Thursday, December 17, 2009

Climate Change: Another Option

CARE would like to call your attention to an alternative approach that addresses rising greenhouse gas levels. Diana Furchtgott-Roth, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute has proposed that instead of adopting economically damaging policies like cap and trade, that the United States take a serious look at geoengineering. What is geoengineering and why should you care? (No pun intended!) Geoengineering is a cost effective approach to reducing greenhouse gas emission levels whose "techniques include injecting fine sulfur particles into the upper atmosphere to slow down the warming process from the sun, and spraying clouds with salt water to make them reflect more solar radiation away from earth. Similar cooling effects -- as well as some adverse consequences -- have been observed after volcanic eruptions." In a nutshell, those among us that want to take an objective look at the science behind global warming have an affordable and scientifically compelling alternative to economically ruinous proposals like cap-and-trade and empowering the EPA to declare greenhouse gases a threat to human health and welfare.

Climate Change: Another Option
WASHINGTON--As world leaders meet in Copenhagen to discuss reducing greenhouse gas emissions, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson has positioned herself, with President Obama's approval, to make an end run around Congress and impose regulatory limits on greenhouse gases, including the best known: carbon dioxide.

On Monday Ms. Jackson published a regulatory finding that greenhouse gases pose a danger to Americans' health and need to be controlled. She said that the finding was a required precondition to the agency's imposing caps on emissions of carbon dioxide and five other gases: methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride.

The announcement by Ms. Jackson was laden with symbolic significance. It was Mr. Obama's signal to world leaders, whom he will join in Copenhagen later this month, that Washington is determined to take actions to reduce America's greenhouse emissions.

It was also a prod to Congress to pass legislation that would curtail those emissions. The administration -- and some Democrats in Congress -- would prefer a legislative approach because it would enable them to shape the law, and it might be less susceptible to challenge in the courts.

The House has passed its climate change bill, but in the Senate a measure sponsored by two Democratic committee heads, Barbara Boxer and John Kerry, has stalled.

This posturing diverts the public's attention from a larger truth: The Democrats' approach of slapping limits on emissions by power plants, factories, refineries, and motor vehicles, is fundamentally flawed, whether by statute or regulation.

The approach would raise energy prices and costs of production, suppress wage and employment growth, and drive up prices of houses, home heating and cooling, cars, and other manufactured goods by raising production costs. It is a recipe for economic drag.

The bill would require greenhouse gas emissions in 2050 to be no more than 17% of 2005 emissions. The target for the year 2050, four decades into the future, cannot be achieved with today's technology -- and illustrates the hubris of those who think they can fine-tune the American economy far beyond anyone's capacity to foresee events.

Whether from recognizing hubris or from sheer exhaustion, the Senate has failed to pass its bill. Republicans boycotted the committee vote to send it to the floor. No wonder. With unemployment at 10% and over 15 million Americans out of work, there is little public support for legislation to harm the economy.

Furthermore, with the revelation that scientists at the University of East Anglia in Britain destroyed original temperature data rather than turn it over to other scientists for examination, the science of global warming has acquired a tarnished reputation.

Enter Ms. Jackson. As EPA administrator, she claims the power to regulate greenhouse gases under the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. In 2007 the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, ruled that greenhouse gases were pollutants, thus giving EPA the power to regulate them if the administrator found them harmful to human health. And so she did.

The EPA administrator may have the power to regulate, but she does not have to pay the resulting economic costs, nor even weigh costs against possible benefits. Costs could reach trillions of dollars, to be paid by ordinary Americans through more expensive products and lost jobs.

To many environmental activists at Copenhagen, regulation of greenhouse gases is worth any cost. The usual approach is to set tight limits on carbon emissions, but taking that approach in isolation, as the pending congressional bills and Copenhagen summit would do, would do substantial damage to the U.S. and global economies, especially since substitutes for fossil fuels will be expensive and limited for a number of years.

Let's suppose we all want to cool the earth. Some scientists, including Dutch Nobel Prize winning atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen, advise that altering features of the earth's environment, such as seeding clouds, would be far more effective against global warming, faster, and less costly. This is called "geoengineering."

Geoengineering techniques include injecting fine sulfur particles into the upper atmosphere to slow down the warming process from the sun, and spraying clouds with salt water to make them reflect more solar radiation away from earth. Similar cooling effects -- as well as some adverse consequences -- have been observed after volcanic eruptions.

Successful geoengineering would permit earth's population to make far smaller reductions in carbon use and still slow or reverse global warming, but at a vastly lower cost. Just as critically, it would also buy time until more information is known about the process of global warming. No responsible response to global warming should fail to consider geoengineering, and a 40-year plan needs decades to ramp up. Just ask Moses.

Further, if India and China don't also sign up to cut their carbon emissions -- and they haven't committed yet to approving reductions at Copenhagen -- cuts in American carbon emissions alone would not solve the problems of climate change. American emissions would likely be replaced by emissions from newly-industrialized countries.

Geoengineering needs to be considered both in Congress and in Copenhagen. Even if other countries did nothing, successful geoengineering could have global benefits at relatively low cost while postponing the burden of enforcing compliance with emissions limits until alternative technologies are discovered.

Diana Furchtgott-Roth is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Climategate's Lesson: Science Hasn’t Failed, Government Has

The recent revelations of the "Climategate" scandal raises concerns about the integirty of government and science in energy-related matters, so CARE decided to enlist the aid of Patrick Cox, a transformative technologies expert associated with the Whiskey and Gunpowder investment newsletter. He builds the case that even though some scientists intentionally concealed the Medieval Warm Period, manipulated data, attempted to redefine the peer-review process, and steamrolled over those that questioned the data; Climategate ultimately stands as a testament to the integrity of science and the failure of government. He points out that good men and women revealed the truth and are reevaluating the data at the CRU while the climatological-industrial complex is acting like Climategate never happened. Cap and trade is still being pushed and the Environmental Protection Agency is determined to put its recent declaration that greenhouse gases threaten human health and welfare into force of law. The chess pieces are set, they are moving across the international board, and the recent course of action shows us that Climategate stands as a testament to the failure of government rather than science. CARE is confident that this article will help change your understanding of whom is truly at fault here.


Climategate Update: Science Hasn’t Failed, Government Has
What a fascinating week. The leaked e-mails and computer code from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit have become the greatest scientific scandal of our age. The head of the CRU has been forced to step down. Scientists who cooperated with the CRU in other locations, including the United States and New Zealand, are now under investigation.

I’ve been warned, incidentally, that any discussion of global warming will elicit complaints from one side or the other, so I would be better off not bringing it up. The notion that climatology is unacceptable in polite conversation is a huge problem. I’ve been following this debate for over 15 years and have worked with some of the important scientists who have advocated openness and more debate in climate research. Real scientists consider this a legitimate scientific issue, not a partisan one.

Moreover, the CRU scandal is enormously relevant to many investor issues. I’d rather lose readers who are offended than fail to keep the rest of you informed. If you’re getting your news from the mainstream media, you may not know yet how damaging this event has been to the credibility of the U.N. and those in the administration who support CO2 controls. (The Canadian press, however, is doing a far better job of covering the story.)

I told subscribers to my newsletter Breakthrough Technology Alert about a year ago, by the way, not to invest in so-called green technologies that rely on subsidies and regulatory interventions. That advice stands now more than ever. Polls show that about three-quarters of Americans consider the scientific theory of anthropogenic global warming false or even fraudulent. Given growing anger over deficits and terrible unemployment statistics, harmful environmental measures passed now are likely to be overturned or blocked after the 2010 election cycle.

I saw this coming for several reasons. One is that the lack of scientific ethics exposed by the CRU whistle-blower is not really news. It has been obvious to those of us who were paying attention for a very long time. The leaked documents make it clear, however, to those who don’t understand the mathematical subtleties of regression analysis or program in Fortran.

For the first time, the general public is learning that the CRU climate model, which the U.N. relies on, purposely hid the Medieval Warm Period (MWP). This obfuscation was necessary because the MWP was not just warmer than it is now; it had a generally positive impact on humans. The University of East Anglia now admits, in fact, that the CRU has no real evidence that the climate is warming and says it will take at least three years to recompile and analyze the data.

The climatological-industrial complex, however, is forging ahead as if nothing has happened. Supporters of an incredibly expensive cap-and-trade scheme, in the middle of the worst economic downturn in modern history, are undeterred. Even without the invention of Enron, cap and trade, the EPA is dead set on treating and regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant.

You know that stuff you exhale in high concentrations: CO2? The EPA apparently thinks pollution results even with miniscule increases in the 0.038% trace levels of CO2 found in the atmosphere. Obviously, slightly elevated CO2 levels have never resulted in cataclysm before. So why does it say so now?

Its theory is that the planet’s ability to absorb CO2 is maxed out. Additional CO2, it says, will therefore result in skyrocketing CO2 levels. This theory, however, is completely unsupported by evidence. Dr. Wolfgang Knorr at the University of Bristol just published as study in Geophysical Research Letters showing that the portion of the atmospheric CO2 absorbed by plant life, mostly in the oceans, has remained stable since 1850.

In fact, it is the failure of the CRU model to properly address the role of the oceans that convinced me long ago that it’s fundamentally missed the boat. Only about 10% of the Earth’s heat storage is atmospheric. About 90% of the Earth’s energy storage takes place in the waters of the oceans. Water, after all, stores far more energy than air.

Furthermore, ocean temperatures are far easier to measure accurately. Many land-based temperature stations have been compromised due to changes in local conditions, mostly increased urbanization. This is not the case with oceans. NASA has more than 3,000 robotic buoys that dive and surface continually all over the world collecting ocean temperature data at different depths. This information has been transmitted via satellite to NASA since 2003. Compiled, it shows clearly that ocean temperatures are falling.

