local authority plan to save money and increase recycling.

Conwy county borough council in north Wales has become the first in England and Wales to cut collections of waste destined for landfill or incineration to once in four weeks. Many other councils are considering reducing the frequency of collections, with less than a quarter of English councils still collecting residual waste once a week. Fifteen per cent of UK councils plan to collect waste once every three or four weeks, according to a survey.

Conwy council said the change could save £390,000 a year and persuade more people to put waste in the correct bin




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


Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Meet the 'climate refugees' who already had to leave their homes

The dirge below is is just assertion designed to reinforce the false  impression that bad weather is hitting the USA more than in the past. And even if in some places flooding has become more frequent, there is no way you can tie it to global warming other than via models with no known predictive skill.

And it is amply documented that the East coast of the USA is subsiding, particularly in the South.  So flooding is an expected result of that natural process.

Tony Heller comments drily: "I'm in Arizona right now, which is expecting hundreds of thousands of climate refugees from Canada and the Midwest in the next couple of months. Even the baseball teams take refuge here during March"

I grew up in New Orleans. When you’re brought up there you realize you’re below sea level: you see boats beyond the levee that are actually higher than you on the street.

When Hurricane Katrina hit, we were prepared and realized we had to get out of Dodge. We headed to stay with family in Houston.

I saw the pictures of the hurricane on and I thought: “Oh my gosh, everything I remember about this city has gone.” There was a TV shot of my neighborhood; instead of a boulevard, it was a bayou. I called the kids in and said: “I think we’ve lost everything. We’ve lost our lives there.”

I decided to move on even before I saw my house. Going back to New Orleans just reaffirmed that. The whole city smelled of death, it was rotting. It was horribly depressing. The water was up to the eaves of our house and all we managed to salvage was half a briefcase of items. Everything else, my music, my books, my memorabilia, was gone.

We moved to Houston. I managed to get a job in software development. We didn’t appear to be in harm’s way when Hurricane Harvey hit last year but I’ve never seen a flood of that magnitude before.

Even as the water rose I thought: “This will peak soon.” But it rose, sat stable for a while, continued to rise and when it came into the house I thought: “This is crazy.” There was this intense feeling of denial, thinking about how this couldn’t happen again. There was a lot of shock and that night was hard – all the sewage was backing up, we had to stay on our beds to keep out of the water.

We had friends nearby who got us out the next day in boats. There’s maybe one out of every five houses around here with a for sale sign because of the flooding now. I joke that towns should pay me to not move there in order to avoid being flooded.

We will stay, though – I mean, the chances of being hit by a third storm are pretty slim. Things aren’t looking great for our planet but let’s face it, I’m not living on geologic time.


ROADS made out of solar panels seems like such a perfect idea, but projects have had underwhelming initial results

FOUR years ago a viral campaign wooed the world with a promise of fighting climate change and jump-starting the economy by replacing tarmac on the world’s roads with solar panels. The bold idea has undergone some road testing since then. The first results from preliminary studies have recently come out, and they’re a bit underwhelming.

A solar panel lying under a road is at a number of disadvantages. As it’s not at the optimum tilt angle, it’s going to produce less power and it’s going to be more prone to shading, which is a problem as shade over just 5 per cent of the surface of a panel can reduce power generation by 50 per cent.

The panels are also likely to be covered by dirt and dust, and would need far thicker glass than conventional panels to withstand the weight of traffic, which will further limit the light they absorb.

Unable to benefit from air circulation, it’s inevitable these panels will heat up more than a rooftop solar panel too. For every degree over optimum temperature, you lose 0.5 per cent of energy efficiency.

As a result, a significant drop in performance for a solar road, compared to rooftop solar panels, has to be expected. The question is by how much and what is the economic cost?


One of the first solar roads to be installed is in Tourouvre-au-Perche, northwest France. This has a maximum power output of 420kW, covers 2800sq m and cost €5 million ($8 million) to install. This implies a cost of €11,905 ($A19,230) per installed kW.

While the road is supposed to generate 800kWh/day (kilowatt hours per day), some recently released data indicates a yield closer to 409kWh/day, or 150,000kWh/yr.

For an idea of how much this is, the average home uses around 10kWh/day. The road’s capacity factor — which measures the efficiency of the technology by dividing its average power output by its potential maximum power output — is just 4 per cent.

In contrast, the Cestas solar plant near Bordeaux, which features rows of solar panels carefully angled towards the sun, has a maximum power output of 300,000kW and a capacity factor of 14 per cent. And at a cost of €360 million ($A581 million), or €1200 ($A1938) per installed kilowatt, one-tenth the cost of the solar roadway, it generates three times more power.

In America, a company called Solar Roadways has developed a smart highway with solar panels, including sensors and LED lights to display traffic warnings about any upcoming hazards, such as a deer. It also has heating pads to melt snow in winter.

Several of their SR3 panels have been installed in a small section of pavement in Sandpoint, Idaho. This is 13.9sq m in area, with an installed capacity of 1.529kW. The installation cost is given as $US48,734 (about $A67,000), which implies a cost per installed kilowatt of $A44,420 more than 20 times higher than the Cestas power plant.

Solar Roadway’s own estimates are that the LED lights would consume 106MWh per lane mile, with the panels generating 415MWh — so more than 25 per cent of the useful power is consumed by the LEDs. This would reduce performance even further. The heating plates are also quoted as drawing 2.28MW per lane mile, so running them for just six days would cancel out any net gain from the solar panels.

And this is before we look at the actual data from the Sandpoint installation, which generated 52.397kWh in six months, or 104.8kWh over a year. From this we can estimate a capacity factor of just 0.782 per cent, which is 20 times less efficient than the Cestas power plant.

