Fossil fuel use protects us from climate-related risks

December 21, 2012 by Amy · Comments Off
Filed under: Archive, New Energy Economy 

This editorial from Brian T. Schwartz originally appeared in the Boulder Daily Camera on December 15, 2012.

Many people will uncritically blame fossil fuel use for recent warm weather. But they are blind to how fossil fuels have reduced climate-related deaths since the 1920s. Since then, climate-related death rates have decreased by 98 percent, explains a Reason Foundation study by Indur Goklany. During this time, carbon dioxide emissions increased significantly.

Thanks to the fertilizers, pesticides, irrigation, and farm machinery enabled by fossil fuels, increased global food production has made droughts less deadly.  Where extreme weather leaves people hungry and injured, fossil-fuel based transportation enables fast delivery of food, medical supplies, and disaster response units.

Wealth is a population’s best protection from climate risks, and wealth creation requires affordable, reliable energy. But billions of people in poor under-developed countries are still very vulnerable to climate risks. They need affordable and reliable energy — now. Obstructing their use of fossil fuels endangers their lives.

And droughts? Two recent studies published this year challenge the notion that global warming contributes to them.  In the Journal of Climate, CU-Boulder and NOAA researchers “conclude that projections of acute and chronic [increases in severe droughts] … are likely an exaggerated indicator for future Great Plains drought severity.” In the journal Nature, Princeton University researchers find that “there has been little change in drought over the past 60 years.” In the same issue of Nature, a lead IPCC author wrote that “the findings imply that there is no necessary correlation between temperature changes and long-term drought variations.”

* * *

See also:

Humanity Unbound: How Fossil Fuels Saved Humanity from Nature and Nature from Humanity,” by Indur Goklany

The Industrial Manifesto,” by Alex Epstein

2010 Ozone Data: More Evidence That CDPHE Is Cooking the Books

December 12, 2010 by williamyeatman · 1 Comment
Filed under: Archive, CDPHE, HB 1365 

Twice I’ve provided evidence that the Colorado Department of Public Health and Energy (CDPHE) has inflated projections of ozone ambient air concentrations (see here and here).

Those were critiques of ozone projections. This year is the first year that we have a data set against which to judge the accuracy of CDPHE ozone modeling during the New Energy Economy era. Unfortunately for Coloradans, the results are even worse than I’d feared. See for yourself:

2010 Ozone Air Concentrations: CDPHE vs. Reality
Monitoring Station

CDPHE Projections (Ozone ppb)

Actual Projections (Ozone ppb)

Highland

77.3

75

S. Boulder Creek

80.7

72

Chatfield State Park

83.4

79

Arvada

79.1

75

Welch

75

72

Rocky Flats North

84.9

76

NREL

82.2

74

Fort Collins West

84.8

75

Greely-Weld Tower

77.5

73

Read more

Preview of November 2 PUC Hearing on HB 1365: Big Decisions Due

November 2, 2010 by williamyeatman · Comments Off
Filed under: Archive 

Primer on the Many Implementation Plans that the PUC Is Considering
Primer on HB 1365
Timeline of Implementation Plans
Study on the Dubious Foundations of HB 1365
Archive of HB 1365 Posts
Oped Last Week in Denver Daily News: Ritter’s Phantom Carbon Tax

As of this post [10:08 AM], the PUC has yet to post a written copy of the Department of Public Health and Environment’s determination whether Xcel’s two new fuel switching plans meet “reasonably foreseeable” federal and state air regulations. Yesterday, Chairman Ron Binz said that the CDPHE’s filing was due last evening at 5 PM. If the CDPHE finds that the two fuel switching plans do not meet “readily foreseeable” air quality regulations, then they must be discarded. The CDPHE ruling will likely be the first topic of discussion at the hearing this morning.

After the PUC considers the CDPHE determination, Chairman Binz has promised to revisit his “tentative” decision to allow Xcel to put forth an accelerated version of its preferred plan, despite strong opposition from the PUC Staff. The two fuel switching plans and the accelerated version of the preferred plan were proposed by the utility last week.

William Yeatman is an energy policy analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute

How Colorado Governor Bill Ritter’s New Energy Economy Is Like the Bowl Championship Series

October 18, 2010 by williamyeatman · Comments Off
Filed under: Archive 

On GQ’s blog, there’s an interesting interview with two acclaimed sports writers, about the Bowl Championship Series. As millions of Americans know well, the BCS is the complicated system that chooses a national champion in the billion dollar college football industry. There are more than 100 schools vying for the crystal football awarded to the BCS champion, so it’s not surprising that every year, more than 100 schools are dissatisfied with a system didn’t crown them #1. That is, the BCS is universally reviled.

So we all know and hate the BCS, yet even college football enthusiasts like me don’t know how it works. Somewhat paradoxically, this might be the very reason it persists, according to these two sports reporters,

GQ: What was the thing your reporting that surprised you the most or caught you off guard?

2 Sports Reporters: How little even the people in college sports know how this [BCS] works. It’s less of a conspiracy as much as it’s people just too uninterested or incapable of figuring out what the real deal is.

No one likes the BCS, but it fumbles on, because it’s too arcane to be bothered with. I think this dynamic is represented well by Kaiser Soce’s famous admission in the Usual Suspects that the devil’s best trick is to make people think he doesn’t exist.

Something very similar is going on with Colorado Governor Bill Ritter’s New Energy Economy.” Coloradans don’t like energy taxes—especially ones they didn’t vote for—but they can’t be unhappy when they are oblivious. After all, ignorance is bliss. Undoubtedly, Ritter’s energy policies will make energy more expensive (see here and here and here), yet it is achieved primarily through the impossibly convoluted procedures of the regulatory state with which virtually no one is familiar. As a result, Ritter’s anti-energy policies proceed apace.

Here’s an ultra-brief rundown of just a few of Ritter’s most insidious energy policies

  • In 2007-2008, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) changed the rules so that its lodestar changed from lowest-cost electricity to protecting the climate
  • The PUC interpreted the legislature’s 2% rate cap for 2010 HB 1001, a renewable energy production quota, to mean “incremental” costs instead of “total” costs; as such, the rate cap became a sham
  • The PUC allows Xcel to incorporate a $20 per ton carbon tax into its resource acquisition models;

The Faulty Economics of Colorado’s Climate Change Action Plan:A Peer Review by Benjamin Powell

February 12, 2008 by admin · Comments Off
Filed under: Archive 

The Faulty Economics of Colorado’s Climate Change Action Plan

If You Can’t Stand the Heat…Don’t Blame Global Warming

September 26, 2000 by admin · Comments Off
Filed under: Archive 

If You Can’t Stand the Heat…Don’t Blame Global Warming