The Green Church Has Taken the Fun out of Formula One

by Henry Payne

Europe has a history of religious intolerance. Today’s Green Church fits the mold.

In their determination to drain all joy out of life, Green priests have set their sights on Europe-based Formula One racing, the world’s most popular form of motorsport. In a bow to the EU’s anti-carbon doctrine, F1 teams this year were forced to field hybrid-electric racers. Where once F1 defined “screaming speed machine,” they now sound like strangled cats.

“It is important for Formula One to evolve,” said ex-Chief Bureaucrat Max Mosley, godfather of F1’s eco-rules. “The environment is the big challenge of the 21st.”

Actually, F1’s survivability is the big challenge.

The new rules have made the sport less attractive to spectators with attendance down in 2014. Worse, the hybrid engines have accelerated the sport’s affordability crisis where $300 million-a-year budgets were already a concern. At last weekend’s U.S. Grand Prix, two teams pulled out due to high costs — and three more nearly boycotted the event.

Ignore economics and bad things happen. President Obama has put green ideology above people. His job-killing wars on coal and Keystone are contributing factors in the slow U.S. recovery. F1’s surrender to Green zealots is raising concerns up and down the pit lane.

“With race cars, or music, it’s about the sound and the experience of it. If you went to see the Rolling Stones and they came out and said tonight we’re only doing an acoustic set because we’re getting old and don’t want all the noise then the crowd wouldn’t be very happy and rightly so,” says Formula One racing superstar David Coulthard of the negative reaction to Green F1.

Drivers hate it. Teams hate it. Fans hate it. “We cannot afford to ignore our fans,” says Coulthard.

Planet-savior Ford F-150 Debuts (without a Peep about the Planet)

by Henry Payne

San Antonio – President Obama says we have a “moral obligation” to tackle global warming. It’s why the federal government has imposed draconian fuel-efficiency standards that force automakers to build cars that average 54.5 mpg by 2025. It’s why Ford Motor Company has transformed its best-selling Ford F-150 pickup with aluminum body panels — at a cost of billions of dollars — in order to reduce mass and carbon emissions.

Ford unveiled the 2015 Ford F-150 to the media for a first test drive here at the end of September. And not once did the detailed, two-day company presentation mention global warming.

Instead, Ford touted the value of lightweight aluminum in increasing payload capability. It cheered aluminum for its better power-to-weight ratio. For helping reduce fuel costs. For its better handling.

If Ford did sell its truck as a moral virtue, it likely would be laughed out of dealerships by its customers.

“Global warming ranked near the bottom of Americans’ 2014 priorities for President Obama and Congress,” according to a Pew Research poll last month. It ranked well behind terrorism, ISIS, the economy, and so on. And it likely isn’t even on the radar of the demographic — small businessmen, Texans, blue collar workers — who buy and use F-150s.

Global warming is a costly con forced on Americans through the back door of government regulation. Because at the front door, global warming won’t sell.  

Steyer’s anti-carbon crusade bags another win (sort of)

by Henry Payne

Detroit – On the heels of blocking the Keystone Pipeline, billionaire global warming activist Tom Steyer and his green allies celebrated another victory over the oil sands industry this summer when Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) denied Detroit Bulk Storage a permit to store pet coke downriver of Detroit. Pet coke is a carbon-rich, coal-like byproduct from Marathon Oil’s huge Detroit refinery which processes Canadian oil sands. The DEQ’s decision came on the heels of loud protests by greens and Steyer-funded Democratic Senate candidate Gary Peters.

But just as America’s fracking industry has succeeded in the face of an anti-carbon White House, the pet coke industry will not be denied.

Cheap carbon energy is the backbone of industrial nations. Just a few miles south of Bulk Storage’s loading docks, Michigan utility DTE Energy is burning Marathon’s pet coke in its Monroe coal power plant.

Just south of Michigan’s border, Port of Toledo’s Midwest Terminal is exporting Marathon’s pet coke to cement plants and coal utilities around the world.

“We’ve stored pet coke at this site for 12 years,” says Noel Frye who runs Bulk Storage as a family business with his brother, John. “Now Marathon’s pet coke business has gone out of state and to DTE.”

Standard for Democratic Big Government, the politicized pet coke market comes at a high price for the little guy.

Detroit Bulk Storage, with less than a million in annual revenue and a handful of full-time employees, has become a lightning rod for green activists. Besieged by complaints from Peters’ special interest allies, a Michigan DEQ spokesman said the agency had no choice but to take action against Bulk, even as its loading docks are surrounded by huge chemical and steel plants on Zug Island, in one the most heavily industrialized areas of Michigan.

