Saturday, December 20, 2014

Beegate 3: Conflicts of interest dog European IUCN bee panel as nenonic ban devastates crops

David Zaruk | December 16, 2014 | Genetic Literacy Project

David Zaruk is an environmental-health risk policy analyst based in Belgium specializing in the role of science in policy and societal issues. He blogs under the pseudonym: The Risk-Monger. Over the past two weeks, Zaruk posted two stories based on a leaked internal document from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which showed how, in 2010, certain scientists with confirmed conflicts of interest launched a strategy to manipulate public opinion and influence the European Union to ban neonicotionids (neonics), claiming that bees faced mortal danger.




[Note: The Genetic Literacy Project’s Jon Entine uncovered a similar case of possible research corruption in the United States in an investigation of the disputed studies on neonics and bees by Harvard nutritionist and organic activist Chensheng Lu. Huffington Post version HERE.]
 

10 studies proving GMOs are harmful? Not if science matters

Layla Katiraee | August 5, 2014 | Genetic Literacy Project

Activists often cite the alleged potential health risks of genetically modified foods. One recent example of this—”10 Scientific Studies Proving GMOs Can Be Harmful To Human Health“, posted on Collective-Evolution.com—outlines many familiar concerns and points in each case to “credible scientific studies that clearly demonstrate why GMOs should not be consumed”.  Are these concerns credible? What do the studies cited actually claim?

1) Multiple Toxins From GMOs Detected In Maternal and Fetal Blood.

The blog post sites a 2010 study that alleges to show this danger. The authors identified the Bt protein Cry1Ab in maternal and fetal blood, a protein found in some GMOs, but also commonly used as a pesticide in organic farming. The paper is flawed. The researchers’ measurements were based on an experiment/assay designed to detect Bt’s Cry1Ab in plants, not in humans. As this post in Biofortified.org explains, the pregnant women in the study would have had to eat several kilos of corn in order to get the Bt measurements that were detected in their blood......To Read More....

Myth busting: Are synthetic pesticides, used with some GMOs, more dangerous than natural ones?

Layla Katiraee | December 9, 2014 | Genetic Literacy Project

Plants and animals have evolved mechanisms to fight against their predators. Some of them are mechanical, like thorns or spines on a puffer fish, but some are chemical in nature. As a result, our food is full of natural pesticides and toxins.

It’s important not to let the term “pesticide” confuse you. We’re used to thinking of pesticides as the stuff we spray on plants or around our house to get rid of bugs. But the term “pesticide” is much broader than that: it’s any substance that gets rid of or repels a pest. The term encompasses many different -cides: herbicides (to get rid of plants), fungicide (to get rid of fungi), insecticides (to get rid of insects), etc. A natural pesticide can be toxic to the pest that its evolved to target, so I use the term “toxin” in this piece as well......To Read More......

Friday, December 19, 2014

Observations From the Back Row For December 19, 2014.

Political Journalism Endangers Our Survival, By Ileana Johnson
Journalism in this country, if it ever was completely honest and objective, has become in-your-face political journalism—to be more specific, Democrat Party agenda progressive journalism. Dr. Savage called it "narrative journalism." We often have to consult foreign news to find out what is going on in our own country. We are no longer watching the news when a talking head on location somewhere is trying to explain what happened, what we are seeing, and who is involved to the best of their knowledge. The actual news reporting is very rare. What passes for news is the cable news owners' progressive agenda or the newspapers' affiliation with the Democrat Party. "News" is sensational videotaping and coverage of one event ad nauseam, the glorification of criminals, and of Hollywood stars who pass away from drug overdoses or other unfortunate accidents.....

My Take - It's clear the media is totally corrupt, historically ignorant, and logically challenged. Has it ever been different? No! In days gone by they media, which consisted of newspapers only, they lied, postured and supported the same kind of clowns that are in office now. The only real difference was they were open in their biases. The media managed to convince people by getting a degree in journalism it made them impartial distributors of "truth". That was a lie from the beginning! When I see them continuously spewing out all the leftist claptrap they espouse, in spite of all the historical evidence that shows these views are irrational, misanthropic and morally defective, I have to wonder if they aren't insane. I know they aren't rational, or truthful - but are they sane.

