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Blais: Green Energy - More than Just “Food for Thought”

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Rhode Island's representatives had a wonderful opportunity recently, to gain the perspective of national leaders. John Kennedy, Senior VP from CVS and Aaron Renn, entrepreneur and publisher of Urbanophile.com spoke at the House economic workshop. John Kennedy offered his insight on why " people just aren't thinking about RI " when it comes time to expand or locate a business. Mr. Kennedy told them that RI's high cost of energy is on a list of one of the top 4 reasons.

So why, then, does our General Assembly insist on putting forth legislation that only promises to significantly increase the burden of high energy costs here in the state. Last week, Senator Sosnowski's bill (S 2690) was heard in committee. She, along with Senators Walaska, Conley, Cool Rumsey and Bates, believe it will be in Rhode Island's best interest to increase the mandate for utility companies to purchase more of their electricity from renewables - which would be a good move if the cost of renewables were competitive. However, it's not. The state forces National Grid to make these purchases even though they cost significantly more than what the average rate is for gas or coal generated electricity. The Senators' bill refers to 15-20 year permanent tariffs to finance renewable energy. This increased cost is ultimately borne by the ratepayer.

Some light reading.

Have you seen the recent report, distributed by the RI Center for Freedom and Prosperity (in conjunction with the Beacon Hill Institute), that reviewed the economic impact of the renewable energy mandates already in existence? Under the mandates that are already contained in Rhode Island law, the study shows that, in just 6 short years, by 2020, the current mandates will have a detrimental effect on employment, will reduce disposable income, will decrease private investment in the state and will increase the cost of energy not just for households, but for business and industry. This seems to be diametrically opposed to what our elected leadership claims it wants to do in the current economy.

Even more importantly, because DeepWater Wind is not up and running yet, the conclusions of this report do not consider the impact that the estimated $350 - $500 million cost will have on Rhode Island ratepayers. DeepWater Wind alone will have a significant, detrimental effect on RI's economy. More lost jobs, because contrary to the claim of increased "green jobs", many reports cite that more jobs are lost in other industries than are offset by any new green jobs gained, and generally speaking, the majority of those new green jobs are temporary.

Take a look at the great green hope.

Even the great green hope, Germany, has a panel pushing to turn back the hands of time on green energy. Because of rising costs associated with an aggressive renewable energy program, Energy Minister Gabriel is recommending cutting the average subsidy for wind, solar and other renewable power sources. Chancellor Merkel agrees. According to 'The Economist' Germany's cost of electricity is rising as the 2000 law guarantees 20 years of fixed high prices for solar and wind producers (is that similar to Senator Sosnowski's 15-20 year permanent tariff?). The subsidy is costly. An average household now pays an extra $355 a year to subsidize renewables. Costs are increasing for companies and are making them less competitive with America. As disturbing as all of this is for an economy like RI's, the irony worth noting is the impact that moving to the costly renewables in Germany has had on the environment. Because wind and solar are so unpredictable, conventional power plants have had to remain in operation to ensure a continuous power supply. The green energy plan, known as Energiewend in Germany, has so far increased, not decreased greenhouse gas emissions!

The warning bell is sounded in Germany.

The former German Chancellor, Schroder, warns in his new book that the support for renewable energy through the electricity price will lead consumers, especially the ones near the bottom of the income scale, to eventually revolt and say "We can't afford this anymore”. Additionally, he writes that German companies are already reconsidering plans to build plants in Germany, and are considering setting up in low-price-energy locations instead. Sound familiar?

But if mandates for renewables and higher utility bills aren't enough, there's more green legislation.

Visualize the speck of Rhode Island superimposed on a map of the US, contiguously aligned with China and India. Then consider population - Rhode Island's population of 1 million (give or take) compared to the combined 3 billion of the US, China and India. Do you have the image of a speck in the universe? That is what RI's relative effect on worldwide climate change looks like when trying to regulate carbon emissions here in Little Rhody.

