People for the West -Tucson
Newsletter, March, 2018
PO Box 86868, Tucson, AZ 85754-6868
Real environmentalism can go hand in hand with natural resource production, private property rights, and access to public lands
The high cost of electricity from wind and solar generation
by Jonathan DuHamel
Some European countries, particularly Germany and Denmark, have invested heavily in electricity generation from solar and wind sources with the result that the cost of electricity has increased substantially. The alleged rational for using “green” energy is that it would reduce carbon dioxide emissions and save us from dread global warming. The reality is that carbon dioxide emissions have not been reduced and real world evidence shows that carbon dioxide emissions have almost no influence on global temperature. (See my Wryheat post: Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect).
Here is what is happening in Europe. The more installed solar and wind capacity per capita a country has, the higher the price people pay for electricity. In the graph below the vertical scale is Euro cents per kilowatt-hour, the horizontal scale is the installed capacity of renewables (solar and wind) per capita. (For reference, the U.S. average residential cost is 12 cents/kwh which is about 9.6 euro cents/kwh, lower than all European countries on the graph.)
Pierre L. Gosselin, a graduate of the University of Arizona who resides in Germany, writes: “Despite the rapidly growing green energy capacity being installed, the effort to reduce CO2 has failed, and what’s left is an unpredictable power grid that often produces energy when it is not needed (waste energy) and thus costing Germans hundreds of millions annually. The Green Party claims that wind energy is “the most inexpensive” on the market, but “If that is really true, then why do they need subsidies? Why are we paying 25 billion euros annually for their feed-in?” An array of expert panels have determined that wind energy is not leading to more climate protection, but rather is only making electricity outrageously expensive.” (Source)
Australians are experiencing the same thing. The last 65 years of Australian electricity prices — indexed and adjusted for inflation show that during the coal boom, Australian electricity prices declined decade after decade. As renewables and national energy bureaucracies grew, so did the price of electricity. (Source) See graph at source.
Peter Rez (Professor at Arizona State University) explains Why solar and wind won’t make much difference to carbon dioxide emissions (Oxford University Press)
“In many circles there is a comforting belief that renewables such as solar and wind can replace fossil fuel electrical generation and leave us free to live as we do without carbon dioxide emissions. Fundamental physics and engineering considerations show that this is not so.”
“Power needs fluctuate with time of the day and, to a lesser extent, day of the week. In most places, peaks occur in the evening when people come home, start cooking, and turn on lights and entertainment systems. In Arizona in summer, the peaks are even more extreme due to the air conditioners all cutting in. There are also morning peaks, as people get up and turn on lights and hair dryers. Commercial and industrial use generally doesn’t change much throughout the day. The electrical utilities call this a baseload.”
“Solar and wind present two problems. One is low power density; massive areas have to be devoted to power generation. The other, more serious problem is intermittency. If we only wanted to run electrical appliances when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining, fine, but don’t expect to use solar to turn on your light at night! So solar and wind cannot manage on their own; it’s always solar or wind AND something else.” Read more
All of this has implications for Arizona energy policy.
In 2006, the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) imposed the Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff (REST) on non-government-owned electric utilities. REST requires that electric utilities generate an ever increasing amount of electricity from renewable sources such as wind and solar. The original mandated goal was to reach a total of 15 percent renewable generation by the year 2025.
Now I see that ACC commissioner Andy Tobin is campaigning for what he calls an “Energy Modernization Plan.” (See ADI article “Tobin Appears To Overstep With Energy Modernization Plan”) Part of that plan calls for generating 80 percent of our electricity by means of “clean energy” such as solar and wind.
Several years ago I wrote a Wryheat post: “Petition to Arizona Legislature – Dump Renewable Energy Mandates” which lists six reasons why the Arizona legislature should get rid of this mandate. Besides the cost and grid instability, solar and wind generation are not as “green” as advertised.
For example, many PV solar panels rely on polysilicon being manufactured in large quantities and at high quality. A byproduct of polysilicon production is silicon tetrachloride, a highly toxic substance that poses a major environmental hazard. Wherever silicon tetrachloride is dumped, the land becomes totally infertile. A major environmental cost of photovoltaic solar energy is toxic chemical pollution (arsenic, gallium, and cadmium) and energy consumption associated with the large-scale manufacture of photovoltaic panels.