Exploratory committee my a**. Jeb is in, and aren't we just better for it. I was wondering when a reasonable candidate was going to jump in, and although it does happen, it's pretty rare that a candidate commissions an exploratory committee and doesn't get in the race. As I see it today, there will be one real conservative - Ted Cruz- a few semi to faux-conservatives such as Rand Paul,Scott Walker, and Marco Rubio, and a slew of big government progressives: Jeb, Chris Christie, John Kasich, and probably many others……

My Take - Irrational isn't just a problem with "liberals". It appears the "conservative" Republican leadership doesn't like Ted Cruz because he won't go along to get along. They think he's out of line, out of step and his policies are non-productive. I wonder what they construe as productive?

 It amazes me at the thinking of these people, and since I live in Ohio I'm fortunate to have a "conservative" governor, John Kasich, who seems to philosophically function much on the same order as the "conservative leadership" in Congress. And I know he's a conservative because John Kasich once said [paraphrasing] that being a “conservative” is his philosophy and being a Republican is his instrument. If that’s true I have to wonder how he defines conservatism, because definition gives clarity.

Kasich's Obamacare expansion has put 450,941 Ohioans on Medicaid, more than the Republican governor said would enroll by 2020. After reading this there are only two questions that needs to be answered by this "conservative". Who's going to pay for this? How much is it going to cost? Is it possible the answers are "you" and "too much"?

Because along with pushing Medicaid expansion (while avoiding the use of the words Medicare and Obamacare) he makes emotional arguments that he wants to make sure “mentally ill are not livin’ under a bridge or being put in a jail cell” and that “drug-addicted” and “working poor” Ohioans need this expansion (of the words he never used), and he has the “right to move forward with programs” he thinks “in the short term may not be that popular, but in the long term may yield an awful lotta good”.

So Kasich bypassed the legislature to enact after lying relentlessly about how it would be funded, his Medicare/Obamacare expansion, which is expected to cost Ohio taxpayers over $600 million annually by 2022, and raised taxes on the one thing that has really impacted Ohio’s economy positively…fracking. Kasich says, “I have a right to shape what conservative philosophy means.” He also says, “I know who is happy about it, and that’s who I report to”, which according to Kasich is God. Why? Because God loves big government and anyone who opposes his programs will have to answer to God for it.

So let me see if I understand this correctly. Kasich’s belief in big government leftist philosophies and religious demagogic condemnation of his political adversaries is how he defines being a conservative. Did I get that right? And the Lt. Governor says Ohio can opt out of this mess whenever they like. I wonder if the federal government thinks so? Boy, isn't it good to have such a good numbers guy in the Governor's office?

I’m also really impressed at how many “rights” he's managed to give himself. Can anyone tell me what the difference is between Governor Kasich’s political philosophy and thinking, acquisition of "rights", and big government vision is all that different compared to President Obama’s? Oh wait, I know. Currently he can only impact Ohio, but he would really like to change that. Wow, doesn't it just give you chill running up your leg at the thought of him announcing he’s running for President against Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren in the Democratic primary?

And they think Cruz is out of step.

Wisconsin's State Superintendent of Schools, Tony Evers, misrepresents the effect of Common Core Standards through his recent press release, "Higher standards: The right direction for students." Evers promises parents that the implementation of Common Core State Standards will "ready [students] for on-the-job training, an apprenticeship, or coursework at a college or university." Numerous educational experts have identified specific weaknesses in CCSS which will render students unprepared for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM courses) at the college level. Preparation for on-the-job training or an apprenticeship requires students to be skilled in basic math. Because the Common Core Curriculum has returned to the futile discovery and inquiry methods of instruction used in "New Math" or "Modern Math" which failed our children in the 1960s and 1970s, the re-implementation of these methods is once again confusing and frustrating parents and students......

Apollo 7's Walt Cunningham: 'My background in space science. My doctoral thesis that I was working on was fluctuations in the Earth’s magnetic field. I have no political inhibitions at all, I just think we ought to be honest about this and not be trying to use it to our own ends to try to get money from the government.'


Marc Morano: 'The UN is first and foremost political and they have bastardized science to achieve a political end...The UN claims that they can alter global temperature and storminess and weather events many decades to 100 years into the future. And the United Nations does not have that power -- that is reserved for medieval witchcraft.'…..

