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Greening the White House



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The AP has a piece today on the Obama effort to “green” the White House. Prepare to be underwhelmed:

The family already is taking action to set an eco-example for the nation. First lady Michelle Obama recently broke ground for an organic herb and vegetable garden on the South Lawn. The Obamas have installed an environmentally friendly wooden swing set for their children on the White House grounds. Cushioning underfoot is made from recycled rubber tires.

Obama isn’t ready to give details of his broader go-green plans for the White House, but administration officials report that small steps are under way: The housekeeping staff is making the switch to greener cleaning supplies, and complex managers have asked engineers and groundskeepers to use greener products whenever possible. Efforts are afoot to improve and promote recycling.

As for what more can be done, outside experts on green buildings report that the administration is seeking out information about what’s feasible. Given the priority Obama placed on renewable energy in his economic stimulus package and budget, environmentalists are chattering about what further steps he will take at the White House.

No word from the AP on whether the president intends to maintain “terrarium” temperatures in the Oval Office.

President Obama Is Creating Green Jobs



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Hey, lobbyists gotta eat, too. From the LA Times “Top of the Ticket” blog:

Democratic causes are also becoming a new growth industry in Washington. According to the Houston Chronicle, climate-change lobbying is enjoying a renaissance. With likelihood of a Democratic victory last fall, roughly 2,340 lobbyists dealing with climate issues — from doubters to boosters — were hired in 2008, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of Senate lobbying disclosure forms.

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President’s Statement on the Auto Industry



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Here’s the transcript.  It looks like bankruptcy may be on the table:

Now, while Chrysler and GM are very different companies with very different paths forward, both need a fresh start to implement the restructuring plan they develop. That may mean using our bankruptcy code as a mechanism to help them restructure quickly and emerge stronger. Now, I want everybody to be clear about this. I know that when people hear the word “bankruptcy” it can be unsettling, so let me explain exactly what I mean. What I’m talking about is using our existing legal structure as a tool that, with the backing of the U.S. government, can make it easier for General Motors and Chrysler to quickly clear away old debts that are weighing them down so that they can get back on their feet and onto a path to success; a tool that we can use, even as workers staying on the job building cars that are being sold.

What I’m not talking about is a process where a company is simply broken up, sold off, and no longer exists. We’re not talking about that. And what I’m not talking about is a company that’s stuck in court for years, unable to get out.

So it’s my hope that the steps I’m announcing today will have a salutary effect — will go a long way forward towards answering many of the questions that people have about the future of GM and Chrysler.

But just in case there’s still nagging doubts, let me say it as plainly as I can: If you buy a car from Chrysler or General Motors, you will be able to get your car serviced and repaired, just like always. Your warranty will be safe. In fact, it will be safer than it’s ever been, because starting today, the United States government will stand behind your warranty.

But after calling out Chrysler and GM for submitting unrealistic restructuring plans, does President Obama really believe this provision will help sell 100,000 cars?

Third, the IRS is launching a campaign to alert consumers of a new tax benefit for auto purchases made between February 16th and the end of this year — if you buy a car anytime this year, you may be able to deduct the cost of any sales and excise taxes. And this provision could save families hundreds of dollars and lead to as many as 100,000 new car sales.

And I think the President just invented an economic recession version of FEMA:

When a community is struck by a natural disaster, the nation responds to put it back on its feet. While the storm that has hit our auto towns is not a tornado or a hurricane, the damage is clear, and we must likewise respond. And that’s why today I’m designating a new Director of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers to cut through the red tape and ensure that the full resources of our federal government are leveraged to assist the workers, communities, and regions that rely on our auto industry. Edward Montgomery, a former Deputy Labor Secretary, has agreed to serve in this role.

Finally, the President’s conclusion:

Because I know that if we can tap into that same ingenuity and resilience right now, if we can carry one another through this difficult time and do what must be done, then we will look back and say that this was the moment when the American auto industry shed its old ways, marched into the future, remade itself, and once more became an engine of opportunity and prosperity not only in Detroit, not only in our Midwest, but all across America.

I’m confident we can make that happen, but we’ve got a lot of work to do. Thank you. Thank you, everybody.

Why not add on the line about this as the moment when:

. . .we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth. This was the moment—this was the time—when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves and our highest ideals.

Undervalued, or Just Not Worth Very Much?



