Week in review – energy and policy edition

by Judith Curry

A few things that caught my eye this past week.

Lifting #oil export ban would save U.S. consumers an avg. $5.8 billion a year, study shows [link]

Jerry Brown Sent Letter to ‘Climate Science Denier’ Presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson…Pretty Much Proving the Dr.’s Point [link]  …

World Bank: Zambezi river #water management is a key element to develop #resilience to #climatechange: [link]

Interesting #climate update from @jonathanchait in NYMag [link]  …

U.S. solar energy is about to hit a speed bump [link]

World nuclear capacity set to grow 45% by 2035 [link]

Can the molten salt reactor break through? [link]

The world’s first solar airport generates more power than it consumes [link]

Shell Exits Prince of Wales Climate Group Due to Arctic Drilling [link]

Japan’s Energy Plan is unrealistic [link]

California Democrats cave to oil industry, drop major piece of climate bill [link]

Food foolish: Waste, hunger and climate change [link]

To help climate migrants, Bangladesh takes back land from the sea  … fascinating indigenous adaptation. [link]

Top Energy Security Issues for the 2016 Election (That US Presidential Candidates Will Ignore) [link]

Obama’s Aggressive Environmental Plans Splits Black Leaders [link]

Read about the subsidies that are driving forest loss [link] …

Indian exceptionalism and realistic responses to climate change: [link] …

IMPEACH!: GOP lawmaker looks to impeach @EPA chief Gina McCarthy [link]

Pakistan: World’s Largest Solar Farm Generate Enough Electricity to Power 320,000 Households [link]

Power utilities are built for the 20th century.  Why they are failing in the 21st [link]

Extreme Weather and Food Shocks [link]

Middle East Faces Water Shortages for the Next 25 Years [link] …

Climate talks are stuck in the slow lane to Paris- Negotiations in Bonn undermines hopes [link] A

Alaska governor to Obama: We want more offshore drilling $, more oil in AK pipeline; new natural gas pipeline. No AGW mention [link]  …

Is there a wind shortage in the US? [link]

Why policy ideas for climate change don’t work (lack of diversity) [link]

168 responses to “Week in review – energy and policy edition

  1. Arrogant selfishness in world leaders, fueled by well-paid but dishonest and self-serving science advisors, is the root of society’s problems today.

    The following document was posted on ResearchGate so scientists will feel pressured to publicly address evidence the pulsar-centered Sun made and sustains every atom, life and planet in the solar system and peacefully end society’s demise.



  2. Pingback: Week in review – energy and policy edition | Enjeux énergies et environnement

  3. Impeaching McCarthy would be interesting. As I vaguely recall, the Democratic House did something like this during the Reagan admin.

  4. “Middle East Faces Water Shortages for the Next 25 Years [link] …”

    Well blow me down! the majority of the highly water stressed regions in the study, are those where precipitation is less during *reduced* forcing of the climate.

  5. “Extreme Weather and Food Shocks [link]”
    “In 2012, the worst drought to hit the U.S. Midwest in half a century sent international maize and soybean prices to record levels.”

    Deep negative North Atlantic Oscillation states through the Summer months, the UK gets cool and wet under that regime. The majority of Summers through the next ten years will be much like that, some worse.

    • We’re used to it. It’s grim up North.

      • I’m a Geordie. 40-odd years ago, an Essex friend made his first trip up North as a roadie (possibly with Manfred Mann), and drove into a cold, wet, dark Stockton at the end of the working day to see huge lines of commuters et al standing miserably in pouring rain. He was shocked, everywhere was grey and bleak, his view reinforced by the rest of his trip, he was still shaken when he returned to London. Grim indeed. I spent three weeks in Whitley Bay in June 2007: wet, windy, barely saw the sun. (For non-Geordies, WB is a summer resort which in my youth attracted many Scots.)

      • It ain’t that much better down south

  6. “Most of the authors earned their doctoral degrees in the United States or United Kingdom, and many worked in the same institutions, including the World Bank and the University of California–Berkeley.” Wow an inbred group closed off to other ideas. Going outside the inbred group would make the IPCC harder to write. (Because there would be no consensus.) I am shocked, I tell you, shocked!

  7. The solar articles are fascinating. I have solar power as a supplement to hydro and nasty old fossil fuels. I like solar because once it is installed it is basically free power. I suspect that’s why a lot of people like it. The issue is always the initial installation costs. It would take more years than I will likely have left to recover the full costs of a total solar system and the problem of battery storage of energy for cloudy periods and short winter hours are currently insurmountable. Still I like solar.

    • tumbleweed

      Are you using it on your RV or is it located on a house? If the latter, roughly how many annual hours of sun do you get in your location?


      • Up until April this year it was exclusively on our RV. (All details here https://fulltimetumbleweed.wordpress.com/2014/04/09/adding-solar-power-to-our-rig/). It is wonderful for the RV giving us a lot more freedom. In April we settled down a bit and bought a house in Manitoba which is just below the 51st parallel. Summers are no issue at all for solar. We get sunshine from 4:00am to 11:00pm in June. December is much more problematic. Sunshine is only from about 9:00am to 4:00pm in Dec. Our power is hydro and there is little to no encouragement for us to add solar. No subsidies, no tax breaks. There are also substantial fees for “engineering consultation” and complicated approvals processes if you want to be integrated into the hydro system and the utility just tells you outright it simply won’t pay to add solar. For now, we are taking the RV south for the winter solving the winter problem. Once we can no longer get health insurance to go south (or the Canadian dollar keeps up its free fall) and we have to stay here winters I suspect we will move to a combination of running some things on solar and supplementing heating with wood burning which is feasible in a small rural area when you also own 152 acres of partially wooded land nearby to cut wood on as we do. I don’t think we ever go completely off grid.

      • tumbleweed

        Its renewable horses for courses. Over here in the UK our daft govt and its green cheer leaders have been pushing solar as if there is no tomorrow. I live in what is just about the sunniest part of the UK and we get a measly 1700 hours per year with light levels/sunshine falling off exponentially from October. Madness!

        The Govt does now seem to be backtracking on renewables but still refuse to build any grown up power stations.


      • The Govt does now seem to be backtracking on renewables but still refuse to build any grown up power stations.

        Maybe they could build them in Spain. It’s not that far.

      • AK

        Did you see my reply to you on a different thread a few days ago? It referenced what Europe is doing to build a power line to link together all the EU countries so renewables can be harnessed.


      • My experience is that solar panels will never be anything more than supplements until costs go way down, ability to harvest sunlight gets way better, and the energy storage issue is solved. My husband is working with a consortium of interested scientists on making a live diatom solar panel. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/biofuel-diatoms/
        At this point there is little to no real money being invested in the idea, I suspect mostly because our motivation is that we don’t care to be sending money to dictatorships, not because we are scared of the sky falling in due to global warming.

      • Did you see my reply to you on a different thread a few days ago?

        Yes I did TonyB. I had it in mind when I made my comment here.

