Do the Math – Count the cash

Al Gore, Bill McKibben, and the color of money: A true religious experience

  • limo

By Paul Driessen and Dennis Mitchell

Some years ago, a telegenic televangelist built quite an empire before publicly falling from grace and adopting a less opulent life style. But back then he liked big homes and Lear jets with Rolls Royce engines and, even though Dennis’s lab primarily did environmental monitoring, his chief pilot came there because he needed demanding analyses on the methanol fuels he used for extra thrust.

The lab did the analyses uneventfully for several months, until it discovered an unpaid invoice. When Dennis inquired about it, the pilot said, “Sometimes he doesn’t pay certain bills, because the Lord told him people could contribute to the ministry in that fashion.” Dennis told him that was OK, but the next time one of those private jets is taking off and the pilot hits the injection fuel switch, the lab couldn’t guarantee that the analysis on that batch of fuel was accurate. The bill was paid in three days.

Do we hear an “AMEN”?

swaggartSpeaking of televangelists, here’s an interesting experiment that folks can do at home. Find a video sermon with goreJimmy Swaggart and, keeping the sound off, watch his body language for 10 or 15 minutes. Then, queue up your personal copy of An Inconvenient Truth and, also with the sound off, watch 10 to 15 minutes of Al Gore. As Mr. Spock liked to say, “Fascinating!”

Mr. Gore also enjoys big energy-hungry mansions and private jets. After all, why would he worry about the size of his carbon butt print, when he’s trying to save the world from other people’s carbon dioxide “pollution”? We’re supposed to listen to what he says, not observe or criticize what he does.

When the “climate cataclysm” televangelist sold his holdings in Current TV to Aljazeera America, another famous environmentalist and self-made victim, Bill McKibben, made some less than supportive comments. (McKibben successfully converted his white, straight, male, middle-class status into pitiable victimhood, by portraying himself and everyone else as “victims” of fossil fuels and climate change.)

The fossil fuel riches from the backers of this bold new “news” media outlet, the kingdom of Qatar, seemed to offend Mr. McKibben. “Who else but obscenely wealthy oil-rich Arabs could afford to pay so much for such a questionable business venture?,” he wondered. Of course, we presume, profits were not a high priority for the Qataris in this particular deal, though we could be wrong.

All these thoughts and stories came back to us recently, because McKibben now has his own film: Do the Math, the movie version of his previous Rolling Stone article and nationwide tour, all intended to save the planet from the climate Armageddon that computer models and previous movies “prove” is coming.

Viewers don’t have to get very far into the film to spot a worn-out, but proven practice. News anchor Diane Sawyer plays her part perfectly, when she informs the world that 2012 was the hottest year ever in the United States. The claim itself is highly doubtful, since we’re talking about hundredths of a degree, scattered thermometers 80 years ago versus much more widespread and sophisticated measuring devices today, and recent measurements that are contaminated by all kinds of urban air conditioning and airport heat.

All that is irrelevant to Sawyer and McKibben, of course. Once they get the “hottest year ever” into the chatter, it becomes fact – and not just regional, or even national, but global. Regional temperatures are important, and even have national and international implications – but only if the temperatures have gone up. If they’ve decreased or remained unchanged, they are irrelevant in televangelist climate messages.

(Naturally, that reminds us of the Wall Street types who keep regulators amused and busy, by using similarly clever tactics to describe stock and bond markets, and attract unwary investors.)

That’s the “it’s really very simple” routine on which Do the Math is based.

Mr. McKibben had been in a cozy, if not profitable, journey with Mr. Gore – fighting the evil fossil fuel mountain of cash and its presumed hell-bent destruction of Planet Earth. However, it didn’t take Mr. Bill very long to conveniently see the light (he probably flipped a fossil-fuel-powered switch), revealing the oil-funded opportunity for riches. Now that he has moved far beyond his 350.org organization and become a film maker, Mr. McK salivates, can a Nobel Prize and million-dollar payoff be far behind?

Actually, it is mind-numbing to see him rehash his Rolling Stone piece, “Global warming’s terrifying new math” – and divine three magic numbers that he says are absolutely critical if we are to save the planet. Here they are, paraphrased as commandments.

newmathThou shalt not let planetary temperatures go above 2 degrees Celsius of warming.

Thou shalt not burn more than another 565 gigatons of carbon (or you will violate the first commandment).

Thou shalt not allow corporations to burn the 2,795 gigatons worth of CO2 that they now have in reserve.

The 2 degrees (3.5°  F) presumes that anything higher risks catastrophe for life on earth. It comes from the civic-minded and unimpeachable folks at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. They said so in their 2007 AR4 report. Therefore, it’s still climate chaos gospel, even though their 2013 AR5 report waffled on this point, IPCC bureaucrats massaged the “science” to make sure it corresponded to their politics and previous proclamations, and IPCC reports are replete with errors, stupidity and fraud.

