High Gas Prices Result of Huge U.S. Oil/Gas Exports; New Drilling/Pipelines Obviously Not Meant for U.S.

 

U.S. oil and gas exports are at their highest in 62 years! http://sfgate.bloomberg.com/SFChronicle/ Story?docId=1376-M03ZSG0YHQ0X01-5JR0G692MBGTE60AIHP5SP9EJ8.  Demand for oil/gas from foreign countries has increased tremendously while the U.S. has drastically reduced demand over a short period of time. What does this mean? It means that the big push to open up drilling in pristine Arctic wildlife areas, or to abscond land from private citizens in order to run a new pipeline, or the rounding up and slaughter of our free range wild mustangs, bison, wolves, etc., in order to clear them from the land like scooping up garbage instead of living creatures has nothing at all to do with our own energy welfare but for foreign countries.  It means we’ve pretty much gained energy independence from terrorist nations.  It means that we’re not running out of oil for our own consumption or that we need to drill baby drill. It simply has to do with big oil supplying that which we no longer need to foreign nations for big profits because there is demand out there. And when supply keeps up with increasing demand prices go up everywhere. It’s economics 101 http://www.investopedia.com/university/economics /economics3.asp#axzz1ny6hzw4F plain and simple that has little to do with us, except the fact we pay for it dearly at the pumps, while we still subsidize big oil. http://thinkprogress.org/green /2012/03/01/436001/obama-tells-congress-to-eliminate-outrageous-big-oil-tax-breaks/.

Now do we understand why there is such an outrage among some of us over subsidies, over the destruction of wildlife, and over the destruction of land for drilling/pipelines for a private, wealthy industry like big oil? Subsidies are taxpayer dollars to help big oil find new places to drill, places we do not want them to drill, places we do not want pipelines, yet we help these mega, mega rich private entities with our money. Feels like some sort of investment to me. We helped the U.S. auto industry out one time with a finite sum of money, most of which has been paid back, but not before there was a huge outcry that we’d better get it back and we shouldn’t have done that. Yet our taxpayer dollars consistently fund big, mega rich entities like big Ag and big Oil. Our payback right now from big oil is a continual increase in gas prices at the pumps. One would think that we should have some say so over that. Oh that’s right in most of the commercials about taxing big oil, or stopping subsidies, the people on the street remark, “Oh, don’t do that. That would mean a big increase for us and we can’t afford it.” So who’s the bully here and why is the bully so free to raise prices whenever? Oh that’s right too, we’re told those pesky government regulations/interference hinder big business and jobs. What’s happening at the gas pumps is what unfettered capitalism looks like. If Obama stepped in on our behalf, all hell would break lose. http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2012/01/oil-lobbyist-publicly-warns-president-obama-xl-pipeline-or-lose-presidency/.

Now that we’ve seen the proof that there is enough U.S. oil/gas to export so much of it, we must also be aware that any new pipelines from new sources of oil, like Canada’s tar sands via the XL pipeline, isn’t destined for us either. As I explained in another blog the XL pipeline will be carrying filthy tar sands to China mostly http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2011/11/xl-pipeline-looks-to-be-a-good-deal-for-china-not-americans-alternate-route-through-british-columbia-being-considered/.  It will cause demand for the stuff to go sky high, with a huge supply in the waiting, and we’ll see another hike at the pumps.

It’s almost as if this is big oil’s payback to us for declining use of their product for environmental reasons. It looks that way in congress too with lackeys for big oil stifling any incentives for wind projects even though wind looked like the most promising alternative for the U.S.  The U.S. mid-section is a corridor of constant wind, as well as, our huge shoreline. But congress stifled wind subsidies/incentives http://www.democraticunderground.com/101454189. And solar, well, solar is quiet right now after the dragging of feet to get Solyndra going before China flooded the market with their cheap, incomparable products http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2012/01/solyndra-a-model-of-why-the-u-s-wont-be-a-contender-in-the-new-world-order/.  All of these scenarios–threatening commercials to raise prices if subsidies decline or taxation increases, stamping out the competition through congress, and creating more and more demand abroad, look as if we’re being coerced back to using oil. And if demand for our oil gets too outrageous, a shortage crisis will emerge—MARK MY WORDS—where it will be imperative that we drill everywhere and anywhere. We will be told our own resources are dwindling and there just aren’t enough alternatives to take up the slack. What a setup. If incentives to create and nurture a new green sector for the U.S. are cut out of the picture what choice will we have though? Looks like a plan to me.