If the oceans were bleeding heat into the atmosphere, we would see higher air temperatures. The Climategate e-mail leak shows, however, that even CRU knows that atmospheric temperatures have fallen since the late ‘90s. This means, I believe, that we are in an extended period of global cooling, not a temporary turnaround. University of Rochester physicists have published recently data showing the historic and central role ocean temperatures play in climate and climate change.

The fact that the U.N.’s climate gurus have destroyed data, hid inconvenient truths and subverted the peer-review process is not, by the way, proof that anthropogenic global warming could not possibly occur. Nor does it prove we are not in a natural period of cooling caused by solar cycles. The only thing it does prove is that models are junk and that the most powerful government-anointed climate scientists have no idea what’s going on — as the leaked e-mails stated over and over again.

This is the big lesson. It isn’t science that has failed. Science isn’t dying, as Daniel Henninger said recently in The Wall Street Journal. Real science is a process of discovering the truth through transparency, experimentation and verification. Look around you. You can see the fruits of real science in the increased length and quality of life that we all enjoy. Science is alive and well in the private sector.

Climategate is a failure of politicians and bureaucrats involving over $90 billion in tax-funded research grants. It is complicated by passionately cheerleading environmentalists who have turned their movement into a kind of religion.

The corruption of scientists by government monies is by no means new. It won’t be the last time, either. Nevertheless, the courage of the CRU whistle-blower demonstrates the robustness of science. The truth has come out.

It remains to be seen if the political drive to control human activities and profit from political wealth transfers will prove more powerful, in the short run, than the truth contained in the leaked e-mails and computer code. In the long run, however, I have no doubt that those who embrace fraud will be outed, if not punished.

My focus is on identifying those transformational technologies with the greatest potential for profit and growth. Those opportunities will not go away even if the fraud inherent in the CRU’s sham models are used to hobble the American economy with destructive cap-and-trade taxation or onerous EPA regulation of CO2. India, Russia, China and many other countries have made it clear they will never adopt such economy-killing measures — especially during a period of economic downturn and high unemployment. They stand more than willing to host the revolutionary disruptive industries that are coming onto the scene today. Many of our top scientists and small caps are already being wooed to relocate elsewhere.

Fortunately, polls show that nearly three-quarters of the American people are extremely angry with the government right now. The old media, which are lobbying for some sort of bailout, will continue trying to cover it up. Having not only endorsed the concept of anthropogenic global warming, but attacked skeptics as subhuman, it is impossible for many to admit they were wrong. Science and technology, though, have already provided alternate avenues of information dissemination. The unwillingness of the old media to report one of the most important stories of this young century is evidence they deserve to fail.

The reversal on cap and trade by Australia, along with a likely change in the government, in large part because of Climategate, ought to act as a warning to the administration. If not, then the people will grow angrier yet and we’ll see another iteration of the revolution next year at the ballot boxes. Science cannot be stopped or even perverted for long.

Patrick Cox is a transformative technologies expert associated with the Whiskey and Gunpowder investment newsletter.

Climatology is a “Political” Science

CARE would like to highlight a disturbing trend: The science of "climate change" has lost all vestiges of credibility and has been reduced to a "political science". CARE Energy Council member Byron King, whom is with the Whiskey and Gunpowder investment newsletter, has illuminated how manufactured evidence from the Climate Gate scandal ties into the "big picture" of the global warming deception. As someone who studied geology at Harvard University and has over 35 years experience with earth sciences, Byron King understands that when the U.K. Telegraph declares that "This Is the Worst Scientific Scandal of Our Generation," it's time to pay attention! His article will change the way you look at the global warming debate and delivers a doup de grace to those that would deny humanity access to affordable and abundent energy in the name of junk science.

Climatology is a “Political” Science
Last week, the global warming movement crashed, along with its holier-than-thou "only we can save the world" aura of empirical certitude. It’s more like "political" science now — literally — and there are 3,000 e-mails to prove it. Down with the ship went the last semblance of unblinking, unthinking willingness to submit to draconian, Procrustean "cap and trade" legislation against fossil fuels.

The cause of the crash was a batch of purloined e-mails from the University of East Anglia and its so-called Climate Research Unit (Climate Research Fabrication Unit is more like it). When the contents of the e-mails hit the fan, the U.K. Telegraph headlined that "This Is the Worst Scientific Scandal of Our Generation."

On this last point, we can now see how much of the conventional wisdom about carbon dioxide (CO2), and related "global warming," marches to a drumbeat that permits no foot to fall out of step. The East Anglia e-mails reveal a transnational cabal of scientists whose ethics and methods mirror those of Stalin’s favorite biologist, Comrade Trofim Lysenko.

That is, these modern Merlins of global warming have massaged the climate data to fit their preconceived anti-CO2 theories. For many years, the climate change Godfathers have humiliated and intimidated scientists who dared to disagree. They’ve squashed dissent. They’ve blackballed academic journals that didn’t toe the line of politically correct global warming wisdom. And they’ve done it all under the rubric of "peer-reviewed" science — where they are the peers ├╝ber alles. Nice work, if you can get it.

The global warming crowd claims that the climate change is a phenomenon that’s wholly man-made — mostly in the industrialized West, and particularly by industries in the U.S. of A. The science is settled, they claim. You can’t argue with it. No, indeed. And how convenient!

But as someone who studied geology (admittedly at Harvard, where they’ve been teaching the subject only since 1787) and has been in and around the earth sciences for over 35 years, I always wondered why the proposed remedies for global warming and climate change are not really solutions to the alleged problem.

I mean, the so-called remedies for global warming mostly call for U.S. and other Western nations to pay high-energy taxes on carbon-based fuels. And the remedies call for the West — especially the U.S. — dramatically to curtail CO2-emitting energy sources. Oh, and Wall Street will be able to trade "carbon credits," like it’s done with such success in the field of mortgage-backed securities and the like.

Meanwhile, under the proposed cap-and-trade schemes, the developing world gets a whole banana boat full of unspecified "climate reparations" from the West, all while burning lots of coal and using more and more energy from any and every source. Huh?

To my way of seeing things, the proposed remedies for global warming never added up. Now, with the release of the East Anglia e-mails, we know that things were never supposed to add up. The whole global warming and remedies process is designed to lasso a perceived "environmental" problem and use it to fulfill a laundry list of campus-Marxist political agendas. And quite a bit of the mainstream West swallowed it, hook, line and sinker.Now that the cat is out of the bag (to change metaphors), is cap and trade dead? Have we reached a teachable moment about things like future energy use and industrial development? Will we see a period of backing down and thorough re-examination?

Or are there too many big shots, with too much ego and too much money, already too invested in the man-caused global warming process to admit of any doubt? Follow the money, I suppose.

Then again, there might not be much money to follow. Sometimes, deliverance comes from the strangest places...
***
Byron King earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, graduated cum laude from Harvard University, served on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations, and is a regulator contributor to the Whiskey and Gunpowder investment newsletter.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Climategate; This Changes Everything

The airwaves have been abuzz and the internet has been on fire with emails and forwarded articles addressing what could turn out to be the biggest scandal since Watergate: the hacking or insider release of e-mails from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia—which has been dubbed Climategate. Even youtube videos have been popping up! While those of us who work with global warming issues have been deeply immersed in this game-changer, many have heard nothing about it or have only heard a snippet and wonder what all the noise is about.

The news is still relatively new—just few days old—and we will surely have many more postings about this, but this one offers a great summary of the issue and the potential consequences. Here Michael Fox, a regular contributor to CARE’s Blog, shows why this news should change everything in the climate change debate and end the push for cap and trade.

Read on. Learn what all the noise is about. Pass this on to everyone you know. It is big news. What do you think? Add your comments.

The Collapse of the Global Warming Myth
If this scandal of November 20, 2009 continues in the horrendous path it’s taken, it should be the end of the man-made CO2 global warming hypothesis. Beyond the warmers inability to prove their simple hypothesis after more than 20 years and $80 billion dollars, has been their collective bullying behavior patterns. This bullying has been so outrageous and out of character of honest scientists, that it is as offensive as it is noticeable. This behavior suggested to me that this group of people were being less than honorable in their conduct of their work.

In a speech last Spring in New York by John Sununu I was reminded that the climate warming leaders were high paid bullies who determined who got funded (the recipients of those $89 Billion), and who didn't, who got published and who didn't, and who got the acclaim, and who didn't. Much of this is now confirmed in the released emails from Hadley/CRU.

The release of 62 Mbytes of the climate research data from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia in computer files has been momentous, almost unique in human history (http://tinyurl.com/yha4lxn). During the 24 hours following the release of these 62 Mbytes of documents, emails, letters, and reports, all became public knowledge around the world and thousands are pouring over the contents.

While still in the beginning stages of analyses, gleaned information has been showing horrendous levels of corruption, suborning subterfuge and deceptions, and controlling the science journals in limiting publications of research which do not support the AGW hypothesis. I have never ever seen anything like this, so high level, so unethical, and so evil.

I say evil since the unproven AGW hypothesis promoted by these insiders, is the basis for the trillion dollar Cap and Trade legislation and the redistribution of trillions from the US to the rest of the world. It is the basis for the Copenhagen meeting coming up in December which is designed how best to cripple the economics of the west through increased energy costs and energy rationing. It is the basis for the EU and the UN asking the US to pay trillions in reparations to all of those 3rd world nations which have been "damaged" by global warming.

