Streetwise Professor

February 18, 2013

Chasing Green Unicorns: That’s Reality-Based?

Filed under: Climate Change,Economics,Energy,Politics — The Professor @ 8:04 pm

Obama and his acolytes flatter themselves as sophisticates, reality-based devotees of science.  They look to Europe for inspiration.  If only they would actually pay attention to the reality of Europe, as opposed to their fantasy vision.

Obama brought his supporters to paroxysms of joy-near orgasms, in fact-with his call in the SOTU speech for action on “climate change.”  Action that he said he would take if Congress does not-the Constitution be damned.

Would that he actually look to what his Euroheroes are actually doing  Which is to realize that their alternative energy initiatives have proved to be very expensive unicorn hunts.  Both Germany and Spain have realized that alt-energy is outrageously expensive and inadequate to achieve any meaningful impact on climate:

More than a decade ago, Germany and Spain created similar laws to aggressively promote the adoption of renewable energy. The two countries were again marching in step on Thursday—this time to fix a web of subsidies and compensations they created for green energy that had the unintended effect of driving up household electricity bills.

. . . .

Fearing a voter backlash from anger over the lopsided financing of green energy, Ms. Merkel’s government on Thursday proposed putting a cap on the green-energy surcharge until the end of 2014 and then restricting any rise in the surcharge after that to no more than 2.5% a year. The government also plans to tighten exemptions, which would force more companies to pay, and achieve a cut in green subsidies of €1.8 billion ($2.42 billion). The plan is a quick fix pending comprehensive reform after the election, government officials said.

. . . .

The Spanish parliament took a similar step on Thursday, passing a law that aims to curb rising household electricity costs by cutting aid to the renewable-energy industry.

Renewable-energy producers “are going to receive less revenue, but these measures are better for consumers” said Energy Minister José Manuel Soria.

In other words, Germany and Spain are retreating posthaste from their former grandiose commitments to green energy.

But despite this rather flagrant example of the economic bankruptcy of subsidies for renewables, Obama is intent on playing the David Farragut of greendoggles: Damn the reality! Full speed ahead!

It’s bad enough that Obama ignores what is going on in Euroland.  He should have plenty of examples closer to hand.  Like Solyndra. (Do you really need links?  Seriously?)  Like Tesla (ditto). Compact Power. LG Chem: read it and weep.  You’d  get more satisfaction out of taking $175mm in $100 bills and setting them alight.

But we are likely to be subjected to yet more of these monstrosities, because there is nothing that the reality-based community likes to do more than deny reality.  Especially when it stares them in the face.

Not only are we almost certain to chase green unicorns, we may well deny ourselves of very real energy sources.  This weekend saw protests against the Keystone XL pipeline, and I would say that the odds are better than even that he delays or kills it: the cabal of enviros and Warren Buffett will be pretty hard for Obama to oppose.  (The calculations of my earlier post imply that Keystone XL-which will last for decades-will pay for itself in less than 600 days-and that’s conservative because a good fraction of the $20mm/day in surplus generated by Cushing-Gulf pipelines is attributable to the oil that Keystone XL could transport.)  In contrast we’ll be paying for greendoggles for many multiples of 600 days.

It is quite instructive to view the contrast between the European’s concession to reality, and Obama’s denial thereof.  Just when the Euros are beginning to concede that green unicorns may not exist, Obama is hell bent on chasing them.

God help us.

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  1. Repeat after me: thisis a belief system, this is a belief system etc. Rational arguments will not penetrate unless driven by a large hammer.

    Comment by Sotos — February 19, 2013 @ 8:37 am

  2. I saw John Lott on television last night talking about his meetings with Obama at University of Chicago. First meeting Obama said you are the gun guy. I do not believe people should have guns and walked away. He met him maybe twenty times and was struck by the fact that Obama never wanted to discuss the issues as is typical in an academic setting. Never shook hands and never hinted he wanted to hear a different viewpoint.

    On the bright side liberal/leftist politics are in fundamental conflict with the real biological nature of man as developed through millenia of evolution and are doomed to fail. On the dark side it takes a very long time to get to this inescapable point of ultimate failure. When the family unit has been sufficiently weakened in deference to the state is when the wheels cant help but come off.

    These are liberal arts people playing at science and Lysenko would be welcomed as an honored scientific advisor.

    Comment by pahoben — February 19, 2013 @ 11:20 am

  3. There is a link there-global warming and Lysenko.

    Comment by pahoben — February 19, 2013 @ 2:42 pm

  4. @pahoben. Richard Epstein said something similar re Obama’s complete disinterest in engaging in intellectual discussion at Chicago, which is appalling. Does he realize how lucky he was to be in such an environment? That was a rhetorical question, because I know he is totally disinterested in anybody but himself, and feels that he has nothing to learn from anybody.

    But I think the *real* reason for his refusal to engage was that he knew that he would be exposed as a fraud and imposter in minutes. He evidently took to heart Mark Twain’s advice about not opening one’s mouth lest one remove all doubt about being an idiot. Epstein, for example, would have taken him apart in minutes.

    In other words, the behavior Lott notes is just another example of Obama’s bizarre combination of arrogance and insecurity.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — February 19, 2013 @ 3:39 pm

  5. @Professor-I think you are spot on.

    Comment by pahoben — February 19, 2013 @ 9:13 pm

  6. After the recent story from Ohio optimism dictates that I wonder how much of the Obama victory was do to voter fraud but then I doubt even that is a problem that will be fixed prior to the next election.

    Comment by pahoben — February 20, 2013 @ 10:48 am

  7. There is a lot of focus from the left about leveling the unfair playing field in education-outlawing homework in France as an example is intended to eliminate the ridiculous advantage enjoyed by children that do homework. I think that if Obama leveled the playing field in Mathematics by executive orders it would be very helpful to improve the relative performance of students that are now judged poor in mathematics. This ridiculous assessment is based on arbitrary rules established by God knows who at God knows when. Probably male Europeans if the truth were known.

    At a minimum we could by federal regulation adopt new rules for arithmetic. This would be like 3+3=5 or 6 or 7 or 33. Any of these answers would be correct. I don’t have a clue would receive at least 90% credit. In geometry Pi=about 3 or so would be entirely correct and get rid of that ridiculous superscript two in the equation for area of a circle. I am sure that stemmed from Christian supremacists referencing Adam and Eve.

    It is time for federal action to correct the fundamental flaws on Mathematics education that promote cultural and religious bigotry-enough is enough. Our children’s futures are at stake and too many children are unfairly judged.

    Comment by pahoben — February 21, 2013 @ 5:26 pm

  8. P.Obama cares not whether these Green Energy contraptions work or not he is just doing the bidding for his rent seeking crony capitalists paymasters who put him in office so they can financially rape the public. Similar to the Military/Industrial complex warmongering neocons perpetual war perpetual profit scheme.

    Comment by Bob — February 24, 2013 @ 10:52 pm

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