The Alliance for Wise Energy Decisions (AWED) is an informal coalition of individuals and organizations interested in improving energy & environmental policies. Our basic position is that technical matters like these should be addressed by using Real Science. It’s all spelled out at WiseEnergy.org, which has a wealth of energy and environmental resources.
A key element of AWED’s efforts is public education. Towards that end, every 3 weeks we put together a newsletter to balance what is found in the mainstream media about energy and environmental matters. We appreciate MasterResource for their assistance in publishing this information.
Greed Energy Economics:
July 28, 2014 No Comments
“More People, Greater Wealth, More Resources, Healthier Environment” (Part II: Julian Simon 1994 essay)
“The most important benefit of population size and growth is the increase it brings to the stock of useful knowledge. Minds matter economically as much as, or more than, hands or mouths. Progress is limited largely by the availability of trained workers. The more people who enter our population by birth or immigration, the faster will be the rate of progress of our material and cultural civilization.”
Population and Progress
With respect to population growth: A dozen competent statistical studies, starting in 1967 with an analysis by Nobel prizewinner Simon Kuznets, agree that there is no negative statistical relationship between economic growth and population growth. There is strong reason to believe that more people have a positive effect in the long run.
Population growth does not lower the standard of living – all the evidence agrees. And the evidence supports the view that population growth raises it in the long run.
Incidentally, it was those statistical studies that converted me in about 1968 from working in favor of population control to the point of view that I hold today. I certainly did not come to my current view for any political or religious or ideological reason.
The basic method is to gather data on each country’s rate of population growth and its rate of economic growth, and then to examine whether — looking at all the data in the sample together — the countries with high population growth rates have economic growth rates lower than average, and countries with low population growth rates have economic growth rates higher than average.
All the studies agree in concluding that this is not so; there is no correlation between economic growth and population growth in the intermediate run. [Read more →]
July 25, 2014 No Comments
“More People, Greater Wealth, More Resources, Healthier Environment” (Part I: 1994 Julian Simon essay reprinted)
“Adding more people causes problems, but people are also the means to solve these problems. The main fuel to speed the world’s progress is our stock of knowledge, and the brakes are a) our lack of imagination, and b) unsound social regulations of these activities.
The ultimate resource is people – especially skilled, spirited, and hopeful young people endowed with liberty – who will exert their wills and imaginations for their own benefit, and so inevitably they will benefit not only themselves but the rest of us as well.”
- Julian L. Simon, essay of February 28, 1994 (below).
This is the economic history of humanity in a nutshell: From 2 million or 200,000 or 20,000 or 2,000 years ago until the 18th Century, there was slow growth in population, almost no increase in health or decrease in mortality, slow growth in the availability of natural resources (but not increased scarcity), increase in wealth for a few, and mixed effects on the environment.
Since then there has been rapid growth in population due to spectacular decreases in the death rate, rapid growth in resources, widespread increases in wealth, and an unprecedented clean and beautiful living environment in many parts of the world along with a degraded environment in the poor and socialist parts of the world.
That is, more people and more wealth has correlated with more (rather than less) resources and a cleaner environment – just the opposite of what Malthusian theory leads one to believe. [Read more →]
July 24, 2014 No Comments
“Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne told the Brookings Institution audience in Washington, DC regarding his company’s 500e EV: ‘I hope you don’t buy it, because every time I sell one it costs me $14,000.’ The reason the 500e exists is to meet zero-emission rules in California and elsewhere that might impose similar mandates. The company’s plan is to sell the minimum number of EVs it is required by law to sell, at whatever financial loss the company must bear, and then not to sell one more. Marchionne also said that if automakers are forced to suffer losses on EVs in order to satisfy political policies, then the companies will be back in Washington asking for new bailouts.”
Nissan (NSANY-OTC), the manufacturer of the LEAF electric vehicle (EV) has been the number one seller in the U.S. The June auto sales figures showed that Nissan sold 2,347 LEAF vehicles, up 5.5% over the sales for June last year, although they were down 770 units from May’s sales results, which was the record month for sales. June marked the 16th straight month of record sales compared to the prior year month.