These nation members walk the halls of the UN promoting "justifications” for reparations for their "damages" and their need for our wealth. It is the basis for demanding green energy sources to be installed with trillions of our dollars all over the 3rd world. Green energy sources already installed in the 3rd world, are not working well either. This debate has profound global implications and I find it contemptible that adults, Ph.D.s or not, would works so fanatically to achieve these destructive goals.

I also point out the thousands of media, academics, environmentalists, legislators, and movie elites who have taken strong and powerful positions in this debate, as if the AGW hypothesis has been validated. It hasn't. All of them have failed to ask the simple question "Show us the evidence that man-made CO2 causes global warming." That such people, presumed to be Americans, could promote and defend such a dangerous policy for our nation, is stunning.

Many of the global warming supporters seem to think that a photo of a polar bear on an ice floe is evidence that man-made CO2 is the cause!! The implied message is that this has never happened before, that man is causing it, that it is dangerous, which is all nonsense. They also seem to think that a photo-shopped video of a tidal wave roaring through downtown Manhattan is evidence of sea level rise, or that an iceberg calving from a glacier is evidence. We might also add that consensus is not evidence either, nor are appeals from high authority, nor are computer model predictions. If it weren’t for faulty computer models there would be no controversy at all, since real world measured evidence is still unreported.

Too few seem to have the wits to ask for a thermometer or ask for real Temp data, or sea level data, or hurricane data, or polar ice data. Also missing from the discussions is the large program needed to achieve high quality of all of the data, and how that is sustained. I have never seen a word of a Quality Assessment/Quality Control programs being used within the climate science realm. Then there is the entire issue of pathetically poor quality of the climate computer modeling programs. Anthony Watts at www.whatsupwiththat.com has undertaken to examine the low quality of the temperature stations and the low grade erratic temperature data they produce. His findings also show low grade station and data management as practiced by our climate agencies.

The British seem now to have realized the damage to all of science which has been done by the AGW crowd at the Climate Research Unit (CRU). In response to recent revelations contained in leaked e-mails originating from the CRU at the University of East Anglia, Lord Lawson, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), has called for a rigorous and independent inquiry into the matter. While reserving judgment on the contents of the e-mails, Lord Lawson said these are very serious issues and allegations that reach to the heart of scientific integrity and credibility:

"Astonishingly, what appears, at least at first blush, to have emerged is that (a) the scientists have been manipulating the raw temperature figures to show a relentlessly rising global warming trend; (b) they have consistently refused outsiders access to the raw data; (c) the scientists have been trying to avoid freedom of information requests; and (d) they have been discussing ways to prevent papers by dissenting scientists being published in learned journals."

"There may be a perfectly innocent explanation. But what is clear is that the integrity of the scientific evidence on which not merely the British Government, but other countries, too, through the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, claim to base far-reaching and hugely expensive policy decisions, has been called into question. And the reputation of British science has been seriously tarnished. A high-level independent inquiry must be set up without delay."

People in the media, academics, legislators, movie elites, and environmentalist group have been quite sympathetic to the AGW promoters, and with apologies to Sherlock Holmes they have been the “The Dogs Which Didn't Bark”. They knew or should have known that these climate crimes were being committed and they knew or should have known who was committing them. They not only did nothing to stop them, they attacked, insulted, and dismissed those who objected. These are actions of dangerous people, too, and are unforgivable.

Michael Fox, Ph.D., is a nuclear scientist and a science and energy resource for Hawaii Reporter and a science analyst for the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, is retired and now lives in Eastern Washington. He has nearly 40 years experience in the energy field. He has also taught chemistry and energy at the University level. His interest in the communications of science has led to several communications awards, hundreds of speeches, and many appearances on television and talk shows.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Hypocrisy of the "Green Movement"

Do you remember all the noise that was being made over ethanol by environmentalists during the Bush administration? Many individuals pointed out the limitations of ethanol but these voices were ignored because the greens were on board. Now environmentalists have flip-flopped on ethanol because they initially glossed over its limitations. This pattern is a familiar one and our CARE blog contributor Dennis T. Avery (Director of the Center for Global Food Issues at the Hudson Institute) points out the hypocrisy of the "green movement" by realistically assessing several energy sources.

For example, clearing and plowing the massive amount of acerage necessary for using cellulosic ethanol releases huge amounts of CO2 into the air-one of the greenhouse gases that is allegedly causing global warming. Yet despite this grave concern over global warming, environmentalists in concert with the Obama administration have stopped spent nuclear fuel from being stored in Nevada. That's right! The environmentalists oppose opening the disposal site necessary to continue using nuclear power, the only CO2-free base load energy source Americans have access to. Of course, these hypocritical environmentalists pay no heed to the facts as does Mr. Avery. We invite you to read on as we are confident that decision making based upon facts rather than eco-ideology will change your views on energy for the better.

Greens Again Bait And Switch On Energy
Back during the bad old Bush presidency, the eco-movement loudly endorsed ethanol, particularly cellulosic ethanol, as a good eco-substitute for gasoline. Now they’ve changed their minds. They’re finally admitting that you can’t grow ethanol and food on the same acres. If you’re going to add ethanol to your shopping list, you need to clear more land to grow the feedstock. When forest or grassland is cleared and plowed, huge amounts of carbon stored in the soil gas off into the air. If Global Warming is man-made, this is a serious problem.

This gem of newfound wisdom has just been published in the October 23 issue of Science, and dutifully repeated by the Washington Post and the other Green media collaborators. The lead author is Princeton’s Tim Searchinger, formerly a lawyer for the Environmental Defense Fund.

Where were these "environmentalists" when Bush and the Congress installed their ill-considered mandates for corn and cellulosic ethanol? Three full years ago, I did a study with the Competitive Enterprise Institute titled Biofuels, Food or Wildlife: The Massive Land Costs of U.S. Ethanol. I warned back then that making any useful amount of ethanol would force us to plow millions more acres of wildlands—first for corn and then for poplar, pine, and other fast-growing trees to make wood chips for cellulosic ethanol.

I warned there wasn’t enough land to go around. Nobody cared; because the Greens approved it. But the Greens are playing bait-n-switch. First it was solar, but the sun only shines for half of each 24 hours. Clouds interrupt too. How can we keep the lights on at the school and the hospital?

Then it was wind turbines. But a big EU power provider has testified that wind is so erratic you need 90 percent of your installed wind capacity matched in "spinning reserve"—burning fuel—from fossil or nuclear. Why bother to make the wind turbines at all?

Corn ethanol nearly doubled world food prices in three years, and is set to do it again whenever there’s a short corn crop. Cellulosic ethanol is still unworkable and the environmentalists are now telling us not to bother.

They don’t want us to have energy! Paul Ehrlich and Maurice Strong—the Canadian "grey eminence" of the UN—agree that the threat to the earth is "too many rich people." And energy is the key to the affluence. So we must tax away the energy.

What about more nuclear plants that don’t emit CO2? The Obama administration won’t allow spent nuclear fuel to be stored at Harry Reid’s Yucca Mountain, and it won’t permit reprocessing. Strike it off the list!

Now we learn that the energy-tax bills currently in the Congress contain a little clause that lets the White House renege on all those emission permits the big companies have sold their souls for—if CO2 levels go too high. That’s not temperatures too high, but CO2 levels in the atmosphere too high. So what if CO2 has almost no linkage to our temperatures? As the oceans recover from their Little Ice Age chill, the laws of physics guarantee higher and higher CO2 concentrations in the air. Talk about legislative sleight-of-hand!

Again I will warn the Green movement: If children are starving for lack of nitrogen fertilizer for the crops (made with natural gas); if elderly voters are literally freezing to death in their homes for lack of coal; those laws won’t be worth the paper they were drafted on (considerable as the paper piles already are).

In fact, the Congress itself will race to change the laws before you can say "tea party."

DENNIS T. AVERY is an environmental economist, and a senior fellow for the Hudson Institute in Washington, DC. He was formerly a senior analyst for the Department of State. He is co-author, with S. Fred Singer, of Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Hundred Years, Readers may write him at PO Box 202, Churchville, VA 24421 or email to cgfi@hughes.net.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

How Environmentalists Are Killing American Energy

We've all seen it on television. America is in a deep recession. The national unemployment rate according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics has risen to 10.2%. People are losing their jobs, struggling to pay the bills, and what are environmentalists doing in response? They are systematically waging war against job-creating sources of affordable energy while promoting a fanatical religion known as "global warming".

CARE's most recent blog guest, Edwin X Berry, PhD, has been gracious enough to provide our readers with insights on how extreme environmentalist groups are Turning Off The Lights In America. He begins by telling us how an aluminum plant has recently shut down in Montana due to environmental regulations and outlines how the Environmental Protection Agency has been working diligently since 1988 to spread global warming propaganda. He tells us how credible scientists have been silenced for fear of losing their government jobs and updates us on how the EPA is trying to declare carbon dioxide as a pollutant. That's right! When you exhale as a human being the federal government wants to declare you a pollutant! He finishes off by building the case that global warming is a religion rather than a scientifically-based theory.

His writing is provocative, his determination is admirable, and his writings are credible as Doctor Berry is a respected atmospheric scientist. We at CARE strongly believe that this piece will help change your view of the global warming debate in America. Please read on!

How they are turning off the lights in America
On October 31,2009, the once largest aluminum plant in the world will shut down. With it goes another American industry and more American jobs. The Columbia Falls Aluminum Company in Montana will shut down its aluminum production because it cannot purchase the necessary electrical power to continue its operations.

How did this happen in America? America was once the envy of the world in its industrial capability. America's industrial capacity built America into the most productive nation the world had ever known. Its standard of living rose to levels never before accomplished. Its currency became valuable and powerful, allowing Americans to purchase imported goods at relatively cheap prices.

