Restoring Science to Its Rightful Place—Shilling for Green Jobs

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Green Jobs

"We will restore science to its rightful place," promised President Barack Obama in his inaugural address. Rigorous and honest analysis would used to set policy, unless … unless such analyses get in the way of the goals and profits of favored constituencies, like say, the wind and solar power industries. Last year, a study released by researchers at Spain's King Juan Carlos University found that subsidized green jobs were an economic black hole. As I noted at the time, the report found:

[W]e find that for every renewable energy job that the State manages to finance, Spain's experience cited by President Obama as a model reveals with high confidence, by two different methods, that the U.S. should expect a loss of at least 2.2 jobs on average, or about 9 jobs lost for every 4 created, to which we have to add those jobs that non-subsidized investments with the same resources would have created…

while it is not possible to directly translate Spain's experience with exactitude to claim that the U.S. would lose at least 6.6 million to 11 million jobs, as a direct consequence were it to actually create 3 to 5 million "green jobs" as promised (in addition to the jobs lost due to the opportunity cost of private capital employed in renewable energy), the study clearly reveals the tendency that the U.S. should expect such an outcome…

The study calculates that since 2000 Spain spent €571,138 to create each "green job", including subsidies of more than €1 million per wind industry job…

Each "green" megawatt installed destroys 5.28 jobs on average elsewhere in the economy: 8.99 by photovoltaics, 4.27 by wind energy, 5.05 by mini-hydro.

These costs do not appear to be unique to Spain's approach but instead are largely inherent in schemes to promote renewable energy sources.

About the time that the study was released, the American Clean Energy and Security Act (a.k.a., the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill) was coming up to a vote in the House of Representatives. The environmental lobby group, the Natural Resources Defense Council, hailed the bill declaring that it "has the major ingredients to generate millions of jobs." But the JCU study strongly argued that subsidizing renewable energy technologies to create jobs was an expensive and counterproductive myth.

The green blogosphere erupted in rage. For example, Center for American Progress climate blogger, Joe Romm denounced the conservative Heritage Foundation for pushing a "completely untrue" attack on clean jobs funded by fossil fuel interests. The green lobbyists just knew the study must be wrong and breathed huge satisfied sigh of relief when a new study refuting the JCU study was produced by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Science had once again triumphed over rightwing anti-science ideology—green jobs forever!

But some cynical people were suspicious of the provenance of the NREL study. So they filed a Freedom on Information Act (FOIA) request with the Department of Energy to see how the study came about. It turns out that it was vetted by the renewable energy industry, specifically the lobbyists at the American Wind Energy Association. The FOIA filers, the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute, is now reporting some of what they found out:

After two studies refuted President Barack Obama's assertions regarding the success of Spain's and Denmark's wind energy programs, a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request reveals the Department of Energy turned to George Soros and to wind industry lobbyists to attack the studies.

Via the FOIA request, the Competitive Enterprise Institute has learned that the Department of Energy — specifically the office headed by Al Gore's company's former CEO, Cathy Zoi — turned to George Soros' Center for American Progress and other wind industry lobbyists to help push Obama's wind energy proposals.

The FOIA request was not entirely complied with, and CEI just filed an appeal over documents still being withheld. In addition to withholding many internal communications, the administration is withholding communications with these lobbyists and other related communications, claiming they constitute "inter-agency memoranda." This implies that, according to the DoE, wind industry lobbyists and Soros's Center for American Progress are — for legal purposes — extensions of the government.

Interesting. Very interesting. The NREL's conclusions were widely bruited through the leftwing echo chamber. The Chicago Tribune's Washington blog, The Swamp notes:

Energy Department officials never disclosed the wind group's role in the generation of the rebuttal report, telling an inquiring member of Congress last month only that the Laboratory researchers "felt compelled to post the response… due to the high media interest in green jobs creation."

Recently, there has been even more bad news for green jobs promoters. As I reported in an article, The Green Jobs Delusion, a new independent German study largely agrees with the Spanish findings:

While employment projections in the renewable sector convey seemingly impressive prospects for gross job growth, they typically obscure the broader implications for economic welfare by omitting any accounting of off-setting impacts. These impacts include, but are not limited to, job losses from crowding out of cheaper forms of conventional energy generation, indirect impacts on upstream industries, additional job losses from the drain on economic activity precipitated by higher electricity prices, private consumers' overall loss of purchasing power due to higher electricity prices, and diverting funds from other, possibly more beneficial investment.

Proponents of renewable energies often regard the requirement for more workers to produce a given amount of energy as a benefit, failing to recognize that this lowers the output potential of the economy and is hence counterproductive to net job creation. Significant research shows that initial employment benefits from renewable policies soon turn negative as additional costs are incurred. Trade and other assumptions in those studies claiming positive employment turn out to be unsupportable.

In the end, Germany's PV promotion has become a subsidization regime that, on a per-worker basis, has reached a level that far exceeds average wages, with per worker subsidies as high as 175,000 € (US $ 240,000). …

Although Germany's promotion of renewable energies is commonly portrayed in the media as setting a "shining example in providing a harvest for the world" (The Guardian 2007), we would instead regard the country's experience as a cautionary tale of massively expensive environmental and energy policy that is devoid of economic and environmental benefits.

The Swamp asked the JCU rsearchers what they thought of the new revelations:

The study's lead author, Gabriel Calzada Álvarez of Madrid's King Juan Carlos University, said in an email that the emails appear to show that "It is almost impossible to know who is the government and who the lobbyists. They have merged into one single animal with different faces."

