The Environmental Protection Agency, following the lead of the Obama Administration, has promulgated rules designed to shut down America's coal industry and force the U.S. economy to rely on unsustainable wind and solar energy for future power generation. Americans in the know realize this course of action will lead to energy shortages, brownouts and blackouts, higher energy prices, and more. Lawsuits seeking to curtail the EPA's power are pending in federal court -- and the plaintiffs point out that the EPA is violating its own rules and federal law in its quest for power.
The climate change crusades are heating up, thanks to an irascible President Obama, who sneers at polls showing Americans no longer believe in the hobgoblin view of carbon dioxide spread by politicians who arrogated science as a tool to be manipulated rather than a guide to rational behavior. CFACT advisor Larry Bell notes that the EPA’s regulatory war on coal rampage will impose major utility cost hikes, with disproportionate burdens falling upon economically disadvantaged residents of colder northern states. But who will pay the political price for this skullduggery?
CFACT contributor Marita Noon points out that wind and solar power are free, but converting them to usable energy typically requires fossil fuel backup systems because neither wind nor solar is 24/7n reliable. Pointing out these facts -- and the higher energy costs for the poorest among us -- typically is met with ugly rhetoric, character assassination and such like, because wind and solar companies and the die-hard supporters of renewable energy cannot refute the facts.
If the U.S. continues on its current path, electricity rates are going to skyrocket (as President Obama promised) and there will be massive power outages because of the shutdown of coal- and natural gas-fired power plants. Energy poverty is America's future -- and we know this based on the German experience. There, because of the nation's high renewables requirements, electricity prices have already more than doubled -- and Germans are building new coal-fired power plants to address the intermittency of solar energy (which is often nonexistent in winter).
The enemies of fracking, the Keystone pipeline, and other fossil fuel related activities start with wild-eyed "Deep Green Resistance" types who oppose the entirety of Western civilization (even agriculture), include those with vested interests in alternative energy sources, and even include foreign governments (like Putin's Russia), who recognize that cheaper oil and gas prices will hurt their economies and weaken their grip on nearby dependent countries. Naming enemies empowers those who want to defeat them.
The federal ethanol mandate mut be rescinded, say CFACT Senior Policy Advisor Paul Driessen. Nearly 40% of the U.S. corn crop is devoted to ethanol, and this requires enormous amounts of irrigation water, fertilizers, pesticides, and gasoline or diesel fuel to grow, harvest, and ship the corn -- and then to ship the ethanol. While corn growers are protected by the mandate, they are making money -- but at the expense of chicken, turkey, egg, and hog farmers who are paying an extra $100 billion a year in feed costs. Moreover, energy from oil and gas drilling is much less harmful to the environment -- especially given the high usage of water, the unbearable flow of life-killing nutrients into the Gulf of Mexico, and of course the negative impacts on gasoline and diesel engines from the added ethanol (and the lower miles per gallon it delivers). It is time, says Driessen, to bury the Renewable Fuel Standard and the ethanol subsidies.
Energy policy analyst Marita Noon, a CFACT advisor, points out that India has no intention of kowtowing to political correctness in developing its energy sector. Instead, "India rejects arguments by Green activists that it must move away from coal energy, saying the alternative would be to keep its citizens in poverty.” Meanwhile, President Obama is intent on creating energy poverty in the U.S. through a regulatory assault on coal, oil and gas, and other conventional energy producers -- on top of his intention to veto legislation authorizing the Keystone pipeline. Should he get his way, Americans will be anticipating blackouts and brownouts and higher energy prices across the board to go along with the energy shortages his policies are sure to create.
The uncertainty of the future of the wind energy production tax credit is but one reason that wind turbine projects are falling apart. Cape Wind, the huge Massachusetts project opposed by the Kennedy clan, now looks dead after two power companies filed to withdraw their contracts because the investors missed deadlines. Minnesota's Minwind project is now bankrupt because the investors cannot even afford the maintenance costs.
The giant Ivanpah solar array in California was financed with a $1.6 billion construction loan from the U.S. Treasury, but the plant has been so unproductive that its owners have successfully begged for loan repayment delays and now want a $539 million federal grant so they can make their first -- already late -- three payments on the initial loan. But prospects for long-term viability of Ivanpah remain poor, given that the plant's poor performance and the fact that it is killing birds at an alarming rate. As Reason's Julian Morris, says, “They’re already paying less than the market rate. Now demanding or asking for a subsidy in the form of a grant directly paying off the loan is an egregious abuse.”
A year after the Congress allowed the wind power production tax credit to expire, the American Wind Energy Association is making a last-ditch effort to renew the PTC, which apparently is necessary for its survival. Moreover, the conditions that fostered the creation of this tax credit -- fears of dependence on foreign oil -- have long since passed, thanks to the fracking revolution. As CFACT analyst Marita Noon says, it is time for the wind industry to grow up.
Marita Noon says that the European Union may appear to have reached a consensus agreement on carbon dioxide reductions, renewables use, and energy efficiency -- but the agreement includes a proviso that it only takes effect if all of the major carbon dioxide emitter countries become signatories to the non-treaty agreement that President Obama thinks he can make effective even without Senate confirmation.
The eco-imperialism of the West continues to plague the nations of Africa and other developing nations. Secretary of State John Kerry even told Africans not to create new (more efficient) farms because the rich First World does not want them to contribute to "carbon pollution," as if that were something to fear. The shameless patronism of the new colonialist is dcirectly responsible for millions of deaths in Africa, india, and elsewhere, but in their own eyes the Green gurus believe their phony cause of "saving the planet" is more noble than saving human lives.
Unless President Obama stops unilaterally forcing UN climate policy on America, and directs his EPA to back down on harsh regulations and grant power plants a reprieve, blackouts are all but guaranteed.
In the midst of beheadings, Russia's troop buildup inside Ukraine, and Ebola cases skyrocketing, Hillary Clinton made the claim that climate change “is the most consequential, urgent, sweeping collection of challenges we face as a nation and a world.” How bizarre! Even in Germany, where subsidies have built a gigantic solar industry, solar produced only 0.1% of the nation's energy in the month of January. America, notes Marita Noon, has abundant coal, oil and natural gas resources that we ought not squander.
CFAC advisor Larry Bell says that we ought to beware of marketing terms such as “clean,” “renewable,” and “sustainable.” While those words may seem very nice, they have routinely been co-opted and redefined through misleading “Green” messaging campaigns. For example, corn ethanol yields less energy than is required to grow and produce it. Wind turbines are bird and bat executioners. Solar plants take up so much land that reptiles and other animals suffer. Plus, solar and wind are inherently intermittent,