Waxman-Markey Bill: Full Text & Summary

From today’s New York Times:

Democratic leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee today unveiled a 648-page draft global warming and energy bill (pdf) that is being praised by environmental groups but presents significant political challenges.

The bill by Reps. Henry Waxman of California and Ed Markey of Massachusetts would establish a cap-and-trade program curbing U.S. emissions 20 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, with a midcentury target of 83 percent reductions of the heat-trapping gases. It also creates a nationwide renewable electricity standard that reaches 25 percent by 2025, new energy efficiency programs and limits on the carbon content of motor fuels, and requires greenhouse gas standards for new heavy duty vehicles and engines…

Click here for the Commerce Committee summary of the bill.

Click here for the full text of the bill.

Cap-and-Trade War

From today’s Wall Street Journal editorial page:

One of President Obama’s applause lines is that his climate tax policies will create new green jobs “that can’t be outsourced.” But if that’s true, why is his main energy adviser floating a new carbon tariff on imports? Welcome to the coming cap and trade war.

Click here for the full column.

The real lesson from the firing of GM’s CEO

The firing of GM CEO Rick Wagoner by President Obama provides an object lesson for all CEOs: a CEO’s failure to combat green can only lead to disaster.

GM and the other car companies have thrived for the last 30 years, despite heavy union burdens, because of SUV sales — popular and high-margin products.

But SUV sales depended on cheap gas. Did any car CEO do anything to ensure cheap gas, say by promoting increased oil drilling and gasoline refining, and challenging greens that blocked those policies? No.

GM CEO Rick Wagoner didn’t call for more drilling until September 12, 2008 — two months after gasoline prices peaked last summer. By then, of course, it was all over for the SUV and car companies.

Ford CEO Bill Ford and Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli still haven’t figured out the need for cheap gas.

Gaslighted: Pickens reveals actual scheme

Billionaire oilman T. Boone Pickens revealed on Wednesday that his much-vaunted Pickens Plan is nothing more than a sell-more-natural-gas-to-make-Pickens-richer plan.

At an energy forum in Ohio, Pickens stated,

I don’t want to replace natural gas with wind. I want to add wind to natural gas is what I want to do.

But the core of the Pickens Plan has always been to replace the natural gas used to produce electricity with wind power so that the gas could then be used in transportation to reduce our reliance on imported oil.

According to Pickens’ statement at the forum, the Pickens Plan is nothing more than a ruse to increase the overall use of natural gas. Pickens has significant natural gas-related investments, including in the largest seller of natural gas for transportation.

Click here for the audio recording of the relevant part of the Q&A session with Pickens.

Click here for Tom Stacy’s write-up of the event. Stacy asked the question that elicited Pickens’ frank response about his scheme.

Steve Milloy’s new book Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them spotlights how green scamsters like Pickens plan to get richer while making you poorer.

New Study: Green Jobs Myths

President Obama touts “green jobs” and has hired a “green jobs czar.”

But check out the conclusions from this new study published by the University of Illinois College of Law and Economics about “green jobs”:

A rapidly growing literature promises that a massive program of government mandates, subsidies, and forced technological interventions will reward the nation with an economy brimming with green jobs. Not only will these jobs improve the environment, but they will be high paying, interesting, and provide collective rights. This literature is built on mythologies about economics, forecasting, and technology.

Myth: Everyone understands what a green job is.

Reality: No standard definition of a green job exists.

Myth: Creating green jobs will boost productive employment.

Reality: Green jobs estimates include huge numbers of clerical, bureaucratic, and administrative positions that do not produce goods and services for consumption.

Myth: Green jobs forecasts are reliable.

Reality: The green jobs studies made estimates using poor economic models based on dubious assumptions.

Myth: Green jobs promote employment growth.

Reality: By promoting more jobs instead of more productivity, the green jobs described in the literature encourage low-paying jobs in less desirable conditions. Economic growth cannot be ordered by Congress or by the United Nations. Government interference – such as restricting successful technologies in favor of speculative technologies favored by special interests – will generate stagnation.

Myth: The world economy can be remade by reducing trade and relying on local production and reduced consumption without dramatically decreasing our standard of living.

Reality: History shows that nations cannot produce everything their citizens need or desire. People and firms have talents that allow specialization that make goods and services ever more efficient and lower-cost, thereby enriching society.

Myth: Government mandates are a substitute for free markets.

Reality: Companies react more swiftly and efficiently to the demands of their customers and markets, than to cumbersome government mandates.

