An Inconsistency On the Left

Russ Steele

I was reading KQED’s Climate Watch this evening,  which is my go-to-place to keep track of what the environmental wackos are doing to wreck the California economy.  KQED does a great job of tracking them down and reporting on their activities. Their latest report is on “the voice of the ocean,” Jean-Michel Cousteau.

Jean-Michel Cousteau is the son of legendary ocean explorer, Jacques Cousteau, and chairman of Ocean Futures Society, a non-profit dedicated to exploring, protecting and educating the world about our oceans. He was vocal in condemning BP’s Gulf oil spill and has frequently highlighted the link between climate change and the state of our oceans and coastline.

A native of France, he now calls Santa Barbara home and describes California’s response to climate change – its AB32 Global Warming Solutions Act and proposed cap and trade system – as a step in the right direction. But he also explained why we need to do a lot more.

“It’s an issue of understanding and changing our ways,” he said. “Creating new ways of serving our needs and taking care of the environment at the same time.”

He’s talking specifically about renewable energy and points out that algae are propelling US Navy ships and commercial airplanes. He emphasizes the advances being made in solar and wind energy and even cites a hotel in Bora Bora that is using temperature differences in the ocean depths to power its air conditioning system. All this without petroleum and its hefty environmental impact.

Surprisingly, despite his dives to examine the BP oil spill devastation in the Gulf of Mexico, Cousteau still had good things to say about Big Oil; pointing out that oil companies like Shell, Total and BP are investing in renewable energy.

And than I remembered this from a couple of days ago at Market Watch:

BP added its name Wednesday to the list of companies exiting the solar power industry. Read about BP’s decision.

It’s a startling about-face for a company that 11 years ago staked its future on its ability to profitably pursue renewable energy. For then-CEO John Browne, the decision was obvious. The era of cheap hydrocarbons was coming to a close and it was high time to address global climate change.

Leading the charge, Browne gave BP a greener logo and launched its “Beyond Petroleum” campaign, pushing into solar, wind and biofuels.

But BP’s (US:BP) commitment to the cause could also be seen as more of a public relations gimmick than a serious investment. While spending millions of dollars going green, it spent billions more on its traditional oil and gas business.

Meanwhile, the promise of solar power soured for BP. Once touted as the industry of the future, it has since become the industry of China, whose factories have flooded the market with cheap solar panels. Competitors steamrolled by China accuse it of commoditizing the industry. Others claim it is flat-out dumping solar panels in other countries to amass market share. Whatever the case, China appears to be winning this one.

I guess someone should tell “the voice of the ocean” that BP is no longer investing in renewable solar energy.  Maybe not, tell him that BP’s entry into renewable energy may have been a head fake just to keep the environmentalist off their backs.

Epic Greenfail, Omnibus Edition | Power Line

Blog Repost from Power Line:

The serial failures of the green energy agenda are piling up so fast and thick right now that it is hard to keep up.  It has got beyond the scandal and farce stage by this point.

Item: Turns out the Treasury Department was given just one day to review the $535 million loan guarantee to Solyndra before the Energy Department was going to go public with the splashy announcement.  Contrasts rather sharply with the months/years of review necessary for the Keystone pipeline, which doesn’t require taxpayer dollars in any case.

Item: A123 Systems, a battery maker to whom the Obamanauts shoveled $279 million taxpayer dollars, has filed for bankruptcy, after losing $257 million last year, and after having delivered defective batteries to the Fisker Auto company, concerning which, Fisker isn’t looking too hot these days either.

Item: One of Germany’s largest solar manufacturers, Q-Cells, has filed for bankruptcy—the fourth major bankruptcy in the German solar sector.  As my pal Ken Green comments: “It seems that the whole ‘subsidize green tech and capture the markets of tomorrow’ thing isn’t working out so well with the early adopters.”

Item: The German insolvency is spilling over to the US: “Solar Trust of America LLC, which holds the development rights for the world’s largest solar power project, on Monday filed for bankruptcy protection after its majority owner began insolvency proceedings in Germany.”

Item: Italy has announced that it will cut renewable energy subsidies: “Industry Minister Corrado Passera says . . . that taxpayer subsidies doled out to the wind and solar power industries had generated “excessive” investments in the sector.. .  ‘Italy has important goals to meet and even surpass,’ he said, but added, ‘we need to do so without over-reliance on taxpayer resources.’”

Walter Russell Mead comments: “I was still in college when the first wave of solar power enthusiasts started selling the world on the vision of cheap, unlimited power from the benign and eco-friendly sun. . .  And solar power is still a beautiful dream with just one tiny little catch.  The prettiest unicorns have a way of dancing so tantalizingly, just out of reach.”

Not to worry.  The One has promised us that algae fuel is just around the corner.  Probably in time for election day if we just give it enough taxpayer money.

via Epic Greenfail, Omnibus Edition | Power Line.

Gas Prices are Up and Hybrid Sales are Down

Russ Steele

I have posted the latest gas price results HERE. It is interesting that California’s gas prices are going up faster than US prices. Not sure why, but I did find this an interesting statistic, with gas prices soaring, the sale of hybrid vehicles are not soaring as drivers seek more fuel efficient vehicles.

Smart Money has more detail and some insight why car buyer are much smarter than bureaucrats at CARB think they are.  Buying a hybrid does not pencil out.

It takes years for a driver to recover that premium, often longer than he or she might intend to own the car. At $4 a gallon, they’ll need four to 12 years to break even on most average hybrid models, according to For instance, the best-selling hybrid, the Toyota Prius – which just recorded its best month since 2007 — costs $6,000 more than the comparably-equipped gas-powered Toyota Corolla. At $4 a gallon, the buyer who drives about 15,000 miles a year would need seven years to break even and start seeing a payback in gas savings. That drops to six years if gas prices hit $5 a gallon but rises to nine years if gas prices fall to $3 a gallon.

Experts estimate that gas will have to be over five dollars a gallon, or maybe as highs as seven dollars a gallon, before buyer flock to hybrids. Stay Tuned,  we are on our way to five dollars a gallon.