It's easy to restore science to its "rightful place" (a.k.a. supporting the policy that you ideologically favor) if you let friendly lobbyists peer review it in advance.

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  1. As much as I hate to say it..whadaya expect?

  2. Again, we have another article on pin-head dancing angels. Trying to count jobs is a waste of time. It cannot be done, so don’t bother.

    RE and clean tech will result in higher employment over time, however, by a very obvious mechanism – economic stability. Any idiot moron retard could look at our economic history, and realize that commodity price spikes (particularly oil in recent times) lead to economic crashes, which in turn lead to low employment. Anything which decouples our economy from the vagaries of the commodity markets will stabilize it, and reduce the frequency and severity of recessions and their attendent unemployment.

    On a broken windows side note: IF you believe that renewables are truly more expensive than fossil fuels, there can only be two real reasons behind it – they require more natural resources, or they require more labor. It clearly isn’t the former, now is it?

    1. Any idiot moron retard could look at our economic history, and realize that commodity price spikes (particularly oil in recent times) lead to economic crashes, which in turn lead to low employment.

      Thank god one has already done that for us. That’s what I call labor saving.

    2. If shifting toward labor-intensive production were the path to prosperity, then all technology should be banned.

      Restricting pollution will reduce economic growth and will have no long-term effect on unemployment, which is the result of structural and cyclical factors. Nevertheless, restricting pollution should be done because it will increase our standard of living broadly conceived.

      1. Hence my reference to broken windows. In reality, renewables aren’t more expensive IF you properly account for everything.

        1. Here’s an example of a renewable energy source:

          Put a lattice structure out in a field full of switchgrass. The structure must be superbly light yet completely cover the field. It also must be transparent. Some sort of aerogel with an ultralight carbon composite frame is probably suitable.

          As the switchgrass grows, the structure is raised, pulling up the arm of a reciprocating turbine. When winter comes and the grass dies, the arm goes down. The next spring the arm starts up again.

          Connect the turbine to the grid. Instant renewable electricity!

          Now, how can this power source be less expensive than burning coal?

        2. Perhaps this is a terminological debate about what “expensive” means. In terms of measurable economic costs, renewables are more expensive. In terms of human welfare more broadly conceived, they may not be.

          However, I strongly oppose wind power for the following reasons:
          1) It is less efficient than other renewables such as solar & nuclear.
          2) It requires a massive transmission grid that will destroy habitat on an unprecedented scale. Solar will do this too.
          3) It is pure genocide on bats, who are on the brink of extinction in the Northeast anyway.

          Biodiversity uber alles.

          1. No, fossil fuels are less efficient. You are just doing failing to account for the 1% efficient photosynthesis step that occured millions of years ago.

            Land use and bat killings? LoL. Show me any evidence that wind would be worse than what they suffer under coal pollution.

            1. No, fossil fuels are less efficient. You are just doing failing to account for the 1% efficient photosynthesis step that occured millions of years ago.

              And yet, they are cheaper.

    3. Chaod,

      The greenest technologies I know of are the internet and cellular telephones. Ten years ago I drove 40,000 miles. Last year I drove 10,000 miles. To do pretty much the same thing. I don’t think any amount of windmills or solar panels could equal this.

      1. Ahh, anecdotes. No one could be using MORE energy because of these gadgets, now could they? And of course, the gadgets themselves require a huge amount of power. Trying to sort that out would be more pinhead dancing.

        1. A transmit power of a cellular telephone is 0.1 watts, the duty cycle is usually less than 50% even when I’m talking like crazy. An average car uses about 8000 watts.

          1. Electronics consume a huge and fast-growing portion of our grid. Electricity consumption is going nowhere but up, because for everything our new gadgets save us from having to do, they enable us to do two more things.

            You are noting the one step forward and missing the two steps back.

            1. Most of your electricity is still your fridge, dryer, microwave, lights and climate control. Cell phone chargers don’t even register, comparatively.

            2. No. It’s 8000 steps forward and 0.1 steps back.

            3. Chad|3.3.10 @ 7:08PM|#
              “Electronics consume a huge and fast-growing portion of our grid.”
              Cite please.

              “Electricity consumption is going nowhere but up,”
              Cite please.
              US energy use in general has leveled and is falling:
              http://www.google.com/publicda…..statistics

              1. Energy use is leveling off, but electricity consumption is way up. Which is good. Energy frees us from drudgery and makes life better. Energy is the capacity to do work. Energy use is good.
                http://www.google.com/publicda…..per+capita

              2. What is it with libertarians and citing short-term blips?

            4. So, the only way we can save the earth is to kill ourselves. Got it.

              You first, Chad.

        2. Chad|3.3.10 @ 6:27PM|#
          “Ahh, anecdotes. No one could be using MORE energy because of these gadgets, now could they?”
          Ah, bone headed ‘hypotheticals’.
          Please tell us, Chad, of how this might come about. I’m hoping for a good Rube Goldberg explanation here.

          1. Hmmm, with the spare time he frees up by not driving, and with the gas money he saves, perhaps he takes a vacation to Tahiti and burns god knows how much diesel?

            Substititions can be all over the place. Even though electronics are getting more efficient every year, the amount of energy they consume is rapidly rising. This is because the extra efficiency spurs more than enough additional use to offset any savings.

            1. “Even though electronics are getting more efficient every year, the amount of energy they consume is rapidly rising.”

              I’m just gonna sit here and bask in this grouping of English words.

              1. Go ahead and bask in the idea that something can be counter-intuitive, but make complete sense once you understand it.