Myth: Imposing technological progress by regulation is desirable.

Reality: Some technologies preferred by the green jobs studies are not capable of efficiently reaching the scale necessary to meet today’s demands and could be counterproductive to environmental quality.

In this Article, we survey the green jobs literature, analyze its assumptions, and show how the special interest groups promoting the idea of green jobs have embedded dubious assumptions and techniques within their analyses. Before undertaking efforts to restructure and possibly impoverish our society, careful analysis and informed public debate about these assumptions and prescriptions are necessary.

Newsweek: ‘We can’t get there from here’

A March 14 Newsweek article by Sharon Begley explains why we can’t get to renewable energy-CO2 nirvana from where we are today:

… The world used 14 trillion watts (14 terawatts) of power in 2006. Assuming minimal population growth (to 9 billion people), slow economic growth (1.6 percent a year, practically recession level) and—this is key—unprecedented energy efficiency (improvements of 500 percent relative to current U.S. levels, worldwide), it will use 28 terawatts in 2050. (In a business-as-usual scenario, we would need 45 terawatts.) Simple physics shows that in order to keep CO2 to 450 ppm, 26.5 of those terawatts must be zero-carbon. That’s a lot of solar, wind, hydro, biofuels and nuclear, especially since renewables kicked in a measly 0.2 terawatts in 2006 and nuclear provided 0.9 terawatts. Are you a fan of nuclear? To get 10 terawatts, less than half of what we’ll need in 2050, Lewis calculates, we’d have to build 10,000 reactors, or one every other day starting now. Do you like wind? If you use every single breeze that blows on land, you’ll get 10 or 15 terawatts. Since it’s impossible to capture all the wind, a more realistic number is 3 terawatts, or 1 million state-of-the art turbines, and even that requires storing the energy—something we don’t know how to do—for when the wind doesn’t blow. Solar? To get 10 terawatts by 2050, Lewis calculates, we’d need to cover 1 million roofs with panels every day from now until then. “It would take an army,” he says. Obama promised green jobs, but still.

Here’s more from the article:

If Mr. Obama is only counting wind power and solar power as renewables, then his promise is clearly doable. But the unfortunate truth is that even if he matches Mr. Bush’s effort by doubling wind and solar output by 2012, the contribution of those two sources to America’s overall energy needs will still be almost inconsequential.

Here’s why. The latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration show that total solar and wind output for 2008 will likely be about 45,493,000 megawatt-hours. That sounds significant until you consider this number: 4,118,198,000 megawatt-hours. That’s the total amount of electricity generated during the rolling 12-month period that ended last November. Solar and wind, in other words, produce about 1.1% of America’s total electricity consumption.

Of course, you might respond that renewables need to start somewhere. True enough — and to be clear, I’m not opposed to renewables. I have solar panels on the roof of my house here in Texas that generate 3,200 watts. And those panels (which were heavily subsidized by Austin Energy, the city-owned utility) provide about one-third of the electricity my family of five consumes. Better still, solar panel producers like First Solar Inc. are lowering the cost of solar cells. On the day of Mr. Obama’s speech, the company announced that it is now producing solar cells for $0.98 per watt, thereby breaking the important $1-per-watt price barrier.

And yet, while price reductions are important, the wind is intermittent, and so are sunny days. That means they cannot provide the baseload power, i.e., the amount of electricity required to meet minimum demand, that Americans want.

That issue aside, the scale problem persists. For the sake of convenience, let’s convert the energy produced by U.S. wind and solar installations into oil equivalents.

The conversion of electricity into oil terms is straightforward: one barrel of oil contains the energy equivalent of 1.64 megawatt-hours of electricity. Thus, 45,493,000 megawatt-hours divided by 1.64 megawatt-hours per barrel of oil equals 27.7 million barrels of oil equivalent from solar and wind for all of 2008.

Now divide that 27.7 million barrels by 365 days and you find that solar and wind sources are providing the equivalent of 76,000 barrels of oil per day. America’s total primary energy use is about 47.4 million barrels of oil equivalent per day.

Of that 47.4 million barrels of oil equivalent, oil itself has the biggest share — we consume about 19 million barrels per day. Natural gas is the second-biggest contributor, supplying the equivalent of 11.9 million barrels of oil, while coal provides the equivalent of 11.5 million barrels of oil per day. The balance comes from nuclear power (about 3.8 million barrels per day), and hydropower (about 1.1 million barrels), with smaller contributions coming from wind, solar, geothermal, wood waste, and other sources.

