Daily Archives: August 17, 2011

How bad are governments at picking winning technologies? ‘Woeful’ would actually be rating them too highly

Germany’s green power push cools in the face of cutbacks, competition
Graham Lloyd

THE German green power revolution is facing hard times because of government cutbacks and stiff competition from Asia.

In addition, the decision to abandon nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan is not having the positive spin-off that German solar companies may have expected.

Some of Germany’s biggest and best-known industrial companies are questioning whether they can afford to continue to do business there. A string of recent profit slumps by German solar-cell companies underscores the depth of the crisis for solar business. (The Australian)

German Solar Module Companies Taking a Bath In Red Ink – Production To Move To Asia
By P Gosselin on 17. August 2011

That means start kissing German green jobs good bye. Yet another Soviet-style propped up industry begins to bite the dust. (No Tricks Zone)

US Renewables Need A Fallback Plan
By Geoffrey Styles

When I described some of the energy implications of the debt limit crisis last month, the most serious ones were associated with a default by the US government in the event the debt ceiling wasn’t extended. That risk has been resolved, for now. But that doesn’t mean that everything looks rosy, especially for renewables. Renewable energy technologies and projects are far more dependent on government assistance and policies than conventional energy. The fate of a wide range of federal energy incentives looks highly uncertain, and the impact of that uncertainty is matched by doubts about the health of the US economy and its growth prospects. With the pace of growth already slowing in some renewable energy sectors, any manufacturers or project developers that aren’t thinking seriously about how they would manage without federal incentives could be setting themselves up to become roadkill. (Energy Tribune)

Government’s withdrawal of solar subsidy scheme leaves industry in trouble
Amos Aikman

THE country’s largest home-solar market has been in freefall since the NSW government announced plans to axe its solar bonus scheme in April.

The decision has triggered widespread job losses and business closures, an industry survey has found. (The Australian)

Heavily Subsidized Solar “Green Jobs” Takes Another Hit – More Jobs Lost

Read here. Solon Solar is closing their Arizona plant. Green jobs lost will be 65. The company will move manufacturing to existing overseas plants.

“”The Solon product we manufacture here in Tucson may have a better fit and finish than some others, but the market doesn’t really value that,” he said. “The market values a low price. We are going to stop beating our heads against the wall and say, ‘How can we be smart strategically?’ “

Just more evidence that the continuing hefty subsidies of “green jobs” by the Obama administration is a complete waste of tax payer monies. (C3 Headlines)

Solar Energy: Tough Love in the EU
by Gary Hunt

Across the European Union, solar energy is facing tough love conditions as its feed-in-tariffs (FiT) face déjà vu in another round of reduction. (MasterResource)

Cellulosic ethanol and other fairy stories

Where is the Cellulosic Ethanol?
by BRIAN MCGRAW on AUGUST 17, 2011

Last month the EPA released its proposed 2012 cellulosic ethanol “mandate.” It suggests that there will be somewhere between 3.45-12.9 million gallons of qualifying cellulosic ethanol produced in 2012, though the number will be finalized in November. Note, as discussed previously, the industry has still not produced any qualifying cellulosic ethanol, and the EPA has consistently lowered the ‘mandate’ by over 90% in previous years. (A recently announced cellulosic plant claims it will produce cellulosic ethanol from, wait for it, corn waste. So much for being a bridge fuel to the future). (Cooler Heads)

Here’s how lack of patents and particularly lack of company profit incentive can really hurt you

Running Out of Common Drugs (NY Post)
Jonathan (Josh) Bloom

A hospital, short on a general anesthetic, is rationing the drug. Doctors administer an insufficient dose, and a surgical patient awakens during the operation.

Out of morphine, some hospitals switch to hydromorphone, a similar but stronger narcotic — but without adjusting the dose. Two patients die.

Cancer patients, some nearly finished with their chemotherapy, are told that they can’t complete their treatment because the drug ran out. Some are switched to inferior regimens; some get nothing.

An intubated woman, given an inadequate dose of an IV sedative, tries to pull the breathing tube out herself and bites off a piece of her tongue.

These are not scenes from a walk-in clinic in Sudan or an army hospital during the Vietnam War. They are going on right now in hospitals across the United States.

People are dying because of critical shortages of hundreds of essential, commonly used drugs — the kind we take for granted.

