The Fallacy of Energy Efficiency

Across the world there is a concerted effort to reduce the use of energy via efficiency. This has grown into a political ideology dedicated to saving the planet by reducing each of our carbon footprints. For example, governments mandate CAFÉ standards to increase fuel efficiency. But what have been the actual results of these efforts?

Today we build engines that propel our aircraft, ships, trains and cars using much less fuel. However, to the chagrin of many who want to save the planet, as efficiency has increased so has the demand for more energy, particularly fossil fuels.

For example in Florida the state legislature has gone so far as to create a pilot program to create two Energy Economic Zones, one in the City of Miami and the other in Sarasota County, Florida. But to what avail? History tells us as we create greater efficiencies we then consume even more. But why does this happen?

In 2003 the Norwegian Institute for Consumer Research did a study titled The Fallacies of Energy Efficiency: The Rebound Effect? The study reports, “It has been observed that energy efficiency measures result in less than expected energy savings. This is usually ascribed to the so-called rebound effect . . . If you buy an appliance that is twice as efficient as your old one, the effective price of fuel is reduced to a half. As long as the elasticity of energy demand with respect to energy price is not zero, as would be quite unreasonable, there will be a pressure on energy demand.”

Remember: The elasticity of energy demand will never be zero.

In his Wall Street Journal column It’s Too Easy Being Green, David Owen laments, “A favorite trick of people who consider themselves friends of the environment is reframing luxury consumption preferences as gifts to humanity . . . Our capacity for self-deception can be breathtaking.”

Owen, as an environmentalist, notes, “Even when we act with what we believe to be the best intentions, our efforts are often at cross-purposes with our goals. Increasing the efficiency of lighting encourages us to illuminate more.” David is describing the Rebound Effect.
Efficiency is good. Efficiency makes available more goods and services to more people. As more people can afford an automobile because of manufacturing efficiencies the better for us all. That is what David realizes as he concludes his column. David states, “Relieving traffic congestion reduces the appeal of public transportation and fuels the growth of suburban sprawl. A robust market for ethanol exacerbates global hunger by diverting cropland from the production of food.”

Energy efficiencies lead to greater energy demand. Concepts like Economic Energy Zones, locavorism (only eating food that is produced locally), sustainable communities, electric cars, high speed rail, public transportation, green buildings, CAFÉ standards and alternative fuels are “breathtaking self-deceptions”.

As mankind finds better and cheaper ways to make things and provide services the broader will be the market as consumers like saving a buck. That is what drives us all. Getting more for less and as we can do we do more for less.

Man works in his own self-interests. That is called individualism. That will never change.

As Ronald Reagan once said, “Only when the human spirit is allowed to invent and create, only when individuals are given a personal stake in deciding economic policies and benefiting from their success — only then can societies remain economically alive, dynamic, prosperous, progressive and free.”

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Fallacy of Energy Efficiency

The Mother of All Hoaxes

There was a brief flurry of stories in the media at the beginning of what has become a historic summer of hot weather across the U.S. that global warming was to blame. They faded swiftly because the public has concluded that global warming is the mother of all hoaxes, because we are in the midst of a failing economy and the political campaigns that will decide if the nation literally lives or dies.

This has not stopped the Public Broadcast System’s News Hour from airing a new series “on how climate change in the Pacific Northwest is affecting the region’s Native American Indian tribes—flooding their reservations and threatening the region’s salmon fisheries.” Climate change is shorthand for global warming.

While the nation’s media continues to propagate the hoax, what hope is there for the TRUTH?

Significantly “the NewsHour’s year-long Coping with Climate Change series is funded by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation.” The nation’s leading foundations have been funding the global warming hoax for decades and continue to do so.

So one more article about the deception and duplicity of global warming may seem superfluous and it would be if the U.S. Air Force wasn’t spending $59 per gallon of “green biofuel” and the U.S. Navy wasn’t doing the same for its Great Green Fleet. The justification for this is the utterly false assertion that “alternatives” are needed in the event we can’t produce or import petroleum.

The U.S. is floating on an ocean of oil, but for now it can only be extracted from lands owned privately because the Obama administration has done everything in its power to restrict access to it on federally owned lands and, of course, the billions of barrels locked up off-shore.

