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Carbon Dioxide is the ‘Elixir of Life’

Kevin Mooney in his column “Group Defends Carbon Dioxide as ‘Elixir of Life’ in Climate Change Debate” reports:

Forget everything government officials, many media outlets, and “activist scientists” have warned about the damaging effects of carbon dioxide, because in reality there’s no cause for alarm, a group called the CO2 Coalition urges.

Scientists, engineers, and policy analysts who are part of the nonprofit organization turned out in force Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, outside Washington.

“Atmospheric CO2 is not a pollutant, it is in fact the very elixir of life,” Craig Idso, a science adviser to the CO2 Coalition, said during a panel discussion at CPAC exploring the benefits attached to higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The CO2 Coalition, founded in 2015, describes its mission as “educating thought leaders, policymakers, and the public about the important contribution made by carbon dioxide to our lives and the economy.”

[ … ]

“Adding CO2 to the atmosphere enhances plant water use efficiency,” he said.

Increased levels of carbon dioxide could boost plant growth and make plants more resistant to droughts, he said. This could lead to increased food production, which in turn could offset projected food shortages.

Greenpeace co-founder Dr. Patrick Moore testified before the U.S. Senate Environment & Public Works Committee on February 25, 2014. During his statement for the record Dr. Moore said:

‘There is no scientific proof that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are the dominant cause of the minor warming of the Earth’s atmosphere over the past 100 years.

‘Today, we live in an unusually cold period in the history of life on earth and there is no reason to believe that a warmer climate would be anything but beneficial for humans and the majority of other species…It is “extremely likely” that a warmer temperature than today’s would be far better than a cooler one.’

Earth’s Geologic History Fails CO2 Fears: ‘The fact that we had both higher temperatures and an ice age at a time when CO2 emissions were 10 times higher than they are today fundamentally contradicts the certainty that human-caused CO2 emissions are the main cause of global warming…When modern life evolved over 500 million years ago, CO2 was more than 10 times higher than today, yet life flourished at this time. Then an Ice Age occurred 450 million years ago when CO2 was 10 times higher than today.’

Greenpeace co-founder Dr. Patrick Moore also stated that oil is the ‘most important source of energy to support our civilization.’ Dr. Moore said, “If it is the aim of ‘environmentalists’ to stop fossil fuel production and use, end fracking, end coal mining, end use of oil, then they are promoting a policy that would have disastrous consequences for human civilization & the environment. If we stopped using fossil fuel today, or by 2020 as Gore proposes, at least half the human population would perish & there wouldn’t be a tree left on planet within a year, as people struggled to find enough energy to stay alive…”

The New American (TNA) interviewed Princeton University Professor William Happer on the notion that CO2 is a pollutant and is the cause of climate change, formally known as global warming. TNA reports:

Physics Professor William Happer discredits the negative effects of CO2 on the planet and whether or not climate change is man-made. He also goes into detail of why the United Nation’s models are incorrect despite their overwhelming confidence that significant warming is taking place due to human activity.

John Casey, author and former NASA rocket scientist, has taught me three facts about the climate:

  1. The climate changes.
  2. The changes are cyclical.
  3. There is nothing mankind can do to change these natural cycles.

As John notes the only thing that mankind can do is prepare for these changes using good science and the best climate prediction tools to warn us of the coming changes.

End of story. Let the real science begin!

RELATED VIDEO: Tucker Carlson versus Bill Nye (Feb. 27, 2017).

Media falsely spins Trump’s NYT climate comments

The media spin on President Elect Donald J. Trump’s sit down with the New York Times on November 22, can only be described as dishonest. Trump appears to soften stance on climate change & Donald Trump backflips on climate change  & Trump on climate change in major U-turn

The ‘fake news’ that Trump had somehow moderated or changed his “global warming” views was not supported by the full transcript of the meeting.

Heartland Institute President Joe Bast had this to say about the full transcript of Trump’s meeting: “This is reassuring. The Left wants to drive wedges between Trump and his base by spinning anything he says as “retreating from campaign promises.” But expressing nuance and avoiding confrontation with determined foes who buy ink by the barrel is not retreating.” The Heartland Institute released their skeptical 2015 climate report featuring 4,000 peer-reviewed articles debunking the UN IPCC claims.

Trump’s climate science view that there is “some connectivity” between humans and climate is squarely a skeptical climate view. Trump explained, “There is some, something. It depends on how much.”

Trump’s views are shared by prominent skeptical scientists. University of London professor emeritus Philip Stott has said: “The fundamental point has always been this. Climate change is governed by hundreds of factors, or variables, and the very idea that we can manage climate change predictably by understanding and manipulating at the margins one politically selected factor (CO2) is as misguided as it gets.” “It’s scientific nonsense,” Stott added. Stott is featured in new skeptical climate change documentary Climate Hustle.

Scientists at the UN climate summit in Marrakech commended Trump’s climate views. See: Skeptical scientists crash UN climate summit, praise Trump for ‘bringing science back again’

Trump also told resident NYT warmist Tom Friedman: ‘A lot of smart people disagree with you’ on climate change. (Note: Friedman has some wacky views: Flashback 2009: NYT’s Tom Friedman lauds China’s eco-policies: ‘One party can just impose politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward’)

Once again, Trump was 100% accurate as very prominent scientists are bailing out of the so-called climate “consensus.”

Renowned Princeton Physicist Freeman Dyson: ‘I’m 100% Democrat and I like Obama. But he took the wrong side on climate issue, and the Republicans took the right side’

Nobel Prize-Winning Scientist Dr. Ivar Giaever, Who Endorsed Obama Now Says Prez. is ‘Ridiculous’ & ‘Dead Wrong’ on ‘Global Warming’

Green Guru James Lovelock reverses belief in ‘global warming’: Now says ‘I’m not sure the whole thing isn’t crazy’ – Condemns green movement: ‘It’s a religion really, It’s totally unscientific’

Politically Left Scientist Dissents – Calls President Obama ‘delusional’ on global warming

Trump correctly cited the  Climategate scandal: “They say they have science on one side but then they also have those horrible emails that were sent between scientists…Terrible. Where they got caught, you know, so you see that and you say, what’s this all about.” See: Watch & Read: 7th anniversary of Climategate – The UN Top Scientists Exposed

Trump cited his uncle, a skeptical MIT scientist: “My uncle was for 35 years a professor at M.I.T. He was a great engineer, scientist. He was a great guy. And he was … a long time ago, he had feelings — this was a long time ago — he had feelings on this subject.” (Yes, other MIT scientists are very skeptical as well. See: MIT Climate Scientist Dr. Richard Lindzen Mocks 97% Consensus: ‘It is propaganda’

It is also worth noting that Trump’s often cited 2012 tweet about climate change stating “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive,” was clearly a joke and he has said it was a joke. It is further worth noting that climate skeptics do not believe the conecpt of “climate change” was “created” by China.

