NewEnergyNews: TOWN HALL TACTICS COMING TO THE ENERGY/CLIMATE BILL FIGHT

NewEnergyNews

Gleanings from the web and the world, condensed for convenience, illustrated for enlightenment, arranged for impact...

The challenge: To make every day Earth Day.

YESTERDAY

  • THE STUDY: U.S. WIND RIGHT NOW
  • QUICK NEWS, August 26: CLIMATE MODELS PROVE RIGHT AGAIN; ABOUT INVESTING IN SOLAR; GM VS TESLA IN THE 200 MILE RACE

    THE DAY BEFORE

  • THE STUDY: NEW CALMER WINDS AHEAD FOR EUROPE
  • QUICK NEWS, August 25: JULY’S U.S. ENERGY BUILD WAS ALL NEW ENERGY; CLIMATE CHANGE FOR ENERGY INVESTORS; WIND CAN GROW FASTER THAN NUCLEAR
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    THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • Weekend Video: New Thoughts About New Energy For A New Climate
  • Weekend Video: Carbon
  • Weekend Video: Why Utilities Struggle With New Energy
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-WHY DENIERS’ BRAINS REJECT CLIMATE CHANGE
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-CHINESE TO HELP SAUDIS GO NEW ENERGY BY 2032
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-BUILDING EFFICIENCY TO BOOM IN EUROPE
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-GEOTHERMAL SEEKS CARIBBEAN BREAKTHROUGH
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, August 21:

  • TTTA Thursday-THE RISKIEST ENERGY PLAYS IN THE WORLD
  • TTTA Thursday-FACTS ON BIRDS AND SOLAR POWER
  • TTTA Thursday-WIND PRICES AT ALL TIME LOWS
  • TTTA Thursday-PRICES DROPPING ON GREEN BUILDING
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • THE STUDY: IMPORTS, EXPORTS AND NEW ENERGY
  • QUICK NEWS, August 20: COURTS DISMISS 98% OF WIND HEALTH COMPLAINTS; TURNING OLD CAR BATTERIES INTO NEW SOLAR PANELS; OCEAN ENERGY PIONEERS
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    Anne B. Butterfield of Daily Camera and Huffington Post, is a biweekly contributor to NewEnergyNews

  • Another Tipping Point: US Coal Supply Decline So Real Even West Virginia Concurs (REPORT)

    November 26, 2013 (Huffington Post via NewEnergyNews)

    Everywhere we turn, environmental news is filled with horrid developments and glimpses of irreversible tipping points.

    Just a handful of examples are breathtaking: Scientists have dared to pinpoint the years at which locations around the world may reach runaway heat, and in the northern hemisphere it's well in sight for our children: 2047. Survivors of Superstorm Sandy are packing up as costs of repair and insurance go out of reach, one threat that climate science has long predicted. Or we could simply talk about the plight of bees and the potential impact on food supplies. Surprising no one who explores the Pacific Ocean, sailor Ivan MacFadyen described long a journey dubbed The Ocean is Broken, in which he saw vast expanses of trash and almost no wildlife save for a whale struggling a with giant tumor on its head, evoking the tons of radioactive water coming daily from Fukushima's lamed nuclear power center. Rampaging fishing methods and ocean acidification are now reported as causing the overpopulation of jellyfish that have jammed the intakes of nuclear plants around the world. Yet the shutting down of nuclear plants is a trifling setback compared with the doom that can result in coming days at Fukushima in the delicate job to extract bent and spent fuel rods from a ruined storage tank, a project dubbed "radioactive pick up sticks."

    With all these horrors to ponder you wouldn't expect to hear that you should also worry about the United States running out of coal. But you would be wrong, says Leslie Glustrom, founder and research director for Clean Energy Action. Her contention is that we've passed the peak in our nation's legendary supply of coal that powers over one-third of our grid capacity. This grim news is faithfully spelled out in three reports, with the complete story told in Warning: Faulty Reporting of US Coal Reserves (pdf). (Disclosure: I serve on CEA's board and have known the author for years.)

    Glustrom's research presents a sea change in how we should understand our energy challenges, or experience grim consequences. It's not only about toxic and heat-trapping emissions anymore; it's also about having enough energy generation to run big cities and regions that now rely on coal. Glustrom worries openly about how commerce will go on in many regions in 2025 if they don't plan their energy futures right.

