The Energy Free Market that Isn’t

by Jane Twitmyer

The South, including Virginia, has been slow to build clean, transformed utility systems. Last year,  major corporations including Costco, Cox, Kroger, Sam’s Club, Target and Walmart petitioned Virginia regulators to allow them to meet their renewable energy goals by purchasing their electricity from third parties. Dominion Energy’s response was to commission a poll, according to PV magazine, asking which of two arguments was the most compelling: (1) the claim that ratepayer bills will go up $100 per month if corporations are allowed to procure their own renewables, or (2) that in the states where deregulation was introduced, that customer rates rose 39%.

The arguments are deeply questionable now that renewable technologies are cost competitive, but the “high cost” argument ignores the ongoing federal support for fossil fuel industries. A Forbes article in January warned all investors that “power sector decarbonization” is now an “imperative.” In almost all jurisdictions, utility-scale wind and solar are now the cheapest source of new electricity without subsidies. … New unsubsidized wind costs $28-54/megawatt-hour (MWh), and solar costs $32-44/MWh, while new combined cycle natural gas costs $44-68/MWh.

Comparing the real costs of generation resources is complicated.  Subsidies, both direct and indirect, as well as “offloaded” costs, need to be included. Forbes said their cost comparisons were “without subsidies,” meaning without “direct subsidies” — or specific government funding meant to reduce the retail price of building or fueling a generation resource. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) describes these subsidies as “pre-tax subsidies”, which in 2017,  globally amounted to roughly $500 billion a year.

Direct government subsidies are easily tallied. Indirect subsidies are more difficult, but more significant. A new IMF study shows that in fossil fuel commodities are underpriced by a “whopping $5 Trillion,” the equivalent of over 6.5% of the global GDP.

In 2016, permanent U.S. tax expenditures in the form of tax code write-offs equaled $7.4 billion. The largest single write-off was for intangible drilling costs which cost to the federal government of $2.3 billion. In 2016 the second largest was the excess cost over depletion allowance, costing the government $1.5 billion, and another, Master Limited Partnerships cost $1.6 billion.

Many tax expenditures were put in place when the industries were new. Some, still on the books in spite of climate change, actually incent the production of more fossil energy. The original subsidies ensured investments would take place when our economy needed energy to grow. The intangible drilling-costs tax deduction has been on the books for over 100 years.

At the same time, the many risks of using fossil fuel were minimized by not pricing them into the product. “Extracting fossil fuels damages and degrades the land and the oceans. Transporting coal can spread dust, pumping oil can spill, and natural gas can explode. When burned, fuels emit air pollutants like particulates and nitrogen oxides in addition to greenhouse gases.” (Roberts/ Vox)

Some indirect subsidies are basically government losses. The federal government loses $3 billion on offshore drilling leases by not charging a royalty rate equal to the 20% rate charged by Texas. In the Powder River Basin, mining leases are offered at outdated rates, costing the taxpayers almost $1 billion annually.

Additional industry supports have been instituted as the old industries have begun to fail. Coal companies are being exempted from providing promised obligations. The federal government has shouldered $330 million in shortfall payments to the Black Ling Disability Fund, and $400 million to the Abandoned Mine Land Grant Fund.

Finally, environmental drivers for clean electricity include not only reducing CO2 and methane emissions, but controlling air pollution and water scarcity. Nationwide, fossil fuel and nuclear power plants withdraw as much water as all farms, and more than four times as much as all residences.

A larger water problem occurs with fracking, where drilling requires very large volumes if water, and then degrades it to the point where it cannot be returned to the water cycle. During drilling operations, the water brought to the surface contains heavy metals, hydrocarbons and radioactive materials as well as the drilling chemicals. Researchers have tracked 353 chemicals, half of which can cause a variety of serve damages to living systems, in this “produced” water.  Reinjecting ‘produced’ water deep in the earth is causing earthquakes.