Throughout my previous blogs I made comments about the progression of control I was seeing relative to energy and the environment. I began in the Bush era by saying, “The kings are polishing their crowns. From there it was, “The kings have donned their crowns but just haven’t announced it yet.”  When SCOTUS announced corporations are considered citizens, my comment was, “This is the announcement (new kings).” Now we’re seeing a little more clearly those that are sporting crowns and one of them is big oil, king and ruler of U.S. energy, whether we want to move away from it or not.

Read more about U.S. oil exports:

http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/energy/story/2011-12-31/united-states-export/52298812/1

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/30/column-us-exports-energy-independence-idUSL5E7MU6OT20111130

 

 

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Obama Administration to Develop Clean Energy on Public Lands–Algae Fuel?

In President Obama’s State of the Union address, he stated: “I’m directing my administration to allow the development of clean energy on enough public land to power three million homes.  And I’m proud to announce that the Department of Defense, the world’s largest consumer of energy, will make one of the largest commitments to clean energy in history – with the Navy purchasing enough capacity to power a quarter of a million homes a year.”

Just the mention of the Navy leads me to believe we’re talking algae fuel here because I’ve blogged about the Navy’s successful use of the stuff in their jets along with other feedstock biofuel. Although the Navy has been doing its own research into this pond scum product, it’s been getting its supply from a company called Solazyme. http://www.algalbiomass.org/news/1499/solazyme-delivers-100-algal-derived-renewable-jet-fuel-to-u-s-navy/ Solazyme’s product was so successful in jets that the Navy ordered algae diesel fuel for its ships. And since the Navy’s foray into the world of algae fuel, United airlines flew it’s first passenger airliner on the stuff at the end of 2011.

We’re finally progressing into a world of a different kind of biofuel, especially when you look at the timeline of blogs I’ve done on algae fuel beginning in 2008. It’s not exactly new any longer. It just needed a chance to get off the ground so to speak. And fly it did. If algae fuel takes off in the public sector with the help of dedicated public land, we might finally find a viable product to fuel us completely. It renews in 24 hours. Our country is full of ponds, lakes, etc. How sustainable is that?

2008 http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2008/09/the-need-for-crude-may-disappear-within-a-decade/

2009  http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2009/08/u-s-navy-jets-to-use-biofuels/

http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2009/09/algae-the-new-green-crude/

2010 http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2010/03/exxon-mobil-and-algae-biofuel-research-wonders-never-cease/

2011 http://content.usatoday.com/communities/greenhouse/post/2011/11/united-flies-first-us-passengers-with-biofuel-from-algae/1

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President to Add Investigative Unit on Trade Practices in China–YES!

If you read my last blog about Solyndra and China’s cornering the market on solar panels http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2012/01/solyndra-a-model-of-why-the-u-s-wont-be-a-contender-in-the-new-world-order/ then the part of President Obama’s State of the Union address about trade practices in China didn’t go over your head. It should have peaked your interest. I caught it and was elated. The president stated that the U.S. doubled the trade cases against China than the past administration. And he will initiate an investigative unit on trade practices in China. Add to this plans for new trade/tax practices and the U.S. just may return to the an innovative manufacturing giant once again–especially in green industry.

Amen to that. No more failed Solyndras.

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Solyndra a Model of Why the U.S. Won’t Be a Contender in the New World Order

Going green has lost quite a bit if traction in the U.S. because of some really outrageous spin and it would appear the oil/gas industry and their lackey’s in congress to be the culprits. Despite the fact we can see climate change with our own eyes, and that some of the giants in the oil industry admitted greenhouse gas contributes to climate change, we’re heading toward more fossil fuel production with gas fracking and tar sands oil at the top of the list. Friends of fossil fuel have jumped on the Solyndra bandwagon of failure as some sort of omen that green start-ups are too risky, and therefore, unworthy business models in the U.S. during a time of renewed “drill and frack” mentality. But Solyndra is a model of a much more ominous nature. Solyndra’s failure is not due to an innovation that had no place in the market, or mishandling of funds, or was too costly compared to the competition, or because it was a vehicle of some underhanded exchange of money for political gain. While conspiracies abound around the name “Solyndra” the biggest problem Solyndra had to overcome was CHINA, one of the four new and fastest growing world economies. No the U.S. is not on that short list.  We’ll never make it at all if we continue on the path of fossil fuel for energy and stall moving forward quickly with green innovation.

Don’t get me wrong. China is indeed destined to get most of that tar sand oil from Canada, and so it is in the big fossil fuel burning category of nations. But China also continues to be a mixed bag for its energy sources and moving more and more quickly into the green foray. China recently emerged as KING of solar panel producers exporting its solar panel wares worldwide in numbers far greater than its competitors. But how did this happen you say and so quickly? And how come a company like Solyndra that barely came out of the ground went under so quickly? Surely there was a market for solar just look at China.

