In the wake of the 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, it may sound odd to say so, but here goes: The prospects for nuclear energy have never been brighter.
Reactor technology is improving fast, the nuclear sector is getting significant private-sector investment, and mainstream environmentalists are embracing nuclear like never before. To be clear, nuclear faces many challenges -- it’s too expensive and there are too many old plants -- but with the right policies in place, nuclear should become more affordable and safer over the coming decades.
Many critiques have been written about the foolishness of America’s mandates and subsidies for biofuels. But the most savage was almost certainly published last year in the Strategic Studies Quarterly, a U.S. Air Force journal, by Ike Kiefer, who launched this barrage:
Imagine if the U.S. military developed a weapon that could threaten millions around the world with hunger, accelerate global warming, incite widespread instability and revolution, provide our competitors and enemies with cheaper energy, and reduce America’s economy to a permanent state of recession. What would be the sense and the morality of employing such a weapon? We are already building that weapon -- it is our biofuels program.
In January 2011, during his State of the Union speech, President Barack Obama called oil “yesterday’s energy.” Here’s the reality: Oil has been “yesterday’s energy” for more than a century. And yet, it persists -- because of continuing innovation that allows drillers to produce more oil and gas faster and more cheaply than ever before.
The shale revolution has fundamentally changed the American energy scene. Over the last five years or so, domestic production of oil and gas have soared. And some analysts are claiming that the US oil production could soon surpass that of Saudi Arabia.
The Obama administration is gambling “recklessly” with America’s bald and golden eagles.
That’s the claim of the American Bird Conservancy, which on Thursday announced its intent to sue the Interior Department and the Fish and Wildlife Service over the agencies’ plan to grant wind-energy companies permits to kill eagles for up to 30 years.
Solar energy can solve global warming. That’s what Paul Krugman claims in his April 18 column in the New York Times, “Salvation Gets Cheap.”
Krugman extolled “the incredible recent decline in the cost of renewable energy, solar power in particular.” He used to dismiss the claim that renewable energy would be a major source of global energy “as hippie-dippy wishful thinking.” But now, he says, thanks to the falling price of renewable energy, the process of decarbonization can be accelerated and “drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions are now within fairly easy reach.”
Some of America’s biggest and most influential environmental groups are not only out of touch with reality, they are actively promoting an agenda that would harm the security of the U.S. and its allies in Western Europe.
Last week, during the climate-change talkathon held by Senate Democrats, Al Franken of Minnesota said, “I rise to suggest that we in this body talk more about climate change so that we can agree on taking action to address it.” Franken’s fellow Democrats offered similar pleas. Connecticut’s Richard Blumenthal described climate change as “implacable, relentless,” and said that “only we can stop it.” Hawaii’s BrianSchatz said, “Climate change is real, it is caused by humans, and it is solvable.”
The complaints about the South by Southwest Interactive conference have become as reliable as the blooming of the redbud trees that line Austin’s Lady Bird Lake.
Every spring, there are articles declaring that the event is, choose one of the following: “over,” “not a tech conference anymore,” suffering from “growing pains,” that it has “has lost its compass,” and that, well, it’s just too big. As a long-time Austin resident (nearly 30 years) I can verify that the last item on that list is true. Last year, more than 30,000 people attended SXSW Interactive. (Another 30,000 are in town for this year’s event.) The swarm of “digital creatives” who swarm the city during the five-day conference, along with the hordes who come for the SX film, music, and .edu events, choke the city. They snarl traffic, overwhelm the restaurants, crowd downtown sidewalks, and convert big swaths of the city into no-go zones.
For the U.S., Western Europe, and Ukraine, the best weapons in the ongoing power struggle with Russia won’t be bullets and tanks. They will be natural-gas wells and gas pipelines.
Indeed, amidst all the hand-wringing and speculation about how the U.S. and its European allies should respond to Russia’s invasion of Crimea, the best non-military maneuver is obvious: They should launch a natural-gas-drilling campaign in Western Europe and Ukraine. And they should start immediately.
Written Remarks for a Hearing of the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works, Dirksen Senate Office Building, February 25, 2014.
The focus of this hearing is on the economic benefits of ecosystems and wildlife and how they “are valuable to a wide range of industries,” including tourism. The purpose is also to examine “how the Administration is preparing to protect” ecosystems “in a changing climate.”
When it comes to energy policy, the European Union -- and Germany in particular -- have provided the perfect model. Indeed, if U.S. policymakers want to dramatically increase energy prices, destroy jobs and impose hardship on industry, then they should follow the EU's lead.
What was notable about the last night’s State of the Union address with regard to energy was not what the president said, it was what he did not say.