The media have created a cartoon-version view of Trump’s climate views.  If he says anything short of global warming is a hoax created by the Chinese, then the media claims Trump flip-flopped.

Trump countered: ‘We’ve had storms always, Arthur.’

Trump is accurately citing the latest climate science by noting that extreme weather is not getting worse. See: 2016 ‘State of the Climate Report’

  • The U.S. has had no Category 3 or larger hurricane make landfall since 2005 – the longest spell since the Civil War.
  • Strong F3 or larger tornadoes have been in decline since the 1970s.
  • Sea level rise rates have been steady for over a century, with recent deceleration.
  • Droughts and floods are neither historically unusual nor caused by mankind, and there is no evidence we are currently having any unusual weather.

Trump’s claim to have an “open mind” on U.S. climate policy and his comment that “I’m going to take a look at” withdrawing from the UN Paris agreement are more nuanced than his previous blunt statements that the U.S. will cancel the UN agreement. But those comments in the context of the interview are hardly a flip-flop or major signal of changing views on the issue.

(Climate Depot Note: UN Paris climate deal ‘is likely to be history’s most expensive treaty’ – ‘Cost of between $1 trillion and $2 trillion annually’

http://www.thegwpf.com/donald-trump-on-climategate-the-paris-agrement/

Donald Trump’s New York Times Interview

President-elect Donald J. Trump during a meeting at The New York Times’s offices in Manhattan on Tuesday.

[….] THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN, opinion columnist: Mr. President-elect, can I ask a question? One of the issues that you actually were very careful not to speak about during the campaign, and haven’t spoken about yet, is one very near and dear to my heart, the whole issue of climate change, the Paris agreement, how you’ll approach it. You own some of the most beautiful links golf courses in the world …

[laughter, cross talk]

TRUMP: [laughing] I read your article. Some will be even better because actually like Doral is a little bit off … so it’ll be perfect. [inaudible] He doesn’t say that. He just says that the ones that are near the water will be gone, but Doral will be in great shape. (Note: Trump’s Seawall Is About His Business, Not Global Warming – ‘Only shows Trump uses climate alarmism to benefit his business’)

[laughter]

FRIEDMAN: But it’s really important to me, and I think to a lot of our readers, to know where you’re going to go with this. I don’t think anyone objects to, you know, doing all forms of energy. But are you going to take America out of the world’s lead of confronting climate change?

TRUMP: I’m looking at it very closely, Tom. I’ll tell you what. I have an open mind to it. We’re going to look very carefully. It’s one issue that’s interesting because there are few things where there’s more division than climate change. You don’t tend to hear this, but there are people on the other side of that issue who are, think, don’t even …

SULZBERGER: We do hear it.

FRIEDMAN: I was on ‘Squawk Box’ with Joe Kernen this morning, so I got an earful of it.

[laughter]

TRUMP: Joe is one of them. But a lot of smart people disagree with you. I have a very open mind. And I’m going to study a lot of the things that happened on it and we’re going to look at it very carefully. But I have an open mind.

SULZBERGER: Well, since we’re living on an island, sir, I want to thank you for having an open mind. We saw what these storms are now doing, right? We’ve seen it personally. Straight up.

FRIEDMAN: But you have an open mind on this?

TRUMP: I do have an open mind. And we’ve had storms always, Arthur.

SULZBERGER: Not like this (sic!).

TRUMP: You know the hottest day ever was in 1890-something, 98. You know, you can make lots of cases for different views. I have a totally open mind. (Note: EPA Says That The Worst Heat Waves Occurred in The 1930s)

My uncle was for 35 years a professor at M.I.T. He was a great engineer, scientist. He was a great guy. And he was … a long time ago, he had feelings — this was a long time ago — he had feelings on this subject. It’s a very complex subject. I’m not sure anybody is ever going to really know. I know we have, they say they have science on one side but then they also have those horrible emails that were sent between the scientists. Where was that, in Geneva or wherever five years ago? Terrible. Where they got caught, you know, so you see that and you say, what’s this all about. I absolutely have an open mind. I will tell you this: Clean air is vitally important. Clean water, crystal clean water is vitally important. Safety is vitally important.

And you know, you mentioned a lot of the courses. I have some great, great, very successful golf courses. I’ve received so many environmental awards for the way I’ve done, you know. I’ve done a tremendous amount of work where I’ve received tremendous numbers. Sometimes I’ll say I’m actually an environmentalist and people will smile in some cases and other people that know me understand that’s true. Open mind.

JAMES BENNET, editorial page editor: When you say an open mind, you mean you’re just not sure whether human activity causes climate change? Do you think human activity is or isn’t connected?

TRUMP: I think right now … well, I think there is some connectivity. There is some, something. It depends on how much. It also depends on how much it’s going to cost our companies. You have to understand, our companies are noncompetitive right now.

They’re really largely noncompetitive. About four weeks ago, I started adding a certain little sentence into a lot of my speeches, that we’ve lost 70,000 factories since W. Bush. 70,000. When I first looked at the number, I said: ‘That must be a typo. It can’t be 70, you can’t have 70,000, you wouldn’t think you have 70,000 factories here.’ And it wasn’t a typo, it’s right. We’ve lost 70,000 factories.

We’re not a competitive nation with other nations anymore. We have to make ourselves competitive. We’re not competitive for a lot of reasons.

That’s becoming more and more of the reason. Because a lot of these countries that we do business with, they make deals with our president, or whoever, and then they don’t adhere to the deals, you know that. And it’s much less expensive for their companies to produce products. So I’m going to be studying that very hard, and I think I have a very big voice in it. And I think my voice is listened to, especially by people that don’t believe in it. And we’ll let you know.

FRIEDMAN: I’d hate to see Royal Aberdeen underwater.

TRUMP: The North Sea, that could be, that’s a good one, right?

[…]

MICHAEL D. SHEAR, White House correspondent: Mr. Trump, Mike Shear. I cover the White House, covering your administration …

TRUMP: See ya there.

[laughter]

SHEAR: Just one quick clarification on the climate change, do you intend to, as you said, pull out of the Paris Climate

TRUMP: I’m going to take a look at it.

Full interview

Related Links: 

UN Armed Security Shuts Down Skeptics After Trump Event – SHREDDED UN Climate Treaty at Summit – Full Video of UN Climate Cops Shutting Down Skeptics

Climate Report to UN: Trump right, UN wrong – Skeptics Deliver Consensus Busting ‘State of the Climate Report’ to UN Summit

Trump wins U.S. Presidency! Climate Skeptics Rejoice! Set to dismantle & Defund UN/EPA climate agenda!

