Over the last three decades, author, journalist, and public speaker Robert Bryce has published more than 1,000 articles and five books. His byline has appeared in dozens of publications ranging from the Wall Street Journal and National Review to the Sydney Morning Herald and New York Times. In 2010, he published Power Hungry: The Myths of Green Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future. His most recent book, Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper: How Innovation Keeps Proving the Catastrophists Wrong, was published in 2014 by his longtime publisher, PublicAffairs, and is now available in paperback. A senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, he lives in Austin.
Back in 2008, Daniel Day-Lewis won the best-actor Oscar for his role in There Will Be Blood, a movie about the early days of the oil industry in the United States. Eight years later, there’s plenty of blood being shed in the oil and gas sector. Oil prices are down about 50 percent since June 2014, and huge job losses have followed. Last year, the global oil and gas sector lost about 250,000 jobs. In Texas alone, about 100,000 oil and gas jobs have been lost since 2014. For comparison, that’s more jobs than the entire domestic wind industry claims (88,000). Since early 2015, more than 40 Texas oil and gas companies have filed for bankruptcy, and some 75 others are on what consulting firm Deloitte calls its “danger list.”
Last year, Texas lost more jobs in the oil and gas sector (about 100,000) than the number of jobs in the entire U.S. wind industry (88,000).
Oil prices are down about 50 percent since June 2014. And since early 2015, more than 40 Texas oil and gas companies have filed for bankruptcy, and some 75 others are on what consulting firm Deloitte calls its danger list.
Amid the avalanche of criticism aimed at Hillary Clinton in recent weeks about Pneumonia-gate, the Clinton Foundation, and her never-ending e-mail troubles, the Democratic nominee actually made an important policy statement, one that puts her directly at odds with America’s biggest environmental groups as well as her own party’s platform.
What did Clinton do? She endorsed nuclear energy.
The corn ethanol scam is now a climate-change scandal.
The decade-old boondoggle that was aided and abetted from the get-go by big environmental groups, including the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Natural Resources Defense Council, has been exposed — again — as being worse for climate change than conventional gasoline.
Bill McKibben loves the climate. Unfortunately, he hates the environment.
For proof of that, consider McKibben’s recent cover story in The New Republic, where he asserts that the U.S. must mobilize to fight climate change with the same fervor the Allies used to defeat Hitler during World War II. After citing a few examples of recent weather events, which, in his view, prove that global warming is happening now, McKibben writes, “If Nazis were the ones threatening destruction on such a global scale today, America and its allies would already be mobilizing for a full-scale war.”
The backlash against Big Wind is taking place from Maine to California. But few states have seen more resistance to the landscape-destroying sprawl of wind energy than Vermont. Indeed, wind energy has emerged as one of the most prominent issues in Tuesday’s Democratic gubernatorial primary in the Green Mountain State.
New York governor Andrew Cuomo’s renewable-energy ambitions are running headlong into the hard realities of maintaining a reliable electric grid. On July 8, the New York Independent System Operator, the agency charged with managing the state’s grid, provided comments on the governor’s plan to require utilities to get 50 percent of their electricity from renewables by 2030. The NYISO maintains that to keep the lights on, the state will have to spend heavily on new transmission infrastructure to accommodate more renewables, preserve all of its nuclear capacity (including the controversial Indian Point Energy Center), and build even more onshore wind-energy capacity in upstate communities. Five days after the NYISO filed its comments, Cuomo’s energy czar, Richard Kauffman, fired off an angry—and rather bizarre—letter to Brad Jones, the NYISO president and CEO. Calling the grid operator’s comments “misleading, incomplete, and grossly inaccurate,” Kauffman claimed that the NYISO showed “an alarming lack” of understanding of “how a modern grid can be developed and operated.”
The Democratic National Convention, in Philadelphia, doesn’t start until July 25, but a look at the party’s draft platform reveals one fact: Democrats remain hopelessly unserious when it comes to greenhouse gases and climate change.
If you need another example of the growing backlash against the encroachment of the wind industry, consider this: residents of Penn Forest Township, Pennsylvania, are booing the Sierra Clubbers.