In exactly the same way that the Obama administration has presided over the loss of billions in subsidies and loan guarantees for the solar panel companies or the ridiculous costs of wind power industry compared to a single coal-burning plant, at the heart of it all has been the claim the global warming is caused by “greenhouse gas” emissions, carbon dioxide, that imperil the Earth.

Recently, my friend Joseph L. Bast, the president of The Heartland Institute, wrote an article, “IPCC Admits Its Past Reports Were Junk”, posted on AmericanThinker.com.

It struck me that very few people even know that IPCC is the acronym for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Few people know that the entire global warming hoax was generated by the IPCC, let alone know what it is.

Most people associate global warming with Al Gore who has been among its most prominent advocates, warning that “the Earth has a fever” and that we were doomed if we didn’t stop generating carbon dioxide. Gore and his collaborators wanted to sell “carbon credits” in exchanges around the world and for a while he greatly enriched himself.

In Australia, the government has imposed a tax on carbon dioxide which it likely to destroy its manufacturing base along with the extraction of coal and other minerals.

Here in the U.S. the Environmental Protection Agency continues to assert that carbon dioxide must be regulated as a “pollutant” under the Clean Air Act and, if successful, will likewise destroy what is left of our manufacturing base and all other industries that generate or use energy to function.

And the man in the street remains completely clueless about the impending ruin of the nation based on the reports of the IPCC which the Inter-Academy Council (IAC), a group created by the world’s science academies to provide advice to international bodies, has long since concluded were utterly false and baseless.

On June 27, the IPCC issued a statement saying it had completed the process of implementation of the recommendations that an August 2010 IAC analysis had made after examining who was contributing to their reports, who was reviewing their content (the same people!), and the astonishing, utterly false, claim of “a consensus” that global warming was happening.

As Bast points out, “It means that all of the ‘endorsements’ of the climate consensus made by the world’s national academies of science—which invariably refer to the reports of the IPCC as their scientific basis—were based on false or unreliable data and therefore should be disregarded or revised.”

“It means that the EPA’s ‘endangerment finding’—with its claim that carbon dioxide is a pollutant and threat to human health—was wrong and should be overturned.”

It is a terrible thing to live in a nation governed by falsehoods, spending the public wealth on useless technologies, living under the tyranny of government departments and agencies pursuing those lies for their own agendas and political masters.

Unless the harm perpetrated in the name of global warming is reversed, we shall all remain the victims of the United Nations IPCC, the EPA, and all other entities seeking to control every aspect of our lives.

The poles are not melting, the glaciers are growing, the oceans rise mere millimeters over centuries, and right now planet Earth is cooling.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Saving Billions with Fly Ash

What is fly ash, you may ask? Have you ever heard of the Roman Pantheon?  It stands today because it was built with volcanic ash (a.k.a. fly ash). Similarly, bridges built with fly ash can be designed to last for a century and highways for 80 years. Fly ash can double the lifespan of a construction or infrastructure project; significantly lower maintenance costs; allow more roads, bridges and buildings to be built on fewer dollars; and ultimately create more jobs.

Why is fly ash important to both Florida and the United States?

According to Mike Murtha, President of the Florida Concrete and Products Association, “Currently, the federal transportation committee is considering an amendment allowing fly ash to continue to be used. This amendment is critical for Florida. Without this amendment, the fly ash industry will be heavily over-regulated by the federal government. If the industry is washed out it would cost 30,000 Floridians their jobs.”

The federal transportation bill is set to be decided on by the end of June, so this is a hot topic for the building industry. From a study done by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), recycled fly ash is used in 95% of Florida’s concrete products that build transportation infrastructure projects all across the state. The use of recycled fly ash concrete has saved the state more than a $180 million over the span of five years as it makes structures stronger and longer lasting, as well as decreases the need to mine virgin resources from the ground.

Where does fly ash come from?

Fly ash is one of the residues generated in combustion, and comprises the fine particles that rise with the flue gases. In an industrial context, fly ash usually refers to ash produced during combustion of coal. Fly ash is generally captured by electrostatic precipitators or other particle filtration equipment before the flue gases reach the chimneys of coal-fired power plants, and together with bottom ash removed from the bottom of the furnace is in this case jointly known as coal ash.

