In the Pipeline: 3/11/13

Sure, he was the spokesman for eco-terrorists until 2002, but he became disillusioned with the group. Or maybe it was that the group was designated the top Domestic Terror Group by the FBI in 2001. The Oregonian (3/3/13) reports: “The man once dubbed ‘The Face of Eco-Terrorism,’ who cheered tree-hugging arsonists and thwarted FBI efforts to catch them — stubbornly taking the Fifth before federal grand juries and an extremely annoyed congressional panel — is now a red-blooded American lawyer… Craig Rosebraugh, having spent his late 20s in Portland as the official spokesman for the Earth Liberation Front, earned his sheepskin at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University in May 2011… But instead of taking the bar exam, he has continued his activism by finishing a movie about global warming, set for release this week.”


Lisa Jackson. Bob Perciasepe. James Martin. How many other people at the agency were conducting work on secret accounts? Or, like Carol Browner, how many have simply destroyed whatever evidence there may have been? Whatever the right number (10? 20?), I don’t think this is really the most transparent Administration in history. Free Beacon (3/8/13) reports: “A former Environmental Protection Agency administrator frequently used a private email account to conduct official business, contrary to previous claims by the agency and court affidavits… Emails released in Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation between the EPA and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a conservative think-tank, reveal former Region 8 administrator James Martin often used his personal email account to communicate with the Environmental Defense Fund.”


Let’s make it simple. Plentiful natural gas might mean that it dispatches before coal in the generation stack. But EPA regulations alone are causing coal-fired powerplants to retire prematurely, and only federal government tax policy is driving the installation of wind turbines. Both of those things are causing the grid to become more expensive and less reliable. Thank you, Gina McCarthy. Thank you, Senator Grassley. E&ENews(3/8/13) reports: “Grid operators in the mid-Atlantic and Midwest say major investments in the electric grid are needed to offset an unprecedented number of mostly coal-fired plant closures tied to stricter emissions limits and a surge of cheap gas, as well as the integration of new wind resources… Utilities in PJM Interconnection’s footprint last year asked to shutter almost 14,000 megawatts of mostly coal-fired generation, far outpacing the total number of megawatts — 11,086 — closed during the prior nine years, according to an analysis PJM released yesterday.”


You know, the last three times I have seen Tom Friedman he has been stepping off a plane, stepping out of a limo, and stepping into Capital Grille. Maybe he should take the first step towards a low carbon future and reduce his own lifestyle, including selling (giving away?) his 11,000 square foot house in the DC suburbs. NYTimes (3/9/13) reports: “I HOPE the president turns down the Keystone XL oil pipeline. (Who wants the U.S. to facilitate the dirtiest extraction of the dirtiest crude from tar sands in Canada’s far north?) But I don’t think he will. So I hope that Bill McKibben and his coalition go crazy. I’m talking chain-themselves-to-the-White-House-fence-stop-traffic-at-the-Capitol kind of crazy, because I think if we all make enough noise about this, we might be able to trade a lousy Keystone pipeline for some really good systemic responses to climate change.”


Must be pretty easy to cash in on pollution credits when the product (a car) can’t go anywhere. WSJ (3/8/13) reports: “Tesla Motors Co. TSLA +0.63% is racking up big bucks peddling pollution credits earned from sales of its $60,000 and up electric cars… Last year, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based maker of the Model S electric car collected $40.5 million—about 10% of its total revenue—selling credits earned from states to other auto makers, according to the company’s annual financial report.”


What the old codger really means is that a carbon tax would make all energy more expensive. But being a multi-millionaire, I suspect he is not really too concerned about that. CQ News (3/10/13) reports: “The idea of a carbon tax got an unlikely endorsement Friday from Ronald Reagan’s former secretary of State, who said a revenue-neutral levy on fossil fuels would allow all energy sources to compete based on their economic and pollution costs… George P. Shultz, who served in the Reagan and Nixon cabinets, said a well-designed carbon tax would “level the playing field” for fossil fuels and renewable resources without acting as a revenue stream for the Treasury.”


In these situations, we don’t feel too nerdy reminding you about the law of unintended consequences: “Green Cars Have a Dirty Little Secret”. WSJ (3/10/13) reports: “If a typical electric car is driven 50,000 miles over its lifetime, the huge initial emissions from its manufacture means the car will actually have put more carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere than a similar-size gasoline-powered car driven the same number of miles. Similarly, if the energy used to recharge the electric car comes mostly from coal-fired power plants, it will be responsible for the emission of almost 15 ounces of carbon-dioxide for every one of the 50,000 miles it is driven—three ounces more than a similar gas-powered car.”

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