By Jordan McGillis
Institute for Energy Research
WASHINGTON, DC (April 2019) – In early 2019 the Congressional Progressive Caucus has sought to shift the Overton window for energy and environmental policy. February’s resolution “recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal” communicates a consistent, if nebulous, view: government must dictate our energy choices to us, lest we careen toward environmental disaster. Short on specific mechanisms, the Green New Deal is not so much a concrete policy proposal, but rather a repudiation of capitalism as such. In response, various conservatives, libertarians, Republicans, and others who tend to support a free-market economic system have groped for an answer of their own to the climate change question. While some are proposing subsidizing their pet technologies, others—the more intellectually ambitious—are coalescing around the carbon tax.
Unlike support for the Green New Deal, support for a carbon tax does not necessarily arise from categorical opposition to capitalism, but often arises from a concern that the burning of coal, oil, and natural gas—despite the benefits—in some way jeopardizes our future. With its mimicking of a price system, the carbon tax offers a less flagrant, more sophisticated means of economic intervention than the Green New Deal’s command-and-control approach. Some carbon tax proponents go so far as to claim that a carbon tax is a means of “unleash(ing) the power of our free enterprise system.” This optimism is unfounded. Carbon taxes are nonobjective, they are coercive, and they are impediments to prosperity. As this paper will make clear, the carbon tax lacks merit as a public policy.
This paper comprises six core points against the carbon tax:
- Carbon taxes are set arbitrarily.
- The climate change mitigation goals of the world’s leading political bodies are at odds with the climate economics literature.
- A U.S. tax-and-rebate plan would slow economic growth.
- Carbon taxes have unexpected, adverse tax effects.
- A U.S. carbon tax would be irrelevant.
- A U.S. carbon tax that would replace existing regulations and/or taxes is not politically viable.
By Mark P. Mills
NEW YORK (March 26, 2019) – A movement has been growing for decades to replace hydrocarbons, which collectively supply 84% of the world’s energy. It began with the fear that we were running out of oil. That fear has since migrated to the belief that, because of climate change and other environmental concerns, society can no longer tolerate burning oil, natural gas, and coal—all of which have turned out to be abundant.
So far, wind, solar, and batteries—the favored alternatives to hydrocarbons—provide about 2% of the world’s energy and 3% of America’s. Nonetheless, a bold new claim has gained popularity: that we’re on the cusp of a tech-driven energy revolution that not only can, but inevitably will, rapidly replace all hydrocarbons.
This “new energy economy” rests on the belief—a centerpiece of the Green New Deal and other similar proposals both here and in Europe—that the technologies of wind and solar power and battery storage are undergoing the kind of disruption experienced in computing and communications, dramatically lowering costs and increasing efficiency. But this core analogy glosses over profound differences, grounded in physics, between systems that produce energy and those that produce information.
Peabody President and Chief Executive Officer
Amid a fuel that is so often miscast as a Hollywood villain, I’d like to briefly lay out what I would call the
surprisingly sustainable case for coal… with three key observations.
First Observation: The story of global energy is not one of good versus evil. It is a tale of the pursuit of
two “goods” – affordable, reliable energy and reduced emissions. Maximizing the benefits while
minimizing the costs are what so many of us are about every single day.
First, the basics: The world uses some 8 billion tons of coal per year.
1 A bit more than one out of every
four units of energy in the world comes from coal – and the International Energy Agency (IEA) has noted
that this share has actually edged up in the past four decades – and off of a much larger base.
For the first time ever in 2018, global coal-fueled generating capacity topped 2,000 gigawatts (GW).
That’s a massive 62% increase since the year 20003… and each GW can use about 3 million tons of coal
per year. Some 300 GW of new coal-fueled generation is under construction in Asia alone – more than
the entire existing U.S. coal fleet.4
More than 40 nations have added coal-fueled generation since 2010.5
Within the U.S., past years of regulatory burden, financial incentives to switch fuels, and a countryspecific shale play have created a secular decline, but coal still fuels over a quarter of electricity
During the peak day of the recent polar vortex, coal fueled 37% of electricity – more than
any other source.