    4. On a broken windows side note: IF you believe that renewables are truly more expensive than fossil fuels, there can only be two real reasons behind it – they require more natural resources, or they require more labor. It clearly isn’t the former, now is it?

      You missed the third and most accurate reason: the energy density of the renewable is so low that its capture is more expensive than capturing energy from high-density fuels.

      1. Why does that matter? Because you would need more towers or cables or something? That just translates to resources and labor, which in the end are what you are paying for.

        1. If the resources and labor to put up a windmill in North Dakota will produce four times the kilowatt-hours per day as the same resources and labor putting up a windmill in South Carolina, then the former are four times as well used.

          If there is nowhere on the planet that you can put up windmills such that the megawatts divided by the resources and labor is greater than the megawatts divided by the resources, labor, and carbon taxes of a natural gas turbine, then the renewable is incontrovertibly more costly than the fossil fuel. The energy density is simply too low.

          1. If the resources and labor to put up a windmill in North Dakota will produce four times the kilowatt-hours per day as the same resources and labor putting up a windmill in South Carolina, then the former are four times as well used.

            Agreed.

            If there is nowhere on the planet that you can put up windmills such that the megawatts divided by the resources and labor is greater than the megawatts divided by the resources, labor, and carbon taxes of a natural gas turbine, then the renewable is incontrovertibly more costly than the fossil fuel. The energy density is simply too low.

            This is only tangentially related to “energy density”. And I am sure you would find that plenty of places where renewables would win on megawatts per dollar IF you included all the external factors such as carbon and other forms of pollution, land use, and national security concerns.

            Frankly, “drill baby drill” is terrible from a security perspective. If (heaven forbid) a real war does break out someday, I would be happy to have an enormous amount of fossil fuel reserves to draw upon.

            1. This is only tangentially related to “energy density”.

              Call it whatever you want, but for every energy source there is a cost per MW in resources and labor. If that cost is higher for one source than another, it is more expensive. If that cost is higher even after adding all externalities — even including moronic foreign policies — it is incontrovertibly more expensive.

              Some renewables may pass the test. Many or most will not, and the subsidy of those will be net losses to the economy.

              1. “Some” may pass the test? Hell, wind is doing darned well WITH its competition being subsidized up the ying-yang, and solar prices are falling through the floor (down 30% last year).

            2. Chad|3.3.10 @ 7:03PM|#
              “And I am sure you would find that plenty of places where renewables would win on megawatts per dollar IF you included all the external factors such as carbon and other forms of pollution, land use, and national security concerns.”
              Cite please.
              I’m really tired of you pulling supposed numbers out of your butt and/or stating ignorant opinions and claiming them to be true.

            3. You do. According to the USGS supplies of oil shale in the US are at least 2.6 trillion barrels, and 40% would be recoverable, equal to 1 trillion barrels…the amount the world has used since the first well was drilled in 1859. This can be produced using less water than is used for ethanol and biofuels per gallon. We also have huge amounts of nat gas and methane hydrates larger in size than all fossil energy sources in the world combined to draw upon. The politics of scarcity is just that.

              1. Have you ever seen a peice of shale? Even if you could get the oil out economically, you would never do so in a way which was not environmentally devastating. Tripled carbon emissions would be a miracle.

    5. They require more natural resources, or they require more labor. It clearly isn’t the former, now is it?

      The point, Chodester, is that creating more labor hurts the economy, as our Spanish friends pointed out.

      1. Perhaps you are confused by the word “if”. I don’t believe renewables cost more, and hence the second half of the sentence is irrelevant.

        1. He’s not confused.

          He’s pointing out that using more labor to produce the same thing does not produce a net benefit to the economy.

          You can always “create” work by smashing windows or banning tractors. But making more people do work isn’t the objective. Producing more goods and services per unit labor is. Green energy, by your own argument takes more labor to produce the same thing. Why should we voluntarily choose to work harder to produce exactly the same final product?

          1. Perhaps all the green jobs should also be limited to 35 hour work weeks, so that green energy companies will have to hire more employees.

            I mean, it worked so well in France, right?

            The important thing to take away here is that all we need to do is to pass laws in the right amounts and everything will just be swell.

          2. Hazel, did you even read my post? I CITED your silly broken windows fallacy. I am stating that

            1: Renewables are actually cheaper, and therefore require less input

            2: They require a higher ratio of labor to resources than the alternatives

            Overall jobs will be about a wash because of the two.

            1. Analogy:

              There is a perfectly good chair sitting around the house.

              However, using it would consume “resources” (i.e. chairs).

              Rather than doing that, you decide it would be a good idea to “produce jobs” by having people manufacture chairs, so that the already existing chairs don’t have to be used.

              net benefit?

        2. Well, Chad, wrong again. According to EIA, even with a $15 per ton external cost equivalent (which is ballpark what anthropogenic global warmers say current bills would cost us) renewables are much more expensive. Much more.
          http://www.instituteforenergyr…..hnologies/

          1. Your carbon price is on the low end, and you are not factoring in any of the other pollutants or issues that I listed earlier.

            1. Just shut the fuck up. None of the things you want to factor are based in facts.

        3. I don’t believe renewables cost more, and hence the second half of the sentence is irrelevant.

          I don’t believe you wrote those words, and hence, everything you’ve written is irrelevant.

          What you “believe” is irrelevant in this discussion. The fact is that renewables do cost more, regardless of what you “believe”, even accounting for some make-believe expenses for “externals” for “teh children”. Please see Dan’s post below.

          And then stop bothering the adults.

