Obama jobs guru’s Freudian slip

In an interview with New America Media, Van Jones, President Obama’s recently-appointed green jobs guru, was asked,

How do you define a green job?

Jones replied,

Green jobs have a minimal impact on the environment…

I could not have said it better myself.

At-risk youth go green in California

MSNBC reports that,

Hundreds of California at-risk students may become part of the green economy if they sign up for the state’s new “green corps,” which the governor launched Monday.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger made the announcement just after meeting with President Obama’s Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis in Sacramento.

If this is about jobs, that’s fine. If this is about taking “troubled youth” and turning them into green automatons, that’s quite another matter.

Getting real on ‘clean coal’

The New York Times reports today on the folly of “clean coal” projects.

As the federal government and industry spend billions of dollars on projects to capture CO2, the daunting task remains what to do with it after capture. Here’s what the greens say, according to the Times

:Greenpeace argues that the energy required to capture the carbon, pressurize it and pump it underground is too large and the risks of underground storage too high. The effort, the group says, would divert money from more promising alternatives. Others argue that making coal safe to burn would simply encourage damaging mining, like mountaintop removal.

For more on the clean coal controversy, check out this piece by Steve Milloy.

The bottom line: Coal, as used in the U.S., is already clean. There’s no need to capture and bury it — even if such a Herculean task could be accomplished.

Shell: CO2 intensity increasing

Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell today offered a dose of reality concerning energy and CO2 in a federal securities filing:

In the future, in order to help meet the world’s energy demand, we expect to produce more hydrocarbons from unconventional sources than currently. The production of hydrocarbons from those sources has an energy intensity that is a number of times higher than that for production from conventional sources. Therefore, in the long term, it is expected that the CO2 intensity of our production will increase.

Unfortunately, the sentence immediately preceding the above quote stated:

Emissions of greenhouse gases and associated climate change are real risks to Shell and society in general.

Would you invest in a company that condemns its own products and then says it plans on selling more of them?

Take action:

E-mail Shell Investor Relations and ask them whether pretending that manmade global warming is real is a good business strategy.

Canada loosens green chains on stimulus

Reuters reported today,

Canada’s federal government has given itself the power to decide whether infrastructure projects aimed at stimulating the economy are subject to environmental assessment, a top minister said on Monday.

The move is aimed at streamlining approvals for C$12 billion ($9.4 billion) of public spending being planned to kick-start the country’s flagging economy, Environment Minister Jim Prentice said.

Word of the Conservative government’s policy, which also involves delegating some assessment decisions to the provinces, had already angered environmental groups. It comes into force immediately.

Just last month Prime Minister Stephen Harper told CNBC free market champion and Green Hell endorser Larry Kudlow that economic realities trump green policies.

Go Canada!

Dems pressure Obama against 100% auction

Last week in an address to the Business Roundtable (a trade association for CEOs), President Obama seemed to back away (See transcript, below) from his recent budget proposal to auction 100% of the permits in a cap-and-trade system.

Carbon Control News reported this morning that Senate budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) stated that a 100% auction system is not politically doable, a sentiment also held by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM).

Text of President Obama’s Remarks on Cap-and-Trade to the Business Roundtable (March 12, 2009)

THE PRESIDENT: Well, let me start by saying this. I said during the campaign we were looking at a hundred percent auction. We are not going to be able to move this in an effective way without partnership with the business community. But we just — we can’t get it done. And for businesses like yours that are committed to the concept and the idea, we’re going to work to make sure that it works for you.

Now, the experience of a cap and trade system thus far is that if you’re giving away carbon permits for free, then basically you’re not really pricing the thing and it doesn’t work, or people can game the system in so many ways that it’s not creating the incentive structures that we’re looking for. The flip side is, you’re right, if it’s so onerous that people can’t meet it, then it defeats the purpose — and politically we can’t get it done anyway.

So we’re going to have to find a structure that arrives at that right balance. We want to create a price structure. Keep in mind that the reason that I’m interested in a cap and trade approach is precisely because I think the market makes decisions about these technologies better than we do. You know, for those who are concerned about some heavy-handed command and control regulations coming down the pike, cap and trade is designed to say, you know what, here’s a target, here’s a price, you guys go figure it out and if you can make money on it, all the better.

So that’s the — that’s our goal. That’s what we want. And how that pricing mechanism works most effectively to actually influence incentives, but also be sufficiently realistic that industries are thriving as opposed to groaning under the weight of it, I think is going to be the trick. I’m confident that we can do it. We’ve done it before.

I mean, keep in mind that when — I’m trying to remember, this was back in the ’70s or early ’80s — I’m getting old enough now where I can’t remember — but, you know, the issue of acid rain was around. Everybody thought all your trees were going to be dying; you couldn’t make any paper. And we put in an auction system and a trading mechanism and, lo and behold, American ingenuity and American entrepreneurship and inventiveness created options that ended up being much cheaper than anybody had imagined — much cheaper than anybody had imagined.

Now, in the meantime, I just — I was talking to some members of Congress just yesterday, you know, who were concerned about this, because I’m sure they’re hearing from industries and, you know, what does this mean economically, et cetera. I just want to point out, you know, anybody who has been to Las Vegas recently and looked at Lake Mead; or who is familiar with what’s happening in agriculture in California right now; or go down to Atlanta, which may not have any water soon, because of what’s happening in terms of changing weather patterns; or talk to Kevin Rudd in Australia — that’s going to cost us money too. It’s just not — it’s not priced.

