2014-09 September

People for the West -Tucson

PO Box 86868, Tucson, AZ 85754-6868 pfw-tucson@cox.net

Newsletter, September, 2014

Carbon Tax Unnecessary and Foolish

by Jonathan DuHamel

An editorial in the Arizona Daily Star promotes establishment of a tax on carbon dioxide emissions which, they say, will forestall global warming.

There is no physical evidence that carbon dioxide plays a significant role in controlling global temperatures. Even if we completely stopped all carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. it would make a theoretical different of only 0.003ºC per year. (See calculation here.)

Even the IPCC, in its much ballyhooed reports, has failed to provide any physical evidence. All the IPCC does is produce “scenarios” based on computer modeling which, themselves, are based on erroneous assumptions. We have seen that the IPCC projections diverge widely from reality (see here).

Under the carbon tax plan, any industry that emits carbon dioxide would have to cut emissions or buy permits for a certain amount of emissions. That will raise prices to consumers. The government will establish a market for buying and selling permits.

The government would rebate receipts from emissions permits back to consumers, thereby offsetting the increase in cost, so they say. Of course, some of the money will stick to the government because it will take many bureaucrats to administer the program.

There is the knotty problem of what to do with products of foreign origin that will require complicated trade agreements without which U.S. manufacturers would be put at a disadvantage.

The bottom line is that a tax on carbon dioxide emissions is plain stupid and will have no effect on global temperature.

A New Type of Molten Salt Nuclear Reactor

by Jonathan DuHamel

A new company, Transatomic Power, formed in 2011 by two M.I.T. PhD. graduates is redesigning an old concept. Molten salt reactors where experimented with by Oak Ridge National Laboratory back in the 1950s and 1960s, but they never produced a commercial application.

By the way, “salt” is not table salt, it is a lithium-fluorine mixture in which uranium or thorium is dissolved.

Claimed advantages:

Molten salt reactors extract 20 times more energy from uranium than a conventional reactor, producing a far smaller and far less radioactive final waste product. And this type of reactor could use spent uranium from conventional reactors as fuel, thus solving a major problem. Because of government ineptness and environmental activism, most spend fuel from nuclear reactors are “temporarily” stored near the reactors themselves awaiting final burial. The salt reactor could use this “spent” fuel as feedstock. Conventional reactors require weapons-grade uranium (about 33% U-235) whereas the salt reactor can use lower grades (about 2%) uranium or thorium. This eliminates the potential of terrorists stealing weapons-grade uranium.

Salt reactors don’t require cooling water and, therefore are safer than standard reactors because there is no chance of producing explosive hydrogen. They can quickly modify output, and are cheaper to build.

For full details, read a 34-page white paper from Transatomic Power:


The true cost of renewable energy is being masked by government subsidies and bailouts.

By Peter Roff, USNews

America is about as likely to become reliant on green energy to meet its baseload power requirements as a unicorn is to stroll down the middle of Washington’s Pennsylvania Avenue during rush hour followed by a pink elephant.

It’s just not happening – but that hasn’t deterred the modern day snake oil salesmen and their allies inside the Obama administration from continuing to make a push for wind and solar power as an eventual replacement for energy generated from traditional sources like coal, oil and natural gas. Renewable technology has improved, no doubt, but it’s a long way away from being ready to make a substantial contribution to the heating of our homes and the powering of our businesses unless the generous tax subsidies that create the illusion of cost competitiveness continue.

There’s nothing wrong per se with the pursuit of renewable energy; it’s just that what it actually costs is being masked by taxpayer subsidies, federal loan guarantees and renewable fuels mandates at the state level that force power companies to put wind and solar into the energy mix, sometimes at two to three times what traditional power costs. Ultimately, one way or another, the taxpayers and energy consumers are footing the bill even if they don’t know it. Read full article.

Bearings: The Achilles Heel of Wind Turbines

by Eric Worrall

“The problem is the bearings. If we make the bearings bigger, the bearings last longer, but making the bearings larger increases friction, which kills turbine efficiency. But we can’t keep using the current bearings – replacing them is sending us broke. What we need is a quantum leap in bearing technology – bearing materials which are at least ten times tougher than current materials.” Read more

Taxpayers, beware – of Big Wind’s latest deceitful ad campaign

by Mary Kay Barton

If you watch much mainstream TV, you’ve probably seen Siemens’ new multi-million-dollar advertising blitz to sell the American public on industrial wind. Why the sudden ad onslaught?