Science is being corrupted by political bias. As somebody who has championed science all his career, carrying a lot of water for the profession against its critics on many issues, I am losing faith. Recent examples of bias and corruption in science are bad enough. What’s worse is the reluctance of scientific leaders to criticise the bad apples. Science as a philosophy is in good health; science as an institution increasingly stinks. The Nuffield Council on Bioethics published a report last week that found evidence of scientists increasingly “employing less rigorous research methods”in response to funding pressures. A 2009 survey found that almost 2 per cent of scientists admitting that they have fabricated results; 14 per cent say that their colleagues have done so.  This month has seen three egregious examples of poor scientific practice. The most recent was the revelation in The Times last week that scientists appeared to scheme to get neonicotinoid pesticides banned, rather than open-mindedly assessing all the evidence. These were supposedly“independent” scientists, yet they were hand in glove with environmental activists who were receiving huge grants from the European Union to lobby it via supposedly independent reports, and they apparently had their conclusions in mind before they gathered the evidence. Documents that have recently come to light show them blatantly setting out to make policy-based evidence, rather than evidence-based policy…......

Oh, woe is she. In an “exclusive” interview with People magazine this week, first lady Michelle Obama lamented the “sting” of “racist experiences” that she and her husband allegedly still suffer. My message for America’s Marie Antoinette? Cry me a river.  To show how she’s down with The Struggle of post-Ferguson agitators, Mrs. Obama cited a supposedly horrifying incident at a Target store where she was treated, in her paranoid mind, as a subservient. “Even as the first lady,” she bemoaned,“not highly disguised, the only person who came up to me in the store was a woman who asked me to help her take something off a shelf.” A lowly peon asked her for an innocent favor? It’s Jim Crow all over again! ABC News reports that Mrs. Obama said such“incidents are ‘the regular course of life’ for African-Americans and a‘challenge’ for the country to overcome.” Newsflash: Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe that it is part of the“regular course of life” of tall people of all colors (Mrs. Obama is 5-foot-11) to be prevailed upon to reach high on behalf of those of us who are vertically challenged. These are not odious “incidents” of racism between slaves and masters. They’re matters of common courtesy between equals…..

When it became too obvious to deny that the hostage crisis in Sydney, Australia was an act of Islamic terrorism, Prime Minister Tony Abbott asked Aussie citizens for calm, saying, “The whole point of politically motivated violence is to scare people out of being themselves. Australia is a peaceful, open and generous society – nothing should ever change that. And that’s why I would urge all Australians today to go about their business as usual.” That’s what a politician is expected to say. But what he should have said is that the time for business-as-usual is over……The West is in decline for a number of reasons, one of which is its cultural capitulation in the face of an ascendant Islamic fundamentalism. It is as if we, or at least our leaders and elites, have lost the cultural will to live. We need to get in touch with a sort of cultural rage, a fierce determination to crush threats to our culture, our values, and our liberty. We need to demonstrate that our tolerance has reached an end, that there will be no more coexistence with an ideology openly dedicated to our destruction. “Never mind normal,” as Jack Engelhard put it. To paraphrase his wish for Israel, for once let our blood “be exceptional and cause for nausea and trembling” among our enemies. Show the jihadists that there will be no more business-as-usual capitulation, and that they can expect us to unleash hellin retaliation for a single drop of Western blood......

The Soviet Union did not have to fall. If Carter had won a second term and Mondale had succeeded him, the Communist dictatorship might have received the outside help it needed to survive. And we would still be living under the shadow of the Cold War. Carter couldn’t save the Soviet Union, but he did his best to save Castro, visiting Fidel and Raul in Cuba where the second worst president in American history described his meeting with Castro as a greeting among “old friends”. Raul Castro called Carter “the best of all U.S. presidents.” Obama’s dirty deal with Raul will make the worst president in American history, Castro’s new best friend. Carter couldn’t save Castro, but Obama did. This was not a prisoner exchange. This was a Communist bailout…..