Death by bureaucracy.

Last week Representative Handy introduced a 23 page piece of legislation (H 7904) to hold back the tide. Representative Handy, along with Representatives Ruggiero, Walsh, Keable and Naughton believe that the pinprick on the map known as Rhode Island, can make a dent in the impact that climate change is theoretically having on the world. Handy was quoted as saying that this bill would "bring more certainty to families and businesses that their homes and investments are safer here than elsewhere". We wonder what households really think of legislation that would significantly add to the cost of their monthly bill by mandating a target of 25% renewables by 2025, up from the current 16% by 2019. Or how businesses would respond to building code regulations that mandate "climate change mitigation through reduced energy consumption" with targeted reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, in both existing and new buildings, to be 50% below 1990 levels in just 20 years and reduced 85% by 2050. Gulp.

Alternatively known as "The Climate Change Adaption and Mitigation - Resilient RI Act of 2014", the name alone should be enough to make every RI taxpayer and businessman shake in their shoes. This bill cites the "rising sea levels" and the "more intense storms driving worsening floods", along with "measurably longer and hotter summers and heat waves" and "increasingly damaging coastal storms" as the premise for increasing the power and authority of 36 state departments, offices, commissions, councils, agencies and instrumentalities and creating a new Climate Change Science Advisory Council and a new Climate Change Adaptation Planning and Implementation Coordination Committee. All of this in addition to the existing State Planning Council, RI Greenways Council, RI Office of Energy Resources, and the RI Energy Efficiency and Resources Management Council. Of course, all of this will be coordinated with the now defunct Economic Development Corporation (EDC), currently known as the RI Commerce Corporation. A lot of bureaucracy, but to what end?

An Octopus only has 8 tentacles.

Then there's the "guidelines" to be developed by the Public Finance Management Board for use by the state and municipalities with their myriad departments, agencies, authorities and other bureaucracies, all for the purpose of considering the effects of climate change on any asset financed through the issuance of bonds. These guidelines will also be used by the Chair of the House and Senate Finance Committees, the Committee on Municipal Government and the House and Senate fiscal advisor.

How much would all of this cost and what would be the impact on RI's economy?

While the RI Center for Freedom and Prosperity has begun modeling the effect of mandating the reduction of carbon emissions and the increased usage of renewables, OSTPA has reviewed the state legislative website and cannot find any evidence of modeling that has been performed by the legislators proposing the bills. Perhaps it is a work in progress. Calculating an estimate of the impact on Rhode Island is necessary to make a determination as to whether the cost of implementing such sweeping change is offset by the benefits to Rhode Island.

So what will Rhode Island's leaders do in the face of a national perspective?

When CVS' Mr. Kennedy noted the top four issues that companies look at when determining where to locate their business, they were nothing different from what RI's own local economists, economic advisors and taxpayer groups have been focusing on for years - the state's fiscal stability (ie. employment and long-term budget projections), the cost of doing business (the tax burden, the regulatory environment and the cost of energy), the quality of the work force, and the infrastructure. At the end of the economic workshop, House Speaker Fox said the workshop offered "food for thought". Mr. Kennedy made it clear, that from a national business perspective, when companies have a choice to locate anywhere in the country, RI is not even 'food for thought'. Will making RI a leader in carbon emission reduction, at the expense of increasing the cost of living and doing business here, create an environment where companies want to expand or relocate?

Just think about the lack of interest in the I-195 land development on display recently and the answer for Rhode Island's leaders becomes crystal clear.

Lisa Blais is a board member of OSTPA, a taxpayer advocacy organization in Rhode Island.


Related Slideshow: The Ten Biggest Issues Facing the RI General Assembly in 2014

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The Budget

The latest report by the House Finance Committee illustrates that Rhode Island will start the next fiscal year, which starts in July 2014, with an estimated deficit of $149 million. The report shows the FY 2014 Budget contains numerous overspending problems—meaning that the General Assembly will have to cut costs somewhere.