If you are concerned about climate change, then you should take note of this: Over the past eight months, utilities from New York to Nebraska have announced plans to shutter six nuclear reactors by 2019. These closures will come on the heels of earlier ones - five reactors have been shuttered over the past three years alone. The latest closure announcement came earlier this month when Exelon Corp., the country's largest nuclear-energy producer, said it would close three reactors at two sites in Illinois by 2018.
Last month, during its annual conference, the American Wind Energy Association issued a press release trumpeting the growth of wind-energy capacity. It quoted the association’s CEO, Tom Kiernan, who declared that the wind business is “an American success story.”
There’s no better — or bigger — illustration of the reversal of America’s energy fortunes than the Gaslog Salem, the 98,000-ton, 935-foot-long liquefied natural gas tanker that left port in Cameron Parish, La., in late April bound for Portugal.
Since February, more than half a dozen tankers loaded with domestic natural gas that’s been frozen to minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit have left U.S. waters headed for ports in India, Brazil and the Middle East.
Scarcity ideology pervades modern environmentalism. Indeed, the environmental movement has long relied on the idea that we are running out of, well, everything.
We are running out of food — that claim goes back to 1798, when Thomas Malthus argued that starvation for many people was inevitable because farmers wouldn’t be able to keep up with population growth. In 1968, Paul Ehrlich published The Population Bomb, in which he grimly declared that “the battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.” Ehrlich’s book was commissioned and published by the Sierra Club. Two million copies were sold. Never mind that today we are feeding twice as many people as we were when Erhlich made his dire prediction and that we are doing so on about the same amount of farmland.
Back in 1996, President Bill Clinton famously declared that the federal government was “ending welfare as we know it.” But when it comes to welfare for the companies that make electric vehicles and the wealthy motorists who buy EVs, the government’s largesse appears never-ending.
On Monday, during a campaign event in New York, Senator Bernie Sanders declared his intent to impose a nationwide ban on hydraulic fracturing.
By doing so, Sanders has made clear his intent to ruin the U.S. economy, put people out of work, and make Americans totally reliant on imported oil. Indeed, Sanders, the avowed liberal, has just proposed one of the most illiberal policies imaginable.
Even $1.5 billion in subsidies and loan guarantees can’t save a “clean” energy company from bankruptcy.
That’s the takeaway from the looming failure of SunEdison, a company that touts itself as the “largest global renewable energy development company.” Once a darling of Wall Street and the green Left because of SunEdison’s portfolio of wind and solar projects, the company’s stock is now in free fall. Furthermore, two related companies that were spun off from SunEdison — TerraForm Global and TerraForm Power — also appear to be in financial distress. On March 30, Brian Wuebbels, the CEO of both TerraForm companies, resigned effective immediately. If all that weren’t enough, the company is also under investigation by both the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission about its finances and the disclosures it made to investors.
Burning food for fuel does not sound like the best idea. However, that is precisely what U.S. ethanol policy requires. Though federal supports for ethanol have changed over the past decades, the disappointing results of the program—including the waste of motorists’ dollars—have continued. In what follows, my Manhattan Institute colleague Robert Bryce explains why Americans are still stuck with destructive ethanol programs that do not help the environment, promote energy independence, or aid the economy:
Jared Meyer: What are the main ways that the government promotes the ethanol industry? How have these industry supports changed over time?
Robert Bryce: Americans have been paying to support corn ethanol since 1978, when Congress approved a 40 cent-per-gallon subsidy for the fuel. That year, the Bee Gees topped the pop charts with their disco hit, “Stayin Alive.”
Gov. Cuomo wants New York to be getting 50 percent of its electricity from “renewables” by 2030. But if the ongoing battle over the proposed Lighthouse Wind project is any indication, Cuomo and his green allies are in for a long fight upstate.
Three New York counties — Erie, Orleans and Niagara — as well as the towns of Yates and Somerset are all opposing the 200-megawatt Lighthouse project. If approved by state regulators, the project would install dozens of 500- to 600-foot-high turbines on about 20,000 acres in Niagara and Orleans counties, both of which abut Lake Ontario.