Rasmussen Report

1. Voters See A Sinking America - U.S. voters are less bullish on America's role in the world and see a diminished United States in the decades to come. Read More

2. Homeowners Worry A Bit More About Their Mortgage Payments - The number of homeowners who think they are likely to miss or be late on a mortgage payment in the next few months is at its highest level in over a year. Read More

3. Voters to Obama, Congress: Work Together! - Voters are closely divided over whether the upcoming Congress will be better than the one that is now leaving town, but they believe overwhelmingly that President Obama and the new Congress should work together rather than stand on principle. Read More



My Take - The voters - 47% of whom have brains filled with mush - want the Executive branch and Congress to work together but they never say how that’s to be done when the philosophical divide between them is so enormous. There are those who want to spend far more than we have - all the way until oblivion. A second side merely wants to slow oblivion down, a third group wants to hold expenditures to current levels and a fourth group that wants to reverse to the whole process by cutting expenditures dramatically and dismantling huge sections of an overbearing, intrusive, incompetent, corrupt government that interprets the Constitution in such a way that makes society the servant and they the masters instead of the reverse.

So my question to those who took this poll as part of this idiotic report is this: Who should back down? These voters think the nation is going to hell in a hand basket and 47% like Obama - a number Rasmussen puts out daily which hardly varies - a man who is openly being called the stupidest President in history - saving Jimmy Carter from that distinction. Is it any wonder why I think polls and poll takers are full of it? Is it any wonder I think Jonathan Gruber was right?

Before There Was Common Core! By Rich Kozlovich
Before there was Common Core there was this 1912 8th grade test for Bullett County Schools in Kentucky. I want all Common Core supporters to take this 1912 8th grade test, and then tell me how many 8th graders could pass this test. Remember, this was before the leftists took control of education in the nation and the creation of the Department of Education. Two questions. Were schools more effective before all that interference with local parental control or did they become more effective now with centralized control. This appeared here. And for all those Common Core supporters that take this test and fail it. Gohere for a list of answers.You might also wish to review this 8th grade test from Salina Kansas in 1895.

Every time my AFDI ads run in San Francisco, city officials and the enemedia get into an uproar. They can’t stand for the truth about Islam and jihad to be told — and apparently, the little totalitarians don’t understand why it is even allowed to be told. So here, Liza Veale of KALW explains to San Francisco leftists that unfortunately, there is this thing called free speech:

Regular readers of our Dispatch know that our scientists have little respect for the typically-junk reports published in Environmental Health Perspective, and the same goes for authors based at the Harvard School of Public Health. The journal and the academic center often seem to have the same goal: ignore or flout or distort the rules of science and sound statistics whenever needed to promote their anti-chemical, anti-technology agendas. They have struck again with a remarkable pseudo-analysis of air pollution’s alleged link to autism…….“Over and over again, we see this type of phony, pseudo-quantitative junk being passed off as a putative link or association between factors that is simply not grounded in science, the study’s own data, or even common sense. But this author, Weisskopf, went beyond the fringe when he said this: ‘One of the unique aspects of the study we did is that it provides an even stronger piece of evidence for there being a causal effect…It’s really the pollution doing it.’ He gives away his clear bias and abandonment of any semblance of science: no observational/retrospective study can allow a ‘cause-and-effect’ inference, even a strong, solid study. And this is the antithesis of a strong study: it’s based on sand and smoke and mirrors, fully committed to its agenda.”

The U.N. General Assembly (UNGA) on Thursday passed an annual resolution condemning human rights abuses in Iran, but fewer than half the world’s nations supported the measure, marking the third consecutive year in which the number of countries voting in favor fell.....The resolution was introduced earlier this year by Canada on behalf of a group of mostly Western democracies.  The 35 countries which opposed the resolution fell into three broad categories – Islamic states; communist, leftist or other authoritarian regimes; and two Asian democracies with “non-aligned” tendencies (India and Indonesia).....Leading the opposition.... was Cuba, whose delegate charged that the “toxic practices and double standards and selectivity” contained in the measures “violate human rights.”.....“These resolutions are intended to harm developing countries, and they are politically motivated and have absolutely nothing to do with the defense of human rights and contribute nothing to that cause,”..... The same UNGA session.....dealt with a resolution on “the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination” – which contains language criticizing Israel over the security barrier it built between areas under its control and those administered by the Palestinian Authority in a bid to deter suicide bombings. The measure passed by a huge vote: 180-7.....Before the end of December, the UNGA will also pass another nine resolutions critical of Israel. During a committee stage last month all nine were adopted by overwhelming margins......Israel was criticized in at least 32 resolutions between 2009 and mid-2014.....