And it’s getting worse. The United States saw shortages of 56 drugs in 2006, ballooning to about 200 last year. The Food and Drug Administration now lists 246 shortages — a five-fold jump in just five years.

Stranger still, the problem isn’t with new, complex drugs that are hard to make; it’s with routine products: saline solution, antibiotics, sedatives, epinephrine and morphine — supplies found in every emergency room.

There is no single cause; it’s a combination of economic, technological, regulatory and geographic factors.

Virtually all the scarce medications are generics — drugs whose patents have expired. Many have low profit margins, giving companies little incentive to make them. Plus, nearly all are sterile injectables, whose production requires stringent and specialized purification techniques. Some drugs are made by just one company, which can discontinue them at will. Although drug makers must notify the FDA in advance when they anticipate a critical shortage, they can’t be forced to make anything.

Complicating matters, most manufacturing is done abroad; political instability and natural disasters can disrupt access to vital raw materials, temporarily slowing or halting production. (ACSH)

More about idiotic enviro scares

Rejecting Science: When The Study Doesn’t Match the Liberal Agenda, Liberals Ignore the Study
by Derek Hunter

To say environmentalists are immune to reality is an understatement. When anyone dare question their conclusions, their deeply held “religious” beliefs, they are immediately attacked as a heretic, or worse, a shill for whatever industry they are trying to destroy. The soundness of the science, and the lack of such on their part, is irrelevant, it’s agenda uber alles. They find someone involved in what goes against their view who they can play “6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon” with and connect to whatever industry/organization they’re trying to destroy and claim that discredits everything contrary to their orthodoxy. But every once in a while something so beautifully karmic happens…That’s what this is about. (Big Government)

Nice to think something good may yet come of it

Riots May Have Killed Britain’s Green Consensus
Tuesday, 16 August 2011 12:01 James Murray, Business Green

Polarised response to the English riots could spell more bad news for the green agenda

[….] The riots are just the latest in a series of scandals and crises that have contributed to a period of polarisation that has left the UK’s political elite and media commentariat looking more and more like their US counterparts. […]

This polarisation could have two major impacts on green issues: one short-term and practical, the other long-term and political.

The first concern is that the riots and their fallout will eat up all the political oxygen for months, if not years to come. A party conference season that should have seen at least some debate on the grave threat posed by climate change and the huge opportunity presented by the low carbon economy will now be dominated by much hand-wringing and political jostling over “the state of modern Britain”.

Politicians may insist they are good at multi-tasking but, as the economic crisis has shown, they are rarely adept at dealing with more than one or two big issues at a time. Good luck to Chris Huhne and his colleagues at DECC as they seek to get important announcements about electricity market reforms and other flagship green policies into the headlines this autumn. Equally, good luck to shadow energy and climate change secretary Meg Hillier as she attempts to continue with Labour’s efforts to develop a centre-left package of green policies at the same time as keeping on top of a day-job as MP for Hackney, one of the areas worst affected by looting and disorder. Even the Green Party is now likely to spend more time at its upcoming conference debating socio-economic issues than it is environmental policies. (GWPF)

GOP candidates need to work out whether they are for voters or the Department of Misanthropy (a.k.a. US EPA)

GOP candidates: EPA who?
Steve Milloy

The irony in last week’s Iowa Republican presidential date was that only the RINO slammed the Obama Environmental Protection Agency.

For two hours, a Fox News panel peppered Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Jon Huntsman, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum with questions, most pressingly about what they would do to create jobs and help speed economic recovery.

But only the least Republican among the field — former Utah Gov. Huntsman who served as Obama’s ambassador to China — hit the nail on the head by attacking the EPA.

“We don’t make things anymore in this country.” Huntsman rightly observed. “We need to start making things in this country. And in order to do that, we need serious regulatory reform, not just repealing Obamacare, but ending the EPA’s regulatory reign of terror.” He mentioned the “EPA’s regulatory reign of terror” twice. (Daily Caller)

On the disastrous farce of “green jobs”

Democrat’s Green Job Scam: Obama Spends $20 Million For 14 New “Green” Jobs

Read here. (h/t Tom Nelson) In the realm of you-can’t-make-this-stuff-up, more living proof, this time from Seattle, that the economic stimulus from “green jobs” is a con job that just about every skeptic pointed out. Yet, the mainstream press and your typical liberal/progressive/Democrat actually still believe in the green job fantasy.

