The Biden administration unveiled a policy Tuesday evening making it cheaper for green energy developers to build and maintain projects on federal lands.
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced the federal government would reduce rents and fees charged for wind and solar projects on public lands during a roundtable Tuesday with U.S. and state officials in Nevada. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) expects the policy to reduce rents and fees by more than 50% when implemented.
With more than 25 years of executive experience in the utility industry, people tend to listen when MISO CEO John Bear talks about energy.
And the message he’s sending about electricity shortages as Americans head into summer is clear.
American energy providers are planning to invest hundreds of billions of dollars in green energy, even as such projects lead to skyrocketing costs for consumers.
Energy companies are projected to spend $140 billion in both 2022 and 2023, upgrading grid infrastructure, building renewable energy projects and preparing for electric-vehicle-fueled demand, the Edison Electric Institute told The Wall Street Journal, marking the largest yearly totals since the industry group began tracking the figure more than two decades ago.
The White House said Americans should pay higher taxes to ensure a rapid green transition away from fossil fuels in a report on President Joe Biden’s economic record.
The federal government can encourage such a shift through carbon taxes or a cap and trade system forcing an emissions limit on companies, said the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) report released last week. The White House added that consumers would continue purchasing “artificially inexpensive, carbon-intensive goods” without proper government policies in place.
The biggest decision the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is likely to make this year will be on mandated disclosure of information related to climate change and corporate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals. The Commission has been working on the issue since early last year, and a new proposed rule is now scheduled to be released on March 21st. The contents of that rule will likely determine the future direction of “responsible” investing in the United States.
In March of last year, then-Acting Chair Allison Herren Lee issued a request for information on the matter, consisting of 15 questions and described as a response to the “demand for climate change information and questions about whether current disclosures adequately inform investors.” The questions covered a wide range of topics, from how to measure greenhouse gas emissions to how climate disclosures “would complement a broader ESG disclosure standard.”
When the SEC first issued guidance on climate change-related disclosures for public companies in 2010, the standards were fairly general and advisory, but the questions from last year’s request-for-information suggests that the agency’s leadership is considering a more aggressive and prescriptive framework.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and soaring energy prices are a bracing wake up call to the West to abandon our anemic energy policies, which have pretended to be green but in reality have only shifted the dirtiest parts of our energy supply chains to bad actors like Russia and China. Western energy dependence on hostile powers limits our ability to preserve peace, to reduce our supply vulnerability, and to find the most cost-effective climate change solutions.
President Biden has acknowledged some of these problems, conceding that gasoline prices are too high and promising to do “everything in my power to limit the pain the American people are feeling at the gas pump.” But gas prices continue to rise, up by 10% in the last week.
One option President Biden has not yet explored is working with Congress to fix our incoherent domestic fuel policy to improve fuel efficiency across the board and reduce the amount Americans pay for gasoline. Currently, the EPA regulates fuels and automobiles separately, instead of as a single system. Automakers have the technological know-how to make much more efficient car engines, but regulatory barriers prevent them from doing so because they do not permit the use of cleaner fuels that would reduce carbon emissions and enhance performance.
President Biden and other White House officials dramatically changed their tune this week in defending their green agenda in the face of skyrocketing gas prices and Russia’s energy supply stranglehold over Europe.
Before Russia invaded Ukraine, Biden for months blamed increasing gas prices on supply-chain issues and pent-up post-pandemic demand for travel, deflecting questions on whether his push to move the country off fossil fuels was a factor.
Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine marks the end of the West’s Era of Illusions. It was an era in which Western elites obsessed about solving climate change because the climate crisis was far more dangerous than issues of war and peace and the stability of the international system. They even convinced themselves that climate change causes war, so climate change policy could double as national security policy; and, for many years, the annual round of kumbaya UN climate talks was the apogee of international relations.
In a BBC World Service interview, presidential climate envoy John Kerry expressed concern about the amount of greenhouse gas being emitted from the war in Ukraine. Kerry was just getting warmed up with a string of platitudes that show him as a deluded climate relic, unable to come to terms with the reality that Putin has imposed on the world. “Equally importantly,” Kerry complained, “you’re going to lose people’s focus,” as if the first invasion of a sovereign European country since the Second World War is an annoying distraction. Hopefully, Kerry continued, Putin would realize that Russia’s land is thawing, and the people of Russia are at risk.
