In the Pipeline: 8/23/11

I guess it’s smaller than I expected reading the article — 5 years, for a total of $2 billion per year; however, the regulatory tax per year is $1.75 trillion according…to an SBA commissioned study Wall Street Journal (8/23/11) reports: The Obama administration will release final plans Tuesday for ending or cutting back hundreds of regulations, an effort to reduce the burden on business and counter criticism that the White House is tone-deaf to business concerns…Certain railroad cars won’t have to install expensive technology, hospitals will be able to skip a round of federal paperwork and low-risk travelers to the U.S. will enjoy expedited entry, officials said. Some businesses will be allowed to file federal forms electronically…The administration estimates that about a dozen of the changes will save businesses some $10 billion over five years, with other smaller initiatives adding to the total…But the changes don’t affect the broad thrust of major administration initiatives that have drawn criticism from businesses, such as proposed rules to reduce carbon emissions and laws passed last year that aim to protect consumers from financial and health-insurance abuses…The White House said it sought to eliminate “dumb” rules without undermining the underlying goals. “We are going to implement statutes that have been enacted in the last few years, but we’re trying to do it in a way that is as careful with respect to cost and as attuned with the economic situation as possible,” said Cass Sunstein, administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, who oversaw the regulatory review…The changes are welcome, but don’t appear to go far enough, said Bill Kovacs, a senior vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “Each of the proposals seems to be efficient, technical changes, but it doesn’t make any impact on the overall regulatory burdens that exist on the business community,” he said.

Apparently, these guys have not yet gotten the message that the science is settled Reuters (8/23/11) reports: A newly discovered deep, cold current flowing off Iceland’s coast may reveal that the North Atlantic is less sensitive to climate change than previously thought, researchers reported Sunday…The new current, the North Icelandic Jet, feeds the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, a giant pattern known as the “great ocean conveyor belt,” or by the disconcerting acronym AMOC…Because this pattern is critically important for regulating Earth’s climate, including European and North American climates, any strong influences on it, and their response to a warming Earth, are of keen scientific and practical interest…The “conveyor belt” current, introduced to movie-goers in the Al Gore environmental film “An Inconvenient Truth,” carries warm surface water from the tropical Atlantic toward the Arctic. In the process, the water warms the air in high latitudes, then cools, sinks and returns toward the equator, flowing as a deep stream at lower ocean depths…Climate specialists reckoned that most of the cold water that made up that deep south-flowing stream came from off the Greenland coast and was made up of fresh glacier-melt water, produced by new warmth in glacier-covered Greenland.

This poor bastard doesn’t get the joke or he’s doing the best George Costanza impression I’ve ever seen, “Remember Jerry…it’s not a lie…if you believe it..” Forbes (8/23/11) reports: In many ways, solar energy has become the poster child for the entire clean-energy industry. Solar panels are a lot sexier than industrial engines and turbines no matter how environmentally advantageous the latter might be. Not surprisingly, people who are skeptical of the economics of clean energy are often especially skeptical of the economics of solar energy. To get to the bottom of this business, Clean Beta asked a stalwart supporter of solar energy, Andrew Beebe, to make the case for solar photovoltaics.,,Andrew Beebe is the Chief Commercial Officer and Interim President of Suntech America. Mr. Beebe joined Suntech Power in 2008, following the company’s acquisition of EI Solutions, a California-based regional solar installer. Previously, he was the founder of Energy Innovations, a solar technology development company; a partner at Clean Edge, a clean-tech consulting firm; and co-founder and CEO of Bigstep, one of the world’s first small business e-commerce solutions providers…Here is what he had to say on the subject of solar energy.,,Clean Beta: Solar is perceived like all renewable energy as having piss poor economics. Convince us otherwise…Beebe: Solar electricity is cheap and getting cheaper. Today, we’re seeing 25-year power purchase agreements trending below $0.10 per kWh for utility-scale solar projects in the Southwest U.S. That’s already competitive with retail electricity rates and a lot of traditional generation assets like nuclear and gas-peaker plants. And we’re just getting started. The price of solar electricity has on average declined by about 15% per year for 20 years now. By 2015, we’re going to hit retail grid parity in 50% of world markets, meaning the cost of generating solar electricity will be lower than the cost to purchase electricity from the grid…Clean Beta: Aren’t many of the solar deals out there vanity projects?..Beebe: The notion that solar is green window-dressing for liberal yuppies is as outdated as the idea that Pluto is a planet. With long-term economic, environmental and social advantages, solar technology is transforming energy markets in the most developed economies as well as the world’s poorest regions. Today, 1.5 billion people still live without electricity – I’d wager half of those will become electrified with photovoltaics. Suntech panels have already provided one million people in the poorest regions with access to basic electricity, and those numbers are increasing exponentially with technology improvements and cost declines.

The Chamber finally grows a backbone and stands up for the Keystone Pipeline XL The Hill (8/23/11) reports: A New York Times editorial opposing a major proposed oil sands pipeline from Canada isn’t sitting well with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which is pressing the Obama administration to approve the controversial Keystone XL project…The powerful business group, on its blog Monday, accuses the Times of casting its lot with “anti-growth” green activists that are pushing the White House to block TransCanada’s planned 1,700-mile line from Alberta to Gulf Coast refineries…The blog post by the Chamber’s Sean Hackbarth states:..Do they not want the ten of thousands of jobs directly and indirectly created from the pipeline? Would they rather have the U.S. be less energy secure? Do they want to be on the side of anti-growth, anti-energy protesters?..It sure looks that way to me…The State Department is weighing the proposed $7 billion project that could greatly expand U.S. imports from Alberta’s oil sands projects…The new Times editorial calls for State Department rejection of the project, citing the greenhouse gas emissions from energy-intensive oil sands production and tearing up Canadian boreal forests that are carbon sinks…“It should acknowledge the environmental risk of the pipeline and the larger damage caused by tar sands production and block the Keystone XL,” the Times stated…The editorial creates a split over the pipeline among the country’s most prominent daily newspapers. The Wall Street Journal backs the project, and The Washington Post’s editorial board does too.

Bachmann is our kind of crazy — renews pledge to drive down the price of gasoline to $2 a gallon The Hill (8/23/11) reports: Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is doubling down on her vow to drive gasoline prices to less than $2 per gallon if she’s elected president, a pledge that 2012 GOP rival Jon Huntsman said isn’t rooted in the “real world.”…Bachmann drew attention last week when she pledged at a Tuesday campaign stop that “Under President Bachmann you will see gasoline come down below $2 per gallon again.”… On Friday, The Washington Times reported, Bachmann stood by her comments in an interview with the paper’s radio affiliate…“The price of gasoline the day that Barack Obama took office was $1.79 a gallon,” she said in the Times account.“…If the price of gasoline was $1.79 a gallon just two and three years ago, certainly we can get it back down to that level again. Why wouldn’t we be able to do that? We’re a ‘can-do’ America.”

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