Just about all the reporting relative to Solyndra from ABC, to Fox, to numerous websites has been false and totally out of context, the main one being that it is Obama’s baby. Truth is Solyndra began in 2005 with a sound standing in the field of solar panels. Solyndra was the leader in innovation for solar. While standard solar panels look like flat screen monitors and utilize costly silicon in their photovoltaics (sun’s energy converted to direct current), Solyndra’s solar panels sported a tubular design that didn’t utilize silicon chips at all.

Solyndra’s solar panels are made up of 40 individual modules, wired in parallel for high current, which capture sunlight across a 360-degree photovoltaic surface capable of converting direct, diffuse and reflected sunlight into electricity. Using innovative cylindrical copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS modules) and thin-film technology, Solyndra systems are designed to be able to provide the lowest system installation costs on a per watt basis for the commercial rooftop market. More than 1000 Solyndra systems are installed around the world, representing nearly 100 Megawatts.

Lightweight: Low Distributed Load of 2.8 lbs. per Square Foot

Designed to Last for More than 25 Years

Easier and Cheaper Installation

Superior Wind Performance: Ideal for Windy Locations

Greater and More Effective Rooftop Coverage

Design Keeps Panels and Roofs Cooler

http://www.solyndra.com/technology-products/

From 2005 to late 2009, Solyndra panels were in the ballpark cost wise with standard solar panel manufacturers. Solyndra’s  founder  Dr. Christian Gronet earned a Ph.D. in semiconductor processing and a bachelor of science degree in Materials Science from Stanford University and was Vice President and General Manager of the Transistor, Capacitor and Gate product group at Applied Materials for 11 years. http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/private/person.asp?personId=54334387&privcapId=33681528.   According to their website, “Applied Materials is the global leader in providing innovative equipment, services, and software to the semiconductor, flat panel display, and solar photovoltaic industries. http://www.appliedmaterials.com/.

Solyndra had no problem raising over $78 million in venture capital quickly. From Climate Progress and verified by the DOE: “Solyndra raises its first round of venture financing worth $10.6 million from CMEA Capital, Redpoint Ventures, and U.S. Venture Partners. In October, Argonaut Venture Capital, an investment arm of George Kaiser, invests $17 million into Solyndra. Madrone Capital Partners, an investment arm of the Walton family, invests $7 million. Those investments are part of a $78.2 million fund.”

Funding came from the Right, the Left, and everywhere in between.

http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/09/13/317594/timeline-bush-administration-solyndra-loan-guarantee/

At about the same time Solyndra began, the Bush Administration’s Energy Policy Act of 2005 was initiated. Section 1703 seemed an ideal match for a company like Solyndra as follows: “Section 1703 of Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 authorizes the U.S. Department of Energy to support innovative clean energy technologies that are typically unable to obtain conventional private financing due to high technology risks.” https://lpo.energy.gov/?page_id=39. The emphasis here is on the word “risk.”

In 2006, Solyndra applied for a DOE loan under Section 1703. Late 2007 the loan program was funded and Solyndra was on the list for a loan. According to Energy Sec’y Sam Bodman at that time: “The Energy Department had received 143 pre-applications for the guarantees and narrowed the list down to 16 finalists — including Solyndra.” Why was Solyndra mentioned that way, as if singled out? According to WashingtonMonthly.com, “Bush’s Energy Department apparently adjusted its regulations to make sure that Solyndra would be eligible for the guarantees. It hadn’t originally contemplated including the photovoltaic-panel manufacturing that Solyndra did but changed the regulation before it was finalized. The only project that benefited was Solyndra’s.” Hmmm—heavy Republican investors or what? The Bush Administration, as I often blogged about back then, was not exactly green by any stretch of the word. However, it was late 2007 and 2008 meant a new presidential race. Being able to tout investment in alternative energy might appeal to some independent voters. Whatever the case, this loan program and its admittance of Solyndra on the list was a decision made during the Bush Administration.

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_09/solyndras_republican_paternity032460.php

By 2008, Solyndra planned on building 2 new facilities in the U.S., and private investment in Solyndra reached an accumulated $450 million. It still looked like a great venture. Prices for silicon remained high and Solyndra’s costs were still competitive. But by late 2008, the loan still hadn’t been approved. According to themoderatevoice.com:

January 2009: In an effort to show it has done something to support renewable energy, the Bush Administration tries to take Solyndra before a DOE credit review committee before President Obama is inaugurated. The committee, consisting of career civil servants with financial expertise, remands the loan back to DOE “without prejudice” because it wasn’t ready for conditional commitment.

