Archive for July 14th, 2009

Hero of the day: Sen. Lamar Alexander

July 14, 2009

Carbon Control News reports that,

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) says he would not vote for any climate change legislation that places a mandatory cap on carbon emissions even if it fully incorporates GOP proposals to build 100 new nuclear plants in 20 years, electrify half of the U.S. vehicle fleet, expand offshore drilling and double energy-related research & development.

Unlike trade association embarrassments like EEI’s Tom Kuhn and ACC’s Cal Dooley, Sen. Alexander is not trying to make Waxman-Markey a better bill, he flat-out opposes it.

Would you sweat out a heatwave for $2.50 per hour?

July 14, 2009

Following up on yesterday’s story about Baltimore Gas & Electric’s program to install 2 million Obama-meters in homes, BG&E says that on peak days (i.e., very hot days when there’s a lot of demand for air conditioning), its Obama-meters helped…

… lots of customers cut power use [between 2p-7pm] to 30kwh from 40kwh… [earning a rebate of] $12.50 for that day,

according to a report in SmartGridToday.

So that works out to being paid $2.50 per hour to sweat at home — much less than the minimum wage, which is scheduled to rise to $7.25 per hour on July 24.

Of course, if you went to the shopping mall or visited neighbors with air conditioning on those days then it would be money-for-nothing.

Imagine if entire neighborhoods gathered in one air-conditioned house on “peak days” (house-pooling?) everyone could save $12.50, less the cover charge for the home in which everyone “pooled” to play that new board game, Cap and Charade.

Will Obama sacrifice the EIA’s credibility?

July 14, 2009

Carbon Control News reports that,

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) is hoping to complete within the next few weeks an analysis of the massive House climate bill that could reshape the climate debate and ultimately determine the stance of several hesitant lawmakers…

Moderate Democrats from coal-reliant states are among those being most fiercely courted by climate bill backers, and they likely will be looking for some reassurance from EIA that implementing a cap-and-trade program will not cause their constituents’ electricity rates to sky rocket.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), a key fence-sitter, said avoiding “a spike in energy prices” was one of his top two concerns with the House legislation. “I don’t think we’re entirely there, for coal states,” he told reporters July 7.

We predict that the Obama administration will force the EIA to cast aside its objectivity and provide the “reassurance” that wobbly Democratic Senators seek.

Wind weakens UK energy security

July 14, 2009

Excessive reliance on wind power jeopardizes the UK’s energy security says, the business advocacy group CBI.

According to a report in the Financial Times, CBI warns,

Britain will see rapid growth both in wind power and in new gas-fired power stations – needed when the wind is not blowing.

That will make the country more dependent on imported gas, from Russia and elsewhere, more exposed to volatile commodity prices, and less able to cut the CO2 emissions produced by burning fossil fuels.

Instead, the CBI wants more help for investment in new nuclear reactors and “clean coal” power stations that can capture and store emissions.

It’s too bad that CBI doesn’t yet understand that, if CO2 emissions are all it’s worried about, then coal is already “clean.”

The high price of California’s low-carbon law

July 14, 2009

A new study commissioned by the California Small Business Association projects the following impacts from California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006:

On average, the annual costs resulting from the implementation of AB 32 to small businesses are likely to result in loss of more than $182.6 billion in gross state output, the equivalent of more than 1.1 million jobs, nearly $76.8 billion in labor income, and nearly $5.8 billion in indirect business taxes…

The total AB 32 cost of $182.649 billion in lost output is one and a half times the total budget for the state of California. Given that the total gross state output of $1.8 trillion for California in 2008, the total lost output from AB 32 costs to small businesses is almost 10%. Accordingly, the total cost of AB 32 is $49,691 per small business in California.

These costs could be coming to a state near you courtesy of Waxman-Markey.

'Terminator' of California's economy

'Terminator' of California's small businesses

Insurers re-open debate on climate disclosure

July 14, 2009

Now that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is looking at increasing corporate disclosure requirements concerning the much-dreaded global warming, the insurance industry is ironically rethinking the wisdom of its own disclosure rules that were just passed this spring, according to a report in ClimateWire.