The wind business abroad has taken a huge hit of late. European countries have begun slashing renewable mandates, due to the ever-broadening realization that renewables cost far more than industrial wind proponents have led people to believe: economically, environmentally, technically, and civilly. As Siemens’ tax-sheltering market dries up in Europe, its U.S. marketing efforts are clearly geared toward increasing its income and profits via wind’s tax sheltering schemes in the United States. Read more

Promoting Parasitic Power Producers

Carbon Sense Coalition

Wind and solar are parasitic power producers, unable to survive in a modern electricity grid without the back-up of stand-alone electricity generators such as hydro, coal, gas or nuclear. And like all parasites, they weaken their hosts, causing increased operating and transmission costs and reduced profits for all participants in the grid.

Without subsidies, few large wind/solar plants would be built; and without mandated targets, few would get connected to the grid.

Green zealots posing as energy engineers should be free to play with their green energy toys at their own expense, on their own properties, but the rest of us should not be saddled with their costs and unreliability.

We should stop promoting parasitic power producers. As a first step, all green energy subsidies and targets should be abolished. Read more

Green plan causes air pollution, may kill thousands in the UK, thanks to dirty diesel

by Jo Nova

Golly — who would have thought that policies based on a logical fallacy and a pseudo-religion would be a bad idea? It’s not just bad, it’s deadly. For the last ten years environmentalists and greens told Europeans to buy diesel cars, not petrol, because they produce less CO2. So British people, and a lot of Europe too, did exactly that — lured by generous tax breaks, pushed by the guilt trip if they were thinking of buying a petrol car. The car fleet of the EU was transformed. Back in the early nineties, hardly anyone owned a diesel, but now, as many as half of all new cars in the UK are diesel, and some extra 45 million diesel cars have been bought across Europe. But clean energy turned out to be dirty fuel, with diesels producing tons of small dangerous particulates, black carbon, and other real pollutants.

It’s so bad, the UK is not meeting air pollution standards, and more importantly, by at least one estimate, some 7,000 deaths a year can be attributed to diesel pollution from cars.

Diesel pollution is becoming such an issue in London that they are thinking of charging diesel drivers an extra £10 to drive in London – a measure that could be copied by as many as 18 other cities. A debacle all the way down. Read more

Cellulosic Industry’s Implosion Demonstrates Government’s Inability To Plan Economy

by William Yeatman

Cellulosic ethanol is a transportation biofuel made from anything other than food. There was no cellulosic industry in the U.S. in 2007, when Congress decided to create one from scratch with the passage of the Energy Independence and Security Act. To this end, lawmakers simply mandated ever-increasing volumes of production, until 2022, when cellulosic ethanol is supposed to account for about 10% of the total market for transportation fuels.

In 2014, for example, the statutory mandate is 1.75 billion gallons. So how’s that working out for us?

No so well, the market has produced a paltry 50,000 gallons of cellulosic ethanol so far in 2014, or 0.003% of the requirement codified by law. Read more

On Funding Sources and Free Fuel

By Sierra Rayne

In his article, Rayne notes that wind and solar energy are frequently characterized as having no fuel costs. But, “Sure, the photons in sunlight don’t cost us anything to make, nor does the wind, and either does tidal energy or geothermal heat. What costs money is the access, extraction, processing, and distribution of this “fuel.” But it doesn’t cost us anything to make coal, oil, natural gas, or uranium either. The Second Law of Thermodynamics assures us there is no such thing as a free lunch. And this law has never, ever been disproven. The same will apply to ‘wind, water and sunlight.’ The ‘fuel costs’ for these energy technologies are indeed zero, but so are the fuel costs for fossil fuels. It costs money to access, extract, process, and distribute fossil fuels, no different than the undeniable fact it costs money to access, extract, process, and distribute the energy from wind, water, and sunlight.” Read full article

The above is a reaction to a Stanford University study which shows how to power California with wind, water and sun. The study also has plans for other states. So what would it take to power the U.S. entirely with alternative energy? The article below makes an estimate:

Capture the Sun & Power America With Solar – Is There a Business Case?

by Philip Dowd

If we start with demand of 56 Terawatt hours of electricity per day and add a 50% safety factor, we find that we will then need a system that can produce about 83 Twh/day. The footprint of PV solar panels needed to produce this much electricity is 210,000 square miles. Cost about $60 trillion.