March 2009: The same credit committee approves the strengthened loan application. The deal passes on to DOE’s credit review board. Career staff (not political appointees) within the DOE issue a conditional commitment setting out terms for a guarantee.

Once taxpayer money was involved, the Obama administration was reluctant to let Solyndra fail.

http://themoderatevoice.com/122532/solyndra-and-bush/

Cleantechnica.com reported:

June 2009: As more silicon production facilities come online while demand for PV (photovoltaics) wavers due to the economic slowdown, silicon prices start to drop. Meanwhile, the Chinese begin rapidly scaling domestic manufacturing and set a path toward dramatic, unforeseen cost reductions in PV. Between June of 2009 and August of 2011, PV (photovoltaic) prices drop more than 50%.

http://cleantechnica.com/2011/09/15/solyndra-advanced-by-bush-for-2-years-solyndra-timeline/

Some reports suggested that President Obama was warned several times via email that the deal was risky. On the contrary, Media Matters stated:

There was no email to Obama that the deal wasn’t ready for prime time relative to financial risk. Instead Email Concerned Timing Of Announcement, Not The Merit Of The Loan Guarantee.[] The email argued that ‘This deal is NOT ready for prime time’ because there were more steps to be completed before the loan guarantee could be finalized — namely, OMB had to review the credit rating and Solyndra needed to raise an additional $200 million in private capital. [House Energy and Commerce Republicans,9/14/11]

The merit of the loan guarantee lies with the OMB or Office of Management and Budget.

  • OMB reviews and must approve credit subsidy cost estimates for all loan and loan guarantee programs, including the credit subsidy cost estimates generated by DOE for the Title XVII program, to ensure that costs are accounted for appropriately.
  • OMB assesses cost estimates on a loan-by-loan basis because the Title XVII program provides relatively large-dollar guarantees and because their characteristics, terms, and risks vary greatly from project to project.
  • OMB delegates the modeling of credit subsidy costs to agencies, and issues implementing guidance to ensure consistent and accurate estimates of cost.
  • OMB works closely with agencies to create or revise credit subsidy models for new programs or programs issuing their first loans or loan guarantees, such as the Title XVII program in 2009,
  • Based on these models, OMB reviews and exercises final approval authority over credit subsidy costs to ensure that the costs of direct loans and loan guarantees are presented, and reflect estimated risks, consistently across Federal agencies so that taxpayer funds are invested in a prudent and effective fashion.
  • The final decision on whether to issue the loan or guarantee rests with the agency implementing the applicable program – DOE in the case of Title XVII.

http://mediamatters.org/research/201109190020.

By September 2009 Solyndra raised the money, an additional $219 million dollars and the $535 million loan from the DOE went through. Around one billion dollars had been invested in Solyndra, the bigger portion coming from the private investment sector. The Walton’s (the Wal-Mart family) Madrone Capital Partners and the Kaiser Foundation’s Argonaut Venture Capital, the Right and Left money respectively, being the biggest investors.

At this point, early 2010, China trumped everyone in the solar game “dump[ing] $30 billion into its solar industry. That is a lot of money for infrastructure as well as research and development. There is little doubt that the companies making solar panels in China benefited from the money.” http://www.solarcompanies.com/news/china-and-united-states-to-enter-trade-war-on-solar-panels

However, China did so in violation of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which prohibits government subsidies for corporations/businesses that plan to export. To do so allows that country to possibly corner the worldwide market in any segment, which China has done with solar panels. The thinking goes this way. A corporation is limited in growth if all its goods and services remain in the country. In the U.S., a corporation is limited by the fact that we only have 300 million people and consumers are only going to buy so many goods/services over a period of time. But if that same corporation decides to export—the sky is the limit. So for any government to heavily subsidize a corporation that also plans to export, tips the playing field badly on competition that can’t possibly keep up. Since China has over 3 times our population the playing field is already tipped to say the least. The $30 billion dollar Chinese “illegal” dump into the solar industry was a death knell for Solyndra. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/09/business/global/09trade.html?pagewanted=all

It’s not unforeseen or unusual that from December 2010 through February 2011, the two largest private investors, DOE, and Solyndra “negotiated the terms and conditions of an agreement to restructure the Solyndra loan guarantee. Throughout this process, DOE consulted with OMB about the proposed terms and conditions of this arrangement.” NY Times: Experts Said DOE’s Decision To Restructure “Is Routine In The Commercial World.” From a September 16, New York Times article

