Archive for July, 2009

Cap-and-clunker?

July 31, 2009

This week’s failure of the Obama administration’s cash-for-clunkers program — it ran out of money within a few days of starting — should give us all pause.

If the Obama administration and Congress can’t design, fund and execute the relatively simple task of giving away taxpayer money to people who buy new cars, then what can we expect from their 1,400-page Waxman-Markey bill that completely rewrites national energy policy?

Real melting: Climate alarmism in California

July 30, 2009

It looks as though Al Gore will need to work on controlling public opinion rather than greenhouse gases.

Global warming alarmism and support for greenhouse gas regulation is slipping in eco-cidal California, according to a new survey by the Public Policy Institute of California.

According to the survey media release:

Most residents (66%) support the 2006 California law (AB 32) that requires greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced to 1990 levels by 2020. Support has declined 7 points from July 2008 (73%) and 12 points from 2007 (78%). The decline is sharpest among Republicans (57% 2008, 43% today).

While most see global warming as a threat (47% very serious, 28% somewhat serious) to the economy and quality of life in the state, the percentage of residents who categorize the threat as very serious has declined over the past two years (54% 2007, 52% 2008, 47% today.) Residents are divided over whether the state government should take action to reduce emissions right away (48%) or wait until the economy and state budget situation improve (46%). In July 2008, when the plan to implement AB 32 was being discussed, a majority (57%) said the government should adopt it right away rather than wait (36%).

“Californians clearly support policies to improve the environment,” says Mark Baldassare, president and CEO of PPIC. “But in the current economic climate their support has dropped a notch.”

More Al Gore lobbying $$$

July 30, 2009

The Climate Protection Action Fund, a subsidiary of Al Gore’s Repower America, paid $60,000 to the Glover Park Group during the second quarter of 2009 for lobbying on Waxman-Markey.

We earlier reported that Al Gore’s venture capital firm, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, paid $100,000 in lobbying fees so far in 2009.

Al Gore failed to disclose any of this when he testified in April before Congress in favor of Waxman-Markey.

Click here for the CPAF lobbying report.

ClimateWire reports that a Gore spokesman failed to respond to several requests for comment. No matter. Had the Gore camp responded, it likely would have been with a face similar to that below, when Al Gore denied at the April House hearing that he had any business relationship with Goldman Sachs.

goldmanwho

Climate bill’s tax wolf in ‘free money’ clothing

July 30, 2009

Beware of greens bearing free carbon allowances.

Climate bill supporters are trying to attract Senate votes for Waxman-Markey by touting the free carbon allowances that would be allocated to individual states. This analysis by the World Resources Institute, estimates the range of free carbon allowances for energy consumer assistance programs on a per capita basis at $40/person (California) to $160/person (Wyoming) for the year 2016. The average assistance level is $90/person.

While such “free money” sounds great, it does have a hidden cost — higher energy prices that far exceed the value of the allowances.

For example, Georgia residents would receive about $80/person/year in free allowances to offset higher energy costs. But the head of the Georgia Public Service Commission recently stated that a climate bill would raise energy costs to the average Georgia Power customers by an estimated $66/month by 2020. So while a family of four might get free allowances worth $320/year, their cost of electricity would increase by $792/year, a net loss of $472/year.

Would you pay that much money annually for a government program that accomplishes nothing?

Germans hoard incandescents ahead of ‘light bulb socialism’

July 29, 2009

From Spiegel:

As the Sept. 1 deadline for the implementation of the first phase of the EU’s ban on incandescent light bulbs approaches, shoppers, retailers and even museums are hoarding the precious wares — and helping the manufacturers make a bundle…

But — like laws on bent cucumbers — many have mocked the light bulb legislation as just another example of an EU bureaucracy gone wild. Holger Krahmer, for example, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from Germany’s business-friendly FDP party has accused the EU of imposing ‘light bulb socialism’.”

Obama OSHA pick supports junk science in courts, regulatory agencies

July 29, 2009

WASHINGTON, July 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — President Obama’s nominee to head the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), David Michaels, should be grilled by the U.S. Senate about his links to trial lawyers and other anti-science activist groups, JunkScience.com says.

“Michaels supports the use of junk science as a basis for public policy and court decisions, representing a threat to employers, employees, consumers and taxpayers,” said Steve Milloy, publisher of JunkScience.com.

Michaels runs something called the Project on Scientific Knowledge and Public Policy (SKAPP) at the George Washington University. While its university affiliation and academic name would seem to lend it a modicum of credibility, in fact, SKAPP’s origins are much more revealing.