Kerry concluded with an expression of pure self-deception, saying he hopes Putin “will help us to stay on track with respect to what we need to do for the climate.” Stay on track? Russia has never hidden its intention to avoid cutting its emissions. Russia’s second Nationally Determined Contribution, submitted in November 2020 under the Paris climate agreement, is to limit its 2030 emissions to “no more than 70% of 1990 levels.” The document is careful to avoid pledging to cut or reduce emissions. The 1990 baseline year was the last one before the collapse of the highly inefficient and heavily polluting centrally planned Soviet economy. Thus, the 70% limit actually enables Russia to increase its emissions by 34% – and that’s before taking account of any changes in forestry and land use that would allow Russia to claim credit for negative emissions.
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) will hold a roundtable Thursday to discuss how officials can combat climate denialism and delay, The Washington Post reported.
The OSTP will host nearly 20 climate scientists, social scientists, economists and engineers from across the country for the first-of-its-kind event, the Post reported.
“Clearly, we see tangible evidence of climate change all around us with sea-level rise, increases in extreme heat, increases in drought, wildfires, ocean acidification (and) floods,” OSTP Deputy Director for Climate and Environment Jane Lubchenco told the Post, confirming the roundtable.
Last week the Wall Street Journal reported that a shortage of fertilizer is causing farms in the developing world to fail, threatening food shortages and hunger. Ironically, the lead photo is of mounds of phosphate fertilizer in a Russian warehouse.
Modern synthetic fertilizers are typically made using natural gas or from phosphorous-bearing ores. The former provides the nitrogen that is critical to re-use of fields in commercial agriculture. They constitute more than half of all synthetic fertilizer production.
So what happens when oil and natural gas extraction are crippled in industrialized nations? One likely outcome is that the fertilizer manufacturing industry is also crippled, leaving both large commercial growers and smaller farms around the world starved of a key substance they need to grow food for hungry populations.
Present-day warming has been termed a crisis, and modern economic development a cancer. But what if I told you that much of the recent advancement in human prosperity would have been impossible without the temperature increases of the last several hundred years?
A key to the sustenance of any society is food security. Today’s world should be grateful for today’s relative warmth as well as higher levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels because both have been instrumental in propelling plant growth globally.
A review of human and climate history reveals a strong link between the rise and fall of temperature and the rise and fall of civilization—just opposite of what the climate doomsayers are telling you.
Cecilia Martinez, a member of the White House Council for Environmental Quality (CEQ), announced that she would resign Friday, nearly one year after accepting the role.
Martinez explained that she needed rest and wanted to spend more time with her family in an interview with the Associated Press. She was in charge of crafting the White House’s aggressive environmental justice policy which had been lauded by climate activists but criticized by Republicans and the fossil fuel industry.
“It was a hard decision,” Martinez told the AP.
In the current day and age, energy security is a prerequisite for national security. When America became energy independent in 2019, it freed us from the political whims of unstable countries. But dogmatic leftists across the world have made it clear that they will sacrifice energy security for their idea of necessary climate policy, seemingly undisturbed by the transfer of that security to communist and authoritarian regimes in China and Russia. As a result, the world might see a Red Revolution before it ever sees a Green one.
While in recent years the US has embraced its liquified natural gas (LNG) boom, European countries steered the other way, ramping down fossil fuel production and increasing their dependence on fossil fuel imports. They have justified this as a “necessary” sacrifice until solar and wind deployment catches up. They are seemingly unconcerned that Russia has become the EU’s largest supplier of fossil fuels, supplying around 40% of the EU’s LNG and coal.
Carbon taxes, emissions caps, subsidies – these all seek to reduce atmospheric emissions of greenhouse gases, yet regularly meet criticism and opposition. Is there a more efficient solution to achieving climate balance? Not only is the answer yes, but the potential benefits could far outperform what other strategies hope to achieve.
Most solutions seek to reduce emissions –abruptly or over time– or attain carbon neutrality by utilizing renewable power sources, but increasingly we hear that carbon neutrality is not enough. We must find new technology and techniques to reduce greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere, which will require meaningful investments in research and development. One solution is voluntary carbon offsets.