America grew because of innovation and hard work by the pioneers of the industrial revolution, and because America has vast natural resources. A great economy, as America once was, is founded on the ability to produce electrical energy at low cost. This ability has been extinguished. Why?

Columbia Falls Aluminum negotiated a contract with Bonneville Power Administration in 2006 for Bonneville to supply electrical power until September 30, 2011. But, responding to lawsuits, the 9th US Circuit Court ruled the contract was invalid because it was incompatible with the Northwest Power Act. Therefore, the combination of the Northwest Power Act and a US Circuit Court were the final villains that caused the shutdown of Columbia Falls Aluminum.

But the real reasons are much more complicated. Why was it not possible for Columbia Falls Aluminum to find sources of electricity other than Bonneville?

We need to look no further than the many environmental groups like the Sierra Club and to America's elected officials who turned their backs on American citizens and in essence themselves, for they too are citizens of this country. These officials bought into the green agenda promoted by the heavily funded environmental groups. Caving to pressure, they passed laws and the environmental groups filed lawsuits that began turning off the lights in America. The dominos started to fall.

They began stopping nuclear power plants in the 1970's. They locked up much of our coal and oil resources with land laws. They passed tax credits, which forces taxpayers to foot the bill for billionaire investors to save taxes by investing in less productive wind and solar energy projects.

In 1988, the Environmental Protection Agency called a meeting of atmospheric scientists and others with environmental interests. I remember well the meeting I attended in the San Francisco Bay Area. The meeting was in a theater-like lecture room with the seating curved to face the center stage and rising rapidly toward the back of the room. Attending were many atmospheric scientists whom I knew from Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, Stanford Research Institute and some local colleges.

The room became silent when a man walked up to the lectern. He told us that the next big national problem was global warming. He explained how human carbon dioxide emissions were trapping the earth's radiation like a greenhouse and causing the atmosphere to heat beyond its normal temperature. He said this will lead to environmental disasters. He finished by saying the EPA will now concentrate its research funding toward quantifying the disasters that would be caused by our carbon dioxide.

The room was silent. I was the first to raise my hand to ask a question, "How can you defend your global warming hypothesis when you have omitted the effects of clouds which affect heat balance far more than carbon dioxide, and when your hypothesis contradicts the paper by Lee * in the Journal of Applied Meteorology in 1973 that shows the atmosphere does not behave like a greenhouse?"

He answered me by saying, "You do not know what you are talking about. I know more about how the atmosphere works than you do."

Not being one to drop out of a fight, I responded, "I know many of the atmospheric scientists in this room, and many others who are not present but I do not know you. What is your background and what makes you know so much more than me?"

He answered, "I know more than you because I am a lawyer and I work for the EPA."

After the meeting, many of my atmospheric science friends who worked for public agencies thanked me for what I said, saying they would have liked to say the same thing but they feared for their jobs.

And that, my dear readers, is my recollection of that great day when a lawyer, acting as a scientist, working for the federal government, announced global warming.

Fast forward to today. The federal government is spending 1000 times more money to promote the global warming charade than is available to those scientists who are arguing against it. Never before in history has it taken a massive publicity campaign to convince the public of a scientific truth. The only reason half the public thinks global warming may be true is the massive amount of money put into global warming propaganda.

The green eco-groups have their umbilical cords in the government's tax funds. Aside from a few honest but duped scientists living on government money, the majority of the alarms about global warming - now called "climate change" because it's no longer warming - come from those who have no professional training in atmospheric science. They are the environmentalists, the ecologists, the lawyers and the politicians. They are not the reliable atmospheric scientists whom I know.

Nevertheless, our politicians have passed laws stating that carbon dioxide is bad. See California's AB32 which is based upon science fiction. (For readers who take issue with me, I will be happy to destroy your arguments in another place. In this paper, we focus on the damage to America that is being caused by those promoting the global warming fraud.)

In the year 2000, America planned 150 new coal-electric power plants. These power plants would have been "clean" by real standards but the Greens managed to have carbon dioxide defined legally as "dirty" and this new definition makes all emitters of carbon dioxide, including you, a threat to the planet. Therefore, using legal illogic, the Sierra Club stopped 82 of these planned power plants under Bush II and they expect it will be a slam dunk to stop the rest under Obama.

And now you know the real reason the Columbia Falls Aluminum Company had to shut down. America stopped building new power plants a long time ago. There is now no other source where the company can buy energy. Our energy-producing capability is in a decline and it is taking America with it.

I used to belong to the Sierra Club in the 1960's. It used to be a nice hiking club. In the late 1960's the Sierra Club began turning its attention toward stopping nuclear power. Then I quit the Sierra Club. It continues to prosper from the many subscribers who think they are supporting a good cause. What they are really supporting is the destruction of America brick by brick. The Sierra Club and similar organizations are like watermelons - green on the outside, red on the inside. They are telling us we have no right to our own natural resources, and in doing so they are sinking America.

Inherent in ecology are three assumptions: "natural" conditions are optimal, climate is fragile, and human influences are bad. Physics makes no such assumptions. By assuming climate is fragile, the global warming supporters have assumed their conclusion. In fact, the climate is not fragile. It is stable. The non-adherence to physical logic in the global warming camp is what makes many physical scientists say that global warming is a religion.

So we have a new age religion promoted by environmentalists, incorporated into our laws and brainwashed into our people that is now destroying America from the inside.

Like a vast ship, America is taking a long time to sink but each day it sinks a little further. The fearsome day awaits, when America, if not quickly recovered by its real citizens, will tilt its nose into the water to begin a rapid and final descent into oblivion ... her many resources saved for whom?

Edwin X Berry, Ph.D., is an atmospheric physicist affiliated with the American Meteorological Society.

References:

* R. Lee: "The 'greenhouse' effect" J. Appl. Meteor. 12, 556-557 (1973)

Gerhard Gerlich and Ralf D. Tscheuschner: "Falsification of the Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse Effects Within The Frame Of Physics," Version 4.0 (January 6, 2009)

International Journal of Modern Physics B, Vol. 23, No. 3 (2009) 275-364.

http://www.worldscinet.com/ijmpb/23/2303/S02179792092303.html
Page 37: "Lee's paper is a milestone marking the day after which every serious scientist or science educator is no longer allowed to compare the greenhouse with the atmosphere."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Nuclear Power: Safer Than Ever

To help set the record straight on how safe nuclear power is, CARE has enlisted the aid of Michael Fox, a regular contributor to the CARE blog and a retired nuclear scientist and university chemistry professor with nearly four decades of experience in the energy field. Professor Fox builds the case that since the Three Mile Island incident in 1979, nuclear power has become considerably safer and should continue to be used in America for decades to come.

Some of the safety improvements discussed include: Reduced average number of "significant reactor events" over the past 30 years, fewer industrial accidents per 200,000 worker-hours, improved worker protection versus radiation exposure, reduced amounts of low-level nuclear waste produced by plant operations, and improved power plant operating capacity. Professor Fox also discusses lessons learned from Three Mile Island such as the need for enhanced training for reactor operators, the use of site-specific control simulators, and the well-established "culture of safety" throughout the nuclear industry. We have the utmost repect for Professor Fox and our readers can learn much from his expertise.

Safety Improvements in Nuclear Energy

An unrecognized improvement in U.S. nuclear plant safety shows that the lessons of the 1979 Three Mile Island accident still are being taken seriously. Nuclear power wouldn’t be making a comeback in this country unless that was the case.


Industry-wide data compiled by the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO), a utility organization that monitors nuclear plant safety and operations, shows a dramatic improvement in nuclear plant performance over the past 30 years. Among the changes is a reduction “to nearly zero” of the average number of significant reactor events, especially unplanned reactor shutdowns.


All safety indices show improvement since post-TMI reforms took hold. For example, in 2008 the industrial accident rate dropped to only 0.13 industrial accidents per 200,000 worker-hours. Efforts to protect workers from radiation exposure and to reduce the amount of low-level nuclear waste produced from plant operations have also been successful.


Not surprisingly, the reliability of nuclear plants has risen along with the industry’s safety and operating record. In 2008, the median capacity factor of the 104 U.S. nuclear plants was 91.1 percent, meaning that plants were operating more than 90 percent of the time. That was the ninth consecutive year that the capacity factor was in the 90-percent range. By contrast, in 1979 the average capacity factor at nuclear plants was 56 percent.


The TMI accident occurred just three months after Unit 2 began operating when a valve malfunction compounded by human error in responding to the problem led to a loss of cooling water in the reactor core, exposing the uranium fuel assemblies and causing them to partially melt. One of the lessons that the accident taught us was that the signals on the control panel of a reactor needed to be improved so as to give the operators a clear picture of the state of the reactor at all times. Also, reactor operators needed better training, and weaknesses in some of the specific reactor designs had to be corrected.


Among the many changes that were made following the accident was the installation of site-specific control room simulators at every nuclear plant. The simulators are used as part of a continuous training program that INPO conducts for reactor operators. The goal is to ensure that a serious accident can never happen again.


One of the more important outcomes of the accident was the formation of INPO to conduct independent evaluations of plant operations and share reactor operating experience and lessons learned across the industry. INPO has used this data to set challenging benchmarks against which safety and plant operations can be measured. Though the results of its evaluations are not made public, INPO makes them available to plant managers. And lessons learned are shared among nuclear plant operators in this country and worldwide.

After the Chernobyl accident in 1986, the World Association of Nuclear Operators was established with a mission patterned after INPO’s. Much of the credit for establishing both organizations goes to the late William Street Lee, who was chairman and chief executive officer of Duke Power Co., headquartered in Charlotte, NC Bill Lee, as he was known by colleagues, did much to instill a culture of safety throughout the nuclear industry that continues to this day.