Bjorn Lomborg: Trump’s climate plan might not be so bad after all – Clexit ‘will will stop the pursuit of an expensive dead end’ – ‘So Trump’s promise to dump Paris will matter very little to temperature rises, and it will stop the pursuit of an expensive dead end’

 ‘The Trump Taboo’ at UN climate summit: He is ‘omnipresent…even though nobody is saying his name’ – ‘There is a taboo word at this year’s 22nd UN climate change summit: Trump. The president-elect is omnipresent in Marrakesh. You can feel him lurking behind talks on low-carbon economies and in the cracks between climate-induced loss and damage. He’s never directly addressed, but he’s always in the room. You can tell from the anxiety in people’s voices and their disapproving headshakes, heavy with concern for what the future for action on climate change holds.’

Trump casts HUGE shadow over UN climate summit

RELATED VIDEO: Energy Summit 2016

A ‘Carbon Tax’ Is a Utopian Fix that Can’t Survive Contact with Political Reality by Diana Furchtgott-Roth

Paul Krugman, writing in the New York Times, suggests that Americans should pick a president who favors a carbon tax. But not even Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have proposed a carbon tax as part of their tax plans. All candidates have put forward detailed tax plans, and a carbon tax is not included in any of these plans.

What is a carbon tax? Why do so many academics and columnists love it? And why will Congress be unable to enact such a tax effectively?

No matter that only 16 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions are caused by America, and that by many measures global temperatures have not increased over the past decade. No matter than unless China and India reduce their carbon emissions, U.S. unilateral efforts will have no practical effect on global temperature. China has stated that it will reduce emissions in 2030, but has not made any definite commitment.

The carbon tax is a favorite of many academic economists for restructuring the tax system. Proponents include a bipartisan group of professors such as Tuft University’s Gilbert Metcalf, now Deputy Assistant Secretary for Environment and Energy at the Department of the Treasury; Harvard University’s Martin Feldstein, Edward Glaeser, and Gregory Mankiw; and Columbia University’s Joseph Stiglitz.

However, as tax practitioners know, a carbon tax is complex to set up. It requires adjustments to make sure that the tax is not unduly regressive and does not encourage consumption of imports relative to domestic production.

But, as we saw from the passage of many tax and budget bills over the years, Congress does not think deeply before it passes major tax bills.

Rather, political expediency always triumphs over academic elegance. Congress is incapable of thoughtful tax solutions, no matter how many are offered by well-intentioned professors. Despite years of notice that the Bush tax rates were due to expire, Congress passed permanent tax laws at the last moment, without reading the bill.

Many academics see a carbon tax as an alternative to an individual income tax, a corporate income tax, or a European-style cap-and-trade system. But a quickly-passed carbon tax in the hands of Congress would be just another add-on levy, with exemptions for friends and punishments for enemies.

A carbon tax raises the price of energy and so discourages consumption without regulation. Carbon tax rates could be calibrated to be revenue neutral or to yield a net rise in federal tax receipts, with the increment possibly dedicated to reducing deficits.

What are the problems with a carbon tax?

Everyone would want to spend the revenue. Some people would want to use it to reduce the deficit. Others would want to use carbon tax revenues to lower other taxes, such as income taxes. And since high income tax rates reduce incentives to work, this could conceivably add to economic efficiency.

Carbon taxes are regressive. Since low-income people use more energy as a percent of their income than high-income people, a switch to a carbon tax would have to be accompanied by transfers to low-income groups.

Some academics suggest that offsets be returned to taxpayers through lower income taxes, perhaps with the proceeds going chiefly to low-income households (individuals and families), which are disproportionately hurt by what is in essence an energy consumption tax.

This could theoretically be done by adjustments to the income tax. However, low-income earners are not required to file returns, and they would have to do so in order to be identified and compensated. That means extra work for them, and for the Internal Revenue Service — which will already be overworked calculating and collecting penalties from Obamacare violators.

Energy-intensive sectors lose under a carbon tax. The prices of energy-intensive goods in America would increase relative to imports from countries without carbon taxes. So Americans will prefer to buy imports, and American firms will lose business. Proponents of the tax suggest putting tariffs on imports in proportion to their carbon content so that American companies will not be at a disadvantage. But the precise quantities are complex to calculate, and tariffs might be illegal under World Trade Organization regulations.

The shale oil and gas that are attracting energy-intensive manufacturing back to America would be taxed, to the detriment of these new industries — and their employees. Some industries, such as coal, would be big losers. Politicians from coal-producing regions are influential in Congress, and they would demand a share of revenues.

So for a carbon tax to make our tax system more efficient, its revenues would have to be used to offset other taxes in the economy. Its negative effects on low-income Americans and on energy-intensive regions would have to be ameliorated. Some border adjustments would have to be made so that domestic goods were not disfavored.

But our disfunctional Congress is incapable of crafting a carbon tax with these attributes. Any tax on carbon would be an additional tax, without the offsets that make it so attractive to university professors. It would hurt the poor and raise domestic prices relative to prices of imports.

None of the front-running presidential candidates have proposed a carbon tax as part of their tax plans, because they know it is unpopular and will not pass Congress. To lower global emissions, the large emitters of carbon such as China and India need to move to nuclear power or natural gas. That would indeed make a difference.

This post first appeared at Economics21.org.

Diana Furchtgott-RothDiana Furchtgott-Roth

Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist of the U.S. Department of Labor, is director of Economics 21 and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

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President Obama Wants You to Pay More for Oil

Apparently oil prices are too low, so President Barack Obama thinks it’s a good idea to slap on a $10 per barrel oil tax. Politico reports:

Obama aides told POLITICO that when he releases his final budget request next week, the president will propose more than $300 billion worth of investments over the next decade in mass transit, high-speed rail, self-driving cars, and other transportation approaches designed to reduce carbon emissions and congestion. To pay for it all, Obama will call for a $10 “fee” on every barrel of oil, a surcharge that would be paid by oil companies but would presumably be passed along to consumers.

Based on current prices, this would be a roughly 30% tax on a barrel of oil.

It’s disturbing that the president’s reaction to an industry slashing jobs and cutting investments in a tough business environment is to place a massive tax on the product they produce.

It’s also troubling to see that President Obama thinks of the tax as a quid pro quo for ending the oil export ban. (Something he opposed.)

“You’re allowed to export, but we’re also saying is that we’re going to impose a tax on a barrel of oil,”President Obama said at a press conference.

Thankfully this tax is already “dead on arrival” in Congress, said House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

President Obama knows this, but doesn’t care. As Politico notes, “It’s mostly an effort to jump-start a conversation.” And it falls squarely with his mission to end fossil fuel use in the United States.

