SA Blackout Blows Wind Farms Into Court

The Australian Energy Regular will take four South Australian wind farm operators to court accusing them of failing to perform properly during SA’s statewide blackout in 2016.

The action in the Federal Court will allege AGL Energy Ltd, Neoen SA, Pacific Hydro Ltd and Tilt Renewables all breached the National Electricity Rules.

“The AER has brought these proceedings to send a strong signal to all energy businesses about the importance of compliance with performance standards to promote system security and reliability” chair Paula Conboy said.

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Interior States Take on Coastal States over Climate-Related Project Approvals

By Ben Lieberman – Re-Blogged From Competitive Enterprise Institute

When the state of Washington rejected a proposed new coal export facility in 2017, it probably expected the usual appeals from the project’s developers. But it may not have anticipated a constitutional battle supported by eight interior states under the Commerce Clause.

The proposed Millennium Bulk Terminals coal export facility would be located in Washington state along the Columbia River, and it would have sent Wyoming and Montana coal on its way across the Pacific to buyers in Asia. But under section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act, such projects require approval by impacted states, which Washington denied.

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Formal Complaint Against Facebook for ‘Discriminatory Policy’

By Washington Times – Re-Blogged From Info-Wars

Data mining practices could violate the Civil Rights Act

The Trump administration announced a fair housing discrimination complaint against social media giant Facebook on Friday, saying the way the company targets ads can be used to screen out people based on race, sex or other protected categories.

The complaint goes to the heart of Facebook’s business model, which depends on being able to offer advertisers micro-targeting.

“Facebook mines extensive user data and classifies its users based on protected characteristics. Facebook’s ad targeting tools then invite advertisers to express unlawful preferences by suggesting discriminatory options,” the Housing and Urban Development Department said in the complaint.

Among those options are physical disabilities, parents with children and even religious practices — advertisers are allowed to show their ads only to people Facebook deems interested in “Jesus” or the “Christian Church,” for example.

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Children’s Climate Case

By Eric Worrall – Re-Blogged From WUWT

Don’t mention the “N” word – top economist Joseph Stiglitz has urged the US government to impose economically painful taxes to penalise fossil fuels, to facilitate a switch to renewables and energy efficiency technologies which have not yet been developed.

Nobel-Winning Economist to Testify in Children’s Climate Lawsuit

Joseph Stiglitz writes in a court brief that fossil fuel-based economies impose ‘incalculable’ costs on society and shifting to clean energy will pay off.

BY GEORGINA GUSTIN
JUL 11, 2018

One of the world’s top economists has written an expert court report that forcefully supports a group of children and young adults who have sued the federal government for failing to act on climate change.

Joseph Stiglitz, who was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize for economics in 2001 and has written extensively about environmental economics and climate change, makes an economic case that the costs of maintaining a fossil fuel-based economy are “incalculable,” while transitioning to a lower-carbon system will cost far less.

The government, he writes, should move “with all deliberate speed” toward alternative energy sources.

Stiglitz has submitted briefs for Supreme Court cases—and normally charges $2,000 an hour for legal advice, the report says—but he wrote this 50-page report pro bono at the request of the attorneys representing the children. It was filed in federal district court in Oregon on June 28.

Read more: https://insideclimatenews.org/news/11072018/joseph-stiglitz-kids-climate-change-lawsuit-global-warming-costs-economic-impact

Although the report repeatedly mentions and references former NASA GISS director James Hansen, who is a fan of nuclear power, Stiglitz himself does not directly mention the nuclear option, instead urging carbon taxes and “support” for the development of renewable alternatives to fossil fuels.

Moving the U.S. economy away from fossil fuels is both feasible and beneficial, especially over the next 30 years (as technological and scientific evidence discussed below makes clear). Defendants could facilitate this transition with standard economic tools for dealing with externalities, for example a tax or levy on carbon (a price on the externality) and the elimination of subsidies on fossil-fuel production. Relatedly, decisions concerning the transition off of fossil fuels can be reached more systematically and efficiently by revising current government discounting practices, the methodology by which future costs are compared to present costs. Current and historical government decision making practices based on incorrect discount rates lead to inefficient and inequitable outcomes that impose undue burdens on Youth Plaintiffs and future generations.