Concentrating solar plants such as the Ivanpah generating station, in the Mohave Desert southwest of Las Vegas, uses 173,500 heliostats each with two mirrors to focus sunlight on a tower where water is converted to steam to generate electricity. This method is called “solar-flux” and it generates very high temperatures. Birds experience traumatic impact with the mirrors, but the larger danger is getting singed by the heat flux which is up to 800 degrees F. (See my post: Avian Mortality from Solar Farms)
Wind turbines chop up millions of birds and bats every year. (See: Wind Turbines Versus Wildlife) Wind turbines also cause health problems in humans and other animals due to their low-frequency noise and the “flicker” of the turbines themselves. (See: Health Hazards of Wind Turbines)
I can find no place in the Arizona State Constitution nor the Arizona Revised Statutes that gives the ACC authority to dictate the methods by which utilities must generate electricity. I recommend that the Arizona legislature repeal the Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff and forbid the ACC from dictating how electricity must be produced. Instead, let the free market decide.
Generating more electricity from solar and wind is just a very expensive exercise in political correctness that will have little impact on carbon dioxide emissions, but a big impact on your wallet and an adverse impact on electric grid stability. ☼
A Gas Tax Hike Is the Wrong Way to Fund Highways
By Institute for Energy Research
Various reports suggest that policymakers—including President Trump himself—are considering raising the federal gas tax, by as much as 25 cents per gallon. Supporters argue that a hike is necessary to replenish the Highway Trust Fund, and—for those concerned about climate change—some also argue that a higher gas tax is needed to encourage drivers to switch to electric vehicles or mass transit.
These arguments are incorrect, even on their own terms. A gas tax is in principle a very blunt instrument for funding highway usage. And in terms of the political optics, imposing a huge new regressive tax on drivers would justify the critics of the recent income tax reform plan, who claimed that Republicans wanted to help the rich at the expense of the poor.
Ironically, if President Trump would just stick to his privately led infrastructure plan, then all of these problems would go away. The nation could get investment into those roads and bridges that genuinely need attention, while market prices would guide decisions and reduce traffic congestion. Road construction would be paid by users, the same way we pay for hotel construction. Smoother traffic flows would relieve stress and also cut way back on carbon dioxide emissions. As usual, the way to solve the problems in infrastructure is through less government intervention, not more. Read more ☼
Planned Power Chaos
By Viv Forbes, Canada Free Press
Seven Australian governments have made a mis-planned mess of Australia’s electricity industry. The federal government now plans to add more toxins to the mess – “five-year targets to cut emissions.”
There was one big lesson from the 20th Century – coercive central planning always fails – it constantly destroys economic assets and human freedom. Just look at the human and economic costs of the grand plans of Stalin’s Russia, Hitler’s Germany, Mao’s China, Castro’s Cuba and Pol Pot’s Cambodia. Or compare East and West Germany when the Berlin Wall came down or North and South Korea now.
Let coal, oil, gas, nuclear, hydro, wind and solar compete freely with no government subsidies or market mandates and no guaranteed return on investment.
The International Tin Council almost destroyed the tin industry. Australia’s failed Wool Board delivered unearned profits to our overseas competitors and wool growers took years to clear up the mess. Australia has had egg boards, milk boards and grain boards and all produced sinecures for board members, reduced markets for producers and higher prices for consumers. Even OPEC’s grand plan to maintain high prices for crude oil were destroyed by American shale oil entrepreneurs.
Outcomes are always better when markets reflect the wishes and actions of consumers and producers and are free of selective subsidies, discriminatory taxes and interfering politicians.
Australia’s electricity market is jerked in one direction by a Climate Commissar in Canberra who is second-guessed by state premiers who wanna-be power engineers. Rules change with every election. The result is high-priced electricity from an unreliable grid. The winners are bureaucrats and academics who are well paid to dream up the “plans” and speculators quick enough to grab the sure-fire benefits. The losers are real industry, electricity consumers and tax payers.
No more five-year power plans thanks. Politicians who subsidise some technologies and tax or ban others will never get it right. Let coal, oil, gas, nuclear, hydro, wind and solar compete freely with no government subsidies or market mandates and no guaranteed return on investment – just a few reasonable regulations to prevent real pollution and protect public safety.