So where will the cuts come from? Lawmakers will have to examine the state's costliest programs. According to the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council, the most expensive government programs in Rhode Island are Elementary and Secondary Education, Public Welfare, Pensions, Higher Education, and Interest on Debt. Click here to view a comprehensive list of the state's costliest government programs.

Prev Next


Bankrupt Communities

The state may be two years removed from Central Falls filing for bankruptcy, but 2014 could be the year that other financially strapped Rhode Island communities follow suit—most notably Woonsocket and West Warwick.

With bankruptcy on the table in both 2012 and 2013, this year poses more financial uncertainty for the cash-strapped city of Woonsocket. Earlier this year, the city's bond rating was downgraded due to the city's numerous financial issues—including a growing deficit, increasing unfunded pension liability, and a severe cash crunch.

Similarly, the embattled town of West Warwick faces a variety of financial questions in 2014. With its pension fund set to run out by 2017, the town must address its unfunded liabilities this year if it hopes to regain financial stability. That, coupled with an increasing school department deficit, make West Warwick a contender for bankruptcy.

Look for Woonsocket and West Warwick's elected state officials to address their respective cities' financial issues in the upcoming legislative session.

Prev Next


Sales Tax

With the Special Joint Legislative Commission to Study the Sales Tax Repeal set to report their findings to the General Assembly in February, the possibility of sales tax repeal in Rhode Island could become a reality in 2014.

"Our sales tax is killing small businesses, especially those in border communities," said Rep. Jan P. Malik (D-Dist. 67, Barrington, Warren), the commission's chair. "How can Rhode Island continue to compete at 7 percent, with Massachusetts already lower than us and considering reducing its sales tax even farther? How can Rhode Island restaurants compete at 8 percent? They can’t. We need to find a way to fix this, and a serious discussion of our sales tax is a discussion we need to have, now, before more small stores close their doors."

In addition to Malik, proponents of sales tax elimination include the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity and Forbes Magazine.

Prev Next


EDC Reorganization to Commerce Corporation

On January 1, 2014, the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation will be replaced with the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation—a move which has the potential to impact to adversely affect recipients of federal funding contracts made possible currently through the EDC.

This could include the state's Broadband Initiative, Brownfields program, and other contracts made through the EDC. As a result, recipients will now be required to re-apply for federal funding as of January 1st.

The massive overhaul of the EDC was prompted by the 38 Studios debacle, which is projected to cost Rhode Island taxpayers $102 million. 38 Studios, the now defunct video game company, filed bankruptcy in May 2012 just months after securing a $75 million loan from the EDC.

Prev Next


Marijuana Legalization

With the state's marijuana decriminalization law going into effect this past April, Rhode Island may be a candidate for marijuana legalization in 2014.

Legislation to legalize marijuana has been introduced in each of the last three years, but has never been voted on. Earlier this year, Rep. Edith Ajello (D-Dist. 3, Providence), who is chair of the Judiciary Committee, introduced the bill in the House. Roughly half of the Judiciary Committee supports the measure.

The bill also has the support of the Marijuana Policy Project, an organization focusing on drug policy reform, which hopes to legalize marijuana in ten states, including Rhode Island.

Approximately 52 percent of Rhode Island voters support legalizing marijuana for recreational use, according to a Public Policy Polling survey conducted in January.

Marijuana is currently legal in Colorado and Washington.

Prev Next


Constitutional Convention

Come November 2014, Rhode Island voters will likely be asked whether they wish to convene a constitutional convention, which involves individuals gathering for the purpose of writing a new constitution or revising the existing one.

Every 10 years, Rhode Island voters are asked whether they wish to amend or revise the constitution. Voters rejected this opportunity in 1994 and 2004. Although rare, Rhode Islanders can vote to hold a constitutional convention and in effect, take control over the state government.