That said, it should be pointed out that this panel is in a town square. If there is one thing we can conclude, it’s that a section of pavement surrounded by buildings in a snowy northern town is not the best place to locate a solar installation.

However, perhaps there’s a bigger point — solar roads on city streets are just not a great idea.


Green Suicide: Germany’s Economic Backbone Suffers From Soaring Power Prices

Mittelstand companies weighed down by soaring electricity costs are struggling against competition from U.S. and China. If power prices continue to rise, many companies could be forced to close down.

Bosses at a steelmaker in northwest Germany have ripped out old-style lighting in favor of LEDs, tinkered to make machinery more efficient and even locked staff into classrooms to teach them how to save energy.

Across the nation, thousands of companies are doing the same to mitigate the hit from electricity costs that have doubled since 2016. These smaller, often family-run firms are collectively known as the Mittelstand and form crucial links in the supply chains for Germany’s biggest firms, employing almost 20 million people and producing more in sales than Spain’s economy.

When the Mittelstand suffers, Germany takes a knock. And yet it’s those smaller companies along with households that have borne the brunt of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s energy policy, which has imposed higher electric bills to pay for cutting pollution. While 2,000 corporate giants like Volkswagen AG and chemicals maker BASF SE have their own power plants and get exemptions from environmental tariffs, smaller companies pay more to absorb those costs.

“We’re constantly trying to improve energy efficiency,” said Klaus Schmidtke, a spokesman for Georgsmarienhuette GmbH, which employs 1,000 people and feeds steel parts into the supply chain of Volkswagen AG. “But to be blunt, we’ve not been able to offset rising electricity prices.”

Wholesale power rates are on a tear across Europe, and apart from consuming less, there’s little that companies can do about it. The surge can be traced back to jumping demand for generation fuels from coal in China to natural gas in Japan. And that globalization of the energy market is eating away at support for Merkel’s transition away from coal and toward clean energy.

Energy bills for the Mittelstand were surging even before’s this year’s surge in the wholesale market. The companies, together with households, had to cough up hundreds of billions of euros to pay for Merkel’s transition to an economy based on mainly solar and wind. That put them at a disadvantage against competitors from China to the U.S., as well as other European nations.

The subsidies for solar and wind projects as well as a raft of environmental taxes aimed at cutting emissions have made German electricity prices for residential and business consumers the highest in the European Union together with Denmark.

The rising costs have forced Mittelstand firms, almost all of which have sales of less than 1 million euros, to splash out on expensive, energy-efficient equipment and lock in prices with suppliers for several years ahead. Some are even starting to produce their own electricity, while others have shifted production abroad in a last-ditch effort to keep up with Chinese, South Korean and U.S. competitors who pay far less for electricity.

“The drag on competitiveness is particularly severe for small and middle-sized firms,” Eric Schweitzer, President of Germany’s Chambers of Commerce, said by email.

The rising electricity costs threaten to undermine support for Merkel’s Energiewende just as her government is seeking to make up lost ground on the faltering path toward its 2020 emissions-reduction targets. A study of the Mittelstand by DZ Bank found a third of their company leaders thought power prices were a threat to their business.


Wind Energy's Absurd Proposal

Who would think it a good idea to build a wind farm on land rich in actinolite ore – one of the most dangerous mineral forms of asbestos?

Answer – Sweden’s Eolus Vind who want to spear 120-248 turbines at 600 ft tall into the Mojave Desert on the border of Nevada and California. Crescent Peak Renewables wind farm would occupy more than 32,000 acres of public land adjacent to the Mojave National Preserve and the Castle Mountain National Monument in California and the Wee Thump Joshua Tree Wilderness in Nevada.

We’ve posted before about the destruction in parts of the Mojave of the very slow growing Joshua trees to make way for wind turbines. We've also posted many times the destruction by wind turbines of other parts of the Mojave.

Wee Thump means ‘ancient ones’ in the Paiute language and was the first unprotected tract of public land to be designated wilderness in Nevada. It is one of the premier breeding areas for golden eagles in the Southwest.

You get the idea? Wilderness. The desert. A place for golden eagles. Not an industrialised landscape.

Ranged against Eolus Vind – or Evil Sound as someone realized would make a good anagram – are many people. All except a couple in the town of Searchlight are vehemently against the proposal. Searchlight itself was threatened by a wind farm a little over a year ago. However, the threat was withdrawn when a federal judge ordered the developers to start all over again on an environmental assessment, noting that the Interior Department’s approval of the project failed to adequately address concerns about impacts on bald eagles, golden eagles, desert tortoises and migrating bats.

And Searchlight and this part of the Mojave are under siege again.

But potentially many, many more could be hugely impacted upon if this proposal gets the go ahead because of the disturbance to the asbestos-laden ground. If the ground is disturbed, sending asbestos into the atmosphere, and the wind blows in the right direction, the deadly pollution could stretch as far as the Las Vegas Valley.

Libby, Montana, could fade into oblivion by comparison to the lawsuits which could ensue.

The residents of Searchlight have written to the President, and also to Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and to the second-in-charge Director of the Bureau of Land Management, alerting them, inter alia, to this fact and referring them to the case of Libby, Montana.

Libby was the site of one of of one of America's worst man-made environmental disasters. Toxic asbestos dust from the vermiculite mines that helped the town prosper for decades killed hundreds of residents, made ill thousands more, led to thousands of lawsuits as the company had swept the asbestos under the carpet, bankrupted the mining company and led to a massive clean up operation.

It will, however, be as nothing to the potential number of people who could be affected by disturbance of the asbestos-laden ground by a huge windfarm in a wholly inappropriate location.