“It’s really about taxing the energy they don’t like to make President Obama’s favored energy sources,” said Institute for Energy Research President Thomas Pyle.

The president acknowledged this. When questioned by reporters, President Obama said if imposed, the tax “will have further weaned our economy off dirty fuels.”

But his sweeping plan runs straight up against reality. Americans will be using oil and other fossil fuels for decades to come. Until economically viable alternatives are developed that offer the same benefits (convenience, reliability, energy density), fossil fuels will be needed to keep America’s economy moving.

There’s no question we need more revenue to fix America’s broken roads and bridges, but the oil tax covers over the real intention behind the proposal: The radical transformation of America’s energy economy.

MORE ARTICLES ON: ENERGY

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image of President Obama is by photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg.

Bloomberg for President?

Amid reports that the FBI is close to recommending that the Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecute Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified materials, and that FBI Director James Comey and other agency personnel investigating Clinton may resign if the DOJ refuses to do so, sources close to Michael Bloomberg say the billionaire former mayor of New York City may run for president if Clinton appears unable to win the Democratic Party’s nomination.

CBS New York reports, “[t]hey say Bloomberg would strongly consider running if the general election looked like it would be a contest between Democrat Bernie Sanders and Republicans Donald Trump or Ted Cruz.” Bloomberg, who has let on that he would be willing to spend 1 billion dollars on a campaign, is expected to make his decision by March. Four states are holding their presidential primaries and caucuses in February, and another 14 will do so on Super Tuesday, March 1st.

Appearing unfazed by her troubles, Clinton insists “nothing that I did was wrong” and said of the Bloomberg news, “the way I read what he said was if I didn’t get the nomination, he might consider it. Well, I’m going to relieve him of that and get the nomination, so he doesn’t have to.”

Unfortunately, from Clinton’s perspective, that may be a fairly big “if.” Polls show her being trounced by Sen. Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire and also losing Iowa, where the country’s first presidential primaries and caucuses will be held, and that her national figures are dropping. Other polls show that more Americans view her unfavorably than favorably.

Fox News reports, “[t]he FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of private email as secretary of state has expanded to look at whether the possible ‘intersection’ of Clinton Foundation work and State Department business may have violated public corruption laws.” Fox followed up on the story on Tuesday, saying, “The security investigation is now part and parcel with the criminal [public corruption] investigation.”

Bloomberg must theorize that he could appeal to voters on the basis of his success as a businessman and his time as the mayor of the nation’s most populous city. But he faces a difficult “if” of his own. Clinton been casting herself as the most anti-gun presidential candidate in American history, a distinction Bloomberg would certainly want to challenge if he threw his hat into the ring. Also, and perhaps for the same reason, a Morning Consult poll released this week found Bloomberg at 13% in a hypothetical three-way race against Donald Trump and Clinton, 11% when the Republican candidate is Sen. Ted Cruz, and down to 10% when the Republican is Sen. Marco Rubio.

Bloomberg might be able to bump those numbers up among Democrats a bit, if he promised to pardon Clinton on the first day of his presidency. That would not only endear him to Clinton’s most fanatical supporters, it would wipe the slate clean, at least legally-speaking, for someone who shares his deep antipathy for guns. With public opinion trending steadily against gun control, a President Bloomberg couldn’t afford to have one of his strongest anti-gun allies in court or in prison.

How We Can Get the Candidates Talking About America’s Energy Opportunity

America has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to combine American innovation, American resources, and American freedom to create American energy abundance and become the world’s energy superpower, overtaking Russia and the Middle East.

In 20 seconds, you can tell our politicians, including the candidates that are completely ignoring this issue in the debates–this time to discuss Trump’s feud with Megyn Kelly–that you will only vote for candidates who will seize America’s Energy Opportunity.

Please do so at AmericasEnergyOpportunity.com.

For Energy Industry Employees

America’s Energy Opportunity affects all of us, but you most directly, along with the millions of people who work directly and indirectly with your industry.

Therefore, please tell your colleagues about this campaign. Here is a letter you can send.

Dear ______,

I would like to ask you to take three minutes to stand up for this industry in the upcoming elections.

As you know, last year was a difficult year for our industry, with many bankruptcies and massive job losses.

Unfortunately, Washington is considering many proposals to make it even harder for our industry to produce, move, and sell our product–proposals to tax hydrocarbons, stop hydraulic fracturing projects, and limit exports to our customers. That will mean more job losses, bankruptcies, and damage to our economy. And so far our industry has had no voice in the 2016 debates.

But a movement called America’s Energy Opportunity is fighting back.

At AmericasEnergyOpportunity.com there is a petition to our politicians to leave our industry free to create amazing prosperity for this country. If millions of people sign this petition we will prove to the candidates that we cannot be ignored this election.

Please take 3 minutes to read the petition and sign it–for the sake of your jobs, your families, and this country’s future.

Sincerely,

________

8 Speeches in 2 Days

Last week, I gave 10 speeches–including 8 speeches in 2 days. The 8 were all at one company. Those of you who signed up for this list, welcome.

Lately in my speeches I have been emphasizing, even more than I used to, that clear thinking and communication about energy issues requires the right starting framework. If in our thinking and communication we start with a framework based on human well-being and big-picture thinking, we come to the right conclusions and can explain them convincingly. If we don’t, our thinking is a mess and/or our communication is a mess.

For more on framing conversations the right way, see How to Talk to Anyone About Energy.

Thanks to everyone who came to my presentations last week, and the organizations in Mississippi who sponsored them. I met a lot of bright, motivated people whom I expect to become great energy champions.

New Blog Post by David Biederman: Fossil Fuels Make the Planet More Productive

From the latest blog entry:

“The fact is that when it comes to satisfying humanity’s basic needs, almost nothing is given, as almost everything must be created and produced. The arrangements of elements that make up the planet are not organized by natural processes to optimally support human life. Instead, work is required to transform the planet from an environment of scarcity to one rich with food, clothing, and shelter. The ability to do this work is made possible primarily by the fossil fuel industries?coal, oil and natural gas.”

Keep reading.

This Week’s Power Hour: Amanda Maxham on the Virtues of GMOs

On this week’s episode of Power Hour I talk with Dr. Amanda Maxham, Research Associate at the Ayn Rand Institute, about the incredible advances in genetic modification–and why our society is responding to them with fear and coercion rather than enthusiasm and freedom.

Listen to this episode.

Power Hour: Michael Lynch on Recent Oil Prices

On this episode of Power Hour, I talk to Mike Lynch, President of Strategic Energy & Economic Research, about the recent decline in oil prices.

Tune in.

