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Category Archives: Energy Security
The impact of the 2010 election is starting to be felt on Capitol Hill. The last hearing of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming was held yesterday. This panel received huge national attention when it was created by the then new Democratic majority in January of 2007, and it was considered a major triumphant for the environmental movement. The GOP Steering Committee has voted to abolish the panel. Continue reading
Reviewed by Gregory Hilton
1973 was not a good year for America’s prestige and psyche. Problems involving Vietnam, Watergate and inflation were looming, but the most significant long term obstacle is described in The Oil Crisis of 1973-1974 by Karen R. Merrill. A key turning point occurred 37 years ago today when President Richard Nixon signed legislation which would dominate political debate for the next 8 years. Continue reading
Prince Charles To Advocate Cap and Trade on Upcoming Trip, Future King’s Rhetoric Concerns Conservative Party by Gregory Hilton
In an upcoming NBC documentary, the Prince of Wales says his duty is to save the world, and he will advocate a cap and trade system during his U.S. visit. The documentary “Harmony” will air in November and is based on the Prince’s new book of the same title. Continue reading
Sen. John Kerry’s (D-MA) cap and trade system is going down to defeat in a major victory for conservative Republicans. The legislation was supposed to be on the Senate floor this afternoon, but now a vote on cap and trade is highly doubtful. Continue reading
Reed Clifton of Portland, Maine is a professional musician concentrating on folk, country and blues. He was born in northern New Jersey. He describes his hometown as a “New York City suburb/inner city ghetto, and spent much of his early life as a product of his environment. After cleaning up his life he attended college in California’s San Joaquin Valley. In college he began frequenting country music clubs such as Trouts in the Oildale section of Bakersfield, and his love and appreciation of country music grew.” He describes his philosophy of life by saying: “Some folks journey’s take them on sidewalks, mine goes over Everest. Wouldn’t have it any other way.” Continue reading
Senate Democrats led by John Kerry (MA) are expected to unveil their new national energy legislation on Monday, April 26th. It will be known as the American Power Act but the details are still secret. The legislation is expected to appeal to conservatives by expanding nuclear power and allowing more off shore drilling.
Its fate could well be determined by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce which is now involved in negotiations with the Obama administration. The Chamber was in forefront of the opposition to the climate change legislation in the House, but they could now shift sides if the bill is altered significantly.
President Obama said on Friday his administration would shift its focus to climate change after finishing financial regulatory reform. The President said “This is one of these foundational priorities from my perspective that has to be done soon.”
The cap and trade national energy tax passed the House last year on a 219 to 212 vote. The bill would require emissions of greenhouse gases to be reduced by 17 percent by 2020. Speaker Pelosi secured the victory despite the opposition of 44 Democrats.
If enacted cap and trade would be the largest tax increase in American history, and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated the cost at close to a trillion dollars. CBO said the average American household could pay an additional $1,600 a year because of cap and trade, while other studies had a higher cost. The House passed the measure despite the fact that only 33 percent of voters believe global warming is mainly caused by human activity.
This was one of the major promises in last year’s presidential campaign. In January of 2008, Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) described his proposal:
Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. Coal-powered plants…natural gas…whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was…would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers…So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being omitted.
The good news is that the prospects for stopping cap and trade are excellent, and as of today the Democrats only have 26 solid votes in favor of the House plan. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has signaled the upcoming Democratic strategy change by saying, “I think the term ‘cap-and-trade’ is not in the lexicon anymore.” Even Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), the Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, has acknowledged that Congress may take years before it passes a global warming cap and trade bill.
The new energy legislation will be somewhat similar to health care. The House passed a health care public option but it was immediately rejected by the Senate. Now the Senate is expected to abandon cap and trade. The editorial in yesterday’s Christian Science Monitor noted:
A successful US cap-and-trade program in the 1990s reduced emissions known to cause acid rain from coal-burning plants. But the program was limited in its scope, and simple. Relatively few plants slowly switched to low-sulfur coal or added scrubbers.
Scaling up this idea for greenhouse-gas emissions – and allowing the trading of permits for green projects around the world – is asking for trouble. Public confidence in curbing global warming could nose-dive if a cap-and-trade plan results in a slew of dubious schemes.
