TweetNote: A Jan. 5 article on ethanol by Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Dan Chapman inspired me to send this letter to the editor. An edited version of this letter was published[…]
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TweetThe United States continued its march from republic to corporatocracy last month when the U.S. Senate rejected opportunities to end government support of ethanol. Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Jim[…]
Tweet(SEE UPDATE BELOW) This afternoon, the Senate will vote on an amendment to the Economic Development Reauthorization Act (S. 782) sponsored by Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Diane Feinstein (D-CA)[…]
TweetHeartand’s Steve Stanek is keeping his eye on the ethanol subsidy that was stuffed into the bill extending the Bush tax rates. Here’s an excerpt from his op-ed titled “Action[…]
The U.S. economy continues its Barack Obama Administration-long hobbled limp. President Obama will be our nations first tonever, ever have even one year of 3% or higher Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth.
Tweet[Read essay #1 here.] I attended Indiana University in the late 1960s. Like Columbia, Michigan, Wisconsin, and other major universities, IU was a cauldron of radical activities. Many grad students[…]
There are many disadvantages to solar energy because it is unavailable most of the day—availability is expressed as capacity factor defined as the fraction of total annual solar energy produced compared to a facility operating 24-hours daily, 365 days per year. Capacity factors of solar plants in Southwest desert areas are 0.19 compared to capacity factors of 0.9 or greater for nuclear and fossil-fueled electricity plants.
The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)—also known as the ethanol mandate—was passed by Congress in 2005 and expanded in 2007. Regardless of market conditions, it required ever-increasing quantities of biofuel be blended into the nation’s gasoline supply—though the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does have the flexibility to make some adjustments based on conditions, such as availability and infrastructure.
It’s planting season, and farmers are taking to the fields to put food on our tables. Even though Ted Cruz has withdrawn from the presidential race, his victory in the Iowa Caucuses caused political pundits of all stripes to speculate about the future of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) and the corn ethanol mandate, largely because someone, Cruz, had finally campaigned against the ethanol mandate and managed to win in Iowa. While some wonks in Washington, DC may talk about a political end for the ethanol mandate, for the nation’s farmers, the biofuel bubble has already burst.
All of us loved paying less than $2 a gallon at the pump. AAA reports: “Americans paid cheapest quarterly gas prices in 12 years”—which resulted in savings of nearly $10 billion compared to the same period last year. However, oil (and, therefore gasoline) has been creeping upward since the February low—topping $45 a barrel, a high for the year. And that could be a good thing.
Equally relevant, only 19% of that global methane comes from oil, natural gas and coal production and use. Fully 33% comes from agriculture: 12% from rice growing and 21% from meat production. Still more comes from landfills and sewage treatment (11%) and burning wood and animal dung (8%). The remaining 29% comes from natural sources: oceans, wetlands, termites, forest fires and volcanoes.
Researchers have found that some buyers are willing to pay for environmentally friendly products because those products are “status symbols.” A report in the Atlantic states: “Environmentally-friendly behaviors typically go unseen; there’s no public glory in shortened showers or diligent recycling. But when people can use their behavior to broadcast their own goodness, their incentives shift. The people who buy Priuses and solar panels still probably care about the environment—it’s just that researchers have found that a portion of their motivation might come from a place of self-promotion, much like community service does good and fits on a résumé.”
The Democrat divide is, as NBC News sees it, between dreamers and doers—with the International Business Times (IBT) calling it: “a civil war over the party’s ideological future.” The Boston Globe declares that the “party fissures” represent “a national party torn between Clinton’s promised steady hand and Sanders’ more progressive goals.”
In his 1889 essay “The Decay of Lying”, Oscar Wilde wrote “Life imitates art far more than art imitates life.” In the 21st century Western energy and “climate” policy theater of the absurd, Wilde’s famous statement has been reincarnated as “Politics imitates science far more than science imitates politics.”
Frustrated that nobody seems to care about climate change, “the country’s biggest individual political donor during the 2014 election cycle,” has pledged even more in 2016. Tom Steyer spent nearly $75 million in the 2014 midterms, reports Politico. He intends to “open his wallet even wider” now.
If you want more of something, mandate it, subsidize it and exempt it from regulations. If you want less of something, punish it with taxes and regulations. Put more bluntly, the power to tax and regulate is the power to destroy. This is the First Rule of Government.
Government by ideological fantasy – at the expense of actual facts – is a terrible idea. So too is government of, by and for the donors. Far too often government regulators and bureaucrats ignore Reality – to tilt at ideological windmills. And WAY too often government becomes one giant stenographer for contributors – writing laws and regulations to accommodate their check-cutters’ every whim and wildest dream.
Once in office, he backed that up with a March 2009, executive order that offered “$2.4 Billion in Funding to Support Next Generation Electric Vehicles” to “help meet the President’s goal of putting one million plug-in hybrid vehicles on the road by 2015.” He continued the electric-car drumbeat in his 2011 State of the Union Address: “We can break our dependence on oil…and become the first country to have one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.”