The EPA has classified 53 coal ash ponds across the nation as “high hazards.”  Virginia is home to 32 ponds, 8 of which are “high hazard.” Then there are the northern states who have twice sued us and our neighbor coal states under the “good neighbor” laws. The pollution we and our neighbor coal states send north on the winds puts those northern states out of compliance with clean air regulations.

This is the free market that isn’t. All of these subsidies and all of the costs that we don’t pay for in the price of using fossil fuels act as a negative price. Decisions to continue the use of fossil fuels, in spite of any danger they pose, are not free market-based decisions. They are decisions made by corporations and investors with enough market power to write the rules.

Government financial support has kept the fossil fuel industries alive much longer than an actual free market might have. It allows Dominion to claim the shift to clean energy,  generated on-site or nearby, will be inordinately expensive for the customer.

Jane Twitmyer, a renewable energy advocate and former consultant, lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

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37 responses to “The Energy Free Market that Isn’t”

  1. vaconsumeradvocate Avatar

    Outstanding piece. Thank you Jane. These are realities too many people are overlooking. I’d add that in addition to helping fossil fuels with environmental costs, they are helped with safety costs. All levels of government are saving money by reducing safety. They force those who did not chose to live next to fossil fuel infrastructure to do so and then fail to provide basic safety, clean water, and clean air.

  2. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    Excellent piece. Here in Virginia, at the first sound of renewables, people raise the canard about higher prices. Dominion does it. Anti RGGI people do it. Anti offfshore wind people do it. A lot of what they say is nonsense. Another problem is that many companies, as you note, want clean energy as part of their corporate policies. They are not stuck in the parochialism of Virginia. That is one reason I was glad to leave the state in 1983. I was sick and tired of having my thinking stopped at the state line. That’s one reason why I am wary of keeping BR a strictly “Virginia” blog. That concept is so provincial!

  3. LarrytheG Avatar

    Yep – you done good Jane!

    Talking about the “free market” when the govt gives Dominion the power to take private property to enrich their own bottom line is an example.

    We have mountains that have been taken off and they expose veins of sulfur – the same stuff that we try to get out of coal when we burn it – that sulfur left exposed turns to acid when it rains on it. Thousands of streams in Va, WVA, and Kentucky have so much acid in them they cannot support life and that damage is pretty much permanent – there is no easy way to remediate it.

    Unfortunately wind/solar is not a perfect fuel either but it’s negatives are far less damaging that fossil fuels.

    1. I don’t think sulfur per se is the culprit, Coal itself is the culprit. Coal contains sulfur in the form of iron sulfides which are very reactive in air.

  4. LarrytheG Avatar

    sulfur IS the culprit. Go look at a mine that is draining acid water… it comes from the sulfur. That’s where acid rain comes from also.

    1. acid rain comes from coal. Yes coal contains sulfur.

  5. Gee whiz we start with electric market we get into fossil fuel condemnation.

    Look, nat gas power right now probably costs Dominion 2 cents to make. The other 1o cents on our elec bill is profit and maintenance etc. adds up to 12 cents which is too much profit margin, but I digress.

    Yes, if allowed, Walmart could go outside to get renewables for I dunno, 8 cents, which is cheaper than 12 cents but the implication is the homeowners have to pay the overhead/profit to Dominion so that we can achieve what the Liberals demand, which is all companies must use renewables.

    It does seem like most states give huge elec cost discounts to business, with home owners paying thru the nose. Natural gas does that too, homeowners never see the low cost of nat gas. I would be strongly in favor of a competitive utility market if we could find a better way.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      not really about “liberals”. Once we get that part out of the way, we
      can have a more rational discussion about the ying and yang.

      Dominion’s point of view is not that different from say a Water/sewer authority which is that they have X total costs to operating the system and so everyone has to pay a share of that, and if someone gets a discount that means others have to make up the difference.

      Dominion thinks they are entitled to X profit – no matter how it gets done and if some folks get a discount, others will have to make up the difference.