If approved, a special election is held to elect 75 delegates, who then convene to propose amendments to the Rhode Island Constitution. These amendments are then voted on in the next general election.

The likelihood of this occurring highly depends on if the General Assembly does its job to ensure residents that the state is heading in the right direction financially and structurally.

Rhode Island’s last constitutional convention took place in 1986. It proposed 14 amendments—eight of which were adopted by voters.

Prev Next


Education Board Structure

Less than a year after the General Assembly created the 11-member Rhode Island Board of Education to replace the Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education and the Board of Governors for Higher Education, there are multiple questions surrounding the structure of this newly consolidated agency.

Although lawmakers voted to merge the state's two education boards in June, the Board of Education now wants to split its agency to create two separate councils—one with the statutory authority over kindergarten to grade 12 and another governing higher education.

The Board of Education will present its proposal to the General Assembly during its next legislative session and lawmakers will once again determine how the agency should be structured.

The Board of Education currently governs all public education in Rhode Island.

Prev Next


Sakonnet Bridge Tolls

Rhode Island may have implemented tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge this past year, but they could be gone by 2014.

On January 15, the East Bay Bridge Commission—which was established to allow lawmakers and officials investigate various funding plans, potentially eliminating the need for tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge—will report its findings to the General Assembly. The General Assembly is then required to vote on the issue by April 1.

The commission was established in July following the General Assembly's approval of the 10-cent toll.

Prev Next


Superman Building

Located on Westminster Street in Downtown Providence, the former Bank of America Building (commonly referred to as the Superman Building) may be the tallest building in the state, but as of right now, it's just a vacant piece of property.

The building's current owner, High Rock Westminster LLC, was most recently looking for a total of $75 million to rehabilitate the skyscraper—$39 million of which would come from the state.

With the sting of the 38 Studios deal still fresh in the minds of lawmakers, a $39 million tax credit appears unlikely.

The question of what will become of the Superman Building remains to be seen. 

Prev Next


Master Lever

Championed by Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Block (while head of the RI Moderate Party), the movement to eliminate the Master Level, which allows voters to vote for all candidates of one political party with a stroke of the pen, is poised to heat up in 2014.

Despite Block's strong push to repeal the 1939 law, the measure did not get a vote in the General Assembly last session.

In October, Block told GoLocal that he believes that House Speaker Gordon Fox is responsible for the General Assembly not voting on the proposal.

“Despite the support of a majority of 42 state Representatives, thousands of emails from concerned RI voters and unanimous testimony of more than 100 people who came to the State House in person to testify that the Master Lever had to go, the Speaker personally killed the bill in the most unaccountable way possible—he did not allow the House Judiciary Committee to vote on the bill,” Block told GoLocal.

Speaker Fox has stated on multiple occasions that he believes the Master Level is a legitimate tool that many voters use.


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The sun is setting on Rhode Island because of the green,agenda driven brain dead democrats in the state house who continue to concoct ill conceived policies that hurt the poor and the middle class..when will RI wake up and stop voting for these progressive democrats who have delivered nothing but pain and poverty to this state year after year after year..Look where we are now and who got us here..70 YEARS OF DEMOCRATIC RULE got us to this state of despair.

Comment #1 by LENNY BRUCE on 2014 03 20

The sun and the wind are free, so I'd like to know why large-scale alternative energy cannot offer lower electricity prices than other sources of power.

I say let alt energy provide power at or below the cost of other sources before doing any government mandating. And let's get prosperous first before driving more nails into the RI economy.

Comment #2 by Art West on 2014 03 20

If our energy prices are driving businesses away, why is that Connecticut and Massachusetts with significantly higher rates aren't? If renewables are so bad for the economy, why is it that the economies of Massachusetts and Connecticut are thriving with their robust incentives for renewable development? The answer is plain enough. The renewable energy industry grows local jobs that help the local economy, unlike sending our money out of state for fossil fuels that are destructive to people's health and the environment.