“He’s fighting to stop putting special interests ahead of everyday folks,” boasts a Peters campaign ad. But his War on Carbon proves otherwise.

Though Bulk has stored identical-looking coal and pet coke at its facility without complaint for years, the DEQ determined that pet coke is dustier and therefore required different storage criteria.

The state’s compliance plan required that Bulk Storage erect a building to house the energy-rich substance – a massive expense for small Bulk Storage, not so much for a $10 billion utility.

DTE has met the requirements while laying low about its pet coke use in order to avoid negative media publicity. Democratic allies like The Detroit Free Press, New York Times, and Huffington Post have been a megaphone for the Green Church’s anti-carbon crusade. But with coal under assault from Washington, cheap pet coke helps utilities check energy inflation – a key to Michigan’s maintaining the heavy industry that is its economic base.

Funded by Steyer’s millions, Peters fancies himself an anti-oil sands activist.

Yet the expensive regulations he supports haven’t deterred its use. What he has deterred are small business jobs in a bankrupt city that needs more of them. 

EV Market on IV

by Henry Payne

Detroit – The headlines continue to trumpet the “electric cars of the future,” but the whisper in the auto community today is that the electric car revolution is sooooo 15 minutes ago.

Numbers from auto research firm find that, despite a record number of battery-powered models for sale, the hybrid-electric market is low on charge. Fifteen years after the launch of the iconic Toyota Prius, the electrified market has settled in as a niche occupied by well-to-do greens (helped by “populist” Democrats tax credits of up to $7,500 per purchase) instead of the promised gateway to a post-oil future.

“This was a market that was supposed to grow, relatively rapidly, as people embraced these new technologies and more brands began selling these models,” Edmunds senior analyst Jessica Caldwell told the Los Angeles Times. “That hasn’t happened.”

Indeed, hybrid sales (vehicles powered by battery-assisted gas engines) are declining as trendy greens have simply switched their purchases from hybrids to battery-only electrics. While the EV market gained 22,939 in sales (to 81,097) in August, the hybrid market declined by 23,112 (to 327,418).

As a result, the battery-powered vehicle market as a whole declined to 3.66 percent of cars sold — down from 3.84 a year ago.

Automakers have made huge bets on electrics as the answer to the Obama EPA’s radical (and unilateral) 54.5 mpg auto mandate by 2025. But with EVs on IV, manufacturers like Toyota and GM are reviving the idea of hydrogen vehicles — not because they will sell, but because they will help automakers gain big mpg “credits” against the law.

Toyota, for example, quietly abandoned its joint venture with media-darling Tesla earlier this year to make a battery-powered RAV4 crossover. Instead, Toyota is banking on hydrogen credits and its hybrid lineup to meet its 2025 obligations. Tesla remains the EV hope with its taxpayer-supported Nevada battery gigafactory and the promised 2017, $30k Model E.

Contrary to Democratic rhetoric, in other words, more Washington regs are benefiting the connected rich: Bigger loopholes carved by three-piece suit lobbyists and bigger tax credits for rich consumers and manufacturers.

Revolution? The new auto market sounds like the same old Beltway insider play.

Straight talk on coal

by Drew Thornley

Today’s Wall Street Journal has a little Q&A with Greg Boyce, CEO of Peabody Energy, the nation’s largest (by output) coal company. Here’s a portion of the interview:

WSJ: Can you improve the image of coal?

Mr. Boyce: Explain to everyone how much electricity today depends on coal. I mentioned to folks here in the U.S. that we still get 42% of our electricity on coal. And they say, “Wait a minute. I thought we stopped using coal.”

WSJ: What do you say to people who say coal is dirty?

Mr. Boyce: Since 1970, coal use has increased almost 200%, yet the emissions from coal have been reduced by almost 90%. Technology has reduced what used to be the standard emissions for coal—sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide, mercury and particulates—so the next wave of technology is what do we do to try to decarbonize and try to reduce the CO2 from coal.

WSJ: But what if Americans are willing to pay more for clean energy?

Mr. Boyce: We have 115 million U.S. citizens that qualify for some kind of low-income energy assistance. We already have a third of the population that can’t afford their utility bills. If there are people who want to use boutique and high-priced energy and can afford it, that’s great. But many people can’t even afford what we already have.

WSJ: Does the Obama administration really have a “war on coal,” as many in the coal industry allege?

Mr. Boyce: They just don’t like fossil fuels. But there are no replacements for fossil fuels at scale, at affordability. [The Environmental Protection Agency said there was no war on any fossil fuel. "We see coal continuing to be a third of our energy mix after these rules are implemented," a spokeswoman said.]

