Tag: Energy

On this episode of “The Federalist Radio Hour,” Samantha Dravis, senior vice president at Clout Public Affairs and visiting fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum, joins Culture Editor Emily Jashinsky to discuss the Biden administration’s approach to energy and why conversations about climate change and other environmental policies are so difficult to have.

Environmental Extremists Don’t Believe Their Own Predictions

 

In public discourse, it’s considered bad form to insult your opponent’s integrity. But it’s almost impossible to believe that climate alarmists believe their own apocalyptic predictions.

Greta Thunberg, Al Gore, and other experts sternly warned that our planet will be an uninhabitable, unsalvageable oven unless within 15 years (now 10 or 12) we bend all human activity to the goal of eliminating carbon emissions. If true, this creates an obvious moral imperative.

So on his first day in office, President Biden terminated the extension of the Keystone pipeline, created to export shale oil from Alberta to the US. It was, uh, controversial.

Eli Dourado, a senior research fellow at Utah State University, joins Brian Anderson to debunk myths about the great stagnation, discuss new technologies that are on the precipice of unleashing growth, and detail the regulatory strictures and complacency that stand in their way.

Find the transcript of this conversation and more at City Journal.

From the Government, and Here to Help

 

Secretary of Energy Prevention, Jennifer Granholm has, predictably, come out squarely against a free market in energy. “We expect that [gasoline] station owners are and should act responsibly. We will have no tolerance for price-gouging. Federal and state officials will be investigating those actions if we see price-gouging.”

Secretary Granholm has made it clear that the Biden administration enthusiastically endorses shortages, rather than free-market adjustments, which result in scarcer goods being rationed by higher prices. After all, gas station owners, who usually make between 1 and 3 cents per gallon on the gasoline that serves as an advertisement for Kool Filter Kings and Slim Jims, number among the millionaires and billionaires decried by the Democratic party’s most influential members.

Join Jim and Greg as they see some glimmers of good news for Putin critic Alexei Navalny but wonder how firm the Biden administration really plans to be when it comes to Russia. They also shudder as prices for fuel, food, and other goods, are clearly on the rise. And they call out Rep. Maxine Waters for suggesting anything less than a guilty verdict for murder in the Derek Chauvin case should result in more confrontation in the streets.

The Mental World of Joseph Biden–Technology Department

 

Here’s President Biden, in his ‘infrastructure’ speech, talking about the future of transportation:

I tell the kids…they’re going to see more change in the next 10 years than we’ve seen in the last 50 years. We’re going to talk about commercial aircraft flying at subsonic speeds — supersonic speeds. Be able to, figuratively, if you may — if we decided to do it, traverse the world in about an hour, travel 21,000 miles an hour. So much is changing. We have got to lead it.

Giveaways Disguised as Infrastructure

 

This past week, President Joe Biden unveiled his new $2 trillion infrastructure plan, scheduled for implementation over the next eight years. He delivered a pep talk about it before a union audience in Pittsburgh: “It’s a once-in-a-generation investment in America. It’s big, yes. It’s bold, yes, and we can get it done.” One central goal of his program is to tackle climate change by reaching a level of zero net carbon emissions by 2035. Many of Biden’s supporters gave two cheers for this expansion of government power, including the New York Times columnist Farhad Manjoo, who lamented that the program is too small to work, but too big to pass. Huge portions of this so-called infrastructure bill actually have nothing whatsoever to do with infrastructure.

In one classic formulation by the late economist Jacob Viner, infrastructure covers “public works regarded as essential and as impossible or highly improbable of establishment by private enterprise.” Classical liberal theorists like Viner believe it is critical to identify a limited scope of business activity appropriate for government. And even here, while government intervention may be necessary to initiate the establishment of an electric grid or a road system, oftentimes the work is completed by a regulated private firm, overcoming government inefficiency in the management of particular projects.