The Bureau of Land Management, the public body responsible for public land, is accelerating the draft Environmental Impact Statement.

Eolus Vind have organized a meeting tomorrow (Tuesday, 25th) with dinner for the good folk of Searchlight. Their environmental consultants SWCA will be on hand to field questions.

We had a look at SWCA’s website:

'To preserve natural and cultural resources for tomorrow while enabling projects that benefit people today.'

It will be interesting to have the feedback from our friends in Searchlight. The Searchlight townsfolk wear their anti wind turbine pins wherever they go – that should tell Eolus Vind and their cohorts something – and the townsfolk know what they’re about as, no doubt, the developers will find out tomorrow.

Searchlight started as a gold mining town – it’s reputed to have been named because the first prospector was thinking up what to call his stake and he glimpsed a box of Searchlight matches.

Don’t think, wind weasels, that this is going to be a place which is going to roll over and let you in to hatch your golden goose.


Climate Change's #MeToo Movement: The Dark Secrets of Climate Saviors

The #MeToo movement this year exposed the dark secrets of Hollywood and many other global organizations. But the #MeToo movement within one fraternity has been suppressed and underreported by the leftist media.

And that is the climate change fraternity encompassing the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and their climate change conferences that host a wide network of collaborators, including climate scientists and diplomats.

The disturbing news about sexual harassment within the climate fraternity came to light during last year’s climate conference at Bonn. A reasonable number of women have testified of abuse they’ve suffered at UN climate change conferences.

Among them was Farhana Yamin. Yamin has been a climate change lawyer for over 30 years, and she came out against the sexual harassment that was going on within the climate fraternity.

In her detailed write-up at, Yamin records that many women have experienced the same in the past three decades and that incidents of sexual misconduct have been “brushed under the carpet.”

Meera Ghani is another climate victim who spoke out against what she describes to be a toxic culture of sexual harassment. It has been nearly two years since Ghani left the climate scene.

In her write-up, Ghani recounts the belittling comments, harassment, objectification, groping, and other serious sexual offenses she encountered at climate conferences. Peers to whom she reported these incidents politely suggested that she should “brush it aside” and told her that the sexual harassment culture was common at UN climate talks.

Women like Ghani and Yamin were involved in the climate movement because of their passion to save the planet. Seldom did they know that they would be sexually harassed.

The mainstream media has largely remained silent on accounts of these women. Instead, it merely reported about the announcement of “zero tolerance for sexual harassment” at Bonn by lead diplomat Patricia Espinosa.

However, the biggest perpetrator in the climate fraternity is not just some random diplomat but the former chairman of the IPCC, Mr. Rajendra Pachauri.

Pachauri led the IPCC from 2002 to 2015, before he resigned on charges of sexual allegations against him in India’s capital city, Delhi. Before heading the IPCC, Pachauri was already a director general at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) — India’s apex think tank educational institute for energy and environmental studies, where he committed his sexual misconduct.

While many believed the allegations against him could have been brought just to tarnish his image, the case against him became stronger as time passed by.

The police have identified more than 23 people as prosecution witnesses against Pachauri in his sexual misconduct case. The victim, a former colleague of his at TERI, submitted to the police thousands of emails, texts, and Whatsapp messages that involved Pachauri.

The case became substantial in 2016, and TERI refused to renew his employment. Last week, Delhi’s Saket district court (less than a mile from my previous home) ordered Pachauri to stand trial on criminal charges.

Metropolitan Magistrate Charu Gupta charged Pachauri under Sections 354 (outraging modesty), 354A (making physical contact, unwelcome and sexually colored remarks), and 509 (teasing and using vulgar gestures and actions) of the Indian Penal Code.

It is astounding and shocking that the former chairman of the IPCC is a man of such dark secrets. While that can be true of any man and any profession, Mr. Pachauri’s life only adds more weight to the “toxic culture” claims of women like Ghani.

When will the leftist media confront the real toxic sexual culture within the climate change bodies and conferences?

It is sad to understand that the media have blurred the line between consensual relationships and sexual harassment. The real demon that the #MeToo movement strives to slay will be slain only by bringing to light the dark evil secrets, not by suppressing them for political or ideological reasons.




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


Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Fake news about refugees

Yes. Africa has droughts. Always has had and always will have. Yes, there are many genuine refugees but all we know of are fleeing war, not the climate. That some are fleeing the climate is just made up -- fake news.  Some are certainly fleeing as a result of bad weather events such as drought but tying weather events to global warming is pure speculation.  It cannot be proven and there is no increase in such events if we look at the statistics.  There were many equally bad events in the past

From African farms shriveled into desert to monster storms revved up by warmer air over the oceans, climate change is stoking environmental disasters around the globe and uprooting millions of people a year — adding to a refugee crisis said to be the worst since World War II.

The increasingly extreme weather patterns have destroyed food and water supplies, left communities destitute, strained national and international aid resources, and fomented political instability in fragile societies in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America, according to development experts.

“Climate change is the force multiplier for chronic social and environmental problems,” said Tim Ash Vie of the Climate Group, an advocacy organization working to counter global warming.

The hazards of global warming will be the focus of high-profile conferences, protests and other events on the margins of the annual United Nations General Assembly meeting this week in New York, echoing some of the features of the Global Climate Action Summit earlier this month in San Francisco.

President Trump is scheduled to address the U.N. on Tuesday. But he has dismissed the science behind climate change as a hoax and pulled the United States out of the 2015 Paris climate accord, which seeks to lower carbon emissions that are linked to global warming.