        Seems to me a “grown up” distribution would allow the “courses” to be linked together for use by all the “horses”. Not to mention how Spain, Greece, and maybe Italy could benefit from solar investments in their area by more industrialized European countries. They need money, they could charge rent.

        And England, Germany, etc. could have more “renewable” power from areas better suited to it.

      • AK

        I am not against solar per se, just its inappropriate and very costly use in countries that don’t get much sun.

        Also, the storage technology needs to be developed. All Europe are in fairly similar time zones so night time requirements are a problem


      • Also, the storage technology needs to be developed. All Europe are in fairly similar time zones so night time requirements are a problem.

        I agree, although an immediate focus on solar plus CCGT would provide a substantial reduction in overall emissions/kWHr. And probably at a capital cost roughly equivalent to coal.

        For instance, as of 2008 (page 23),

        All of the technologies considered in this report have estimated 2008 [capital] costs of $2,100 per kW or greater, with the exception of the natural gas combined cycle plant ($1,200 see Appendix B). Nuclear, geothermal, and IGCC plants have estimated costs in excess of $3,000 per kW.

        If we assume 2008 values for CCGT and comparison technology, and assume that within a year or two capital costs for solar PV have made it down to $1,000 per kW, then fully redundant capacity, solar+CCHT would be roughly at parity with coal. This could supply full baseload power for the redundant capacity, along with some pseudo-dispatchable extra for sale on the spot market.

        Now for storage, as I see it, a combined focus on CCGT+solar would require enough dispatchable storage to handle the start-up and shut-down times for the gas. It might be feasible to build CCGT that could also “quick-fire” in open-cycle modes until the boiler could get up to speed. I don’t know.

        Assuming transmission losses didn’t make it uneconomical, pumped hydro storage in Norway or Sweden could probably be built for this purpose. If the investment in solar becomes very large compared to gas, daily balancing for some part of the excess solar would probably be needed. And, of course, intermediate storage times would probably enhance the value of the combined generation. These might also be Nordic, or, depending on the time-frame and technological maturity, might be deep-sea pumped hydro off the coast of Spain.

        Or perhaps, pumped hydro facilities using sea water could be built in Spain in locations otherwise not useful. But an advantage of building new dams with small reservoirs on existing river systems is that they might substantially add to carbon deposition. (If the methane emission problem can be solved.)

        What’s missing, IMO, is the finance. I would see an appropriate project to include building some CCGT, some solar, perhaps some pumped hydro for storage, along with acquiring rights to the appropriate transmission capacity. Being bundled, the project could turn around and sell a baseload commitment, which could represent the low-risk portion of its income. Then the remaining energy, storage capacity, and unused transmission capacity could be sold on the spot market.

        But until the appropriate financial vehicles and processes are in place, I doubt it will happen. Still, it’ll be a few years, probably, until solar PV is down far enough to make it cost-effective anyway. So there’s time for the instruments to evolve.

      • Ak

        All that you suggest requireS considerable planning and agreement.

        The EU is not one single entity and there would be huge disagreement as to what goes where and who funds what.

        Europe is committed to carbOn reduction but the cost to date has been fantastic. I Really don’t see much appetite for cooperative large infrastructure projects at present.

        There are considerable economic problems with some eu members and of course the migrant question is causing very considerable antipathy between member states. Germany for example seems to have gone quite mad.

        I think the high water mark has been reached for further European integration and for large scale reneWable projects. From a British viewpoint, Probably not before time.


      • AK,

        At the moment, Western Europe is already hopelessly dependent on less then dependable sources of natural gas(Russia/Middle East) and Putins old pals have been quite energetic convincing the usual suspects of the evils of fracking.

        CCGT to back up wind and solar just locks in the dependent on Russia/Middle East gas even more.

      • AK,
        I guess you didn’t read the report where the Green Energiewendt architect said that alt-E was destroying natural gas installations not just in Germany and Denmark, but in periphery EU nations to those two EU members.
        I guess a nice pipeline would allow this carnage to spread even faster thus enshrining brown coal electricity base load plants all over Europe.

    • basically free power
      what about the batteries? at the very most you will get about 1000 cycles if everything works correctly, which means 100% replacement every 3 years or so. Unlikely solar will save enough to pay for this, let alone the panels.

      • Well you are absolutely right but when I talk about the costs up front I am including that stinky caveat about batteries. They really are the limiting factor and only breakthroughs in battery technology to store power will make solar really feasible.

  8. Bangladesh building another New Orleans? Yeah that should work.

  9. Statesmanship vs Bureaucracy’s Dead Hand
    Samir Saran raises a strategic challenge facing the world: the grinding dead hand of bureaucracy and how to overcome it by wise stewardship:

    The ‘house always wins’ is a golden Las Vegas adage with a lesson for global politics too: unless we see strong political leadership of the kind being displayed by Prime Minister Modi and President Obama, the house – in this case national officialdom(s) and global bureaucrats – will prevail again. They will construct a new world order with words, commas and full stops, where nothing, not even the climate, can ever change.

    After achieving its initial laudatory legislative goal of cleaner air, the US EPA is now grinding onwards causing astronomically higher costs with negligible benefit. Where are the Statesmen/women to restore sanity and perspective such as raised by Bjorn Lomborg and the Copenhagen Consensus?
    (PS Despite Saran’s compliments, of all global leaders I find Obama to be a radical activist with the least understanding of climate and energy, nor having the wisdom needed.)

    • Obama to be a radical activist

      He hasn’t done anything that hasn’t been in the Democratic party platform for a while. I think he is far from radical and even more moderate than many Democrats in a number of areas.

      • Ben Carson is described over here as a socialist. Is that a US-lite socialist or a Euro type one?


      • socialist

        He is a conservative, Tony. I am not sure how someone could say he is a socialist.

      • I think you mean bernie sanders is the socialist? Ben Carson is more of a religious right type person.

      • That’s right. Sanders-he’s the Colonels son isn’t he?

        (just joking)

        Same question but with the surname changed.


      • Right, he is a self proclaimed Socialist. But I think he is more of a Democratic Socialist like you have in Europe.

      • So yeah do a little search I found that he did call himself a “democratic socialist” but he has also referred to himself as a “socialist.”


      • Is he a real socialist like the throwback to the seventies just elected to lead our Labour party into oblivion-Jeremy Corbyn (brother of weather guru Piers Corbyn?

        Corby in a dead ringer for a character ‘Wolfie’ in a very good tv comedy series shown here years ago . Here’s the theme song/opening credits.

        . Just imagine Jeremy Corby looking thirty years older as ‘Wolfie’-the Marxist hero- but still with the same Students Union politics.

        Of more interest is that the lead actor -Robert Lindsay-became very famous and in later years played Horatio Hornblower who was based on my towns most famous son Admiral Pellew


      • I just looked at Ben Carson’s web site on the issues. His top three issues are right to life, balanced budget amendment (good luck with that), and Education. He wants the Federal Government to butt out of education. Now as passionate as he may be about those issues how practical is it? Right to Life has been dead in the water for a long time. Federal interference into Education started with Jimmy Carter creating the Department of Education that Reagan failed to abolish. A Balanced Budget amendment? It wont happen. Now the conservative base may like that but that is three non-starters.

