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Green and Free Market solutions
Topic: Green and Free Market solutions (Read 2156 times)
Green and Free Market solutions
September 22, 2011, 08:37:26 AM »
Green Tea Party
By TERRY L. ANDERSON
As the presidential campaign heats up, it would be nice to see some environmental leadership. Unfortunately, neither political party is providing it. Democrats keep throwing money and regulations at environmental problems, and Republicans keep arguing that a focus on jobs and the economy must trump environmental protection.
It is time for a movement that brings environmental quality through economic prosperity. It's time for a Green Tea Party.
The GTP would not be for you if you think increasing Washington bureaucracy budgets will produce a cleaner environment. Since 1980, the Environmental Protection Agency's inflation-adjusted budget has been relatively flat, but air and water quality have improved. Most improvements came through cost-saving technologies in the private sector, not regulations.
.The GTP's platform would be that only prosperity and incentives can drive environmental improvements. The first plank: Wealthier is healthier. From the U.S. to the former Soviet Union, data show that economic growth is necessary for environmental improvement, not its enemy. Such growth requires a strong private sector, not more federal spending and red tape. The second plank: Incentives matter. The GTP would use a carrot instead of the regulatory stick to improve environmental quality, and let energy markets and prices dictate energy sources. A replacement for fossil fuels will be found only when entrepreneurs can make a profit from cheaper, cleaner and more efficient energy.
The Obama administration has spent billions on alternative energy ostensibly to create jobs and improve the environment, but it hasn't been able to pick winners. The now-bankrupt solar company, Solyndra, received subsidies of $535 million and only had 1,500 employees. Subsidized ethanol production encourages the destruction of wetlands and increases the use of pesticides and herbicides. Wind turbines disrupt bird flight paths, and solar farms are unsightly.
Here are a few GTP environmental policies that make economic and common sense because they rely on market forces to discover what works:
• The GTP would make land management agencies such as the Forest Service, Park Service and Bureau of Land Management turn a profit on the federal estate. With lands worth trillions of dollars, there is no excuse for continually adding red ink to the federal deficit. Yet between 2006 and 2008, the Forest Service lost an average of $3.58 billion per year. Moreover, an estimated 39 million acres are at risk of catastrophic wildfire and another six million are dying from insect infestation, much of which is due to environmental lawsuits that prevent agencies from cutting trees.
In contrast, between 1998 and 2005, the Salish-Kootenai Confederated Tribes in Montana earned $2.04 for each dollar they spent on tribal forests—because trees from their healthy forests command higher prices and keep administrative costs down. All this while maintaining an endangered-species habitat and improving water quality. The GTP would require federal land management agencies either to earn a profit or to turn the land over to state agencies, tribes, companies or environmental groups with a record of sound fiscal and environmental stewardship.
• The GTP would tap water markets instead of tapping the U.S. Treasury. For decades, agencies such as the Bureau of Reclamation and the Corps of Engineers have subsidized housing by providing free flood protection and water treatment, and below-cost irrigation and hydropower. These agencies have made water cheaper than dirt while ignoring environmental impacts such as dams that prevent salmon from spawning, and toxic irrigation runoff. Water markets would make consumers face the full cost, including the environmental cost, thus reducing the demand for water and providing more revenue for deteriorating infrastructure, such as water treatment plants.
• The GTP would establish tradable catch shares to halt the decline of ocean fisheries. Where such shares—essentially, fishing rights—have been implemented, as in the Alaska halibut fishery, season lengths have increased, costs have declined, fish quality has increased and profits have risen. The Journal of Sustainable Development recently reported that "the federal deficit could be decreased by an estimated $890 million to $1.24 billion . . . if 36 of the 44 federal U.S. fisheries adopted catch shares."
It is not enough to strut your stuff in clothes made of recycled materials while driving your hybrid to an environmental protest. And environmental quality cannot be bought simply by throwing more tax dollars and regulations at problems. The GTP would serve environmental quality, budget cuts and economic prosperity.
Mr. Anderson, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, is executive director of the Property and Environment Research Center in Bozeman, Mont.
Last Edit: April 01, 2014, 10:44:27 AM by Crafty_Dog
Re: Green Free Market solutions
Reply #1 on:
September 23, 2011, 12:09:50 PM »
I thought Cain had a great night last night in the debate, but his comment about abolishing the EPA in my opinion in political terms was profoundly stupid. It plays right into some of the deepest fears independents have about the Republican Party.
Re: Green Free Market solutions
Reply #2 on:
September 26, 2011, 10:52:14 AM »
"I thought Cain had a great night last night in the debate, but his comment about abolishing the EPA in my opinion in political terms was profoundly stupid. It plays right into some of the deepest fears independents have about the Republican Party."
The EPA should stay, the department of energy should go. The only interest the government has in stopping energy production is to place reasonable protections for the environment, the jurisdiction of the EPA. I believe all states have their own EPA, ours is the PCA - Pollution Control Agency. The role of the EPA should be to monitor and review these state agencies for errors and omissions that are wrongfully allowing spillage over into other states, and then report that information back to the congress for necessary federal action.
Pickens: I was wrong, private sector can do the job
Reply #3 on:
September 07, 2012, 12:06:25 PM »
Natural Gas Proponent Concedes Private Sector Can Do the Job
It wasn't too long ago that the "Pickens Plan" was all the rage among alternative energy buffs. Simply put, energy investor T. Boone Pickens wanted the federal government to subsidize the conversion of America's automotive fleet to natural gas power through tax credits while simultaneously financing the generation of electricity by wind power rather than through natural gas-burning power plants.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the Pickens Plan -- the private sector began moving in the direction of switching over from diesel fuel to less expensive natural gas, at least for large truck fleets. Moreover, Pickens concedes, "I've lost my [rear]" on wind-energy investments. With those things in mind, Pickens stated last week that he's no longer going to back the NAT GAS Act in Congress, a proposal that was going nowhere fast anyway despite nearly 180 co-sponsors.
Much has changed in the four years since the Pickens Plan was introduced, as natural gas became more plentiful thanks to new technology while wind power began falling from favor with investors once government subsidies dried up. Given that the price advantage of natural gas is now about $2 over a gallon of diesel fuel, shrewd companies are seeing the opportunity and making the investments in natural gas pumping stations and retrofitting engines themselves. That's the type of plan with which we can all prosper.
POTH: Auctions intro market forces to conservation
Reply #4 on:
December 02, 2012, 08:22:17 PM »
POTH reacts predictably.
POTH: Irish carbon tax
Reply #5 on:
December 28, 2012, 09:44:33 AM »
As frequently noted in the Tax thread, what you tax more you get less of. So why not tax what you don't want (e.g. pollution) and don't tax what you do want (income, profit, savings, jobs, etc.)? By so doing the pricing mechanism of it all will inform us as to how much pollution we are willing to have. Very, very unfortunately, this concept seems to embraced by the Left without the part about cutting taxes on good things in equal measure.
By ELISABETH ROSENTHAL
Published: December 27, 2012
DUBLIN — Over the last three years, with its economy in tatters, Ireland embraced a novel strategy to help reduce its staggering deficit: charging households and businesses for the environmental damage they cause.