That attention to safety is much in evidence at the TMI plant. Though Unit 2 was lost due to the accident, TMI Unit 1 has continued to operate.


Over the past decade Unit 1 has achieved one of the highest capacity factors in the country and has held four world records for continuous operation by pressurized water reactors, including a 689-day cycle that ended in October 2005.


The improved performance of Unit 1 – and other nuclear plants around the country – has enabled electricity companies to reduce the use of fossil fuel plants, particularly plants fueled with costly natural gas. But it has been the seriousness with which companies have taken safety that’s led to the renewal of operating licenses at nuclear plants and plans for building new plants. Let’s hope nuclear power will be available to meet America’s energy needs well into the future.

Michael R. Fox, Ph.D., is a retired nuclear scientist and university chemistry professor. He is the science and energy writer/reporter for the HawaiiReport.com. A resident of Kaneohe, Hawaii, he has nearly 40 years experience in the energy field. His interests and activities in the communications of science, energy, and the environment has led to several communications awards, hundreds of speeches, and many appearances on television and talk shows. Dr. Fox is listed by the Heartland Institute as a global warming/climate change expert. He is also the Senior Fellow for Science at the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Debunking Myths To Lower Prices, Trim Emissions And Sustain Access To Energy

A new extensive report has just been released by one of our Blog Contributors: Tom Tanton. This report titled Top Ten Energy Myths offers insight into and facts on the myths that are permeated upon the public by the mainstream media. As an energy supporter, this report will give you valuable information to back up conversations you may have.

Why should you know about, understand and debunk the myths? Because, as these comments for the report's conclusion state, "Myths have consequences. Energy policy based on myths could easily curtail our energy supply, drive up prices, and even increase pollution, all without any increase in energy security. On the other hand, energy policy based on facts stands the best chance of increasing our supply, lowering prices, trimming emissions, and boosting our overall energy security. If that is their goal, policy makers, the media, and the public should reject energy myths and stick to the path of facts and reality. That way alone leads to energy abundance and security for America."

This posting is different from most of our Blog contributions in that what you see below is the press release copy that provides an overview of the study. Typically our Blog postings are shorter commentaries from noted energy experts—such as Tom Tanton. However, this report is 19 pages—a bit lengthily for this forum. We believe that once you read the overview, you’ll want to connect to the full report. The colorful document is full of charts, graphs and maps for quick reference. Print it out and pass it around!



Top Ten Energy Myths
The Pacific Research Institute, a free market think tank based in San Francisco, released a new report debunking the common myths about energy in America. Top Ten Energy Myths, by Thomas Tanton, senior fellow in Energy Studies, confronts ten popular myths about America’s energy sources, uses, and risks.

The report challenges conventional discourse about energy propagated by politicians, celebrities, and the media. Using data from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Energy Information Administration, Top Ten Energy Myths clearly outlines the types of fuel most used in the U.S.—where they come from, the risks involved, and the potential for alternative technologies.

"Contrary to common belief, new technology has greatly reduced the environmental risk of oil extraction, and renewable energies such as solar and wind will not increase our energy security," said Mr. Tanton. "There is a plethora of unexplored options for securing energy in America through domestic sources, but misled confidence in renewable technologies and increased efficiency are hampering common-sense energy policy."

The list of top ten myths in the report are:
1. Myth: Most of our energy comes from oil.
Reality: Oil represents less than 40 percent of our energy use.

2. Myth: Most of our oil comes from the Middle East.
Reality: Two-thirds of our oil comes from North America.

3. Myth: We have no choice but to import vast quantities of oil and natural gas.
Reality: The U.S. could significantly reduce imports by expanding domestic production.

4. Myth: Offshore oil production poses environmental risks.
Reality: New technology has greatly reduced the risk of oil spills. Reducing oil reservoir pressure through extraction of petroleum will decrease the amount of oil pollution from natural seepage.

5. Myth: Reducing our petroleum use through alternative energies will increase U.S. energy security.
Reality: Reducing petroleum use will first reduce domestic production, not production in unstable regions. Renewable technologies are subject to import and price security concerns as well.

6. Myth: Energy companies will not invest in clean reliable energy so we need government programs to do so.
Reality: Energy companies are investing huge sums of money to develop cleaner and more reliable sources of energy.

7. Myth: Renewable energies will soon replace most conventional energy sources.
Reality: While growing fast in percentage terms, renewable energies are a very small fraction of our energy mix and will remain so for the foreseeable future.

8. Myth: The U.S. consumes large amounts of energy and thus emits a disproportionate amount of the world’s greenhouse gases.
Reality: The U.S. uses energy and emits a large portion of the world’s emissions because it produces a large portion of the world’s goods and services.

9. Myth: Federal mandates for higher-mileage cars means less energy consumption.
Reality: Increased energy efficiency leads to increased energy use.

10. Myth: Forcing drivers to use alternative fuels will help solve global warming.
Reality: Alternative fuels do not necessarily result in lower greenhouse gas emissions.

"Energy policy must be based on facts, not myths," said Mr. Tanton. "If based on myths, energy policy could easily curtail our energy supply, drive up prices, and even increase pollution, all without an increase in energy security."

"If our goal is to lower prices, trim emissions and sustain access to energy, then policy makers, the media, and the public should reject energy myths and stick to the path of facts and reality," concluded Mr. Tanton.

Tom Tanton is a Senior Fellow with the Pacific Research Institute as well as the Principal of T2 & Associates, a firm providing consulting services to the energy and technology industries. Mr. Tanton has over 35 years experience in the energy, economy, and environmental fields.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Barrel of Oil Cost to Increase by End of 2009

With uncertainty in the air about the future cost of a barrel of oil, CARE contacted our good friend Michael J. Economides, a nationally energy analyst, to provide us with some foresight. As a regular contributor to national TV and radio programs and PhD petroleum engineer that has performed technical and managerial work in more than 70 countries; Dr. Economides has both the credibility and expertise to predict how much a barrel of oil will cost in months ahead. With both international political calculations and oil-producing nation's economic policies guiding the future price for a barrel of oil, things can get confusing sometimes and it takes an expert to provide clarity. Below is Dr. Economies's case that the cost of a barrel of oil will soon increase from $80 per barrel to $100 per barrel.

$80 oil on the way to $100 by the end of 2009
Oil has been flirting with $80 per barrel and from the start of this year I have been predicting $100 oil before the end of the year. Almost all other analysts were predicting $40 to $60 oil. I am not quite ready to declare that I was exactly right and they were wrong but it looks like increasingly so.

There are obvious and real underlying reasons for the escalating oil prices which we will expound upon below but news headlines have ruled the price of oil since at least 2004. There was no real rational economic reason for almost $150 oil (which for people with short memories may seem to have happened last century – it happened a year ago, July) nor was there any reason for below $40 oil, which happened right after the late last year "crises" such as the economic crisis, the credit crunch crisis etc. In fact had it not been for those events delegating oil announcements to the seventeenth page of newspapers, a report by the International Energy Agency in Paris last November, which showed that world oil production from operating wells has been declining by 9.1 percent per year, the largest ever, would have shot the oil price to over $200. In fact, even now, there is a lingering possibility that a strike by Israel on Iran may close the Straits of Hormuz and will shoot the price overnight to the stratosphere.

The headlines started in 2004 and included the Abu Ghraib photographs, which increased enormously the fear factor in the Middle East, the re-Sovietization of Russia’s oil industry following the assault on Yukos by then President Vladimir Putin and the re-nationalization of Venezuela’s oil industry by the Hugo Chavez government. That perfect storm of headlines created one of the most telling and repeatable events from 2004 to last year’s economic collapse. With escalating energy and energy product prices, every quarter ExxonMobil, the largest multinational oil company, would announce the biggest profits of any company in the history of the world and "Big Oil" would be in the mouth of many politicians in many countries as the devil-incarnate himself. And yet that very same day, mystifying to many people, their stock would plunge because in smaller letters they would announce that their oil production and reserves were declining. Shut out of reserves in some of the most prolific oil provinces of the world, such as Russia and Venezuela, international Big Oil was, and is, in trouble.

Recent hints of economic recovery and the price of the dollar are offered now as the reason for the oil price escalation. They are real reasons but they hide others. There should be no mistake: oil producing countries love $100 oil and they have little incentive to shoot themselves in the foot by increasing production. Neither the price escalation of the previous four years nor the oncoming one have anything to do with "peak oil". This will eventually happen but not for decades. Physically but not necessarily politically, the world can produce 130 million barrels of oil per day, compared to the current 85 million, but with proper investment and management and will.

Many of the oil producing and exporting nations are run by regimes that want the oil revenue not for technological and even business re-investment and long-term resource management but to affect other internal political and geopolitical aims.

Let’s look first at Russia. From 1998 and the admittedly imperfect privatizations that involved Yukos and Sibneft when the country produced 6 million barrels per day to 2005 when production escalated to more than 9.5 million barrels per day (almost 10% increase per year) Russia was the brightest spot in the international oil business. There was talk of increasing production to 12 million barrels per day which some Yukos executives touted as very realistic. Since then Russia has vegetated to about the same production and the tax regime and government control of the oil business can mean only one thing: imminent declining production and no incentive to do any of the spectacular things that Yukos and Sibneft became legendary for.

Venezuela is an even bigger factor, considering its oil dominance in the Western hemisphere. Before Hugo Chavez took office in 1999 Venezuela was producing 3.4 million barrels per day and there were concrete plans to increase that production by now to 6 million. Instead, after the massive firing of practically all petroleum professionals and the re-nationalization and expulsion of international oil companies, Venezuela is producing 2.6 million barrels per day, the lowest volume since the first nationalization in the 1970’s.