          1. Like I was sayin’…see Dan’s post ABOVE 🙂

          2. No, they only “cost” more because of improper accounting.

            1. Than you pull the proper numbers out of your ass for us, please, by all means. I’m sorry, but you can always make up an endless amount of external costs. Externalities are mostly bullshit. In most cases, they are taken account of in the “actual” economy. For example, somebody might say that air pollution is an externality, because some people living near a coal plant might not like the smell, or dislike the increased health risk, but this accounted for in the cost of the house. The cost of living in the area would be lowered to take into account the inherent risks and unpleasantness of living in the area. By fighting this “externality,” we have doomed potentially millions to homelessness. The meaning of the word “externality” is often abused for social agendas. The accounting isn’t improper. You’d have to argue that all of the increased quality of life that we’ve experienced over the last century is an illusion, because we’re not taking your “externalities” into account.

              1. In his very first post the load of Choad mentions “angels dancing on the head of a pin” Later, he tells us, Yes, I know how many can.

                He admits that you can not calculate the cost of “externalities” but claims it is a high number, cause he cares more than those selfish libertarians.

                I truly pity him.

    6. Trying to count jobs is a waste of time. It cannot be done, so don’t bother.

      Ok…

      “Hey Frank! Can you move the goalposts… again?”

    7. RE and clean tech will result in higher employment over time, however, by a very obvious mechanism – economic stability. Any idiot moron retard could look at our economic history, and realize that commodity price spikes (particularly oil in recent times) lead to economic crashes, which in turn lead to low employment. Anything which decouples our economy from the vagaries of the commodity markets will stabilize it, and reduce the frequency and severity of recessions and their attendent unemployment.

      Very good argument for why the government shouldn’t “invest” in green tech. Government subsidies are one of the biggest ways that we get more commodity price spikes, and companies and production that depends on the subsidies but vanish when the political winds shift. Just take a look at the ethanol industry. Or Synfuels. Or the boom and bust in the wind industry.

      Renewable and clean tech will indeed save us– unless the government gets involved and picks winners or distorts the research process.

    8. That environmentalists now believe that ethanol is a dead end and a waste of time compared to other renewable and clean possibilities does not in any way get them off the hook. Rather, it demonstrates all too vividly the problems with the government picking winners.

      Chad, you’re the one who’s to blame for the dead end and the money wasted in ethanol.

      1. When did I ever support corn ethanol?

        1. When did I ever support corn ethanol?

          You’re supporting the next corn ethanol and Synfuels boondoggle right now.

          Yes, I know that like any modern statist, you want to disassociate yourself from the sins of the past, and promise that this time it’s all different when the government’s going to pick technology winners. And then you’re going to be all shocked when it results in the money going to the best connected firms, or propping up evolutionary dead ends.

          The paper mill absurd boondoggle isn’t an outlier; nor is the corn ethanol program. That’s how the system works.

    9. So, if I get you right, Chad, the solution to periodically high energy prices is to raise them permanently?

    10. Hi Chad!

      1. Toast always lands butter-side down.
      2. A cat always lands on its feet.

      Therefore, attaching a piece of buttered toast to a cat and dropping it from a building in the proper configuration will result in an anti-gravity vortex that can produce clean, perpetual energy for civilization.

      I believe you are one of the few people who understands the value of this incredible invention. Are you interested in my cat Chad?

      1. I think he’s interested in your cat, but not for its anti-gravity properties ? hide your cat Nicole.

    11. You do realize that commodities are essential to “clean tech”, don’t you?

      For instance, the lithium in your Prius doesn’t magically appear out of nowhere. It’s mined, and just like oil, there’s a finite amount of it.

      Ditto for materials that go into solar cells, especially those solar cell technologies that show the most promise efficiency-wise.

      Bottom line is that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. You can trade one commodity for another but you can’t escape the reality of supply and demand.

  3. Yeah, whatever Ron.

    If there wasn’t a Green political movement there would be no incentive for anyone to manufacture or buy more energy efficient products.

    1. A coal-based power plant is way more energy efficient than a wind farm. How bout them apples?

      1. I’m not sure which form of electrical power is the most efficient. Measuring efficiency requires defining what mechanical engineers call a control volume. A control volume gives a scope to the energy that to go into and out of a process. The definition of the control volume for a power plant might just be the plant itself. If you were designing a power plant that would be right. But if you make the control volume large enough to include the fuel delivery processes the energy and efficiency calculation change. I’m not sure about this, but I’ll bet dollars to donuts that a nuke is more efficient than a coal plant when the fuel delivery system is included.

        1. You don’t have to bet anything. Just ask your energy delivery guy ‘How much does it cost?’. The ugly-beauty of markets.

          1. Mechanical Engineering:Control Volume :: Liberal Arts Discussion:Context

        2. I’ll bet dollars to donuts that a nuke is more efficient than a coal plant when the fuel delivery system is included.

          What about 100,000 years worth of rent on the landfill for the waste?

          1. Mr Jelly,

            What about 100,000 years worth of rent for Grant’s tomb or my Aunt Dorothy’s pet cemetery. Are you thinking that in 100,000 years or even in 100 years there won’t be enough scientific knowledge available to figure out what to do with it?

            1. We barely know what to do with ordinary garbage, and that’s a problem that’s been around for millenia. Assuming that technology will solve every problem is not a realistic approach.

              1. A thousand years of garbage in the US would only fill up a relatively small geographical space. Nuclear “waste” isn’t “waste” per say. Nuclear “waste” can be reused. It’s really just being stored until there is a uranium shortage. Most nuclear power plants today currently don’t think they have a problem with just storing the waste on site.