The government imposed taxes on most of the fossil fuels used by homes, offices, vehicles and farms, based on each fuel’s carbon dioxide emissions, a move that immediately drove up prices for oil, natural gas and kerosene. Household trash is weighed at the curb, and residents are billed for anything that is not being recycled.
The Irish now pay purchase taxes on new cars and yearly registration fees that rise steeply in proportion to the vehicle’s emissions.
Environmentally and economically, the new taxes have delivered results. Long one of Europe’s highest per-capita producers of greenhouse gases, with levels nearing those of the United States, Ireland has seen its emissions drop more than 15 percent since 2008.
Although much of that decline can be attributed to a recession, changes in behavior also played a major role, experts say, noting that the country’s emissions dropped 6.7 percent in 2011 even as the economy grew slightly.
“We are not saints like those Scandinavians — we were lapping up fossil fuels, buying bigger cars and homes, very American,” said Eamon Ryan, who was Ireland’s energy minister from 2007 to 2011. “We just set up a price signal that raised significant revenue and changed behavior. Now, we’re smashing through the environmental targets we set for ourselves.”
By contrast, carbon taxes are viewed as politically toxic in the United States. Republican leaders in Congress have pledged to block any proposal for such a tax, and President Obama has not advocated one, although the idea has drawn support from economists of varying ideologies.
Yet when the Irish were faced with new environmental taxes, they quickly shifted to greener fuels and cars and began recycling with fervor. Automakers like Mercedes found ways to make powerful cars with an emissions rating as low as tinier Nissans. With less trash, landfills closed. And as fossil fuels became more costly, renewable energy sources became more competitive, allowing Ireland’s wind power industry to thrive.
Even more significantly, revenue from environmental taxes has played a crucial role in helping Ireland reduce a daunting deficit by several billion euros each year.
The three-year-old carbon tax has raised nearly one billion euros ($1.3 billion) over all, including 400 million euros in 2012. That provided the Irish government with 25 percent of the 1.6 billion euros in new tax revenue it needed to narrow its budget gap this year and avert a rise in income tax rates.
The International Monetary Fund, which oversees the rescue plan, recently suggested that Ireland should “expand the well-designed carbon tax” and its automobile taxes to generate even more money.
Although first proposed by the Green Party, the environmental taxes enjoy the support of all major political parties “because it puts a lot of money on the table,” said Frank Convery, an economist at University College Dublin. The bailout plan for 2013 requires Ireland to embrace a mix of new tax revenues and spending cuts.
Not everyone is happy. The prices of basic commodities like gasoline and heating oil have risen 5 to 10 percent. This is particularly hard on the poor, although the government has provided subsidies for low-income families to better insulate homes, for example. And industries complain that the higher prices have made it harder for them to compete outside Ireland.
“Prices just keep going up, and a lot of people think it’s a scam,” said Imelda Lyons, 45, as she filled her car at a gas station here. “You call it a carbon tax, but what good is being done with it to help the environment?”
The coalition government that enacted the taxes was voted out of office last year. “Just imagine President Obama saying in the debate, ‘I’ve got this great idea, but it’s going to increase your gasoline price,’ ” said Mr. Ryan, who lost his seat in the last election and now leads the Green Party. “People didn’t exactly cheer us on.”
A recent report estimated that a modest carbon tax in the United States that increased incrementally over time could generate about $1.25 trillion in revenue from 2012 to 2022, reducing the 10-year deficit by 50 percent, based on projections from the Congressional Budget Office.
Page 2 of 2)
“I think most economists — on the right and the left — think a carbon tax is a good idea,” said Aparna Mathur, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative research group that held a daylong seminar on carbon taxes in November. Some economists estimate that a carbon tax could raise $400 billion annually in the United States, she said. But the issue remains a nonstarter in the American political arena. even though Gilbert Metcalf, the Obama administration’s deputy assistant Treasury secretary for environment and energy, long promoted carbon taxes as a Tufts University economist.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute, a conservative advocacy group, has even filed a Freedom of Information suit seeking the release of Treasury Department e-mails containing the word “carbon” to make sure that nothing is in the works. Like many other economists, Dr. Metcalf has argued that carbon taxation is preferable to government regulation or cap-and-trade systems because it sets a straightforward price on greenhouse gas emissions and is relatively hard to evade.
Although carbon taxes in some ways disproportionately affect the poor — who are less able to buy new, more efficient cars, for example — such taxes do heavily penalize the wealthy, who consume far more. As with “sin taxes” on cigarettes, the taxes also alleviate some of the societal costs of pollution.
For several years, the European Commission has encouraged debt-ridden members of the European Union to embrace environmental taxes, saying that its economists have concluded they have “a less detrimental macroeconomic impact” than new income taxes or corporate taxes.
“Europeans don’t like taxes either,” said Connie Hedegaard, the European commissioner for climate action. “But this is good for the environment, and also good for our competitiveness.”
Some of Europe’s strongest economies, like Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands, have taxed carbon dioxide emissions since the early 1990s, and Japan and Australia have introduced them more recently.
Ireland took the plunge after its economy collapsed in 2008 as a result of loose credit policies that created a real estate bubble; in one year, tax revenues fell 25 percent. With a huge bailout in 2010 by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, Ireland’s deficit soared to 11.9 percent of its gross domestic product, or over 30 percent with all loans factored in.
The environmental taxes work in concert with austerity measures like reduced welfare payments and higher fees for health care that are expected to save 2.2 billion euros this year. The carbon tax is levied on fossil fuels when they enter the country and is then passed on to consumers at the point of purchase. The automobile sales tax, which ranges from 14 to 36 percent of a car’s market price depending on its emissions, is simply folded into the sticker price.
That sent manufacturers racing to reduce emissions. Automakers like Mercedes and Volvo began making cars with high-efficiency diesel engines that shut off rather than idle when they stop, for example. “For manufacturers it’s all, ‘How low you can get?’ ” said Donal Duggan, a brand manager at an MSL showroom near central Dublin.
Other emissions taxes on cars, including the annual car registration fee, or road tax, are billed directly to customers, potentially adding thousands to annual operating costs. Ninety percent of new car sales last year were in the two lowest-emission tiers.
The taxes on garbage had an immediate impact. In Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County in southeastern Dublin, each home’s “black bin” for garbage headed to the landfill is weighed at pickup to calculate quarterly charges. Green bins for recyclables are emptied free of charge.
“There was a big furor initially, but now everything I throw out, I think, ‘How could I recycle this?’ ” said Tara Brown, a mother of three.
Of course, new environmental taxes bring new pain. Gas, always expensive in Europe, sells here for about $8 a gallon, around 20 percent more than in 2009 because of tightening market supplies and the new tax.
Still, Dr. Convery, the economist, is encouraging the government to raise carbon tax rates for 2013, declaring, “You don’t want to waste a good crisis to do what we should be doing anyway.”
Re: POTH: Irish carbon tax
Reply #6 on:
December 28, 2012, 12:08:40 PM »
Quote from: Crafty_Dog on December 28, 2012, 09:44:33 AM
As frequently noted in the Tax thread, what you tax more you get less of. So why not tax what you don't want (e.g. pollution) and don't tax what you do want (income, profit, savings, jobs, etc.)? By so doing the pricing mechanism of it all will inform us as to how much pollution we are willing to have. Very, very unfortunately, this concept seems to embraced by the Left without the part about cutting taxes on good things in equal measure.