By the end of February 2011,

  • Both Argonaut and Madrone added a combined $69 million in emergency funds to Solyndra.
  • DOE agreed to extend the term of Solyndra’s loan guarantee from seven to 10 years, and to postpone the first repayment installment by one year, from 2012 to 2013.
  • In addition, the agreement provided that, in the event of the company’s liquidation before 2013, the investors have the senior secured position with respect to the first $75 million recovered. In this case, it is not the full $75 million but rather the $69 million in emergency funds as stated, “The two firms gave the company a total of $69 million in emergency loans. The loans are the only portion of their investments that have repayment priority above the U.S. government. [Associated Press,9/16/11].
  • DOE has the second senior secured position with respect to the next $150 million recovered in liquidation. This is taxpayer money
  • If Solyndra had not liquidated or declared bankruptcy by 2013, the investors would have lost their senior secured position to DOE. [House Energy and Commerce Committee, 9/12/11]

Media Matters further stated that the decision to fund Solyndra, which in turn built brand new state of the art facilities, is in much better shape to garner more when they liquidate. “DOE determined, as part of the restructuring, that the facility would be more valuable, even in the event of a future liquidation, once complete.” He went on to say that “DOE determined that restructuring the loan guarantee gave the U.S. taxpayer the best chance of being repaid”

http://mediamatters.org/research/201109190020

So there you have it. Advanced solar technology like Solyndra had a foothold in the industry when it began 7 years ago, but failed during the slow, slow process of funding during which time a giant like China decided to dump an “unforeseen” 30 billion into the solar panel industry in a very short time. Did they know about Solyndra? China’s panels are ho hum standard cheap, nowhere near the innovation of Solyndra. It’s a shame we have segments of our population that scream about government helping new industry get a start when our competition does it all the time. It’s not socialism by any stretch, especially when it’s about energy and infrastructure. It’s investment in the U.S. future if we’re going to compete with the likes of China, India, Russia, or Brazil—the top 4 economic powers now. Government certainly needs to rethink  trade agreements too now that we know how China plans to play the game.

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In Spite of the Fossil Fuel Industry Push for More Filthy Fuel, California Completes One Gigawatt of Solar Power

Kudo’s to California. Despite adversity from the deep pockets of the fossil fuel industry out to stall progress for a sustainable energy future, California completed the installation of one gigawatt of solar power capable of powering 750,000 homes the equivalent of 2 coalburners.

http://cleantechnica.com/2011/11/11/california-now-has-1-gigawatt-of-solar-power-installed/

 

 

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Nor’easter 2011 No Fluke; Worsening Weather and Related Economic Downfall Predicted Years Ago

Scientists predicted that there will likely be an increase in precipitation both in winter and spring for the eastern U.S., fires and drought for the southwest, bigger and worsening storms across the country in general, and a residual economic downfall in hard hit areas. Maybe the public should have taken the initiative to become more informed instead of blindly listening to their politicians relative to climate change. Unfortunately, I’m already seeing blogs popping up following yesterday’s Nor’easter blast on our east coast that question “global warming,” since there was so much snow and early. Be aware that precipitation means snow not just rain. We have El Nino conditions where cold air comes down on us suddenly and ferociously. And the U.S. cannot afford the increasing expense of attacks by Mother Nature.

I know there have been articles and news reports explaining to the public that global warming does not mean temperatures across the globe will be hotter EVERYWHERE. And worsening storms year round should be enough to convince the public that climate is indeed changing. I’ve blogged about both many times myself. As science is discovering, massive ice ages and warming events of the past did not encompass the entire globe. It may be better to state that climate change is brought about by global warming. Climate change means bigger, worse, extreme, and chaotic weather, and/or for places that were always cold it may be warmer, and places that were always warm may become colder. Change encompasses ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. It means there will be chaotic and varying weather events worldwide. We’ve seen enough to know better at this point.

I’ve put together a list of my own blogs on the subject of climate change due to global warming and can’t believe how soon we forget:

July 14, 2009

Predictions from Completed Government Report on Global Warming

A 196 page report entitled “Global Climate Change Impact on U.S.” predicts the scenarios we’ve already heard but failed to heed so far like worse weather, and property loss and the domino effect on everything else including the economy.

The report appears to be nonpartisan in nature, commissioned by the Bush Administration in 2007 and concluded just recently in the Obama Administration. It does reassure at the conclusion that a worsening scenario can be still be fixed.

The Midwest or Great Lakes region report is accurate. We are seeing more snow in winter and rain in early spring, and then we dry up the rest of the summer into fall. The bad thing is I think we’re getting more and windier too.