This is a classic example of why taxes should be lowered and spending cut. If you provide too much tax money to politicians and entrenched bureaucracies, the money wasted on worthless programs grows exponentially. (C3 Headlines)

Obama’s ‘Green Jobs’ Fizzle
Tuesday, 16 August 2011 08:59 Michael Laprarie, Wizbang

One of the most disastrous policy areas for the Obama Administration has been its propensity toward “leveling the playing field” by picking winners (good guys) and losers (villains), and then rewarding the winners with government largess. Unfortunately, many of the winning ideas chosen by the Obama Administration are concepts that have consistently proven to be inefficient, very costly, and incapable of living up to their promises. The most prominent of these failed ideas is ‘green energy’. (GWPF)

Wasted Stimulus

Continue reading

Where do those subsidies go and what do you get for your dollars?

Where Federal Energy Subsidies Really Go
Robert L. Bradley Jr.

A just-released report from the U.S. Department of Energy details how much federal money went to energy producers last year. The figures are stunningly large — and put the lie to the increasingly popular talking point about “Big Oil” being a lackey of government largesse.

On the contrary, this report — from the Department’s research arm, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) — shows that it’s actually “renewable” energy firms that are heavily dependent on government support. (Forbes)

What does California have against avians?

Energy in America: Dead Birds Unintended Consequence of Wind Power Development
William La Jeunesse

As California attempts to divorce itself from fossil-fueled electricity, it may be trading one environmental sin for another — although you don’t hear state officials admitting it.

Wind power is the fastest growing component in the state’s green energy portfolio, but wildlife advocates say the marriage has an unintended consequence: dead birds, including protected species of eagles, hawks and owls.

“The cumulative impacts are huge,” said Shawn Smallwood, one of the few recognized experts studying the impact of wind farms on migratory birds. “It is not inconceivable to me that we could reduce golden eagle populations by a great deal, if not wipe them out.”

California supports roughly 2,500 golden eagles. The state’s largest wind farms kill, on average, more than 80 eagles per year. But the state is set to triple wind capacity in the coming years as it tries to become the first state in the nation to generate 33 percent of its electricity from clean energy sources by 2020. (FoxNews.com)

Well, I trust him about as much as a used-car salesman

Barack Obama, Auto Expert
By Henry Payne

President Obama told automakers Monday they should focus on making smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles. Another breathtaking show of arrogance from a Harvard Law-trained social activist? Call it a breathtaking show of ignorance.

“You can’t just make money on SUVs and trucks,” Obama said at a Minnesota town hall. “There is a place for SUVs and trucks, but as gas prices keep on going up, you have got to understand the market.”

Automakers know their market just fine. It is Obama who needs a lesson.

In claiming to have “turned around” the U.S. auto industry, Obama apparently has no idea that the industry has come back on the back of SUVs. Thanks to cheap gas and the resurgence of small trucks — which make profit margins of up to $5,000 per vehicle — taxpayer-assisted GM and Chrysler are in the black again.

They would not be as healthy if they had ignored their customer needs and sold only Obamacars like the Fiat 500. Indeed, even Sergio Marchionne, the Fiat executive handpicked by Obama’s Auto Task Force to run Chrysler is a convert to Obama’s hated “SUVs and trucks.” Unblinkered by Obama’s green zealotry, Marchionne has learned the U.S. market and has beefed up not only Chrysler’s truck offerings — but Maserati’s and Alfa’s SUV lineups as well.

The president is remarkably stubborn in his ignorance. (Planet Gore)

Stop this nonsense. Now!

Obama administration to stimulate biofuel industry

The Obama administration on Tuesday announced a $510 million initiative to boost the production of next-generation biofuels.

Under the plan sponsored by the Navy, Energy and Agriculture departments, companies will be invited to bid on new biofuel projects where the government will match the investment.

“The President understands that for us to be more competitive economically and for us to be more secure, we need a diversification in our energy choices rather than continuing to blindly support oil producing monopolies,” Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said. (Reuters)

Manhattan Moment: Pork barrel ethanol subsidies have doubled corn prices
Robert Bryce

Last month, with Washington mired in the debt ceiling battle and facing a potential default, public disapproval of Congress reached a record 82 percent.