I follow you in concept and agree this is interesting and important coverage.
That said, there is a difference between CO2 in normal activities and real pollution, like dumping mercury into the water supply or sulfur into the air. CO2 is associated with productive activities that are easily moved elsewhere. Punitive taxation can force those activities out. For a system like that to work, we still need to keep public sector costs competitive and keep that tax rate low enough to maximize revenue, not just chase away activities like production, transportation and the heating/cooling of homes and schools.
If CO2 reduction is paramount, why aren't we all over nuclear with zero CO2 emissions? Zero emissions would also mean zero tax revenue, giving the government a perverse incentive. Nuclear has other risks, how do we price that?
Pointed out in the premise, one HUGE problem with giving another tax the left is that this is in addition to all the other taxes, not in lieu of them. Like capital gains rates at 15%, they don't even mention there are at least 4 other taxes levied on the same 'gain', just that 15% is a low rate, lower than Warren Buffet's 150k/yr secretary pays. The left is raising taxes on incomes of the wealthy explicitly because they want to lower the incomes of the wealthy, not to raise revenues. The piling on of new taxes without eliminating old ones was the deal breaker for the consumption tax. This is both a consumption tax and a production tax. I strongly oppose adding new tax sources in this political environment, especially those that apply arbitrarily and unevenly.
Pull my finger, pull my leg-- nat gas exports
Reply #7 on:
May 20, 2013, 08:28:02 PM »
Natural Gas Exports, Maybe
The feds approve one new terminal, with multiple caveats.
President Obama can't seem to decide whether America's unconventional oil and gas revolution is good for the country, which is resulting in passive-aggressive government. Witness last week's approval of a new natural gas export terminal that may not be a real approval.
On Friday the Department of Energy greenlighted the $10 billion Freeport LNG project at Quintana Island, Texas, though with an asterisk. Five years ago the facility was built for liquefied natural gas imports. Today the U.S. is the world's largest gas producer and amid the hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling boom could become a global supplier.
But only if the Administration gets its act together. Under a vestigial 1938 law, the feds must approve natural gas exports for countries with which the U.S. lacks free-trade agreements, including such trading partners as Japan. Freeport is only the second terminal to win this license, with 19 other applications outstanding, the longest of which has been waiting for 28 months.
The Energy Department ruling is encouraging as far as it goes, which is not very far. This regulatory laying on of hands is conditional and could be revoked at bureaucratic whim. And Energy provided no larger guidance about how it will handle permits going forward or what standards it will apply. The only leg Energy will show is a cryptic statement that it will process applications on "a case-by-case basis" and a promise (or threat) to assess "market developments" as terminals come on line.
This is silly because the U.S. already exports about as much natural gas every day via pipeline to Mexico and Canada as Freeport will export every year via liquefied gas on tankers. But it is also troubling because the DOE's review is based on the "public interest," rather than more objective standards like economic benefits.
The Excelsior arrives at the Freeport LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) terminal in Houston in 2008.
Plenty of DOE and other studies have demonstrated those benefits, but big business and the green lobby are kicking in unison against new exports. Some manufacturers (notably Dow Chemical DOW -0.59% ) want to restrict world commerce to preserve artificially low domestic feedstock prices. Never mind that the inability to export could depress the incentive to drill and raise domestic prices. Domestic supply is likely to follow rising global demand if market signals are allowed to work.
As for the greens, they don't want to expand the market for any carbon-based fuel, even one that would reduce global carbon emissions. They also worry that increased production of a cheap and abundant source of energy through fracking might mean fewer subsidies for windmills and solar farms.
The DOE approval genuflects to these political-protectionist impulses, explaining that "agency intervention may be necessary to protect the public in the event there is insufficient domestic natural gas for domestic use. There may be other circumstances as well that cannot be foreseen that would require agency action." Will the approval last? "We cannot precisely identify all the circumstances under which such action would be taken."
Regulatory indecision is nearly as much of a threat to gas development as political opposition in an ultra capital-intensive industry. This month Japan's Mitsubishi and Mitsui and France's GDF Suez GSZ.FR +0.36% committed to invest $6 billion to $7 billion in a Louisiana LNG development backed by the U.S. Sempra Energy SRE +0.18% —assuming regulatory approval.
Such deals will wither if regulatory uncertainty grows. A barrage of federal regulations and enforcement decisions over the last several years means that natural gas permits that used to take 60 days now require up to 18 months, and projects that used to win approval in a year take three times that.
The danger is that the U.S. is lilting into a system in which politicians second-guess markets and decide how much of America's natural gas assets to sell abroad. All the more so given that big business and the green lobby are the constituencies the White House tends to listen to. The Senate Energy Committee holds two hearings this week on gas exports, and maybe someone can get a straight answer out of DOE.
Re: Green Free Market solutions - LNG Exports
Reply #8 on:
May 21, 2013, 12:19:48 PM »
"Under a vestigial 1938 law, the feds must approve natural gas exports for countries with which the U.S. lacks free-trade agreements, including such trading partners as Japan. Freeport is only the second terminal to win this license, with 19 other applications outstanding, the longest of which has been waiting for 28 months."
I'm not much of an expert on fascism, but why would it take more than 24 hours for a reputable, private company to obtain government approval to ship safe, clean energy to an ally of the United States at fair market value. We don't want their money? We don't want them to use clean energy? We would rather have them pay OPEC and the Caliphate? We don't want to encourage economic growth if it goes to places like North Dakota, while the state of NY bans the same production? Is there nothing left of an assumption of economic liberty? Are ships carrying energy away from the U.S. a greater environmental risk than ships bringing energy to the U.S.? We know that our fascist central planners want more of the latter by their prohibitions of energy production and pipelines at home.
Re: Green Free Market solutions
Reply #9 on:
June 29, 2013, 03:03:32 PM »
I'm guessing the ideas here would come to fruition faster and cheaper via the free market:
POTH: Cargo delivery by tricycle
Reply #10 on:
July 07, 2013, 11:20:36 AM »
In Cargo Delivery, the Three-Wheelers That Could
B-Line Sustainable Delivery moves freight around downtown Portland, Ore., on electric-assisted tricycles.
By CLAIRE MARTIN
Published: July 6, 2013
IT’S well-known that Portland really likes its bicycles. But its embrace of bike culture goes beyond its catering to commuters, leisure riders and athletes. So bike-centric is Portland that its residents can have any of the following delivered to their doorsteps by cycle: a pizza, a keg of pilsner, plumbing services or a hot tub. And the list grows from there.
It’s logical, then, that a Portland entrepreneur, Franklin Jones, would have helped pioneer the new field of pedal-powered freight delivery. In 2009, Mr. Jones, a former teacher, founded B-Line Sustainable Urban Delivery, a company that delivers produce, baked goods, coffee beans, bike parts and office supplies to restaurants, bike shops and other businesses throughout Portland’s downtown area using electric-assisted tricycles that pull 60-cubic-foot cargo boxes with a 600-pound capacity.
B-Line is the latest example of the greening of a traditional industry. The company’s cargo boxes are comparable in size to a small commercial van, but, unlike vans, the trikes don’t emit carbon dioxide or cause traffic jams at delivery stops. Mr. Jones estimates that B-Line has completed more than 30,000 deliveries that otherwise would have been made by gasoline-chugging vehicles.