      And the more things they can “deliver” like coal ash cleanup or renewables – those are more profit potentials… just more “business” …

      Of course, Dominion has ALREADY been giving “discounts” as you point out and in doing so, yes indeed, others have to pay more so they get the full value of their monopoly.

      This is how monopolies work. It’s a “contract”. They are on the hook to deliver electricity to any/all no matter the obstacles, weather, terrain, disasters, etc.. that’s their part of the contract. On the govt side, they promise to allow the full value of the monopoly to be extracted from customers in exchange for a reliable power grid.

      I don’t see that as a “liberal” thing myself.

      1. Jane Twitmyer Avatar
        Jane Twitmyer

        Thanks Larry for the stream pic … UGH!

        I too will take issue with TMT’s “what liberals demand” statement. My corporate work life took place in the 60’s when corporate leadership viewed their responsibilities a bit differently. In “Saving Capitalism”, Reich says that post war corporate leadership viewed their responsibility with a wider lens than today’s leaders. In the 50’s Fortune and Time wrote about business management as ‘stewardship’ involving the best interests of all its stakeholders. That included its workers and the community.

        Then along came the corporate raiders and they won the day, remember Michael Milken, and from 1974 on the banking and financial regulations were loosened, and major cuts to the enforcement budgets of the government agencies charged with enforcing what regulations remained. The Raiders had decreed the “only valid purpose of the corporation was to maximize shareholder return.”

        Corporations have always offloaded costs and lobbied for tax breaks but what happened as the result of this changed point of view by corporate management was the beginning of where we are now. I helped install the original computers at the Scott paper Company’s factory and Headquarters when the company was filled with workers who loved working there and whose CEO walked the factory and knew the names of many of his workers.

        Later a CEO with the ‘raider’ view laid off 11,000 workers, earning the name “Chainsaw Al”.

        Maybe those guys are gone? The companies demanding renewable energy in VA, generated more locally in most requests, are doing so because they believe in sourcing their energy from generators that won’t fill the atmosphere with heat trapping green house gases. They have expanded their responsibilities beyond their shareholders, back to the day before the Raiders, to the view that prevailed earlier and that produced the most productive economy for everyone that the world had ever seen.

  6. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
    Dick Hall-Sizemore

    Thank you for this piece. As usual, I learned more about this complex issue from you.

  7. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    In 1962, when I was nine years old, my family moved from Bethesda, Md. to West Virginia. We lived on the outskirts of a town and I used to roam the hills with my friends. We would hike for miles. There was a lot of strip mining and there were few real laws about it. Strippers would gut the sides of hills and leave the overburden. The coal there was especially sulfuric and seams were left exposed. Rain would wet the coal resulting in bright yellow or orange lakes. The sulfur was that bad. We would find the skeletons of animals at the edges of these makeshift lakes. It was that bad.

  8. LarrytheG Avatar

    @Tbill – this is what acid polluted streams look like:

    NOTHING lives in them.

    You and I are responsible for them… we got our electricity cheap and
    this is the “externality”.

    1. Nancy_Naive Avatar

      Good swimming though. Just don’t get it in your eyes and rinse off the pink parts before use.

  9. Nancy_Naive Avatar

    With three 8A8Ds and two 180W sonar panels, using just refrigerator, LED lights, and momentary use of various pumps and the Keirig, I never have to connect to shore or run the genset.

    I was sold years ago, and this economic brown-out should sell others, especially the “self-reliant”.

  10. LarrytheG Avatar

    what are 8A8Ds? batteries? Full sun for solar? what about space heating/cooling?

    1. Nancy_Naive Avatar

      Big ones 160lbs. Couple of cloudy days won’t hurt. The idea of a boat is to avoid the need for climate control. If needed, then there’s the genset.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        GOlf cart batteries, right? You obviously have enough power for computer and internet? That’s the big rub now with off grid – off internet!