      • I think one problem with true Democratic Socialism is deciding how much you want to socialize and how you go about doing that. Besides health care, I don’t think that there are a lot of industries that should be taken over by the government. It would be insane to do it to many. I think the modern approach is to do it by regulation and by subsidies. I think that is probably the best way to do it. With people like Sanders want more subsidies and more or stronger regulations than most Democrats.

      • Joseph

        I read your link, thank you. He seems to be quite socialist in some respects and much less so in others. I think a further test would be to find out how liberal his views are on refugees. He cites the Nordic countries as countries he admires but Sweden is tearing itself apart over refugees


      • Tony:

        Is he a real socialist like the throwback to the seventies just elected to lead our Labour party into oblivion-Jeremy Corbyn (brother of weather guru Piers Corbyn?

        Very interesting combination that: ultra left-wing socialist activist who just happens to be the brother of the arch climate ‘denier’

      • Corbyn and Sanders have in common a lot of things that the conservatives don’t like. Mainly that there is no excuse for poverty in wealthy countries, and that so-called austerity should not focus on taking things away from the already poor in the name of deficit reduction.

      • Die besten und hellsten…


        Green of Gray, who should disagree with them? The study said progress.

      • Tony, I lived up the road from Tooting Broadway (Balham, Brixton Hill, Brixton Road, Stockwell, and, mainly, Vauxhall), and met many of the breed. Even let some live my flat, although I didn’t share their views.

      • David L. Hagen

        Was from democrat Detroit, became conservative. See: How Democratic-Leaning Detroit Helped Shape Ben Carson’s Conservative Views

        Long before Benjamin Carson was a Republican presidential candidate, he was a hero and a role model.

        For a generation of black parents, the retired neurosurgeon’s life’s story was used to inspire their children. He grew up poor in Detroit. . . .Despite his success, the scars of growing up in poverty left their mark on Carson.

        “One of the things that really bothered me when I was a kid was poverty. I didn’t like being poor,” Carson said
        . . .
        Fobbs said the discipline ROTC instilled, coupled with Carson’s Seventh-day Adventist faith, helped solidify his conservative views. . . .
        “Before he announced his run for politics,” McDaniel said, “he was considered one of America’s heroes and darlings by all the people.”

        That’s not the case anymore.
        . . . .Carson compared Obamacare to slavery.

        “You know Obamacare is really, I think, the worst thing to happen in this nation since slavery. And it is in a way, it is slavery in a way, because it is making all of us subservient to the government. And it was never about health care, it was about control.”

      • bedeverethewise

        Joseph said, ” I think the modern approach is to do it by regulation and by subsidies. I think that is probably the best way to do it. ”

        The effect is the same.

        Meet the new boss, same as the old boss…

      • Peter

        There is obviously something in the genes of the Corbyn fanily judging by Piers bio of activism which could almost be that of his brother


        Not one who would normally be thought of as sceptical . I haven’t heard what Jeremy’s views are on the subject.


      • ‘The Australian’ terday, Greg Sheridan on Jeremy
        Corbyn, representing a move away from centrist
        Labor to leftist ‘bitter ideological conflict in British
        politics, akin to that seen in the 197s and 80’s.’


      • Hi Beth

        Gee, thanks, it would cost 4 dollars to access the article. Mind you I am owed lots from your lapsed franchise fee for Thought for today….

        I had my hair cut this morning and as we have been taken back to the 1970’s I offered to pay a shilling, which I reckon was the going rate at the time….

        It is difficult to know what the labour party are thinking of. I think they were so traumatised by the election result that they have lost touch with reality. Activists live in their own little bubble and they think the world thinks as they do. In that respect his election has remarkable similarity with climate activists.


      • Heh, Tony, ‘ I’ll give it ter yer again’ …kinda’ like
        ‘ free beer termorow.’. )

      • Thought frr Today:

        ‘ Naychur’s feedbacks, a success story ‘ …

        -sans-trial-‘n-error, a recipe fer echo-chamber
        complaisency – ( ‘n werse.)

      • tony b, I knew lots of Trots, IS (no, International Socialists) etc decades ago, they didn’t do much except sit around affirming that Stalin was right in 1926 (approx – I have a vague idea that the Kulak genocide was sometimes an issue, but that was later), their contribution to current policy was that change would be brought about only by blood in the streets. (The Scargill view?) It took more devious lefties to undermine the polity via the school system, as also in Oz.

      • Joseph | September 13, 2015 at 1:34 pm |
        Besides health care, I don’t think that there are a lot of industries that should be taken over by the government.

        Can you explain what distinguishes “health care” as being best handled by government take over and not other necessities such as food, water, and employment for example? There seems to be significant discussion as to whether government takeover of health care is any better than private practice or even sustainable over the long term.

      • Well I am not advocating for a government takeover but I do think a single payer system would be more efficient than have the insurance middle man.

        I do think the government should do more to help people get jobs. If someone wants a job and can’t find one the government should help. I also think the government should be (and is to some extent) there to help them get the education they need to get a better job.

        And people do get food stamps and families get housing assistance and cash subsidies, so there are some necessities that are taken care of.

      • There are some negatives on the Corbyns. For one, I think Piers is a conspiracy theorist regarding the IPCC, and for another, there is a rumor Jeremy wants to reopen British coal mines. These are not good indicators for me.

      • jimd

        I have more chance of being elected prime minister than Jeremy corbyn has, but that would be a great idea to open some coal mines and fire up the closed down power stations that is leaving us very close to needing rolling power cuts in order to keep the lights on.

        All it would take is a cold winter, but thank goodness we won’t ever see those again will we?


      • Tony
        I faintly remember Piers’ name from the Imperial colleagues in 1971, but as compensation to the ‘ego’ met Jack Straw who was then president of the SU when he personally signed my union card.

      • beththeserf: Thought frr Today:

        Jessye Norman can brighten every day. Thank you for the link.

      • Jim D:
        “there is no excuse for poverty in wealthy countries”

        Of course how you define poverty does make a difference.

      • Vuk

        Do you remember Wolfie from citizen smith as per my link, it just reminds me of what a throwback corbyn is.

        Jack straw eh? Another dinosaur! but he is almost a Tory compared to Corbyn. Wonder if its true that he wants to reopen the coal mines? If so, the only outlet are power stations so interesting to see how that develops.


      • Yes I do. Tooting people’s republic, eh… a Texan some years ago ask a London cabbie to take him to the BM to see the Tutankhamen but ended up on the Tooting common.
        On more serious note we may get new labour London mayor now MP for Tooting, when the other resident comedian (the blond Turk) finally gives up.

      • Tony, I suspect that there’s only room for one deep-seated ideology in anyone’s life.
        I think the only reason he wants to re-open the coal mines is because Thatcher shut them down.