As always, if you’d like to suggest a new guest for Power Hour, or have me appear on your show, you can send me an email at support@industrialprogress.net, or just reply to this one.

What Trump and Sanders Said about Oil Prices 4 Years Ago by Daniel Bier

Remember when complaining about the price of gas was all the rage? The public discourse was awash in pseudo-psychology, hand-wringing about “peak oil,” and an array of conspiracy theories to explain why oil cost so much.

There was much ado about corporate “greed” (the cause of all life’s problems), hissing about “speculators,” nationalist chest-thumping about OPEC, self-proclaimed experts warning that Earth was out of oil, and many inarticulate suspicions about George Bush and Barack Obama.

Economists were pretty sure that the price of oil was related to supply and demand, but what did they know? One cantankerous socialist knew the truth:

Pump prices spiked 5% in the past month… Crude oil prices stood at $108 on Friday, up from only double digits at the beginning of the month. …

What’s the cause? Forget what you may have read about the laws of supply and demand. Oil and gas prices have almost nothing to do with economic fundamentals.

Fortunately, when he wrote that in 2012, Sen. Bernie Sanders was ahead of the game, having never read anything about supply and demand at all. Unencumbered by basic economics, he was able to see that Big Oil “gouging” and Wall Street “speculators” were to blame.

Remarkably, right around the time of the fracking revolution, the price of oil and gas started tumbling. I guess Wall Street’s heart grew three sizes that day.

But Sanders didn’t have the only theory. One super smart billionaire figured out that Saudi Arabia was the real problem:

Look at what’s going on with your gasoline prices. They’re going to go to $5, $6, $7 and we don’t have anybody in Washington that calls OPEC and says, “Fellas, it’s time. It’s over. You’re not going to do it anymore.”

When Donald Trump diagnosed this problem in 2011, his solution wasn’t just to “call Saudi Arabia” and tell them “you’re not going to raise that f***ing price!” No, he had a practical measure: seize Iraq’s oil fields. “To the victor belong the spoils. You go in. You win the war and you take it.”

It’s worth remembering this mass hysteria, although the situation today is somewhat different. The price of oil is below $30 a barrel. The International Energy Agency has warned that the world is now “drowning” in oil.

This week, the price for a particularly low-quality type of oil briefly dipped to negative fifty cents a barrel. That is, producers actually had to pay the refinery to take their oil. Has greed been abolished from the land? Maybe. But there’s also a sensible explanation: the high-sulfur oil is expensive to transport and refine, but the producers still had to get rid of it somehow.

But just a few years ago, it would have been almost unthinkable for refineries to actively discourage oil production. At $140 a barrel, almost any kind of oil is worth refining. And here’s the upshot: it was precisely those high prices that prompted the massive investment in production, exploration, and innovation that led to fracking, the shale revolution, and today’s tumbling prices. It was greedy, profit-seeking oil companies who drove the price of oil down over 80% from its peak in 2008.

It’s important to grasp these lessons now, because at some point, the price of oil — or some other commodity — will rise again, and we will be greeted by the same parade of doomsayers, conspiracy theorists, and would-be regulators that we endured for the last decade.

They’re not gone, they’re not even hiding — they’re leading the race for president.

Bonus economics of gas story: On Monday, local news in Michigan reported that a bidding war between a couple of gas stations briefly resulted in prices below 50 cents a gallon. To understand just how weird this is, the wholesale price of gasoline is about $1.

Is this another sign of irrational generosity sweeping the petroleum industry? No. Gasoline is retailed at razor thin margins; gas is typically about 70% of a station’s revenue, but only 30% of its profit. Gas stations actually make most of their money selling food, cigarettes, and bottled water inside.

Occasionally, gasoline is used as a loss leader: stations will sell gas for cheap (even at a loss) to bring people to the pump, where they can then make more money selling high-margin items like bottled drinks and tobacco.

Daniel BierDaniel Bier

Daniel Bier is the editor of Anything Peaceful. He writes on issues relating to science, civil liberties, and economic freedom.

Marco Rubio’s Recent Climate Change of Heart ‘Disingenuous’

ken fieldsNEW YORK, NY /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — In response to Marco Rubio’s recent campaign event in New Hampshire where the candidate appears to have made a climate change of heart and has called for America to be “number one in wind, and number one in solar, and number one in biofuels, and number one in renewables, number one in energy efficiency. Let’s lead in all of these things,” independent presidential candidate Ken Fields (pictured right) responded by saying:

“For someone who has so vehemently opposed any acknowledgement of the scientific consensus backing the evidence of human-caused climate change due to our planet’s reliance on fossil fuels, Rubio’s change of heart seems disingenuous at best. He has voted against energy efficiency and clean energy tax incentives. It’s hard to believe him.”

When pressed for further comment, Fields stated, “The recent and continued volatility in global oil markets should be evidence enough that energy security is not simply a matter of having and exploiting our own fossil fuel resources, but rather being completely independent of fossil fuels altogether.”

Fields officially launched his campaign last week on January 8th, 2016. His platform revolves around his slogan, “Greatness Must Be Earned” and to do great things, he has advocated the transition to 100% renewable energy for the country over the next 20 years. His policy plan includes, but is not limited to, creating the public and private mechanisms to encourage and nurture the financial markets to participate, a tax holiday for repatriated corporate capital that is invested in renewables and a carbon tax and dividend plan.

For further information on his policies and positions feel free to visit www.kenfields.net.

How to Win Hearts and Minds: From Energy Supporter to Energy Advocate

In the 2016 election I want to make energy abundance a winning issue—which means that more candidates run on and win on a platform of energy abundance, in contrast to the energy poverty policies many of today’s candidates advocate.

Chances are that if you are on this list, you do, too. But what can you do?

In the next several months out I’ll be rolling out a national energy campaign to impact the 2016 election. But in the meantime, and to prepare for that, there’s a lot you can do to make yourself, your loved ones, or your company incredibly effective at winning hearts and minds on energy.

To understand how, it’s important to understand the 3 key transformations that energy influencers can go through:

  1. From supporter to advocate
  2. From advocate to champion
  3. From champion to thought-leader

Today I’ll discuss the transformation from supporter to advocate.

From Supporter to Advocate

Energy Supporter: An individual who is generally in favor of the most important sources of energy abundance, including fossil fuels, but lacks the motivation and/or capability to persuade others in favor of energy abundance.

Energy Advocate: An individual with the clarity, confidence, and motivation to persuade others in favor of energy abundance.

To become an advocate, an energy supporter requires a) dramatically increased clarity and b) effective tactics to communicate with different audiences.

Clarity is the most important. If you are clear enough about a moral issue you will inevitably become an advocate if not a champion.