                1. Then why is it being stored, rather than used, so we can save on uranium mining costs AND storage costs?

                  (I know the answer, but I’m playing Socrates in the cell block play next week and I need the practice).

          2. We’re just storing it in Choad’s basement. For free. See how easy that was!

          3. If there wasn’t a Green political movement there would be no incentive for anyone to manufacture or buy more energy efficient products.

            Zero, if the space is in the mantle.

            The best place to bury nuclear waste (after reprocessing) is in a subduction zone of the Earth’s crust.

    2. We have a new candidate for dumbest post of the week award right there.

      1. So it doesn’t get lost in the abomination that is threaded comments –

        If there wasn’t a Green political movement there would be no incentive for anyone to manufacture or buy more energy efficient products.

        is the new candidate for dumbest comment of the week I was referring to.

      2. Jumpin’ Jesus on a unicycle, I was kidding 😉 😉 😉 😉 😉 😉

        1. I’ll send the sarcasm detector to the calibration lab tomorrow. 😉

          1. No harm. I have to brush on my emoticons.

        2. Fuuuck…

          I will read downthread before posting…
          I will read downthread before posting…
          I will read downthread before posting…

    3. If there wasn’t a Green political movement there would be no incentive for anyone to manufacture or buy more energy efficient products.

      Because sans a “Green political movement”, the cost of energy would remain affordable for ever and ever… and ever… and ever amen.

      There is a mechanism for incentive. You want I should hip you to what it is?

    4. Curly|3.3.10 @ 6:02PM|#
      “Yeah, whatever Ron.
      If there wasn’t a Green political movement there would be no incentive for anyone to manufacture or buy more energy efficient products.”
      Uh, care to back up that claim? I don’t see that a ‘political movement’ is required for peoples’ purchasing tastes to change.
      Was there a “Japanese Food Political Movement” some years back? Was it the “Fuzzy Political Movement” that gave us ’70s shag carpet?

    5. I like that logic:

      If there wasn’t an LCD TV political movement there would be no incentive for anyone to manufacture or buy better TVs.

      It works for everything, it’s magic!

  4. They say green tinting adds ten pounds. I believe it.

    1. Nicely played, A.

  5. Faith and Begorah! If it isn’t a large green leprechaun! …or should that be green leperous con?

  6. Given the modern environmental movement’s rank incoherence, it’s altogether fitting that that this Green Jobs Icon has as its centerpiece an incandescent light bulb.

  7. It really depends on how you define “green job.” A person on perpetual unemployment, for instance, who stays home all day, gazing at his tiny carbon footprint, might be considered a net positive in the grand scheme, especially if his compensation is borrowed and paid for by somebody in the year 2035.

  8. “Green” energy, including nuclear fission, costs more than conventional fossil fuel energy.* The environmentalists can spin all they wish, but that fact remains.

    As the price of energy increases, productivity of any business that uses energy (that would be pretty much all of them) goes down. Another fact that can’t be wished away.

    C’mon environmentalists, just say it. You are willing to give up economic growth in order to reduce carbon emissions. The bullshit about green jobs impresses rational environmentalists like myself not a whit. The truth will set you free.

    Good luck getting China (world’s larghest CO2 emitter) and India (worlds largest population of the energy deprived) to sign on to your noble cause. You’ll need it.

    * Unless you include hydro which in many cases is cheaper than fossil fuel technology and has no carbon emissions. Does anyone here think we should start damming more rivers in North America? Speak up.

    1. I think we should damn as many rivers as possible.

    2. Sign me up. I visted Niagra Falls last year and I as watched all that water pour over; I thought ‘what a waste of potential electricty’.

      1. Niagara Falls has a hydroelectric power plant.

        1. Niagara Falls has at least four hydroelectric plants (two decommissioned). Still a lot of potential energy being wasted there.

          1. YOU’RE MISSING THE POINT!!!!

            We could create green jobs by having people carry buckets of water from the bottom of the falls back upstream and run them through the hydroelectric plant again.

            Why do you free marketeers hate Gaia?! Why do you hate the working man??!

            [hugs recyclable bottle plush toy…]

            1. May I use this analogy? The anecdote about the spoons is starting to lose effectiveness.

  9. “Green” energy, including nuclear fission, costs more than conventional fossil fuel energy

    No, it costs more than subsidized fossil energy. That single word makes all the difference in the world.

    1. Back it up with a reputable source or STFU you silly little unterbridge dweller. China and India’s actions speak far louder than your foolish insistence that land hogging solar or bird cuisinarts are cheaper energy producing technology.

    2. Chad,

      Ron already broke down the costs of green energy vs. other sources. Green was not substantially cheaper (in some cases it was MORE expensive) when you factored in subsidies, externalities and production costs.

      You are talking out your ass again, dummy.

      1. Ron does not come close to factoring in all the subsidies. SOx, NOx, particulates (PM10 and PM 2.5), ozone, VOCs, PAHs, mercury and other heavy metals, noise, stench, visual blight, land use, security concerns, and so on and on and on.

        Coal is dead the minute it has to pay to pollute. Natural gas would actually benefit in the short term.

        1. Outside of CO2, coal fired electric plant no longer significantly pollute the atmosphere. Unreasonably stringent emissions standards have actually had the perverse effect of making maintaining and expanding older, less efficient and dirtier plants cheaper than building newer cleaner plants.

          Either you know all of this and are just talking out your ass trying to impress some teenaged Gore fanette, or you a stupid fuck with not enough mastery of the subject matter to bother with.

