In the Pipeline: 7/16/13

Actions have consequences, who will you stand with? The Hill (7/16/13) reports: “A conservative energy group is rolling out a multi-pronged push ahead of the August congressional recess that aims to put the carbon tax in its deathbed. ‘We’re hoping to put the final nail in the coffin on the carbon tax. The proposal should be dead on arrival by the time lawmakers come back from August recess,’ Benjamin Cole, a spokesman with the Institute for Energy Research and its advocacy arm, the American Energy Alliance, told The Hill in an interview detailing the plan. The effort includes a new poll of American opinion on a carbon tax and an advertising campaign centered on five House members, among other elements.As early as Thursday, AEA will launch a two-week radio advertising campaign that targets five House lawmakers — four Democrats and one Republican.”

Unrest in the land of Snow White. Der Speigel (7/12/13) reports: “The German village of Husarenhof, just north of Stuttgart, nestles picturesquely between orchards and vineyards. Peter Hitzker’s house stands on a sharp bend in the road. ‘Sometimes I get up in the morning and find a couple of totaled cars in the front yard,’ he says. ‘But I guess nowhere’s perfect.’ Still, he finds the wind turbine behind his garden fence harder to cope with. The tower is 180 meters (590 feet) high, and the whirr of the blades and grinding of the actuators are clearly audible. ‘When I leave my local bar in Heilbronn, 15 kilometers from here, I find my way home by heading for the turbine,’ he quips. But he can’t think of anything else positive to say about the turbine. ‘It’s dreadful,’ he says. ‘And it’s split the village. It’s war here.’”

The sun has set on the British Empire. Slate (7/14/13) reports: “In late June, the British Geological Survey announced the world’s largest shale-gas field. The Bowland Shale, which lies beneath Lancashire and Yorkshire, contains 50 percent more gas than the combined reserves of two of the largest fields in the United States, the Barnett Shale and the Marcellus Shale. The United Kingdom has been reluctant to join the fracking revolution. Yet tapping the Bowland Shale could reignite the U.K. economy and deliver huge cuts in CO2 emissions. At the same time, Parliament has approved stringent new measures to reduce carbon emissions by 2020, with the biggest CO2 cuts by far to come from an increase of more than 800 percent in offshore wind power over the next seven years. But offshore wind power is so expensive that it will receive at least three times the traded cost of regular electricity in subsidies—more than even solar power, which was never at an advantage in the U.K. For minimal CO2 reduction, the U.K. economy will pay dearly.”

Don’t they know corn is for hungry cars, not hungry people? Slate(7/12/14) reports: “In late June, the Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s program to raise the maximum ethanol content of gasoline from 10 to 15 percent, thus clearing the way for more ethanol production. The Senate’s version of the Farm Bill, meanwhile, includes more than $1 billion of support for the ethanol industry. While these developments at the federal level are bullish for ethanol, many states are calling bull. The fact that most ethanol is made from corn means that an increase in the ethanol content of gas could create, or exacerbate, a variety of problems, like higher food prices and elevated levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Ethanol production has also been linked to the spread of a dangerous form of E. coli. But while federal support for ethanol appears to be as unstoppable as it is misguided, some individual states have shown the kind of backbone that could lead us toward a smarter energy policy. In June, Florida repealed its Renewable Fuel Standard, which mandated that gasoline contain 10 percent ethanol. And in May, Maine lawmakers approved a bill banning ethanol in gas, and asked the federal government to do the same.”

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