WSJ: The EPA has proposed rules to curb climate change by drastically cutting power-plant CO2 emissions. How will that affect you?

Mr. Boyce: It’s too early to tell. All I know is just about everybody doesn’t like them.Many states have already passed some kind of resolution or law saying, “Hey these aren’t going to work for us.” About 80% of U.S. businesses are saying this doesn’t make sense. The devastation in terms of electricity rates will not be tolerable.

Remember When Billionaire Tom Steyer Was Going to Affect the 2014 Elections?

by NRO Staff

His plan to spread climate alarmism is going too well. The National Legal and Policy Center reports:

Billionaire enviro-liberal Tom Steyer should thank his earth-healing, universalist, Less-Than-Supreme Being that the planet’s survival isn’t dependent on his business influence or political expenditures, because they have been massive flops.

Take, for example, “Risky Business,” his venture (along with figureheads Henry Paulson and Michael Bloomberg) introduced in late June to pressure businesses, investors and policymakers to account for vast planning costs for impending global warming effects in their financial reports. Initial media coverage of the contrived project made it appear that it would exert major influence in the corporate world. But while the scheme attempted to show intellectual rigor and nonpartisan analysis, Risky Business was easily revealed to be nothing more than another deeply biased construction to drive a political agenda.

A month after its introduction – accompanied by a New York Times op-ed by Paulson and interviews by Steyer and Bloomberg – and Risky Business was already fizzling. Now, two months later, it appears to be evaporating into irrelevance.

Steyer utilizes the staff from his nonprofit Next Generation to keep Risky Business alive and relevant, but the Web site has quickly gone dormant. The project’s blog featured just three posts in the month of July, when you’d think Steyer would want the big bucks he spent to create the report to get the most bang. Worse, the entries were nothing original – just links to op-eds written by Risky Business “risk committee” members Henry Cisneros,Robert Rubin and Donna Shalala.

And the money he promised to raise to help Dems in 2014 is missing in action as well:

So that’s Steyer’s business effort – what about his campaign activism? There also we find weaknesses in influence and credibility. As NLPC mentioned a month ago, he pledged to raise $50 million from other donors to match his own $50 million in contributions to climate-conscious Democrat candidates, via his NextGen Climate Action Committee. Politico reported two weeks ago that only $1.7 million has come in, compared to the $11.6 million Steyer has delivered so far. The feeble response is illustrative more of an egomaniac with significantly more bluster than political muscle, but Steyer had an explanation.

“We have gotten a lot of people who I think would put in money alongside us as opposed to through us,” Steyer said at a conference in Aspen, Colo. “Because I think people like — particularly people when they think they’re spending a lot of money — like to feel as if they have some control over it, and if it’s their effort.”

That’s baloney, as there are PACs all over the place for wealthy liberals to give their money to – and they do. But they’re not giving it to NextGen.

The whole thing here.


Tesla Chooses Nevada for its $5 Billion Battery Plant

Hey, Why Don’t We Just Suck the CO2 Out of the Air and Use It?

by Greg Pollowitz


Global industrialization has poured carbon in the sky, and now we must pay the price: the nasty specter of climate change, with its sinking islands and superstorms. But what if we could bring some of that carbon dioxide back down to earth?

Direct air capture (DAC) is the scooping of carbon from the sky. Unlike traditional carbon capture and storage, DAC doesn’t try to simply capture carbon from chimneys and factory flues; instead it scoops carbon directly from the atmosphere, no intermediate steps necessary. Better yet, the most sophisticated DAC plants don’t even need much electricity to function—they run on excess heat produced by other industrial processes. The temperatures needed to capture a ton of atmospheric carbon dioxide are “less than what is needed to boil your cup of tea,” says Graciela Chichilnisky, founder of direct air capture company Global Thermostat.

The CO2 removed from the air by plants like Chichilnisky’s has a variety of applications: It can be frozen into dry ice, introduced to greenhouses as plant food, used to carbonate beverages and even injected into oil wells in a process known as “enhanced oil recovery.”

“A lot of demand for CO2 is unmet,” says Chichilnisky. “In fact there’s a market for it that exceeds one trillion dollars per year.”

Companies like Chichilnisky’s want to profit from this unmet demand, an aggressive example of doing well while doing good. Global Thermostat’s pilot plant at the Stanford Research Institute in Menlo Park, California, has been profitable since construction finished, says Chichilnisky: The cost of producing compressed carbon dioxide via direct air capture is “minuscule” compared to compressed CO2’s sale price. Now she wants to build plants elsewhere, using the excess heat from power plants and foundries. “If the technology shows the way to be profitable is by cleaning up the atmosphere then this will be the strongest motivation for the world to attack climate change.”

The rest here.