This article does a great job of copying and pasting from the Koch Bros. playbook, billionaire oil tycoons who have a vested interest in preventing us from transitioning to the clean energy economy we needed 25 years ago.

If you want to see what's dragging down Rhode Island's economy, look no further than this screed of duplicity.

Comment #3 by Abel Collins on 2014 03 20

Abel--do you have any data to back up your claims? Because the data I looked at showed RI had higher electrical costs than both Connecticut and Mass--which would make you the duplicitous one, no?


Comment #4 by Jimmy LaRouche on 2014 03 20

The bill the author complains about are a small step in the right direcction, but they are completely inadequate compared to what climate science requires to stave off a climate catastrophe. The author's fixation on money completely blinds him to this reality.

For more see: http://www.rifuture.org/if-self-congratulation-could-save-the-earth.html and http://www.rifuture.org/fossil-free-ri-puts-rhode-island-climate-bill-in-perspective.html

Comment #5 by Peter Nightingale on 2014 03 20

Abel Collins
The Koch Brother's "Center for Freedom for Prosperity" bills itself as nonprofit, nonpartisan organization

NON-PARTISAN ......LOL Like Fox News or the conservative Westboro Baptist Church

Comment #6 by Sammy Arizona on 2014 03 20

Peter--climate catastrophe? Seriously--you goes too far for the comedy!!!!

Comment #7 by Jimmy LaRouche on 2014 03 20

Abel - As prior posts asks, please provide data that backs up your claim. We are not a European country that has no energy resources and has to rely on high costs wind power, we are now, unless you haven't noticed, right at the point of energy independence. Plenty of natural gas, and low costs hydro to our North. If we maintain our high energy costs structure, we will continue to be in a losing economic position. What local jobs are you saying will be grown? Can they even match the 80 jobs lost in Central Falls just today because we are going to a Greener light bulb?

Comment #8 by Roy D on 2014 03 20

Abel - As prior posts asks, please provide data that backs up your claim. We are not a European country that has no energy resources and has to rely on high costs wind power, we are now, unless you haven't noticed, right at the point of energy independence. Plenty of natural gas, and low costs hydro to our North. If we maintain our high energy costs structure, we will continue to be in a losing economic position. What local jobs are you saying will be grown? Can they even match the 80 jobs lost in Central Falls just today because we are going to a Greener light bulb?

Comment #9 by Roy D on 2014 03 20

RI ratepayers will forget all about Carcieri's 75 million dollar loan too 38 Studios, once they start paying for Don's 500 million dollar Deep Water Wind project, DWD will forever be Carcieri's legacy

As Carcieri said ""I commend the RIEDC Board for its EXTENSIVE DUE DILIGENCE and for taking this significant step to bring jobs to Rhode Island," Don Carcieri THE MAN WITH THE VETO PEN said the night the agency approved the loan to Carcieri's fellow conservative Republican Curt Schilling.


Rhode Island's director of revenue said she "was not in favor" of the 38 Studios deal and and expressed those concerns DIRECTLY to then-Gov. Don Carcieri.

Comment #10 by Sammy Arizona on 2014 03 20

The truth is, we here in the US need to transition to clean energy. The distributed generation growth program is good but falls short of adequacy.

Comment #11 by Colleen Smith on 2014 03 21

Renewable energy is only successful if it has a government subsidy to back it up. It should be also noted than when Mr. Kennedy told Rep. Handy that environmental issues with business rarely come up or are even considered, Handy's head sank. Business is not buying into the alternative energy scheme because it is all manufactured by the government as a way to tax people - that simple.

Comment #12 by Gov- stench on 2014 03 21

Renewable energy is only successful if it has a government subsidy to back it up. It should be also noted than when Mr. Kennedy told Rep. Handy that environmental issues with business rarely come up or are even considered, Handy's head sank. Business is not buying into the alternative energy scheme because it is all manufactured by the government as a way to tax people - that simple.

Comment #13 by Gov- stench on 2014 03 21

We need clean energy, prosperity and energy independence.

