The continuous growth of @humanprogress in the world @CatoInstitute

The Cato Institute hosted a briefing from the Human Progress project last week, and has published the video of the event online.

The event title is quite clear on what has been going on in this world: “Don’t Worry, Be Happy: The Cato Institute’s HumanProgress Project”.

There are in fact many reasons for being very upbeat and happy of the developments we are witnessing on this planet, especially in the last 50 years. This image tells it all:

The event video will open your eyes on many truths which the catastrophists do not want you to know about. Enjoy the view!

http://www.cato.org/multimedia/events/dont-worry-be-happy-cato-institutes-humanprogress-project

After the video, proceed to the HumanProgress.org website and browse the data, and create the views you prefer. I am convinced you will be surprised by how good things are in today’s world.

And the good news is, there is always room for improvement!

@RubinReport on the interview with @Nero on campus at UCLA last week

I have discovered Dave Rubin and his “Rubin Report” not long ago, when Yaron Brook of the Ayn Rand Institute was his guest on the show, and the two had a great interaction. Truly a great interview, well worth watching!

After watching the show with Yaron Brook, I watched a few more interviews, and found the episodes with Milo Yannopoulos. He was a guest twice, once in October 2015 and more recently in March 2016.

Both interviews with Milo were a big eye opener for me. It is not common to see a left-leaning liberal like Dave Rubin entertain a pleasant and fruitful discussion with a classical liberal and libertarian like Milo Yannopoulos, and do it in a fun way, disagreeing when it’s time to disagree, and agreeing when both views are in sync.

What a breath of fresh air! No wonder Dave Rubin is very much at odds with the current “regressive left”, as he likes to call it, full of political correctness, which is another way to spell bullshit, and full of one-way lies. Because, let’s face it, today’s left does a lot of things which, had they been done by someone on the right, would make them cry bloody murder.

Basically, he is upset and sick of seeing the left apply double standards on everything they do, and is trying hard to make more people understand that this is very wrong, and is only playing in Donald Trump’s favor for the upcoming US Presidential elections this coming November.

Want more proof of the many wrong things the leftists do? Then just watch and listen to what Dave Rubin said regarding the event he and Milo had at UCLA a few days ago:

This comment from Dave Rubin clearly remarks the issue the left is facing, and not only in the US:

A group of these protesters created a human wall to stop people from getting inside. Apparently they’re opposed to Trump building a wall, but not opposed to building one themselves.

This is precisely why I will never be able to subscribe to the ideas of this kind of left. They are always in favor of double standards, what is valid for the others is never valid for them.

And when a left-leaning liberal like Dave Rubin highlights these things so clearly, maybe there is hope that something will finally change in this world.

@EIAgov Primary US Energy Source-To-Sector Chart 2015

EIA, the US Energy Information Administration, has just released a very interesting chart which demonstrates the flows between the primary energy sources and the sector which uses that specific source of energy.

This chart shows really well how petroleum products are fundamental for the transportation sector, how gas is playing a very major role in both industrial and residential and commercial uses, and how nuclear is 100% used to produce electricity in the US; there are some cases where heath from nuclear fission is used for industrial and residential environments here in Switzerland (Beznau and Gösgen NPP).

US_primary_energy_consumption_2015

The EIA newsletters are always a very nice source for information, though they are mostly focused on the USA. Still, they represent trends of the country with probably the most advanced technology in the energy space, so we can always learn a lot from this information.

Here is the full text of today’s “Monthly Energy Review” newsletter:

PRIMARY ENERGY SOURCE-TO-SECTOR CHART — May 31, 2016

U.S. Energy Information Administration releases 2015 U.S. primary energy consumption chart 

EIA’s newly updated source-to-sector chart shows the disposition of the 98 quadrillion Btu of energy consumed in the United States in 2015. The chart illustrates how much petroleum, natural gas, coal, renewable energy, and nuclear electric power is distributed to the electric power sector and the end-use sectors.

The chart shows that in 2015:

  • The electric power sector was the only consumer of nuclear electric power and the largest consumer of coal (91% of total coal consumption), renewable energy (53% of total renewable energy consumption), and natural gas (35% of total natural gas consumption.).
  • Seventy-two percent of all petroleum consumption was used by the transportation sector, where it supplied almost all (92%) of the sector’s energy needs.
  • Natural gas supplied 76% of the primary energy used by the residential and commercial sectors and 44% of the primary energy used by the industrial sector.

The primary energy source-to-sector chart is based on energy statistics from the Monthly Energy Review, which provides monthly and annual data on total energy production, consumption, and trade; energy prices; overviews of petroleum, natural gas, coal, electricity, nuclear energy, renewable energy, and international petroleum; carbon dioxide emissions; and data unit conversions.

Carl Gustaf Lundin of @IUCN_Marine on nuclear ships and @PandorasPromise

Last week I had the pleasure of listening to a presentation by Carl Gustaf Lundin, Director of the Global Marine and Polar Programme at the IUCN, hosted by the Commune in the Rolle Castle.

