Robert Bryce's articles have appeared in dozens of publications ranging from the Wall Street Journal toCounterpunch and Atlantic Monthly to National Review. He’s the author of five books, including Power Hungry: The Myths of "Green" Energy, and the Real Fuels of the Future, which was published in 2010. His most recent book, Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper: How Innovation Keeps Proving the Catastrophists Wrong, was released in May by his longtime publisher, PublicAffairs. A senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, he lives in Austin.
If anyone needed proof that subsidy-dependent businesses will always seek more subsidies, look no further than the U.S. wind industry. On Wednesday, the wind sector won a vote in the House on a tax bill that includes a one-year extension of the production tax credit (PTC), which gives wind companies 2.3 cents for every kilowatt-hour of electricity they produce. The companies can collect that subsidy for a decade after they are deemed eligible.
Tomorrow in Vienna, the members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will meet once again to jawbone about oil prices.
But here’s the reality: OPEC is no longer a price maker, it’s a price taker. The price of oil is no longer being set by the cartel, it’s being set by U.S. drilling companies producing oil from shale deposits. And those drillers are thriving largely because of three key advantages, ones that I call the three Rs: rigs, rednecks, and rights.
When viewed as a political grudge match, the ongoing battle over the Keystone XL pipeline remains one of the hottest fights in Washington. Proof of that can be seen by looking at yesterday’s vote in the Senate on the project, which failed to get the 60 votes needed for filibuster-proof passage.
Why Cheap Oil Is Bad for the U.S. Economy
Bloomberg November 17, 2014
Robert Bryce, senior fellow at Manhattan Institute, and Doug Kass, founder and president at Seabreeze Partners, discuss how oil productivity gains in the U.S. and around the world affect OPEC and the adverse economic effect of lower oil prices.
Rajendra Pachauri, the Indian academic who chairs the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, recently declared that we have "the means to limit climate change" and that "all we need is the will to change."
That's a rather glib statement given that just five years ago, Pachauri was lamenting the fact that so many of his fellow Indians were living in dire energy poverty. In July 2009, Pachauri asked reporters "Can you imagine 400 million people who do not have a light bulb in their homes?" He continued, saying "with the resources of coal that India has, we really don't have any choice but to use coal."
Demonize coal. Keep the poor in the dark. And, above all, keep pushing the fantasy that U.S. government action (with or without the approval of Congress) is essential to dealing with climate change.
That — in a nutshell — is the climate-change strategy of the Obama administration and its environmentalist allies.
It has been a curious experience to watch the news about the “largest climate march in history” from Japan. There weren’t any marches here in Tokyo. Indeed, 350.org, the group that was a lead organizer of the march in New York City, doesn’t even appear to have a presence in Japan.
Solar energy appears to finally be coming of age.
In July, Bloomberg New Energy Finance declared that we are in the midst of a "solar revolution" and the firm predicted that solar will be the fastest-growing form of global generation capacity through 2030. A few days after that report was released, Deutsche Bank announced plans to lend $1 billion to support solar deployment in Japan.
Energy policies are faddish. From the energy-independence moonshine of the corn-ethanol scam to the latest 645-page slate of regulations the EPA wants to inflict on the domestic electricity-generation sector, the supposed threats have varied.
Back in the 1970s, the claim was that we were too dependent on Arab oil (a claim that we continue to hear today). These days, in addition to the never-ending blather about “energy independence,” we have the spurious claim from the Obama administration that yet another layer of EPA rules on U.S. industry will make a dramatic difference when it comes to global climate change.
When it comes to the issue of climate change, it’s easy to bash the United States. Yes, the U.S. emits a lot of carbon dioxide — about 5.9 billion tons in 2013 alone, second only to China’s 9.5 billion tons.
But it’s also easy to overlook this fact: The U.S. is leading the world in reducing its carbon dioxide emissions. And those reductions are largely due to the innovation that is happening not in green energy, but in the oil and gas sector’s ability to produce hydrocarbons from shale deposits.
Rasheed Wallace gained notoriety during his 16-season NBA career for being a hot-headed power forward. If called for a foul (or, as was often the case with him, a technical foul) that he thought was undeserved, and the opposing team missed the ensuing free-throw attempts, Wallace would often holler, “ball don’t lie,” as if the basketball itself was pronouncing judgment on the ref’s call.
In April, at a conference in San Antonio, an official from ConocoPhillips made an aggressive prediction: he said that by the end of 2014, oil production in Texas could hit 3.4 million barrels per day. That figure seems inflated given that the latest data from the Texas Railroad Commission shows that in March, oil production was about 2 million barrels per day.
Facebook’s initial public offering was all about superlatives. The May 2012 event was the largest-ever IPO for a US technology company and the third-largest in US history. It marked, or so the hype claimed, the coming of age for social media companies. But amid the hype over the company’s stock price, revenues, and growth potential, the media paid almost no attention to the vast quantities of electricity that Facebook and other tech companies need to operate their business.
On July 1, Alan Mulally will retire as CEO of Ford Motor Co. And when he cleans out his office in Dearborn, Mulally will leave behind him one of the most remarkable comeback stories in US industrial history.
The former Boeing executive took over Ford in 2006 and mortgaged it to the hilt, borrowing $23 billion. Doing so helped avoid bankruptcy and finance a company-wide overhaul. By late 2008, Ford’s stock was selling for as little as $1.39. But Mulally stuck to his knitting. In 2013, the company’s profits hit $7.2 billion and today, Ford stock sells for about $16 per share.