  10. Power utilities are built for the 20th century. Why they are failing in the 21st

    Can’t wait to hear what PE has to say about this one. Other than a little hopium concerning smart grids, no mention of load balancing, etc in the article or another question: Exactly how much will the initial investment in solar panels, batteries, and “smart grid” be in relation to the cost of conventional infrastructure? What about replacing all those batteries? What about all that, eh?

    • I’m a little rushed and don’t have time to read it first but here’s some quick hits on my first impressions. Upfront – I’m fine with utilities withering away when the time comes, for letting others provide services when they can, but with the caveat that when you rely on the utility for backup or other limited services you pay your fair share and do not force their regular customers to subsidize you.

      I think you are right Jim2 that the big issue is that contrary to what the link says, third parties can’t effectively provide widespread areas with reliability at this time. I don’t know what the basis for that belief is. That’s hard to accept as the demand for increased reliability is trending upwards with worries about cyber security, terrorism as well as increased recognition of the the cost and consequences of widespread outages. The author pairs the ideas that utilities are good at reliability with being bad at innovation. I don’t see the shortage of innovation. No single utility in the US has a large share of the overall market. Besides there are cooperatives, municipals, federal agencies not to mention other countries and all sorts of private installations. Some might argue it is the bigger utilities who can support the R&D which might spur innovation.

      The article recognizes that utilities are somewhat deregulated in the US. Noting that this was paired with disasters (like Enron) and that few states had retail competition seem to be interpreted by the authors to say such things were not tried, instead of more correctly recognizing that they did not produce the benefits anticipated and resulted in more problems than expected. The framework is in place for more competition as it is warranted. My advice would be to find somewhere that a “newer” model works and emulate that in a bigger area and with success let is spread. Don’t junk a working system for pie in the sky expectations for something largely untried.

      The article mentions “distribution” as the only thing that needs a monopoly. I don’t know is unaware that distribution and transmission are commonly considered separate functions which along with generation and operations provide consumer service. Perhaps he is lumping the two together or perhaps he is suggesting that transmission does not call for centralization. That would be a rather bold statement to make without some background.

      There are all sorts of niche areas that new innovative technology and processes can gain traction. Sending large amounts of power to large amounts of people over wide areas is a big energy density problem that needs to move from real solutions to real solutions. We should not depart from working systems for a leap of faith. It is odd to see people who generally have little regard for the power of markets expecting them to be magical in the energy arena.

      • Thinking about it, what bothers me most is that the article does not suggest the new model. As such it pretty much just stands to critique what we have with no viable replacement. At “best” it only serves to put down current practices and encourage greater intervention which will reduce “true” innovation and serve to push for more “control” causing more utilities more distractions by focusing the industry on untimely and ill-advised alternatives.

      • I know you try to be restrained in criticism in order to avoid the appearance of a knee-jerk reaction; but let’s be frank – that article is BS.

      • The article recognizes that utilities are somewhat deregulated in the US. Noting that this was paired with disasters (like Enron)…

        A version of the Enron market manipulation could be playing out in Europe, in slow motion, as the Euro grid takes on ever-more solar and wind power.

        As PE has pointed out before, balancing grid demand is difficult work. Germany’s version of the Enron game is to shift supply/demand balancing to hydro and coal generators elsewhere. As with Enron’s behavior in the California market, there will be few winners and many losers.

        Another tool for balancing supply and demand is thru demand pricing incentives. When solar/wind generation surges the response can be temporarily negative pricing to induce customers to consume more power rather than a uniform reduction in average prices. The ghosts of nuclear power advocates-past must be smiling at electricity “too cheap to meter”.


      • At “best” it only serves to put down current practices and encourage greater intervention which will reduce “true” innovation.

        How much innovation has there in the power sector in the last few decades? What incentives are there for innovation in the renewable sector when most of the power is being generated by coal and gas?

      • Joseph,

        Quite a bit of innovation.

        Conservation measures – offering to replace appliances with more energy efficient models. My fridge was replaced for free.

        Time of day usage rates – meant to encourage use during off peak hours. (Requires smart metering.)

        Net metering – to encourage further penetration of solar

        Multi-state energy markets to reduce cost to ratepayers.

        Remote metering – reduces cost of service.

        Smart metering – among other things, will improve a utility’s ability to restore service following storm outages. (Most people don’t realize the power company doesn’t know you are out of service unless you call in and tell them.)

        And this is the recent stuff. Doesn’t even touch on Operations aspects. Utilities have always been looking at innovative ways to provide reliable, low cost service for generations.

      • Timg56 (who I suspect was born the same year as me) give a good answer and as he says, just recent stuff. The last few decades would include the expanded adoption and improvement of the jet engine derived technology – which power CTs and combined cycle plants. No incentives, subsidies, mandates or targets needed.

        Computer controlled power electronics have seen widespread adoption across meany applications (HVDV lines, statcoms, SVCs) . Faster, smarter and more selective protective devices. Innovations include much of the current clean technology. Nuclear technology has changed considerably and improved considerably. Emissions controls technology. Underground transmission conductors’as well as overhead wires. A compressed air energy storage plant was built in the U.S. Look up Kemper clean coal and you might see that sometimes utilities go too far with innovations. A lot of pretty amazing innovation and development. Just because new developments are not always cost effective enough to be used more widely, it does not mean it’s not being done.

      • Sorry Jim2, you’ll have to read between the lines to see where I cal BS.

        I think the innovations made by utilities rival what’s been done with computers. Someone wanting to be obtuse could say they are just faster, hold more info, have better interfaces and are more connected and omnipresent than in the 70s, but besides that what’s really improved all that much? Current generation plants are more efficient, less polluting,more reliable, more flexible and operate through better, smarter, more reliable interfaces but besides that-has all that much changed?

      • And how much of the innovation was due to government regulation?

      • Another way to put it is what happens when regulations cause their profit margins to suffer? They try to become more efficient and innovative new technologies evolve to make processes more efficient.

      • Innovation due to government regulation? I can’t imagine that it drives much of the innovations beyond emissions, environmental and alternative energy. Nuclear has been given some assistance recently but it’s suffered a lot of pushback regulation wise as well.

        I don’t know if you have the impression that utilities earn a fixed rate of return so they sit back fat and happy – But that’s not the reality. Performance wise utilities are compared to each other as to cost, service and reliability. In many areas they compete for larger customers.

    • When I saw it was by Dave Roberts I stopped reading.

  11. Judith – I really thought this one would be near the top this week:

    USA Today – “Poor nations want U.S. to pay reparations for extreme weather”


    The redistributionists shift into high gear with politicians, environmental groups and other cronies salivating at the prospect for wholesale looting.
    Paris here they come!

  12. “Cities are engines of economic growth and social change. About 85% of global GDP in 2015 was generated in cities. By 2050, two-thirds of the global population will live in urban areas. Compact, connected and efficient cities can generate stronger growth and job creation, alleviate poverty and reduce investment costs, as well as improve quality of life through lower air pollution and traffic congestion. Better, more resilient models of urban development are particularly critical for rapidly urbanizing cities in the developing world. International city networks, such as the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), are scaling up the sharing of best practices and developing initiatives to facilitate new flows of finance, enabling more ambitious action on climate change. Altogether, low-carbon urban actions available today could generate a stream of savings in the period to 2050 with a current value of US$16.6 trillion.”