Thus, our number one recommendation is to read and/or assign The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, which clearly and systematically lays out the moral case for energy abundance in general and fossil fuel energy in particular. In addition, we produce a large amount of online content delivered via social media, email, and websites to enhance clarity on the most current controversies. (See our Facebook, Twitter, and website.)

As a supporter pursues dramatically enhanced clarity, it is important that they simultaneously learn the art of communication—particularly one-on-one communication.

For various reasons there are very, very few individuals who are effective at changing people’s minds on energy one-on-one, so I am currently developing a course called “How to talk to anyone about energy,” available in the next month. If that interests you, let me know, and I’ll prioritize it even more.

In the meantime, we have several online lectures and papers about how to reframe the debate, including “The Key to Winning Hearts and Minds” and “Arguing to 0 vs. Arguing to 100.”

For examples of what’s possible, see the Hearts and Minds section of this newsletter.

If you are a company trying to turn supporters into advocates, and I believe every company should, it is important to motivate employees to learn about the case for their industry—and how to make it. One way to do this is to hold a speech in front of a large group of employees, ideally broadcast to the entire company. Depending on what makes sense for a company, we offer several free video speeches to show, remote speeches and Q&A, or in-person speeches. This gets everyone motivated and gives a common frame of reference. Combined with employee copies of The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels which, in bulk, can include a custom page with a message from your company, you are certain to empower a large percentage of your employees to go from supporters to advocates. If you haven’t read it, make sure to check out the story of how Pioneer Resources did just this.

In our next newsletter, I’ll discuss the transformation from energy advocate to energy champion—an individual with a high level of clarity, confidence, and motivation who reaches dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of others.

Power Hour: Steve Hayward on All Things Energy

On the latest episode of Power Hour, “polymath” Steve Hayward and I have a free-flowing discussing of the global energy landscape, from Russian gas to US solar.

Download Episode 118 with Steven Hayward

Subscribe to Power Hour on iTunes

As always, if you’d like to suggest a new guest for Power Hour, or have me appear on your show, you can send me an email at support@industrialprogress.net, or just reply to this one.

Asia Will Build 500 Coal-Fired Power Plants This Year No Matter What the U.S. Does

Two stories about coal use in Asia highlight the futility of EPA’s efforts to reduce global carbon emissions by straightjacketing the U.S. economy with draconian carbon regulations.

First, there’s The New York Times story that China has been using more coal than anyone thought:

China, the world’s leading emitter of greenhouse gases from coal, has been burning up to 17 percent more coal a year than the government previously disclosed, according to newly released data. The finding could complicate the already difficult efforts to limit global warming.

Even for a country of China’s size, the scale of the correction is immense. The sharp upward revision in official figures means that China has released much more carbon dioxide — almost a billion more tons a year according to initial calculations — than previously estimated.

The increase alone is greater than the whole German economy emits annually from fossil fuels.

The new data, which appeared recently in an energy statistics yearbook published without fanfare by China’s statistical agency, show that coal consumption has been underestimated since 2000, and particularly in recent years. The revisions were based on a census of the economy in 2013 that exposed gaps in data collection, especially from small companies and factories.

Illustrating the scale of the revision, the new figures add about 600 million tons to China’s coal consumption in 2012 — an amount equivalent to more than 70 percent of the total coal used annually by the United States.

To borrow from the management mantra, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.”

China has pledged to reduce its carbon emissions from a peak level “around” 2030–assuming anyone knows how much is being produced by then.  However, this pledge isn’t anything exceptional. It’s “little more than business as usual,” writes the Institute for 21st Century Energy’s Stephen Eule. “In other words, the Chinese have committed to doing what they are doing already.”

The second story is that Asia’s appetite coal for it isn’t letting up [h/t GWPF]:

While much attention has been given to a potential peak in China’s coal demand and worries about emissions, in Asia alone this year power companies are building more than 500 coal-fired plants, with at least a thousand more on planning boards. Coal is not only cheaper than natural gas, it is often available locally and has no heavy import costs.

“Electricity is increasing its share in total energy consumption and coal is increasing its share in power generation,” said Laszlo Varro, head of the gas, coal and power markets division for the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Some of the biggest growth in coal use is in India, where it meets 45 percent of total energy demand, compared with just over 20 percent each for petroleum products and biomass/waste.

“We’re absolutely sure India’s coal demand will continue to grow,” Varro said.

Coal will continue to be used in developing countries because it’s a cheap source of electricity. To think U.S. negotiators at upcoming climate talks in Paris will be able to convince China and India to abstain from using cheap energy to better the lives of their citizens is living in a fantasy world.

These facts won’t stop the Obama administration from touting EPA’s Clean Power Plan as the United States’ key contribution to the Paris talks. For them it’s full speed ahead to push aside cheap and abundant coal as a source of electricity no matter the costs to our economy.

As Eule writes:

What’s more of a mystery is why the administration is content to throw away the United States’ energy edge in favor of an agreement that will put us at a competitive disadvantage for no discernible environmental impact. In fact, when other nations choose not to impose carbon restrictions as stringent as those in the U.S., we will be likely to see “carbon leakage,” where emissions are not reduced at all, and instead simply moved (along with the jobs that come with them) to our global competitors.

RELATED ARTICLES:

New York Attorney General Tries to Criminalize Scientific Dissent on Climate Change

Spooking Small Businesses: Scary Regulations Lurking in Washington by J.D. HARRISON

The Wide Canyon Between Carbon Regulations and the Real World by  SEAN HACKBARTH

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of a coal-fired electric power plan in Datong, China. Photo credit: Stefen Chow/Bloomberg,

Poll: 78% of Colorado voters favor increased U.S. oil and natural gas development

DENVER, Colorado /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — For the 2016 election, 68 percent of registered Colorado voters say they are more likely to support a candidate who supports producing more oil and natural gas, according to a new telephone poll conducted for the Colorado Petroleum Council (CPC) by Harris Poll among 604 registered Colorado voters.

“This poll shows that energy is a top issue for voters next year because it plays a key role in job creation and economic growth,” said Tracee Bentley, executive director of the CPC. “Colorado voters understand the opportunities that pro-development policies create and the need for an all-of-the-above energy policy that helps produce more domestic energy and lower energy costs for American consumers.”

Seventy-eight percent of registered Colorado voters support increased production of oil and natural gas resources located here in the U.S., and the poll also found that:

  • Majorities of Republicans (95 percent), Independents (84 percent) and Democrats (69 percent) say that producing more oil and natural gas here in the U.S. is important to them.
  • Majorities of registered voters believe increased access could help:
    • create jobs (85 percent),
    • strengthen energy security (83 percent), and
    • lower consumer energy costs (79 percent).