The good news is that the harshest impacts of future climate change can be avoided if the nation takes deliberate action soon. This can be done through a balanced mix of activities to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and adaptation to the otherwise unavoidable impacts.”

Unfortunately, there seems to be an economic downfall attached to each region as the result of global warming too. CEO of World Wildlife Fund expressed, “Already Americans are paying the price for the lack of action on climate change in the past and those costs will only rise. It’s time for Congress to act. ”

http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2009/07/predictions-from-completed-government-report-on-global-warming/

February 9, 2010

The Likely Increase in Precipitation in Winter and Spring

The likely increase in precipitation in winter and spring was one of the key issues reported by the U.S. Global Change Research Program not long ago. It was relative to the Midwest…Well this is a winter downpour.

The U.S. has been hit by some record-breaking snowfalls for all time. One hundred million Americans have been affected by the current snowfall that’s not over yet. That’s one third of our entire population. This massive storm affects 26 states. In some places citizens just got their power back from the last blast. Six thousand flights have been canceled throughout the east coast.

http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2010/02/the-likely-increase-in-precipitation-in-winter-and-spring/

February 23, 2010

Scientists Other Than IPCC Affirm Consensus on Global Warming

[]There needs to be much more communication to the public in laymen’s terms so that the public understands the science behind climate change and doesn’t buy into the misleading spin attached to every mistake turned up. The scientists at the AAAS symposium “expressed shock at the political effects of the disclosures (misleading info relative to climategate) and said the impact was far out of proportion to the overwhelming evidence that human activity is changing the Earth’s climate.”

http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2010/02/scientists-other-than-ipcc-affirm-consensus-on-global-warming/

February 11, 2010

One Hundred Sixty Billion Tons of Snow

And like my recent blog, the increase in precipitation in the Midwest was predicted in the recent U.S. Climate Research Report. ABC ended their report with the same retort by scientists. They predicted this would happen. There will be bigger, and far worse storms year round. Amen.

http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2010/02/one-hundred-sixty-billion-tons-of-snow/

February 10, 2010

Mother Nature Tops Off Snowmageddon with an Earthquake Near Chicago

Is anyone paying attention to Mother Nature yet? She’s slapping us in the face to wake up. But we’ll probably just toss off this doozy of a snowstorm as a freak. That is until around 4:00 am this morning a 3.8 earthquake rattled near Elgin, Illinois. It was felt in Chicago. The earthquake might have gained a little more attention to Mother Nature.

http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2010/02/mother-nature-tops-off-snowmageddon-with-an-earthquake-near-chicago/

March 15, 2010

Thousands Without Power First from Snow, Now Rain

The heavy snowfalls across America were heralded to be from global cooling when in fact the snowfalls were the excessive precipitation predicted due climate change. Now that it is actually warm and torrential rainfall and high winds hit the same areas burdened earlier with snow, deniers need a new explanation.

According the Bangor News Daily, “The storm, which battered parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut on Saturday with gusts of up to 70 mph, struck about two weeks after heavy snow and hurricane-force winds left more than a million customers in the Northeast in the dark. More than a half-million customers in the region lost electricity at the peak of Saturday’s storm, and more than 485,000 were waiting for power to be restored Sunday morning.”

http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2010/03/thousands-without-power-first-from-snow-now-rain/

This is enough when read back to back, although I could add in the summer’s record breaking heatwaves, as-well-as, the summer before. Heatwaves will surely happen again as predicted too. How much will it take until there is a public outcry for energy policy that directly addresses a decrease in greenhouse gases while diverting subisides to established business like big oil to become incentives to alternative energy companies, and an increase in public awareness to action at the same time?

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Oil Industry Earnings Leap

Even though less oil was produced, higher prices at the pump resulted in a leap of earnings for the U.S. largest oil companies.

We encourage oil companies by subsidizing them to produce more. The claim is we have to get away from HOSTILE foreign sources of oil. Hell, we get half our oil from HOSTILE CANADA.

So let me get this straight. Subsidies went in but production was down anyway and what did come out were higher prices at the pump for us and a big, big profit for Exxon. And besides big profits, taxes are basically non-existent for big oil. How?

A subsidy works like a tax cut and clearly contributes to the oil industry’s big profits. The Becker-Posner blog (and other sources) claim big oil pays little to no taxes because: “The aggregate values of the subsidies to the U.S. oil industry is approximately $5 billion a year, almost as much as the industry pays in federal income tax ($5.7 billion).” It’s a wash!