There are many reasons to be optimistic that emissions could be curtailed further than previously thought. These benefits are a result of continued technological development in the renewables sector. Because of technological improvements, the costs of renewables and storage are decreasing. The price of solar panels has dropped by more than half in recent years (80 percent reduction from 2008 to 2016). In 2016 alone, the average dollar capital expenditure per megawatt for solar photovoltaics and wind dropped by over 10 percent. As these technologies continue to improve and the efficiency increases, while manufacturing costs drop, these technologies will more easily substitute for existing fossil fuel infrastructure.

With the oil crises of the 1970s, recognition of the risks of dependence on oil was developed (though these risks were markedly different from those with which we are concerned today). Even then, it was clear that there were viable alternatives, and with the appropriate allocation of further resources to R&D, it is likely that these alternatives would have been even more competitive.

Read more: https://biotech.law.lsu.edu/blog/document_cw_01-2.pdf

In my opinion there is a lot wrong with Stiglitz’s effort – surprising given his reputation.

Stiglitz seems to be committing the economic sin of treating future projections of technological advances and climate impacts as if they were high confidence.

Extrapolating renewable costs into the future is risky. Renewables may never achieve anything resembling cost parity with existing technology, or even large scale viability. In 2014, Google researchers discovered to their horror there was no viable path to a 100% renewable future using anything remotely resembling current technology. Betting the future economic wellbeing of the nation on solving serious problems which may not be solvable is a wild gamble.

Stiglitz claims substantial fossil fuel “subsidies” are arising due to inadequate treatment of externalities. Externalities are costs which don’t show up on your balance sheet. For example if your business keeps costs down by dumping trash on your neighbour’s property, you aren’t paying the true cost of dealing with with the trash – the cost of dealing with the trash is an externality, because it doesn’t show up on your balance sheet, at least until your neighbour figures out who has been dumping trash on their property.

But the claimed externality costs of CO2 only apply if CO2 emissions cause future harm. We’re not talking about trash which causes an immediate smelly mess, we’re talking about an invisible trace gas which may or may not cause a future problem.

As climate scientists themselves occasionally admit, the climate models which predict future harm are not scientifically falsifiable – they cannot be adequately tested except by waiting to see if they do a good job of predicting the future. Older models are not doing a good job of predicting future climate – as the controversy over the failings of James Hansen’s models demonstrates, relying on expert opinion in place of scientific falsifiability simply isn’t good enough.

Stiglitz solutions, even if they were viable, would be economically painful. Carbon taxes hurt poor people worst of all – a fact Stiglitz admits, though he qualifies his admission with claims that short term harm is worth the future benefit.

Nevertheless short term harm is no laughing matter, particularly when the harm is visited on society’s most vulnerable. You would want to be absolutely certain of the desperate need to impose increased hardship on people who are already struggling, you would want to thoroughly explore possible alternatives to hurting poor people, before concluding hurting the poor was the only available option.

Which is why Stiglitz’s omission of direct mentions of nuclear power is puzzling.

France converted 75% of their electricity to nuclear power in the 1970s. They kept costs down by standardising and mass producing nuclear plant components, and reprocessing nuclear fuel. French electricity is affordable, dispatchable and produces very low CO2 emissions. The cost of low emission French power doesn’t hurt poor people.

According to the EIA, US power plants emitted 1744 million tons of CO2 in 2017. Nuclear power currently produces just under 20% of US electricity. Copying the 1970s French nuclear programme, raising nuclear power to 75% of US electricity production, would reduce power plant CO2 emissions to 1744 / 80% x (100% – 75%) = 545 million tons per annum, saving over a billion tons per annum of CO2 emissions.

For shame Joseph Stiglitz. If CO2 is the serious issue Stiglitz claims, ignoring the possibility of avoiding harm to poor people by converting US electricity production to affordable nuclear power seems a very curious oversight.

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Speculative Climate Chaos v. Indisputable Fossil Fuel Benefits

By Paul Driessen and Roger Bezdek – Re-Blogged From WUWT

Federal judge tells climate litigants to tally the numerous blessings from fossil fuels since 1859

Judge William Alsup has a BS in engineering, has written computer programs for his ham radio hobby, delves deeply into the technical aspects of numerous cases before him, and even studied other programming languages for a complex Oracle v. Google lawsuit.

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Prager Suing YouTube for Censoring Their Videos

Re-Blogged From Prager University

[I’ve added  few videos from Prager University recently, and it turns out that YouTube has blocked them, and Prager is suing them for censorship. Here’s a note I got from Prager asking me to sign their web site petition and for a donation. -Bob]

As you know, PragerU’s videos are available on a number of platforms, one of which is YouTube. And as you may also know, YouTube has chosen repeatedly to restrict some of our videos for violating their “Community Guidelines.”  Those guidelines are meant to protect users against viewing sexual content, violent or graphic content, and hate speech.