Finally, cease all official promotion of the myth of man-made global warming. (Source)
Historic energy milestone: US oil output surges to new record highs reflecting America’s deep pools of ingenuity, risk taking and entrepreneurship
by Mark J. Perry
US crude oil production set a monthly record in January of 10.2 million barrels per day (bpd), based on the Energy Information Administration’s most recent monthly. January’s crude oil production topped the previous record of 10.04 million bpd established back in November 1970, more than 47 years ago. This is all due to the revolutionary twin drilling and extraction technologies of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. (Source) ☼
How The Renewable Fuel Standard Is Putting Small Refineries Out Of Business
By Peter Weyrich, Washington Times
If the Trump administration does not soon repeal or make adjustments to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), America will become even more dependent on foreign sources of energy as the country’s manufacturing jobs continue to decline.
The Trump administration must choose between putting America First or continuing the Obama administration status quo of rigging the deck to favor big oil companies, foreign nations and Wall Street investment firms. And it must decide soon because the problem at hand is rapidly coming to a head.
This week, Philadelphia Energy Solutions — an independent refiner responsible for 25 percent of the East Coast’s capacity — announced it would file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy due to the RFS’s unsustainable ethanol mandates. Many other small and medium-sized refiners may soon follow its lead. Read more ☼
Will Zinke’s Order 3362 Bring a Sad Song to the West?
By Clifford C. Nichols
Recently, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke signed into law Secretarial Order 3362. Its stated purpose is to improve the quality of the habitats of big game animals and their corridors of migration connecting those habitats throughout the West.
As was the case at the inception of the Endangered Species Act decades before, the goals of this new “law” seem worthy, if not noble. At the signing ceremony in Salt Lake City, Utah on February 9, 2018, environmentalists linked arms with sportsmen to cheer Zinke’s bold initiative.
Some in the West who share an insight born of their having lived for years with abuses sanctioned by the federal government’s enforcement of the Endangered Species Act may doubt it. For them, the unanswered question is whether Zinke’s Order will eventually afford “game animals” a protected legal status similar to that of “endangered species”?
If it does, these people know the adverse effects of this Order will likely far exceed just the “modification” of a few fences. It will adversely effect some entire industries that operate in the West, i.e. ranching, oil and gas, mining and logging. Read more ☼
Wisconsin Legislature Passes ‘Homeowners’ Bill of Rights’
By H. Sterling Burnett
Wisconsin now has a “Homeowners’ Bill of Rights” intended to prevent local governments from limiting property owners’ use of their lands.
The Homeowners Bill of Rights consists of two laws passed by the legislature on November 7 and signed by Gov. Scott Walker on Nov. 27. One law allows property owners to build on and sell lots of “substandard” size if they were legal when created. The bill also prohibits local governments from merging adjacent lots that share the same owner without the owner’s permission and makes it easier for property owners to get conditional-use permits and variances, maintain nonconforming structures, and dredge private ponds.
The second bill allows homeowners to appeal assessments when a homeowner refuses to let the assessor inside the house, and to hang the American flag even if condominium or homeowner association rules would prohibit it. Read more ☼
South Pacific Islands Gain Land Area Despite Sea Level Rise
by Jonathan DuHamel
Climate alarmists have long been predicting that global warming induced sea level rise would make low-lying Pacific islands disappear and cause thousands of “climate refugees” to seek new homes.
But real world data shows that the geologic process that builds these islands can keep up with sea level rise.
A University of Auckland study (Patterns of island change and persistence offer alternate adaptation pathways for atoll nations, Paul S. Kench, Murray R. Ford & Susan D. Owen, Nature Communications,Feb. 9, 2018) examined changes in the geography of Tuvalu’s nine atolls and 101 reef islands between 1971 and 2014, using aerial photographs and satellite imagery. The paper claims that local sea level has risen at twice the global average (~3.90 + 0.4 mm.yr-1). That translates to about six inches over the 43-year period. However, the study found eight of the atolls and almost three-quarters of the islands grew during the study period, increasing Tuvalu’s total land area by 2.9 percent, even though sea levels in the country rose at twice the global average.