Biden’s use of the term “infrastructure” is merely a rhetorical flourish, the sole purpose of which is to create an illusion that his proposed menu of expenditures should appeal just as much to defenders of small government as it does to progressive Democrats. A quick look at the proposed expenditures shows that they include large transfer payments to preferred groups that have nothing to do with either infrastructure or climate change. Consider this chart prepared by NPR, which breaks down the major categories of expenditure:

The Reality of the Need for More Nuclear Energy Is Hard to Ignore

 

Shutting down nuclear power plants is a lot easier than generating reliable, carbon-free energy. As The New York Times reports on the tenth anniversary of the meltdown of three nuclear reactors in Fukushima, Japan, following a massive earthquake-tsunami: “As the share of nuclear energy in Japan has plummeted from about a third of total power to the single digits, the void has been filled in part by coal and natural gas, complicating a promise that the country made late last year to be carbon-neutral by 2050.”

Indeed, a member of the government’s advisory committee on energy policy said the nation’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2050 would be hard with nuclear — but, he was quoted by the Financial Times, “In my view, without nuclear it is close to impossible.” (So far just a fifth of the 50 shut-down reactors have been restarted.) In that same NYT piece, reporters Ben Dooley and Hisako Ueno tell the story of what’s been happening in Suttsu, an “ailing fishing town” on Japan’s northernmost major island of Hokkaido. There’s been a big pushback by residents — a firebomb was tossed at the mayor’s home — upset that the mayor agreed to volunteer the town for a government study on potential locations for spent nuclear fuel rods. No commitment, just a study.

Before Fukushima, the piece continues, resource-poor Japan had come to accept its need for nuclear power. That, despite its World War II history. Perhaps reality will be accepted once again given (a) no fatalities have ever been found to be directly attributable to radiation exposure from the Fukushima meltdown and (b) the reactor shut-downs have caused fatalities due to the national switch to dirtier and more expensive power generated by imported coal and oil. More of the rest of the world will also accept the need for a nuclear solution. More on that reality in a recent essay from the Breakthrough Institute’s Ted Nordhaus:

Introducing Kite & Key

 

Admit it: you’re a nerd. Admit it, Ricochet!

No worries — me too. And during my years as a think tank executive, that was always a frustration. People who casually followed politics would ask me how to get a quick understanding of a public policy issue and … I wouldn’t know where to send them.

TV and the major newspapers increasingly focus on the political dimensions of policy fights, without telling you anything meaningful about the substantive debates. But where was I going to steer people? To one of our white papers? To a book I knew they didn’t have the time to read? I got paid to be immersed in that stuff — and I loved it. But these people had lives to lead. They wanted to be responsible, informed citizens, but didn’t have endless free time to delve deep into policy research.

Deep (Freeze) in the Heart of Texas

 

The recent dramatic events in Texas are an early warning sign of the disasters that are likely to occur if the Biden administration continues its relentless effort to demonize the use of fossil fuels in the effort to combat climate change.

Assessing whether the climate is really changing requires looking at two numbers. The first is mean global temperatures across time. While that figure is increasing overall, it shows a complex up-down pattern that cannot be explained solely by the steady increase in carbon dioxide emissions. The higher the mean temperatures, the worse the supposed problem.

The second measure, though often neglected, is every bit as important: the variance in temperatures, whether measured in days, seasons, or years. A lower variance over a relevant time period means less stress on the power grid and other systems, even when the mean temperature increases. The general trend is that the variance in the temperature has gone down over time. Even today, for example, a large fraction of the record high temperatures in the United States took place in the 1930s—when carbon dioxide levels were far lower than they are today—with only three record highs after 2000.

On this episode of “The Federalist Radio Hour,” Founder and Executive Director of Power The Future Daniel Turner joins Senior Editor Chris Bedford to discuss how failures in the government-induced wind sector of the Texas energy grid contributed to the state’s unfurling power crisis.

Join Jim and Greg as they applaud Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for speaking the truth that schools should be open and there’s only one reason why they aren’t. They also shake their heads as a brutal cold snap causes power system failures and rotating blackouts through Texas – and the lessons that should be learned. And they take a bite out of Bill Gates for wanting all “wealthy nations” to switch to synthetic beef.

 

Join Jim and Greg as they welcome New York officials getting closer to the truth about nursing home deaths from COVID and how much Gov. Cuomo tried to cover up the numbers. They also hammer John Kerry and the Biden administration for smugly insisting that lots of energy industry workers will lose jobs but the green energy jobs will be even better. And while admitting limited knowledge of Wall Street, they discuss the GameStop trading chaos and the interesting political reaction to it.