        1. Nancy_Naive Avatar

          I’m not onboard now but yes, more than enough for full-time life. Remember, your smart phone hotspot can serve that up in Port, and there is satillite system at sea — too pricey for me. Email can be got one the single sideband. We are in the early stages of life onboard. Weeks, not months or years.

          1. LarrytheG Avatar

            lord, can you speak english? ;-)… I sorta got most of what you said. So you afloat with solar and close to cell towers not in the hills with solar? I use a verizon when out traveling but limit to non-video stuff and turn off when in Canada!

          2. Nancy_Naive Avatar

            Absolutely NOT. Took me years to speak boat. Just be thankful I don’t go full-blown nautical on you. More jargon than the medical business.

  11. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    So does that mean $14 billion all-in cost for a wind project that runs only some times, maybe less than half the time and maybe at the wrong time of day, is a good idea? Because that is what’s up next for Dom. This is not terrible relevant to that question.

    This doesn’t respond to or refute the IEA data I cited the other day. Are you claiming that, Jane? That IEA is wrong? Because the piece you sent was pretty frank about costs, too. Here’s another data point. Tracking solar facilities bidding into the PJM capacity market set a minimum offer price of $175 per MW day. Offshore wind bids in over $3,000 and onshore wind over $1,000. That’s WITH their tax subsides. That whole process is complicated, but I don’t think that means solar is MORE expensive than wind. The investment tax credits also drop radically by 2024, another reason Dominion is racing to get this done.

    You caught me away from the blog and won’t write a long response, not this far into the string. Yes, all forms of energy are subsidized and many have indirect costs that the companies (and ratepayer) try to shuffle off onto others. Now we get to pay for the coal ash. My company tried to resist the Virginia City coal plant a decade ago. Don’t see your thank you letter in the pile.

    On reflection, the minimum offer price rule at PJM is also a possible reason you posted this, without even mentioning that ongoing debate. It is so freaking complicated I haven’t tried to introduce it here, and frankly Acbar and TomH will probably point out how I’ve misunderstood it. But it has the renewable industry in a tizzie since it was issued in December. Needs deeper discussion. I may be wrong the MOPR prices above are WITHOUT tax subsidies.

  12. Jane Twitmyer Avatar
    Jane Twitmyer

    I was not involved with what Dominion was up to when that plant was built, but thanks for objecting. I understand that Kaine has said he regrets allowing ‘them’ to talk him into supporting it.

    Offshore wind … I just take the long view as Stuart Chase used to argue for …
    First …The price will come down but it will require building the offshore support that is necessary and that won’t happen without any contracts.
    Second … Virginia’s offshore resource can produce 3 times what Virginia uses so we can sell it, something that is possible because the offshore wind comes up as the sun is going down. That means we can equate the price to peak time price. Wind studies have proved this.
    Third … I think Tom is right that the most expensive way to take advantage of our world class resource is not to put it in the rate base. I continue to argue that we need a new structure for clean energy, one that does not reward our utilities for “building more”.

    The EIA … I believe them but I have said before … their evaluations have always been based on historical numbers and therefore aren’t positive for new technology. In the past they totally avoided on-site solar.
    From GreenTech Media Jan 29, 2020 …. “The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) announced Wednesday that renewables will overtake natural gas in the country’s electricity mix. The EIA has long been known for its implausibly conservative predictions about renewable energy. As recently as last year, the EIA forecast that natural gas would remain the country’s top source of electricity out to 2050.
    Renewables are now forecast to account for 38% of electricity in 2050 (up from 19% today), while natural gas will see its share drop to 36% (from 37% today).”

    Regarding MOPR ..I agree its complicated and I haven’t taken the time to decipher …

    1. Steve Haner Avatar
      Steve Haner

      Well you should, because I think the complaint it is aimed at sinking renewable might be valid. 🙂

  13. Jane Twitmyer Avatar
    Jane Twitmyer

    Help …Third above… the least expensive way , not the most … The ability edit is gone!