And of course Iraq, with a demonstrable ability to escalate its oil production to 6 million barrels per day has been languishing at 2 million. It may have been quieted down a bit but the sectarian violence is barely beneath the surface and the risks are still great. In a recent auction for oil blocks the interest by international oil companies was abjectly disappointing.

Saudi Arabia is the only country with excess production capacity, estimated at 2.5 million barrels per day, and this is a role that the country found itself once more, in the 1980s, when at the prompting of then US President Reagan it overproduced. The ensuing oil price collapse contributed greatly to the demise of the Soviet Union which depended on oil for almost all its foreign revenues. Russia today depends pretty much at the same level on oil and gas and Saudi Arabia has the capability, if it chooses, to bring enormous hardship on that and other oil producing countries. There is no evidence they will do so, considering it will bring huge hardship on them as well.

Finally, the signs of imminent Chinese exploding oil demand are already here. After phenomenal economic growth in the first seven years of this decade, oil demand was growing by annual double digits. A short-lived slowdown lasted for a few months after the dire headlines of last year’s economic crisis. But Chinese economic growth has bounced back to more than 8 percent. So did oil demand which just came in with vengeance. Last January and February, Chinese oil imports stood at 3.1 million barrels per day, compared to an average of 3.87 million barrels per day in 2008. But from March to June oil imports averaged over 4 million barrels per day and in July they jumped to an unprecedented 4.6 million barrels per day, close to a 20% increase over the average of 2008. (Source: China Customs, August 2009.) This level of imports inch towards the two-thirds of total demand that the United States has been experiencing.

All signs point that oil is on its way to $100 very soon and it will not stop there.

Prof. Michael J. Economides, University of Houston and also Editor-in-Chief Energy Tribune Houston, TX.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Will America Run Out of Oil?

Most Americans live hectic lives and don’t have time in their day to pay attention to news reports about “peak oil”. But would more people pay attention to the supply of oil if the price for a gallon of gas at the pump skyrocketed in the near future? You bet!

Is there an oncoming energy crisis to be caused by peak oil production? Will global oil production become stagnant due to international political strife? Will humanity experience a global oil shock by the year 2012? Our CARE blog contributor and former conference call guest Byron King from the Whiskey and Gunpowder (an investment newsletter) thinks so. While we at CARE don’t necessarily agree, or disagree, with Byron King’s viewpoint on "peak oil," he offers a noteworthy perspective on the situation. You’ll want to note that he writes from an investment perspective.

Peak at 85 Million Barrels of Oil a Day
Eighty-five million barrels a day. That’s the most that can be produced. So when recession causes a temporary decrease in world consumption, it can seem like those 85 million barrels are enough. But consumption is bound to resume its upward climb, while those 85 million barrels a day are all we get. The day of reckoning has just been delayed for a little bit.

"Can’t we get more than 85 million barrels?" some folks are bound to wonder. Let’s look into that.

Those Stubborn "Peak" Curves
This week I was in Denver, attending the 2009 conference of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas (ASPO). Despite all the happy talk in the Big Media about how the oil situation is under control, I assure you that the oil situation is NOT under control.

The market meltdown and world recession of the past year has bought some time, or stolen some time may be a better way of saying it. All the "peak" curves are still out there, but are merely adjusted a bit to the right on the timelines.

As Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant R. Lee Ermey likes to say on the television show Mail Call, "Wipe that smile off your face." We’re staring at an energy problem that’s coming down the tracks like a runaway freight train. It’s just astonishing that more people don’t appreciate the looming impact of Peak Oil.

Meanwhile, the politicians are fooling around with the health care issue. Hmmm... I have some news for them. If you screw up energy, health care isn’t going to matter very much.

Oil Output Not Increasing
It might be a comforting thought to believe that world oil output can increase. Indeed, many policymakers in the U.S. and Europe apparently dream themselves to sleep at night pondering how the current oil volume of about 85 million barrels per day could move upward to, say, 95 million barrels per day — "if only the world oil industry were more efficient."

Yeah, right. Except the global oil industry is not that model of dreamland efficiency. Sure, there are some bright spots. The big internationals like Exxon Mobil, Chevron, BP, Shell, etc. are good. There are some really good state oil firms like Brazil’s Petrobras and Norway’s StatoilHydro. Saudi Aramco is outstanding. These guys are all doing great work to keep the world’s pipelines and tankers filled.

But much of the rest of the world’s oil industry lacks the knack for capital discipline and crisp project execution. Venezuela’s oil industry is a basket case, what with the Chavez-led nationalizations and mass firings of recent years. Output is falling in Venezuela, and this from a nation with among the largest hydrocarbon reserves anywhere in the world.

Mexico’s national firm, Pemex, is nothing but a piggy bank for the politicians, who suck most of the investment capital away from the oil patch and into their own boondoggles. Thus is Pemex walking off a cliff of underinvestment, depletion and decline. According to Matt Simmons, Pemex may not be exporting any oil at all to the U.S. within 18-24 months.

Iran’s oil industry is in a slow death spiral, despite the occasional report of Chinese assistance with field development. Apparently, there’s a "Twitter Revolution" going on in Iran that includes people at the grass roots impeding the oil industry. Well, it worked to depose the Shah back in 1979. Perhaps the Iranians can rid themselves of their mullahs in a similar way.

Next door in Iraq, chaos reigns. According to Matt Simmons, the Iraqis "are in the dark about how to run their oil industry." The Iraqi oil legislation is so burdensome that almost all players within the international energy industry are spurning Iraq, including the Chinese. Wow. When the Chinese won’t invest in your oil fields, there MUST be something wrong.

And so it goes. The bottom line is that we should expect a global oil shock by 2012, or earlier if global economic activity kicks into high gear. It should go without saying that despite any calamities that may come from such a thing, you would be very happy if you’d taken advantage of lower oil prices to stock up.

Byron King--Prior to joining Whiskey and Gunpowder, Byron received his Juris Doctor from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, was a cum laude graduate of Harvard University, served on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations and as a field historian with the Navy. Our resident energy and oil expert, Byron is the editor of Outstanding Investments and Energy and Scarcity Investor.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Rare Earth Elements: Vital to Strengthening America’s Economy/Security

Following the publication of the commentary “Happy Talk on Green Jobs” and in conversations surrounding the topic, CARE’s executive director, Marita Noon, is often asked a question, “What are rare earths?” Rare earth elements such as lanthanum, cerium, and many others of are of great importance to the energy sector of our economy and are vital to preserving America’s national security interests. The green energy revolution that environmentalists advocate is impossible to achieve without a secure supply of rare earth elements. REEs are used in the construction of wind turbines, hybrid vehicles, and emerging energy technologies. REEs are also vital to our national security, such as in the construction of jet fighter engines, missile guidance systems, underwater mine detectors, space-based satellite power plants, and military communication systems. And here’s the scary part--China controls 95% of the world’s REE production and environmental extremists are repeatedly blocking American companies from mining efforts that would allow reaching the REEs that we need to keep America free and prosperous. This is an energy issue and a national security issue. Found in one of our favorite sources, Whiskey and Gunpower (an investment newsletter) we discovered a good overview of Rare Earths and the current situation. Most of our posting from Whiskey and Gunpowder come from their Energy Editor Byron King, but this posting introduces a new writer: Doug Hornig.

Why All the Fuss Over Rare Earths?
Rare earth elements (REEs) have been the mystery metals of the mining world for years. Now, suddenly, everyone’s heard about them.

Before we delve into the reasons behind all the publicity, here’s the basic skinny on REEs: One, they are rare, at least sort of. Two, they are indispensable to modern technology. Three, the number of active, dedicated producers is tiny, with more than 90% of the world’s supply coming from China.

If you took high school chemistry, you probably remember the periodic table of the elements. But if you’re like most of us, even if you pulled a 95 on the chem final, you may not recall many of the details today. And there’s a better than even chance you never bothered to memorize the names of the REEs. It’s time to get reacquainted.

They’re generally clustered in a separate grouping at the bottom of the table, are known collectively as the lanthanoids, and these are their names, in order of atomic number (57-70): lanthanum, cerium, praseodymium, neodymium, promethium, samarium, europium, gadolinium, terbium, dysprosium, holmium, erbium, thulium, and ytterbium. Yttrium (39) and lutetium (71) are also sometimes included.

Need to Know, Point 1: Rarity
Fact is, we begin with something of a misnomer. These elements are not, strictly speaking, rare. Earth’s crust is full of them. True, they’re not as common as iron, carbon, or silicon, but are about on a par with nickel, copper, and zinc. Even the scarcest is way more abundant than gold, platinum, or palladium.

What is rare about them is that they’re widely dispersed. Very seldom are they found in economically exploitable deposits. Complicating matters further is that there are so many of them, and they clump together. They have to be separated first from the ore and then from each other.

Thus REE production comes primarily from other mines’ byproducts. The miner strips off the metal he’s really after, then sends the REE clusters to a specialty refiner.

Need to Know, Point 2: Applications
It’s safe to say that life as we know it would be very different without the REEs. The more our technological accomplishments pile atop one another, the more crucial these metals become. Because of their unique properties, there are generally no substitutes for them.

Of all the REEs, the one people may have heard of is neodymium. Alloys containing it have revolutionized permanent magnet technology, allowing miniaturization of all sorts of electronic components in appliances, A/V equipment, computers, communication systems, and military gear. Your hard drive probably has neodymium in it. So does your DVD player.