Indeed, the IPCC’s analyses for biological impacts from any climate changes are purely speculative – but obviously quite profitable for Gore, McKibben, and IPCC pseudo-scientists. Predictions of doom mean never having to say you’re sorry, even if you’re wrong every time. Just collect your next paycheck.

In reality, numerous scientists disagree with the IPCC on this (and a lot more), and say such moderate warming would probably be beneficial for humans, wildlife and planet. By contrast, 2°  C of cooling could be dangerous or even disastrous, especially by reducing growing seasons and arable cropland, and forcing us to plow a lot more temperate zone wildlife habitats to feed hungry people.

The 565 gigatons presumes that this much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will hit a “tipping point,” beyond which global temperatures would climb uncontrollably. There is no evidence whatsoever for this. Heck, the fact that average global temperatures have not budged in 16 years, despite steadily climbing CO2 levels, underscores how wrong and useless IPCC models, predictions and junk science have been.

Finally, according to McKibben, corporations now have enough oil, gas, and coal in their reserves to spew 2,795 gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. And they’re planning to burn it all! (This number does not reflect the enormous growth in petroleum reserves, due to recent discoveries and the ability of hydraulic fracturing to unlock another century of oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids that supply over 80% of the energy that makes modern civilizations, living standards, and life spans possible.)

All these numbers and statements are presented with such passion that you’re almost convinced they were written by ancient seers on scrolls discovered in a Middle Eastern cave, foretelling a future plot by Romanum Imperium Petroleum. Or perhaps the mystical numbers were handed down on stone tablets – presumably granite, not anything made from nasty carbon-based rocks like limestone or marble!

Mr. McKibben has had no qualms about jumping in bed with the Middle Eastern fossil fuel industry, to fight the evil Western fossil fuel industry. Aljazeera America seems to be the official home for his so-called “documentary,” to rally True Believers to the cause of fighting “carbon pollution.”

Just because his buddies Al Gore and Rajandra Pachauri made tens of millions of dollars off carbon trading schemes, before the EU carbon market collapsed, is no reason people should be suspicious of Mr. McK’s alliances, numbers or intentions. After all, numbers don’t lie, especially when “Green” credentials promote “Green” alternative energy schemes and bring in so many “greenback” dollars. Do the math.

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Dennis Mitchell, CPA/QEP, has been professionally involved in environmental and tax compliance, monitoring and education for over 40 years and is an avid student of climate change. 

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About the Author: Paul Driessen

Paul Driessen

Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for CFACT and author of Cracking Big Green and Eco-Imperialism: Green Power - Black Death.

  • TonyfromOz

    Thanks for this article Paul and Dennis.

    I see that in the same article from Bill, he was promoting Wind power as an alternative to coal fired power.

    Okay then Bill, let’s do some Math then.

    Wind power. Absolutely huge in the U.S. or is it?

    62,000MW in Nameplate Capacity. That’s well more than 35,000 of those huge
    towers.

    62,000MW in Nameplate Capacity. That’s the equivalent of 31 large scale coal
    fired power plants of 2000MW+

    31 of them. Wow! huge numbers there.

    So, then, exactly how much power is delivered from that huge amount of wind
    power.

    Well, according to the Energy Information Administration, that comes in at just
    a tick under 140TWH, and the following is the link for that, end of year 2012

    http://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/epm_table_grapher.cfm?t=epmt_1_01_a

    Man, again with the huge numbers.

    Why, that’s almost 3.4% of the total U.S. consumption.

    Wow! 3.4% of the total power consumed in the U.S. Why, that’s huge! Isn’t it?

    Umm, while we’re doing some Math here, with Wind being the Nameplate
    equivalent of those 31 large scale coal fired power plants, then what sort of
    power delivery are we talking about from them then?

    So from just ONE of those large scale coal fired power plants, well, each
    year, that one plant delivers around 14.5TWH, so to equal that monumentally
    huge amount from wind, then we’ll need 10 of those huge coal fired plants.

    Hey, wait a minute, the Nameplate Capacity for Wind is equal to 31 of those
    plants, and yet wind only delivers the same power that 10 of those plants
    deliver.

    So if all that wind equals 31 plants by Capacity, and 10 plants for actual
    power delivered for consumption, then how many of those large scale coal fired
    plants have closed in the last, well, say 6 years, you know, the same time frame for the huge ramping up of wind plant construction.

    Umm! None. That’s NOT ONE of them.

    How many are scheduled for closure in the near term.

    Umm! None. That’s not one of them.

    So how about some more Math then Bill.

    The Capacity Factor for all wind power in the U.S. is currently 27.5%.
    That’s not me just plucking that figure out of the air and calling it something
    I just made up. That’s the Industry Standard for power delivery for a year, and
    that 27.5% is the CF for Wind in the U.S. but hey, that’s better than the Whole
    of World CF which is currently only 17.5%.

    So, that U.S. figure of 27.5% equates then to an average daily delivery of
    only 27.5% of the Wind Plant’s rated total Nameplate Capacity. Further extrapolating that down then, that means that all these wind towers are only operational for just on six and a half hours.