According to the report,

There’s debate, however, about whether insurers are seeing their risks increase from climate change. Their emissions are low compared to electric utilities and other industrial emitters. And many of the large insurance companies have been dealing with fluctuating weather for centuries, said Robert Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute, an industry group.

“The reality is, insurers have been aware of climate risk before most people talking about it today were born,” he said. “There is no evidence today, last year, a decade ago, a century ago — ever — that variability and volatility in climate is something that should lead to greater oversight of insurance companies.

In a related insurance industry story, today, Carbon Control News reports,

The insurance industry is raising concerns that companies facing likely greenhouse gas (GHG) limits will file claims against years-old insurance policies to pay for compliance costs by arguing their liability stems from releases that occurred during the coverage term, before policies excluded pollution coverage.

With climate compliance costs projected to be in the hundreds of billions or even trillions of dollars, policyholders are going to seek third parties such as insurers to pay those costs, one informed source says. “The costs that you are going to talk about are going to be enormous,” the source says.

If the insurance industry had only followed Robert Hartwig’s advice to start with…

Chemical industry sells out America? (Pt.2)

July 14, 2009

On July 10, this blog criticized the American Chemistry Council for trying to ameliorate rather than to kill Waxman-Markey.

Unhappy with that characterization of its efforts, an ACC spokesperson e-mailed us requesting a correction:

We have specifically expressed concerns and noted that the bill needs work. ACC is not supporting nor opposing the House climate bill (that has moved to the Senate). We are neutral on the bill as a whole and have specific, pointed concerns that we have expressed about the bill.

But unless ACC means that the “work” that the bill “needs” is its utter destruction, then no correction is warranted.

There is no upside to making energy more expensive and handing over control of our economy to Marxist-socialist greens. Even if ACC succeeded in its effort to enact a Waxman-Markey lite, such a bill would still establish a mechanism for the future ratcheting-down of its provisions.

ACC’s claim of “neutrality” on Waxman-Markey is embarrassing. It doesn’t know what side its on? It doesn’t care?

To its ever-lasting infamy, Sweden claimed neutrality during World War II. Is that the sort of legacy the chemical industry wants?

Chemical industry meatballs

Chemical industry meatballs

GE’s green credit cards fail

July 14, 2009

General Electric has pulled the plug on its Earth Rewards MasterCard program due to lack of interest, ClimateWire reports.

A first-of-its-kind program, card users could set aside 1 percent of the value of their purchases for carbon offset projects.

GE had no comment on whether more carbon was actually stored in the plastic cards themselves than by dubious offset projects. 🙂

Why we should love James Hansen…

July 14, 2009

… at least for now.

Yes, NASA’s James Hansen is the ultra-global warming alarmist. Yes, he has called for war crimes trials for global warming “deniers.” But right now, Hansen should be a our best friend.

Like us, Hansen opposes the Waxman-Markey bill. He calls it the “counterfeit climate bill” and likens its cap-and-trade provisions to a Ponzi scheme.

It now seems that if Hansen had his way, he’d put Reps. Henry Waxman and Ed Markey on trial along with the other “deniers.”

Sure, our reasoning differs from Hansen’s — we think Waxman-Markey is a junk science-fueled Marxist-socialist political power grab sugar-coated with a corporate welfare honey pot, while Hansen believes that Waxman-Markey is too little, too late in terms of stopping the dreaded global warming — but we do have the same goal for now.

If Hansen gets his way and Waxman-Markey is made more stringent, then the big businesses that have so far enabled the bill will withdraw their support. Without their support, Waxman-Markey is dead.

Yes, we would like Waxman-Markey to fail for the right reasons, but if it fails for the wrong reasons, that also works.

Eileen Claussen, head of the green Pew Center on Global Climate Change, told ClimateWire that she wished Hansen would stay out of the politics business.

What is he thinking? Who does he think will vote for [a more stringent clampdown on greenhouse gas emissions]?

Apparently Hansen’s meddling in politics was OK as long as the greens found him useful. Now, he’s just a thorn in their side.

Go Jim, go!

Jim Hansen: A denier's best friend

Jim Hansen: A denier's best friend