Enviro News Wrap: Solyndra, Big Oil Subsidies, and Politics, and more...
GlobalWarmingisReal contributor Anders Hellum-Alexander wraps-up and comments on the climate and environmental news headlines for the past week:
- Obama promised to try to end subsidies for oil companies and he followed through, but the US Congress voted down the bill, mostly along party lines. The main argument Obama is using is that oil companies are very profitable and will not be hurt by the government ceasing to give them free money. Oil companies and their puppets (Republicans and some Democrats) argue that the level of profits are just due to size and market share and that their net profit margin is around 5% which isn't outrageous.
In my opinion Obama should make the free-market argument that we should not distort a market favorably for companies that are self-reliant; if oil companies are not strong enough to survive without government assistance then what is their plan to get off their evil addiction to the federal government's money? Additionally, Republicans claim that they can bring down the price of oil in the US in the short-term - really now? Talk to any economist and they will tell you otherwise. There are many reasons for the price of oil being so high, but the main question for me is; why should we be dependent on an energy source that has an unstable and ever increasing price?
- Solyndra, Solyndra, Solyndra. Solyndra has to be the most mis-reported renewable energy story of 2011 and 2012. Republicans claim that the loss of $500 million of the US government's money via the bankruptcy of Solyndra is the only evidence needed for proving that the government's renewable energy loan program is a failure and that the entire renewable energy industry is a failure. Slow down there Republicans!
First, most US technologies, industries and companies emerged with substantial monetary help from the US government and research and development help from the US military - the US military has handed us complete technologies and entire industries. Second, the loan program that Solyndra participated in stated in the beginning that a $10 billion dollar loss was anticipated. It's expected to only lose $3 billion. Sounds like a success to me. The main point is that Solyndra is not a canary for the US renewable energy industry, and that the loss of Solyndra loan money is not a reason for the US government to dis-continue risky investments in companies that, if successful, will bring much benefit to the US citizens.
- Electronic technology uses Rare Earth Metals. China has positioned itself as the keeper of processed Rare Earth Metals for the foreseeable future. Instead of diving into a trade war the rest of the world is just trying to innovate away from using Rare Earth Metals. This is a silver lining since mining and processing Rare Earth Metals is terrible for our environment.
- Apparently spraying toxins into our environment kills things, like honey bees in general and queen bees specifically.
- Have you ever tried to have a fact-based conversation with a climate change skeptic and had it go nowhere? Well, some researchers did a study about this and found that no matter who you are you enter debates with pre-conceived notions that trump new evidence or superior logic. This is true for climate change believers and deniers.
- The Gulf Oil Spill is not over because the inhabitants of the Gulf are forever affected. Dolphins especially.
- The Total gas leak in the North Sea has been stopped.
- India might re-route and connect some of its rivers. Good luck with that experiment, it certainly won't devastate ecosystems and cause huge water problems for downstream countries at all (*sarcasm*).
- India is on the path to bring electricity to all of its citizens. With 36% of Indians without electricity India is trying to turn to renewable energy to finish the journey.
- In the modern world many humans live a life disconnected from nature,. Could this be hurting us? Some programs connect urban children with the natural environment with the goal of improving the children's daily lives and health.
- Oil is discovered in Kenya. Watch out Kenya, change is coming!
- Enviro-alarmism abounds. Next we are going to run out of Maple Syrup.