The Trump administration also has drastically cut the number of vetted refugees fleeing wars and persecution that it will accept into the U.S. Last week, it moved to cap the total next year at 30,000, the lowest since the refugee program was created in 1980.

The plight of those forced from their homes by the changing environment has been overshadowed by the estimated 65 million refugees now surging around the globe, the most in decades. Unlike them, people displaced by environmental changes are not recognized as refugees under international law.

The 1951 Refugee Convention, which grew out of World War II and was ratified by 145 countries, predated modern environmental science. In recent decades, climate scientists have concluded that the planet is warming due to human activities, causing a mix of effects.

A warming polar cap has opened new fishing and shipping routes in the northern oceans, while greater rainfall and longer growing seasons have improved crop yields in some areas. But hurricanes in the Atlantic and typhoons in the Pacific have steadily worsened, causing devastation from North Carolina to China.


30 Years Ago Officials Predicted The Maldives Would Be Swallowed By The Sea. It Didn’t Happen

Environmental officials warned 30 years ago the Maldives could be completely covered by water due to global warming-induced sea level rise. That didn’t happen. The Indian Ocean did not swallow the Maldives island chain as predicted by government officials in the 1980s.

In September 1988, the Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported a “gradual rise in average sea level is threatening to completely cover this Indian Ocean nation of 1196 small islands within the next 30 years,” based on predictions made by government officials.

Then-Environmental Affairs Director Hussein Shihab told AFP “an estimated rise of 20 to 30 centimetres in the next 20 to 40 years could be ‘catastrophic’ for most of the islands, which were no more than a metre above sea level.”

The article went on to suggest the Maldives, along with its 200,000 inhabitants, could “end” sooner than expected if drinking water supplies dry up by 1992 “as predicted.” Today, more than 417,000 people live in the Maldives.

“Call Noah and have him build another Ark,” Daniel Turner, executive director of the pro-energy group Power the Future, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“Bring out the Coast Guard. Send all the boogie boards and floaties you can find for the Maldives is going down,” Turner said sarcastically.

The Maldives are among the island nations often held up by United Nations officials as being on the “front-lines” of man-made global warming. The island nation was among the first to apply for Green Climate Fund aid, but the funding hasn’t been flowing, according to The New York Times.

“That’s too long to wait,” Maldives energy and environment minister Thoriq Ibrahim told The Times last year. “There’s no use having a fund somewhere if you can’t access it quickly.”

The Maldives are indeed low-lying islands with its highest point only reaching about eight feet above sea level. But obviously, decades-old warnings the Maldives were on the verge of being swallowed by the seas didn’t pan out.

A recent study projected low-lying reef islands, like the Maldives, could become “uninhabitable” by the middle of the 21st Century because too much sea water will get into freshwater drinking supplies.

The study projects “sea-level rise and wave dynamics over reefs will lead to the annual wave-driven overwash of most atoll islands by the mid-21st century.”

However, other research suggest the Maldives and other coral islands may actually be expanding, not sinking into the sea.

New Zealand researchers published a study earlier this year based on aerial photos and satellite images of Pacific islands over the last four decades that found most atolls they examined were increasing in size.


10 years to ditch fossil fuel car engines, save Paris climate target, warns study
Greens hate transport because greens hate freedom. If you think they won't come after your EV after they've got rid of the petrol/diesel car, you have not been paying attention

Europe must stop selling new petrol, diesel and conventional hybrid cars by 2028 in order to stand a better chance of honouring the Paris Agreement’s most ambitious target, according to a new study.

Research conducted by the German Aerospace Centre, commissioned by Greenpeace Belgium, says that passenger car engines as we know it need to be completely phased out from new sales before the end of the next decade.

Otherwise, Europe will struggle to “meaningfully contribute” to limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the most ambitious part of the Paris Agreement on climate change’s “well below 2 degrees Celsius” overall aim.

Green activists have now urged governments to adopt effective phase-out regimes, so that existing fleets can be replaced in good time.

The study provides two clear options for meeting the 1.5 degrees goal: one uses a so-called carbon budget that means there will be a 50% chance of hitting the target, while another assumes a more ambitious 66%. A carbon budget is the amount of CO2 we can emit before global warming takes effect and pushes the planet over a certain average temperature.

In the one-in-two chance scenario, the findings insist that unchecked passenger car emissions will eat away the carbon budget for staying under 1.5 degrees within a decade.

For the more ambitious 66% likelihood, the news is even more grim as the budget will be exhausted within just five years if business-as-usual continues.

The German Aerospace Centre study authors concluded that those figures show either “stringent” CO2 cuts to passenger cars are necessary or further cuts in other sectors have to be identified.

In Europe at least, that latter option appears to be a non-starter given that emission cuts can only be sold politically if all sectors are expected to make even progress in reduction measures.

Given the current public attention levied at air quality, urban mobility and the associated health concerns, the study also assumed that demand for the combustion engine will fall gradually by itself.

“The phasing-out of the internal combustion engine in passenger cars will not only benefit the climate, it will also help solve the air pollution crisis and improve the quality of life for everyone,” said Barbara Stoll, Greenpeace Clean Air campaigner.

During the now annual car free day in Brussels on Sunday (16 September), air pollution fell by a massive 30% in the EU capital’s smoggiest streets and even further in other areas.

The mayors of Brussels and Paris have called for an annual car-free day for all of Europe, citing initiatives in their cities that have driven down pollution. But a recent damning report by the EU Court of Auditors revealed there is plenty of work left to do.

Filling a gap

If governments were to heed these 1.5 degree warnings and take measures to kill the combustion engine, then consumers would need to be offered an alternative.