More'Tolerance' From Stalinist Universities, By David Limbaugh

Honestly, sometimes leftist thought police surprise even me, not so much with their unreasonableness, extremism and tyrannical tactics but with their brazenness in openly showing who they are. Each new day's headlines trump yesterday's. A few weeks ago, Fox News' Todd Starnes reported on a Marquette University student's encounter with his ethics instructor. The professor, Cheryl Abbate, was leading her "Theory of Ethics" class in a discussion about the application of philosophical theories to controversial political issues. Among the issues listed on the blackboard were gay rights, gun rights and the death penalty. Professor Abbate removed gay rights from the list before the discussion began, with the summary explanation, "We all agree on this." This puzzled the student, as he certainly did not agree with his instructor's view on the issue and believed it should have been open for discussion along with the other issues. He approached Abbate after class and expressed his opinion that the class should have been allowed to discuss gay rights...... His complaint with university officials went nowhere.....Marquette professor John McAdams learned about the incident and expressed his strong disapproval on his blog, Marquette Warrior. McAdams wrote: "Like the rest of academia, Marquette is less and less a real university. And when gay marriage cannot be discussed, certainly not a Catholic university."....McAdams received a letter from the dean relieving him of his teaching duties, saying he was under investigation and banned from campus.....The enemies of liberty and tolerance continue their scorched-earth oppression of their political opponents under the fraudulent banners of tolerance and liberty — and it is truly sickening and highly disturbing.

It took 1,603 pages of legalese to keep the U.S. government running for another year. That is the length of the 2015 Fiscal Year Omnibus Appropriations Bill, which was approved by the Senate on Saturday to appropriate $1.01 trillion dollars for most federal agencies and departments through September 2015. The bill is on Pres. Obama’s desk waiting for his signature. It is not all about dollars. Congress also loaded the bill with special instructions, called policy riders, which dictate how government funds must be spent. Because the bill was rushed through just before the government ran out of money, and Congressional leaders did not want another government shutdown if the bill did not pass, lawmakers seized the opportunity to tack on controversial riders that might otherwise have been debated. A lot of those 11th-hour mandates will affect science and environmental policy. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, for example, got $8.1 billion. That’s $60 million less than last year and the agency now has to operate at its smallest budget since 1989. But even that money comes with conditions. Although agriculture is a major source of atmospheric methane, Congress forbade the EPA from using its funds to require farmers to report greenhouse gas emissions from “manure management systems.” And the agency is no longer permitted to regulate farm ponds and irrigation ditches under the Clean Water Act.

 Dr. Ozvorkian gets busted again. You are better off flipping a coin.  Posted by the American Council on Science and Health
When Dr. Oz eventually goes to the magic fat burner in the sky, he may reflect upon the past few months and conclude that there may have been better times in his professional life. The former golden boy of TV medicine has not really contributed all that much to public health, but he has inadvertently revived a previously-defunct science: alchemy. Defying all rules of chemistry, he seems to have stumbled upon a way to actually transform elements! Except in this case, the transformation hasn’t been lead to gold. It is more like gold to tin.  And, as anyone with a passable knowledge of chemistry will tell you, gold does not tarnish. But tin certainly does, although maybe not as quickly as Oz’s reputation. And it is all self-inflicted. His “slump” began in earnest back in June, when he was turned into cat food by Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) during a hearing at which he was tricked into believing that he was testifying about making dietary supplements safer. It didn’t exactly turn out that way, as ACSH’s Dr. Josh Bloom noted in his Science 2.0 piece entitled “The Lizard of Oz Takes His Own Medicine.”.......

 And Finally: This is a joke that’s been floating around but worth repeating.

 A public school teacher was arrested today at John F. Kennedy International airport as he attempted to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a compass, a slide-rule and a calculator. At a morning press conference, Attorney General Eric Holder said he believes the man is a member of the notorious Al-Gebra movement. He did not identify the man, who has been charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of math instruction'Al-Gebra is a problem for us', the Attorney General said. 'They derive solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in search of absolute values.' They use secret code names like "X" and "Y" and refer to themselves as "unknowns" but we have determined that they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country. As the Greek philosopher Isosceles used to say, "There are 3 sides to every triangle."