    2013-11-05-FigureES4_FULL.jpgclick to enlarge

    Scrutinizing data for prices on delivered coal nationwide, Glustrom's new report establishes that coal's price has risen nearly 8 percent annually for eight years, roughly doubling, due mostly to thinner, deeper coal seams plus costlier diesel transport expenses. Higher coal prices in a time of "cheap" natural gas and affordable renewables means coal companies are lamed by low or no profits, as they hold debt levels that dwarf their market value and carry very high interest rates.

    2013-11-05-Table_ES2_FULL.jpgclick to enlarge

    2013-11-05-Figure_ES2_FULL.jpg

    One leading coal company, Patriot, filed for bankruptcy last year; many others are also struggling under bankruptcy watch and not eager to upgrade equipment for the tougher mining ahead. Add to this the bizarre event this fall of a coal lease failing to sell in Wyoming's Powder River Basin, the "Fort Knox" of the nation's coal supply, with some pundits agreeing this portends a tightening of the nation's coal supply, not to mention the array of researchers cited in the report. Indeed, at the mid point of 2013, only 488 millions tons of coal were produced in the U.S.; unless a major catch up happens by year-end, 2013 may be as low in production as 1993.

    Coal may exist in large quantities geologically, but economically, it's getting out of reach, as confirmed by US Geological Survey in studies indicating that less than 20 percent of US coal formations are economically recoverable, as explored in the CEA report. To Glustrom, that number plus others translate to 10 to 20 years more of burning coal in the US. It takes capital, accessible coal with good heat content and favorable market conditions to assure that mining companies will stay in business. She has observed a classic disconnect between camps of professionals in which geologists tend to assume money is "infinite" and financial analysts tend to assume that available coal is "infinite." Both biases are faulty and together they court disaster, and "it is only by combining thoughtful estimates of available coal and available money that our country can come to a realistic estimate of the amount of US coal that can be mined at a profit." This brings us back to her main and rather simple point: "If the companies cannot make a profit by mining coal they won't be mining for long."

    No one is more emphatic than Glustrom herself that she cannot predict the future, but she presents trend lines that are robust and confirmed assertively by the editorial board at West Virginia Gazette:

    Although Clean Energy Action is a "green" nonprofit opposed to fossil fuels, this study contains many hard economic facts. As we've said before, West Virginia's leaders should lower their protests about pollution controls, and instead launch intelligent planning for the profound shift that is occurring in the Mountain State's economy.

    The report "Warning, Faulty Reporting of US Coal Reserves" and its companion reports belong in the hands of energy and climate policy makers, investors, bankers, and rate payer watchdog groups, so that states can plan for, rather than react to, a future with sea change risk factors.

    [Clean Energy Action is fundraising to support the dissemination of this report through December 11. Contribute here.]

    It bears mentioning that even China is enacting a "peak coal" mentality, with Shanghai declaring that it will completely ban coal burning in 2017 with intent to close down hundreds of coal burning boilers and industrial furnaces, or shifting them to clean energy by 2015. And Citi Research, in "The Unimaginable: Peak Coal in China," took a look at all forms of energy production in China and figured that demand for coal will flatten or peak by 2020 and those "coal exporting countries that have been counting on strong future coal demand could be most at risk." Include US coal producers in that group of exporters.

    Our world is undergoing many sorts of change and upheaval. We in the industrialized world have spent about a century dismissing ocean trash, overfishing, pesticides, nuclear hazard, and oil and coal burning with a shrug of, "Hey it's fine, nature can manage it." Now we're surrounded by impacts of industrial-grade consumption, including depletion of critical resources and tipping points of many kinds. It is not enough to think of only ourselves and plan for strictly our own survival or convenience. The threat to animals everywhere, indeed to whole systems of the living, is the grief-filled backdrop of our times. It's "all hands on deck" at this point of human voyaging, and in our nation's capital, we certainly don't have that. Towns, states and regions need to plan fiercely and follow through. And a fine example is Boulder Colorado's recent victory to keep on track for clean energy by separating from its electric utility that makes 59 percent of its power from coal.

    Clean Energy Action is disseminating "Warning: Faulty Reporting of US Coal Reserves" for free to all manner of relevant professionals who should be concerned about long range trends which now include the supply risks of coal, and is supporting that outreach through a fundraising campaign.

    [Clean Energy Action is fundraising to support the dissemination of this report through December 11. Contribute here.]

    Author's note: Want to support my work? Please "fan" me at Huffpost Denver, here (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anne-butterfield). Thanks.