ACC submitted comments to EPA on its proposal for greenhouse gas/CO2 emissions for new, modified, and reconstructed power sector coal plants, supporting EPA’s proposal to change to a standard based on the use of “supercritical” technology. Such technology is widely available and already in use in the U.S. and worldwide, but other prior regulations, including EPA’s prior NSPS requiring carbon capture and storage, have prevented its further deployment in the U.S.
ACC’s comments noted “While our nation’s coal fleet is cleaner than ever before, U.S. policy and regulatory barriers have prevented additional achievements. The cycle of replacing retiring coal plants with new ones was halted, and along with it the opportunity to widely deploy advanced coal power plant technology to improve efficiency and emissions while stabilizing and sustaining our nation’s coal power fleet.”
This EPA NSPS regulation change is needed to provide a better pathway for new coal plants, which will contribute to the fleet and fuel diversity needed to maintain affordable, reliable electricity for consumers. ACC’s comments further noted “Coal power plants have a distinct set of attributes that provide out-sized benefits to the grid, especially in the times of greatest need for electricity.”
CLICK HERE for the full comments.
As 2019 gets underway, there is much to consider: marketplace and logistics conditions are face-to-face with the now-not-so-new “New Fuel Dynamic”, a divided Congress convenes in Washington DC, federal government activity is impacted by a budget impasse and shutdown, U.S. and global economies may be showing signs of softening, and the outlook for coal is ??????
We invite you to join us as our Spring Coal Forum speakers examine the many factors affecting how coal will fare in 2019 – up, down, and sideways – in the context of markets, policy, regulation, and technology.
Early Bird Registration: $895 members and $1,220 prospective members – Early Bird Registration deadline is February 8, 2019
Regular Registration: $1,030 members and $1,355 prospective members – beginning February 9, 2019
Spouse Registration: $50
The Sandpearl Resort & Spa in Clearwater Beach is offering a discounted rate of $294 /night plus tax (single/double) for our conference attendees. For reservations, please call 877.726.3111 or 727.441.2425 and mention that you’re with “American Coal Council Spring Coal Forum”. The deadline for the discounted room reservations is Monday, February 11, 2019.
To book online – http://reserve.sandpearl.
Increasingly absurd disaster rhetoric is consistently contradicted by climate and weather reality
Call it climate one-upmanship. It seems everyone has to outdo previous climate chaos rhetoric.
The “climate crisis” is the “existential threat of our time,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi told her House colleagues. We must “end the inaction and denial of science that threaten the planet and the future.”
Former California Governor Jerry Brown solemnly intoned that America has “an enemy, though different, but perhaps very much devastating in a similar way” as the Nazis in World War II.
Not to be outdone, two PhDs writing in Psychology Today declared that “the human race faces extinction” if we don’t stop burning fossil fuels. And yet “even people who experience extreme weather events often still refuse to report the experiences as a manifestation of climate change.” Psychologists, they lament, “have never had to face denial on this scale before.”
Then there’s Oxford University doctoral candidate Samuel Miller-McDonald. He’s convinced the only thing that could save people and planet from cataclysmic climate change is cataclysmic nuclear war that “shuts down the global economy but stops short of human extinction.”
All this headline-grabbing gloom and doom, however, is backed up by little more than computer models, obstinate assertions that the science is settled, and a steady litany of claims that temperatures, tornadoes, hurricanes, droughts et cetera are unprecedented, worse than ever before, and due to fossil fuels.
And on the basis of these hysterics, we are supposed to give up the carbon-based fuels that provide over 80% of US and global energy, gladly reduce our living standards – and put our jobs and economy at the mercy of expensive, unreliable, weather dependent, pseudo-renewable wind, solar and biofuel energy.
As in any civil or criminal trial, the burden of proof is on the accusers and prosecutors who want to sentence fossil fuels to oblivion. They need to provide more than blood-curdling charges, opening statements and summations. They need to provideconvincing real-world evidence to prove their case.