    • Having scanned the linked article, I see the same distressing (to me) tendency to not think outside the box that I see almost everywhere.

      For instance, WRT air conditioning, a shift of focus from internal temperature to internal humidity/temperature could easily save a good deal of cooling energy, while producing a much wider comfort zone. For instance, air at 27°C (~80°F) and 15% relative humidity is more comfortable for a wider range of people than air at 22°C (~72°F) and 60% humidity. The human body has its own, built-in, air conditioning system best adapted to warm dry climate.

      Still on the subject of air conditioning, an hermetically sealed self-contained unit using ammonia as a refrigerant, with both warm-side and cool-side heat transport using liquid water (with anti-freeze) would be more energy-efficient than the current system. Also cheaper, since the technology for water-based heat transport is mature and easily understood relative to the use of soldiered copper for freon, etc.

      Here’s another thought: for the dense part of the city, why not carry cars around on platforms with air-cushion support, and linear induction motor drivers. Almost all the energy used (except for air resistance) could be recovered, and with proper design the energy cost of the air cushions would be extremely minuscule.

      There are many social advantages to letting people travel around in their own private vehicles, if they wish, this way the energy cost could be substantially reduced, and most of the congestion eased (since the platforms would be automatically controlled).

      But when they get to the edge of the platform carried area, there they are already in their cars, ready to drive to wherever they need to go. And vice versa arriving.

      I could go on.

      • Getting relative humidity down to 15% at 80F would probably take quite a bit more energy than producing 60% RH at 72F. 15% RH at 80F requires the Dew Point to be 29 to 30F (data from steam table), which would require some innovation in dehumidification. Other problem is that 15% RH is too dry for many people, with maybe 40% RH being the low end of the comfort zone.

    • In the cities people are easier to herd, coerce, intimidate and threaten by a government that controls a much larger percentage of incomes, transportation and housing.

      These same people may generate a lot of GDP but it still is used to buy food and manufactured goods created by people outside most cities and the number of people who create (makers) is shrinking while the number working for the government or living off handouts (takers) is growing.

      Just this week we were told for every 1.0 person in manufacturing, there is now 1.8 persons in government. The people in government and on welfare generate nothing that puts food on the table or decreases our trade deficit.

  13. From the article:

    Since 2005, natural gas producers have cut methane emissions 38 percent, while increasing production 35 percent. This impressive record has been accomplished through existing regulations and industry innovation. With further improvements certain to continue, we believe new and additional regulations are both unnecessary and counterproductive. This rule is simply not the best way to achieve our shared goal of methane emissions reductions.

    “Natural gas producers will continue reducing methane emissions regardless of this proposal. Not only do we have an incentive to capture methane – it is the product we sell – but our track record of efficiency improvement and innovation are what drives the environmental, economic and energy security benefits of natural gas. A collaborative approach will bring greater reductions more quickly than new and unnecessary regulation.”


    • If you want to let the EPA know what you think about methane regs, here’s the email and subject needed. …

      Subject: Attention Docket ID No. EPA–HQ–OAR–2010-0505

      U.S. Envrionmental Protection Agency


  14. Green(?) Germany to produce more oil??
    From the article:

    Wintershall Holding GMBH is taking a hard look at old fields in southern Germany.

    The company said it completed two exploratory wells in Bedernau and Lauben fields in the state of Bavaria. In the next 6 months, Wintershall will determine whether “resuming traditional oil production” is commercially feasible.

    Also in Bavaria, Wintershall plans to drill at least one well in 2016 in Aitingen field, which has been producing since 1979.

    The company also is looking into developing two old fields—Monchsrot and Hauerz—in the state of Baden-Wurttemberg. Production stopped 20 years ago “because it was no longer profitable.”


  15. Power utilities are built for the 20th century. Why they are failing in the 21st

    First…my local utility delivers me relatively clean reliable, cost effective power 24 hours a day 365 days a year.

    Mr Roberts uses the typical straw men arguments of people who only want to tell one side of the electric utility challenge.

    Utilities have fixed capital costs, fixed operating costs and varying marginal generating costs.

    Those fixed costs can either be buried on the per KW rate that utilities charge or they can be charged as a ‘capacity charge’.

    Most utilities bury the majority of fixed costs in the per/KW rates. Some charge a peak capacity charge. Others have verying per KW/hr rates.

    Personally I think capacity charge with a flat per KW/fee is closest to the reality of what really happens. The wind turbine people won’t like it because they can’t guarantee capacity.

    I suppose we could install ‘green smart meters’ which just turn off peoples power when the wind stops blowing.

  16. I used to like (and use and depend on) solar power before it became the centrepiece of green stunts.

    So if you lay out enough solar panels you will eventually produce more power than you use? Hmmm. (At this point, show photo of massive green-fringed acreage of solar panels under blue skies. You might find suitable pics in the same place you get those photos of power plants belching charcoal-coloured steam against angry red skies. The Guardian has plenty.)

    Clever kids! It’s such fun to watch the grown-ups stroking their chins and wondering what the catch is. Because the kids have most of the newspapers, mags and networks to play with these days, the bewilderment can go on quite a while.

    Silly adults! And to think they paid for the kids to get educated in “media studies”. Ha-ha. (Or LOL, as the clever kidz like to say.)

  17. “Extreme Weather and Food Shocks”
    I’m sorry
    once upon a time it was called … bad weather
    and famine
    this is what propagandists do, they make up new hyperbolic words to turn something normal into an issue
    what ‘extreme’ weather?
    it’s just the same shyte we’ve been dealing with since we stopped hunting and gathering
    our ability to feed people in the modern era is a marvel
    more twaddle from the NYT
    the alarmists are beginning sound like hucksters in an infomercial, just with a better vocabulary of 50 cent intellectual sounding words

    “You were scared silly of our famous all-natural weather? Hold, on wait ’til you experience our new all improved, man caused EXTREME WEATHER .. it’s certified 50 -100% ANTHROPOGENIC!”

  18. Jerry Brown is an ideologue politician and does not know anything about science to take part in the discussion. IPCC’s claims are based on determiistic models that are incomplete and mispecify causation. The consensus arguments are based on logical and cognitive fallacies including appeal to authority, base rate fallacy, propositional fallacy, quantification fallacy, existential fallacy, illicit affirmative fallacy, argument from ignorance, argument from repetition, fallacy of composition, fallacy of contextomy, false authority, false dichotomy, black or white i.e., false choice fallacy, appeal to redicule, appeal to pity, wishful thinking, appeal to nature, straw man fallacy, definist fallacy, slippery slope fallacy.

    • Those flaws aside, the consensus arguments are very convincing. Alternatively, those large numbers of people who have accepted them have taken them as gospel without examination or have taken leave of their senses. I incline to the alternatives.