Coal has become a target for environmentalists, President Obama, and former Florida Governor Charlie Crist. Coal-fired plants in Florida and across America are not being built, closing or converting to natural gas plants. As this occurs, fly ash is becoming scarce.

According to Murtha, “Fly ash is crucial to American transportation infrastructure — in 2010 alone, more than 55 million tons of fly ash was recycled for construction purposes. Concrete represents 15 percent of the total cost of building and maintaining transportation infrastructure in the United States each year. More than 75 percent of that concrete — $9.9 billion worth — utilizes fly ash as a partial cement replacement blend. In some states, fly ash is used for virtually all concrete projects. Without fly ash, many of our nation’s largest transportation projects would not have been possible.”

The cost of closing coal fired plants has other implications. Fly ash is one of them.

WATCH DOG RADIO – FLORIDA: Mike Murtha, President of the Florida Concrete and Products Association, will be a guest on Watch Dog Radio – Florida on Wednesday, June 27th from 11:40 to Noon EST. You may tune in on WWPR AM 1490 or listen to the live stream over the Internet at www.DrRichShow.com.

EPA Threatens to Wreck the Nation’s Auto Fleet

One can hardly get through the week without learning of yet another absurd new program by the Environmental Protection Agency. The latest is a five percent increase in the amount of ethanol that must be added to the nation’s supply of gasoline.

In 2010, even Al Gore told a business conference in Athens that his previous support for blending ethanol with gasoline as a Senator from Tennessee was a mistake and based on a political decision concerning the support of farmers in his home state. At the time he spoke, corn ethanol subsidies to farmers represented $7.7 billion.

Ethanol was touted as yet another way to offset “greenhouse gas” emissions and prevent “global warming.” In 2010, ethanol production consumed an estimated 41 percent of the U.S. corn crop and 15 percent of the global corn crop.

The obvious result has been to drive up the cost of all food products that include corn and its derivatives. And there neither was nor is any “global warming”!

Two years later there is still no “global warming”, but the EPA has never been deterred by real science such as the fact that the Earth has been cooling since 1998. E15 is a diabolical mandate that will do widespread damage to autos using it and to the pumping and storage facilities to distribute it. And it is occurring as the market for ethanol is stalling.

It is by any definition, a criminal act by a rogue federal agency.

The Science Committee of the House of Representatives is trying to prevent the implementation of the EPA E15 mandate. This comes after more than 30 years of blending ethanol at a ten percent rate into gasoline; three decades of a blend that actually produces less mileage at the same time the production of ethanol generates the same level of carbon in the atmosphere as burning gasoline without ethanol.

The E115 mandate should trouble anyone with an automobile, motorcycle, outdoor or any equipment that runs on gasoline. Last summer, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WIS) sent the EPA administrator, Lisa Jackson, letters from car companies expressing their opposition.

“Ford does not support the introduction of E15 into the marketplace for the legacy fleet…Fuel not approved in the owner’s manual is considered misfueling and any damage resulting from misfueling is not covered by the warranty.” Both Chrysler and Honda sent comparable letters with the latter noting “There appears to be the potential for engine failure.”

E15 will be restricted to autos of the vehicle model year 2001 and later. The Obama administration set a goal “to help fueling station owners install 10,000 blender pumps over the next five years”, but the real question is why would any government even consider doing something that represents millions in damage to automobiles using it?

Additionally, why should Congress continue to provide ethanol subsidies to its producers when the evidence of the passed thirty years use has not only demonstrated that it reduces the mileage that pure gasoline would provide and, more importantly, serves no purpose whatever regarding the non-existent “global warming” that is the sole justification for the blend?

The answer is that the EPA does not care that as many as five million cars in the current fleet could suffer damage and total engine failure which is not covered by their warranties.

The EPA is the Obama administration’s tip of the sword in its war on the use of all fossil fuels for any reason. It has nothing to do with science. It portends to wreak further havoc on drivers and the economy.

What is desperately needed is the complete reform of the EPA before it further threatens the safely, health, and lives of Americans.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

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