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    Anne's previous NewEnergyNews columns:

  • Another Tipping Point: US Coal Supply Decline So Real Even West Virginia Concurs (REPORT), November 26, 2013
  • SOLAR FOR ME BUT NOT FOR THEE ~ Xcel's Push to Undermine Rooftop Solar, September 20, 2013
  • NEW BILLS AND NEW BIRDS in Colorado's recent session, May 20, 2013
  • Lies, damned lies and politicians (October 8, 2012)
  • Colorado's Elegant Solution to Fracking (April 23, 2012)
  • Shale Gas: From Geologic Bubble to Economic Bubble (March 15, 2012)
  • Taken for granted no more (February 5, 2012)
  • The Republican clown car circus (January 6, 2012)
  • Twenty-Somethings of Colorado With Skin in the Game (November 22, 2011)
  • Occupy, Xcel, and the Mother of All Cliffs (October 31, 2011)
  • Boulder Can Own Its Power With Distributed Generation (June 7, 2011)
  • The Plunging Cost of Renewables and Boulder's Energy Future (April 19, 2011)
  • Paddling Down the River Denial (January 12, 2011)
  • The Fox (News) That Jumped the Shark (December 16, 2010)
  • Click here for an archive of Butterfield columns

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    Some details about NewEnergyNews and the man behind the curtain: Herman K. Trabish, Agua Dulce, CA., Doctor with my hands, Writer with my head, Student of New Energy and Human Experience with my heart

    email: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

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    Your intrepid reporter

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  • ---------------
  • Thursday, August 13, 2009

    TOWN HALL TACTICS COMING TO THE ENERGY/CLIMATE BILL FIGHT

    Lobby Groups to Use Town Hall Tactics to Oppose Climate Bill
    Ian Talley, August 11, 2009 (Wall Street Journal)
    and
    'Energy Citizens' Take Aim at Climate Legislation
    Alex Kaplun, August 12, 2009 (NY Times)
    and
    With health care in spotlight, climate push continues backstage
    Alex Kaplun, August 7, 2009 (E&E Publishing)

    SUMMARY
    A coalition of business and industry groups is backing an effort to disrupt and control the dialogue at encounters between elected representatives and their constituents.

    Now familiar shouting and pouting tactics will be used by EnergyCitizens funded and organized by professionals in the employ of the business and industry coalition at the forums that once marked the pinnacle of U.S. democracy, the town hall meeting.

    Members of the business/industry coalition funding and organizing the effort: the American Petroleum Institute, the American Farm Bureau, the American Highway Users Alliance, the National Black Chamber of Commerce and the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council.

    Participating conservative advocacy organizations: the American Conservative Union, Americans for Tax Reform, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste and FreedomWorks.

    Carbon tax advocating progressive environmentalists will no doubt be thrilled to see their allies in the EnergyCitizen movement marching at the offices of Senator Jim Webb (D-Vir), chanting “No Cap and Trade!” From EnergyCitizens via YouTube.

    Reportedly, the first of 20 planned events at which EnergyCitizens will make their presences known and their outraged voices heard will be in Houston, Texas, on August 18. The group intends to continue its effort through Labor Day, while members of Congress are in their home districts conducting meetings designed to communicate with and get feedback from their constituents.

    EnergyCitizens exercising their right to speak out whether they know what they're talking about or not. (click to enlarge)

    When the Senate and House of Representatives reconvene in September, they will continue work on crucial and potentially landmark climate and energy legislation. (See WILL THERE BE CAP&TRADE? EnergyCitizen rallies will reportedly confront Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, in New Mexico, as well as Senators and other political leaders whose votes are thought to be at play and pivotal in the battle over the legislation, at meetings in Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania and other Midwestern and Southern states.

    This EPA study showed GDP growth is relatively unharmed by cap&trade. The costs of not stopping climate change will be much higher. (click to enlarge)

    Even at the height of the rudest of the left’s crazy protests against Presidents Johnson, Nixon and George W. Bush, the majority of protestors respected the sanctity of rational dialogue at public meetings designed to facilitate it. When it went out into the streets, that was a different matter played by a different set of rules.

    Sadly, the current agitators at gatherings to discuss health insurance reform are bringing the street brawls into the forum for ideas and solutions because they aren't seeking solutions but disruptions. They have created a new term of art for the destruction of reasonable discussion: Town Hall Tactics.

