Energy Policy

The Return of the King (Coal, That Is)

Featured image As a sequel to yesterday’s note about the Obama administration’s war on coal (“Coal in the Balance”), it is worth noting that the rest of the world is not following our peculiar mania.  Despite all of the bold talk of reducing carbon emissions by all the brave declaration-signers at the annual UN climate jamborees, the long-range projections by the International Energy Agency and other sober-minded analysis show that coal is »

Coal in the Balance

Featured image The government shutdown may be having an effect on the EPA’s drive to finalize a new regulation aimed at shutting down coal-fired power in the United States, but maybe not.  After all, given that the EPA essentially farms out much of its regulatory design to environmental groups, the Sierra Club and NRDC may be prepared to hand the finished regulation over when the shutdown ends.  Nothing like having private-sector adjuncts »

Carbon Capers

Featured image When you set up a trading scheme for hot air, this is exactly what you should expect: Britain charges 6 people over multimillion dollar pollution credit fraud LONDON (AP) –  British prosecutors say six men have been charged over a massive pollution credit fraud scheme that cost the British government many millions of pounds (dollars.) The Crown Prosecution Service says that four of the men created a string of dummy »

Why Only I Can Solve Global Warming

Featured image Well, this is fun.  Our pals at the center-left Breakthrough Institute, Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, suggest today that if global warming is truly a catastrophic problem the only people who could solve it are . . . conservatives.  And there’s my happy mug on their web page display today, next to Dr. Evil the Koch brothers (and my sometimes debate partner Robert Bryce): This fits with what I’ve been »

Mercedes Binz Headed for the Used-Pol Lot?

Featured image The Hill newspaper is reporting that Obama’s FERC nominee Ronald Binz—“Mercedes Binz” as I call him—is in deep trouble and may have to withdraw: The White House nomination of Ron Binz to chair the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission appears to be collapsing. Binz has faced strong opposition from Republicans, and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) also opposes his nomination, endangering his path to confirmation. On Thursday, a Democratic spokesman on »

Renewable Confusion

Featured image One resource that is definitely renewable ad infinitum is the confusion about renewable energy.  Today’s Journal Report section of the Wall Street Journal perpetuates the confusion with a howler they offer in the service of supposedly debunking “myths” about renewable energy: One of the most persistent criticisms of renewables is that they account for a fraction of the U.S. electricity system—despite years of federal subsidies and breakneck growth. When looking »

Ansel Adams on Nuclear Power (Updated)

Featured image From a long-forgotten Playboy magazine interview with Ansel Adams, whose iconic photographs have been central to many a Sierra Club calendar (hat tip: Michael Shellenberger): Playboy: You are against nuclear weapons but favor nuclear power, which separates you from many of the environmental groups that are staunchly no-nuke. Adams: That’s an apparent dichotomy and it disturbs a lot of people, but the danger of nuclear power is conjectural and the »

Obama’s War on Energy

Featured image Well, at least Obama’s plans to attack domestic energy are going better than his plans for attacking Syria.  The EPA is about to release a new draft rule effectively prohibiting new coal-fired power plants.  The rule will undoubtedly face a stiff legal challenge, but that takes time, and in the meantime coal mines and utilities facing the regulatory uncertainty will get squeezed in the marketplace. Meanwhile, Scott has written here »

A 1959 Lincoln Continental . . . Hybrid?

Featured image This is one of those irresistible stories: Neil Young’s hybrid-electric car broke down the other day while he was driving to  . . . an environmental jamboree.  Heh.  Double-heh.  But what’s this? His car is a 1959 Lincoln Continental?  That cost him $1 million to trick out? Neil Young, a high-profile proponent of cars powered by alternative fuels, was recently stranded on the highway when his own $1 million biomass-powered »

Australia’s U-Turn: Is Germany Next?

Featured image Tony Abbott’s smashing election victory in Australia the other day was due in large part to his opposition to Australia’s hated carbon tax (ahem–is Greg Mankiw paying attention?), but over here the climate campaign’s reaction to this news is to tune in the cricket symphony.  Could this be a harbinger of a change in direction here? Looking abroad, could Germany be next to defect from the climate crusade?  The high »

Russia Handles Greenpeace

Featured image This is how you take care of Greenpeace: A Greenpeace icebreaker that entered Russia’s Arctic without permission to protest offshore energy exploration is leaving after being threatened with gunfire by that country’s coast guard. “It was repeated several times in open conversation that they were threatening that if we didn’t leave the Northern Sea Route that they would fire on our ship,” Christy Ferguson, a Canadian crew member on the »

Bootleggers and Baptists Get Gas

Featured image “Bootleggers and Baptists” is the popular explanation of the public choice theory of “rent-seeking” first offered up by economist Bruce Yandle, in which bootleggers support teetotaling Baptist politicians who keep alcohol illegal, thus preserving the huge profit margins of the bootleggers.  For a current example, marijuana growers are unenthusiastic about the moves toward legalization in Colorado and elsewhere because it will cut into profits. There’s another great example of it »

If This is Recovery, God Save Us from a Slowdown

Featured image Is the economy heading for another recession?  Heck if I know. What we can tell, however, is how weak the current “recovery” is.  Investors Business Daily runs down the dismal numbers in “Obama’s Economy–Help, We’ve Fallen and Can’t Get Up“: Household incomes are still down 4.4% since the recession ended four years ago. Meanwhile, the unemployment picture may be even worse than we think. The Obama “recovery” continues to impress. According »

U.S. Energy Security: Getting Better

Featured image One of Hayward’s Laws—I’m not sure which number this is—is that there is an inverse relationship between the frequency of a cliché and its lack of substance.  In other words, the more often you hear a term used, the less substantive or meaningful the term is in the real world.  The prime offender of Hayward’s Second Law is “sustainability.” More on sustainability some other time.  Hard on the heels of »

Energy Roundup and Other Miscellaneous Notes

Featured image Lots of fun little stories on the energy scene the last few days. Item: MIT’s Technology Review wonders whether widespread adoption of electric cars could destabilize the grid, most of which may not be able to handle spikes in demand when everyone plugs in their cars at night to recharge (and when the sun goes down on all the solar panels): Plugging in an electric vehicle is, in some cases, »

Anonymous Money on the Left

Featured image Middle Eastern potentates have been acknowledging their nervousness over the hydrocarbon revolution that has seen American domestic oil production increase by 2 million barrels a day over the last two years, with much more to come as cutting edge American technology spreads around the world.  OPEC’s days as the drivers of the global oil market may be in eclipse, especially if global demand for oil peaks, as has been forecast »

Green Weenie of the Week: Germany

Featured image Well why shouldn’t an entire nation be eligible for one of our coveted Green Weenie Awards?  After all the country actually has a Green Party that has been included in past cabinets, and is often held up as an example of how a nation should embrace green energy technologies. Except that the whole expensive scheme is falling apart.  Despites hundreds of billions of Euros in subsidies and direct investment, German »