          1. Make that “Coal fired plants in the first world”.

          2. LoL.

            Coal plants kill over 10000 Americans each year and do over a $100 billion in health damage alone.

            Wow! Are you mis-informed. Please google “cost air pollution” and read to your heart’s content.

            1. No linky linky. no believee.
              Oh that’s right, Chad doesn’t do the whole back up arguments with sources, He’s rayther pull crap from his ass and spread it around, calling it debate.

              Go back under the bridge. I’m done talking to fools.

              1. If you didn’t already know this, it is safe to presume that you are grossly ignorant on the topic. If you can’t find it without me holding your hand, then you are both even more ignorant AND lazy. Therefore, I can safely presume that even if I did linky linky for you, you would be too stupid to understand what you read anyway.

                But, being a nice guy, I’ll give you one.

                http://www.scribd.com/doc/21352850/Hidden-Costs

                Now will you kindly concede?

                1. Tony, you would be the first to complain if someone said “I have a 300 page report that proves my point” and then didn’t tell you where to look in it. The ToC reveals no obvious place to find what you refer to. Your citation is not terribly useful without stating where to find it in it. And since you are the one putting it forth as proof for your argument, it is your responsibility to provide enough information to use it, not anyone else’s. But I’ve noticed that you seem to think it is everyone else’s responsibility to find what made you think what you do.

            2. I couldn’t find the information you alluded to.

        2. Chad|3.3.10 @ 7:37PM|#
          “Coal is dead the minute it has to pay to pollute. Natural gas would actually benefit in the short term.”
          Cite please.

        3. Those are not subsidies. Those are your opinions. Eat shit.

    3. How does Al Gore’s anus taste? Do you give him a rusty trombone as you’re tasting?

    4. Cite please. No more butt numbers.

      1. Cite please. No more butt numbers.

        That is the only kind the Choad can produce.

  10. It has never, ever been about the environment or climate. Never.

    1. Well, in all seriousness, it was about the environment that one time.

  11. What annoys me about Obama’s statement that “We will restore science to its rightful place,” is that he has no place to say this. Republicans did not destroy science. Actually, Republicans have directed more government funds towards science than Democrats. If anything, it was the REPUBLICANS who restored science to its rightful place.

    Here is a video from my favorite astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson, speaking on the supposed “Republican War on Science”, and explaining why there is no such thing as a “Republican War on Science”.

    1. There was certainly a GOP willingness to use bad science and supress conflicting research to bolster popularity for its policies during the administration of Bush the Lesser.

      Like all other horrendous GWB policies, Obama appears to have adopted that one as well.

      1. That part is probably true, but if you go by the numbers Democrats don’t and will not “restore science” any more than Republicans. It’s Obama’s statement (among many MANY others) that bugs me so much.

        I wonder how much better our economy would be if Obama would just Shut. The. Fuck. Up. For like a day even. GWB said some dumb shit no doubt, but Obama reached his term qouta for bullshit like three months ago.

    2. Speaking of Tyson that show called the “The Universe” is just f*cking awful.

      1. I thought that was Jerry Hathaway’s show? I guess you’ll pound later.

        1. Tyson is a regular on the show. Or am I nuts?

            1. Val Kilmer is a handsome man.

  12. ‘Shilling for Green Jobs’

    Shilling? That’s a unit of British currency – more evidence of the insidious influence of the Queen of England! Lyndon Larouche is right – thank God the Democrats nominated one of his followers in Texas so that The People Can Know the Truth.

      1. They need Rockatansky to start doing the Friday Funnies, man.

  13. Green Jobs for all!

    ‘Cause nothing says “progressive” more than returning to 18th century energy sources!

  14. “…the administration is withholding communications with these lobbyists and other related communications, claiming they constitute “inter-agency memoranda.” This implies that, according to the DoE, wind industry lobbyists and Soros’s Center for American Progress are ? for legal purposes ? extensions of the government.”

    Isn’t this a sort of paraphrase of Phil Jones’ testimony to Commons the other day? I mean WWF is definitely an extension of IPCC.

  15. I’ll say again, that the LAST thing green energy advocates should want is to become a government jobs program.

    This is the equivalent of inviting your lard-assed uncle with a gambling habit to manage your 401(k).

    If you sincerely want “green energy” to become a viable industry, you DON’T want the congress using it to build subsidy-dependent constituencies in their districts.

    1. Cha Ching! Hazel wins again!! (with an assist to William Walsh)
      “If you sincerely want…”

      As WW notes above, it’s never been about the environment, nor about the climate. It’s all about the power, baby!

  16. Look, this idea that green jobs will improve the economy is a nutty farce, always has been imo. It’s the kind of thing that appeals to hopey types that think that there are always choices where everyone wins.

    The deal with global warming or the enviroment in general is this: maybe things we do harm the environment and will cause harm to persons and property as a result and thus these things should perhaps be combatted. But there will be a trade-off. There will be costs to limiting the things to be combatted (if there were no benefits involved in these things no one would be doing them anyway).

    What gets me is all these “human life and property” hard-on libertarians getting all nuttily worked up. If the AGW folks and others are right there are certain actions people are doing which will damage other people’s life and property. If government intervention is justified to restrict the actions of people who harm the life and property of others, then, if these people are right, this falls into that category.

    Are the AGW people right? Pretty much noone here has any qualifications to answer that question. So nutty Mc-Nutt libertarians who oppose any restrictions proposed to combat these things are in the interesting position of thinking intervention to protect people’s life and property from damages caused by the actions of others is wrong, even though were it in another context they’d be all yippy-skippy about it.