When asked to comment on the arrest, President Obama said, "If God had wanted us to have better weapons of math instruction, He would have given us more fingers and toes." White House aides told reporters they could not recall a more intelligent or profound statement by the President.   It is believed that another Nobel Prize will follow.

Have a good weekend all!

Rich

 

Before There Was Common Core!

By Rich Kozlovich

Before there was Common Core there was this 1912 8th grade test for Bullett County Schools in Kentucky.

I want all Common Core supporters to take this 1912 8th grade test, and then tell me how many 8th graders could pass this test. Remember, this was before the leftists took control of education in the nation and the creation of the Department of Education. Two questions. Were schools more effective before all that interference with local parental control or did they become more effective now with centralized control. This appeared here.

And for all those Common Core supporters that take this test and fail it. Go here for a list of answers. You might also wish to review this 8th grade test from Salina Kansas in 1895.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Germany's "energy transformation:" unsustainable subsidies and an unstable system

Marita Noon,
Perhaps when Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel was a child, she attend a party and was the only one who came without a present, or wearing inappropriate attire—and the embarrassment she felt haunts her to this day. That’s how psychodynamic psychology (Freud) might explain her December 3 decision spend more money on Germany’s failing energy experiment to avoid, as Reuters puts it: “the embarrassment of missing her government’s goal of a 40 percent reduction of emissions by 2020.”
As Europe’s biggest economy, Germany has also embraced the biggest carbon dioxide reductions through a program known as “Energiewende”—or, in English, also called energy change, shift, or transformation. Energiewende was launched in 2000 under Merkel’s predecessor who offered subsidies for any company that produced green energy.
While the European Union (E.U.) has committed to carbon dioxide cuts of 40 percent by 2030, Germany’s national goal aims to get there a decade sooner—which may have seemed achievable early in the program. After the 1990 reunification of Germany, the modernization of East Germany brought rapidly reduced emissions. However, the program’s overall result has raised costs and the emissions the expensive programs were designed to cut.
A few months ago, Bloomberg reported that due to increased coal consumption: “Germany’s emissions rose even as its production of intermittent wind and solar power climbed fivefold in the past decade”—hence Merkel’s potential embarrassment on the global stage where she’s put herself in the spotlight as a leader in reducing emissions.
On December 3, while 190 governments were meeting for two weeks of climate change talks in Lima, Peru (which, after 30 hours of overtime, produced a compromise deal that environmental groups see “went from weak to weaker to weakest”), Merkel’s cabinet agreed to a package that continues Germany’s optimistic—though unrealistic—goal and increases subsidies for measures designed to cut emissions. Regarding Germany’s “climate protection package”, Barbara Hendricks, Environment Minister, admitted: “if no additional steps were taken, Germany … would miss its targets by between five to eight percentage points.”
The results of the German agreement will require operators of coal-fueled power plants to reduce emissions by at least 22 million tons—the equivalent of closing eight of them. The Financial Times (FT) believes the plan will “lead to brownouts in German homes.”
With the goal of generating 80 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2050, Germany has aggressively pursued a green dream with unsustainable subsidies that have produced an unstable system described by FT, on November 25, as: “a lesson in doing too much too quickly on energy policy.”
So, what are the lessons? What should the U.S., and other countries, learn from Germany’s generous subsidy programs and rapid, large-scale deployment and integration of renewable energy into the power system? These are the questions U.S. legislators should be asking themselves as they argue over a tax extender package that includes a retroactive extension for the now-expired Production Tax Credit for wind energy.
Fortunately, the answers are easy to determine. Finadvice, a Switzerland based advisor to the utility and renewable industry, did an exhaustive study: “Development and Integration of Renewable Energy—Lessons Learned from Germany.” The introductory comments of the resulting report, includes the following statement: “The authors of this white paper would like to state that they fully support renewables as a part of the power portfolio. …a couple [of the authors] have direct equity interests in renewable projects.” The author’s viewpoint is an important consideration, especially in light of their findings. They wanted Germany’s experiment to work, yet they begin the Executive Summary with these words:
“Over the last decade, well-intentioned policymakers in Germany and other European countries created renewable energy policies with generous subsidies that have slowly revealed themselves to be unsustainable, resulting in profound, unintended consequences for all industry stakeholders. While these policies have created an impressive roll-out of renewable energy resources, they have also clearly generated disequilibrium in the power markets, resulting in significant increases in energy prices to most users, as well as value destruction for all stakeholders: consumers, renewable companies, electric utilities, financial institutions, and investors.”