The study acknowledges that increased production and sales of battery-powered vehicles would need to be adopted but also warns that could create problems in the job sector and environmental concerns due to the reliance on rare earth metals.

CO2 limits on cars risk ‘social catastrophe’, industry says
The European Commission may have underestimated the impact a “forced push” for more electric cars could have on EU jobs, Europe’s leading carmaker association has said as lawmakers begin in earnest to look into newly proposed limits on CO2 emissions.

The study does acknowledge that other options are available beyond mass electric car uptake, including synthetic fuels and changes in behaviour, but they are not included in its assumptions.

However, it does insist that they should be taken into account when developing options to come up with carbon reduction strategies.

Pledges to ban petrol and diesel have already been made by the French and British governments, which set a 2040 deadline, while carmakers like Volvo have even promised only to make electric and hybrid vehicles from as early as next year.


Bloom Energy’s “tangled web”

What a tangled web Bloom weaves, since first it practiced to deceive

Paul Driessen and Clint Laird

Bloom Energy executives, investment bankers, venture capitalists, politicians, regulators and others involved in advancing Bloom’s business, reputation and financial dealings are living the complicated life that flows from lying. Lies typically start small. Often, they’re small deceptions. But deceptions can metastasize into a tangled web of lies that threatens corporate survival, as truth intrudes over time from all sides.

For years the truth about Bloom’s business and ethics has intruded. But Bloom successfully parried them, going public on the New York Stock Exchange in July 2018. Its stock came out at $15 and has doubled.

Prior to going public, a competitor’s CEO said he hoped the oft-delayed IPO would happen because it would force Bloom to “dial back their practice of playing very loose with the truth.” He meant the Securities and Exchange Commission would be watching, to protect the public. He proved prophetic.

Within a day of going public, Bloom’s PR people were walking back its CEO’s rosy, inappropriate and unfounded financial predictions. Death by a thousand SEC and other cuts is the fate that awaits Bloom, now that it’s public. It may come sooner and with greater effect than most over-hyped green company failures – especially after a recent Heritage Foundation program exposed many of its shenanigans.

Bloom makes solid oxide fuel cells, which use an electrochemical reaction to convert natural gas into electricity on the customer’s site. Bloom claims cost advantages in generation and from no transmission lines.

Bloom also claims its “green” electricity costs 9-11 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), close to what its competitors charge. But Bloom’s promoted rates come after it receives federal, state and sometimes county subsidies. Absent these, Bloom’s rates would be 25-30 cents a kWh, making it seriously uncompetitive. Even its IPO statements admit a critical dependence on subsidies.

Bloom claims “greenness,” but the USEPA says its fuel cells produce hazardous materials in the filters needed to “scrub” impurities from the natural gas. While acknowledging the hazmats, Bloom claims it is somehow exempt from being labeled a “hazmats generator” – which is critical for Bloom’s marketing.

EPA and Bloom are battling this in the courts. Meanwhile, at least one Bloom customer has paid an environmental fine (without admitting fault) for improperly handling (Bloom’s) hazmats. If Bloom loses this lawsuit, it has another hazmat exemption up its sleeve. Get cut by a sword, parry a stroke, get cut by another.

Everyone likes being green. Apple brags it’s 100% green, although its solar panels and Bloom generators at the Maiden, NC site don’t provide electricity to Apple. Instead, this electricity goes directly to Duke Power, which must pay top retail prices when the sun shines and Bloom cells function. Apple reaps this income while also getting Duke Power’s lowest rates as a high-volume customer. What a sweet arrangement.

But what Apple and other Bloom customers really like are the subsidies they receive when installing “virtuous” Bloom generators. A manufacturer can sell a lot of anything when someone else pays for it. Of course, in this case, the “someone else” is taxpayers and ratepayers.

The federal Investment Tax Credit for fuel cell manufacturers like Bloom ran out in 2016. Sales predictably declined. But Senators Carper (D-DE), Blumenthal (D-CT) and Schumer (D-NY) successfully lobbied to reinstate the ITC retroactively for 2016 and into the future. That will cost the taxpayers between $600 and $900 million. The fuel cell industry will show appreciation in Washington’s typical swampy ways.

Thanks to the ITC reinstatement, Bloom also got fawning financial reporting, and its much-delayed IPO became a reality. The company had been running on fumes and losing $30 million per month. The instant $270 million in reinstated subsidies breathed new life into it.

Bloom’s financial parent is the impressive venture firm Kleiner Perkins. In February 2010, KP’s chief John Doerr put top executives from Google, eBay, Walmart, FedEx and Coca-Cola onstage to promote Bloom technology. To open his long adulation, Doerr said the event reminded him and Google co-founder Larry Page of Google’s own IPO. His slick, alluring statement helped bolster Bloom’s prominence and value.

Page then praised Bloom, saying Google was Bloom’s first customer and he foresees Bloom powering a “whole data center running on [its fuel cells] at some point” (time mark 15:55 in the video). But Google installed only four 100 kW Bloom generators at its headquarters in July 2008. This is a pittance, and only one generator “needed to work” at a mere 60% capacity for just 30 days to permit or persuade Google to endorse Bloom’s technology and help Morgan Stanley raise $100 million for Bloom later that year.

Since then, Google has added no more Bloom generators – an endorsement of a very different sort.

Other deceptions played out in Delaware, where Bloom cut a sweetheart deal involving 30 megawatts of fuel cell generating capacity (75 times Google’s total install) and a virtually free manufacturing facility. Bloom promised 900 jobs, monthly consumer costs of under $1, and 96% operating “up” time. They delivered 277 jobs, $5/month (and rising) electricity costs and 86% “up” time.