Liquid crystal displays depend on europium. Fiber-optic cables can’t function without erbium. Virtually all specialty glass products, from mirrors to precision lenses, are polished with cerium oxide. Several REEs are essential constituents of both petroleum fluid cracking catalysts and auto emissions-control catalytic converters. Half a dozen REEs go into the manufacture of the energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs that will soon be mandatory. Lanthanum-nickel-hydride rechargeable batteries are replacing older ones based on lead or cadmium. And no REEs, no electric cars. Nor next-generation wind turbines.

That’s only a partial list. But what makes REEs an increasingly sensitive topic is their role in national defense. Here are a few small items that have become dependent on them: jet fighter engines, missile guidance systems, underwater mine detectors, range finders, space-based satellite power plants, and military communications systems.

Think the Pentagon is very, very interested in maintaining a steady REE supply?

Need to Know, Point 3: Supply
95% of the world’s REE production originates in China. If you’re looking for reasons why we’re so nice to the premier Communist power left standing, this is a biggie.

We weren’t always so dependent. Not long ago, mines such as Mountain Pass in California made us nearly self-sufficient in REEs. But in the early ‘90s, China flooded the market with cheaper product, until it had driven all of its competitors out of business.

Today, Mountain Pass is being revived, but the start-up of an old mine is a lengthy and costly process. There are also some from-scratch REE development projects under way in the U.S., as well as Canada and Australia. But for the moment, China holds the hand with all of the high cards in it.

Forget your hard drive. Forget 11th-grade chemistry experiments. This is a national security issue. The American government cannot afford to lose that supply source, period. Maybe someday, but not now.And that’s what’s behind the recent furor over these obscure elements. Because China threatened just that, a cutoff. The one thing that really gets Washington’s knickers in a twist. In August, the story broke in the mainstream press. Sources in China leaked news of a draft copy of a report from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. It allegedly calls for a total export ban on five of the rare earths, with the rest restricted to a combined export quota of 35,000 metric tons a year, far below annual global consumption of 125,000 tons, and rising fast.

This doesn’t look like a move they’d follow through on, if only because of the lost trade revenues. And it’s only a recommendation; final approval rests with China’s State Council. But consider it an opening shot across our bow, if you wish. Or perhaps they’re telling us they need their REEs for the domestic economy, and we’d best go find our own supplies. Either way, the scramble is on to find alternatives.

That could backfire. REE prices and demand were already dropping last fall as the recession deepened, and China maintains a decided competitive advantage beyond control of supply: lax environmental standards (many REEs are highly toxic). Thus the new companies could spend the fortunes required to come on line, only to find themselves victims of yet another market glut engineered by the Chinese. Still, these metals are so important, it wouldn’t surprise us if the U.S. government subsidized domestic production, rather than risk a squeeze.

The Market
The market took due notice of the China story, driving the stocks of Western REE producers, and would-be producers, nearly straight up. Since late August, Avalon Rare Metals has gained 120%, Arafura Resources is up 75%, Rare Element Resources has added 72%, and Lynas Corp. is 50% higher (China, ever the master strategist, exploited the credit crisis to grab 25% of Arafura and more than 50% of Lynas). Lurking in the background is Molycorp, the private company redeveloping Mountain Pass. It’s planning an IPO that may well come out of the gate red hot.

With market action this frantic, the sector is on the frothy side at the moment. The heady market caps being awarded to these companies are obviously not based on fundamentals, and a savvy investor takes care not to get caught on the wrong side of a bubble.

Even though the Chinese export ban may never materialize, the ever-growing need for REEs is dead serious. And while the current bubble may pop any day, the long-term prospects for successful miners are outstanding.


Doug Hornig--A former Edgar Award nominee, finalist for the Virginia Prize in both fiction and poetry, and a past winner of the Virginia Governor’s Screenwriting competition, Doug Hornig lives on 30 mountainous acres in a county that just got its first stop light. He is an admitted political junkie, but hates all political parties. Doug has authored 10 books and has written articles for BusinessWeek and other renowned publications. In addition he produces original analysis for Casey Research.

Friday, October 2, 2009

An Informed Voter's Opinions on Cap and Trade

Typically here at Comments About Responsible Energy, we feature opinions, current energy news, and have made available a cadre of experts who willingly share their insights with us. Upon reading, you are invited to add you comments or questions.

In the CARE Newsletter, The PowerLine, we frequently post questions from the “audience”—either an audience member from one of Marita’s speaking engagements or something that comes in via e-mail in response to the newsletter. We solicit the answer from an appropriate expert and post both the question and answer there.

But this posting is different. It is from a CARE Newsletter Reader and it does have questions. And we are inviting our various experts to comment on it. But we’ve chosen to post this piece here in the Blog because we think the author’s comments and questions may reflect some of what you are thinking. We invite you—expert or not—to respond to the thoughts and questions posted here. Tell Criss where she is right—or where she is off base. If you know the answers to her questions, please offer your insights.


My feelings on cap and trade can best be expressed by the following:
The root purpose of the Cap and Trade bill appears to me to be reducing greenhouse emissions and steer the U.S. away from fossil fuel dependency; the ultimate goal being reducing the emissions by 20% by the year 2020. It accomplishes this via various taxes, surcharges, fines and the like and then distributing these funds to the development and deployment of “renewable” energy sources.

When I look at gas, oil and coal I realize that they give us electrical energy, transportation/shipping fuel and a ton of by-products like: plastic, herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, more than 50% of all our composite materials, including fabrics, air and water filters and even pencils. Until recently these fossil fuels have been the most cost effective sources of these energy needs. We humans have known, consciously, as a whole, that these fuels put poisons into our air, water and soil. We have also been aware that they kill humans since at least the 1800’s. No government taxes in any country developed or made available these fuels and all their various uses to the masses, rather free enterprise did that. Governments did not really get involved until it was admitted just how deadly these poisons from burning these fuels can be. IE: There were thousands of deaths from these poisons. Also all three of these fuel sources are an earth resource. They are finite as far as we humans are concerned because it takes the earth millions if not billions of years to produce them. Worldwide consumption rates to these fuels are increasing each year. This means eventually they will become consumed to extinction. We humans currently, nor in the near future, have a way to make our own version of these fuels, en mass, quickly and cost efficiently.

I do not want to put any more poisons into our air, water and soil. So any replacement energy source will need to be cleaner than our existing ones. Nor do I want to rely on another finite earth resource for energy as eventually that too will be consumed to extinction. So they should be as renewable as possible. Nor do I want to have the new energy source to be more dangerous than any existing fuel source to harvest, refine, distribute and burn or utilize and dispose of in any way. Nor do I want to be charged to develop these new energy sources or to put these new sources into production. I believe that the private enterprise sector should do that. And the new sources must be at least as cost effective as the existing energy sources.

The existing alternatives to gas, coal and oil are hydro, solar, wind, geo-thermal and nuclear.

I rule nuclear out because it is based on another finite earth resource--uranium, which is rarer than gas, oil or coal. Rarer than diamonds. Plus it has some safety and security issues that have yet to be resolved. The large plants are almost as cost effective as existing gas, coal and oil, but the cost of safety and security make it uneconomical. Then there is the fact that it only addresses, on a large scale, just one energy need--electrical. It does not address transportation, other than large sea vessels, nor does it address all the by-products. Its safety and security issues also means that additional poisons can and have been, released into either or our air, water or soil. And radiation poison scares me as much as any other natural or man-made disaster or poison, if not more so.

I rule out solar and wind because again they only address electrical energy and do not address transportation or by-product. Yes there is some research to use electrical airplanes, but the successful ones so far are for one or two people and not mass transit or cargo. And yes we do have some electrical vehicles, but they too are not ready for economical en mass deployment (being small they are a safety risk to occupants up against say a dump truck, nor do they have the oomph to plow thru a snow drift). When implemented for large scale electrical production there are some environmental issues and they are not as cost effective as gas, coal and oil production plants in our current business economic model (mega bucks, mega profits, mega quickly). Although, these are very good and cost effective on a small non-commercial production scale, so much so that the energy companies are doing everything in their power to push the price up and they must perceive this as a threat to their mega bucks.

I rule out hydro energy as again this is mostly electrical energy and has some safety and security issues of its own to be resolved. Mainly concerning the dams themselves. They disrupt the natural flow and ecosystems of the river they are implemented on and there is the risk of dam failure which could result in deaths from flooding. Nor does hydro address all the by-products. They are however almost as cost effective as gas, coal and oil without the poisons.

I rule out geo-thermal as they only address electrical and are not quite as cost effective as our existing gas, coal and oil, very close but not quite. Nor do they address transportation and by-products.

My research also indicates that if the U.S. achieved its Cap and Trade Bill goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020, the actual result worldwide would be barely over 1%. If all the other countries of the world did the same and reduced by 20% by 2020 the overall worldwide lowering of greenhouse gases in the air would still be in the single percentage points, almost double digit, but single.

Then there is my opinion that physiologically it does not induce or entice people to reduce and conserve their existing fossil fuel usage. Yes it does tax and fine or surcharge if we do not lower our consumption but it does so in a very negative way and not a positive way. Philologists have long been proponents of the quickest and longest lasting behavior changes occur thru positive reinforcement and not negative. IE: Give people a tax break if they lower their consumption (individual or company), taxes stay the same if they stay at the same level as today and then taxes go to a higher percentage rate if they increase consumption over today.

When I compare this research information against the bill, the bill does not address my requirements or priorities. It charges (taxes, fines, surcharges) me to make drastic changes to the U.S. greenhouse gas emissions but does not result in an overall reduction worldwide that is beneficial to humans, et al verses the cost of doing so. Nor does it address finding, developing and deploying en mass cost effective replacements to the electrical, transportation and by-product needs to get off coal, gas and oil. Nor does it address the issue of how to use our existing energy sources more effectively and cost efficiently. And last but not least it does not address the energy infrastructure which is over 50 years old, is falling down around our feet and looses approximately 20-30% of the energy we currently produce via transmission and conversion from AC to DC and DC to AC losses. We need a suite of replacements and no one alternative available today accomplishes enough to charge me to death for their deployment.

