Robert Bryce's articles have appeared in dozens of publications ranging from the Wall Street Journal toCounterpunch and Atlantic Monthly to National Review. He’s the author of five books, including Power Hungry: The Myths of "Green" Energy, and the Real Fuels of the Future, which was published in 2010. His most recent book, Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper: How Innovation Keeps Proving the Catastrophists Wrong, was released in 2014 by his longtime publisher, PublicAffairs. A senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, he lives in Austin.
Andreas Malm longs for the good old days. In his new book, Fossil Capital: The Rise of Steam Power and the Roots of Global Warming, Malm, who teaches human ecology at Lund University in Sweden, pines for a time when manufacturing depended on waterwheels instead of steam engines. Indeed, Malm spends more than 300 pages—
about 75 percent of the text—discussing why English manufacturers abandoned waterwheels and replaced them with coal-fired steam engines. It’s worthwhile history. But in the hands of an avowed Marxist like Malm, it’s tedious sledding. In Malm’s view, the rise of the steam engine was little more than a ploy by evil capitalists to subjugate workers, and because of that, we are now all going to die from global warming.
On January 15, President Obama named Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to head an effort to reduce heroin use in rural America. It was a good choice. For if anyone in the Washington knows about addiction, it’s Vilsack. During his tenure in Washington, the former Iowa governor has made sure that the ethanol and biofuels sector remain addicted to taxpayers’ money.
Forget Solyndra. When it comes to misguided federal energy policy, the real scandal involves the hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars that are being wasted on biofuels.
With the Iowa caucuses less than two weeks away, here’s a newsflash: The corn-ethanol mandates, which are always a pivotal issue in that state, are more deadly than the emissions from those cheating Volkswagens. Four times more deadly, to be precise.
Among the favorite claims of climate-change activists is that anyone who dares to disagree with their worldview is a “denier,” and that those who reject their orthodoxy about the workings of the Earth’s atmosphere are “anti-science.”
The Paris climate talks had failed before they even started. That’s the apparent view of Ban Ki-moon, who, over the weekend just before the climate-change conference was to start, declared that pledges made by governments around the world to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions are “not enough.” To be sure, the U.N. secretary-general didn’t say the talks will be a failure, but he did tell The Associated Press that “We have to do much more and faster to be able to contain the global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius.”
Democrats like to pretend nuclear power isn’t necessary — until they find out that a reactor in their neighborhood is closing.
For proof, look no further than the reactions from Gov. Cuomo and Sen. Charles Schumer (both Democrats) to the recent news that Entergy Corp. plans to close its 838-megawatt FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Oswego by early 2017.
Climate scientists want the world to use more nuclear energy to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions, yet America's nuclear sector is withering. Unless Congress acts to encourage next-generation nuclear technology, the United States will be relegated to second-tier status when it comes to the development and deployment of smaller, cheaper, safer reactors that could play a crucial role in low-carbon electricity production all over the world.
Environmentalists are correct in calling President Obama’s decision to reject the Keystone XL pipelinea “symbolic” victory, but that description is too generous. For them, it’s a Pyrrhic victory of the first order because the main factor behind Obama’s decision is something environmentalists hate even more than Keystone: hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
Harvard professor Naomi Oreskes and her allies are on a mission to blame Big Oil for what they believe is an inadequate global response to climate change.
To be clear, there’s nothing original about their claims. Demonizing oil and gas companies is a standard practice on the left. What beggars belief is Oreskes’s prescribed remedy for rising carbon dioxide emissions: In an October 9 op-ed in the New York Times, she claimed that rather than continuing to produce oil and natural gas, the industry should have been “investing in renewables and biofuels.”
California Gov. Jerry Brown has a vision: When it comes to greenhouse-gas emissions, he wants his fellow Californians to emulate North Koreans. Meanwhile, many of Mr. Brown’s fellow Democrats—including President Obama, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders—will settle for putting Americans on a par with residents of Mexico.
If you want to irritate promoters of the Clean Power Plan, just state the obvious: It’s going to increase electricity prices, and that will be bad for the poor and the middle class.
Last Monday, I made that very point during an interview on KPCC radio in Los Angeles, (“Air Talk with Larry Mantle”). My counterpart was David Doniger of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a group that has pushed hard for the Clean Power Plan. After I pointed out that electricity prices in Europe had soared due to renewable-energy mandates, Doniger replied with something to the effect that I should not be using “scare stories” that are a “decade old.”
Two years ago, I wrote a piece for NRO about a SLAPP suit (strategic lawsuit against public participation) that NextEra Energy, America’s biggest wind-energy producer, had filed against Esther Wrightman, an anti-wind-project activist from the tiny village (pop.: 120) of Kerwood, Ontario. It’s now time for an update.
NextEra overcame Wrightman’s opposition to the Adelaide Wind Energy Centre, a 60-megawatt project that began producing electricity last year. The 38-turbine wind project was erected right next to Wrightman’s home. In June 2014, she left not only Kerwood but Ontario and, along with her two children, her husband (who is disabled), and her parents, moved to the larger village (pop.: 1,889) of St. Andrews, New Brunswick. The Wrightmans also relocated their family business, Wrightman Alpines, a nursery that specializes in alpine plants.
When it comes to energy supplies — and therefore carbon dioxide emissions and climate change — who are you going to believe? Pope Francis, or BP?
Whether you love the pope and hate BP, or vice versa, doesn’t matter. What matters when discussing energy availability, climate change, and poverty are hard numbers and simple math. And the latest edition of BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy, which was released eight days before Pope Francis issued his encyclical on climate change, is chockfull of numbers that expose the pope’s failed climate math. Indeed, an analysis of the two documents reveals the deep, and perhaps unbridgeable, chasm between the religiosity that pervades discussions about climate change and the hard truths about the energy sector.
Last Friday, the EPA decreed the amount of ethanol that retailers must blend into their gasoline. For 2015, it will be about 14 billion gallons. That decree provides an opportunity to ask a simple question: How have ethanol producers been able to garner a federal mandate that requires motorists to buy their low-heat-content, hydrophilic, motor-fuel moonshine?
For years, environmental activists have opposed the Keystone XL pipeline, claiming that development of Canada’s oil sands will be “game over for the climate.” But if those same activists are sincere about climate change, why aren’t they getting arrested outside the White House to protest the use of corn ethanol?