Carbon offsets are certificates for purchase intended to counteract operational emissions or capture legacy emissions from the past. This is done by paying for a given quantity of CO2 to be neutralized through investment in offsetting projects or technology. Whether the certificates are directed towards conservation efforts, renewable energy, or carbon capture or removal, purchasing carbon offsets provides one party investor satisfaction and the other party an infusion of funding intended to finance a carbon-reduction strategy. When purchasing high quality offsets, these serve as a down payment and incubator toward the best climate solutions available in the laboratory or in the field.
A California environmental regulator approved a measure banning new purchases of small off-road engines including leaf blowers and lawn mowers beginning in 2024.
The measure will also affect portable generators and recreational vehicle engines which will need to meet “more stringent standards” in 2024 and zero-emission standards in 2028, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) announcedThursday. The vote was part of the state’s aggressive climate program and goal to achieve a “zero-emission future” as outlined by an executive order Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed in September 2020.
“Today’s action by the Board addresses these small but highly polluting engines. It is a significant step towards improving air quality in the state, and will definitely help us meet stringent federal air quality standards,” CARB Chair Liane Randolph said in a statement. “It will also essentially eliminate exposure to harmful fumes for equipment operators and anyone nearby.”
Executives of major oil companies slammed the aggressive global push to renewable forms of energy and warned that such policies could crash economies.
Crude oil and natural gas continue to be key to the world economy’s health and cannot be discounted, CEOs of ExxonMobil, Chevron, Halliburton and Saudi Aramco said during the ongoing World Petroleum Congress in Texas on Monday. The executives agreed that climate change should be addressed, but not to the detriment of current energy needs.
“I understand that publicly admitting that oil and gas will play an essential and significant role during the transition and beyond will be hard for some,” Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser said during his remarks at the summit, the Financial Times reported. People “assume that the right transition strategy is in place. It’s not,” Nasser said, Reuters reported. “Energy security, economic development and affordability are clearly not receiving enough attention.”
Following his trip to Rome a few weeks ago for the G-20 summit, President Joe Biden expressed worry that surging energy costs would harm working-class families and urged OPEC and Russia to pump more oil.
Some noted this was a strange message to send to the world, since Biden was preparing for a climate summit in Scotland where he pledged to reduce carbon emissions at home.
Bipartisan leaders of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee vowed to continue promoting nuclear energy during an industry conference Wednesday.
Both Energy Committee Chairman Joe Manchin and Ranking Member John Barrasso reiterated their support for nuclear energy during the American Nuclear Society winter conference in Washington, D.C., arguing that an economy-wide transition to clean energy would be impossible without it. The Senate leaders added that the U.S. must produce more energy and avoid reliance on foreign entities.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters on Tuesday that House leadership plans to hold a vote on final passage of President Biden’s $2 trillion Build Back Better Act by Friday at the latest.
Biden’s social spending bill contains new federal benefit programs and about $550 billion for climate change initiatives.
“I expect to consider most of the debate, perhaps not all, but most of the debate on Build Back Better on Tuesday, excuse me, on Wednesday, today’s Tuesday, on Wednesday, tomorrow,” Hoyer said during a news conference.
Total global greenhouse gas emission levels hit a new record last year despite the pandemic-induced economic shutdowns and previous commitments from world leaders, the United Nations said.
“The abundance of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere once again reached a new record last year,” the UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) stated Monday morning after releasing its Greenhouse Gas Bulletin report.
While total emissions unsurprisingly hit a new record, however, the year-over-year increase between 2019-2020 was lower than the 2018-2019 increase, according to the report. Fossil fuel carbon dioxide emissions, the largest contributor to greenhouse gas warming, dropped 5.6% last year compared to the year prior.
Democrats have inserted numerous provisions and subsidy programs into their $3.5 trillion budget that would benefit green energy companies and speed the transition to renewables.
The Build Back Better Act would invest an estimated $295 billion of taxpayer money into a variety of clean energy programs in what would amount to the most sweeping climate effort passed by Congress, according to a House Committee on Energy and Commerce report. That price tag doesn’t factor in the other costly measures approved by the House Ways and Means, Agriculture, Natural Resources, Oversight and Transportation committees last month.