Year-to-date, LEAF sales are up almost 30% from the same period for last year. So far in 2014, Nissan has sold 12,736 LEAFs versus 9,839 sold last year. Given its strong sales performance, one has to wonder about the latest announcement of the replacement battery pack pricing for the LEAF. [Read more →]
July 23, 2014 1 Comment
“We as Ohioans and Americans have to be able to see through the scheme, demand proof of net environmental and energy benefits of wind, or force the industry out of the state to save our tax dollars and our electricity-bill dollars the industry has been drunk on since 2008.”
The Lima News may not be a household name, but it is at ground zero in the local and state wind wars. Here in Ohio, Governor Kasich and the Republican-led House and Senate put the clamps on intrusive wind power projects on private land. And the Wind Lobbyists are mad at their rare defeat.
The editorial below (in red), “Politicians Must Revise Wind Rules,” takes issue with that rare victory for taxpayers, ratepayers, and landowners in the Wind Wars. I respond in indented black. [Read more →]
July 22, 2014 1 Comment
“[Tom] Steyer has proven himself a master at working the system, first to amass a fossil-fuel fortune, and now to bask in the applause of the environmental left even as he feeds at the green energy subsidy trough…. Thus has he descended into a display of crass dishonesty shameless even by Beltway standards.”
- B. Zycher, “He’s Explaining, and He’s Losing.” The Hill, July 18, 2014.
It’s good to have Benjamin Zycher, Ph.D economist and longtime energy scholar, at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).
He continues the intellectual tradition carried on, most recently, by Stephen Hayward and Kenneth Green. And this tradition goes back to when AEI led the fight against oil and gas price and allocation controls in the dark 1970s. Twenty-five studies in their National Energy Project (1974–76) and Studies in Energy Policy (1976–85) helped make up for Resources for the Future taking a Malthusian left turn. 
In The Hill, Zycher wrote a devastating criticism of Tom Steyer’s fossil-fuel past and anti-fossil-fuel present. Zycher knows his climate science, energy, and climate policy, and his subject gets a multi-disciplinary bashing. [Read more →]
July 21, 2014 2 Comments
How could it? With only voluntary regulations, no accountability, and the industry hiding most of their mortality with rigged studies, these permits are nothing more than a rubber stamp from the Interior Department.
A few months back the Duke Energy case received a lot of national media attention for their killing of eagles. But despite what is being published, the Duke Energy case does not demonstrate that the FWS permit process works. If it was working, nearly every wind project in the country would be in legal trouble.
I read the impacts statements used in the approval process. They fraudulently claimed or estimated that eagle mortality from the turbines would be low. These impact statements were backed up with other bogus wind industry studies that hid most of the turbine mortality that took place.
If the permit process did work, the Duke energy wind farms would have been torn down due to the fraudulent documents used in the permitting process. Sure they paid a fine, but the FWS is still allowing Duke Energy to kill eagles with their turbines and the numbers killed will not be known. In addition the shills that put together all the fraudulent documents have never singled out for their part in any of this.
The current FWS permit process also allows other wind farms in the region of the Duke Energy turbines to kill even more eagles. [Read more →]
July 18, 2014 5 Comments
“Shiloh IV was handed a permit because they know agents like Lucinda Schroder and Sam Jojola are not around to hold them accountable for their lies and their slaughter. Actually, if agents now working for the FWS were not being handcuffed by Washington, wind farm companies would never even consider asking for an eagle kill permit. We would also have far more eagles, whooping cranes, and other rare species.”
The Shiloh IV Wind Project, a 3,500-acre wind farm near Rio Vista, California has received the first-ever permit that would allow for the deaths of five golden or bald eagles over a five-year period without the wind farm’s operators being penalized. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) has conservatively estimated the impact of up to five eagles.
Shiloh IV is only part of a larger wind resource area. It’s expected that eagles will be killed in these other sections. In fact every time a Shiloh turbine kills an eagle the company will have every opportunity to haul the carcass off to another section of this wind resource area so they can stay within their five eagles/five-year permit. Or worse yet not even report it like most of the wind farms do in Texas.