As a PragerU viewer, you know as well as I do that our videos contain nothing even remotely close to any of these categories.

To date, YouTube has restricted or “demonetized” 50 PragerU videos, addressing topics ranging from the Ten Commandments to the history of the Korean War.

More than a year ago, we filed a complaint with YouTube, hoping that there was some kind of innocent mistake.

That’s when we were told by YouTube that after reviewing our videos they determined that they were indeed “not appropriate for a younger audience.” Of course, we have this in writing.

Think about the millions of actually inappropriate videos on YouTube and then ask yourself, “Why is our content restricted?”

Unfortunately, the answer is rather obvious, isn’t it?  YouTube has restricted PragerU videos for only one reason: Ideological discrimination.

Of course, YouTube is owned by Google, which was founded to, ironically, “Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

YouTube has made some of our most important videos inaccessible to the very audience PragerU seeks to reach: young people.

Let me be clear: they don’t like what we teach and so they intend to stop us from teaching it. This kind of censorship is what we have seen on college campuses for years. But it is far more dangerous in this circumstance because the internet is where the world goes to get informed.

Can you imagine if the left owned the internet the way they own our universities?

Can you imagine what the world would look like if Google is allowed to continue to arbitrarily censor ideas they simply don’t agree with? 

Well, this is why Prager University filed suit again YouTube and Google. We are not fighting this only for PragerU—we are taking this on for America and possibly the world.

Now, I have to tell you … this was not an easy decision.

Over the summer, former Governor of California Pete Wilson — who has been a longtime supporter of PragerU — approached us and posited the idea: “We have to sue them,” he said. “Google is hubris.”

Those words weighed heavy on our entire team as we considered our options.

Obviously, a fight with Google will be hugely difficult and costly, and we hate the idea of deploying energy and resources away from producing more content and reaching new audiences.  We simply cannot do that.

So, before taking any such action, we decided we’d attempt a more diplomatic approach one last time. On the one-year anniversary of Google blocking our content, or the “BANniversary” as we had come to call it, we renewed our complaints to YouTube and re-circulated an online petition urging Google to change course. Many articles have been written and many people, including many very prominent and influential people, rallied in support of our cause. To date, well over a quarter-of-a-million people have added their names to our petition.

What was the result of our efforts?

Nothing. YouTube ignored us. In fact, they have since restricted 11 more PragerU videos.

With our hands tied, we knew Governor Wilson was right—Google’s hubris had to be challenged.

So, we have built an all-star legal team, including Governor Wilson’s Law Firm, Eric George, Alan Dershowitz, Barak Lurie, Kelly Shackelford, Mat Staver, and more.

It’s an impressive group, because this is an important case; not only for PragerU, but for the fundamental American right to freedom of speech.

But this is not going to be easy and it isn’t going to be cheap.

Despite the fact that our amazing attorneys have agreed to reasonably cap their legal fees, there will be additional personnel, research, marketing and public relations costs to PragerU.

This case will be tried in the court of public opinion as much as in the courtroom, and we intend to win in both venues.

However, we cannot deplete our operating budget to fight this case. Thanks to you, PragerU has reached more than 1-out-of-4 Americans on the internet. Sixty-three percent of them are under 34. We plan to continue to focus on this growth and reach 3 out of 4 Americans. We can’t let up now.

We are fully committed to the lawsuit but we won’t let them slow the growth of PragerU.

This is why our board of directors and many staff members have donated, in addition to our annual gift, to what we are calling the “YouTube Action Fund.” Dennis Prager, Allen Estrin, and I have all given extra this year.

Now, here is how you can help:

  1. Please go to our website and sign the petition against YouTube censorship. It already has nearly 300,000 signatures; please add yours if you haven’t done so already, and ask 10 of your friends to do the same.
  2. More importantly, please contribute to our action fund if you can, over and above your planned support for PragerU. Our initial goal for the legal fund is $1 million, and we think we can reach that goal with your help.

Many of you have already given so generously and I am embarrassed to ask for more. But if you think this fight is important please support us in whatever way you can.

It seems like a lot to ask…until you consider how much we have to lose.

Perhaps Goliath could teach Google a little bit about where hubris leads … when a David comes slinging.

Thank you, and God bless you.

Marissa Streit
CEO, PragerU