“Candidates in tomorrow’s debate should take this opportunity to discuss the smart energy policies that concern Coloradans, growing our nation’s still shaky economy, creating well-paying jobs and maintaining our nation’s global energy leadership,” said Bentley. “That includes expanding access to domestic oil and natural gas resources, ending the ban on crude oil exports, repealing the RFS, approving the Keystone XL pipeline, and reining in duplicative and unnecessary regulations.”

The CPC is a division of API, which represents all segments of America’s oil and natural gas industry. Its more than 625 members produce, process, and distribute most of the nation’s energy. The industry also supports 9.8 million U.S. jobs and 8 percent of the U.S. economy.

Methodology

The study was conducted October 15-18, 2015, by telephone by Harris Poll on behalf of the American Petroleum Institute among 604 registered voters in Colorado, with a sampling error of +/- 4 percent. A full methodology is available upon request.

“What America is Thinking on Energy Issues” is a public opinion series provided by API, offering data to inform policy discussions and ensure policymakers and others know Americans’ perspectives on key energy issues.

RELATED ARTICLE: Obama’s carbon reduction plan under attack from 24 states and Republicans

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image of a Colorado oil drilling rig is via Facebook.

Four Fallacies that Fracktivists Use to Scare You

To make intelligent decisions about the future of energy, we need to think big-picture—to look carefully at the benefits and costs to human life of every course of action. Unfortunately, in today’s energy debate we are taught, with politically incorrect forms of energy such as fossil fuels, to only look at the negative picture—often highly exaggerated or taken out of context.

How do we identify and counter this cultural bias against fossil fuels? That’s the topic of my latest Forbes column:

There are at least four common fallacies used to discourage big-picture thinking and breed opposition to fossil fuels. These are things to be on the lookout for when you follow the cultural debate; they are everywhere, and all four are used to attack what might be the most important technology of our generation: shale energy aka “fracking.”

The largest fossil fuel controversy today, besides the broader climate change issue, is fracking—shorthand for hydraulic fracturing—one of several key technologies for getting oil and gas out of dense shale rock, resources that exist in enormous quantities but had previously been inaccessible at low cost.

Fracking has gotten attention, not primarily because of the productivity revolution it has created, but because of concerns about groundwater contamination. The leading source of this view is celebrity filmmaker Josh Fox’s Gasland (so-called) documentaries on HBO. Looking at how these movies have affected public opinion is an instructive exercise.

License to Kill: Wind and Solar Decimate Birds and Bats

According to a study in the Wildlife Society Bulletin, every year 573,000 birds (including 83,000 raptors) and 888,000 bats are killed by wind turbines — 30 percent higher than the federal government estimated in 2009, due mainly to increasing wind power capacity across the nation.[i] This is likely an underestimate because these estimates were based on 51,630 megawatts of installed wind capacity in the United States in 2012 and wind capacity has grown since then to 65,879 megawatts. And, at one solar power plant in California, an estimated 3,500 birds died in just the plant’s first year of operation.[ii]

Over the past five years, about 2.9 million birds were killed by wind turbines. That compares to about 800,000 birds that a Mother Jones Blog estimated to have been killed by the BP oil spill that occurred in April 2010[iii]—5 years ago–despite not all of them showing visible signs of oil.[1] Nevertheless, BP was fined $100 million for killing and harming migratory birds due to that oil spill. In comparison, the nation’s wind turbines killed more than 3 times the number of birds than did the BP oil spill over the past 5 years. And, wind turbines routinely kill federally protected birds and eagles.

Since the study estimating bird and bat deaths was completed based on 2012 wind capacity data, U.S. companies have installed more wind power due to federal and state incentives such as the Production Tax Credit that provides 2.3 cents per kilowatt hour of wind generated power over the first ten years of operation. Since 2012, the United States added over 14,000 megawatts of additional wind capacity with total wind capacity at 65,879 megawatts as of the end of 2014 — 16 times higher than wind capacity in 2001.[iv]

The Ivanpah Solar Power Plant

The Ivanpah solar power plant is a 377 megawatt solar facility located in the Mojave Desert in California and is owned by Google, BrightSource Energy, and NRG Energy. The facility has 350,000 heliostat mirrors that reflect heat toward central towers and scorch hundreds of birds in midair—turning birds into “streamers.” Ivanpah is the largest power tower project in the world and it has received a $1.6 billion loan guarantee from the Department of Energy.

The mirrors at Ivanpah span across an area four times the size of New York’s Central Park and focus sunlight onto receivers atop three 45-story power towers, boiling a liquid that turns turbines to create electricity. Fish and Wildlife Service officials warned that Ivanpah may act as a “mega-trap,” where insects attract small birds that are killed or incapacitated by the solar flux. Those birds attract larger predators thereby creating a food chain vulnerable to injury and death.[v]

The facility is estimated to have killed 83 different species of birds. The most commonly killed birds were mourning doves (14 percent of fatalities), followed by yellow-rumped warblers, tree swallows, black-throated sparrows and yellow warblers. Of the birds that died from known causes, about 47 percent died from being toasted by the heat of the solar flux. Just over half of the known deaths were attributed to collisions.

Ivanpah is testing ways to reduce bird deaths, including with software to reposition the heliostats to reduce the level of elevated flux and minimize collisions; installation of light-emitting diodes that are not attractive to insects and help reduce the prey base for birds; anti-perching devices; and the use of avian deterrents like foul smells and the sounds of predators.

Fines for Killing Birds

Besides BP being fined $100 million for killing and harming migratory birds during the 2010 Gulf oil spill, in 2009, Exxon Mobil paid $600,000 for killing 85 birds in five states and PacifiCorp, which operates coal plants, paid more than $10.5 million for electrocuting 232 eagles that landed on power lines at its substations. The first wind farms to be fined took place in November 2013 when Duke Energy paid a $1 million fine for killing 14 eagles and 149 other birds at two wind farms in Wyoming from 2009 to 2013.[vi] To date, no solar facilities have been fined. The fines are related to protections in the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. The death of an eagle or other protected bird is a violation of federal law, unless a company has a federal permit.[vii]

The Obama Administration on December 9, 2013, finalized a regulation that allows wind energy companies and others to obtain 30-year permits to kill eagles without prosecution by the federal government. The American Bird Conservancy filed suit in federal court against the Department of the Interior, charging it with multiple violations of federal law. [viii] Nonetheless, the Shiloh IV Wind Project in California, for example, received a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allowing it to kill eagles, hawks, peregrine falcons, owls and songs birds while not being subjected to the normal prohibitions afforded under the federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Treaty Act.[ix]

Other Bird and Mammal Deaths

According to a 2014 study by federal scientists in the journal The Condor: Ornithological Applications, building collisions are estimated to kill 365 million to 988 million birds annually in the United States. And, according to a 2013 report from scientists from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and FWS, stray and outdoor pet cats kill a median of 2.4 billion birds and 12.3 billion mammals, mostly native mammals like shrews, chipmunks and voles, annually. But these deaths do not excuse the wind and solar industry’s killing of birds. Unless, of course, BP and ExxonMobil should be excused as well–instead of playing hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.