  19. From the article:

    It will not be feasible for the US to reach renewable fuel volumes that the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA 2007) mandates in 2015 and beyond, a study commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute concluded.

    “The current level of gasoline demand, the blend wall limiting the share of ethanol that can be blended into the gasoline pool, and the lack of non-ethanol biofuels limit the market potential for total renewable biofuels,” the study by National Economic Research Associates (NERA) said.

    “Similarly, the current market potential for higher ethanol content gasoline like E85 and E15 is too small to have an immediate impact on the amount of ethanol that the gasoline market can absorb,” it continued.

    The US Environmental Protection Agency would need to use two different waiver authorities to reduce required volumes for cellulosic ethanol and for total renewable biofuels and advanced biofuels, as well as a general waiver for both advanced biofuels and total renewable fuels, to keep renewable fuels requirements under EISA 2007 feasible, NERA’s study said.


  20. What the West have in common, from the article:

    It is a humanitarian crisis. As Richard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations notes, it will not soon go away, for two reasons. First, the Mideast will not be peaceful anytime soon and may well become more turbulent. Second, “The more that Europe responds the more it will reinforce the supply of migrants. Europe is caught.” If it doesn’t respond with compassion and generosity it is wrong in humanitarian terms; if it does, more will come and the problem grows. “This is now part of the architecture,” says Mr. Haass.

    According to the U.N. refugee agency, 53% of the migrants are from Syria, 14% from Afghanistan, 7% from Eritrea, and 3% each from Pakistan, Nigeria, Iraq and Somalia. Seventy-two percent are men, only 13% women and 15% children. Not all are fleeing war. Some are fleeing poverty. Not all but the majority are Muslim.

    Reading the popular press of Europe you see the questions. Do we not have a right to control our borders? Isn’t the refugee wave a security threat? ISIS is nothing if not committed to its intentions. Why would they not be funneling jihadists onto those boats?

    But here is a problem with Europe’s decision-makers, and it connects to decision-makers in America.

    Damning “the elites” is often a mindless, phony and manipulative game. Malice and delusion combine to produce the refrains: “Those fancy people in their Georgetown cocktail parties,” “Those left-wing poseurs in their apartments in Brussels.” This is social resentment parading as insight, envy posing as authenticity.

    But in this crisis talk of “the elites” is pertinent. The gap between those who run governments and those who are governed has now grown huge and portends nothing good.

    Rules on immigration and refugees are made by safe people. These are the people who help run countries, who have nice homes in nice neighborhoods and are protected by their status. Those who live with the effects of immigration and asylum law are those who are less safe, who see a less beautiful face in it because they are daily confronted with a less beautiful reality—normal human roughness, human tensions. Decision-makers fear things like harsh words from the writers of editorials; normal human beings fear things like street crime. Decision-makers have the luxury of seeing life in the abstract. Normal people feel the implications of their decisions in the particular.

    The decision-makers feel disdain for the anxieties of normal people, and ascribe them to small-minded bigotries, often religious and racial, and ignorant antagonisms. But normal people prize order because they can’t buy their way out of disorder.


    • “normal human beings fear things like street crime”

      I guess one thing you might do if you really where concerned about this is start by pointing out the general drop off in crime in most industrial economies over the past few decades rather than some knee jerk linking of immigrants and crime. But then I guess the main motivation may not be to reduce anxiety on this issue.

      • But crime still exists and if you aren’t well-to-do and can insulate yourself from it, you become the victim; not the people that make the laws and create insane immigration policies like in the EU and US.

        Nice try, but I call BS on your attempt to cover up the huge gap between the elites and the common people.

    • Yes, the elites believe that their system of managerial multiculturalism will create a harmonious society even with mass immigration. But they deny basic realities and their mindset is heavily delusional.

      “But what limits the application of the concept of political religion to what is being described is its self-liquidating aspect. The multicultural ideology the Post-Marxists preach, as my book on multiculturalism argues, is a deconstructing venture, which subverts its own civilizational foundations. Above all, the emphasis placed on large-scale Third World immigration, as an ‘enriching’ experience for Westerners, makes it unlikely that those undertaking the multicultural experiment will preserve what the are building up.”


      In other words, the elites are going down just like the rest of the West. In all their intelligence they are simply too dumb to realize it.

  21. Moderation

  22. From the article:

    The risk that oil could fall as low as $20 a barrel is rising, with a persistent surplus requiring prices to remain lower for longer to rebalance the market, Goldman Sachs said, cutting its forecasts again.

    “While we are increasingly convinced that the market needs to see lower oil prices for longer to achieve a production cut, the source of this production decline and its forcing mechanism is growing more uncertain, raising the possibility that we may ultimately clear at a sharply lower price with cash costs around $20 a barrel Brent prices,” Goldman said in a note Friday.

    The sources of stress: an abundance of oil coupled with a scarcity of storage space. The bank estimates the industry added around 240 million barrels of petroleum to storage tanks from January to August. It projects available identified storage capacity outside China at around 375 million barrels and expects an around 240 million barrel inventory build outside China between September of this year and the end of 2016.


  23. So, for the price of oil, will it be determined by a race of filling storage or flagging US production. I think the price will go lower before production takes a dive. We’ll see.
    From the article:

    The IEA said it expected U.S. oil production to bear the brunt of a decline in oil prices.

    “After expanding by a record 1.7 million barrels a day in 2014, the latest price rout could stop U.S. growth in its tracks,” the IEA said. “A sharp decline is already underway, with annual gains shrinking from more than 1 million barrels a day at the start of 2015 to roughly half that level by July.”

    The IEA added lower oil prices were helping boost demand for oil. It said global oil demand is expected to reach a five-year high of 1.7 million barrels a day this year, before moderating to 1.4 million barrels in 2016, which would still be above trend.


  24. Wow, a trifecta of low cred articles.
    Up first: the EIA. Has the EIA seriously had a credible medium or long term forecast ever since oil exceeded $20/barrel? Why does anyone pay any attention to any prediction this organization makes? They do fine work collating data, but anything beyond that is just ridiculous
    Then, we have NY Rag proclaiming that the fall in coal use is due to environmental regulation. I don’t doubt there’s some factor, but I thought it was quite clear that the primary reason was the fall in natural gas prices due to fracking. It sure ain’t carbon emissions taxes or what not.
    Then we have the usual breathless crap about solar sufficiency…of an airport!
    I’m sure all those jets are using electric motors… For that matter, India has this little thing called a monsoon. Months of rain. Wonder how much electricity will this airport solar install generate then.

    • Well, ticketstopper, obviously they will charge up several quite large banks of batteries to see them over the wet season. No-brainer (no, seriously, no brain … errr.)

  25. NewsFlash;

    The Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, has been challenged for leadership of the Liberal Party (Conservative, centre right). The leadership ballot is due to begin in about 5 minutes from now.