When he arrived in Portland in 2008, Mr. Jones already had a sterling bicycle pedigree. As a child growing up in Kentucky, he was a competitive cyclist, and after graduating from college he took a job planning bicycle pathways in Bend, Ore.
Then came a teaching stint in Japan, which he capped off by cycling 11,000 miles on a circuitous route from Tokyo to Ireland that took 13 months to complete.
“I saw bikes carrying goods and providing services,” Mr. Jones recalls, “from the typical loaded-down rickshaw on the streets of India to a more modern bike in Europe carrying bread or delivering the mail.”
A few years after returning to the United States, he began looking into business ideas that could “improve the overall livability of the community,” he says. Discovering that there were gaps in urban transportation, he started to consider freight. “You can move a lot of volume and weight into an urban core, but how do you get the smaller parcels out to all the end users?” he wondered.
The answer, typically, is individual vehicles — from cars to box trucks to semitrailers. Mr. Jones noticed that around Portland, many of these vehicles were often half-empty during deliveries. Moreover, they seemed to be handling a collection of small parcels: a box of paper, a bushel of broccoli, five pounds of coffee. Mr. Jones saw an opportunity. But first he needed a business plan — something, as it turned out, that wasn’t on the minds of early potential rivals.
Paul Gilles, vice president for operations at Portland Roasting Coffee, met with some of those competitors. “It was: ‘Hey dude, I have a really cool way to deliver your coffee. It’s going to be awesome,’ ” he recalled of his meetings with other cycle-delivery start-ups.
In contrast, Mr. Jones showed up ready to talk about his pricing structure. “He approached us as a business person,” Mr. Gilles remembered. B-Line got the job, and now it makes up to 150 deliveries a day for more than a dozen clients, using a fleet of six trikes. The company is on track to have more than $400,000 in revenue this year, Mr. Jones says.
“Historically, bicycle-based companies have been a very informal sector,” says Jennifer Dederich, co-owner and manager of Portland Pedal Power, which specializes in business-to-consumer bicycle delivery — bringing large catered lunches to law firms, for instance. This presents both an opportunity and a challenge for Ms. Dederich and Mr. Jones, both of whom are now focused on expanding their companies.
“A lot of what we’re doing is convincing future investors that our model works and that we can formalize this sector of business,” Ms. Dederich says. Mr. Jones, too, is looking to attract investors in order to bring B-Line to other cities.
One strategy that both B-Line and Portland Pedal Power have devised is plastering the sides of their cargo boxes with advertisements. A majority of B-Line’s delivery customers spend extra to have their company logo displayed on the cases while their goods are weaving through town, and some clients, including Google and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, have used B-Line expressly for advertising.
Pedal Power offers a similar advertising model, along with social media marketing for its clients. And Ms. Dederich makes it a priority to hire cyclists with other skills that can be used in the business — like photography, videography and Web design.
THOUGH B-Line’s cargo trikes are nimble and efficient, its delivery service isn’t necessarily less expensive than the alternatives. In an e-mail, Yalmaz Siddiqui, the senior director of environmental strategy for Office Depot, for which B-Line has delivered 20,000 cartons of supplies so far this year, listed the boons to working with B-Line. The list did not include a cost benefit.
In fact, Mr. Siddiqui wrote that “on a per-delivery basis, B-Line is a more expensive option.” But he added that customers “love the fact that their office supplies are coming by bike,” and that Office Depot enjoys “the idea of big green companies like ours supporting small green companies like theirs.” He says these factors help Office Depot make a financial case for using B-Line. Most of the half-dozen B-Line customers interviewed for this article mentioned a similar emotional motivation. “It feels good psychologically knowing that our delicious fresh bread is in that cargo box,” says Claire Randall, a co-owner and general manager of Grand Central Bakery, a B-Line customer. For her and her partners, it’s even a personal point of pride. “It killed us that all of our deliveries were in a van,” Ms. Randall adds. “We’re all avid bikers.”
POTH: Pollution Economics
Reply #11 on:
August 11, 2013, 12:03:35 AM »
By DIRK FORRISTER and PAUL BLEDSOE
Published: August 9, 2013
WITH more than a million people in China dying prematurely each year from breathing its dirty air, and with warming temperatures portending rising sea levels and disruptions to food production, the centrally planned Communist country is experimenting with a capitalist approach to address the problem: it is creating incentives so that the market — and not the government — will force reductions in emissions.
The United States invented this approach in the 1990s to deal with acid rain. The effort was tremendously successful in reducing sulfur dioxide emissions that were poisoning lakes and streams, contaminating soils and accelerating the decay of buildings, at a cost lower than even its advocates anticipated.
But the United States has taken a policy detour that has hurt its efforts to reduce greenhouse gases. Congress has spurned the cap-and-trade approach China is trying, even though it is widely recognized as a cheaper way to lower emissions. As a result, President Obama has had little choice but to turn to government regulation to reduce these pollutants. Consumers will pay a higher price for electricity as a consequence. (No, you fg disingenuous anus; Obama insisted on ADDING these taxes to the existing ones instead of in lieu of existing taxes)
China, the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide, has begun its effort in the southern city of Shenzhen, paving the way for a national Chinese market in a few years. Like Europe, which voted to extend and improve its emissions market, and Australia and New Zealand, Shenzhen chose a carbon market as the most efficient way to lower its greenhouse gas emissions.
Under the Shenzhen program, the government will set limits on carbon dioxide discharges for 635 industrial companies and 197 public buildings that together account for about 40 percent of the city’s emissions. Polluters whose emissions fall below the limit can sell the difference in the form of pollution allowances to other polluters. These companies must decide whether it is cheaper to reduce emissions or pollute above their limit by buying allowances, whose price will be set by supply and demand. But the pressure will be on, because the limits will decrease over time. Six more regional pilot programs are planned over the next year.
More than 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions are now subject to carbon pricing systems. About 60 other states, provinces or countries are considering similar approaches, according to a recent World Bank report.
Carbon cap-and-trade programs align environmental goals with market incentives. Conventional regulatory approaches “cannot ensure achievement of emissions targets, create problematic unintended consequences, and are very costly for what they achieve,” says the economist Robert N. Stavins, director of the Harvard Environmental Economics Program.
So how did America detour away from emissions markets, which are the preferred approach of many economists, climate and consumer advocates, and many electric utility companies that own and operate power plants?
It all comes down to politics. Before the last recession, political support was building for a carbon market, with various Republicans, including Senator John McCain, his party’s 2008 presidential nominee, supporting a market-based approach. After House Democrats approved a cap-and-trade bill in 2009 that put a price on fossil-fuel emissions, the issue became a target of the Tea Party. In the midst of the worst economy in 75 years, the Senate declined to take up the measure, and cap and trade became a dirty term on Capitol Hill.
Even so, several states already have turned to this approach. California’s effort began in January. Nine mid-Atlantic and Northeast states use it under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
In Washington, faint whispers of a carbon tax are still occasionally heard as a solution for budget and environmental problems in a single policy. But even if that were to happen, the tax would probably be small and would not guarantee the reduction in emissions needed. Like a tax, carbon markets can also generate revenue that can be rebated to consumers or used to lower other taxes.