Doesn’t it occur to anyone that independent companies should be paying for their own production, and when it’s a bust, they eat the loss like the rest of the little businesses do? But then again the little guys are still subject to a free market, which depends upon close competition. The little guys can’t raise prices too much or they lose buyers. But we consumers have little to no alternative choices for gas that’s economically and environmentally viable at this point. Therefore, big oil is not subject to a truly free market. They have no competition other than foreign vs. domestic oil. And what about the competition that just never seems to get off the ground as far as new fuels like algae, hydrogen, etc. No one seems to be curious about that fact even though our military is thoroughly enjoying algae fuel. The U.S. used to be a big innovator but all of that seems to have stopped especially when it comes to energy.

Warnings about too big to fail should be “TOO BIG TO TAKE DOWN NOW” for many U.S. corporations especially big oil. They call the shots when it comes to cutting out their subsidies that would save us billions. Attempts have been made to do that back to Reagan without success. The threat to us from big oil is evident in commercials where supposedly normal citizens are interviewed and warn: “Increasing taxes (cutting subsidies) on big oil is not a good idea. We’ll pay for it at the pumps and we can’t afford that now.” Plus with our jobs problem there is the added leverage of declaring “it will hurt jobs too.” Am I wrong here or do these warnings smack of for-lack-of-a-better-word “extortion” because the definition for that fits: “The practice of obtaining something, esp. money, through force or threats.” Regular citizens in commercials or not, big oil pays for those “warnings” to be aired. Raising prices at the pump is the threat if we the people continue to pursue cutting subsidies to big oil.

How about force? Oil companies just arbitrarily raise prices across the board for their profit. Oh we might find a 10 to 15 cent per gallon variance at this pump or that but that’s it. We’re forced to pay the price. There is no “taking business elsewhere.” Outside of buying an old diesel car and filling it with dollar store veggie oil, we’re forced to pay big bucks for hybrid cars, electric cars, etc. too. And I can already see our U.S. automakers falling behind because our mindset is stuck on petro. U.S. automakers were punished for producing gas guzzlers that the public kept demanding. Meanwhile we allow foreign automakers to unveil their cheap all electric cars here. Enter Mitsubishi: http://i.mitsubishicars.com/?cid=PS_100611_GoogleiMiev_201110&gclid=CO2AxdzeiawCFUYBQAodQEf2mA.

The powers that be no longer represent us when we read about enormous profits for Exxon/Shell knowing we subsidized them dearly with nothing for us in return. We’ll see alternatives like algae fuel when big oil decides we’ll see it even though Exxon admitted long ago:

The world faces a significant challenge to supply the energy required for economic development and improved standards of living while managing greenhouse gas emissions and the risks of climate change,” said Emil Jacobs, vice president of research and development at Exxon Mobil Research and Engineering Co. “It’s going to take integrated solutions and the development of all commercially viable energy sources, improved energy efficiency and effective steps to curb emissions. It is also going to include the development of new technology.

I posted that Exxon admission in a blog March, 2010, http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2010/03/exxon-mobil-and-algae-biofuel-research-wonders-never-cease/.

See the date of the link for that quote–2009. Nothing new in commercially viable energy sources has been introduced yet. There has been nothing but stalling on that front. Now the XL Pipeline that will carry oil that burns 6 times dirtier is causing controversy as it should while most GOP contenders for 2012 don’t “think” humans and our pollution are affecting climate change. Someone needs to let them know Exxon let that cat-out-of-the-bag long ago.

http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2009/07/14/14greenwire-exxon-sinks-600m-into-algae-based-biofuels-in-33562.html

http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/2011/05/the-us-tax-subsidies-for-oil-companiesposner.html

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Weather Wake Up Call for U.S. as Congress Keeps Pushing for More Fossil Fuel Energy

I know I’m not the only one linking greenhouse gas emissions to global climate change to all the horrendously bad weather pummeling the U.S. lately. The east coast is still without power from Hurricane Irene. A new hurricane Katia is churning up in the Atlantic along with a new tropical storm promising to drop a huge amount of rainfall on New Orleans again missing Texas for relief from the record drought there.

At the same time, it’s been a busy 24 hours for earthquake activity in the U.S. In the late morning hours today, 3 earthquakes hit Alaska’s Aleutian Island area. One was 6.8 that triggered a tsunami warning for the U.S. western coastline between 7:30 and 8:00 am while another 4.2 earthquake shook the Los Angeles area yesterday at 1:47 in the afternoon. If we look at the world map for earthquakes there was substantial seismic activity from the southern hemisphere along Australia north to the ring of fire areas of the Indian Ocean arcing around the pacific basin up to Alaska.

