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.
Never mind the drought, shrinking corn crops, rising food prices, or the possibility of global grain shortages, let’s talk about the evils of foreign oil.
That was the message put out last week by ethanol lobbyists just a day or so beforeJose Graziano da Silva the director of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization called for “an immediate, temporary suspension” of America’s corn-ethanol mandates to “give some respite to the market and allow more of the crop to be channelled towards food and feed uses.”
Weighing Pros and Cons of Increased Oil and Gas Production
PBS NewsHour August 10, 2012
Jeffrey Brown talks to National Resources Defense Council's Kate Sinding and the Manhattan Institute's Robert Bryce about increased domestic energy production and whether economic benefits outweigh environmental concerns.
(Note: this article was co-authored with Jonathan Lesser.)
Gov. Cuomo has repeatedly said he wants to close down Indian Point, the 2,083-megawatt nuclear plant 35 miles north of Midtown. He may have the leverage to do it — but he’d better look at the costs before he does so.
Indian Point provides about 25 percent of New York City’s electricity — and replacing it will mean a host of costly and protracted permitting and legal battles over how, and where, to build new generation capacity.
Blackouts crippled India last week, leaving more than 600 million people without electricity. Trains were stranded, traffic snarled, and the country's economy ground to a halt. According to news reports, the blackouts were caused by excess demand, with some states in northern India taking more power than they had been allotted by the grid operator. And while the investigation into the disaster continues, one result is certain: India won't be abandoning coal any time soon.
Every day that the drought continues garroting the American Midwest, the lunacy of turning corn into motor fuel becomes ever more obvious and ever more outrageous.
Over the past six weeks, corn prices have soared by about 50 percent.They recently hit $8.20 per bushel, an all-time high. And if drought conditions in the U.S. and Europepersist, prices may continue climbing. Several factors are influencing grain prices, among them the reduced amount of grain available in storage and increased meat consumption in the developing world. (Remember, that most corn is used as livestock feed, not food for humans.) But there is no doubt that the corn ethanol mandates imposed by Congress are distorting the market,whichwill mean higher prices for everything from milk to cheeseburgers.
Standing in the dispatch office of the North Antelope Rochelle Mine near Gillette, Wyo., Scott Durgin pointed at a flat-panel display. The regional vice president for Peabody Energy smiled. The most productive coal mine in the world was on target. Since midnight, about one train an hour had been loaded, each carrying about 16,000 tons of coal.
I asked Durgin how long Peabody could continue mining in the region. Easily for five more decades, he replied. "There's no end to the coal here."
The timing of Jimmy Glotfelty’s July 17 article, “Wind Power’s Success Doesn’t Stop Opponents’ Urban Legends” — in which he attacks me for what he calls “recycled, questionable diatribes” about the wind-energy industry — couldnt have been much better. Much better, that is, for my side in this controversy.
Had Mr. Glotfelty read the news lately, he would have noted yet another large public demonstration against wind energy. The anti-wind protest on Monday in Lowell, Vermont, attracted some 150 angry people who blocked a road in an attempt to halt a controversial 21-turbine, 63-megawatt project being installed atop Lowell Mountain.
The United States is leading the world in reducing its emissions of carbon dioxide. And it’s doing so by a wide margin.
Yes, you read that right. The United States – the country that is routinely vilified by the Green/Left for refusing to sign the Kyoto Protocol or impose carbon taxes or institute a cap-and-trade system – is dramatically cutting its production of carbon dioxide. Proof of that has come from both the International Energy Agency in Paris and the Energy Information Administration in Washington.
It’s summer. It’s hot. And once again, we are hearing from the usual suspects that we must change our entire way of living. Repent, they say. Carbon dioxide emissions are killing Mother Earth. Give up hydrocarbons and embrace renewable energy.
Doing so, we’re assured, will result in a gentler climate and myriad other benefits, including scads of “green” jobs. Sounds easy, no?
Last week, just before the opening of the U.N.’s Earth Summit meeting in Rio de Janeiro, the New York Times ran an op-ed that decried the rapid rise in carbon dioxide emissions during the two decades since a similar meeting was held in Rio.
The authors of the article — Christian Azar, a professor at Sweden’s Chalmers University of Technology, and two economists from the Environmental Defense Fund, Thomas Sterner and Gernot Wagner — claimed that the world needs to “kick its addiction to fossil fuels” and that renewable energy provides the road to salvation because “the seeds of an environmental revolution are being sown.”
Advocates of wind energy are actively lobbying Congress for a multiyear extension of the 2.2 cent-per-kilowatt-hour production tax credit.
The Obama administration has made an extension of the tax credit part of the president's reelection strategy. During the American Wind Energy Association's recent WindPower 2012 convention in Atlanta, Heather Zichal, deputy assistant to the president on energy and climate issues, declared that if Congress doesn't extend the tax credit, "factories will close and tens of thousands of people will lose their jobs."
Lobbyists for the wind-energy sector are actively lobbying for a multi-year extension of the production tax credit, the 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour subsidy given to producers of wind-generated electricity. To justify that lucrative subsidy, which expires at the end of this year, the wind lobby continually portrays itself as being an alternative to fossil fuels.
Mark Twain once said that “history doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
Twain wasn’t talking about energy, but his line applies to the EPA’s proposed prohibition on the construction of coal-fired electricity generators. Indeed, we need only look back a few decades to see how the EPA’s misbegotten rule rhymes with what Congress did back in 1978 when it banned the use of natural gas for electricity production.
“Clean energy” is the political darling of the moment. President Obama has made promotion of clean energy one of the centerpieces of his administration and his reelection effort. The Democratic National Committee claims that “clean energy” investments are “helping pave the way to a more sustainable future, creating new jobs and entire industries here in America.” Last month, the Center for American Progress, a leftist think tank, released a report that touted the need to build a clean-energy economy.
(This article was co-authored with Steven F. Hayward)
If legislators need any more evidence that American energy policy is broken, they need only look at how some of the world’s biggest corporations used “green” energy projects to snatch billions of dollars under section 1603 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (also known as the federal stimulus bill).
Between 2009 and late 2011, $9.8 billion in cash grants was disbursed under the stimulus bill, and the vast majority of that money — $7.6 billion — was received by the wind-energy sector. An analysis of the 4,256 projects that won grants from the Treasury Department under section 1603 shows that nearly half that sum — $3.25 billion — went to just eight companies, all of which are board members of the American Wind Energy Association. The biggest winners were two foreign companies, theSpanish utility Iberdrola and the German energy giant E.On.