The United States can still move back into a leadership position in the effort to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Learning from the experiences of the European Union and other programs, America can avoid the hiccups that hampered early efforts.
As the effects of a warming climate become increasingly apparent and the costs of adaptation rise, inaction will become an untenable political position. Markets play to America’s strengths. As the first President Bush said about his policy of emissions markets for controlling acid rain, markets “harness the creativity and ingenuity of the private sector.” What could be more American than that? Just ask the Chinese.
Dirk Forrister is president and chief executive officer of the International Emissions Trading Association. Paul Bledsoe is a senior fellow in the energy and climate program at the German Marshall Fund of the United States.
Re: POTH: Pollution Economics
Reply #12 on:
August 11, 2013, 10:50:42 AM »
Interesting ideas, but dangerous to move seamlessly between putting filthy poisons in the air and regulation of carbon dioxide. Note that the author's profile gives a good disclosure of bias on the topic (as does the Pravda designation earned by the publication).
The filth in the air in China comes from the industrial plants that put filth in the air in China. The filth with all its components kills the quality of life and kills life itself.
The science of CO2 is not so simple. Are we sure that the human act of using fossil fuels and consequential CO2 has killed the quality of life and killed life itself? What was life expectancy and quality of life on the planet before and after the use of fossil fuels?
The point isn't to stomp out the use of clean coal, natural gas, unleaded gasoline etc BEFORE we find the replacement. The point IMHO is to find the efficient replacement and watch how quickly the old sources become a thing of the past.
Clean the oceans in five years!
Reply #13 on:
September 09, 2013, 01:32:33 PM »
POTH: The Hot Air of offshore Wind
Reply #14 on:
January 23, 2014, 10:12:07 AM »
MIDDLEBOROUGH, Mass. — Carl Horstmann strode around the floor of his factory here, passing welders honing head-high metal tubes as sparks flew. He is one of a dying breed: the owner of Mass Tank, a steel tank manufacturer in a down-at-the-heels region that was once a hub of the craft.
Four years ago, having heard of plans to build a $2.6 billion wind farm off the shores of Cape Cod, he saw opportunity. Much of the work, the developers and the politicians promised, would go to American companies like his, in what would be the dawn of a lucrative offshore wind industry in the United States.
Now, after Mr. Horstmann has spent more than $500,000, much has changed. Cape Wind, the wind farm’s developer, won a court case over an important approval on Wednesday but is still caught up in legal and financial wrangling and faces a tenuous future. And even if the project is completed, most of the investment and jobs for supplying the parts will go not to American companies like Mass Tank, but to European manufacturers.
Mr. Horstmann’s company lost a bid to build support structures to a German company it had brought in as a partner, and last month Cape Wind completed arrangements for other major components, including the giant blades, towers and turbines, to be built in Denmark.
Those deals have provoked a strong reaction from suppliers like Mr. Horstmann, but they also illustrate the difficulty of creating a new energy industry from scratch, even one that has financial support from the government.
“We’ve seen this in other industries. We don’t have the volume and the guaranteed market that China, for example, or some of the European countries that keep those jobs in their countries, can provide to investors,” said Thomas A. Kochan, a professor at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “It’s a catch-22,” he said, because without a steady flow of projects, companies would not build plants and “therefore, we don’t get the jobs.”
For Mr. Horstmann, the issue is personal. “As Americans, we are really upset that all this money is going overseas,” he said at the factory. As a ratepayer to a utility, he added, “I’m going to be getting my monthly bill and if Cape Wind goes through it’s going to have this premium on it.”
Offshore wind farms are inherently risky ventures, requiring enormous investments not only from developers and financiers but also from governments and, ultimately, ordinary citizens.
And none is riskier than Cape Wind, whose plans call for 130 turbines slowly spinning on Horseshoe Shoal of Nantucket Sound, supplying 75 percent of the power for Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.
The project has been a source of bitter resistance since it was proposed in 2001, with opponents, who include the billionaire William Koch as well as local fishermen and business owners, saying it would increase utility rates and spoil the pristine view.
But proponents say that offshore power plants like Cape Wind are worth the gamble because they deliver cleaner, more efficient electricity and also spur economic development.
As evidence, supporters point to Europe, where billions have gone into helping companies build factories to make, transport and install the behemoth windmills needed to harness wind and withstand conditions miles out to sea. That has yielded dozens of offshore farms and roughly 60,000 jobs, according to industry estimates..
But even there — where policies and subsidies have helped create a robust supply chain — the upside has been fickle. On Germany’s coast, for example, an estimated $1.3 billion went into revitalizing ports and factories to serve the industry, creating about 10,000 jobs. But demand frequently drops off when projects stall, at times leaving factories in coastal towns like Cuxhaven, on Germany’s North Sea, sitting idle with hundreds of workers laid off.
In the United States, which has yet to put a wind farm in the water, the Interior Department is leasing sections of the ocean and the Energy Department has handed out grants and considered loan guarantees, like one that is pending for Cape Wind.
The potential economic impact of a new offshore wind industry is enormous, supporters say. The Energy Department estimates that the Atlantic coast could support as many as 70,000 jobs by 2030.
Cape Wind was to be the catalyst, leading to the first 1,000 jobs, with equipment from General Electric and other domestic suppliers.
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Mass Tank’s plant in Middleborough, Mass. The company’s bid on the offshore wind farm was deemed too expensive by Cape Wind, the wind farm’s developer. Gretchen Ertl for The New York Times
But a major setback came around 2009, when G.E. decided to back away from the offshore wind business, saying it was still too expensive to compete with land-based wind power. In response, Cape Wind turned to Vestas and Siemens, dominant players based in Northern Europe with factories in the United States that make onshore wind machines. In December, Siemens and Cape Wind completed the contract, in time, executives said, for the project to qualify for a federal tax credit valued at 30 percent of its cost.
Siemens plans to make the giant turbines in Denmark, though it is arranging for some work to be done with a company based in Maine. Offshore wind development is not yet far enough along to justify the expense of building a factory in the United States, industry executives say. Because of their size, the turbines and support structures require different factories and equipment, and are generally too heavy to transport over normal roads.
Aside from Cape Wind, there are only two projects off the Atlantic coast that could come to fruition soon, both relatively small, with just five turbines each: a project by Deepwater Wind, which would rise from the waters near Rhode Island, and one by Fishermen’s Energy, near Atlantic City.
“It’s very difficult to build a new factory on the back of one order,” said Mark Rodgers, Cape Wind’s chief spokesman. He said that the original estimates of creating 600 to 1,000 jobs still held, even though those included the manufacturing work as well. “We may have been overly conservative initially in our forecast.”
As for Mass Tank — which had already agreed to lease a derelict building for its factory at the once-thriving Quincy Shipyard in Quincy, Mass. — it lost out on the Cape Wind bid to Erndtebrücker Eisenwerk, or EEW, a much more established German company that Mass Tank had brought in as a partner.
“There is an inherent risk to be in this industry and you have to be big enough to withstand it,” said Timothy Mack, head of offshore wind development for North America for EEW. “Mass Tank never came forward with any legitimate plan of financing.”