Another study, Kench et al., 2015, Coral islands defy sea-level rise over the past century: Records from a central Pacific atoll, Geological Society of America, in Geology Magazine, found that “Funafuti Atoll, in the tropical Pacific Ocean, has experienced some of the highest rates of sea-level rise (~5.1 + 0.7 mm/yr), totaling ~0.30 + 0.04 m over the past 60 yr. We analyzed six time slices of shoreline position over the past 118 yr at 29 islands of Funafuti Atoll to determine their physical response to recent sea-level rise. Despite the magnitude of this rise, no islands have been lost, the majority have enlarged, and there has been a 7.3% increase in net island area over the past century (A.D. 1897–2013). (Read more)
Overheated claims on global temperature records
Dr. Tim Ball and Tom Harris discuss the many problems with the temperature record (read full post). Here are some excerpts:
Until the 1960s, surface temperature data was collected using mercury thermometers located at weather stations situated mostly in the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom and eastern Australia. Most of the rest of the planet had very few temperature sensing stations. And none of the Earth’s oceans, which constitute 70 percent of the planet’s surface area, had more than an occasional station separated from its neighbors by thousands of kilometers or miles.
The data collected at the weather stations in this sparse grid had, at best, an accuracy of +/-0.5 degrees Celsius (0.9 degrees Fahrenheit). In most cases, the real-world accuracy was no better than +/-1 deg C (1.8 deg F). Averaging such poor data in an attempt to determine global conditions cannot yield anything meaningful. Displaying average global temperature to tenths or even hundreds of a degree, as is done in the NOAA and NASA graphs, clearly defies common sense.
Satellites did not show the warming forecast by computer models, which had become so crucial to climate studies and energy policy-making. So bureaucrats closed most of the colder rural surface temperature sensing stations – the ones furthest from much warmer urban areas – thereby yielding the warming desired for political purposes.
Today, virtually no data exist for approximately 85 percent of the earth’s surface.
Each and every prediction made by the computer models cited by the IPCC have turned out to be incorrect. IPCC members seemed to conclude that, if they provided a broad enough range of forecasts, one was bound to be correct. Yet, even that was too optimistic. All three ranges predicted by the IPCC have turned out to be wrong. ☼
Climate Alarmism Is Still Bizarre, Dogmatic, Intolerant
by Paul Driessen
Climate alarmism dominated the Obama era and run-up to Paris. But it’s at least as bizarre, dogmatic and intolerant now that President Trump pulled the United States out of the all pain/no gain Paris climate pact, the EPA is reversing anti-fossil fuel programs rooted in doom-and-gloom climatology, America is producing and exporting more oil, gas and coal, developing nations are burning vastly more of these fuels, Poland is openly challenging EU climate diktats, and German, British, Australian and other politicians are voicing increasing concerns about job-killing, eco-unfriendly “green” energy.
With trillions of dollars in research money, power, prestige, renewable energy subsidies, wealth redistribution schemes, and dreams of international governance on the line, the $1.5-trillion-per-year Climate Industrial Complex is not taking the situation lightly. Climate fear-mongering is in full swing. Read more ☼
Amid a warming planet, snow falls in Southern Morocco – first time in 50 years
by Anthony Watts, January 31, 2018
After several decades of extremely dry weather, residents in southern regions of Morocco finally woke up this morning to an unusual snowfall that currently impacted Ouarzazate, Taroudant and even Zagora, which has not experienced snowfall for fifty years. See photos ☼
Rebuttals to Ten Typical False Claims by Climate Alarmists
by Alan Carlin
Climate alarmists are constantly trying to justify their misguided goal of decreasing emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), one of the basic molecules that makes possible life on Earth, by making various claims as to the alleged adverse effects of increasing emissions of CO2. To date these claims have either been shown to be false or better explained by natural causes. With the very limited budgets that climate realists have, it has been an impossible task to keep up with the flood of claims since the alarmists have had access to almost unlimited funding from governments, liberal foundations, and environmental organizations. To illustrate and better understand the problem, as well as provide authoritative guidance on these claims, Joseph D’aleo has coordinated the development of rebuttals to 10 of these claims over recent months. Read more Note: this post provides links to very detailed science for the rebuttals. ☼
Arctic warming and cooling part of natural cycle; benefits inhabitants
By Kenneth Richard
Contrary to the claims of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) advocates, the Arctic climate naturally warms and cools in a decadal-scale oscillatory fashion and in response to broad changes in the North Atlantic Oscillation and Arctic Oscillation.