Worldwide earthquakes with M4.5+ located by USGS and Contributing Agencies.
(Earthquakes with M2.5+ within the United States and adjacent areas.)

If all of this challenging weather isn’t a wake up call to get moving on sustainable alternatives, then our reps in Congress and some presidential candidates pushing the filthy tar sands project that will ultimately burn 6X dirtier than usual and hawking our substantial caches of coal are representing Big Oil/Gas/Coal and not our health and welfare.

There is no denying the entire world is suffering from increasingly greater extremes of weather with summers at record highs and winters with increasing precipitation in the form of snow in places like Florida. But politics, at least in the U.S. continues to polarize viewpoints about global climate on behalf of Big Energy Industries, using jobs vs. environment as a ploy to divide U.S. citizens once again. Divide and conquer is not just a saying—it works. Because while were fighting/arguing climate change points with each other, congress is passing anti-environmental laws right under our noses. These laws are a direct affront to our clean air, water, and the EPA that is in place for our safety and welfare and have less to do with jobs than deregulation. Think about it. Jobs can be created in many industries. New jobs in new industries would be nice expanding all sorts of related jobs in engineering, science, and the technical fields for a new generation looking to the future not fearing it. On the other hand, once Mother Nature turns on us that’s it.

Are we absolutely positive human activity is not affecting climate change because I’m seeing videos of huge cesspools of plastic gyres growing in size in our oceans? Just because we can’t see pollution is no assurance it’s not there.

So as Mother Nature bears down on our east coast, the gulf, and rumbles the west coast to Alaska, maybe we should forget politics entangled with enormous lobbyist activity from the wealthiest of industries Big Oil/Gas/Coal. Maybe we should use some good ole street smarts believing what we see and experience because what we’re experiencing is advancing global climate change whether it’s politically correct to believe it or not.

To those that continue to follow a political line concerning global climate change that diss the idea that man’s pollution is a catalyst for the horrendous weather we’re experiencing, than why not apply the same 1% principle as we did to enter a war with Iraq that half our citizens never wanted. Former VP Cheney’s one percent principle as applied to global climate change would read like this:

If there is even a 1% chance that human activity such as greenhouse gas emissions is causing accelerated global climate change, then it is our duty to do all that we can to stop that activity for the welfare of mankind everywhere.

There is little argument against this principle because while deniers claim science can’t prove greenhouse gas emissions cause climate change, deniers can’t prove those greenhouse gas emission aren’t causing a problem either. This principle covers the bases. If was good enough for the U.S. to wage war in a country that had nothing to do with the U.S. terrorist attacks or WMD’s, than it’s good enough to save citizens of this country from the devastation Mother Nature can cause that can far exceed any war. Because while we were battered with fear tactics for almost a decade regarding terrorism, no one has stepped forward to churn the same fear for the wrath of Mother Nature when we can clearly see that she is indeed our greatest threat. Attacks by her are happening along our coastlines all at once right now and fewer dollars to recover from it. There may be more, increasingly worse weather if we fail to act.

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/

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08DTE Picks Sites for Wind Farms in Michigan

Ran across this article. I think wind farms in Michigan will do well. We’ve got plenty of wind coming off the lakes. And if our auto industry continues its plan to produce plug-in cars, we’ll need that clean energy. I would hate to think plug in cars would actually be fueled by dirty coal!

Read: http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9MJEFT80.htm.

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Check Out China’s New Environmental Bus

China has a new transportation idea, a bus that small cars can pass through underneath. An article on chinahush.com states: “Powered by electricity and solar energy, the bus can speed up to 60 km/h carrying 1200-1400 passengers at a time without blocking other vehicles’ way. Also it costs about 500 million yuan to build the bus and a 40-km-long path for it, only 10% of building equivalent subway. It is said that the bus can reduce traffic jams by 20-30%.” Also, according to Engadget, “Construction of the first 115 miles of track will begin in Beijing’s Mentougou district at the end of 2010.”

Our answer to this: “Despite greater awareness about vehicle emissions and spikes in gasoline prices, Census figures show fewer people carpooling than 30 years ago.”

http://www.courierpostonline.com/article/20100805/NEWS05/
100805033/Carpooling-down-even-with-green-awareness-up
.

Huff Post has a slide show of China’s bus, its proposed rail system and stations. A really cool invention here! Check it out.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/02/3d-express-coach-pictures_n_667452.html#s121541.

http://www.chinahush.com/2010/07/31/straddling-bus-a-cheaper-greener-and-faster-alternative-to-commute/.

http://www.engadget.com/2010/08/02/china-to-build-ginormous-buses-that-cars-can-drive-under-video/

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