And I’m not somebody who — I’ve never bought into these Malthusian — woe — Chicken Little, the earth is falling — I tend to be pretty optimistic. I wouldn’t be here if I weren’t pretty optimistic. But I think this is — the science is overwhelming. This is a real problem. It will have severe economic consequences, as well as political and national security and environmental consequences.

And I’m confident that if we do it smart, if we’re talking to you guys, if we’re talking to industries, if our projections don’t end up being wildly unrealistic, then I think we can handle this problem.

Green gridlock: No new transmission lines?

Twenty-six environmental groups have written White House energy czar and former Socialist International official Carol Browner informing her that, if the electricity transmission grid must be expanded — they prefer rationing — the grid should be dedicated exclusively to renewable sources. New lines should not facilitate the expansion of coal power, say the greens.

AT&T falls for green vehicle scam

AT&T announced that it will spend $565 million over 10 years buying 8,000 natural gas-powered vehicles and repairing/replacing 7,100 hybrids.

The company said it would pay, on average, $29,000 more per vehicle, costs which it “hopes” will be offset by lower fuel costs in six-to-10 years, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

No doubt the purchase of natural gas vehicles will make T. Boone Pickens happy as he owns the largest supplier of natural gas for vehicles.

The CEOs of FedEx, ExxonMobil and the American Trucking Association, however, have a different view on natural gas vehicles.

As to the value of a hybrid corporate fleet, FedEx CEO Fred Smith told his shareholders at the 2006 annual meeting that hybrids did not make economic sense. Smith blamed politics and the the “cult” of environmentalism for making people do things they otherwise wouldn’t.

Michigan jobs: Wind no substitute for cars

The Financial Times reported today that Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm wants to,

transform Michigan from one of the Rust Belt’s bleakest corners to a mecca for green industries as the state loses tens of thousands of jobs in the car industry.

But Granholm acknowledges that alternative industries will only create about 109,000 jobs, compared to the 400,000 jobs lost in carmaking.

Wayne State University professor Jack Lessenberry observed,

“Windpower… will never employ people in the numbers needed.”

Maybe Granholm should lobby for expanding the supply of cheap gasoline so that people go back to buying Michigan’s most profitable product: the SUV.

Green land grab narrowly fails in House

A green-supported bill to put another 2 million acres in nine states off limits to energy production failed in the House yesterday by two votes. House Republicans, noting that the move would cost up to $10 billion and block oil and gas development on millions of acres of federal property, prevented Democrats from getting the necessary two-thirds vote.

The lands are located in Oregon, Virginia, California, Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, New Mexico, Utah and West Virginia.

The Washington Post reported today that House Democrats pan to bring the bill up again, but the timing is unclear.

The Senate passed the bill (S. 22) in January.

From the Majority Tracker blog:

Rep. S. 22 is being considered under a special suspension process that suspends all House rules. This process is reserved for noncontroversial bills, limits debate to only 40 minutes and does not allow any amendments. So essentially, members were forced to vote yay or nay without the bill undergoing the scrutiny of the normal legislative process.

Take action:

Here’s who-voted-how in the House.

Tell your congressman to oppose the S.22 land-grab because we need to “Drill here, Drill now.”

‘Greening the ghetto’ activist joins Obama admin

The San Francisco Chronicle reported today that,

Bay Area environmental activist and author Van Jones will join the Obama administration as adviser for green jobs, enterprise and innovation, the White House Council on Environmental Quality announced Tuesday.

Jones is touted as having “rock-star status with the green jobs movement” for advocating “greening the ghetto.”

Check out what Rich Sweeney had to say about “greening the ghetto” at the Common Tragedies blog.

Santa Barbara drillin’ was just California dreamin’

The California State Lands Commission denied the first new oil drilling lease in 40 years, ending a much-hoped for energy project off Santa Barbara.

No one should be surprised, but here’s a noteworthy back story.

Amid last summer’s $4/gallon gasoline crisis, Andrew Cline enthused in a July 12, 2008 Wall Street Journal op-ed about how an oil exploration company reached an agreement with Green activist groups to permit drilling off the coast of Santa Barbara, California — the first new wells since the January 1969 oil spill in that area.

Cline gushed,

“When an environmental group formed for the sole purpose of opposing offshore oil drilling warmly embraces a plan to drill off its own coast, you know something important has changed in our culture; Americans have recognized that offshore drilling is largely safe.”

But less than a week later, the greens wrote the Journal to correct the record. The greens’ attorney who negotiated the deal wrote,

“[T]o be accurate, the [op-ed’s] title should have read “Environmentalists Secure End to Oil Development… The agreement struck… is remarkable because it sets a fixed date for the termination of existing offshore and onshore oil production facilities in Santa Barbara County. Without the agreement, this oil development could continue indefinitely, for decades to come. With the agreement, significant oil production facilities will be shut down in the next several years… We see this agreement as a direct complement to our support for the federal oil moratorium. Just as we need to say “no” to new oil development, we must put an end to existing development if we are to protect our coast from the risks of offshore oil and gas development, and protect society from climate change… environmentalists support actions that move away from, not toward, dependence on fossil fuels…

Then on August 27, 2008, the Journal reported that,

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to support increased oil production off its coast, a move supporters hope will add to growing pressure to lift bans on offshore drilling.

But in the end, the greens — via the State Lands Commission — won.

Moral of the story: trusting the greens is shear folly.