They have refused to do so. They ignore the way rising atmospheric carbon-dioxide is spurring plant growth and greening the planet. They blame every extreme weather event on fossil fuel emissions, but cannot explain the Medieval Warm Period, Little Ice Age or extreme weather events decades or centuries ago – or why we have had fewer extreme weather events in recent decades. They simply resort to trial in media and other forums where they can exclude exculpatory evidence, bar any case for the fossil fuel defense, and prevent any cross-examination of their witnesses, assertions and make-believe evidence.
Climate models are not evidence. At best, they offer scenarios of what might happen if the assumptions on which they are based turn out to be correct. However, the average prediction by 102 models is now a full degree F (0.55 C) above whatsatellites are actually measuring. Models that cannot be confirmed by actual observations are of little value and certainly should not be a basis for vital energy policy making.
The alarmist mantra seems to be: If models and reality don’t agree, reality must be wrong.
In fact, even as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels climbed to 405 parts per million (0.0405% of Earth’s atmosphere), except for short-term temperature spikes during El Niño ocean warming events, there has been very little planetary warming since 1998; nothing to suggest chaos or runaway temperatures.
Claims that tornadoes have gotten more frequent and intense are obliterated by actual evidence. NOAA records show that from 1954 to 1985 an average of 56 F3 to F5 tornadoes struck the USA each year – but from 1985 to 2017 there were only 34per year on average. And in 2018, for the first time in modern history, not a single “violent” twister touched down in the United States.
Harvey was the first major (category 3-5) hurricane to make US landfall in a record twelve years. The previous record was nine years, set in the 1860s. (If rising CO2 levels are to blame for Harvey, Irma and other extreme weather events, shouldn’t they also be credited for this hurricane drought?)
Droughts differ little from historic trends and cycles – and the Dust Bowl, Anasazi and Mayan droughts, and other ancient dry spells were long and destructive. Moreover, modern agricultural and drip irrigation technologies enable farmers to deal with droughts far better than they ever could in the past.
Forest fires are fewer than in the recent past – and largely due to failure to remove hundreds of millions of dead and diseased trees that provide ready tinder for massive conflagrations.
Arctic and Antarctic ice are largely within “normal” or “cyclical” levels for the past several centuries – and snow surface temperatures in the East Antarctic Plateau regularly reach -90 °C (-130 F) or lower. Average Antarctic temperatures would have to rise some 20-85 degrees F year-round for all its land ice to melt and cause oceans to rise at faster than their current 7-12 inches per century pace.
In fact, the world’s oceans have risen over 400 feet since the last Pleistocene glaciers melted. (That’s how much water those mile-high Ice Age glaciers took out of the oceans!) Sea level rise paused during the Little Ice Age but kicked in again the past century or so. Meanwhile, retreating glaciers reveal long-lost forests, coins, corpses and other artifacts – proving those glaciers have come and gone many times.
Pacific islands will not be covered by rising seas anytime soon, at 7-12 inches per century, and because corals and atolls grow as seas rise. Land subsidence also plays a big role in perceived sea level rise – and US naval bases are safe from sea level rise, though maybe not from local land subsidence.
The Washington Post did report that “the Arctic Ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer, and in some places the seals are finding the water too hot.” But that was in 1922.
Moreover, explorers wrote about the cyclical absence of Arctic ice long before that. “We were astonished by the total absence of ice in Barrow Strait,” Sir Francis McClintock wrote in 1860. “I was here at this time in [mid] 1854 – still frozen up – and doubts were entertained as to the possibility of escape.”
Coral bleaching? That too has many causes – few having anything to do with manmade global warming – and the reefs generally return quickly to their former glory as corals adopt new zooxanthellae.
On and on it goes – with more scare stories daily, more attempts to blame humans and fossil fuels for nearly every interesting or as-yet-unexplained natural phenomenon, weather event or climate fluctuation. And yet countering the manmade climate apocalypse narrative is increasingly difficult – in large part because the $2-trillion-per-year climate “science” and “renewable” energy industry works vigorously to suppress such evidence and discussion … and is aided and abetted by its media and political allies.