The climate does not just warm in a long-term linear pattern that follows the trends of anthropogenic CO2 emissions. The article goes on the list papers and abstracts. Read more☼
Hillary Clinton: Climate Change Is Sexist, Burden Falls On Women
Failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is back with an important message — not only is climate change real and important, it is very sexist. Read more ☼
This sucks: California Considers $1,000 Fine for Waiters Offering Unsolicited Plastic Straws
by Christian Britschgi
Ian Calderon wants restaurateurs to think long and hard before giving you a straw. Calderon, the Democratic majority leader in California’s lower house, has introduced a bill to stop sit-down restaurants from offering customers straws with their beverages unless they specifically request one. Under Calderon’s law, a waiter who serves a drink with an unrequested straw in it would face up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. “We need to create awareness around the issue of one-time use plastic straws and its detrimental effects on our landfills, waterways, and oceans,” Calderon explained in a press release. This isn’t just Calderon’s crusade. The California cities of San Luis Obispo and Davis both passed straws-on-request laws last year, and Manhattan Beach maintains a prohibition on all disposable plastics. And up in Seattle, food service businesses won’t be allowed to offer plastic straws or utensils as of July. The Los Angeles Times has gotten behind the movement, endorsing straws-on-request policies in an editorial that also warned that “repetitive sucking may cause or exacerbate wrinkles on the lips or around the mouth.” Celebrity astronomer Neil DeGrasse Tyson (always up for a little chiding) and Entourage star Adrian Grenier have appeared in videos where an octopus slaps them in the face for using a plastic straw. Read more ☼
Some thoughts to ponder:
“The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.” — Aristotle
“That government is best which governs the least, because its people discipline themselves.”— Thomas Jefferson
“We don’t have a trillion-dollar debt because we haven’t taxed enough; we have a trillion-dollar debt because we spend too much.” – Ronald Reagan
“A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue then will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader.” — Samuel Adams
“America’s abundance was created not by public sacrifices to ‘the common good,’ but by the productive genius of free men who pursued their own personal interests and the making of their own private fortunes. They did not starve the people to pay for America’s industrialization. They gave the people better jobs, higher wages and cheaper goods with every new machine they invented, with every scientific discovery or technological advance–and thus the whole country was moving forward and profiting, not suffering, every step of the way.” – Ayn Rand
“A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth – some obvious truth he isn’t supposed to say.” — Michael Kinsley
“The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.” – Winston Churchill
There is a reason they pass whistleblower laws, even in America where free speech is championed. As Voltaire said, “It is dangerous to right in matters where men in authority are wrong.”
“How many times have we heard ‘free tuition,’ ‘free health care,’ and free you-name-it? If a particular good or service is truly free, we can have as much of it as we want without the sacrifice of other goods or services. Take a ‘free’ library; is it really free? The answer is no. Had the library not been built, that $50 million could have purchased something else. That something else sacrificed is the cost of the library. While users of the library might pay a zero price, zero price and free are not one and the same. So when politicians talk about providing something free, ask them to identify the beneficent Santa Claus or tooth fairy.” — Walter Williams
“With regard to the idea of whether you have a right to health care, you have to realize what that implies. It’s not an abstraction. I’m a physician. That means you have a right to come to my house and conscript me. It means you believe in slavery. It means that you’re going to enslave not only me, but the janitor at my hospital, the person who cleans my office, the assistants who work in my office, the nurses.” — Rand Paul
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1) Support private property rights.
2) Support multiple use management of federal lands for agriculture, livestock grazing, mining, oil and gas production, recreation, timber harvesting and water development activities.
3) Support a balance of environmental responsibility and economic benefit for all Americans by urging that environmental policy be based on good science and sound economic principles.
Newsletters can be viewed online on Jonathan’s Wryheat Blog:
See my essay on climate change:
The Constitution is the real contract with America.
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People for the West – Tucson, Inc.
PO Box 86868
Tucson, AZ 85754-6868
Jonathan DuHamel, President & Editor
Dr. John Forrester, Vice President
Lonni Lees, Associate Editor
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