We would need some kind of battery to store energy to use at night. The article proposes pumped storage of water in a pair of reservoirs. This would require 1,640 reservoirs each covering at least 1,000 acres. Cost about $5 trillion. Read full article

Will renewables become cost-competitive anytime soon?

Institute for Energy Research

The Siren Song of Wind and Solar Energy

Despite advocates’ claims to the contrary, wind and solar continue to be the most expensive sources of electricity. The New York Times recently reported that “wind power is currently more than 50 percent more expensive than power generated from a traditional coal plant.” [1] Energy Secretary Stephen Chu told the New York Times that solar technology would have to get five times better to be competitive in today’s energy market.[2] In spite of these reports and admissions, the public relations campaign for wind and solar powered electricity marches on.

For decades, representatives and advocates of wind and solar have claimed that their technology was near a competitive tipping point—but just needed a bit more subsidies, set-asides, and government aid to succeed. But even after 30 years of massive subsidies, wind and solar continue to be more expensive and contribute only a small amount of electricity. In 2008, wind produced 1.3% of the electrical generation in America and solar produced a meager 0.02%.[3]


Wind and solar should not be thought of as “infant industries” but as government-dependent industries that penalize consumers and/or taxpayers. “Buyer beware” should also apply to the purveyors of political energy. Self-interested consumer decisions in the energy marketplace should be respected—and false promises about inferior energies exposed—for good public policy outcomes.. Read full article

“In an age when scientists are creating artificial intelligence, too many of our educational institutions seem to be creating artificial stupidity.” – Thomas Sowell

Sustainability: The Universal Solvent of Private Property Rights

By Charles Battig


Sustainability is able to limit personal freedoms, diminish private property rights, destroy the useful products of civilization and their means of production, deprive humanity of natural resources and their access, and impose hardship on the least prosperous members of humanity.

Sustainability is infinitely elastic and open-ended in its ability to justify most any action taken in the name of social and environmental justice.

As a formalized political doctrine, “Sustainability” was introduced by the 1987 “Our Common Future” report of the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development, authored by Gro Harlem Bruntland, VP of the World Socialist Party. The official U.N. website contains the “Sustainability” definition: “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” The capitalized “S” serves to distinguish the U.N. definition from the mundane usage indicating “lasting or continuing for a long time.” The U.N. presupposes an all-knowing ruling class that has unique knowledge of the present and of the future.

Like a Madison Avenue brain-stormed advertising mantra, “Sustainability” now appears throughout the media and in governmental policy requirements. If it is not “Sustainable,” it must be stopped, altered, or mitigated, until the project has met prescribed guidelines. “Sustainability” has been elevated in governmental policy to a level higher than our Constitutional unalienable rights. Read full article

From The Hockey Schtick:

Solar activity drives CO2 levels

Hypothesis: Increasing accumulated solar activity [sunspot time-integral] since the Maunder Minimum 1645-1715 AD has warmed the oceans and land, warming of the oceans has increased ocean outgassing of CO2 [Henry’s Law] and has been the primary cause of increased atmospheric CO2 levels. Ocean temperatures driven by solar activity control atmospheric CO2 levels on short, intermediate, and long-term timescales. Read more

New paper finds Arctic sea ice is controlled by natural cycles

A paper published today in Geophysical Research Letters finds Arctic sea ice extent is determined primarily by the natural ~60-90 year cycle of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation [AMO], not greenhouse gases.

According to the authors, “Arctic sea ice is intrinsically linked to Atlantic multidecadal [natural] variability” finding a ~60-90 year cycle of “Covariability between sea ice and Atlantic multidecadal variability as represented by the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) index is evident during the instrumental record.” read more

Related to above: Arctic sea ice could continue to recover for next 30+ years of negative AMO.

The natural ~60-90 year Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation [AMO] has been in its positive warming phase since 1976 and after ~30+ years of warming is “pausing” and transitioning to its ~30-45 year negative phase [cooling]: read more

Paper finds a decrease of IR radiation from greenhouse gases over past 14 years, contradicts expected increase

A paper published in the Journal of Climate finds from 800,000 observations a significant decrease in longwave infrared radiation from increasing greenhouse gases over the 14 year period 1996-2010 in the US Great Plains. CO2 levels increased ~7% over this period and according to AGW theory, down-welling IR should have instead increased over this period.

