Human Misery of Hurricane Sandy Not Caused by Energy Policy

Russ Steele

One of my regular reads every day is Roger Pielke Jr.’s Blog, he is a moderate voice in the climate change debate.  He had an insightful look at the impact of Sandy in the Wall Street Journal. Hurricanes and Human Choice

Sandy was terrible, but we’re currently in a relative hurricane ‘drought.  Connecting energy policy and disasters makes little scientific sense.

Hurricane Sandy left in its path some impressive statistics. Its central pressure was the lowest ever recorded for a storm north of North Carolina, breaking a record set by the devastating “Long Island Express” hurricane of 1938. Along the East Coast, Sandy led to more than 50 deaths, left millions without power and caused an estimated $20 billion or more in damage.

But to call Sandy a harbinger of a “new normal,” in which unprecedented weather events cause unprecedented destruction, would be wrong. This historic storm should remind us that planet Earth is a dangerous place, where extreme events are commonplace and disasters are to be expected. In the proper context, Sandy is less an example of how bad things can get than a reminder that they could be much worse.

In studying hurricanes, we can make rough comparisons over time by adjusting past losses to account for inflation and the growth of coastal communities. If Sandy causes $20 billion in damage (in 2012 dollars), it would rank as the 17th most damaging hurricane or tropical storm (out of 242) to hit the U.S. since 1900—a significant event, but not close to the top 10. The Great Miami Hurricane of 1926 tops the list (according to estimates by the catastrophe-insurance provider ICAT), as it would cause $180 billion in damage if it were to strike today. Hurricane Katrina ranks fourth at $85 billion.

To put things into even starker perspective, consider that from August 1954 through August 1955, the East Coast saw three different storms make landfall—Carol, Hazel and Diane—that in 2012 each would have caused about twice as much damage as Sandy.

Here is a graph from his blog.

The graph above shows normalized US hurricane damage, based on data from ICAT, which applies an extension to the methodology of Pielke et al. 2008. The 2012 estimate for Sandy comes from Moody’s, and is an estimate.  The red line represents a linear best fit to the data — it is flat

So there your have it! Sandy is not the new normal, regardless of what the lame steam press has to say, you now have the facts.

H/T to a regular reader for the WSJ article.

ERC Board Meeting Insights

Russ Steele

I attended the ERC Board Meeting this morning have some short notes to share:

  • The ERC Board is looking for a person to serve as Executive Director. Interested persons should send resume to exec@ncerc.org. Or, mail resume to Nevada County ERC, 149 Crown Point Court, Suite A, Grass Valley, CA 95949.
  • Brent Smith gave a presentation on the regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy. He is looking for input to the CEDS, to include projects that will result in economic development and more jobs in Nevada County from 2012 to 2017.  Due date for submissions is third week of November. See SEDCorp Web Site for more details or call 530-823-4703.
  • There was a discussion of the impact that Prop 30 would have on schools. The part of Prop 30 taxes allocated to the schools is less than 40% and will only be used to maintain the status quo, no improvements in the current infrastructure or staff.  I was very disappointed in the answers to a question by the schools representatives in the room. When asked what the relationship was between staff and teacher ratio not one representative could provide a direct answer. Either they did not know, it was an embarrassing answer.  It is a question that needs to be answered. Where will the cuts from come when Prop 30 goes down to defeat? Cut Student services or Cut Administration Staff?
  • Robert Trent, Sierra Commons, announced the return of Tech Talks at the Business Ignitor, and the first Nevada County Hackathon on 1-2 December. Tech Talk details can be found on the web site HERE. and the Hackathon HERE.  If have found the Tech Talks most interesting, especially the questions from the audience and the ensuing discussion.

A Message From Mexico

Russ Steele

This came in over  the e-mail transom. What struck me as I was watching this video is that our past RINO Governor, after he signed AB-32 the Global Warming Solutions Act, is that California should emulate Spain, which is used as an example of how socialist leaders can destroy an economically robust nation.