One climate bill reportedly to be introduced in the Senate may dilute a cap-and-trade system by also offering a gasoline tax – a proven way to cut the burning of fossil fuels but one that may be anathema to voters. Before Congress leaps into cap-and-trade, it should take a lesson from voluntary offsets: Buyer beware.
As usual, radio commentator Rush Limbaugh is speaking for many conservatives in questioning the need for any climate change legislation. He recently said, “Computer models can not predict within hours where the wind will take the ash cloud from Iceland. Nevertheless, we are supposed to significantly alter our lives because of what similar computer models say global climate temperatures are going to be in 50 years. All of liberalism is a giant hoax. It’s just a giant lie with a bunch of subset of lies to support the big one.”
President Obama today agreed to open parts of the Atlantic coast, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and parts of the north shore of Alaska to offshore oil exploration. exploration. Offshore drilling could provide enough oil to replace Middle East oil imports for 35 years, and it would also yield an 18-year supply of natural gas. Rep. Don Young (R-AK), the former Chairman of the Resources Committee, responded immediately by criticizing the Obama plan:
The President is essentially placing a moratorium on the Pacific Coast, delaying planned lease sales in Alaska, and subjecting previously studied areas to even more study , which is a waste of taxpayer time and dollars. Additionally, anything open to leasing will also be open to the inevitable lawsuits that will follow today’s announcement, so essentially we are back where we started. Sixty-eight percent of the American people support expanded offshore drilling, and yet not one lease sale in an area previously under moratorium will occur during President Obama’s term. This plan closes more than it opens, and is a complete farce. There is no question that this ‘Obama Moratorium’ will have dire impacts on the economic future of our country.
That was then, this is now
In 2008, Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) said offshore drilling was “a political stunt.” Speaker Pelosi called Bush “the oilman in the White House,” and said offshore drilling was “a hoax.” At the same time, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said off shore drilling was a give away to big oil. She was adamantly opposed to offshore drilling “because I’m trying to save the planet,” and “my flagship issue” is global warming.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) called it “a cynical campaign ploy that will do nothing to lower energy prices and represents another big giveaway to oil companies already making billions in profits.” Reid described offshore drilling as “the same old ideas meant to pad the pockets of Big Oil. . . Bush-McCain Republicans just don’t get it. . . They want to feed our addiction to oil.” All of that is forgotten now with President Obama’s announcement today. In addition to blocking off shore drilling, Democrats in the past have also blocked drilling in ANWR, building oil refineries, nuclear energy production and clean coal production.
Offshore drilling would have to be approved by Congress, and some prominent Democrats have today come out in opposition. Sens. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) both said they would oppose the Obama plan, and they are quoting the President.
In June 2008 the President said “Believe me, if I thought there was any evidence at all that drilling could save people money who are struggling to fill up their gas tanks by this summer or this year or even the next few years, I would consider it. But, it won’t.”
In a related development, the Department of Energy is saying world oil production could decline from 2011 to 2015 “if the investment is not there.” The decline would be due to the lack of investment in oil production capacity, which is another serious energy security issue.
The Washington Post and The New York Times are now in agreement. After months of prodding they have both published major stories criticizing the claims of the global warming movement. Both newspapers conclude that there will be no global climate change treaty and the U.S. Senate will not pass the cap-and-trade system. In a significant policy shift both papers now admit there has not been any statistically significant warming since 1995.
The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) won a joint Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore after their 2007 report declared the “warming of the climate system is unequivocal.” Now according to the Post, “The errors in the U.N. report — a document intended to be the last nail in the coffin of climate doubt — are a serious problem which could end up forcing environmentalists to focus more on the old question of proving that climate change is a threat, instead of the new question of how to stop it.”
In recent months we have also learned:
1. The most important source of data for the UN IPCC report is a fraud. Prominent scientists at the Climate Research Unit at the UK’s East Anglia University falsified their findings and sought to prevent the publication of works by their detractors. The Director, Dr. Phil Jones, was forced to resign.
2. It has now been proven that the data used by Dr. Michael Mann, head of Penn State’s Earth System Science Center, to build Al Gore’s famous hockey stick graph is wrong. The graph outlined temperature increases over the past 1000 years. It was cited as indisputable evidence the planet has been warming for a century because of carbon emissions, but Mann just hid the decline in temperatures which conflicted with his conclusion.