    1. Are the AGW people right? Pretty much noone here has any qualifications to answer that question.

      The people who have the qualifications to possibly answer that question don’t agree, and some of them were caught blatantly lying.

      Maybe you don’t get this, but for some of us, when we see a nebulous “problem” come out, where many experts disagree on whether it even exists, and where the “solutions” for it are exclusively statist, wealth destroying, and also happen to be a laundry list of desired control for the usual statist suspects…I am instantly skeptical. Add the fact that proponents of this got caught blatantly lying, and sorry, fuck you in the ass with a power drill.

      You consider yourself a smart guy–don’t you feel pretty stupid for trusting these people? Because you look pretty stupid for it. No offense.

      1. Why would you, of all people, not want to offend MNG? Fuck that guy.

        1. He and I get along for some reason–possibly our shared love of Strangers With Candy–so we are civil to one another when disagreeing.

          1. He and I get along for some reason–possibly our shared love of Strangers With Candy–so we are civil to one another when disagreeing.
            I assumed your weakness for the MNG was because his name reminds you of word ‘mung.’

      2. Well, there’s rarely going to be 100% agreement on any matter, there’s always some experts who buck any consensus. One has to ask oneself whether it’s more rational to go with the larger group of experts or some minority.

        As for the lying I think many folks just can’t conclude that a claim is false simply because some proponents of it lied to advance that claim. I read a lot of Stephen Gould and he writes quite a bit about scientists who engaged in questionable practices to advance scientific claims, many of which were actually true and did not need lying to ultimately win the day. The % of experts involved in shady defenses of the AGW claim is such a small subset of the total number of experts defending that claim that denying it based on their actions would be like concluding all libertarians are racists by pointing to Ron Paul’s newsletters (before anyone has a fit, I don’t make that conclusion, it would be a stupid one, and that’s my point).

        And I submit to you that the reason why “statist” solutions to AGW predominate could be that non-statists have chosen to fight the truth of AGW rather than offer up alternatives that better protect freedom. Ron B sometimes does this quite well.

        I’m opposed to most of the major “statist” solutions I’ve heard about (carbon taxes, cap and trade). To be honest I’d like to just wait a bit and let people continue to realize AGW is a problem and voluntarily alter their lifestyles. The market has already jumped on this offering everything from hybrid cars to carbon neutral beer.

    2. I generally agree with you, and that is why most people here will yell COASE! at you, every time you bring the subject up. It’s also why Ron Bailey favors a flat carbon tax.

      The problem is: First, this would hardly be the first time in history that some sort of apocalyptic disaster scenario has been used to justify the expansion of state power, resulting is some rather unpleasant results.

      Second, the most prominent advocates of AGW thoery miraculously seem to be the exact same people as those who want to expand the power of the state, for sundrey reasons completely unrelated to global warming. And whom have wanted to do so since long before global warming is even an issue.

      It’s not completely insane to suspect that said statists have perhaps latched onto this particular theory, and promoted it, because it just happens to provide a convenient means to seize the power they have always desires.

      1. Hazel, how would you apply Coase to this situation? Either you would need 6,500,000,000^2/2 lawsuits, or some sort of group settlement that would end up looking a lot like a carbon tax or cap-and-trade.

        And isn’t odd that the prominent deniers of a literal mountain of science seem to be the exact same people who want to destroy the power of the state, for sundrey reasons completely unrelated to global warming?

        Which do you think is more plausible: the vast majority of scientists are crazy liberals who brilliantly hatched this scheme over a century ago as part of our plan for world dominance, or that the small cadre of “skeptical” scientists with real credentials consists of a few hard-core conservatives who let their politics trump the data.

        1. Coase is not lawsuits: Coase is the exact opposite of lawsuits.

          Lawsuits are based on new circumstances upsetting a predetermined concrete understanding of property rights. Coase is based on letting the property rights be whatever they appear to be and of allowing those presumptive rights to be bought off.

          Similarly, the group settlement under Coase after applying it to global warming would be the opposite of a tax: Those who felt aggrieved by carbon emissions would pay those who emitted not to emit. That’s Coase.

          Of course, there are complexities when the allegedly aggrieved are our progeny. But as you know, I think they would pay us a lot if they could to prevent our wrecking their economy for the sake of a couple degrees warming.

          1. This is of course why Coase is nutty to apply to this. According to this thinking if you dumped sewage onto my front yard every day I should have to pay you to stop.

            1. But the dumping of sewage is a well known problem with well known remedies and long settled property rights.

              The burning of carbon is not any of these. It is exactly the sort of problem where Coase is best applied. Do not presume a prior allocation of the right to emit CO2, but rather let the players themselves determine the best future allocation of the right and the complementary payoff.

        2. Opposing cap-and-trade because you oppose state power is not the same thing as favoring cap-and-trade because you want the state to redistribute wealth.

          The difference is that libertarians are open about not liking government power, and opposing it on principle, in a consistent way. Leftists are liars who cynically pretend to care about global warming so as to have an excuse to implement central planning.

          It’s the difference between having a hidden agenda and NOT having one.

  17. When you think about it, Obama’s “green jobs” nonsense mirrors his health care package pitch. Everything for everybody will all get better and nobody will have to scarifice anything and we can all save money at the same time. Who could be against that?

    If I want completely unrealistic fantasy, I’ll go to the porn or comic book store. I really don’t appreciate hearing it from politicians claiming that it’s reality.

    TANSTAAFL. Only delusional boobs like Chad believe there is.