As Milloy first reported in the Wall Street Journal in October 2003, SKAPP was launched by something called the Common Benefit Trust — an expense account originally established for the purpose of compensating silicone breast implant (SBI) plaintiff lawyers for legitimate services and expenses incurred in connection with the multi-billion dollar SBI litigation.

But some of that money was diverted to form SKAPP, whose mission was to work to overturn the 1993 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals — the landmark decision that permits judges to set up scientific review panels in federal litigation to keep junk science out of the courtroom. One Daubert panel played a pivotal role in stopping SBI litigation in federal courts.

SKAPP has also been recently active in the controversy over the chemical bisphenol A (BPA), which is used in food and beverage packaging.

The day after Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) introduced a bill to ban BPA in baby and children’s products in April 2008, personal injury lawyers filed a billion-dollar class action lawsuit against five baby bottle manufacturers for using BPA in plastic baby bottles and toddler training cups.

Around that time, Michaels was active in the media against BPA, telling the Washington Post, for example, that BPA makers were like the tobacco industry because, he claimed, raising questions about the science underlying regulatory action is merely a tactic to delay regulation.

“Apparently, the only decent thing for an industry wrongfully besieged by activists and the government to do is to knuckle under in Michaels view,” Milloy said. “Be assured that Michaels will advance the insidious junk science agenda at OSHA unless the Senate stops him,” Milloy added.

Obama spares BMW, Daimler from new mileage standards

July 28, 2009

The Obama administration’s new mileage standards are not slated to apply to vehicle makers that sell fewer than 400,000 cars per year in the U.S., reports the Wall Street Journal — taking BMW, Daimler AG, Suzuki and Mitsubishi Motors off the hook.

In effect, the provision would make it easier for Mercedes to keep selling cars like its $147,000, 12-cylinder S600 sedan, rated at 13 miles per gallon, while GM or Toyota would be required to meet tougher mileage standards with smaller, more efficient cars.

Do you think that Government Motors CEO Obama realizes the competitive disadvantage at which he placed his own company?

Obama gives foreign nukes nod ahead of US company

July 28, 2009

The Obama administration turned aside a loan guarantee application by Bethesda,MD-based USEC to build a Piketon, OH-based plant to produce nuclear fuel for reactors, apparently in favor of giving the loan guarantee either to French company Areva or UK company Urenco, Greenwire reports.

According to Greenwire:

DOE’s loan-guarantee decision drew quick criticism from Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio), whose district includes the proposed USEC plant.

“It’s death. It cannot wait another 18 months,” said Schmidt’s chief of staff, Barry Bennett.

“It is interesting that Iran has the technology and it seems to be working fine, but the Department of Energy can’t find a way to do it here in the United States,” Bennett said. Schmidt will be sending President Obama a letter urging him to reverse the decision, he said.

Rep. Schmidt said that unless the decision is reversed, job lay-offs will begin in August.

Ft. Collins’ 80-year ‘zero-energy’ nightmare

July 28, 2009

Ft. Collins plans to build the largest “zero-energy district” in the world in which the neighborhood generates as much power as it consumes, according to Newsweek.

But “zero-energy” doesn’t come at zero cost. Newsweek reports:

Officials estimate that the Fort Collins project will cost roughly $350 million. The stimulus money kicks in only $4.8 million, which leaves the city to do significant fundraising. Money could come from a mix of government, private investments, utility companies, and research and development grants. “It’s a ton of money, and there’s no way we can do this on our own,” says Mike Freeman, Fort Collins’s chief financial officer and economic-development guru. “The biggest risk for us is that we won’t have enough money and that this will take 20 years.”

The so-called FortZED district contains 7,000 commercial and residential customers. So that works out to spending $50,000 per customer.

The average electric bill in Fort Collins is $50.66 per month.

So it will take more than 82 years for FortZED to break-even.

Al Gore’s firm spends $100K in 2009 lobbying: USCAP spends $490K

July 28, 2009

Washington DC’s trade press is all a buzz with reports of how much money the impliedly evil energy industry is spending to lobby on Waxman-Markey. Nowhere are any reports of what the greens and rentseekers are spending to lobby against consumers, taxpayers and America. So in the name of fairness:

  • Al Gore’s venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers has paid the lobbying firm Bay Bridge Strategies Inc. $100,000 so far this year to lobby on President Obama’s stimulus bill and Waxman-Markey.
  • The U.S. Climate Action Partnership paid the Lighthouse Consulting Group a total of $490,000 so far in 2009 to lobby on climate.

Click for Bay Bridge’s first quarter and second quarter lobbying reports.

Click for Lighthouse Consulting’s first quarter and second quarter lobbying reports.

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