  14. TooManyTaxes Avatar

    A good start but an analysis that is not anywhere complete.

    Tax subsidies need to analyzed from the perspective of just those 53% of Americans who pay income tax. The 47% who don’t are receiving a subsidy because they receive federal government services but don’t pay for them. They, as free riders, are in no position to complain about a tax subsidy.

    Neither is any entity, be it a place of worship, a university or a nonprofit, that don’t pay taxes. They are not subsidizing anyone.

    Having said this and as you argue, the 53% who pay taxes would seem be subsidizing the tax credits, etc. From an economic standpoint, one needs to compare the impact of the tax subsidy versus the higher energy prices if there were no credits. This is missing.

    But even if the subsidy balances the price of energy, it would send better price signals to eliminate the tax subsidies, lower taxes for everyone else, and pay higher energy prices. Your argument is sound. However, unless the taxes are lowered to reflect the elimination of the subsidies, a good argument can be made that the average taxpayer could be better off with the subsidies and lower energy prices.

    Steve made the point about subsidies for wind and other renewable energy. I won’t repeat his point. But if tax subsidies distort the market, they distort the market and should be eliminated across the board. Energy prices should be set based on their marginal costs without subsidies and market forces that impact supply and demand.

    One can make a good argument that reducing greenhouse emissions by increasing the use of renewable energy is a good thing. Moreover, to the extent that this reduces the impacts of human behavior that have caused more warming, it’s a proper societal expenditure.

    However, there are two major problems here. One is the inherent assumption that the climate of say 100-150 years ago is “normal” and should be preserved. Besides the fact that we don’t know what is normal, if anything, picking any period and calling it “normal” picks winners and losers. Let’s assume that the actual normal temperature for Earth is either 5 degrees warmer or colder than the temperature that scientists measure from.

    Taking actions to get back to a temperature that’s 5 degrees warmer than the real normal requires less than the amount of remediation than should be done to get to normal. Those who suffer from a warmer world suffer more because the target is not strict enough.

    Conversely, taking actions to get back to a temperature that’s 5 degrees colder than the real normal requires more than the amount of remediation than should be done to get to normal. People who suffer from a warmer world receive a subsidy.

    Also, to the extent that temperatures would be rising even without a high level of greenhouse emissions, something a lot of climate scientists believe, restrictions that go beyond remediating the impact of human behavior deprives people who would benefit from a warmer climate of those benefits. For example, having lived in Minnesota for many years when I was young, milder winters would produce lower heating bills, fewer winter deaths, fewer crashes due to bad road conditions, less depression, less alcoholism and drug usage, longer growing seasons, etc.. If that would occur but for climate regulation, those folks are being deprived of a benefit that they would otherwise receive.

    As I said, your analysis is good but fails to consider many other necessary factors.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      TMT – need to let you know about taxes. Anyone who works and earns money, pays taxes. I can tell you that they do because I do their taxes.

      The main folks who don’t pay Federal Taxes are the people with kids. Those without kids pay Federal taxes unless they earn less than 12K.

      Beyond that – anyone who buys stuff pays taxes. Anyone who has a car, pays taxes. Anyone who pays for electricity, pays taxes. Even renters pay for property taxes because embedded in their rent is their share of the property taxes on their building.

      Anyone who uses electricity that is generated by fossil fuels – is subsidized by policies that allow damage to the environment – not climate damage but other damage – like the kind that causes air quality zones in urban areas or damaged waterways from mining or mercury that gets into the environment and is dangerous to kids and pregnant women. Coal ash piles. Nuclear disposal, etc, etc – all of this before you every talk about climate.

      1. TooManyTaxes Avatar

        According to the IRS, 47% of all Americans do not pay any federal income tax. It is impossible for the existence or removal of any “income tax subsidy/deduction, credit or loophole” to affect their federal income taxes because those taxes are zero under any circumstance. A new billion dollar fossil fuel or renewable energy income tax subsidy would not affect these people’s tax bills. They wouldn’t pay any federal income tax bill with or without the energy tax subsidies.