    Malcom Turnbull has challenged. If he wins, Australia gets a new Prime Minister. This will be the fourth change in Prime Minister in just over two years. It’s getting worse than Italy, down under. Turnbull believes the CAGW alarmists. He supports carbon pricing, renewable energy and has socialist leanings.

    I am scared spitless of what will happen if Turnbull wins. I expect he will be off to the Paris Climate change meeting to try to outdo Kevin Rudd’s attempt to lead the world at the Copenhagen climate conference, as well as outdo Obama, UK, Germany, etc as being the leaders of the Greens and loony Left.

    I’ll let you know the result as soon as its announced.

    I may need a hell of a lot of sympathy. I may need to be offered refugee status in another country. Any offers :)

    • Peter, try swapping with a Syrian.

      I’m not a Turnbull fan, and I disagree with him on many issues, but his challenge statement was far more likely to garner support than anything Abbott has said recently. Yet again, not a team player. Perhaps the PM well went dry after Howard.

    • Pah!

      Outdo the UK in climate change matters? He will need to get in some very serious training if he is to do anything more than look enviously into the Parisian carbon room where the serious players will be pontificating.


      • Turnbull’s initial statement on climate is that he was involved in and fully supports the government’s current position and policies (part of which was written by my daughter).

      • Tony b

        You asked:

        I heard the news but know nothing of him. A bio please?

        Malcolm Turnbull was Minister for the Environment in the Howard Government.

        He started the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target. He also started the massive subsidies for solar PV with $8000/kw subsidy for home owners (on top of the 60c/kWh Feed in Tariffs)

        He endorsed the Zero Carbon Australia by 2020 plan https://bze.org.au/zero-carbon-australia-2020 . This required making all transport electric (electric buses, trains, cars) and all electricity would be from renewable energy (by 2020!). And there’d be no domestic air travel. It would be replaced by electric trains (e.g. 4 days to get from Sydney to Perth). It required enormous solar thermal power stations. These would be backed up by burning crop waste. Electric trains would run around the grain growing areas of Australia collecting wheat stalks and taking them to the solar power stations to burn during extended days of low sunshine.

        He’s gullible, a risk taker, and not politically savvy.

        But he’s had a very successful carer as a lawyer, financial wizard, and business ma. He’s good at that. And very articulate … but does tend to go on a bit – if you get what I mean. He also thinks no one on the planet is as smart as he is.

      • Peter Lang

        He also thinks no one on the planet is as smart as he is.

        Don’t they all?

    • I’m sorry to hear this about Australia. For a while, there appeared to be a ray of light/hope. But, alas …

      • Jim2

        don’t worry, as the skies darken over Oz, the skies are clearing over the UK as David Cameron strives to get rid of ‘the green cr*p’ (that he and his predecessors created)

        Subsidies for solar and wind have been slashed although we could do with a few new grown up power stations.

        Presumably now that Beth, Mosomoso and Peter et al are front rank greenies, they will want to change the arguments they have been using here?


      • Jim2,

        At least we’re better off with a Conservative coalition government than with Labor who have turned hard Left and totally incompetent. Most of the party members are centre right to conservative, so they will not support Turnbull going too far out with his beliefs in: CAGW, carbon pricing, renewable energy, gay marriage, change Australia to a republic, and more.

      • jim2, Turnbull had to lock into existing climate policies to garner sufficient support. I don’t think he can afford to backtrack.

      • Michael,

        He’ll back track, bit by bit over time. Just watch. Look at his record. CAGW is one of his most deeply held beliefs, as are carbon pricing, renewable energy and the other things I mentioned. The real question is whether the conservatives in the party can slow him long enough until the next leadership change. He’ll appoint a cabinet that agrees with him and supports him and he’ll put pressure on the party members to come on board or have their ambitions for cabinet positions curtailed.

      • So … the next leadership change should be … oh … right around November, I’m guessing.

  26. Turnbull PM, Bishop deputy. 54-44, 70-30.

  27. Malcolm Turnbull is Australia’s new Prime Minister. Oh dear.

  28. richardswarthout


    Recommend Michigan. Beautiful landscapes and lakes, and friendly people. Much better than Florida. I was in Florida recently and found ugly beaches, rude drivers, and foul weather.


    • Hope rud doesn’t see this, as doesn’t he live there?


      • Tony, Florida permanent residence because no state income tax. But hardly ‘live there’. Spend more time in the Georgia Appalachian mountains, Chicago, or the hinterlands of Wisconsin. Spent the last 6 months of 2014 in Chicago/Wisconsin, for example.
        Richard, my Fort Lauderdale beach is beautiful–but semi-private. Our rude drivers are mostly retirees from New York and New Jersey. They bring their attitude with them. Not only driving… And yes, the weather in Fort Lauderdale is ‘foul’ from mid May to mid October. ’90’s-90’s’. >90F, and >90% relative humidity, most every day. With thunderstorms almost every afternoon guaranteed. But, from October to May the compare/contrast to Chicago is quite something to behold. Now, a few winter weeks of hunting, country skiing and snowmobiling in Wisconsin suffices. Then back to the beach, the reef snorkeling, the surfing, the golf…and even more rude snowbirds.
        BTW, Michigan is lovely. But the closest class 4 trout streams to Chicago are in the Wisconsin Uplands, half the drive time to upper Michigan. Hence the long ago choice based on a life long passion for fly fishing.

      • Rud

        As a fly fisherman you will no doubt be horrified by the latest subsidised green madness to put a 190 ,000 panel solar farm right next to the world famous River Test.


        This in an area with a paltry 1600 hours of sunshine


      • Tony, your ‘shocking’ comment ices solar for me. Solar and wind bad!!! Trout and salmon (and smallmouth bass, and snook) GOOD. End of discussion.

      • Rud — Do you fly fish (e.g., bonefish) on the “flats” in Florida?

    • I live about 2 hours from Chicago in an area of Michigan that many people come for vacations. Western Michigan is a world apart from eastern Michigan, and it is really easy to find someplace secluded once you go North of Grand Rapids. The upper peninsula is yet another kind of paradise. Great state.

      Winter is another matter though….”amusement park in the Summer, tundra in the Winter.”

      • Go BLUE. Ann Harbough is a great college town and Michigan football won big yesterday.
        A great place but cold in winter. A couple of extra degrees at night might not be so bad.

      • DbG, yes, unless you also like outdoor snow sports. I like them less than before, but still like them a lot. It is just nicer to get in front of a cozy fire earlier in the day than before. Alas, ‘age’ does that eventually to all. But we soldier on.
        BTW, you must be somewhere near north/inland of Saugatuck? I did drive radii compulsively for a year, all seasons, weekdays and weekends, statistics, before deciding where to look for ‘HEAVEN’ back in the mid 1980’s. Settled on the Uplands. Am ~5 miles west of Spring Green (Taliesin for architecture cognoscenti), and ~2 miles south of the Wisconsin River, in heaven on a headwater of Otter Creek (hint, trout). No cell phone reception yet. Google Earth can take you there if you know the farm contours. Try a house and barn on south side of CTY NN, tractor shed plus corral on the north. An old stone quarry just NE of NN, and about 1/4 mile east of main complex, gated, my private shooting range. One acre stocked pond 100 meters to the NW of tractor shed.
        Now look at the deer and turkey infested woodlots. HEAVEN.