Biden Goes Deep Green

 

It is amazing the difference that four years can make in environmental policy. On January 24, 2017, at the outset of his presidency, Donald Trump issued an executive order that salvaged the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) from the Obama administration’s planned obstructionism. Obama had sought to upset the string of administrative approvals that the project obtained at both the federal and state levels. DAPL runs about 1,100 miles from the Bakken and Three Forks oil fields in North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois, where it is able to carry, far below ground, about 500,000 barrels of crude oil per day. Trump’s action allowed Congress to vote on whether to grant the last federal easement needed for the pipeline to proceed.

DAPL is now in service, even as litigation to shut it down continues. Environmental groups continue to allege attenuated theories of adverse effects under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Their efforts are consistent with the common practice among environmentalists of paying inordinate attention to highly remote contingencies while completely ignoring the large and immediate safety and efficiency advantages of getting crude oil to both domestic and foreign markets via DAPL. More concretely, the chances that any crude oil shipped by DAPL will escape in sufficient quantities to damage the fishing or water rights of the Standing Rock Sioux have always been infinitesimal, which is why the pipeline operations have caused no such harm for the past three years. The overall soundness of the pipeline grid will become truly dire if DAPL is shut down while Keystone is left incomplete.

For the moment, however, the immediate threat is to the Keystone pipeline. On January 20, President Biden issued an executive order aimed at “Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis.” One component of his major order was to revoke the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. The pipeline started some twelve years ago, but since that time it has been beset with legal challenges, including one in May 2020 in which a Montana judge yanked the pipeline’s permit on the grounds that the Army Corps of Engineers had not consulted sufficiently with the US Fish and Wildlife Service on the alleged risks that the pipeline posed to endangered species and their habitat. Such orders overlook the benefits from that pipeline, which include its ability to ship up to 830,000 barrels per day of crude oil from the Alberta sands to American refineries along the Gulf Coast.

Member Post

 

2020 was a bad year for California, and worse if you were a resident of the state. California initiated a lockdown due to Covid-19 on March 20, 2020. At the time, Field Marshall Gavin said “…We project that roughly 56% of our state’s population — 25.5 million people will be infected with the virus over […]

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Arizona’s Secret Green New Deal

 

The Solana Arizona thermal collection plant, near Gila Bend, AZ.

On October 29, almost out of the public eye, the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) gave final approval to a dreadful regulation, mandating all energy in the state be produced with zero carbon emissions by 2050. Arizona has its own mini-Green New Deal!

The consequences will be devastating to Arizona’s economic competitiveness. A mere 15% mandate imposed in 2007 had a $1 billion impact on ratepayers and that was low-hanging fruit. Voters in 2018 soundly defeated a proposal similar to the Commission’s.

Join Jim and Greg as they see plenty of votes lined up to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. They also dig further into Joe Biden’s energy plan and see just how quickly he wants to wipe out fossil fuels. And they wince as Biden literally forgets who he’s running against.

Wayne Winegarden, Ph.D., Senior Fellow of Business and Economics for the Pacific Research Institute joins Carol Roth to discuss a free market approach to energy. He talks about why electric car subsidies help the rich, why overregulation hurts the poor and how Californians could save more than $2,000 a year if lawmakers enacted free market policies. Wayne and Carol talk about California’s rolling blackout problems and why big government is to blame, the big problem with solar energy that nobody is talking about, nuclear power and more.

Plus, a Now You Know segment on the Canary Islands. 

On today’s episode of American Wonk, Avik Roy talks to FREOPP Visiting Fellow Robert Bryce about juice. No, not apple juice, but the juice that powers our smartphones, our homes, and our cars. Can we keep energy affordable for all Americans while reducing carbon emissions? Listen to find out.

Watch Bryce’s new documentary, “Juice: How Electricity Explains The World,” here. Read Bryce’s new book, “A Question of Power: Electricity and the Wealth of Nations 1st Edition, Kindle Edition,” here.