  18. I’d just like to express my admiration here for the artist who does Chad. He truly rivals Neil/Cesar. Statements like

    No, fossil fuels are less efficient. You are just doing failing to account for the 1% efficient photosynthesis step that occured millions of years ago.

    are just…beautiful. We’re privileged to be witnessing a master griefer at the height of his powers, something I haven’t seen in a long time. Pure poetry. It’s like watching Michael Jordan take over a game or one of those World’s Strongest Men dudes effortlessly lifting a platform full of wet t-shirt contestants. Beautiful.

    1. He truly rivals Neil/Cesar.

      I’m going to have to disagree here, you vacuous dimwit. The Chad character lacks something that Neil had: humor. I get that “Chad” is about infuriating people with his arrogant statements and supremely confident assumptions. I get it. But it’s just no fun, at least not for me. I enjoyed engaging Neil, even when I was positive he was performance art, because, well, it was fun.

      Chad and Tony utterly lack that element that Neil had so well. I’m assuming that Cesar’s performance style was what made that happen. Maybe not; maybe that was just part of the Neil character and he’s behind Chad, but made the character very different.

      I’m not knocking the skill of Chad’s puppetmaster; don’t get me wrong. It’s just that he’s no fucking fun.

      1. No fun? Au contraire, you semen-encrusted jackalope. Read the statement I quoted and try not to laugh.

        If Neil was more fun, it’s because rednecks are inherently funnier than uptight liberals. Think of Hank Hill vs. whatever the name was of the obnoxious hippie dad on Mike Judge’s last godawful piece of shit show. Chad’s as fun as he can be, but that’s not the point.

        1. While you are somewhat correct, my flatulent, corpulent, incontinent friend, that a redneck is funnier than an uptight liberal; that is not the only difference that made Neil more fun.

          Chad’s relatively careful grammar and phrasing isn’t even remotely as interesting as Neil’s neocon micro-talking-points punctuated with “lol”s. Do you not remember him saying things like this?

          Again, I get what Chad’s creator is going for. I really do. But I just find this character inherently less enjoyable than Neil.

          Can one do a character who is an obnoxious arrogant leftist and have it be fun? Good question. I’d love to see someone pull it off.

          1. Can one do a character who is an obnoxious arrogant leftist and have it be fun?

            If I had any skill, I’d have to give it a try. Of the existing ones, Juanita might come the closest if only her owner would let her talk in non-drug threads.

            1. Juanita is too obvious as well.

              It’s not easy to do this well, which is why I have a tremendous respect for Cesar and once again call for him to come back as himself and get the praise he deserves. But in any case, I think one has to have the right mentality to be a sockpuppetmaster, and people like you or me do not have that mentality.

              1. The reason Chad isn’t funny is because he resembles too closely people who have actual power.

                1. Yeah, but you can say that about Juanita too.

          2. Cat fight! Cat fight!

    2. It is good. I almost feel like I’m talking to real, live lefty, fully armed with Hyperolberman and Madcow talking points. The only problem is that it sometimes gets confused and has Tony talking like Chode and Chode like Tony.

      Is a little consistancy too much to ask?

      1. My suggestion to Chad’s creator is to lighten him up a little. The relentless uber-serious lefty shtick is effective, but also robotic. Neil would talk about things other than politics. Even joe, who we must assume was a real person, would often joke with us about non-political matters. You want that sockpuppet to really sing? Make it a little more human.

        As for Tony, well, two of them is too many. I’d just retire the Tony.

        1. And anonymity bot has proven to us that an automaton can have a personality:

          “It all sounds kinda crazy to me dude, I mean seriously.

          jess
          http://www.anonymous-web.es.tc

          The creator of anonymity bot needs to reprogram Chad.mity bot needs to reprogram Chad.

  19. Just as the saying, it’s better said than done.

  20. I have to say that the out-and-out dishonesty in making everything undesirable an “unaccounted-for cost” is genius.

  21. Fundamental research can eventually have huge payoffs for society. Narrowly targeted research to achieve specific goals can be a big waste.

    For example, in the 1800’s, when France needed rapid military communication, it built a huge optical semaphore line at great expense,
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semaphore_line

    Who could have guessed that just a few dollars studying the interactions between electricity and magnetism would lead to radio (and television, etc)? And not a single one of these few dollars came from any government.

    Today, investments in green technology could go either way. With politicians at the helm, I’m afraid we’ll end up with the equivalent of a huge, expensive, and useless semaphore line. But don’t let well-deserved cynicism about government blind you to the eventual benefits of basic research. The trick is funding it intelligently. But I’m clueless how that trick might be done.

    1. Fundamental research? You mean that wicked stuff done by the gub’ment? Can’t have that here in libertarian country.

      1. Because the only organization that knows how to read and write research reports is government. Got it.

        And here I thought “research analysts” at banks and large companies actually did research that was relevant to making well-informed business decisions.

        You probably will object that private companies are biased and have a personal interest in the result of their research, and to that I reply, THAT’S THE POINT!

    2. The trick is called goddamn luck. Throw enough money at enough problems and something is going to vaguely work for a limited period of time. This has nothing to do with who throws the money at the problems, but rather the competancy and drives of the people involved. When you are driven by nothing but maintaining a steady paycheck to do nothing of overt value, successful results will require much more money than a passionate entrepeneur would require any day.

  22. Would it be more efficient to just DIVEST in marijuana prohibition? Isn’t marijuana in its various forms the most usable renewable commodity known to man?

  23. Thank you for your thoughtful and enlightening remarks. It’s comforting to know that the future of our country rests in such capable hands as yours.

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