That figure might have been a little lower had Congress succeeded in solving another long-festering issue: putting an end to the massive subsidies being given to the corn ethanol scam. Alas, it was not to be. (Washington Examiner)

Loss of Arctic sea ice to cause dramatic warming? Um… no

New paper says total loss of Arctic sea ice might not cause any warming

Alarmists tell us that if Arctic sea ice melts, there would be a reduction of the reflectance of sunlight (albedo) supposedly leading to accelerated warming and ‘tipping points.’ However, a paper published today in the Journal of Geophysical Research notes that there is a negative feedback mechanism whereby the exposed Arctic ocean would result in more evaporation and clouds, restoring the reflection of sunlight that “could overwhelm” the effect of lost sea ice. (hockey Schtick)

Scientists Confirm That “Settled” Science Prediction About A Greenhouse Gas Proves To Be Robustly Wrong

Scientists Confirm That “Settled” Science Prediction About A Greenhouse Gas Proves To Be Robustly Wrong

Read here. Honestly, sometimes the debunking of climate “settled” science feels like shooting fish in a barrel. As we have discussed often at ‘C3’, most of the IPCC climate predictions have proven to be wrong – certainly, one can fairly conclude that actual climate science is very unsettled at this point in time.

With that said, another debunking of an IPCC prediction has been confirmed.

Recent research by Aydin et al. established, without reservation, that methane gases had not increased as predicted by the AGW hypothesis and the UN’s IPCC Climategate scientists were promulgating. In essence, the infamous “methane” tipping point is another failed climate model prognostication.

This team of researchers spent tax payer monies to speculate what happened to the IPCC’s methane and, of course, to make an implied plea for more funds to investigate further. Did we say “unsettled” yet?

Recent data from NSF-funded research in both Greenland and Antarctica demonstrate that fossil-fuel related emissions of both methane and ethane, two of the most abundant hydrocarbons in the atmosphere, declined at the end of the twentieth century…causes of the decline in methane emission rates to the atmosphere have been puzzling scientists for some time. This new study shows that a change in human activities may have played a key role in the recent leveling off of methane, which, being a potent greenhouse gas contributes to global temperatures…”

“We still have more research to conduct, but this discovery is significant… We must work together to continue to find ways to further our research on this very important subject.” [Murat Aydin, Kristal R. Verhulst, Eric S. Saltzman, Mark O. Battle, Stephen A. Montzka, Donald R. Blake, Qi Tang, Michael J. Prather 2011: Nature] (C3 Headlines)

SciAm confuses “logarithmic” with “exponential” – thinks CO2 has greater effect now than before Industrial Revolution

Just to help these guys sort it out, note that the first half of CO2‘s pre-IR effect is delivered by approximately 20ppmv while the 2nd half of its “natural” greenhouse effect requires more than 10-times as much again:

Three most common estimates of CO2 greenhouse effect

“Scientific” American tells us that temperature drove CO2 levels before 1800, but not today

‘Galileo Movement’ Fuels Climate Change Divide in Australia: Scientific American

Two Australian retirees invoke the “father of modern science” to argue against settled climate science but instead draw from a deep history of denial and distortion

In that sense, said NASA’s Schmidt, correcting the scientific errors is almost pointless. “The science here is being used as a proxy for a lot of different things,” he said, noting that debunking the fallacies in the Galileo Movement’s argument won’t change the group’s prevailing politics.

“But it’s clear that one side on this debate is abusing the science much more than the other,” he added. “That’s worth pointing out.”

Why Carbon Dioxide Is a Greenhouse Gas: Scientific American

DailyClimate.org took up Smeed’s challenge and passed the fact sheet on to a climate scientist – Gavin Schmidt, a climatologist with NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Science. He also publishes the blog RealClimate.org, one of themore-respected climate science blogs.

“You’ve got true facts,” Schmidt said of the Galileo Movement’s pamphlet. “They’re just not the relevant facts.”

Claim: CO2 stays in the air only five to seven years, possibly less than 12 months before Nature cycles it into plants, animals and oceans.

Claim: Of Earth’s annual production of CO2, humans produce just 3 percent.

Assessment: True but misleading.

Claim: Measurements reveal that CO2 levels are a consequence of temperature, not the cause. Temperature drives CO2 levels.

Assessment: True before 1800. But false today.

(Tom Nelson)