The American Petroleum Institute has put out its annual energy quiz. The interactive quiz will ask about 25 questions about energy and energy policy. There are no “gimmees!” I scored only 55%. See if you can beat me and post a comment.
Obama and the other advocates for massive new taxes and regulations on energy usage are claiming that their legislation will result in the creation of millions of new “green jobs.” Unfortunately, the reality is not so rosy.
As our friends at the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) write in their report “7 Myths of Green Jobs,” there is no agreed upon example of “green jobs,” many supposedly “green” jobs are simply clerical positions that are necessary only to handle the red tape and regulations associated with dealing with government rules, regulations, and subsidies. There are several other myths associated with the supposed creation of “green jobs.” Hopefully all 100 members of the United States Senate read a copy of this report before voting on Waxman-Markey.
With both anti-climate change and socialized health care legislation coming at us at the federal level, it is easy to forget what is happening at the state and regional levels. This is particularly the case with the Western Climate Initiative of which New Mexico is a part.
The Washington, DC-based National Taxpayers Union has written an excellent letter to John Huntsman, the Governor of Utah:
To inquire about the possibility that taxpayer dollars from states not supporting the WCI process, as well as federal funds, were used to underwrite this project against the wishes of several Governors….
These facts raise serious questions about the use of taxpayer funds in this effort from states that did not agree to partner in the WCI project – including Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Idaho, Nevada and Alaska. In fact, it is difficult to see how this was not the case, given the extent to which WGA time, staff and resources were spent to support the WCI.
No surprise that taxpayer money given to an unaccountable bureaucracy would be used to finance a push for bigger government, but it is good to see NTU on the case.
Last week, the Rio Grande Foundation hosted a events with John Charles of the Cascade Policy Institute. Among the points Mr. Charles made in his presentations was the fact that transit is not always “greener” than automobiles. After all, transit vehicles of all types are large and consume large quantities of energy both to construct (in the example of rail projects) and to operate. If these trains and buses are not consistently full, they will not be as efficient as they could be.
As if to second Mr. Charles in his presentation, Yahoo’s website today offered this story which also argued that transit is not always green. These are not the findings of a right-wing think tank, rather the scientists’ findings were published in the British Journal Environmental Research Letters.
Hopefully Mayor Marty and Albuquerque’s City Council will pay attention to this study before building a streetcar. It’s too bad Governor Richardson didn’t question the supposed “green-ness” of passenger rail before we got the RailRunner.
Water is a big issue here in New Mexico. As I’ve pointed out in the past, while New Mexico’s urban water users are constantly admonished to conserve and reduce usage, the real issues are agriculture (which uses 75% of New Mexico water) and simple inefficiency.
As the National Center for Policy Analysis points out in their bulletin — which relies in part on RGF data — increased privatization of water is a global phenomenon that can result in significant cost savings for consumers and a more rational distribution of water. Until water is priced at something close to market rates, we’re going to suffer from “shortages” and less than optimal water distribution which will ultimately hurt our economy.
This week’s podcast of “Speaking Freely” is now posted. Take a listen by clicking here. I spoke to Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute about the “cap and trade” bill which can be found here. Organizations like the National Taxpayers Union are rallying Americans to oppose this $2 trillion+ boondoggle.
In addition to the Ebell interview, I discuss the Albuquerque tea party and their efforts during President Obama’s recent visit to Rio Rancho.
I am told that the House Energy and Commerce Committee (chaired by Henry Waxman) is busily trying to get momentum to pass Waxman-Markey global warming legislation (still in draft form) through the committee (possibly even bypassing their own normal subcommittee process). This is obviously a tremendously important issue to all Americans, but especially here in New Mexico, a state that relies heavily on the 23,000 jobs created in the oil and gas industries (not to mention other natural resource intensive industries).
Paul Chesser, a colleague of mine in the State Policy Network movement has blogged about the Waxman-Markey bill over at American Spectator. The basic point Chesser makes is that Waxman-Markey would cost billions of dollars in energy taxes and lost economic growth with virtually no impact on the climate one way or the other.
A friend of mine who considers himself to be an environmentalist just bought a new pickup truck — I believe it is a Chevy Silverado — not exactly a small truck. He’s not in the construction trade and as far as I know he doesn’t haul stuff very often (I question why he bought a pickup in the first place).
But, he tells me, this truck is environmentally-friendly because it accepts ethanol. Well, unfortunately for my environmentalist friend (and others purported to be concerned about global warming), the latest study of the topic shows that ethanol actually increases the gases that supposedly cause global warming.
The study concluded that:
Farmers under economic pressure to produce biofuels will increasingly “plow up more forest or grasslands,” releasing much of the carbon formerly stored in plants and soils through decomposition or fires. Globally, more grasslands and forests will be converted to growing the crops to replace the loss of grains when U.S. farmers convert land to biofuels, the study said.
So, it looks like ethanol really is not an environmentally-friendly alternative to gasoline. I look forward to Congress eliminating it from our fuel supply soon….but ethanol really never was about global warming or even “energy independence,” rather ethanol is a massive giveaway to the corn and food processing industries.
Robert Samuelson pretty much nails it in this column. This column although originally run in the Washington Post, appeared recently in the Albuquerque Journal While Obama claims to be attempting to grow our economy and increase the availability of jobs, he is attempting to quash the development of those jobs if it means upsetting his Luddite friends in the environmental movement.
In summarizing the situation, Samuelson writes:
Encouraging more U.S. (oil and gas) production would also aid economic recovery, because the promise of “green jobs” is wildly exaggerated. Consider: In 2008, the oil and gas industries employed 1.8 million people. Jobs in the solar and wind industries are reckoned (by their trade associations) to be 35,000 and 85,000, respectively. Now do the arithmetic: A 5 percent rise in oil jobs (90,000) approaches a doubling for wind and solar (120,000). Modest movements, up or down, in oil will swamp “green” jobs.
In a move that is sure to hurt New Mexico’s energy producers and the nation’s long-term economic future, Obama’s Secretary of Energy Ken Salazar has named former Richardson advisor and Albuquerque Journal columnist, Ned Farquhar as deputy US Interior secretary for land and minerals management.
Giving a radical environmentalist and true believer in global warming such a powerful position in control of our public lands can only mean that the Obama Administration is going to reduce domestic energy production and further stifle economic growth as, despite assertions to the contrary, more costly “renewable” energy is shoved down Americans’ throats. Unfortunately, New Mexico’s biggest expert seems to be statist politicians and bureaucrats.