        Moreover, these “subsidies” do not affect any person’s Social Security or Medicare taxes. The amount to be paid is solely dependent on the worker’s earnings. So you are dead wrong about the 43% and every single person who pays Social Security.

        These income tax “subsidies” do not affect any sales or use taxes levied on purchases. Similarly, they don’t affect real estate taxes or personal property taxes. People who don’t pay federal income taxes are not affected by the tax treatment of those who pay income taxes. But, as Jane clearly implied, people who do pay federal income taxes are affected by the tax treatment of others who pay income taxes. My point is we need to confine the debate to the effects of energy subsidies on people who pay federal income tax.

        As far as fossil fuel generated energy, I agreed with much of Jane’s analysis but pointed out areas that are not built into the analysis. But rather than address my comments, you point to other factors that Jane’s analysis properly tries to include.

        It’s similar to saying that COVID-19 will only cause a loss of jobs. While it’s clear more jobs will be lost than gained, some people are getting hired. If an economist were to publish a post-hoc analysis of the economic impacts of the pandemic but only looked at the job losses, peer review would be extremely critical of the paper. The same holds true of a study of the economic effects of climate change and associated regulations. Because an action does not have one and only one effect, to understand the results of the action, one needs to look at all the material effects of the action. That’s my only point.

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          TMT – can you provide a link for the 47% ?

          1. Jane Twitmyer Avatar
            Jane Twitmyer

            There are ways lower income people are affected … “The cost of the federal subsidies to the fossil fuel industry is equivalent to the projected budget cuts from Trump’s Proposals to eliminate or significantly scale back the following 10 public programs and services,” … including Children’s Health Insurance Program, Community Development Block Grants for affordable housing, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, grants for rural water and waste disposal, Weatherization Assistance for low-income households, EPA enforcement including environmental justice and Public Broadcasting Corp.

            Most of this tax info comes from Oil Change International .. Dirty Energy Dominance: Dependent on Denial. I too question the 47% number

  15. TooManyTaxes Avatar

    “like the kind that causes air quality zones in urban areas ” Most power plants are located outside major urban areas now days. Air quality in urban areas is more affected by motor vehicles, all of which use energy that is largely obtained from burning fossil fuels.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      @ TMT – power plants or cars – it’s STILL fossil fuel pollution and when you move it out of a non-attainment area – it STILL impacts those where it is put!

      The real point is that fossil fuels – whether coal or natural gas or oil or gasoline all have impacts and all of them have subsidies so there impacts are two-fold – BEFORE you talk about climate.

      The Climate thing is about science and whether you believe the science or not – just like right now during the pandemic. Do you believe science ? Do you think there is a massive worldwide conspiracy among epidemilogists to crash the stock markets and make a killing by buying low?

      1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
        Reed Fawell 3rd

        Seven in row of your comments alone, Larry, knocking off the public list seven comments of other contributors to this blog, sending them all into relative oblivion.

        Are you so wise, and the comments of those other seven so unworthy, to justify such instant erasure of so many of other people’s opinion.

        Earlier we spoke of the narcissism of the Boomer generation. Is there a metaphor here.

        Remember that each comment any of us make erases the comment of another contributor from this big board on BR, and many of those comments are worth their weight in gold, in the time, effort, wisdom, and experience of those making their comments. This is the real world here on BR.

        Even here, think, balance, consider, before any of us act and click the mouse.

  16. Jane Twitmyer Avatar
    Jane Twitmyer

    TMT … you say “From an economic standpoint, one needs to compare the impact of the tax subsidy versus the higher energy prices if there were no credits.”

