Energy Policy

“Earth First! We’ll Drill the Other Planets Later”

Featured image That’s the snarky bumper sticker I recall from the late 1980s and early 1990s when the monkey wrench gang known as Earth First! was in its heyday. Why not: Earth First’s unofficial motto was “Back to the Pleistocene!” The perfect slogan, I thought, for reactionary environmentalism. I’ve been meaning for a while to make note of the total collapse of one of liberalism’s most dear clichés about energy: that the »

Someone Tell the Pope: Environmentalism Crushes the Poor

Featured image Yesterday the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity released a report that documents how the Obama administration’s war on coal (and on cheap energy generally) has hurt poor and middle-class Americans. While I can’t vouch for the calculations, the report is an impressive piece of work, based on energy consumption and price data from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration, along with data from the Census Bureau and »

A Grab Bag of Things

Featured image I’m on the road today and tomorrow doing some archival research for a book project, so postings will be light. But here are a couple of placeholders in the meantime: • I’m working on several energy and climate items, but for the moment it is worth noting that the indispensable Energy Information Administration (EIA) has produced an independent assessment of the EPA’s so-called “Clean Power Plan” to reduce greenhouse gas »

How Many Windmills Has the Pope?

Featured image Pope Francis has become a deeply problematic figure, all the more so after his encyclical on global warming was leaked to an Italian publication. The letter, some 129 pages long, is directed to Catholic bishops, but Francis grandly says that it is intended for every person in the world. The letter has not yet been translated into English in its entirety, but portions of it have been run through Google »

More Blues for the Greens

Featured image Now matter how many greenbacks the government throws at “green” energy, everyone ends up feeling blue. Yesterday the Wall Street Journal updated the story we’ve been covering for a long time now about the dismal performance of the Brightsource solar energy array in the California desert: High Tech Solar Projects Fail to Deliver $2.2 Billion California Project Generates 40% of Expected Electricity By Cassandra Sweet Some costly high-tech solar power »

The Liberal Learning Curve Is Flat

Featured image Last fall Ross Koningstein (whom I know slightly) and David Fork, two Google engineers who headed up Google’s ambitious RE<C project—which stood for “Renewable Energy Cheaper Than Coal”—wrote a cogent explanation of why Google decided to pull the plug on RE<C: Unfortunately, not every Google moon shot leaves Earth orbit. In 2011, the company decided that RE<C was not on track to meet its target and shut down the initiative. »

Oh Frack! EPA Lets the Greens Down

Featured image This morning the EPA released its long-awaited, multi-year study of hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking,” though those of us with more refined sensibilities call it “rock-massaging”), and it’s going to be a major bummer for the anti-energy left. Here’s the Wall Street Journal headline: Fracking Has No “Widespread Impact” on Drinking Water, EPA Finds A decade into an energy boom led by hydraulic fracturing, the Environmental Protection Agency has concluded there »

Memo to the Gas Industry: You’re Next

Featured image Lenin said capitalists would sell the rope with which they’d be hanged, which intersects Churchill’s famous definition that  “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.” Both of these came to mind a couple years back when the news leaked out that Chesapeake Energy had secretly given $26 million to the Sierra Club to boost the Club’s “Beyond Coal” campaign that was compelling many »

Today’s Energy Unicorn: The Scent of Musk

Featured image What is it about Elon Musk? People must think his name is “Steve Jobs” in some obscure Slavic language. Sure, I think the Tesla is cool, and think they might lead to something useful some day, but right now they’re a boutique toy for affluent people. (A friend who drives a Tesla in a Midwestern state has a custom bumper sticker: “How do you like my coal-powered car?”) And I »

This Week’s Energy Unicorn

Featured image The belief that we can power the world with unicorn flop sweat, Obama’s incandescent speeches, refined banana peels, etc runs deep. I call it “energy romanticism,” and like all other kinds of romanticism it is hard to shake, even with things called facts, which are always inconvenient to the dreams of world-saving liberals. Typical is the story last year about how we could put solar panels on roads, a really »

Tom Friedman Beclowns Himself Again [With Update By John]

Featured image The New York Times makes it very difficult to settle on who is their worst op-ed columnist, and it is hard to break the tie between the obnoxiousness of Paul Krugman and the know-it-all smugness of Tom Friedman. Elsewhere Niall Ferguson has a nice beat down of Krugman today at the Puffington Host (Niall makes the case that Krugman is the biggest loser of the British election last week), so »

A Note on Coal

Featured image A commenter on the India story posted up this morning wonders why anyone should be “pro-coal,” because “By any standard, coal is horrible for the environment. New Delhi’s air is the most polluted in the WORLD. More coal won’t help. Coal releases mercury in the environment, creates acid rain, etc. Climate change aside, coal is awful and should not be celebrated…” First, it is not about being “pro-coal” or any »

The Asia Bank Freakout

Featured image Lost amidst the news of the Iran deal is a simmering controversy—actually more like a total Establishment freakout—over China’s initiative to start the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which China would dominate. It appears to be an attempt by China to set up a regional international finance structure to rival the U.S.-dominated World Bank and International Monetary Fund. The U.S. opposes this initiative, because it supposedly threatens to upset the »

The Obama Administration’s Attack on the Constitution: Part 2, Environmental Protection Agency

Featured image The Environmental Protection Agency has long been in the forefront of Obama administration lawlessness. Don’t forget: before Hillary Clinton’s secret email server came to light, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson was conducting government business off the books as “Richard Windsor,” which, she explained when caught, was the name of her dog. The EPA’s current usurpation, an effort to remake America’s power supply system, is much more serious. The EPA has proposed »

Taking the Wrong Lessons from the Gipper on Climate

Featured image I love George Shultz, Ronald Reagan’s secretary of state and one of the heroes of the endgame of the Cold War. He began every meeting with a Soviet official with a specific human rights complaint about a dissident the Soviets had locked up, just to get under their skin and keep the pressure on.  He was magnificent in his meetings with the Soviets after the shootdown of KAL 007, and »

Jay Leno Hates Ethanol

Featured image And so should you.  From Jay’s column in Autoweek: CAN’T WE JUST GET RID OF ETHANOL? There have been a lot of old-car fires lately. I went through the ’70s, the ’80s and most of the ’90s without ever having read much about car fires. Suddenly, they are happening all over the place. Here’s one reason: The ethanol in modern gasoline—about 10 percent in many states—is so corrosive, it eats through »

Energy Sense from an Unlikely Source

Featured image In preparing for this week’s session of my graduate course on energy policy, I happened to stumble across a very sound discussion of why the energy romanticism of the Climate Haters (I think I’m going to retire “climatistas” and go with the more accurate Climate Haters instead, because settled science!) makes no sense. It is in a series called “Getting to Zero” (as in zero carbon emissions), written by a »