We heard the usual tired bromides. It only took four paragraphs before the inevitable mention of the evils of “foreign oil.” It was only a bit longer before President Obama uttered the execrable phrase that has been a prerequisite for every US president since Richard Nixon: “energy independence.”
Just when it seemed the hype over biofuels was finally dying down, the New York Times gave biofuel producers a Christmas present.
On Christmas Day, on the front page of the newspaper’s business section, the Times published a piece titled “Jet Fuel by the Acre.” Written by Todd Woody, the article touted SGB, a San Diego–based company that has, it says, “succeeded in domesticating jatropha.” The subhead claims, “A start-up cracks the code to turn a bush into fuel.”
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 — one of the most pork-filled bits of federal energy legislation ever passed by Congress — continues to haunt us.
We have to kill eagles in order to save them.
That’s now the official policy of the U.S. Interior Department. On Friday, the agency announced that it would grant some wind-energy companies permits that will allow them to kill or injure bald and golden eagles for up to 30 years without penalty.
Michael J. Economides, an international authority on petroleum engineering, died late Saturday evening while onboard a jetliner bound for Santiago, Chile. He was 64.
The Justice Department announced late last week that a subsidiary of Duke Energy has agreed to pay $1 million for killing golden eagles and other federally protected birds at two of the company's wind projects in Wyoming. The guilty plea was a long-overdue victory for the rule of law and a sign that green energy might be going out of vogue.
For years, the wind-energy sector and renewable-energy advocates have repeatedly claimed that wind turbines are essential to the fight against carbon dioxide emissions and catastrophic climate change. Here’s the reality: Wind turbines are nothing more than climate-change scarecrows.
Forty years have passed since the OPEC oil embargo of 1973. In that time span, the United States has increased its population by about half, nearly tripled its economic output, and nearly doubled its per capita GDP. While doing so, the U.S. has increased its oil consumption by just 7 percent.
For some environmentalists, the threat of climate change is so great that we must allow wind turbines to kill bald and golden eagles. The argument I've heard is that renewables, including wind energy, will reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Less carbon dioxide reduces the threat posed by climate change, which benefits eagles and other wildlife.
Forty years ago this month, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries proclaimed an embargo on oil exports to the U.S. as retaliation for its support of Israel in the Yom Kippur War. It would last only five months, but it haunts U.S. energy policy to this day.
On Friday, the EPA finally unveiled its long-awaited rules for new coal-fired power plants. The agency’s administrator, Gina McCarthy, has claimed that the new rules “will provide certainty for the future of new coal.”
This month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will begin releasing its fifth assessment report. Like earlier reports, it will undoubtedly lead to more calls to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide worldwide.
No president in modern American history has bashed the oil and gas industry more than Barack Obama. And none has benefited from that industry more.
Proving that last sentence is easy. It requires only that we imagine what world oil prices — and the U.S. economy — would look like in the absence of the shale gale, the multi-state surge in domestic oil and gas production of the past few years, as drillers have figured out how to produce vast quantities of methane and liquids from shale deposits.
Keep the poor in the dark: That’s the aim of some of the world’s biggest and most influential environmental groups. And last month, both the U.S. Export-Import Bank and the World Bank helped advance it. Out of concern for climate change, they announced, they would restrict financing for coal-fired power plants.
Africans can burn coal. Americans can’t.
That’s the conclusion to be drawn from the Obama administration’s most recent forays into energy policy.
The gulf between the hard realities of the global energy market and the Obama administration’s energy policies grows wider by the day.
On Wednesday, Heather Zichal, the White House coordinator for energy and climate change, told a group of reporters that Obama, knowing that climate change is “a legacy issue,” will soon issue new rules to limit carbon-dioxide emissions from electricity-generation plants. “After all that we’ve done, after all that historic progress in the first four years, we are well poised to take meaningful action for the second term,” Zichal said.
The Goliath of the wind-energy business is suing David. The defendant is Esther Wrightman, an activist and mother of two from the tiny town of Kerwood, Ontario, which sits roughly halfway between Detroit and Toronto.
Wrightman, 32, has angered the Florida-based NextEra Energy (market capitalization: $32 billion) by starting a couple of bare-bones websites, ontariowindresistance.org and mlwindaction.org, as well as a YouTube channel, which she uses to lampoon the company. In its lawsuit, filed on May 1, NextEra claims that Wrightman has misused its logo and libeled the company by calling it “NexTerror” and “NextError.” And while the company doesn’t specify the amount of damages it seeks from Wrightman, it says that it will donate any proceeds from the litigation to United Way.