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From The Australian:

Babcock & Brown Wind Partners’ largest shareholder has called for the global wind farm owner to be wound up and its assets sold.   BBW chairman Graham Kelly said the firm’s directors “agree with TCI that the current BBW security price does not reflect the underlying value of BBW’s wind energy business”.   However, Mr Kelly said the completed sale of the firm’s Portuguese and Spanish wind farms has placed it in a “strong financial position”.   He said an on-market security buyback underway and plans to establish an in-house wind farm development capability and improve its asset management capability, functions previously supported by Babcock & Brown, should lead to a “more accurate reflection,” of the firm’s value through its share price.   But Mr Kelly conceded that ”whilst equity markets remain dislocated and volatile, valuation gaps may persist”.

Sea No Consistency, Hear No Consistency



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Christopher Booker has a typically entertaining and informative item in the Saturday Telegraph detailing the nonsense underlying climate alarmists’ claims about rapidly rising oceans levels — and particularly those of the poster children for those claims, the archipelago nations of the Maldives and Tuvalu.

 

The piece reminded me of something I was told back when I spent time commuting fairly regularly to Brussels about a big lobbying campaign there on behalf of the Maldives – by (if memory serves) Hill & Knowlton – for what I was told was about $400,000 USD per year in lobbying fees. I wrote this in the EU Reporter, and heard nothing back challenging the claim.

What did the Maldives want? Millions in EU development funds to build beachfront resort hotels, all while demanding at least as much to compensate them for supposedly rapidly rising sea levels which — if true – would rather obviate the utility of such investments. Possibly the Maldives government had an internal failure to communicate about such matters.

 

Not that the global-warming industry has earned our expectation of consistency or (since this episode certainly raises the question) of honesty. Still, if the hyper-alarmist EU Commission did throw taxpayer money down that particular hole all while engaging in its global warming dance, well, that would be a good story. Possibly Christopher will look into that.

 

Regardless of whether the EU saw the inconsistency and didn’t spend money that way, the Maldives’. . . opportunism . . . is a useful anecdote for the global-warming discussion.

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Earth Hour Fails in NYC



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Is there a photo that sums up the nonsense that is Earth Hour any better than this?  The top picture is Times Square before Earth Hour. The bottom picture is Times Square during Earth Hour.

This photo combination shows Times Square before, above, and during, below, a one hour call to action for climate change during World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour 2009 on Saturday, March 28, 2009 in New York City.(AP Photo/Stephen Chernin)

Only a Few More Hours until Nothing Happens



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Milo Yiannopoulos mocks Earth Day’s “make a difference” pretensions over on the Telegraph site.

Welcome to ‘Earth Hour’ Day



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Sydney, Australia was the first major city to celebrate Earth Hour and turn the lights off. Here is a before and after picture:

Not much of a difference if you ask me. What did they do? Turn off five or six lights at the Opera House?

Eco-Criminals in Spokane



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I say round them up and put them in a camp of some sort:

SPOKANE, Wash. — The quest for squeaky-clean dishes has turned some law-abiding people in Spokane into dishwater-detergent smugglers. They are bringing Cascade or Electrasol in from out of state because the eco-friendly varieties required under Washington state law don’t work as well. Spokane County became the launch pad last July for the nation’s strictest ban on dishwasher detergent made with phosphates, a measure aimed at reducing water pollution. The ban will be expanded statewide in July 2010, the same time similar laws take effect in several other states.

But it’s not easy to get sparkling dishes when you go green.

Don’t Worry



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The cost to implement the new mileage standards? A mere $1.5 billion. That’s $1.5 billion that automakers don’t have and will ultimately get from taxpayers.

U.N. to Save $81,000 during Earth Hour, Sell Brooklyn Bridge



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Yes. The U.N. claimed it was using $81,000 worth of electricity per hour to light its Gotham headquarters.

After getting called on this fiction, the number dropped to $102:

It’s called Earth Hour — and among the places where the lights will go out are the Eiffel Tower, the Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing, the Pyramids of Giza and Niagara Falls.

And, for the first time in the event’s three-year existence, the New York headquarters of the United Nations will also go dark, a move officials say will save $102, a figure that fluctuated wildly from its whopping initial estimate of $81,000 when requested from U.N. officials. After the story appeared on FOXNews.com, a spokeswoman called back to say their estimate was incorrect and the savings was $24,000, but then called back a third time to say it was really $102.

Earth Hour — 8:30 to 9:30 p.m in every time zone on the planet — promises to be “the largest demonstration of public concern about climate change ever attempted,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said earlier this month.

To add to the comedy, NRO contributor Claudia Rosett gets in some nice jabs at her UN nemeses:

“It’s an attention-grabbing gesture that they expect to pay off for them big time,” Claudia Rosett, a journalist-in-residence at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, told FOXNews.com. “For the U.N., climate change is the biggest cash cow of all time. They expect it to pay off for them big-time at the enormous and unaffordable expense of this and future generations.”