The missing jobs triggered a $1.5 million penalty – versus the $12 million that Delaware paid Bloom to locate there and some $200+ million that Bloom has received so far from state ratepayers under its sweetheart deal. The 623 missing Delaware jobs are in India.

In 2013 Bloom was found guilty of hiring Mexican workers for a third of the federal minimum wage and paying them in pesos. It also violated overtime and record-keeping provisions.

These ethics violations and operational deceptions highlight bigger questions. Can a company actually thrive or even survive if it has lost $2+ billion, has annual interest expenses exceeding $100 million, and produces a product that exists only because of multiple subsidies? Can the company be kept on life support and “media spin” long enough for insider investors to cash out?

(But would you want to bet against Kleiner Perkins and its powerful business and political accomplices?)

It’s instructive that several top Kleiner Perkins people have recently left or announced their departure; its top tier has shrunk from nine to five. This month, top tier player Mary Meeker announced that she and her team will leave to form their own firm. It’s rumored that these departures were precipitated, at least in part, by KP’s decisions to back “clean tech,” the financial disappointments from that decision, and rumblings about misstatements of material facts to legislators and regulators.

Several years ago, Advanced Equities investment bank executives argued that Bloom (and others) had misled them, and they in turn simply passed the deceptions on to investors. In 2012, the SEC shut the bank down and fined two of its top executives for doing insufficient due diligence. It will be interesting to see how the SEC and other government agencies treat KP executives and others involved in Bloom’s web of deception.

Equally intriguing, in filing for its IPO, Bloom disclosed large payments to the two Advanced Equities execs – including post-IPO shares, hundreds of thousands of preferred shares and warrants, and a $5 million loan. Many wonder, were these payments and their accompanying non-disclosure agreements illegal hush money?

Others say Bloom personifies influence peddling among the swamp denizens of Washington and state legislatures. Eventually taxpayers and ratepayers will demand comprehensive reform to end this behavior. Savvy Wall Street analysts are already catching on.

In Delaware, Bloom’s costs are transparently displayed on monthly consumer electric bills. People are already asking, “What are all these renewable energy charges, and why do we have to pay them?”

In 1906, Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle portrayed the harsh conditions and exploited lives of immigrants in Chicago, exposing the meat-packing industry’s flagrant corruption. Despite the absence of radio and television at the time, the book created a national uproar and call for reform, which quickly resulted in the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906.

Today’s digital and social media could (and should) generate taxpayer and consumer reactions to Bloom’s crony corporatist subsidy saga akin to public response to The Jungle. Consumers will learn to trust their electric bills, not the tangled web of deceptions woven in our political swamps.

Via email

German Animal Lovers Boycott Wind Power: Vegans Incensed by Bloody Bird & Bat Slaughter

German vegans have mounted a boycott against wind power, incensed by the pointless and bloody slaughter of millions of birds and bats.

Irony comes in many sizes and shapes, but the idea of one group of moralising zealots taking on another group of moralising zealots, is simply delicious (so to speak).

The concept of carnivorous wind and sun worshippers going toe to toe with tofu and mung bean munching Germans throws up the opportunity for a new form of blood-sport, a bit like bear-baiting, in the Deutschland of old.

At least one electricity retailer has decided to deliver up the kind of electricity that might just satisfy the ethically fussy palates of German vegans. The cleverly named ‘Vegawatt’ promises to deliver electricity to satisfy all animal lovers, including hard-core vegos.

Although, STT is not quite sure how Vegawatt proposes separating its morally sound megawatts from the unethical stuff, enabling it to deliver only the former to its pious customers as its marketing pitch so nobly promises? Once excited electrons start tearing around an enormous electricity grid, both the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ behave in precisely the same manner, making the evil ones pretty hard to distinguish.




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


Monday, September 24, 2018

EPA Takes Steps to Ensure Regulatory Reforms Advance

A political appointee will become the No. 2 lawyer at the Environmental Protection Agency, in a change announced Thursday aimed at ensuring that someone committed to President Donald Trump’s agenda is in charge.

This change puts the EPA in line with several other federal departments and agencies.

The move comes as news reports indicate parts of the federal bureaucracy—including some who had key jobs during the previous administration—have rebelled against the elected president.

The change in who serves as EPA’s deputy general counsel also comes as the agency seeks more uniformity in legal interpretations from its regional offices across the country, The Daily Signal has learned.

In a memo Thursday to all EPA staff, General Counsel Matthew Leopold announced he had named David Fotouhi as principal deputy general counsel.

Fotouhi, a political appointee, will replace Kevin Minoli, a career EPA employee who was at the agency during the Obama administration.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt resigned in July amid questions about his ethics raised by Trump’s political opponents and the media even as Pruitt followed through on the Trump administration’s deregulation agenda.

Minoli, who called for independent investigations of Pruitt, announced Aug. 21 that he would leave the EPA in late September to join a Washington law firm. E&E News identified the law firm as Alston & Bird LLP.

The Senate has been slow to confirm Trump’s executive branch appointments ever since his inauguration in January 2017.

The Senate didn’t confirm Leopold as the EPA’s general counsel for nearly a year. If he were to vacate the top legal position, the presence of Fotouhi would ensure that the acting general counsel would be someone else who is committed to the goals Trump was elected to carry out.

Some politicized career bureaucrats with a different agenda have rebelled against the Trump administration’s goals across government agencies, as has been widely reported.

The EPA has been the site of some of the administration’s biggest reforms.

Historically, the second spot in the EPA general counsel’s office has gone to a career employee, although that’s not the case among other federal government departments.