Mr. Horstmann said he was well aware of the risks, so he lined up a team, including EEW, to help land the project. The politicians soon came running, eager to promote the hundreds of jobs the project would bring.
In 2010, Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, in a tight re-election race at the time, nudged the deal forward and then joined Mr. Horstmann to announce it at the opening of a plant to test turbine blades in Boston. “This agreement between Cape Wind, Mass Tank and EEW will create hundreds of new manufacturing jobs in Massachusetts as we take the lead on offshore wind energy in the United States,” Governor Patrick said at the time, according to a statement. “This is what our clean energy future is all about.”
By April 2011, under a joint venture named East Coast Offshore Fabricators, or Eco Fab, the partners submitted their proposal to Cape Wind in the hope of signing a $137 million contract.
But Cape Wind’s president, Jim Gordon, rejected the proposal as too expensive.
“Then things got quiet,” said Randy Kupferberg, Mass Tank’s chief operating officer.
Accounts differ over how the deal fell apart. Cape Wind expected Mass Tank to contribute or find financing before awarding the contract, while Mass Tank needed the contract to raise the roughly $35 million or $40 million that its plant would cost. Under those circumstances, Mr. Mack of EEW said, there was not a profitable way to go forward.
Despite the disappointment, Mr. Horstmann and his team are pursuing other possibilities. There is interest in New Jersey, they say, in their participation in a factory planned for the Fishermen’s project. But their chance to put Mass Tank at the forefront of serving the Atlantic coast offshore industry may have slipped through their fingers.
“We tried to hit a home run with this,” Mr. Horstmann said. “And we didn’t.”
Space based solar energy
Reply #15 on:
March 29, 2014, 08:28:09 PM »
Reply #16 on:
April 01, 2014, 10:44:52 AM »
Radioactive fracking waste?
Reply #17 on:
April 15, 2014, 06:41:26 PM »
PAsting in this thread as well
Radioactive Waste Is North Dakota's New Shale Problem
Local Officials Find Improper Dumping of Used 'Oil Socks'
April 15, 2014 1:29 p.m. ET
Bags full of radioactive oil filters piled in an abandoned building in Noonan, N.D. North Dakota Health Department/Associated Press
At a deserted gas station in a remote North Dakotan town, local officials recently found the latest example of the shale-oil boom's unintended consequences: hundreds of garbage bags filled with mildly radioactive waste.
These bags, which were discovered late February in Noonan, N.D., contained what are known as "oil socks": three-foot-long, snake-like filters made of absorbent fiber that the shale-oil industry uses to capture silt from waste water resulting from hydraulic fracturing.
Days earlier, a similar trove had been found on flatbed trailers near a landfill in Watford City—which, like Noonan, is located in the state's sparsely populated westernmost reaches where the Bakken oil shale formation lies.
The two recent incidents show that North Dakota's regulators have been slow to address repercussions from the surge in crude output, ranging from widespread flaring of natural gas at oil wells to drill rigs popping up on historic lands.
Most of the radioactive material in oil socks comes from silt filtered in the process of pumping waste water down injection wells. Radium, found in soil, rock and water, accumulates in the filtered silt.
"Before the Bakken oil boom we didn't have any of these materials being generated," said State Waste Management Director Scott Radig. "So it wasn't really an issue."
The trailers found in Watford City that contained improperly stored oil socks belonged to Riverton, Wyo.-based RP Services LLC, state officials said. The investigation is still underway, and RP Services didn't respond to requests for comment. One of its clients, oil giant Continental Resources Inc., CLR +0.86% has cut ties with the company as a result of the discovery.
Radiation levels from these oil socks are fairly low—North Dakota state officials say a person could stand for a year by a Dumpster full of them and receive less skin radiation than from a dental X-ray. But the discovery of the large quantities of improperly stored and abandoned radioactive waste has triggered a public outcry.
Last week, the state reacted by passing new regulations—effective June 1—forcing the shale-oil industry to use leak-proof containers to temporarily store the socks at well sites. "This is a response to the ongoing problem of illegal dumping of filter socks," said Lynn Helms, director of the state department of mineral resources.
North Dakota already mandates the filters eventually be transported by "licensed waste haulers" to an authorized disposal facility.
The problem: North Dakota doesn't have a single storage facility capable of handling radioactive waste—and it now has between 500 and 600 injection wells producing the socks.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says the average level of radium in soil is below five picocuries per gram, which is the maximum threshold for waste disposal at standard dumps in North Dakota and many other states. The average concentration of radium in wastewater sludge from oil-and-gas production is about 75 picocuries per gram, according to the EPA. Radioactive sludge poses a higher risk of exposure than some other forms of radiation-prone substances because their solubility in water allows them to be more readily released to the environment.
Several states outside of North Dakota—Idaho, Colorado, Utah, and to some extent, Montana—have designated dumps to handle above-average levels of radioactive waste. Facilities in Montana accept materials with radiation levels of under 30 picocuries per gram, while in Idaho, they tolerate levels as high as 1,500.
As a result, radioactive oil socks from North Dakota's shale-oil industry often have to be transported hundreds of miles away to dumps certified to handle it.
"There's such a rush to get the oil out that the rules and regulations are not keeping up with the pace of development," said Wayde Schafer, head of the North Dakota chapter of the Sierra Club. "This state is reactive instead of proactive," he said.
Illegal disposal or storage of radioactive waste in North Dakota is subject to fines of up to $10,000 per incident in addition to a $1,000 fine for standard illegal dumping, state officials say. But that hasn't stopped the occasional dumping of contaminated socks on road sides or at waste facilities.
Dump operators now routinely screen garbage with radiation monitors, and have the power to levy fines on offenders.
"It's unfortunate it falls to guys like me to enforce the rules," said Rick Schreiber, solid waste director at the McKenzie County Landfill near Watford City, which levies a fine of $1,000 per sock. "The state isn't doing much about it."
Policing is part of dump operators' job, state officials say. "They are responsible for checking waste loads coming in," said David Glatt, chief of the North Dakota Health Department's Environmental Health Section. "They can either reject it, or they can fine them."
North Dakota's volume of filter waste with levels of radiation requiring specialized disposal ranges from a low of eight tons a day to several times that number, according to state and industry officials.
Where all that oilfield-related waste winds up is anyone's guess, say companies specializing in radioactive waste disposal. But they believe most of the filters are being properly handled to avoid heavy fines.
"When you're looking at fines of $1,000 per sock, it really doesn't make financial sense to sneak them in" to state dumps, said Kurt Rhea, manager of a Denver-based waste disposal unit of Secure Energy Services Inc. SES.T -0.05% "I've had a couple of people call up and say: I can't tell you my company name, but what would it cost?'" to have the filters disposed of out of state, Mr. Rhea said.
The North Dakota Petroleum Council, an industry lobby, believes the state's radiation exposure limits for industrial waste are too low and supports allowing disposal within North Dakota at certified dumps. That is something state health authorities are studying, in cooperation with Argonne National Laboratory.
"We need a North Dakota-based solution," said council president Ron Ness.
Write to Chester Dawson at
POTH: Wind Turbines killing lots of bats
Reply #18 on:
May 12, 2014, 07:38:19 AM »
Protect Our Bats
By RODRIGO A. MEDELLÍN, DON J. MELNICK and MARY C. PEARLMAY 11, 2014
DISEASE and heedless management of wind turbines are killing North America’s bats, with potentially devastating consequences for agriculture and human health.