Conclusion

Despite bird and bat deaths at wind and solar farms, few have been fined for violating the law while oil and electric generating companies have paid heavily for such violations. It will be interesting to see if this will change as the wind and solar industries grow.


[1] In 2011, the Fish and Wildlife Service reported only 6,147 birds killed. Seehttp://www.fws.gov/home/dhoilspill/pdfs/ConsolidatedWildlifeTable041711.pdf

[i] Daily Caller, Wind Turbines Kill More Birds Than the BP Oil Spill, April 20, 2015,http://dailycaller.com/2015/04/20/wind-turbines-kill-more-birds-than-bp-oil-spill

[ii] Greenwire, 3,500 birds died at Ivanpah ‘power towers’ in first year, April 24, 2015,http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/2015/04/24/stories/1060017406

[iii] Mother Jones, The BP Oil Spill Happened 5 Years Ago Today. We are Still Paying the Price., April 20, 2015, http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/04/five-year-anniversary-deepwater-horizon-bp-spill

[iv] American Wind Energy Association,http://www.awea.org/Resources/Content.aspx?ItemNumber=5059

[v] National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory, Avian Mortality at Solar Energy Facilities in Southern California, http://www.eenews.net/assets/2015/01/19/document_gw_03.pdf

[vi] Forbes, Republicans Develop an Interest in bird deaths, March 29, 2014, http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2014/03/29/republicans-develop-an-interest-in-bird-deaths/

[vii] The Christian Science Monitor, Eagle Deaths: Unprecedented $1 million fine for Wyoming wind farms, November 23, 2013, http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/2013/1123/Eagle-deaths-Unprecedented-1-million-fine-for-Wyoming-wind-farms

[viii] American Bird Conservancy, American Bird Conservancy Sues Feds Over 30-Year Eagle Kill Rule, http://www.abcbirds.org/newsandreports/releases/140619.html

[ix] Master Resource, Wind Power Slaughter, July 16, 2014, https://www.masterresource.org/cuisinarts-of-the-air/windpower-slaughter-shiloh-1/

Electricity from New Wind Three Times More Costly than Existing Coal

WASHINGTON – The Institute for Energy Research released a first-of-its-kind study calculating the levelized cost of electricity from existing generation sources. Our study shows that on average, electricity from new wind resources is nearly four times more expensive than from existing nuclear and nearly three times more expensive than from existing coal. These are dramatic increases in the cost of generating electricity. This means that the premature closures of existing plants will unavoidably increase electricity rates for American families.

Almost all measures of the cost of electricity only assess building new plants–until now. Using data from the Energy Information Administration and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, we offer useful comparison between existing plants and new plants.

America’s electricity generation landscape is rapidly changing. Federal and state policies threaten to shutter more than 111 GW of existing coal and nuclear generation, while large amounts of renewables, such as wind, are forced on the grid. To understand the impacts of these policies, it is critical to understand the cost difference between existing and new sources of generation.

The following chart shows the sharp contrast in the cost of electricity from existing sources vs. new sources:

LCOE press png

Click here to view the full study.

This study was conducted by Tom Stacy, a former member of the ASME Energy Policy Committee, and George Taylor, PhD, the director of Palmetto Energy Research. The source of the calculations used in this study is a compilation of data reported by the generators themselves to FERC and EIA.

The Poor Need Affordable Energy by Iain Murray

Affordable energy is fundamental to what economist Deirdre McCloskey calls the “Great Fact” of the explosion of human welfare. It remains central to the reduction of absolute poverty. Yet, some Western governments are working to increase energy costs, purportedly to combat global warming.

What they are really combating is prosperity.

This is perverse and regressive. In America and Europe, energy takes up a much larger share of poor households’ budgets compared to other income brackets. For instance, a household with an annual income between $10,000 and $25,000 spends well over 10 percent of its budget on energy, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And a January 2014 study for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity found that “households earning $50,000 or less spend more on energy than on food, spend twice as much on energy as on health care, and spend more than twice as much on energy as on clothing.”

Increasing the cost of energy also harms people’s health. That’s because energy use is so fundamental to modern life that it can take precedence over other household expenses — including health care. The National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association found that an increase in energy costs led 30 percent of poor households to reduce purchases of food, 40 percent to go without medical care, and 33 percent to not fill a prescription.

The term “fuel poverty” describes households in cold climates that are not able to keep their home warm at an affordable cost. The primary causes of fuel poverty are low income, poor insulation, and high energy prices. Eight percent of households in Belgium, France, Spain, Italy, and the United Kingdom suffer from some form of fuel poverty, according to the European Union’s European Fuel Poverty and Energy Efficiency consortium project. In the UK, where there is much more data owing to an official designation of fuel poverty, a household is defined as fuel poor if it has to spend 10 percent of its income on essential energy services; 20 percent of households meet this definition.

Despite this, Western governments are pursuing policies to increase energy prices. President Obama said during his first election campaign that electricity rates from coal would “necessarily skyrocket” under his policies; this may finally come to pass under his EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan. In Western Europe, energy costs have increased due to a combination of renewable energy subsidies and mandates, bans or moratoria on hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), hostility to nuclear energy, and Russia’s control of natural gas supplies for much of the continent’s eastern half.

Despite the president’s policies, US energy markets have shown that innovation beats regulation every time. Even though huge swaths of American energy resources are locked up under untouchable federal lands, energy production has boomed over the past decade, thanks to the development of horizontal drilling and improved hydraulic fracturing techniques. These technological advances have led to lower electricity prices from natural gas. And subsurface property rights have benefited both urban and rural households through royalty payments for energy production on their land.

Moreover, as gas became more affordable, it led to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Indeed, thanks to energy innovation, America met the emissions targets set for it in the Kyoto Protocol, without any need for burdensome laws and regulation — or for the Kyoto Protocol itself. Whatever you think of the need for carbon emissions reduction, energy innovation is achieving that goal.

This is all to the good, but more energy innovation is possible. They key is greater liberalization. America should free up federal lands to energy development, rather than pickle them in regulatory aspic. Europe could enjoy its own energy boom by approving hydraulic fracturing.

Reducing artificially high energy costs is the first step in tackling fuel poverty. In America, the market is alleviating the burden of energy costs on poor households, even as the government goes the wrong way. That shows us the way forward for tackling the much greater problem in the developing world.


Iain Murray

Iain Murray is vice president at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.