In his memo to all EPA employees, Leopold said:

While new within OGC [the Office of the General Counsel], having a political appointee serve as the principal deputy is consistent with the structure used by the Office of Air and Radiation and the Office of Water (at times), as well as the Department of Justice, Department of Interior, Department of Commerce, and Department of Agriculture.

The change advances Trump policies and the goals of acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, EPA spokesman John Konkus told The Daily Signal in a statement.

“Today’s announcement will make EPA’s Office of General Counsel leadership structure consistent with other EPA program offices as well as the Department of Justice, Department of Interior, and other federal agencies,” Konkus said, adding:

We are advancing the president’s agenda, while at the same time strengthening the senior career leadership ranks. This move is in line with acting Administrator Wheeler’s efforts to establish a standard regional office structure that aligns with headquarters, as the new career deputy position being created will coordinate with and manage the regional counsels to ensure legal consistency in the agency’s actions across the nation.

Political appointees in the U.S. government serve at the pleasure of the president, or under the politically appointed agency head or Cabinet secretary. These employees may be fired at will.

Conversely, career federal employees have civil service protections that make it more difficult to fire them, and typically serve under multiple administrations.

Fotouhi already worked in the EPA general counsel’s office, and will continue in his previous roles, Leopold wrote to employees:

As you know, David has been a deputy general counsel for a year and a half. In this new role, he will continue to oversee issues managed by the Water Law Office and Solid Waste and Emergency Response Law Office and also take on new supervisory roles related to all the deputy general counsels and political staff.

Fotouhi, a graduate of Harvard Law School and Vanderbilt University, began working for the general counsel’s office in March 2017.

He previously was in private practice at the Washington law firm of Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher beginning in 2011. He clerked for Judge Raymond Gruender of the Missouri-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit.

On a second front, Leopold’s memo addressed the decentralized nature of the EPA’s regional offices.

An office in Seattle, Washington, for example, could have a different legal interpretation of a dispute than an office in Kansas City, Missouri, had regarding the same matter.

The EPA seeks to implement more uniform standards, and Leopold announced that Dave Cozad, counsel for the agency’s Region 7 in the Midwest, would fill a new career position of deputy general counsel to “coordinate with and manage the regional counsels, among other duties.”

Cozad will serve on an acting basis, he said.

Cozad is a 29-year EPA veteran who began work in the counsel’s office in 1989 under President George H. W. Bush. A graduate of the College of William and Mary Law School, he previously served as an environmental lawyer for the Justice Department.


Climate Policy and the Case for Humility

The Global Climate Action Summit was September 12-14 in San Francisco. One purpose is to “ratchet up the ambition of national climate action plans.” Another is to “provide the confidence to governments to ‘step up’ and trigger this next level of ambition sooner rather than later.”

If you attended the Action Summit, you heard arguments that go much like this: The “science is settled,” 97 percent of scientists agree that climate change is real and that humans are the main cause, and the planet will suffer irreparable harm if something is not done immediately. If you do not agree with these claims, you must be a tool of energy companies or of funders of right-wing political causes. The easy default position to take in the face of such claims is to trust the Global Climate Action folks.

But, is the science settled and do 97 percent of climate scientists agree? It is useful to know where there are agreements and where there are disagreements. There is, in fact, consensus among climate scientists that:

global temperatures have increased overall since 1880

humans are contributing to a rise in atmospheric CO2 concentrations

Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases have a warming effect on the planet

There is a great deal of debate about the following:

whether the warming since 1950 has been dominated by human causes

how much the planet will warm in the 21st century

whether warming is ‘dangerous’

whether radically reducing CO2 emissions will improve the climate and human well being

Many confuse the consensus over the first three points as covering all climate change science. Yes, there is a consensus about those three points, but the claim of consensus falls apart once the next four are considered. Furthermore, even if there were consensus about all final four points, that consensus does not tell what ought to be done.

In thinking about climate policy it may be useful to remember H. L. Mencken’s claim that “There is always an easy solution to every human problem — neat, plausible, and wrong.”

Humility in policy arenas is not nearly as attractive as making bold claims and public pronouncements. But, before spending trillions of dollars to fight climate change, a little humility might be a good place to start. Frankly, we do not know nearly as much about many things as is widely supposed. Climate scientists, like macroeconomists, are very good at predicting the past. But, human systems and the systems that create climate changes are nonlinear and dynamic and, therefore, quite unpredictable.

I doubt that speakers at the Global Climate Change Summit talked about what I think is our best bet, which is to adapt and mitigate, rather than spend billions to prevent change. But that would be an unpopular position among the climate change activists and it is not popular with politicians or reporters. Proposals to adapt and mitigate are poorly received when talking about climate change. The poor reception might be because risk is something that people in general evaluate poorly. There is a lot of pressure on politicians to “do something.” Pick up any newspaper and there are letters to the editor from the old, young, informed, uninformed, frightened, and optimistic that something must be done. And so on.

Even local politicians face electoral pressures to do something, to adopt more climate friendly policies, to choose electricity produced by wind or solar, and to subsidize supposedly green projects. Voters reward politicians who appear to solve problems. Waiting to adapt is easily characterized as doing nothing. Few politicians like being called a “do nothing” politician. Choosing to wait to adapt is difficult to explain in public meetings or the press. Reporters like talking to the “do something” folks because stories about new policies and their consequences are easier to write, especially if the reporter is a “do something” reporter.


California's Fuel Economy Power Grab is Hijacking the American Car

There are many reasons why residents are choosing to flee California. But imagine leaving the state only to find that the socialists in Sacramento have successfully imposed their will nationwide. That is exactly what is happening with vehicle fuel economy standards. Thankfully, the Trump administration is slamming on the brakes.

