In the Pipeline: 11/13/12

Join The Hill and AEA for breakfast tomorrow at the Hyatt Regency for a discussion on the fate of the Wind PTC. RSVP here. 


IER STUDY: CARBON TAX PLAGUED BY THEORETICAL AND PRACTICAL PROBLEMS. IER (11/13/12) reports: “The Institute for Energy Research released today a new study exposing the fallacies of so-called revenue-neutral carbon tax swaps, an idea that has gained some support among even conservative pundits and politicians despite numerous theoretical and practical problems with the scheme. IER Senior Economist Robert P. Murphy reveals in the study, entitled “Carbon ‘Tax Swap’ Deals: A Review and Critique,” that pro-carbon tax discussions currently underway inside Washington may offer a ‘cure worse than the disease,’ robbing global economies of growth potential and disproportionately affecting the world’s poor.”


Yes, if only Mitt had come out for the carbon tax, the professional elites vote would have shown up in droves.  This guy should go have a beer with Bob Shrum and compare notes. Nuclear Townhall (11/1/12) reports: “Three weeks before the election I submitted a story to my journalistic home, The American Spectator, arguing that Mitt Romney should support a carbon tax.  I argued that it would solidify his support with the professional elites in Virginia, North Carolina and Ohio that were concerned about the economy but put off by the social conservatism of the Republican Party.”


How much longer do we have to listen to this?  Malthus was wrong.  Ehrlich was wrong.  Holdren was wrong. The Club of Rome was wrong.  And now this dude is wrong.  Say it with me – rich societies are environmentally responsible societies. E&ENews (11/8/12) reports: “Western societies — and, increasingly, much of the rest of the world — tend to place far more value on the economy than the environment, he said. That philosophy, he said, could lead humanity to an untimely end… “We’ve come to a place where we have to decide whether our species will live into the next century.”


It’s Dan Kish’s world.  The rest of us just live in it. E&ENews (11/9/12) reports: “This is very disturbing,” Kish said. “Coloradans may not be able to get jobs that may have been available from oil shale development, thanks to Salazar. But because of the vote this week, maybe they’ll be able to sit around and smoke weed.”


Frontier fuels for the future: “Alaska ice tested as possible new energy source”USAToday (11/11/12) reports: “A half mile below the ground at Prudhoe Bay, above the vast oil field that helped trigger construction of the trans-Alaska pipeline, a drill rig has tapped what might one day be the next big energy source… The Department of Energy and industry partners over two winters drilled into a reservoir of methane hydrate, which looks like ice but burns like a candle if a match warms its molecules.”


David Vitter is going to be a great ranking member on EPW. Senator Vitter(11/9/12) reports: “U.S. Sens. David Vitter (R-La.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today sent a letter to U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar asking him to explain the administration’s economic reasoning in allowing an offshore lease sale for wind energy in the Atlantic Ocean. The senators’ letter notes that that the agency will not allow offshore oil and gas leasing in the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), and requests data on the economics of the wind lease sale, to compare with “the value of a similar lease for oil and gas on equivalent acreage.””


Well now, we are supposed to believe it when his staff says it now, even though the explanation itself allows for the interpretation that misdirection is part of the Senator’s toolbox. The Hill (11/9/12) reports: “Advocates of taxing carbon emissions shouldn’t look to Sen.-elect Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) as an ally, despite the congressman’s past introduction of carbon tax legislation.”


Which do you figure more people are going to want, solar panels on the roof, or a standby generator in the backyard? NYTimes (11/10/12) reports: “It’s all part of what you might call the Mad Max Economy, a multibillion-dollar-a-year collection of industries that thrive when things get really, really bad. Weather radios, kerosene heaters, D batteries, candles, industrial fans for drying soggy homes — all are scarce and coveted in the gloomy aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and her ilk.”


Of course the White House won’t propose a carbon tax.  They need a Republican to propose it.  I predict that some dim-witted moderate is going to accommodate them. The Hill (11/9/12) reports: “President Obama has no plans to propose a tax on carbon emissions, a White House official said… “The Administration has not proposed nor is planning to propose a carbon tax,” the official said.”


Grover, just butch it up and oppose this lousy idea directly. This word-smithing is giving us all headaches. National Journal (11/12/12) reports: “But Norquist made clear he himself doesn’t like the policy. “It would infuriate taxpayers,” he said. He also opined that politically, it’s beyond a long shot. While supporters might now be talking about how to structure the tax swap in such a way that it could win political support, “It’s a conversation about what color unicorn you’d like,” Norquist said. “If the Democrats thought it was a good idea and the country wouldn’t hate them for it they would have done it in 2009,” when their party held majorities in both chambers of Congress, he said.”


So, despite all the talk about climate change, even the EU has decided that it is more important to keep rich Americans happy. BusinessWeek(11/12/12) reports: “The European Commission on Monday proposed freezing the imposition of carbon emission charges on non-EU flights for a year, a move that could prevent an international airline dispute from turning into a global trade war.”


Where is Kanye West when you need him? Reuters (11/8/12) reports: “Damage from Superstorm Sandy to the electricity system in the U.S. Northeast exposed deep flaws in the structure and regulation of power utilities that will require a complete redesign, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Thursday… But at least some members of one utility oversight panel later fired back, saying it was the governor who should take responsibility.”

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