    6.5 hours out of every 24 hours, for 365 days a year for hopefully the quoted 25 year life span, but more likely only 15 years with that CF dropping after only 10 years.

    Hey! 6.5 hours a day. That’s umm, great, isn’t it??

    Bill, sometimes Math can be a two edged sword, which can cut you just as
    badly as you sought to cut out with yourself.

    Bill, if you think Wind Power is the answer, then mate, you’re asking the
    wrong question.

    Tony.

  • alpha2actual

    . Let’s examine the new math of the Renewable Energy Robber Baron crowd who have taken upon themselves to protect us from the “projected” end of civilization as we know it. Welcome to the Cape Wind Project.

    Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound has been approved. The project will cost $2.6 BILLON, and it has secured funding for $2 BILLON of that from a Japanese bank. But this is believed to be subject to the project gaining a loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy. The contracted cost of the wind farm’s energy will be 23 cents a kilowatt hour (excluding tax credits, which are unlikely to last the length of the project), which is more than 50% higher than current average electricity prices in Massachusetts. The Bay State is already the 4th most expensive state for electricity in the nation. Even if the tax credits are preserved, $940 million of the $1.6 billion contract represents costs above projections for the likely market price of conventional power. Moreover, these costs are just the initial costs they are scheduled to rise by 3.5 percent annually for 15 years.

    This project is rated at 468 MW and will produce 143 MW after applying a Capacity Factor of 30.4 % the time the wind actually blows. Life cycle is 20 years therefore this project will produce 24.6 Gigawatts life cycle.

    A Combined Cycle Natural Gas Turbine plant studied by the DOE completed in 2010 is rated at 570 MW and produces 470 MW, capacity factor 85%. Cost $311 MILLION. Life cycle 35 years therefore this plant will produce 133 Gigawatts life cycle.

    The math Cost / (Baseplate MW X Capacity Factor X 8760 (annual hours) X Life Cycle (years)

    • TonyfromOz

      For all you people who think that the cost for construction of Wind Power Plants will only come down as more and more of them are construction, then Cape Wind is a perfect example of the exact opposite.

      The original proposal started out with a construction cost of $800 Million and has now more than tripled in cost.

      Wind Power is an expensive failure. If the best Capacity Factor they can manage for Cape Wind is 30%, then imagine this.

      If anything else seeking broad public acceptance had a design capability of only working for less than one third of the time, (30%) it would be laughed out of existence.

      Tony.

      • alpha2actual

        On Capacity Factor, every Gigawatt of electricity generated by renewable wind and solar requires 900,000 Megawatts of fossil generation as standby backup. This is incredibly inefficient especially for Combined Cycle Natural Gas Turbines which are most efficient when running flat out in base load production mode.

  • alpha2actual

    The US Energy Information Agency is the go to government source for unbiased data. Here is a listing of Federal subsidies for electric power by source, fiscal 2010, dollars per Megawatt. Oil and Gas $0.64, Hydropower $0.82, Coal $0.64, Nuclear $3.14, SOLAR $775.64, WIND $56.29. You don’t need a Harvard MBA that there is something amiss here.

    Without subsidies and mandates this nonsense wouldn’t be happening in the US. And yes it takes both sides of the isle, the Crony Capitalists, Crony Socialists and the latest addition to the mix Green Robber Barons. By the way, check out how the renewable energy policies have worked out in Europe in regards to the recession. Spain solar has crashed, Cap and Trade market is in the tank, Germany’s offshore wind debacle, UK canceling all of it onshore wind projects, etc

  • alpha2actual

    Commercial renewable energy projects are economically untenable in a free market environment therefore they must be heavily subsidized. As a result electric power consumer’s State and Federal tax dollars are subsidizing projects that will double their electric utility bills over the lifetime of the project. This has to be the most creative Ponzi scheme yet invented. If you are interested in this comment I really suggest you Google a New York Times article from November, 2011 entitled “A Gold Rush of Subsidies in Clean Energy Search” that describes in great detail the “financials” of a large commercial solar project in California. This is a 1.6 billion dollar project totally funded by State, Federal taxes and Grants that guarantee a 384 million dollar profit to investors before construction begins. The money quote, P.G.& E., and ultimately its electric customers, will pay NRG $150 to $180 a megawatt-hour… that was about 50 percent more than the expected market cost of electricity in California from a newly built gas-powered plant. While neither state regulators nor the companies will divulge all the details, the extra cost to ratepayers amounts to a $462 million subsidy, according to Booz, which calculated the present value of the higher rates over the life of the contracts.

  • jameshrust

    Great column. It seems Qatar is playing a role in shutting down the fossil fuel industry in the U. S. This makes a lot of sense from their viewpoint. The U. S. is poised to be the biggest natural gas and oil producer in the world. This is a threat to the economy of Qatar and all their surrounding friends in the Middle East. Get the Greenies to knock off fossil fuel production in the U. S. and the Middle East will be on top of energy production again. Gore and McKibben have no scruples. They would sell out to the Devil.
    James H. Rust, Professor on nuclear engineering