TODAY’S TAKEAWAY: OBAMA LIVES INSIDE PRESS BUBBLE ON RENEWABLES
Every morning we begin by doing a Google search on “energy” to fill the center and left columns. Without fail the first 40 hits will tell stories of the wonders of renewable energy. Wind energy is sweeping the Middle East. Thailand has just decided to go renewable. A wave energy project in Oregon is about to produce 500 kilowatts. By 2030 all of Latin America will run on renewable energy. In order to find out what’s going on in the world you have to search specific subjects. “Fracking?” Oh yes, someone has just found that the technology has cut our trade deficit in half. “Oil?” Yes, Libya is imploding and is actually importing diesel fuel to keep the country afloat. “Energy in Germany?” Yes, after two years of paying people billions of dollars to put up solar collectors, Germany will gets 80 percent of its electricity from fossil fuels and nuclear.
President Obama lives inside this bubble. In visiting Sweden today he has suddenly taken the opportunity to declare that Sweden is yet another country that has offered blanket subsidies to renewable energy and is rapidly moving toward the clean economy and we should be emulating them. One report calls Sweden “the most sustainable country in the world.” Another says Germany should be taking is as its model. Germany!?
SWEDEN GETS HALF ITS ELECTRICITY FROM NUCLEAR POWER. (The other half comes from hydro.) It has twelve reactors operating in a country the size of California with the population smaller than North Carolina. See if you can find that in the press anywhere today. The only story around is a report from Copenhagen that hydroelectricity has been particularly plentiful this year so Sweden is exporting excess nuclear to Denmark. As a result, that Denmark is now 14 percent nuclear as well. Denmark, remember, is the country where you can’t turn around without catching sight of a windmill. As long as we live in this wonderland, there is zero chance that we will ever have a sensible policy on energy. We’ll have energy, don’t worry. The wildcatters and roustabouts developing the Bakken Shale and the Eagle Ford don’t pay any attention to what happens in Washington or what gets said in the press. Unfortunately, our nuclear industry is completely governed by the press bubble so we’ll probably go on closing down perfectly good reactors such as San Onofre and – more important – not building any new ones. But that’s the price you pay for a press that is gaga over renewable energy.
RUSSIA’S LITTLE KNOWN AID TO SYRIA
On the Mideastern front, International Business Daily files a fascinating report about Russia’s covert aid to Syria. “Syria possessed 2.5 billion barrels of crude oil as of January 2013, which makes it the largest proved reserve of crude oil in the eastern Mediterranean according to the Oil & Gas Journal estimate, besides Iraq. But after two and a half years of war, exploration is at a standstill since international oil companies once operating in Syria have abandoned their operations as the violence escalates and sanctions target Syria’s energy sector. Russia, the chief backer of the Assad regime, is the only remaining international partner still helping develop Syria’s oil and gas resources in the past year. A Congressional Research Service report found that Syria was still in discussion with Russia and China over offshore exploration in April, but few details are known. Syria also has oil shale resources with estimated reserves that range as high as 50 billion tons, according to a Syrian government source in 2010. This may explain one of the reason’s Russia has a huge stake in Damascus as its state-owned energy companies have been profiting off the despotic Assad regime.” Congratulations IBD. It always pays to dig deep.
WIND IS RESONSIBLE FOR HUGE BIRD AND BAT MORTALITY
Jim Wiegand on MasterResource comes up with another interesting report. “A ‘green energy’ wildlife genocide is depopulating wildlife habitats across the world where vital species once found refuge. Industrial wind turbines have invaded these habitats and are devastating bird and bat species. Rather than avoiding these critical habitats or taking steps to minimize impacts on important species, the heavily subsidized wind industry is responding by producing faulty, misleading and even fraudulent documents to hide the serious and growing mortality. This situation has continued for years but has been shielded by state and federal agencies and other supporters of wind power. Having studied these installations and their wildlife impacts for years, I can say without reservation that most of what people hear and read about the wind industry’s benefits and environmental costs is false. However, buried in thousands of pages of wind industry documents are data, omissions and calculations that tell a wind turbine mortality story that is far different from what is portrayed in industry press releases, mainstream news stories and official government reports. I have frequently said the wind industry is hiding over 90% of the bird and bat mortality caused by their turbines. This statement is supported by the industry’s own data and reasonable adjustments for its manipulations. These calculations will help people understand how the industry is using its studies to hide millions of fatalities; they will also help local residents and officials understand ‘wind farm’ impacts and their role in species extinctions that could soon exact an irreversible toll in many regions.” Wind enthusiasts regularly hide behind the statistic that the vast majority of bird deaths come from house cats. They even make a joke out of it. But the cat figures are a little squishy (is anybody really keeping track?) and 99 percent of the casualties are common sparrows and wrens. The winged creatures being killed by windmills are the large migratory, predatory birds such as condors and eagles – the ones that regularly appear on endangered species lists. But don’t press too hard trying to point that out to wind advocates. Remember, all good things come in renewable packages. -
VENEZUELA JOINS PAKISTAN IN LIVING WITHOUT ELECTRICITY
Venezuela, remember them? They’re the OPEC country with vast reserves of oil and a dictator intend of sharing this bounty with the people. Huge Chavez actually only got 54 percent of the vote in Venezuela (Obama won with 51 percent) but that was enough for the late populist to raise taxes on the rich and talk about how commercial minorities were the enemy of the people and not necessary for running the country. Now that he is gone, Venezuelans are finding out that maybe it’s not so bad after all to have people around who know how to run things and maybe earn a decent living at it as well. Yesterday, 70 percent of the country found itself without electricity. Is the new President, Nicolas Maduro, ready to be a little more tolerant toward talented people? No, sorry, he sees the whole thing as a conspiracy as well. “Venezuela’s president Nicolás Maduro, who has made a habit of blaming political opponents and foreign agents for everything down to the country’s shortage of toilet paper, lost no time in pointing the finger at them for the power shortage. ‘It’s evident that behind [the blackout] is the hand of those that want to weaken our country,’ he wrote on Twitter. Later, he blamed ‘sabotage.’ Opposition leader Henrique Capriles, who lost to Maduro in elections earlier this year, hit back: ‘The blackout today demonstrates one more time the terrible incapacity of this government.’” Well, that’s what you get for living in a banana republic where populist leaders blame everything on shadowy opponents and vague right-wing conspiracies. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen here.