    Yes, that was my point, but I am not talking about consumer effects. I am talking about the fossil industry’s ability to maintain their dominance … The transition would be accomplished by now if we had paid the true cost of our reliance on fossil fuels in their price. As the new technologies have developed their prices has come down to less than the subsidized fossil costs, but that has taken a very long time. The first scientific analysis of the climate issue came out during the Johnson administration, and Jimmy Carter put solar panels on the White House that Ronald Reagan removed.

    The new system will not be more expensive. It will be less expensive and we could have gotten there a whole lot sooner. Efficient buildings can reduce demand by as much as 50%, leaving room for electrifying everything that we can. The transition will take time and we have wasted years and years.

    A normal temperature? OK, that is just not a question of which people will suffer from warmer or cooler temperatures. Nor are there a “lot of scientists” who discount the effects our actions are having on climate change. 98% of those who study the issue believe we must act now.

    Rather than toss out climate predictions for you … here is a plea for taking precautionary measures from “Science and Technology” written by scientists and engineers. Their call to action is based on an understanding of opaque systems, which they say our climate is and which they say react to harm “in the dose.” So, while some amount of pollution is inevitable, high quantities of pollution rapidly increases the risks in a fragile, opaque system.

    First, the “scale of effect must be demonstrated to be large enough to have impact. Once this is shown, and it has been, the burden of proof for an absence of harm is on those who would deny it. … The degree of opacity and uncertainty, as well as asymmetry in effect, should drive the precautionary measures. … Push a complex system too far and it will not come back.” Their point being is that the uncertainty built a complex system should actually drive, not undermine, our actions.

    Some of the proof that Climate Change is here.
    • Seventeen of the 18 warmest years on record have occurred since 2000.
    • The concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in our atmosphere, as of 2018, is the highest it has been in 3 million years

    A hopeful note from Bloomberg …. build a clean energy economy, but we can also fight climate change naturally.
    • Eleven percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans are caused by deforestation — comparable to the emissions from all of the cars and trucks on the planet.
    • Tropical forests are incredibly effective at storing carbon — providing at least 30% of action needed to prevent the worst climate change scenarios. Yet nature-based solutions only receive only 2% of all climate funding.
    • 195 countries signed the 2015 Paris Agreement, agreeing to limit global warming and adapt to climate change, partly by protecting nature.
    • Price tag: US$ 140 billion per year. This is what it would take to make the changes humanity needs to adapt to a warming world. It may sound like a lot, but it’s less than 0.1% of global GDP.

  17. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    Where are Acbar and TomH when we need them?

  18. Jane Twitmyer Avatar
    Jane Twitmyer

    A Post Script … on Government help

    “Crude oil prices went into a freefall in early March following the one-two punch of an OPEC price war and the meltdown of financial markets because of the coronavirus pandemic. In less than two weeks, prices of the oil … dropped from $45 to the low-$20s per barrel. … A tenth of global oil supply could become uneconomic to produce.”

    “U.S. shale executives immediately went to Washington. …. Ideas have ranged from a tariff on imported crude in response to the Saudi-Russian price war, to low interest loans for drillers, to the Department of Energy buying oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR).”
    The ideas did not survive in the stimulus bill’s final passage.

    A tariff on foreign oil has the distinction of being the quickest action that the Trump administration can take to aid failing oil companies, while also being one of the most divisive actions, pitting Big Oil against indebted shale, upstream producers against refiners, and gas against oil.

    As the crisis sweeps over the fossil fuel industry, the desperate calls for government help are dividing erstwhile allies and the oil majors are content to let smaller shale oil drillers fail, which would allow them to snatch up the shattered pieces on the cheap.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      re: ” a tariff on imported crude in response to the Saudi-Russian price war,”

      yep, there’s that good ole free market at work…..

      And bet dollars to donuts – Dominion is pitching the ACP as the “perfect” stimulus infrastructure project!

      What’s better – give the big bucks to the oil companies or Dominion and let it trickle down or fritter it away by giving it to unemployed who, no doubt, will squander it on food and rent and stuff..


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