We have yet to find a cure for the disease known as white-nose syndrome, which has decimated populations of hibernating, cave-dwelling bats in the Northeast. But we can reduce the turbine threat significantly without dismantling them or shutting them down.
White-nose syndrome (also known as W.N.S.) was first documented in February 2006 in upstate New York, where it may have been carried from Europe to a bat cave on an explorer’s hiking boot. In Europe, bats appear to be immune, likely the outcome of a long evolutionary process. But in North America, bats are highly susceptible to the cold-loving fungus that appears in winter on the muzzle and other body parts during hibernation, irritating them awake at a time when there is no food. They end up burning precious stores of energy and starve to death.
The consequences have been catastrophic. A 2011 study of 42 sites across five Eastern states found that after 2006 the populations of tri-colored and Indiana bats declined by more than 70 percent, and little brown bats by more than 90 percent. The population of the northern long-eared bat, once common, has declined by an estimated 99 percent and prompted a proposal from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to list it as an endangered species. Other species of hibernating cave-dwelling bats have declined precipitously as well.
Whether these bats will recover or go extinct is unclear. Meanwhile, W.N.S. continues to spread rapidly. On the back of this year’s extremely cold winter, it moved into Michigan and Wisconsin. It is now confirmed in 23 states and five Canadian provinces.
Tree-dwelling bats don’t seem to be affected by W.N.S., since they don’t hibernate in caves. But wind farms are killing them.
Wind turbines nationwide are estimated to kill between 600,000 and 900,000 bats a year, according to a recent study in the journal BioScience. About half of those lost to turbines are hoary bats, which migrate long distances seasonally throughout North America. Eastern red and silver-haired bats, commonly seen in Central Park in New York City hunting insects at night, are also being killed by turbines by the tens of thousands.
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41 minutes ago
Mosquitoes aren't a problem on our farm. Why? Because the wood line behind us is home to bats. Lots and lots of bats. You can get stung up...
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Helical turbines are not as efficient, but they occupy far less space, do not swing as the wind changes, and can be surrounded by a bird-...
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We can’t afford to lose these creatures. In the Northeast, all of our native bat species eat insects. One little brown bat can eat 1,000 mosquitoes in an hour, reducing the potential for mosquito-borne diseases. A colony of 150 big brown bats can protect crops from up to 33 million rootworms over a growing season. The Mexican free-tailed bats of Bracken Cave in south-central Texas consume about 250 tons of insects every summer night. The natural pest control provided by that species across eight Texas counties has been valued at nearly $750,000 as it protects the $6 million summer cotton crop. Nationwide, the value of bats as pest controllers is estimated to be at least $3.7 billion and possibly much more. (This leaves out the value of two other very important services that bats provide: controlling insect-borne diseases and pollinating commercially valuable plants.)
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Continue reading the main story
Today, genetic engineering may seem to provide an effective way to protect crops from insects, but pests have already developed resistance to some of these products. Insects also readily evolve resistance to chemical insecticides, and increased use of these chemicals would come at a great cost to human health. But bats have shared the night skies with insects for at least 50 million years, and they know how to hunt and eat them.
Fortunately, we can reduce the mortality caused by wind farms, which are often located on windy routes favored by some migratory bats. Wind turbines usually switch on automatically at wind speeds of about 8 to 9 miles per hour, speeds at which insects and bats are active. But if, during times of peak bat activity, energy companies recalibrated their turbines to start at a wind speed of about 11 miles per hour, which is too windy for insects and bats to fly, turbine-related deaths could be reduced by 44 to 93 percent, according to a 2010 study published in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. The effect on power output would be negligible — less than 1 percent annually.
Threats to bats also threaten us. We should step up research on the prevention and cure of white-nose syndrome. And we should require energy companies to take steps to protect bats from collisions with wind turbines. It is foolish to spend enormous sums to create pesticides and transgenic crops to fight insects, while investing little to protect bats, our most efficient insect fighters.
Glass sphere solar
Reply #19 on:
May 19, 2014, 01:32:59 PM »
Wait! You mean there's a better alternative to the solar panels into which our government has directed billions of dollars?
This could have been the US making this deal , , ,
Reply #20 on:
May 21, 2014, 07:13:30 AM »
This could be posted in a number of threads , , ,
Russia and China struck a long-awaited deal on natural gas May 21, according to Alexei Miller, the CEO of Russian natural gas giant Gazprom. According to the provisions of the deal, which is worth $400 billion, Russia will supply 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year to China for the next 30 years, with the option to raise supplies to 60 billion cubic meters per year in the future. The agreement will enable Russia to launch plans for building the $42 billion Power of Siberia pipeline, a 4,000 kilometer-long (approximately 2,500 miles) pipeline that will tap two new source fields and run from Siberia to China.
Russia and China had been trying to negotiate a deal for more than a decade; Russia holds the world's largest natural gas reserves, and China's demand for natural gas is rapidly growing. However, the deal was impeded by several factors, including the fact that Russia sent most of its energy west and that China focused on domestic production as it imported natural gas via foreign sea routes.
But both countries' interests have aligned in recent years. For China, the cost of importing liquefied natural gas is high and its energy demands continue to grow. For Russia, the stability of demand from Europe -- which is where Russia sends more than 80 percent of its natural gas exports -- has been a growing concern, especially in recent months as Russia and the West have sparred over Ukraine.
Russian Energy Infrastructure
Click to Enlarge
In an effort to secure the future stability of Russia's energy exports, Russian President Vladimir Putin made a two-day trip to China to finalize the energy agreement. It was imperative for Putin to get this deal signed now, while Russia is in the middle of bitter energy negotiations with Ukraine and Europe. By signing the deal, Moscow could show the West that it has options for its energy exports in the coming years.
To seal the deal, however, Russia and China shifted the focus of the negotiations to each country's future. Although Russia had initially demanded $400 per thousand cubic meters of natural gas -- China was intent on paying $300-$320 per thousand cubic meters -- they agreed on a negotiated fee of $350 per thousand cubic meters. The change occurred this week after Russia gave China a variety of incentives, including offering Beijing a stake in Gazprom's Vladivostok liquefied natural gas terminal and a 19 percent stake in Russian oil company Rosneft. These prospective deals, which are still on the table, are meant to get China more involved in Russia and to upgrade China beyond a simple export destination for Russian commodities.
Moscow has long been wary of Chinese involvement inside Russia; it has preferred to deal with Western partners. But with Western investors currently withdrawing from the country, China would be an suitable replacement. As for China, its involvement in the Russian energy sector could give Beijing some influence in shaping the industry -- and in turn Russia's future.
The energy deal does not mean that Beijing and Moscow are aligned politically, as they were periodically during the Cold War. But each country now has a use for the other, and their partnership could help ensure domestic stability and enhance their respective positions in the world.
Read more: Russia, China Agree to Natural Gas Deal | Stratfor
Last Edit: May 21, 2014, 10:03:09 PM by Crafty_Dog
Green aid and comfort to Arab oil
Reply #21 on:
May 23, 2014, 11:23:46 AM »
Last Edit: May 23, 2014, 01:02:44 PM by Crafty_Dog
POTH asserts some states already meeting emissions cuts without economic costs
Reply #22 on:
June 07, 2014, 01:29:23 PM »
Kill the eagles to stop global warming!