The findings contradict the main tenet of AGW theory which states increasing greenhouse gases including the primary greenhouse gas water vapor and clouds will cause an increase of down-welling long wave infrared “back-radiation.” Read more

* * *

So far in 2014, record low temperatures outpace record highs nearly 2-1 in the USA

by Anthony Watts

Numbers released by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center show that not only has July been abnormally cool in the USA, but so has 2014 in general. For the last 30 days, there have been 574 record highest temperatures in the USA, and 1,726 record lowest. A ratio of 3 to 1, indicating that July was very cool. But, the year so far has also been cool.

So far for the USA year to date, the numbers of record lows outpace the highs two to one.

This year, there have been 12,644 daily record lowest temperatures versus 6,615 record highest temperatures in the USA, a ratio of 1.91 to 1.0.

For all types of high and low daily records for the year to date, there were 29,372 cold records versus 16,761 warm records, a ratio of 1.75 to 1.0

If all high and low daily record types are considered for the last 365 days, cold still outpaces warm. There are 46,712 cold records versus 36,650 warm records.

The ratios for monthly all time records also see cold records outpacing warm ones. Read more

Canadian forest fire statistics:

Another Climate Apocalypse Prediction Goes Up In Smoke

By Sierra Rayne

Over the past couple months, academic and government scientists in Canada — as well as a provincial premier — have raised the alarm over how climate change is leading to increasing threats from forest fires.

This led me to perform a simple task: examine the Canadian National Forest Database for the numbers of fires each year since the database begins in 1970, and the respective area burned.

The findings do not support the climate alarmism. Since 1970 — the period over which climate scientists tell us the impacts of anthropogenic climate change should be most evident — there has been a statistically significant declining — not increasing — trend in the number of forest fires across Canada (all statistical tests performed with the Mann-Kendall method for time trend analysis). Seven of the 12 provinces and territories have significant declining trends. Only Alberta has a significant increasing trend.

For the area burned by forest fires, the nation as a whole has no significant trend since 1970, while three provinces have declining trends and the rest have no significant trends.

The Northwest Territories, supposedly the poster child for climate change impacts on forest fires, doesn’t have any significant trends in either the number of forest fires or the area burned. In fact, the correlations for both these variables are negative (towards decreasing forest fire numbers and area burned), not positive. Same applies to British Columbia as a purported ground zero for forest fires and climate change. Since 1970, there has been a significant declining trend in the number of forest fires, and the correlation for the annual area burned is negative, not positive.

Overall, there appears to be no evidence that the climate change induced forest fire apocalypse is upon us in Canada, a fact which agrees with the trends in the United States and other analyses of climate data in these two countries. Read more

The Government Is Controlling Private Property to Save Frog Species Not Seen in 50 Years

by Scott Blakeman

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is seeking to protect the dusky gopher frog on the Endangered Species List by designating over 1,500 acres of private property in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana as a “critical habitat” for the embattled amphibian.

But here’s the kicker: The frog hasn’t been seen on the land in question for over 50 years.

In the case of the St. Tammany property, the economic analysis produced by the USFWS revealed that the “designation could preclude all development on the land, causing the landowners to lose as much as $36 million.” Meanwhile, the land is not actively benefitting a single dusky gopher frog. But the plans to make the land a critical habitat proceed. This is a federal land grab at its worst. And, unfortunately, the courts are complicit. Read more

The Export-Import Bank: What the Scholarship Says

By Salim Furth, Ph.D.

The primary activity of the Export-Import Bank of the United States is to provide export subsidies to buyers and sellers of U.S. exports. Its goal is to shift global market share to U.S.-based corporations and away from corporations headquartered in other countries. However, ample research by academic economists found that in most cases, export subsidies reduce the total income of the country paying the subsidies. In all cases, export subsidies reduce global income, and benefits accrue only to those who are subsidized—at the expense of other exporters and taxpayers. Most of the arguments in favor of the Export-Import Bank recast the bank as having a primary function other than providing export subsidies—such as small-business lending or global diplomacy. But theory and practical reality both show that the bank does not, and should not, engage in other activities. Since the bank’s main function is harmful to the U.S. economy, and it is not designed to carry out other functions, its charter should not be renewed. Read more

Workers Would Benefit from Abolishing the Corporate Income Tax


There should be no corporate income tax, argues James Pethokoukis of the American Enterprise Institute.