California’s air pollution standards are more rigorous than the rest of the country, thanks to special authority to grant the state via waiver under the Clean Air Act (CAA). You might ask yourself, what does air pollution in California have to do with the fuel economy of cars manufactured in places like Michigan and Ohio and sold across the country? Thanks to this special waiver and help from the Obama administration, California now exerts outsized influence on the entire American automobile market.

In 2009 and again in 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency granted California CAA waivers allowing the state to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from vehicles at levels more stringent than those set by EPA. It’s not an explicit regulation on vehicle fuel economy. But since the only practical way for automakers to achieve greater GHG reductions is by boosting fuel economy, the effect is the same. The root problem is a separate federal law that already regulates fuel economy.

The Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) was created to reduce American dependence on foreign oil by enforcing policies such as the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards. Unlike California’s special power to impose requirements in excess of the CAA, California is explicitly preempted from regulating fuel economy under EPCA. Here’s where the power grab comes in.

The population of California is huge, almost 40 million, which means automakers can’t afford to bypass the entire market. In addition, while no other states enjos the authority to craft their own CAA standards, they can choose to adopt those of California — and some have. Thus, the American automarket is now subject to multiple sets of standards.

To mitigate the obvious chaos of multiple fuel economy standards, the Obama administration brokered a three-way deal between EPA, California, and the automakers, effectively establishing California’s seat at the table as a national regulator. Through its CAA power grab, the progressives in Sacramento have, in effect, imposed stricter fuel economy standards on the rest of the country. Moreover, they have the power to hold the national market hostage to push for even more stringent regulations.

Both the Supremacy Clause and the Commerce Clause outlined in the U.S. Constitution make it clear that the federal government’s fuel economy standards should trump California’s special fuel economy standards. While California’s regulations are not explicit fuel economy standards, EPCA preempts any regulation “related to fuel economy standards.” Not only is greater fuel economy the only practical way for automakers to comply with higher GHG standards, the structure of GHG regulations is based on fleet average, which is unlike other CAA emission regulations — yet identical to the existing CAFE standards.

California’s misused CAA waiver is a classic example of the slippery slope that comes with picking winners and losers in the regulatory space. By granting California exclusive authority under one law to regulate one thing (air pollution), the federal government has given the state an opening to impose its political agenda on something else (fuel economy).

Thankfully, the Trump administration has proposed more realistic national fuel economy standards and moved to revoke California’s waiver. This would disarm Sacramento, ending its bullying of the auto industry and drivers in other states. California was given special authority under the CAA to regulate emissions due to its unique geography, weather, and rapid growth and gridlock that produced localized smog. But GHG regulations are aimed at global climate change, not problems unique to California. There’s simply no reason for the state to have special powers above and beyond national GHG standards.

One-time special privileges are not, it turns out, just a one-time thing. As in the childhood classic “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,” if you give a regulator a cookie, he’ll ask for a glass of milk. And then a straw … and so on.

In addition to being bad policy, California’s CAA waiver sets an irresponsible precedent. It must be revoked to prevent future abuses of regulatory power. States should not be allowed to wield their consumer market as a weapon to impose a progressive political agenda on the rest of the country.


British tidal power project in trouble

Industrial heavyweights have turned their back on the Swansea Tidal Power project as the countdown begins on a one-year stay of execution for its embattled developer.

Tidal Lagoon Power has lost three of its high-profile backers from the board, including billionaire industrialist Sanjeev Gupta who is pursuing a rival tidal project with Simec Atlantis.

The boardroom exodus took place over the summer amid a make-or-break debt deal which sets the clock ticking on a bid to keep the company afloat.

Gareth Roberts, of KRE Corporate Recovery, said his firm was tasked with setting up a company voluntary ­agreement (CVA) to “mothball” the beleaguered scheme and help buy time to continue fundraising.

The “holding mechanism” grants the developer a maximum of two years before creditors could opt to take action, but if there is no appetite to fund the project within the next year the company may choose to liquidate.

Rajeev Gandhi, chief financial officer of Simec, owned by Mr Gupta’s GFG Alliance, has also left, along with Keith Clarke, an industry veteran who sits on the board of Sirius Minerals.


Australia set to run on 100% renewable energy within 15 years (?)

How the Green/Left can blind themselves to the obvious is a wonder. Do they seriously think that any population would settle for an electricity supply that only worked when the sun shone and the wind blew?  Yet that is what we would have with 100% renewable energy.  "Renewables" will always need to be backed to 100% of demand by conventional generators

Australia is set to reach its target of 100% renewable energy by the early 2030’s, provided current uptake of renewable energy options in the residential and commercial sectors remains strong.

The Australian renewables energy industry will install more than 10 gigawatts of new solar and wind power before the end of 2019 and if that rate is maintained, Australia would reach 50% of its renewables target in 2025.

The reduction target, set under the famed Paris Agreement into global climate change, forms part of a commitment made by Australia in 2015 to cut carbon emissions nationwide by up to 28% of 2005 levels by the year 2030.

It represents reductions of around 52% in emissions per capita and around 65% in the emissions intensity of the economy between 2005 and 2030.

Homeowners and industry have embraced the renewables challenge so well that it now seems possible the nation will reach the equivalent of 100% renewables for its electricity supply well before then.

A report by the Energy Exchange Institute at Australian National University, says merely keeping up the current rate of renewable energy deployment – roughly divided between solar photovoltaics (PVs), wind farms and rooftop solar PVs – would meet the country’s entire emissions reduction task for the whole economy by 2025.
New global energy capacity additions 2015 2017 solar wind
Net new global generation capacity additions in 2015 and 2017.

That doesn’t take into account recent announcements at State level to make solar a more attractive option to consumers.




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