Obama is Hiding His Environmental [Job Killing] Agenda for Next Four Years

Russ Steele

Inhofe-EPW Senate Report Reveals Economic Pain of Obama-EPA Regulations Put on Hold Until After the Election

On Fox News this morning, Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, exposed that the Obama administration has failed to comply with the law requiring them to publish in the Federal Register their regulatory agendas. The EPA has failed complied with its legal obligation to issue such a report every 6 months for years.

Senator Inhofe has sent a letter to President Obama requesting the administration adhere to its next statutory deadline. Here is part of that letter:

“The Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. § 602) requires federal agencies to publish in the Federal Register their regulatory agendas describing economically significant regulatory actions under development. The Act requires these agendas be published on a semiannual basis, specifically in April and October. It has come to my attention, however, that the federal government is not adhering to this legal requirement.” 

“As Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, which has jurisdiction over the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), my primary concern is with the Agency’s refusal to be open and transparent about its regulatory agenda. Magnifying this concern is that EPA, in what appears to be a string of politically motivated decisions, has “punted” or put on hold until after the election a number of economically damaging regulations, including greenhouse gas regulations, strict mandates for ground-level ozone, as well as guidance which seeks to greatly expand EPA’s authority to regulate waters of the U.S.” 

The last thing President Obama wants to admit to is that his administration is currently actively working to regulate traditional energy resources out of existence. As bad as the economy has sputtered in Obama’s first four years, you haven’t seen anything yet.

Last week Senator Inhofe released a detailed report that enumerates the slew of environmental regulations that the Obama-Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has quietly delayed or punted on before the election. As this report reveals, these rules taken together will inevitably result in the elimination of millions of American jobs, drive up the price of gas at the pump even more, impose construction bans on local communities, and essentially shut down American oil, natural gas, and coal production.

If you want high energy prices and fewer jobs in the US vote for Obama. If you want an economic recovery, lower priced energy and more jobs vote for Romney. Your choice! 

Carbon Cult Gets Free Passes on Unintended Consequences – Why?

Russ Steele

SOLAR Unintended Consequences (The Daily Bell) 

Solar Cells Linked to Greenhouse Gases Over 23,000 Times Worse than Carbon Dioxide According to New Book, Green Illusions … Solar cells do not offset greenhouse gases or curb fossil fuel use in the United States according to a new environmental book, Green Illusions (June 2012, University of Nebraska Press), written by University of California – Berkeley visiting scholar Ozzie Zehner.

Green Illusions explains how the solar industry has grown to become one of the leading emitters of hexafluoroethane (C2F6), nitrogen trifluoride (NF3), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6). These three potent greenhouse gases, used by solar cell fabricators, make carbon dioxide (CO2) seem harmless.

Wind Turbine Unintended Consequences (WSJ)

For years, the wind energy industry has had a license to kill golden eagles and lots of other migratory birds. It’s not an official license, mind you.

But as the bird carcasses pile up—two more dead golden eagles were recently found at the Pine Tree wind project in Southern California’s Kern County, bringing the number of eagle carcasses at that site to eight—the wind industry’s unofficial license to kill wildlife is finally getting some serious scrutiny.

Some 77 organizations—led by the American Bird Conservancy, Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, Endangered Species Coalition and numerous chapters of the Audubon Society—are petitioning the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to toughen the rules for the siting, permitting and operation of large-scale wind projects.

It’s about time. Over the past two decades, the federal government has prosecuted hundreds of cases against oil and gas producers and electricity producers for violating some of America’s oldest wildlife-protection laws: the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Eagle Protection Act.

But the Obama administration—like the Bush administration before it—has never prosecuted the wind industry despite myriad examples of widespread, unpermitted bird kills by turbines. A violation of either law can result in a fine of up to $250,000 and imprisonment for two years.