The United States boasts the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world — at 40 percent including federal and state taxes. The tax only hurts American workers and the economy at large:

According to a Congressional Budget Office study, workers bear 70 percent of the corporate tax burden.

High corporate tax rates reduce workers’ wages. According to economists Kevin Hassett and Aparna Mathur of the American Enterprise Institute, wage rates drop 0.5 percent when corporate tax rates increase 1 percent.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has identified the corporate tax as the most harmful tax for economic growth.

To escape these taxes, businesses move abroad — taking jobs with them. Not only would cutting the corporate tax rate keep American businesses in the United States, but many multinational corporations would likely want to headquarter themselves in the United States, says Pethokoukis.

According to NCPA Senior Fellow Larry Kotlikoff, Director of the Tax Analysis Center, abolishing the corporate income tax would lead to a 12 percent to 13 percent increase in wages.

Source: James Pethokoukis, “Why corporations shouldn’t pay any taxes – zero, zilch, nada,” The Week, August 4, 2014.

Proposed EPA Regs Would Affect Climate by Eighteen-Thousandths of a Degree by 2100 — and Cost U.S. Economy $51 Billion Annually

By Jillian Kay Melchior

The Environmental Protection Agency’s new proposed rules, which seek to limit carbon emissions from power plants, would cost the American economy $51 billion, as well as 224,000 jobs, every year through 2030, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates.

With that significant of an economic impact, one would hope the EPA had a pretty good justification, right?

As the Cato Institute recently noted, the agency forgot to include one very important calculation in the information they released about the proposed rules: whether or not they will actually affect climate change.

“There’s really no reason to go after carbon emissions unless you think they cause climate change,” Chip Knappenberger, assistant director for Cato’s Center for the Study of Science, tells me. The impact on climate change is key. But the EPA hasn’t publicized any finding on that supposed link.

Knappenberger and his colleague Patrick J. Michaels crunched the numbers using an EPA-developed climate-model emulator. They found that the regulations would somewhat affect the climate — by eighteen-thousandths of a degree Celsius by 2100.

“We’re not even sure how to put such a small number into practical terms, because, basically, the number is so small as to be undetectable,” Knappenberg and Michaels wrote when they released their findings. “Which, no doubt, is why it’s not included in the EPA Fact Sheets. It is not too small, however, that it shouldn’t play a huge role in every and all discussions of the new regulations.”

That’s not the only time the EPA has used some suspect math. A new report from the Government Accountability Office found that the EPA was calculating how its regulations would affect employment using a study outdated by 20 years that had, even when current, looked at only four industrial sectors. Source

Cross-state idiocy

by Bob Green, JunkScience.com

The EPA says Texas is responsible for SO2 pollution in one city in Illinois. From H. Sterling Burnett, Heartland Institute,

The EPA is blaming Texas for SO2 pollution of Grant City, Illinois, as measured by a monitor next to a smelter. Undeterred by facts like Grant City being 500 miles NE of Texas and farther from the major metropolitan areas, Grant City’s steel mill which is a major source of pollution in the area and the wind rarely blows from Texas to Grant City, the EPA has a model they believe and rely on. This is a result of the recent court actions re-instating the cross state air pollution rules. The result is Texas power plants can be subject to more restrictive emissions requirements. Texas has some legal recourse.

Let’s see. Pollutant dispersion over significant distances; no pollution for points in between; prevailing winds not frequently in that direction; midwest power plants have no effect; 500 plus mile power plants exceed the local steel mill pollution and we have a model showing just how it happens.


I have no data yet. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.” – Arthur Conan Doyle. (Sherlock Holmes)

EU bans good vacuum cleaners — next big kettles, hot irons?

JoNova Blog

The Climate Police are coming.

In order to cool the global climate, the European Commission has decided, with infinite wisdom, that companies shall no longer be allowed to make or import vacuums with motors above 1600 watts — which is more than half of the vacuums on the market. These are climate-dangerous machines. They couldn’t just put a health warning with pics of drowning polar bears on the 2200W ones. They must be Verboten! The new rules start on September 1st. I’m sure if they could, they’d arrange a buy-back and amnesty program for high powered vacuums too.

In EU speak, vacuums are about to get better! Apparently, they will use less energy, save money and pick up more dust too, all that was needed was regulation. (Why didn’t they think of it before?) Read more

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only.

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