I was particularly curious about the topic as the title of the presentation could have been quite controversial, especially on climate-related issues, the title being:

From plastic pollution to climate change: major threats to the oceans and how to fix them

What I found was a different kind of an environmentalist, someone who is deeply knowledgeable in his direct field, but also does not live in a vacuum and knows really well that the role played by fossil fuels and nuclear in our society is quite important, and must not be played down nor “forgotten” like many other pseudo-environmentalists do.

Also, the climate-related points he raised seemed to be quite subdued, as he definitely is not a catastrophist, and seem to take a very reasonable approach to “climate change” as opposed to what many other pseudo-environmentalists do.

Two points raised by Mr. Lundin in his presentation were especially relevant for me:

  1. he mentioned the oil&gas industry as a very minor source of pollution for the oceans and polar regions. The pollution generated is very small and very local, and can be dealt with fairly easily with the technology we have today. Even in the unfortunate cases of accidents like the major oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon accident,  a tragic event which costed the lives of 11 people and created major environmental damage, the effects were very local and will not last too long.
  2. commercial ships carry 95% of the goods worldwide, they truly are the workhorse of the commerce industry. Such ships are very pollutant, since they run on fuel oil for the most part, but it is inevitable and impossible for our society to prosper the way we are doing without them.

It was obvious to me that Mr. Lundin has both his feet firmly on the ground of coherence and realization that, while some damage to the environment can and does happen due to what men does on this planet, we have to recognize that we cannot do without such wonders like commerce and the cheap and reliable energy coming from burning fossil fuels.

His position triggered some interest in me, and during the question and answer after his speech, I took the microphone and asked his point of view on the possibility to use a much cleaner form of energy to propel ships across the globe, nuclear power, like the civilian Russian icebreakers are doing already.

Much to my surprise, Mr. Lundin answer in a very open and mildly pro-nuclear way, knowing full well both the benefits and limits and inherent issues that come with nuclear power. After all, he comes from Sweden, a country where 40% of the electricity is generated from nuclear power!

He also hinted to the future developments in nuclear technology, including thorium-based fuels, which he is very much in favour of given the better qualities of thorium in the nuclear non-proliferation field, as thorium would be very difficult to use to make nuclear weapons.

During lunch I had the pleasure to exchange a few words with Mr. Lundin, and found a very knowledgeable person in the field of energy, who knows very well the limits to the “green renewables” and is very aware than fossil fuels are here to stay, and while they do create some pollution, at this time they are something we simply cannot do away with.

He is also very positive on nuclear energy, and hopes to see more research and new technology come out in the future.

I told him about “Pandora’s Promise”, a movie which tells the story of different environmentalists who have changed their mind on nuclear, and he was not aware of this movie. He also said that within IUCN there are many who would not touch the nuclear topic at all, which is what I am always afraid of.

This is the kind of environmentalist the world needs! Someone who is able to understand why and how a society thrives, and that policies which will damage people in the name of the environment are doomed to fail.

Donald Trump “America First” energy plan speech

Donald Trump, the presumptive nominee of the Republican party for the 2016 US Presidential elections, was recently in Bismarck, North Dakota.

He spoke at the Petroleum Conference there, and focused almost solely on his energy plan, which appears to be very much pro-energy, and more specifically pro-fossil fuels, without forgetting also nuclear and renewables, which still play an important role.

While this article on Breibart reports the key points raised by Trump in his energy speech, I have been listening to the whole 42 minutes long video you can find below, and started to form a clearer idea on who Donald Trump really is.

There are a lot of things Trump says I disagree with, but overall the speech is quite interesting as his actions if elected President would be heavily dependent on fossil fuels and very much against the “climate change” measures which have been hurting already many economies and many citizens, especially the poorer ones.

One has to wonder whether Alex Epstein has been involved in the preparation of this plan; a lot of the things Epstein wrote in this oped on Forbes seem to have been taken onboard in the preparation of Trump’s speech in Bismarck, ND.

If Trump would win the 2016 US Presidential elections, energy could play a very different role in the future of the United States of America.

The issue with unreliable energy sources

“Today in Energy” is a daily newsletter published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Today’s newsletter has a quite clear title, which proves once again why I like to call wind and solar energy “unreliables”. That is, sources of energy which we cannot rely upon.

The title of the newsletter is quite self-explanatory:

“Wind generation growth slowed in 2015 as wind speeds declined in key regions”

A key paragraph in the article is this:

U.S. wind generation grew by 5.1% in 2015, the smallest annual increase since at least 1999, as weather patterns in the Western half of the United States lowered wind speeds and dampened wind generation during the first half of the year. The same weather patterns resulted in stronger winds in the central part of the country, where wind generation growth in 2015 was most pronounced.