The Church of Climatology can kill 70 Golden Eagles every year in the Altamont Pass and fill the air with exotic greenhouse gases and still get a free pass from the EPA, CEPA and CARB.  Why are the Climate Cults not responsible for the unintended consequences of their  actions? Why have government agencies not responded to these ecological violations?  They go after oil, gas and power companies, why not solar and wind companies?   Why, because most citizens do not give a damn.

The COPs and CARB

Russ Steele

This is what happens when legislators give bureaucrats unlimited power and remove them from voter oversight.  The CalWatchDog has the story by Katy Grimes

CARB’s Clean truck month

Nichols then talked about how successful the new diesel regulations have been in forcing truck owners to replace their diesel engines with new ones at a cost of $50,000 to $60,000 each. Truck owner-operators who could not afford to do this have gone out of business.

However, the diesel regulations imposed by CARB were doctored, as I have written about extensively. Even with this information, CARB forged ahead with the program and killed a great many small businesses.

CARB’s enforcement arm

CARB has now “partnered” with law enforcement to ensure compliance. The California Highway Patrol has been ordered to pull truck drivers over to run tests on their engines to see if they are complying with CARB’s diesel regulations.

CARB calls this their “full commitment to compliance.” There was a great deal of talk at the meeting about enforcement and penalties.

Last month, enforcement activities were conducted at CHP inspection stations, border crossings, truck stops, roadside locations, rest stops and port facilities.

Additionally, there was a well-coordinated media campaign orchestrated by CARB. Board members and staff bragged about the 37 news stories done by television news. They even showed clips of a few news stories. These were not public service announcements.

So now we have the California Air Resources Board writing the news, and compliant media reporting it as if it is spontaneous.

The end result is that taxpayer and rate payers pick up the bill for this stupidity.  Our only solution is to remove the legislator that create the bureaucracies and reign in the bureaucrats hiding in their concrete caves.

#Greenfail: Obama’s Solar and Battery Initiatives File for Bankruptcy In Same Week.

Russ Steele

It has been a bad week for the Obama Green Jobs Initiative as two more companies with Federal Loans file for bankruptcy. In the A123 case there is clear evidence of how crony capitalism works. The government picks the winner and looser, and so far the Obama administration has picked more losers than winners.

Here are some details:

Troubled battery maker [A123] won private meeting and phone call with Obama, a trade mission slot and $250 million in stimulus money before it went bankrupt

Executives of an energy company that received $250 million in federal money made donations to members of Congress while the company was facing bankruptcy.

Even as advanced battery maker A123 Systems struggled for financial viability, it played the Washington insider game, where political money and access go hand in hand.

The Massachusetts firm dished out nearly $1 million to hire a powerhouse lobbying firm with close ties to President Barack Obama between 2007 and 2009, and two of its top executives made personal donations to several high-profile Democrats in Congress as it won federal funding for its efforts to build the next generation of lithium batteries for electric vehicles.

The company produced and sold zero batteries More details HERE.

But there is more:

A solar company that got a multi-million-dollar grant from the Department of Energy earlier this year announced Wednesday that it will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, making it the second taxpayer-backed green energy company to file for bankruptcy this week.

Satcon Technology Corp. announced the decision in a Wednesday news release. “This has been a difficult time for Satcon,” president and CEO Steve Rhoades said. “After careful consideration of available alternatives, the Company’s Board of Directors determined that the Chapter 11 filings were a necessary and prudent step, allowing the Company to continue to operate while giving us the opportunity to reorganize with a stronger balance sheet and capital structure.”

Satcon received a $3 million DOE grant in January to develop “a compact, lightweight power conversion device that is capable of taking utility-scale solar power and outputting it directly into the electric utility grid at distribution voltage levels—eliminating the need for large transformers.”

More details HERE.

When there is no market for your product, there is no hope of success. All the government grants in the world cannot create sustainable markets. Government mandates can create the illusion of potential markets but they vanish when the subsides run out.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.