I am against the cap and trade bill as it exists today because it basically accomplishes nothing but charges the crap out of me.

My "debate" questions are really asking why everyone seems to be debating the disputed facts concerning greenhouse gas emissions and not zeroing in on the real issues:

Oil, Coal, Gas and Uranium are finite earth resources and will eventually become extinct. Doesn't really matter when they get used up, they will be used up and the longer we take to reduce or eliminate our use of them the faster they will be used up.

Other than people with a suicide wish--I doubt there is anyone who wants more poisons in our air, water or land. So cutting greenhouse gases is not really the issue--cutting all poison emissions is the real issue.

Our energy infrastructure or GRID is so old it is falling down around us. Just putting a computer program on it to re-route surges and drops does not fix this aspect. We need a new, more efficient and cost effective TRUE SMART GRID. We need to stop loosing energy we currently produce to transmission and energy type conversion as well as the physical aspects of the power lines being just too old and tired to keep up with today’s demands.

We need replacements for our electrical energy needs, our transportation (personal and bulk) energy needs and we need replacements for all the by-products that existing fossil fuels, particularly oil and coal, now give us.

Our current US Business Economic Model for Mega Bucks, Mega Profits, Mega Quickly (instead of just bucks, profits and quick) are killing research, development and deployment of any true changes to our existing mass energy systems and enterprises that can get us off these dang blasted finite earth resource fuels.

Our current US Government and energy businesses seem to think that we the American Citizens should pay for this development and deployment of new sources and fixes through taxes, fines, surcharges and debasement of our dollars. Sorry but they created the problem, it was not just us citizens, this needs to be free enterprise.

There seems to be an avoidance of the fact that NONE of the existing alternatives to coal, gas and oil will FIX our true energy issues or the environmental ones either and no one wants to go broke via any means to pay for the fix either. So why do we keep debating all this other crap instead of really brain storming for ideas to fix this mess?

Criss--An Independent, Informed Voter

Monday, September 14, 2009

How many Americans Will Follow Obama’s Leadership On Climate Change?

We here at CARE noticed (perhaps you did too) that President Obama repeatedly states, “Few challenges facing America—and the world—are more urgent than combating climate change,” and that “We will make it clear that America is ready to lead."

Building upon the work of CARE Blog contributor Paul Driessen, we’ve decided to raise some questions: How many Americans will support a 1400-page energy and climate bill that will create a trillion-dollar cap-trade-and-tax industry? How many Americans will follow the leadership of a man who is working hard to ensure that energy and food costs “necessarily skyrocket,” killing jobs, and imposing an all-intrusive Green Nanny State? How many Americans are willing to point an economic gun to the heads of their neighbors and to pull the trigger during this economic downturn?

These questions have serious implications and we encourage our readers to delve further into the issue with our friend Paul Driessen.


Leader of None
"Few challenges facing America--and the world--are more urgent than combating climate change," President Obama has asserted. "We will make it clear that America is ready to lead."

The President and Al Gore are certainly ready to lead. But how many will follow?

Even in America, and certainly on the world stage, the two increasingly look like Don Quixote and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza. As they tilt for windmills, and against a "monstrous giant of infamous repute"--climate disasters conjured up by computer models and Hollywood special effects masters--their erstwhile followers are making politically correct noises, but running for the hills.

The House of Representatives passed a 1400-page energy and climate bill - by a razor-thin margin, and only after Nancy Pelosi and Henry Waxman packed it with enough last-minute deals to protect favored congressional districts, buy votes, and curry favor with assorted special interests. Not one legislator actually read the bill--which would create a trillion-dollar cap-trade-and-tax industry, ensure that energy and food costs "necessarily skyrocket," kill jobs, and impose an all-intrusive Green Nanny State.

Republicans want to control what people do in their bedrooms, insists the old canard. Democrats, it appears, want to dictate what we do everywhere outside of our bedrooms. And Sancho Gore wants to become the world's first global warming billionaire, by selling climate indulgences, aka carbon offsets.

The reaction has been predictable--by anyone except House and White House czars and czarinas.

Citizens are livid over yet another attempt to use a purported crisis to justify further expanding the government and spending billions more tax dollars for alarmist research, activism and propaganda, just ahead of the Copenhagen climate conference. Global warming continues to rank dead-last in Pew Research and other polls that actually list it as an issue. Rasmussen puts the President's approval ratings at 46% and falling. Zogby reports that 57% of Americans oppose cap-and-trade bills.

Manufacturing states, which get 60-98% of their electricity from coal, worry that the only thing they'll export in ten years will be jobs. Democrat senators from those states worry that the energy and climate issue will be "toxic for them during midterm elections," says Politico magazine.

Even companies that had eagerly sought seats at the negotiating table are now gagging. ConocoPhillips, Caterpillar and others finally realize that cap-and-tax will severely penalize them and their customers.

Not even the climate is cooperating. Outside of Dallas, 2009 has brought some of coldest summer days on record across the US. Near freezing temperatures nipped at crops, and gas heaters were sine qua non at an August 29 outdoor wedding in Wisconsin. The Farmers Almanac predicts a brutal 2009-2010 winter.

In Europe, every longitude has a platitude about saving the planet. But EU countries that agreed to slash greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels are well above their Kyoto Protocol targets - Austria by 30% and Spain by 37% as of 2008. And despite new commitments to cut emissions 40 years from now, you don't need tarot cards or entrails to predict the more probable EU emissions future.

Germany plans to build 27 coal-fired electrical generating plants by 2020. Italy plans to double its reliance on coal in just five years. Europe as a whole will have 40 new coal-fired power plants by 2015, columnist Alan Caruba reports. The Polish Academy of Sciences has publicly challenged manmade global warming disaster hypotheses. And only 11% of Czech citizens believe rising carbon dioxide emissions caused global temperatures to climb 1975-1998--and also caused them to rise 1915-1940, fall 1940-1975, then stabilize and decline again 1998-2009.
Australia just voted down punitive global warming legislation. New Zealand has put its emissions-bashing program in a deep freeze.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's top economic aid bluntly dismissed any talk of following President Obama's quixotic lead. "We won't sacrifice economic growth for the sake of emission reduction," he told reporters at the July 2009 G8 meeting.

Chinese and Indian leaders are equally adamant. China is playing a smart hand in this high-stakes climate poker game, drawing up plans to combat global warming sometime in the future, and gradually improve its energy efficiency and pollution control. However, it is building a new coal-fired power plant every week and putting millions of new cars on its growing network of highways.

So is India, which will double its coal-based electricity generation and produce millions of Tata and other affordable cars by 2020. "India will not accept any binding emission-reduction target, period," Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has stated. "This is a non-negotiable stand."

India and China have a "complete convergence" of views on these matters, Ramesh added. No wonder: 400 million Indians still do not have electricity; 500 million Chinese still do not.

No electricity means no refrigeration, to keep food and medicines from spoiling. It means no water purification, to reduce baby-killing intestinal diseases. No modern heating and air conditioning, to reduce hypothermia in winter, heat stroke in summer, and lung disease year-round. It means no lights or computers, no modern offices, factories, schools, shops, clinics or hospitals.

Fossil fuels are "gradually eliminating poverty in the Third world," observes UCLA economist Deepak Lal. Any call to curb carbon emissions would "condemn billions to continued poverty. While numerous Western do-gooders shed crocodile tears about the Third World's poor, they are willing to prevent them from taking the only feasible current route out from this abject state" - oil, gas, coal, nuclear and hydroelectric energy development. The situation is intolerable, unsustainable, lethal and immoral.

The only way India and China would agree to cut their emissions is if the United States cut its emissions 40% by 2020, says Ramesh - back to 1959 levels and pre-JFK living standards, when the US population was 179 million (versus 306 million today). No way will that happen. So Asian energy and economic development will continue apace. And rightly so, to foster human rights and environmental justice.

All is not bleak, however, for Canute Obama's impossible dream of controlling global temperatures.

British politicians remain committed to slashing CO2 emissions and replacing hydrocarbons with wind power. Unfortunately, the biggest UK wind projects have been abandoned or put on indefinite hold--and a growing demand/supply imbalance portends still higher energy prices, widespread power cuts, rolling blackouts and energy rationing, the Daily Telegraph reported on August 31. Brits may soon trade their stiff upper lips for contentious town hall meetings and ballot-box revolution.

The Democratic Party of Japan's landslide victory in the August 30 election will likely create a new coalition government tilted strongly to the left. The DJP has pledged to cut carbon dioxide gas emissions 25% below 1990 levels by 2020 - though this will likely strangle economic growth and job creation, especially if one coalition partner's opposition to nuclear power becomes DJP policy.

Then there is Africa, where leaders appear ready to support curbs on energy use--in exchange for up to $300 billion per year in additional foreign aid, "to cushion the impact of global warming." That will be nice for their private bank accounts, but less so for Africa's 750 million people who still don't have electricity. Those people will simply be sacrificed, to prevent natural or fictitious climate disasters.

Of course, the real goal was never to control the climate. It was always to control energy use, lives, jobs, economies, transportation and housing--and usher in a new era of high tax global governance. The American people are increasingly saying they're not ready to grant that power to Obama Gore & Company.


Paul Driessen is author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power ∙ Black death (http://www.eco-imperialism.com/) and senior policy advisor for the Congress of Racial Equality and Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, whose new book (Freezing in the Dark) reveals how environmental pressure groups raise money and promote policies that restrict energy development and hurt poor families.