Critics like Rosett say the U.N.’s role in Earth Hour is merely the public face of its much larger push to reorder the world’s economy with new taxes, tariffs and subsidies for greenhouse gas abatement.

“It’s an immensely destructive gesture,” Rosett said. “The U.N. has been busy manipulating and politicizing the science on this for years. . . . The whole climate obsession has the potential to make Oil for Food look like a drop in the ocean.”

More comedy you say? Here’s Bjorn Lomborg on how the stunt will actually increase CO2 emissions:

But Bjorn Lomborg, author of “The Skeptical Environmentalist” and director of the Denmark-based think tank Copenhagen Consensus Centre, said the event could actually increase emissions.

“When asked to extinguish electricity, people turn to candlelight,” Lomborg wrote in an op-ed in The Australian. “Candles seem natural, but are almost 100 times less efficient than incandescent light globes, and more than 300 times less efficient than fluorescent lights. If you use one candle for each extinguished globe, you’re essentially not cutting CO2 at all, and with two candles you’ll emit more CO2. Moreover, candles produce indoor air pollution 10 to 100 times the level of pollution caused by all cars, industry and electricity production.”

Markey Malarkey



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As the Obama administration schemes to impose global-warming laws on the U.S., one of its key Congressional allies is Hill veteran Rep. Ed Markey (D., Mass.), chair of the Select Committee for Energy Independence and Global Warming.

Markey gave some insight into D.C. energy politicking recently with a March 16 letter to the Wall Street Journal advocating a national, green energy policy. The letter is typical for its ignorance about how energy works. But then its final graph is a willful attempt to mislead Americans.

“Studies say current energy and climate legislation would save American families money on their energy bills. As America transitions away from increasingly expensive dirty energy to increasingly affordable clean energy, climate legislation will protect vulnerable families from utility company rate hikes,” writes this Congressional leader.

“Studies?” Markey cites none — but his remark is a familiar one used by Democrats like Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm who repeatedly claims that windmills, against all evidence, will reduce energy costs — because, once built, they don’t need to be refueled like coal plants. The wind, she says, is “free.” Sure, but turbine maintenance isn’t. The sun is free, too — but solar panels don’t wash themselves.

“Increasingly expensive dirty energy?” Only if government imposes hidden taxes in the form of cap and trade or some other back-door regulation.

And when utility rates jump as a result? (Some experts predict 40 percent increases in Midwest coal states). The very pols like Markey who caused the hikes will swoop in to “protect vulnerable families from utility company rate hikes.”

These days, snake oil salesmen aren’t selling their wares at carnivals — but in broad daylight in major newspapers.

Mandated Fuel-Efficiency Standards



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Are going up:

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Transportation Department will unveil the first increase in passenger car fuel efficiency requirements in 25 years — the first step in what will be sweeping reform for the nation’s car and truck fleets.

The administration on Friday will unveil its 2011 model year standards, which average 27.3 miles per gallon — 8 percent above the 2010 model year requirement of 25.3 mpg, an administration official confirmed Thursday night.

Passenger cars will have to average 30.2 mpg and light trucks 24.1 mpg for 2011 model year vehicles, which hit the market in September 2010. The rule will save an estimated 887 million gallons of fuel and eliminate 8.3 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

The Obama administration opted to finalize only the 2011 model year standards, in part because it was required to finalize the 2011 regulation by March 31 under a 2007 energy law. It will spend the next year reviewing the 2012-2015 requirements as it seeks a comprehensive emissions policy.

Harry Reid’s Cap-and-Trade Tax Grab



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Harry Reid wants to use the cap-and-trade tax revenue to fund health care, which makes one wonder: What happened to the energy rebates that President Obama promised to help mitigate the “skyrocketing” cost of electricity he promised from his energy policies?

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he is open to financing an overhaul of the U.S. health-care system with revenue generated from efforts to rein in greenhouse gas emissions. Reid, a Nevada Democrat, told reporters yesterday Democrats are determined to finance the cost of any expansion of health care with savings found elsewhere in the government’s budget in order to avoid widening the federal deficit.

“I don’t think we should take anything off the table as to what we’re going to do with health care, what we’re going to do with this carbon that’s killing our country with global warming,” said Reid. “But the one thing that in our budget that’s very clear: We pay for everything.”

I think he means China pays for everything. We just have to pay them back.

Pollution Visible from Space



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No, that’s not a coal plant. That’s Mount Redoubt.

From the Archives on Earth Hour



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I posted a great photo of Chicago during last year’s ”Earth Hour” over on the Media Blog. 