This is what happens when relying on unreliable energy sources. You throw a lot of money at them, and you can never be sure of the results.

How much money is being spent on unreliable wind energy?

Yaron Brook @yaronbrook on PBS for “Equal is Unfair”

Yaron Brook was interviewed by PBS during his book launch tour for “Equal Is Unfair: America’s Misguided Fight Against Income Inequality”, which he coauthored with Don Watkins.

The book is very much worth reading, and will guide you thru the many fallacies of the different ways the left is using to attack capitalism and the free-market, attacks to which the right seems to be completely unable to respond to. Luckily Brook and Watkins give us all the required information to counter such attacks in the book.

This video interview is very clear and very much worth watching. 8’25” well spent, if you care about spreading the truth about why income inequality is NOT the issue that the left wants you to believe it is.

Robert Bryce @pwrhungry on the SunEdison’s Subsidy-Fueled Collapse

Robert Bryce is the author of some very good books on the topic of energy, including “Power Hungry”, which I reviewed recently on my blog, and the newest one “Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper: How Innovation Keeps Proving the Catastrophists Wrong” which I am currently reading.

Bryce has recently written a very detailed piece on National Review about the looming failure of SunEdison, a company that touts itself as the “largest global renewable energy development company.”

Some points are raised by Robert Bryce in his piece, and they are worth mentioning:

Even $1.5 billion in subsidies and loan guarantees can’t save a “clean” energy company from bankruptcy. […] But the remarkable thing about SunEdison is how much cash it was able to get from state and federal taxpayers during its low-emissions trip to bankruptcy court.

moreover:

Alas, SunEdison isn’t the only example of how federal taxpayers have helped prop up poor management in the “clean energy” sector. Earlier this week, the Spanish energy company Abengoa SA filed for Chapter 15 protection in U.S. bankruptcy court in Wilmington, Del., claiming some $16.5 billion in debt. Like SunEdison, Abengoa has been a leading promoter of solar projects in the U.S. According to Subsidy Tracker, Abengoa has received $986 million in federal grants and tax credits, as well as another $7.8 million in state and local subsidies. The bulk of that sum — about $841 million — was for solar projects.

To summarize:

In all, Abengoa got some $2.6 billion in federal loans and loan guarantees as well as $986 million in federal grants and tax credits. Thus, between the collapse of Abengoa and the looming bankruptcy of SunEdison, federal taxpayers have shelled out some $5 billion in direct grants and loan guarantees to lousy management teams in subsidy-dependent businesses that would never have grown to their current size had they not been able to binge on taxpayer cash.

5 billion dollars in direct grants and loan guarantees to companies which went bankrupt very quickly, regardless of how much taxpayer’s money has been shelled by the government. 5 billion dollars.

In closing:

Critics of the federal government’s support for “clean energy” companies have repeatedly claimed that the government shouldn’t be “picking winners.” To that, I can only say that the evidence — from the failed solar company Solyndra and failed battery companies like Ener1 and A123 to SunEdison and Abengoa — proves that the government hasn’t in fact, been picking winners. Quite the opposite.

It is quite obvious to me that we are once again witnessing how a government tries hard to force the free market to take a specific route, but sooner or later it is bound to fail. Governments should never pick sides, but if they do, it would be better if they would pick winners and not losers.

For those who have been reading Robert Bryce’s books, this should not come as a surprise. After all, in “Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper: How Innovation Keeps Proving the Catastrophists Wrong” Bryce is pretty clear on what characteristics are needed for a technology to displace a previous technology: solar power is NOT Smaller nor Faster nor Lighter, and most definitely neither Denser nor, quite obviously, Cheaper.

Solar power is still a very interesting way to generate electricity, but governments should let the market decide in what form solar will be used. And no government is doing this today, unfortunately. This is sadly why we will still see more failures like the ones of SunEdison and Abengoa in the future.

@yaronbrook and the best minimum wage explanation

I find myself mentioning Yaron Brook again on my blog again, this time to link a YouTube video which, though it’s precisely 4 years old, is still very much right and applicable today.

The topic being discussed is the minimum wage, which has once again become a topic mentioned a lot by the media due to continuous mentions of this issue by Bernie Sanders, the Senator from Vermont running for the Democratic nomination to the 2016 US Presidential elections, and also because very recently California and other states have once again increased the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

This very same topic has also been discussed at length in the most recent episode of the Yaron Brook show on AM 560 The Answer.

Yaron Brook’s view is very clear; the government has no rights to set prices on anything. Not on goods, not on bread, not on people’s hourly wages. It was tried many times, under communism, under socialism, under different kinds of collectivistic societies like the current one in the USA, and it never worked.

In fact, making the minimum wage higher does the exact opposite, as it prices OUT of the market those who can only work for fewer dollars an hour. They will remain unemployable and thus unemployed, and the state will subsidize them to remain in that pitiful condition.

The video is very much worth watching, and reflecting upon.