Reply #23 on:
June 28, 2014, 10:27:43 PM »
WSJ: Birth of a Climate Mafia
Reply #24 on:
July 02, 2014, 02:59:35 PM »
Birth of a Climate Mafia
Why a green-pork blowout would do more harm than good.
By Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.
July 1, 2014 6:40 p.m. ET
Can something good come from a U.S. splurge of climate pork that, in itself, would have no discernible effect on global climate or atmospheric carbon dioxide?
A probable answer is no. It would actually end up making our putative carbon challenge worse.
But Paul Krugman and others say a carbon tax is politically impossible, and that we should settle for President Obama's "second-best" approach. The problem with subsidies and mandates is that they create vested interests in inefficient renewable energy. Warren Buffett already is collecting millions for what he admits is hopelessly cost-ineffective solar energy in California. State mandates for renewables favor in-state providers, discouraging competition that would lower costs.
A wind farm on Pellworm island off the North Sea coast of Germany. AFP/Getty Images
Lobbies that form around such favors are quietly unfriendly to interstate power lines that would force expensive local energy to compete with cheaper renewables elsewhere. In Germany, where vast subsidies flow to wind and solar, coal has become the fuel of choice for utilities struggling to provide backup power. Result: German carbon-dioxide output is growing not shrinking.
Most glaring is the renewable lobby's opposition to fracking—never mind that fracking, by displacing coal, has done more to reduce carbon output than renewables have. As for cap-and-trade, check out the Senate testimony two weeks ago by Joseph Mason, of LSU and the Wharton School, on how easily such schemes have succumbed to fraud and corruption.
A straight-up, revenue-neutral carbon tax clearly is our first-best policy, rewarding an infinite and unpredictable variety of innovations by which humans would satisfy their energy needs while releasing less carbon into the atmosphere.
Failing that, our second-best policy might well be to do nothing, skip the green pork bonanza, and hope that new energy technologies emerge out of the already-ample natural incentives to do so. Why? One thing that can be safely predicted is that renewable energy that becomes addicted to subsidies in order to survive will not meaningfully replace fossil energy that remains cheaper in real terms.
Now the new entrants in the climate policy derby: Robert Rubin and Henry Paulson. Impressive is the fanfare greeting the former Treasury secretaries and their splashy, economically focused climate lobby, the "Risky Business Project." Unfortunately, they trod a well-worn path by trying to scare the American people into compliance.
Their emphasis on "extreme weather" is an especially tired piece of foolishness. Whatever the human impact on climate, the overwhelming reason storms are becoming more destructive is the simple fact that more people and property stand in their way.
Their unnaturally specific forecasts of rising sea levels and heat waves are based on the same speculative climate models that do such a poor job of explaining even the present and recent past—and whose limits the report doesn't even mention in a footnote. The principals clearly want their assertions about the future to be taken as facts, not as extrapolations from simulations whose credibility they are wholly unprepared to defend.
Their assertion that the U.S. can shame China and India into giving up carbon energy is no more plausible in their mouths than in anybody else's. But Mr. Paulson's policy heart is in the right place—a carbon tax. He has explicitly rejected the climate cronyism of the Krugman-Obama school.
Sadly he and the passel of worthies behind his group (including Michael Bloomberg and hedge-fund impresario Tom Steyer ) colossally fumble their 15 minutes by adopting the hectoring, frighten-the-public approach that Al Gore, Bill McKibben and James Hansen have so reliably demonstrated leads nowhere, produces no results and ultimately discredits the cause.
They should have focused on tax reform first—on hope, growth and opportunity. Tax reform already has quietly been climbing the nation's agenda—even President Obama has paid lip service. A tax reform that restored dynamism to the U.S. economy is an example that other countries could adopt out of self-interest, not because they are shamed into doing so by the overpowering moral gigantism of Al Gore. The one impeccable finding of climate science is a 40% increase in atmospheric carbon, even if our ability to detect its impact on climate is hampered by extraordinarily noisy weather data and the inadequacies of climate modeling. That increase in atmospheric carbon is reason enough many voters might accept a modest carbon tax that would be offset by reduced payroll and income taxes. And if a technologically superior answer to our energy needs is in the cards, tax reform is a better way to help elicit it than anything else government might do.
By the way, if we had to bet, our bet (not preference) would be that humanity will not organize a coherent and meaningful carbon policy. The worst-case climate scenarios will prove overdrawn. Fossil energy will be outmoded over some period by cheaper alternatives. To boot, the world will discover that climate change is not the greatest challenge facing it after all.
Solar igniting birds in flight
Reply #25 on:
August 23, 2014, 08:30:44 AM »
Spontaneous Solar Combustion
Can we please see your Avian and Bat Monitoring Plan?
Aug. 22, 2014 6:42 p.m. ET
The sprawling Ivanpah solar power station in the Mojave Desert probably never would have been built without environmental activists and the subsidies and mandates they created, so there's more than a little irony that BrightSource Energy, Google GOOGL +0.02% and another clean-tech utility are now getting an education in the green opposition that bedevils other American businesses. Lobbies like the Sierra Club and Audubon Society are turning on solar farms for avian mass murder.
Ivahpah's solar thermal technology uses 300,000 giant computer-controlled mirrors spread over 3,500 acres to follow the sun and concentrate energy on water towers, where boiler turbines generate electricity. The problem with this $2.2 billion feat of engineering is that birds that fly into the 800 degrees Fahrenheit rays sometimes singe or catch fire in midair. Plant workers call them "streamers" after the trail of smoke that follows the carcasses to the ground after they ignite, according to a recent
The Center for Biological Diversity speculates that Ivanpah will kill 28,000 birds a year. In a study earlier this year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's forensics laboratory calls the apparatus a "mega-trap" for insects, swallows, road runners, hawks and even monarch butterflies, "creating an entire food chain vulnerable to injury and death."
The Biological Diversity folks are suing to force solar farms to install lights or noise alert warnings to encourage wildlife to adopt a different flight path. Some California legislators are accidentally sensible and want to ban plants like Ivanpah, which sounds like a deal for birds and taxpayers.
We got a no-irony-intended email from a lobbyist friend working for BrightSource on Thursday explaining "avian fatalities"—the plant's actual year-to-date body count is all of 321 in total, and only 133 of them related to so-called "solar flux"—and Ivanpah's Avian and Bat Monitoring and Management Plan. The company notes that as many as 3.7 billion birds each year are killed by cats and 980 million by crashing into walls.
This green-on-green showdown exquisitely captures the reason that the America that built the Hoover Dam in five years now has so much trouble building those "infrastructure" projects everybody in Washington and Sacramento claim to favor. Environmental review and permitting are often dragged out a decade or longer across a slew of lawsuits and federal and state agencies. Ivanpah was required to spend $34 million on a "Head Start" nursery for desert tortoises. Really.
So it is that the same beau monde activists who think the Keystone XL pipeline is a threat to civilization are now turning on non-fossil fuel power too. Maybe this time they'll feel cognitive dissonance, but then they never do.
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