Remember that time when the world's population exceeded its food production capacity, countless thousands of people dropped dead of starvation, and those of us who survived were reduced to eking out a subsistence level existence? No? That's because those late-18th century predictions of English cleric and economist Thomas Malthus never came to pass. Malthus failed to account for such factors as technologically improved means of production and declining birthrate. To any thinking person, a Malthusian prediction should be dismissed with laughter.
Over on the main page today Roger Pol argues that a government subsidy and taxation scheme to create incentives for use of natural gas in vehicles -- a la "The Pickens Plan" -- should be the nation's new "True Energy Policy," and he ponders why President Obama hasn't endorsed the NAT GAS Act, which has the endorsement of "a bipartisan group of more than 150 members of Congress" (as though that is a reason to do anything). He writes:
The NAT GAS Act provides incentives for using natural gas in vehicles, purchasing natural gas vehicles, installing natural gas refueling stations, and producing natural gas vehicles in America.
Today James Valvo of Americans for Prosperity explains in The Washington Times why NAT GAS is another loser effort by both major political parties to pick economic winners and losers:
That would be Duke Energy, the utility that lobbies to raise your electric bills and is financially backing the Democrats' 2012 convention in Charlotte, which last week saw the Indiana State Ethics Commission fine a former lawyer of theirs and ban him from future employment with the state. Scott Storms had previously been a top lawyer for the state Utility Regulatory Commission, and was punished for negotiating with Duke for a job while working on their rate cases while still with IURC. The evidence shows that other top Duke officials were also cozy with their regulators while trying to gain cost recovery for their troubled Edwardsport coal gasification power plant, which I detail today at the National Legal & Policy Center blog.
Last week John Stossel dedicated his program to the energy issue and specifically the natural gas boom, much of which has opened up exploration of the massive Marcellus Shale deposits in Pennsylvania. Environmental groups and a filmmaker -- Josh Fox, who directed the Oscar-nominated "Gasland" -- have raised false claims about alleged dangers of hydrofracturing ("fracking") of underground rock by exploration companies to access the gas. But when Stossel invited them on his show to discuss their allegations, they refused.
Instead, Commonwealth Foundation president Matthew Brouillette and former PA Department of Environmental Protection head John Hanger (who founded the largest state environmental group, PennFuture) appeared with Stossel. Given Hanger's views that gas fracking is largely safe and his enviro-cred, the alarmist Greens' fraudulent claims were seriously discredited.
The New York Times reports today that manufacturers of eco-friendly products have seen their sales decline compared to the products that environoiacs would like to carry mandatory skull-and-crossbones warning labels. The newspaper blames the difficult economy for consumers' avoidance of "Green" products. For example:
Sales of Green Works have fallen to about $60 million a year, and those of other similar products from major brands like Arm & Hammer, Windex, Palmolive, Hefty and Scrubbing Bubbles are sputtering. "Every consumer says, ‘I want to help the environment, I'm looking for eco-friendly products,' " said David Donnan, a partner in the consumer products practice at the consulting firm A. T. Kearney. "But if it's one or two pennies higher in price, they're not going to buy it. There is a discrepancy between what people say and what they do."
Several stories today worth comparing -- the first a commentary by Washington Examiner editorial page editor Mark Tapscott, in which he sets the record straight on the availability of federal lands for oil and gas exploration:
Based on government data...Ninety four percent of federal onshore lands are off-limits to oil and gas exploration, while 97 percent of offshore federal lands are off-limits.
So virtually all of the public lands now owned by the American people but controlled by the federal government isn't even eligible to be placed on the auction block for bidding by U.S. companies for energy exploration rights leasing.
Who benefits from this lockup of virtually all of America's public lands from American energy companies? Well, here are the top beneficiaries:
* National Iranian Oil Company
* Saudi Arabian Oil Company
* Iraq National Oil Company
* Qatar General Petroleum Corporation
* Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (UAE)
Johnston County, in the greater Raleigh area, is collecting hazardous wastes at a special location in a couple of weeks as a convenience for citizens who need to get rid of "potentially dangerous chemicals" around the house:
Items that will be accepted include oil-based paints and aerosols, lubricants, solvents, strippers, polishes, waxes, garden and agricultural chemicals from home and farm, batteries...
fluorescent light bulbs.
You know, the hundreds of bulbs that environmentalists want us to fill our dozens of lamps and sockets with throughout each of our homes and businesses. That release mercury when broken, unlike traditional incandescent bulbs, which we will no longer be able to buy very soon (unless the law is repealed).
To secure our energy future.
National sport championship games such as the World Series or Super Bowl often bring out the mayors or governors of the contenders' cities for bets on their home teams, usually putting up a measure of food fare that their regions are famous for. Last year the mayors of Indianapolis and New Orleans engaged in the tradition, for example.
This year the two biggest environoia groups in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have gotten in the act, but not on the outcome of the Super Bowl between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers. Instead PennFuture and Clean Wisconsin have bid against one another over efforts to outdo their opponent's fundraising abilities. PennFuture president Jan Jarrett explains how the bet works in this video:
The Academy Award nominations were announced this morning, and among those chosen for best documentary was "Gasland," the Josh Fox propagandizer about the alleged dangers and abuses by the natural gas industry. I guess we shouldn't be surprised that an association of Hollywoodites, who in the past have honored error- and lie-riddled films by Michael Moore and Al Gore, would give Fox similar superlative consideration.
Now that the 2011 House is in session, members are lining up to co-sponsor a repeal of the Fred Upton "Too Much Heat, Not Enough Light" Incandescent Light Bulb Ban.
Except, heh-heh -- you dunderheads -- it's not really a ban on incandescents, as a smarter-than-everyone-else reporter from The News & Record of Greensboro, NC explains:
GREENSBORO - U.S. Rep. Howard Coble is among those urging colleagues in Congress to turn off the lights on a controversial provision of the 2007 energy bill.
The Greensboro Republican is a co-sponsor of a bill to repeal what some refer to - erroneously - as the incandescent bulb ban....
The 2007 bill sets energy efficiency standards for light bulbs. It doesn't specifically ban incandescent bulbs, but it would phase out the cheap, 50 cents-a-piece (22 cents-a-piece at Wal-mart - PC), single-filament model based on Thomas Edison's century-old design.