3. The UN IPCC now admits huge glaciers in the Himalayan mountains will not disappear by 2035.
4. They have retracted their statement that “Up to 40 percent of the Amazonian forests could react drastically to even a slight reduction in precipitation.”
5. They have retracted their claim that crop yields in Africa will be reduced by 50 percent by 2020.
6. They now admit the Antarctic sea ice increase was under estimated by 50%. This was one of their major claims. They said sea levels would rise dramatically because the sea ice was disappearing.
7. Environmentalists now admit that 55% of the Netherlands is not below sea level.
8. The UN IPCC says sea levels will not rise by 20 feet over the next century because of temperature changes. They have scaled this claim back to 8 inches.
It is believed in the “medieval warming period” of 800 -1300 A.D. temperatures were higher than they are today, and this was well before the introduction of the automobile. It means natural factors are a significant part of climate change.
The person most responsible for fanning this hysteria is Al Gore. The Senate rejected his Kyoto Protocol in 1998 by a 95 to 0 vote, and he then spent the next decade scaring the world about the catastrophic consequences of global warming. Now his arguments have been demolished, but he has succeeded in enriching himself by over $90 million.
Gore’s carelessness with facts and his overblown self-aggrandizement have been well known for decades. The falsehoods in “An Inconvenient Truth” were obvious from the outset but they were rarely challenged by the news media. Now the avalanche of facts rebutting global warming is so strong that even the Post and the Times have published critical front page stories. I am surprised it took them so long.
Long before the global warming nonsense collapsed, the British school system refused his attempt to make his book required reading in schools because it contained so many falsehoods. Giving him a Nobel Prize, followed by the one given to Obama, tarnished the reputation of this award.
Gore has always been amazingly hypocritical. He built a huge mansion with none of the green technology he said was so essential for the rest of us. The other good news is that the UN climate chief has resigned. I can certainly understand the frustration of someone such as Donald Trump. He says Gore should give back the Nobel because “he doesn’t deserve it for promoting an economy-killing carbon tax in the midst of some of the worst snowstorms the US has seen.”
President Obama met last week with the Republican leadership which promised enthusiastic support for a number of his initiatives. The President has solid GOP backing for his 34,000 troop surge in Afghanistan, as well as his proposals to promote nuclear power, off shore drilling for oil and gas, clean coal technologies and three pending free trade agreements. All of these proposals were advocated by the President in his State of the Union address. Continue reading
After 51 years in production, General Motors this week produced its last big block V8 engine. These were the power plants for the high performance cars – Corvette, Camaro, Impala SS, GTO, Firebird, and numerous heavy duty pickups. The autos were at first called muscle cars, and over five million big blocks were built at six GM plants.
The engine design was updated many times since 1958, and its versatility and power was the reason it stayed in production. According to “Car and Driver” magazine, “The only people who could possibly be happy at the death of the big blocks are ones who haven’t owned or experienced one. If you wanted an engine that could pull your house trailer up Pike’s Peak, this was it.”
Unfortunately, they were also beasts at the fuel pump. The future now belongs to small displacement V6 turbo engines which will meet the new fuel economy requirements. Times do change but that in no way makes the accomplishments of the big blocks any less impressive.
Today the two extra cylinders in a V8 are considered a waste of gasoline, and this is apparent in the current Corvette which is rated at 16 city and 19 highway mpg.
That will change. By 2016, automobiles manufactured in the United States will have to operate at 35.5 miles per gallon. Europe already has a 40 mpg standard. The new requirements will cost Americans an average of $1300 a vehicle.
The increased CAFE standards (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) will also mean an increase in automobile accident fatalities. This is because manufacturers will meet the new fuel standards by building smaller cars and trucks with lighter but more fragile material. This will protect motorists less during automobile accidents.
The National Academy of Sciences estimates the increased motorist deaths from small cars at 1,300 to 2,600/year. That is far higher than our casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan combined, and it is on the magnitude of the Vietnam War.
The major reason for increasing the CAFE standards is to reduce greenhouse gases. According to the Heritage Foundation, cars and trucks subject to the increase CAFÉ standards generate only 1.5% of greenhouse gases. The new standards will decrease greenhouse gases by only one half of one percent.