We have huge amounts of natural gas reserves that can certainly help with the above. And we have wind, hydro and other sources that are free to compete as sources, but should not be mandated, which diminishes prosperity with unnecessary high cost.

Individuals, not government bureaucracy, should be at the forefront of green energy initiatives installing solar electric panels and the like on their homes.

Comment #14 by Art West on 2014 03 21

The complete list of faltering or bankrupt green-energy companies:
Evergreen Solar ($25 million)*
SpectraWatt ($500,000)*
Solyndra ($535 million)*
Beacon Power ($43 million)*
Nevada Geothermal ($98.5 million)
SunPower ($1.2 billion)
First Solar ($1.46 billion)
Babcock and Brown ($178 million)
EnerDel’s subsidiary Ener1 ($118.5 million)*
Amonix ($5.9 million)
Fisker Automotive ($529 million)
Abound Solar ($400 million)*
A123 Systems ($279 million)*
Willard and Kelsey Solar Group ($700,981)*
Johnson Controls ($299 million)
Brightsource ($1.6 billion)
ECOtality ($126.2 million)
Raser Technologies ($33 million)*
Energy Conversion Devices ($13.3 million)*
Mountain Plaza, Inc. ($2 million)*
Olsen’s Crop Service and Olsen’s Mills Acquisition Company ($10 million)*
Range Fuels ($80 million)*
Thompson River Power ($6.5 million)*
Stirling Energy Systems ($7 million)*
Azure Dynamics ($5.4 million)*
GreenVolts ($500,000)
Vestas ($50 million)
LG Chem’s subsidiary Compact Power ($151 million)
Nordic Windpower ($16 million)*
Navistar ($39 million)
Satcon ($3 million)*
Konarka Technologies Inc. ($20 million)*
Mascoma Corp. ($100 million)

Comment #15 by LENNY BRUCE on 2014 03 21

Interesting--we have those promoting higher cost "green energy" backed with convincing facts such as "the truth is.." and "climate catastrophe" while those who prefer lower cost actually have data to back their claims...

Sammy--is Carcieri still in power in your twisted world? Because a lot of people in that last few years could have cancelled Deep Water but evidently haven't. And 38 Studios debacle couldn't have happened without Fox and P-weeds approval. How about you try to live in reality at some time in your life?

Comment #16 by Jimmy LaRouche on 2014 03 21

Here are some numbers for those who see the world exclusively in dollars. Not sure how they view the loss of shoreline communities in RI that have already been sinking into the ocean for decades, but that's another matter.

As Reuters reports (http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/15/climate-solutions-idUSL5N0KP1OI20140115) "To get on track [to avoid a climate catastrophe], governments may have to turn ever more to technologies for "carbon dioxide removal" (CDR) from the air, ranging from capturing and burying emissions from coal-fired power plants to planting more forests that use carbon to grow.

The American Physical Society (http://www.aps.org/policy/reports/assessments/upload/dac2011.pdf) has estimated that it will cost $600 to remove one metric to of carbon-dioxide from the atmosphere. To put a dent in the carbon-dioxide excess, we have to remove about 500 gigatons (giga: nine zeros) of that stuff from the atmosphere, at a cost of a couple of hundreds of trillions (trillion: twelve zeros) of dollars, about two orders of magnitude more than the US yearly military expenditure.

The author of this post and some of the comments in this discussion give new meaning to "penny wise and pound foolish." I hope they sleep better a night knowing that their offspring will save a lot of money in taxes when life expectancy drops from 75 to 50 years because of environmental stress.

Comment #17 by Peter Nightingale on 2014 03 22

@Mr.Nightingale. Not sure how this state fits in to your narrative. Maybe you should submit to the Bejing Times. Haven't you noticed the air quality in China? Looks like they, just may, be a cause of some of that emissions from coal-fired plants.