This permit is completely unenforceable, and it’s highly inconceivable that the company will purposely expose itself to federal prosecution if its turbines kill more than five eagles within a five-year period. Considering the massive potential for bird fatalities that turbines present, it’s ludicrous to think that the impact will be limited to five eagles in five years. Common sense dictates that the threat to eagles and birds is much greater.
In the past some wind power projects has been required to monitor and report mortality, but it’s well known that their reports have been highly manipulated to show few fatalities. There has never been and still will not be any wind industry accountability for the true slaughter that has occurred for decades. [Read more →]
July 17, 2014 1 Comment
“It has been well known that Shiloh’s wind turbines have slaughtered protected birds species for years. These fatalities have gone largely undocumented due to the wind industry’s practices of rigging their reports and handing them to the unquestioning USFWS.… [Now] comments submitted by two USFWS retired special agents who spent their careers protecting migratory birds and making cases against other energy companies … [have] a lot to say about the Shiloh five-year eagle killing permit.”
The Shiloh IV Wind Project, located in the Montezuma foothills in California, has received an unprecedented permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allowing it to kill eagles, hawks, peregrine falcons, owls and songs birds while not being subjected to the normal prohibitions afforded under the federal conservation laws. This company now gets a free pass from federal prosecution under the Bald and Eagle and Protection Act and the Migratory Treaty Act.
No other energy company has the liberty to kill birds so indiscriminately while remaining above the law!
The mitigation for this eagle-kill permit was the fixing of a few power poles by the PG&E. Yet PG&E has already been retrofitting poles in this area consistent with its Avian Protection Plan, and if the retrofitting of more power poles was needed the FWS cold have enforced this just as they have for 35 years with other utility companies. Now the FWS and EPA are accepting fraudulent data to trade the slaughter of eagles as if they were carbon credits. It is truly disgraceful.
This permit will allow for the deaths of five golden or bald eagles over a five-year period without the wind farm’s operators being penalized. Everyone has to understand that Shiloh IV is only part of this large wind resource area. All the other sections in this WIND resource area will also be killing eagles and other highly protected species.
July 16, 2014 1 Comment
“If resources are not fixed but created, then the nature of the scarcity problem changes dramatically. For the technological means involved in the use of resources determines their creation and therefore the extent of their scarcity. The nature of the scarcity is not outside the process (that is natural), but a condition of it.”
- Tom DeGregori (1987). “Resources Are Not; They Become: An Institutional Theory.” Journal of Economic Issues, p. 1258.
“Those in the mineral-resource world think in terms of proved, probable, and speculative quantities. Should another category be added–resourceship–that would make such supply open-ended? Unless peak-oil proponents can demonstrate peak-resourceship, open-endedness should be elevated in the debate.” (below)
The confounding of physics with economics has plagued a real-world understanding of mineral resource developments. The phenomenon of entropy and the laws of thermodynamics rule in their domain. But there is no economic law analogous to the physical conservation of matter. There is no law of conservation of value; value is continually, routinely created by the market process. And this value creation does not deplete–just the opposite.
This insight reorients the peak-oil debate from pessimism about hypothetical future physical resources to here-and-now concerns over incentives and institutions–or the ability of a free market to create a robust energy future.
Market Entrepreneurship … Mineral ‘Resourceship’
Israel Kirzner in the Austrian-School tradition has emphasized the open-endedness of market entrepreneurship. “Entrepreneurial alertness [is] in principle inexhaustible,” Kirzner has stated,  wholly rejecting the notion of a “potential stock of entrepreneurial alertness in a society as some quantity ‘available to be used by society’.”  In the vernacular of the oil industry, there are no reservoirs of proved, probable, or speculative quantities for entrepreneurship.
The institutionalist conception of knowledge as the ultimate resource powerfully complements an Austrian theory of resources. Thomas DeGregori has defined resources as “a set of capabilities”  and “finite but unbounded” . He restated and embellished the “resources are not, they become” thesis of his mentor Erich Zimmermann as follows: [Read more →]
July 15, 2014 1 Comment