Here’s another way to consider the 76,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day that come from solar and wind: It’s approximately equal to the raw energy output of one average-sized coal mine.

Obama’s economic Rx: Renewable rip-offs

President Obama said today,

“We’ve seen enough. We can remain the world’s leading importer of foreign oil, or we can become the world’s leading exporter of renewable energy.”

Three points in response to Obama’s green-tinted America-bashing:

  • Who around the world (except U.S. taxpayers) can afford to subsidize economically inefficient renewables like solar and wind technologies?
  • Maybe we wouldn’t need to import so much oil if only the greens would let us drill.
  • We may be the leading importer of foreign oil, but we do the most with that oil. We are the most productive country in history.

Green-collar job bubble bursts in Spain

In an article entitled, “The reality of wind power and green-collar jobs in Spain,” the Scientific Alliance observes that although Spain’s renewable energy effort created 50,000 jobs,

… these are nearly all for installing new capacity and so do not provide long term employment. And they come at a cost: a renewables subsidy of 2.6bn euros in 2007 [about $72,000 per job based on 2007 exchange rates], with about one third of the total going to the solar sector, which represents only 0.7% of installed capacity and about half the total number of jobs [as the wind sector].

The costs are such that the government has now had to reduce the subsidy for solar power by 30% and cap the amount of new capacity to be installed. This softening of support resulted in 10,000 job losses. Further reductions of subsidies put 40,000 more green jobs at risk. Energy prices are rising to cover losses in the distribution industry, and generators have announced the cancellation of 4.5bn euros of annual investment because they also pay an effective subsidy for renewable energy through the controlled price to the consumer…

The lesson: Green jobs = higher taxes + higher electric bills + some temporary employment.

Van Jones, are you listening?

Greens seek to shutdown coal plants

Moving on their success in slowing, if not halting the construction of new coal-fired power plants across the country, the green are setting their sights on existing plants.

Carbon Control News reported that a Sierra Club official told a March 14 meeting of the American Bar Association that,

“The next thing in the environmental community is how do we start shutting down old plants . . . and replace those with energy efficiency or renewable power… That’s where our efforts are focused now.”

“Old,” of course, is a euphemism for “existing.” A plant could have been built yesterday, but if it burns coal the greens want you to think it was built 50 years ago.

Carbon Control News further reported that,

[The Sierra Club official] said that he and other environmentalists plan to use a combination of strict emissions mandates to address air quality and climate change—such as new national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) and first-time rules on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions—to make traditional coal-fired electricity generating units (EGUs) “dinosaurs” that need to be shut down and replaced with energy efficiency and renewable energy generation.

The greens also plan to make coal waste disposal more difficult:

… environmentalists say the potential regulation of coal combustion waste (CCW) as a hazardous substance could also contribute to the activists’ overall effort to curtail the use of coal-generated power by making the business less profitable because of disposal costs.

Steve Milloy’s new book Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You CAn Do to Stop Them spotlights how the greens aren’t really interested in “clean energy.”

Greens take aim against oil shale

The U.S. is the “Saudi Arabia” of oil shale, a potentially huge domestic resource of oil. As current technologies for processing oi shale require substantial amounts of water, oil companies are naturally purchasing water rights in the West.

The Wall Street Journal reported today that the green group Western Resource Advocates has issued a report on the oil industry’s water rights acquisitions.

The aim of the report is to pit “Colorado communities, farmers, ranchers” against the oil industry in order to stymie oil shale development and American energy independence.

Steve Milloy’s new book Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them spotlights how the greens are trying to cause chaos in our energy and water supplies.

Sicilian Mafia goes green

The Financial Times reported this morning that,

Sicily, with its entrenched Mafia and a deep sense of fatalism among its people, might seem a strange choice for a grand project to save the world from environmental ruin…

While Sicily ponders alternative energy projects,

… ask almost any Sicilian about the project and they answer: “Never, never . . . words, words”. With a shrug of the shoulders, they add: “The Mafia.”

Indeed, keen to diversify, the Mafia is going green. Police recently arrested eight entrepreneurs and local officials suspected of conspiring to fix public funding for a wind farm.

Mr Lombardo conceded that a “green” Mafia was a “danger we are confronting”.

Green energy — the Mafia knows a good racket when it sees one. Look for Sicily’s conventional energy producers to sleep with the fishes.

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.