      • @Mosher
        I think you mean…Yoop :)

  29. for your link collection:
    We Knew the Future All Along : Scientific Hypothesizing is Much More Accurate Than Other Forms of Precognition −−A Satire in One Part

  30. From the article:

    Australian shares slipped early Tuesday, underperforming other regional bourses, following a change in the country’s leadership, after the ruling Liberal Party voted out Tony Abbott late Monday in favor of longtime rival Malcolm Turnbull.


  31. NM Governor Unveils New State Energy Plan

    Among other things, the blueprint calls for an “all of the above” approach to energy development that promotes the production of all sources of energy as a means of creating jobs, diversifying a key sector of the economy, and supporting our nation’s efforts to achieve energy independence.


  32. Another reason to vote Trump …
    From the article:

    Muhammad Rahim al-Afghani – a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay and Senior Al-Qaeda member – called GOP frontrunner Donald Trump an idiot and took up for Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)43%
    , saying McCain is a war hero. He also wonders why Caitlyn Jenner is a Republican, according to a recent Al Jazeera report.

    “Donald Trump is an idiot!!! Sen. McCain is a war hero. Trump is a war zero,” wrote al-Afghani in a letter from June.

    U.S. Officials describe al-Afghani as “a close associate of Osama Bin Laden.”

    “How can a racist run for president?” al-Afghani wrote in a letter, several of which were obtained by Al Jazeera.

    “At this rate, Hillary [Clinton] has a chance,” al-Afghani added.

    According to Al Jazeera, al-Afghani is a “high value” detainee at Guantanamo Bay and a senior Al-Qaeda member.

    He is an Afghan citizen and was first held in Pakistan by the CIA in 2007, then transported to GITMO in 2008, and is the last known detainee to be sent there.


  33. Queensland madness: from The Australian online:

    Qld govt introduces ethanol mandate laws 15/9/2015

    A MANDATE on ethanol in fuel will help Queensland transition to a clean energy economy, the state government says.

    NEW laws requiring petrol retailers to offer a fuel made up of at least two per cent ethanol and a diesel fuel containing at least 0.5 per cent bio-sources have been introduced to state parliament. Energy and Water Supply Minister Mark Bailey says the laws target fuel companies and regular fuels will still be available to motorists who don’t want to use biofuels. He hopes the mandate will stimulate the state’s budding biofuels industry.

    “It will support the development of a sustainable biofuels industry that can help Queensland transition to a clean energy economy, contribute to regional growth and job creation and promote the development of an advanced bio-manufacturing industry,” Mr Bailey told parliament.
    He explained that under the mandate retailers would also need to sell one litre of E10 petrol for every four litres of regular unleaded petrol sold. The mandate, which would be introduced from July 1 next year, would not cover wholesalers.

    Mr Bailey said there are also provisions to increase the mandate in coming years to drive investment in the biofuels sector. “This pathway for future increases to the mandate will also give time for market and industry to get ready,” he added.

    The laws would be analysed by a parliamentary committee before they come back to the house to be voted on.

    • Being green is a striving for thrift and efficiency…by always starting at the wrong end. Being green is an entitlement to waste, wreck and fritter in the name of a greater good which is not even a greater okay.

      Well, Great Cunn, I’m sure the ABC and Big Smug will be celebrating this petty conversion of food to subsidy and inferior fuel. They’re having a good day, aren’t they? Soon they’ll find someone darker or more female than Turnbull to love – but that’s next month’s fashion. The chortling man-boys and preachy convent girls of our “serious” media just want to seize the moment.

      To deepen the shame, Brisbane are in the NRL finals while St George are out. Where is God?

    • Why is it madness? IMO it would be better to require the fraction to be from any “carbon-neutral” source, But IMO it’s better than a carbon tax. All the money will go to producers of “carbon-neutral” fuel, rather than the government. And a 1-2% increase in fuel prices will translate to double or triple prices paid to those producers.

      You might not agree about the need to foster and nurture “carbon-neutral” fuel industries. But if one does, it seems a perfectly rational proposal to me.

      How is it “worse” than a Keynesian tax?

  34. It’s sad to see the NYT publish so much stuff that is barely above the level of Tom Steyer social media propoganda, buzzfeed style junk.

  35. From a recent George Will Column:

    Flat-screen TVs are made in Winnsboro, bicycles are made in Manning (the New Jersey company moved its manufacturing there from China), and five foreign-owned tire companies (Michelin, Bridgestone, Continental, Giti Tire and Trelleborg) manufacture in the state. So do Mercedes and, starting in 2018, Volvo. South Carolina has what Germany does not have — the world’s largest BMW plant, from which vehicles pour at a rate of one every minute. [emphasis mine]


    Are we benefiting from Germany’s folly?

  36. From the article:

    Sixty-two percent (62%) think Iran is unlikely to uphold its end of the deal that ends some economic sanctions on that country in exchange for cutbacks in the Iranian nuclear weapons program. Both these findings have held steady for several months.

    Similarly, the president announced late Thursday that the United States will take in up to 10,000 Middle Eastern migrants to help alleviate the illegal immigration crisis now besetting Europe. Again, no consultation with Congress was deemed necessary even though voters by a 50% to 36% margin don’t like the idea of bringing the migrants here (14% are undecided).

    The president’s decision comes at a time when the country is embroiled in a major political debate over immigration. Eighty percent (80%) of voters have a favorable opinion of immigrants who come to the United States to work hard, support their families and pursue the American Dream. The problem is far fewer (54%) now believe that’s the agenda most immigrants have in mind.

    Those opposed to allowing the Middle Eastern migrants into the United States fear that violent Islamic extremists will enter the country as well. Coincidentally, while Americans yesterday honored the 14th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, belief that the terrorists are winning the long-running War on Terror is near an all-time high.

    Most Americans agree that Islamic terrorism is now a bigger threat inside the United States, and a plurality (47%) believes the U.S. government focuses too little on this potential threat.


  37. duplicate moderation

  38. “improve how information is presented to consumers, borrowers, program beneficiaries, and other individuals, whether as directly conveyed by the agency, or in setting standards for the presentation of information, by considering how the content, format, timing, and medium by which information is conveyed affects comprehension and action by individuals, as appropriate;”

    Cass Sunstein piped up quite happily about this. Looks like he’s getting his Department of Information at least in some capacity.


  39. The House of Commons Library has produced a brief on the state of the UK offshore oil and gas industries, outlining the industry, the regulatory framework and key challenges for the industry. This is a link to a summary, which includes a link to the full report.

  40. Here’s a jewel of a statement (and I thought bureaucrats knew how to plan for EVERY jot and tittle!!)
    “You’ve got a set of unintended consequences that weren’t planned for,” said Richard F. Hohlt, a Republican donor and Washington lobbyist.