“This bill is crammed with green welfare subsidies, specifically for corporations and the wealthy,” House Ways and Means Ranking Member Kevin Brady told the Daily Caller News Foundation in an interview.
Energy experts criticized President Joe Biden’s plan to prioritize wind farms, arguing wind power is costly, inefficient and indirectly produces greenhouse gas emissions.
Wind energy, like solar, is often unreliable since it is intermittent, or highly dependent on nature and out of the control of suppliers, according to the experts. Higher reliance on wind to produce even a fraction of a nation’s energy supply, therefore, cou ld lead to higher prices depending on the weather.
“Both wind and solar have Achilles heels in that they’re intermittent,” Dan Kish, a senior fellow at the Institute for Energy Research, told the Daily Caller News Foundation in an interview.
Some of the world’s top emitters of methane haven’t signed a global effort to curb how much of the greenhouse gas is emitted by 2030.
The three countries – China, Russia and India – that produce the most methane emissions in the world haven’t signed onto the pact, which has been spearheaded by the U.S. and European Union ahead of a major United Nations climate conference. The nations that have signed the agreement represent nearly 30% of global methane emissions, the State Department said Monday.
The U.S. and EU unveiled the Global Methane Pledge on Sept. 18, which they said would be key in the global fight against climate change. The U.K., Italy, Mexico and Argentina were among the seven other countries that immediately signed the agreement last month.
On Wednesday, the Biden Administration made several unverified claims about the future of “green energy,” including the suggestion that half of all energy in the United States could be driven by solar power by the year 2050, as reported by Politico.
In a statement, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said that a new study commissioned by the Department of Energy showed that solar power “could produce enough electricity to power all of the homes in the U.S. by 2035, and employ as many as 1.5 million people in the process.”
In 2006, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the landmark AB 32, the “Global Warming Solutions Act.” Determined to leave a legacy that would ensure he remained welcome among the glitterati of Hollywood and Manhattan, Schwarzenegger may not have fully comprehended the forces he unleashed.
Under AB 32, California was required to “reduce its [greenhouse gas] emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.” Now, according to the “scoping plan” updated in 2017, California must “further reduce its GHG emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.”
The problem with such an ambitious plan is that achieving it will preclude ordinary Californians ever enjoying the lifestyle that people living in developed nations have earned and have come to expect. It will condemn Californians to chronic scarcity of energy, with repercussions that remain poorly understood by voters.
At first blush, it may not seem that the Democrats’ $4.5 trillion infrastructure and spending plans and President Joe Biden’s bungled exit from Afghanistan have a nexus. But they do in China’s rare metals monopoly.
Beijing already dominates the rare metals market needed for electronics, electric car batteries and computers, a reality made more painfully obvious with the current computer chip shortage that is slowing production of new U.S. cars.
And now with the haphazard U.S. withdrawal from Kabul, one of the world’s largest untapped deposits of lithium — estimated by some at $1 trillion in Afghanistan — is poised to fall into China’s hands just as Biden has ordered that half all U.S. cars be electric by 2030 and congressional Democrats prepare to vote to invest tens of billions of dollars more to push that goal further.
There is a growing push in the U.S. and throughout much of the developed world to convert transportation from a primary reliance on fossil fuels to an almost-exclusive use of renewable energy (wind and solar). With this goal come promises of unlimited clean and free energy, the creation of millions of green jobs, and the benefit of helping save the planet from an imminent climate catastrophe.
Electric-powered cars are now the rage. Tesla’s market capitalization is seven times larger than that of General Motors and fourteen times larger than Ford’s, though it builds a fraction of the vehicles that those companies do. Many politicians are even considering banning gasoline-powered cars within a few years in favor of electric vehicles (EVs), all in the name of saving the planet.
Joe Biden needs to put the pedal to the metal as he races toward his goal of ridding America’s energy sources of carbon emissions by 2035. But the president-elect’s headlong rush toward a green future may be slowed by a snarl of political speed limits in the states.
One of Biden’s most ambitious aims is to completely clean up the electrical grid, today powered mostly by fossil fuels, in only 15 years. Many energy executives consider that goal quixotic because it would require a breathtakingly fast transformation of the massive power industry — from replacing hundreds of dirty power plants to upgrading thousands of miles transmission lines.