    The EnergyCitizen message: More oil. From Energy Tomorrow.

    COMMENTARY
    It is something of an irony that many of the same people who ridiculed President Obama’s early experience as a community organizer have become vigorous community organizers in a effort to combat the health insurance reform plans and energy and climate legislation that have become central to the Obama Presidency.

    Cathy Landry, spokeswoman for the American Petroleum Institute (API), is a good example. API was not an Obama endorser but Ms. Landry appears consumed with being as effective a community organzier as the President once was as she helps organize the EnergyCitizens group created by the peetroleum industry and others to propagate the most current iteration of the “drill, baby, drill” illusion.

    Landry and her cohorts have admitted publicly they are not going after the specifics of the climate legislation but will instead demand whatever they think might be a good idea, much like the anti-health insurance reform movement has largely spent time and energy attacking proposals that don’t exist in an effort to block legislation that has not yet been written.

    The CBO study showed household costs rise slowly and moderately with cap&trade. The costs of not stopping climate change will be much higher. (click to enlarge)

    Reportedly, the organizers of the EnergyCitizen movement are not so much using grass roots passion to educate voters about the pending legislation as to encourage them to demand their elected representatives “get it right” in whatever way the EnergyCitizens see fit.

    Indicative of the kind of tactics the anti-cap&trade groups prefer was the recently exposed fraud perpetrated by coal lobbyists Bonner and Associates. Just before the final House of Representatives vote on its energy and climate bill, the lobbyists obtained stationery from Creciendo Juntos, a non-profit Hispanic group whose opinion on such a matter is likely to carry more weight than that of a known coal advocate. On copies of the stolen stationery, Bonner operatives forged letters to House lawmakers demanding they vote against the legislation. (See COAL CAUGHT SENDING LYING LETTERS TO CONGRESS)

    Sierra Club says "Liar, liar, pants on fire." (click to enlarge)

    A flyer being distributed to participants claims the energy/climate legislation will cost 2 million jobs, increase gas pump prices to over $4 per gallon and compromise both U.S. business competitiveness and energy security. In fact, studies from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the Department of Energy and the Pew Center all show the costs will be manageable, business competitiveness will be protected and moving to domestic New Energy sources will increase energy security.

    The Pew Center study shows employment is only slowly and moderately affected by cap&trade. The costs of not stopping climate change will be much higher. (click to enlarge)

    If the fireworks set off by the EnergyCitizens aren’t enough, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), coal’s biggest lobby and the group that is on record as saying it advocates clean coal not because it is achievable but because it is the only way to block the true grassroots movement to end the tyranny of coal’s spew, is reportedly rallying almost a quarter million of its soldiers to exercise further town hall conversation interventions.

    The Pew Center study shows manufacturing is also only slowly and moderately affected. The costs of not stopping climate change will be much higher. (click to enlarge)

    At least 2 legitimate grassroots groups of some standing, the Sierra Club and the Blue Green Alliance, will be rallying members and attempting to deliver actual, unpaid, unscripted opinion about the climate and energy bill to their elected representatives.

    The EIA study showed electricity costs rise slowly and moderately thru 2020 with cap&trade. The costs of not stopping climate change will be much higher. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    - Cathy Landry, spokeswoman, API: "A lot of it is still up in the air…For the most part, we're just looking for diversity and to let people know that energy is important everywhere in this nation and energy jobs are important."
    - Lauren Weiner, spokeswoman, Americans United for Change: “We turn things around pretty quickly, and should the need come up, we'll do paid media…”
    - David Foster, executive director, Blue Green Alliance: "We may at some point be doing some paid advertising, but a period like the recess is opportunity for members of Congress to be back and hear some real-world arguments…"

    This is what's at stake. Pick sides wisely. From greenforall via YouTube.

    - Landry, on the comparison of the groups at the health insurance town hall meetings and the EnergyCitizens she is organizing: "I don't think they're at all the same thing…We're not trying to go up and yell at members of Congress, we're just trying to allow people to voice their concerns…It's more about energizing people and getting people excited and letting them know that other people know the same way and have similar concerns about American jobs."
    - Frank O’Donnell, head, Clean Air Watch: “We’ve all seen those angry folks raising heck about health care…So I guess it was inevitable a special interest would try the same thing on the climate legislation…”
    - David Willett, spokesman, Sierra Club: "Using fake grass roots damages everybody…I think it makes it difficult for everybody to do their jobs."

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