Comment #18 by Roy D on 2014 03 22

Roy D, please look at figure 3 in this publication

You'll see that the US, which is home to 5% of the world population, has put 25% of the total amount of carbon-dioxide into the atmosphere.

What counts is not the current rate of emission, but sum total that all of us have been dumping into the atmosphere since the beginning of the industrial revolution. The global temperature increase is determined by that cumulative total. China "just" catching up, as are many other countries. That's not an excuse for a continued wrecking of the climate, but it's worth keeping in mind.

In other words, the global north has vastly overspent its fair share of the total amount of carbon-dioxide that humanity can put into the atmosphere without inviting a climate catastrophe. We in the industrialized world are carbon debtor nations, and if we want to solve the global climate change problem we better own up to that sobering fact.

Comment #19 by Peter Nightingale on 2014 03 22

Peter N. - The United States has come a long way since the pollution of the industrial revolution. A lot has been learned and new technologies developed. It is too bad that your attitude is "China, just catching up". With the knowledge we have and considering your comment about the "wrecking of the climate", I would think that your comments should be directed at those countries that are now the worse polluters. As I said before, send a letter to the editor of the Bejing Times.

Comment #20 by Roy D on 2014 03 22

Peter, thank you for sharing the publication from Columbia University. The fact that the US has put "25% of the total amount of carbon-dioxide into the atmosphere" is saddening and embarrassing to say the least.

Comment #21 by Colleen Smith on 2014 03 22

From a geologist named Ian Rutherford Plimer, an Australian geologist and professor emeritus of earth sciences at the University of Melbourne:

"Okay, here's the bombshell. The volcanic eruption in Iceland. Since its first spewing of volcanic ash has, in just FOUR DAYS, NEGATED
EVERY SINGLE EFFORT you have made in the past five years to control CO2 emissions on our planet - all of you.

Of course, you know about this evil carbon dioxide that we are trying to suppress - it's that vital chemical compound that every plant requires to live and grow and to synthesize into oxygen for us humans and all animal life.

I know..it's very disheartening to realize that all of the carbon emission savings you have accomplished while suffering the inconvenience and expense of driving Prius hybrids, buying fabric grocery bags, sitting up till midnight to finish your kids "The Green Revolution" science project, throwing out all of your non-green cleaning supplies, using only two squares of toilet paper, putting a brick in your toilet tank reservoir, selling your SUV and speedboat, vacationing at home instead of abroad, nearly getting
hit every day on your bicycle, replacing all of your 50 cent light bulbs with $10.00 light bulbs...well, all of those things you have done have all gone down the tubes in just four days.

The volcanic ash emitted into the Earth's atmosphere in just four days - yes, FOUR DAYS - by that volcano in Iceland has totally erased every single effort you have made to reduce the evil beast, carbon.

And there are around 200 active volcanoes on the planet spewing out this crud at any one time - EVERY DAY.

I don't really want to rain on your parade too much, but I should mention that when the volcano Mt Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines in 1991, it spewed out more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than the entire human race had emitted in all its years on earth.

Yes, folks, Mt Pinatubo was active for over One year - think about it.

Of course, I shouldn't spoil this 'touchy-feely tree-hugging' moment and mention the effect of solar and cosmic activity and the well-recognized 800-year global heating and cooling cycle,which keeps happening despite our completely insignificant efforts to affect climate change.

And I do wish I had a silver lining to this volcanic ash cloud, but the fact of the matter is that the bush fire season across the western USA and Australia this year alone will negate your efforts to reduce carbon in our world for the next two to three years. And it happens every year.

Just remember that your government just tried to impose a whopping carbon tax on you, on the basis of the bogus 'human-caused' climate-change scenario.

Hey, isn't it interesting how "they" don't mention 'Global Warming' anymore, but just 'Climate Change'.

You know why?

It's because the planet has COOLED by 0.7 degrees in the past century and these global warming BS artists got caught with their pants down.