Thus we have Chuck Todd, who brought an entire panel of alarmist climate “experts” to a recent episode of Meet the Press. He helped them expound ad nauseam on the alleged “existential threat of our time” – but made it clear that he was not going to give even one minute to experts on the other side.
“We’re not going to debate climate change, the existence of it,” Todd proclaimed. “The Earth is getting hotter. And human activity is a major cause, period. We’re not going to give time to climate deniers. The science is settled, even if political opinion is not.” The only thing left to discuss, from their perspective was “solutions” – most of which would hugely benefit them and their cohorts, politically and financially.
Regular folks in developed and developing countries alike see this politicized, money-driven kangaroo court process for what it is. They also know that unproven, exaggerated and fabricated climate scares must be balanced against their having to give up (or never having) reliable, affordable fossil fuel energy. That is why we have “dangerous manmade climate change” denial on this scale.
That is why we must get the facts out by other means. It is why we must confront Congress, media people and the Trump Administration, and demand that they address these realities, hold debates, revisit the CO2 Endangerment Finding – and stop calling for an end to fossil fuels and modern living standards before we actually have an honest, robust assessment of supposedly “settled” climate science.
Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) and author of articles and books on energy, environmental and human rights issues.
The ACC’s Tomorrow’s Leadership Council (TLC) is designed to advance and vest executive talent in the coal industry. TLC is an annual program designed to provide a meaningful opportunity for up-and-coming executives to enhance their industry knowledge and networks through projects and activities that advance industry-wide objectives as well as professional development goals.
The TLC program, which launched in 2009, has had participation by 150 executives from more than 50 companies throughout the coal supply chain.
We welcome member and non-member companies to register their entry-level staff, mid-level executives, and those newer to coal for this one-of-a-kind professional development program. They will have the opportunity to meet and engage with others in the coal supply, consumption, transportation and trading sectors, as well as those working in companies that partner with and support these business sectors.
Participants benefit from professional development seminars, ACC conference attendance, special networking dinners and the opportunity to work on a collaborative group project with others in the program.
Additional program and registration information is available on the ACC website. Please also call or email Betsy Monseu, ACC CEO, at (202) 756-4540 or firstname.lastname@example.org Terry L. Headley, ACC communications director at (202) 756-4540 or email@example.com with any questions or for more information.
By LUKE POPOVICH
The midterm elections are right around the corner.
What are the implications to coal if changes to congressional control occur? Read here, keep calm and vote.
The October issue of the American Coal e-newsletter is now available.
Click below for the latest news about America’s energy — coal.
By FTI Consulting
(August 30, 2018) — A trade war has been brewing between the U.S. and many other countries. What started as tariffs on 18 products in January 2018 has grown to encompass more than 10,000 products. The trade war escalated when President Trump imposed additional import duties on steel and aluminum imported into the U.S. from other countries.
These tariffs stand at 25% for steel and 10% for aluminum with very few countries exempted. The tariffs have spurred retaliatory actions from several major U.S. trading partners, including Canada, Mexico, China, and the 28 members of the European Union.
To provide a tangible, quantitative view of how steel and aluminum tariffs and retaliatory tariffs will impact the U.S. and other countries, FTI Consulting utilized the Global Trade Analysis Project (“GTAP”) model, a dynamic model of international trade and finance, to simulate the budding trade war. The GTAP model can analyze international trade across 57 different industries and 140 countries and regions across the world. We examined two tariff scenarios – one without and one with retaliatory tariffs from the U.S.’s trading partners facing the steel and aluminum tariffs.
The analysis and results presented here—which considers the generalized macroeconomic effect of tariffs on metals and specific retaliatory actions—is not exhaustive. With trade and tariff policy-related news changing daily, continued analysis designed to better understand the impacts must be both detailed and dynamic.