4Q-2012: Continued Progress at MasterResource
MasterResource, which turned four last month, recorded its best quarter in history with 116,877 views, a 20 percent increase from 4Q-2011. We reached as high as #7 of 9,984 “green blogs” tracked by Technorati in the quarter and currently stand at #40.
With one in-depth post per workday, with occasional weekend fare, MasterResource is the leading voice for free-market, science-of-liberty thought in energy and related environmental issues.
MasterResource features many different writers, some academics, some think-tank analysts, and others citizen-activists. Some areas of emphasis and impact may be mentioned.
Inconvenient Truths of Industrial Wind
Literally dozens of our writers have made MasterResource a leader of the windpower educational movement. Turning wind into electricity is wholly government-enabled; even NIMBYSM that might be criticized in other contexts is justified given that government mandates and special, outsized subsidies enables the rural invasion of wind machinery.
Some familiar names at MasterResource on windpower issues include Mary Kay Barton, David Dismukes, John Droz Jr, Kent Hawkins, Sherri Lange, Lisa Linowes, Kevon Martis, Josiah Neeley, Nick Stanger, Tom Tanton, and Todd Wynn.
A clearinghouse for anti-renewable materials, MasterResource bills itself as a ‘blog dedicated to analysis and commentary about energy markets and public policy.’ Regular contributors to MasterResource include known anti-wind energy activists John Droz Jr., Lisa Linowes of the Industrial Wind Action Group, and — the only notable tie to IER — CEO Robert Bradley Jr.
The push-back against industrial wind (the American Wind Energy Association in particular) by MasterResource and other groups has bruised Big Wind. AWEA is being recognized as a crony outfit. Grassroot environmentalists are being heard. Calling the current renewable energy debate “pathetic,” the editorial board of the Washington Post recently opined:
Some of those who sympathize with the wind subsidy, known as the production tax credit (PTC), say that it represents a second-best approach to supporting green energy. In fact it is not even a third- or fourth-best alternative to a carbon tax. At a cost of $1 billion a year, it offers wind operators a flat tax credit for every kilowatt-hour of electricity they produce. No matter if the grid doesn’t need the electricity at any given moment or if the policy blunts the incentive to reduce costs.
After surviving for two decades, the subsidy is facing more resistance than usual this year. So the wind-power lobby is giving a little, proposing last week to allow the tax credit to slowly phase out by 2019. That would make the policy a little better — but still far from attractive.
Chip Knappenberger, who recently joined the Cato Institute as assistant director, Center for the Study of Science, has been an intellectual leader of the truth-is-in-the-middle (aka global lukewarming), and the-middle-may-be-good, not bad, climate debate.
Romm Polemics vs. Drought Science (December 13)
Carbon Tax: Climatically Useless (December 2)
Presidential Advice: Sea-Level Rise a Yawner (October 19)
In an era of record government spending and deficits, the climate-intellectual complex is an easy budget cut compared to human need areas. Just as the environmental community is now openly debating–if not abandoning–its futile, elitist, crusade against genetically modified (GM) foods, the climate community should reconsider the efficacy of windpower and, in time, the urgency of the climate alarm itself.
MasterResource principal Alex Epstein, the one-man band at the Center for Industrial Progress, continues to broaden the energy debate from green-is-good emotionalism to fossil-fuels-are-great logic.
“Improve the Planet,” the headline at CIP states, explaining:
For the last 40 years, so-called environmentalists have held back industrial progress around the world. That’s why we’re helping industry fight for its freedom, with new ideas, arguments, and policies that will improve our economy and our environment.
The homepage continues:
[We seek] … to bring about a new industrial revolution. We believe that human beings have the untapped potential to radically improve our lives by using technology to improve the planet across a multitude of industries: mining, manufacturing, agriculture, chemistry, and energy. Every individual has the potential for a longer, happier, healthier, safer, more comfortable, more meaningful, more opportunity-filled life.
Epstein’s debate at Duke University against Bill McKibben introduced thousands to a new voice of reason amid the emotional appeals of energy and climate alarmists.
Alex holds our record for most views in one day (7,104) with Vindicating Capitalism: The Real History of the Standard Oil Trust (August 29, 2011).
Cronyism, or rent-seeking by business, is rampant in the energy sector. Some posts that have addressed political capitalism in the last quarter are:
Exposing and eliminating corporate welfare is a priority of Right and Left, at least the New Right and the Old Left. A recent article in the New York Times, “For ‘Party of Business,’ Allegiances Are Shifting,” newly elected Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), stated:
Big business does great with big government. Big business is very happy to climb in bed with big government. Republicans are and should be the party of small business and of entrepreneurs.
MasterResource will be part of this effort to expose cronyism for a fair field, no-special-favor business environment in the months ahead.
MasterResource continues to identify and promote new voices on energy scholarship. One example is Travis Fisher, a libertarian economist at FERC, who has written a variety of posts at MasterResource on government-driven conservationism (vs. market conservation); the timeless wisdom of Frederic Bastiat and Henry Hazlitt for energy policy today; and rent-seeking.
If any reader has contacts or suggestions of talent who would like to submit a post, please have him or her contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can MasterResource improve? Let me know, and be sure to add your voice as comments on our weekday posts.
Appendix: Previous Activity Reports
Opening post/comment (December 26, 2008)