And, just keep in mind that you might yet have an Emissions Trading Scheme - that whopping new tax - imposed on you that will achieve absolutely nothing except make you poorer. It won't stop any volcanoes from erupting, that's for sure."

Comment #22 by Art West on 2014 03 24

Last login: Mon Mar 24 17:44:21 on ttys003
exit environment.mine
exit /Users/nigh/Library/init/tcsh/aliases.mine
exit path
[lap:~] nigh% vi /tmp/tmp

Art's story is a little confusing: "The volcanic ash emitted into the Earth's atmosphere in just four days - yes, FOUR DAYS - by that volcano in Iceland has totally erased every single effort you have made to reduce the evil beast, carbon."

Volcanic ash blocks out the sun and has a cooling effect -- see the Year Without a Summer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_Without_a_Summer) How does that erase the effect of reducing the amount of carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere, which also has a cooling effect?

In fact, one of the major impacts of global warming is that it increases the volatility of the weather. Indeed -- see http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/warming-links.html --
The researchers detailed how "extremely hot" summers are becoming far more routine. "Extremely hot" is defined as a mean summer temperature experienced by less than one percent of Earth's land area between 1951 and 1980, the base period for this study. But since 2006, about 10 percent of land area across the Northern Hemisphere has experienced these temperatures each summer.

Here is another striking example:
At the moment, a large part of Russia is experiencing temperature anomalies at the highest end of the scale, i.e. more than 36°F (20°C) warmer than average past records.

Just imagine that there is truth to this volcano story and take a look at this curve, which is a record of the atmospehric carbon-dioxide observed in Mauna Loa Observatory (http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/#mlo_full) Just imagine that what we see here is the effect of volcanoes. If we've gone from 300ppm to 400ppm in fifty years the the oldest volcano on earth must be about 200 years old. Sounds like some geologist, that dear professor Plimer of ours!

Finally, if you want to read a more complete story about the effect of volcanoes and the Ian Plimer hoax, look no further than here:
"Another Hoax E-mail: Volcanic Eruptions and Carbon Emissions."

Comment #23 by Peter Nightingale on 2014 03 25

If the consensus of the great scientific minds of our times is 100% certain, then it should be easy for them to say with absolute certainty the date of the "point of no return" when there will be nothing we can do about global warming caused by all our human-caused C02 emissions. (I recall that several years ago, 2015 was the date when we just throw in the towel and cringe in terror.)

I suspect the date will be a moving target and will not occur before waaaaay more research grants are doled out to the pro-AGW experts -- grants funded by man-made increases in taxes, political power and by greater financial burdens placed on poor people and middle-class people.

Comment #24 by Art West on 2014 03 26

While worrying about RI's competitive position with regard to energy costs is totally legitimate, and it seems Deepwater and possibly other renewable energy mandates may push up prices further short-term, dealing with climate change is also totally legitimate. I think those who push back against the specifics of Deepwater or the climate resiliency bill have an obligation to come up with a reasonable strategy for RI to do its part in order to maintain creibility.

My take is that since RI has no fossil fuel extraction industry, our economy suffers from the export of wealth to purchase fossil fuels,
but we have plenty of wind, tide, and even solar energy, so in the long run we benefit from a shift to renewable energy. We are also at risk from rising seal levels, extreme climate events, and since we grow so little of our own fod, food insecurity.

The problem requiring a solution which I don't see either side in this debate really solving, is how to make the transition in a cost competitive way.

Comment #25 by barry schiller on 2014 03 31


Great comment. I, too, love those kind of energy projects -- but get highly suspicious when the cost of the power they provide spikes way beyond the cost of conventional energy sources.

I don't like getting screwed. And I think we need cheap energy as the basis for a thriving economy. Prosperity enables everyday people to support and afford the kinds of alt energy you mention -- which enables the projects themselves. See where I'm going with this? A prosperous people makes things happen; not government mandates that create financial burdens and reduce personal prosperity.

Comment #26 by Art West on 2014 04 02

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