Is there any doubt that this year’s nonsense will be any different?

Feeling Good about Earth Hour?



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In response to Chris Horner’s post below, a reader (who happens to be a reliability coordinator for one of the Northeast’s transmission operators) suggests that we all “celebrate” Earth Hour tomorrow night.

We should encourage these nitwits to do exactly what they are planning, in fact we should participate too! If in fact we all did this, the result might be an enourmous load rejection at 8:30 PM EDT that might just destabilize the Eastern Interconnection and result in cascading outages and blackouts. That might prove a valuable lesson to those who are tempted to pontificate about their vast understanding and their simple solutions to problems with electric power generation and supply.

Tesla Unveils its $57,000 Electric Sedan



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Well, the good news is: When they re-make Back to the Future, they’ve found their Delorean.

LOS ANGELES — Tesla Motors, the electric-car maker, unveiled its much-anticipated Model S sedan on Thursday, here at the SpaceX rocket plant, which is also owned by Tesla’s chief executive, Elon Musk.

Mr. Musk, in introducing the Model S, said the first cars would be delivered to customers in the third quarter of 2011. The company said it would build the car in Southern California, but would not say where.

Three different power configurations will be available, Mr. Musk said, “160-mile, 230-mile and 300-mile battery packs.” The 160-mile pack comes standard on the $57,400 base model (a federal tax credit can shave $7,500 from the price). He declined to provide pricing for the longer-range battery packs, but said they could be rented or leased “if you wanted to go on a long trip, or something.” Battery packs have a projected life expectancy of seven to 10 years and can be easily changed or swapped, he added.

160 miles? That’s it? And here’s this poor Prius owner, complaining about her car’s measly 300-mile range.

It makes you wonder how much more the Tesla will cost when equipped with the 230- and 300-mile battery packs.

The War on Carbon Terror



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Be sure to read Andy McCarthy over on the homepage today, as he examines the Obama administration’s Alinskyite effort to alter the terms of debate in the public square: “overseas contingency operation” for war; “individuals detained at Guantanamo Bay” for enemy combatants; “man-caused disasters” for terrorism. Doubtless, those good, old-fashioned terms will be kept in reserve, and trotted out for use in the most preposterous contexts, in true Orwellian fashion.

The last of the three Newspeak items above is the most portentious for Planet Gore’s policy ambit. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano’s efforts to avoid the term “terrorism” in favor of “man-caused disasters” prompted a reporter from Germany’s Spiegel Online to ask whether the U.S. was still under threat from Islamic terrorism. Her response?

Although I did not use the word “terrorism,” I referred to “man-caused” disasters. That is perhaps only a nuance, but it demonstrates that we want to move away from the politics of fear toward a policy of being prepared for all risks that can occur.

Madame Secretary is no longer restricted to the thankless task of preventing terror attacks here at home, but at preventing “man-caused disasters” of all kinds. (And apparently, she is ready to confront her expanded portfolio of disasters cheerfully, having moved past the politics of fear.) There can be little doubt that by this “nuance,” the rhetorical space is being cleared to involve DHS in the Obama administration’s climate-change efforts.

As Chris Horner and I were saying over e-mail last week: get ready for the global war on carbon terror.

Empleos Verdes Matar Empleos



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This study of Spain’s “green economy” is going to cause some discomfort among the Enron-successors of the world.

I’ve gotten my hands on the study. Here are some highlights (largely in my words):

 

  • Based upon the Spanish experience that President Oprompter expressly cited as a model, if he succeeded in his (oddly floating) promise to further intervene in the economy to create 3 million (or is it 5 million?) “green jobs,” the U.S. should expect to directly kill by the same programs at least 6.6 million (or as many as 11 million) jobs elsewhere in the economy.
  • That is because green jobs schemes in Spain killed 2.2 jobs per job created, or about 9 existing jobs — I’ll call them “real” jobs — lost for every 4 that are created. The latter, the study shows, then become wards of the state, dependent on the continuation of the mandates and subsidies, subject to the ritual boom and bust of artifically concocted jobs (read: ethanol).
  • This does not include jobs lost due to redirection of resources, but are only the jobs directly killed by the scheme.
  • The study calculates that since 2000, Spain spent €571,138 to create each “green job,” including subsidies of more than €1 million per wind-industry job.
  • Each “green” megawatt installed destroys 5.39 jobs on average elsewhere in the economy: 8.99 by photovoltaics, 4.32 by wind energy, 5.84 by mini-hydro.

What’s Spanish for “food taster” and “car-starter”?

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