After reading the entire 80-page white paper, I was struck with three distinct observations. The German experiment has been has raised energy costs to households and business, the subsidies are unsustainable, and, as a result, without intervention, the energy supply is unstable.
Cost
We, in the U.S., are constantly being told that renewable energy is close to cost parity with traditional power sources such as coal and natural gas. Yet, the study clearly points out the German experiment has resulted in “significant increases in energy prices to most users”—which will “ultimately be passed on to electricity consumers.” Germany’s cost increases, as much as fifty percent, are manmade not market-made—due to regulation rather than the trust costs. The high prices disproportionately hurt the poor giving birth to the new phrase: “energy poverty.”
The higher costs hurt—and not just in the pocket book. The authors cite an International Energy Agency report: “The European Union is expected to lose one-third of its global market share of energy intensive exports over the next two decades due to high energy prices.”
Subsidies and instability are big factors in Germany’s high prices.
Subsidies
To meet Germany’s green goals, feed-in tariffs (FIT) were introduced as a mechanism that allows for the “fostering of a technology that has not yet reached commercial viability.” FITs are “incentives to increase production of renewable energy.” About the FITs, the report states: “This subsidy is socialized and financed mainly by residential customers.” And: “Because of their generosity, FITs proved capable of quickly increasing the share of renewable power.”
Germany’s original FITs, “had no limit to the quantity of renewables to be built” and “lead to unsustainable growth of renewables.” As a result, Germany, and other E.U. countries have “had to modify, and eventually phase out, their program because of the very high costs of their renewable support mechanisms.”
Germany has also begun to introduce “self-generation fees” for households and businesses that generate their own electricity—typically through rooftop solar, “to ensure that the costs of maintaining the grid are paid for by all consumers, not just those without rooftop PVs.” These fees remove some of the cost-saving incentive for expensive solar installation.
Section four of the report, “Unintended Consequences of Germany’s Renewable Policies,” concludes: “Budgetary constraints, oversupply and distortion of power prices, transaction-specific operational performance, market economics (i.e. Germany proposing to cut all support for biogas), debt structures, and backlash of consumers paying higher prices were all factors contributing to regulatory intervention. Projecting past 2014, these factors are expected to continue over the next several years.”
Stability
Hopefully, by now, most people—especially my readers—understand that the intermittent and unreliable nature of wind and solar energy means that in order for us to have the lights go on every time we flip the switch (stability) every kilowatt of electric capacity must be backed up for times when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow. But, what most of us don’t think about, that the report spotlights, is that because the favored renewables benefit from “priority dispatch”—which means that if a renewable source is generating power, the utility company must buy and use it rather than the coal, natural gas or nuclear power it has available—the traditional power plants operate inefficiently and uneconomically. “Baseload thermal plants were designed to operate on a continuous base. …they were built to operate at their highest efficiencies when running 24 hours a day, seven days a week.” Now, due to renewables, these plants operate only a fraction of the time—though the cost to build and maintain them is constant. “The effect of fewer operational hours needs to be compensated by higher prices in these hours.”
Prior to the large integration of renewables, power plants earned the most when demand is high—in the middle of the day (which is also when the most solar power is generated). The result impacts cost recovery. “There are fewer hours in which the conventional power plants earn more than the marginal cost since they run fewer hours than originally planned and, in many cases, provide back-up power only.”
This translates into financial difficulties for the utilities that have resulted in lower stock prices and credit ratings. (Note: utility stocks often make up a large share of retirement portfolios.) Many plants are closed prematurely—which means the initial investment has not been recovered.
Because the reduced use prevents the power plants from covering their full costs—yet they must be available 24/7, power station operators in Germany are now seeking subsidies in the form of “capacity payments.” The report explains that a plant threatened to close because of “economic problems.” However, due to its importance in “maintaining system stability” the plant was “kept online per decree” and the operator’s fixed costs are compensated. 
*****
Anyone who reads “Development and Integration of Renewable Energy” will conclude that there is far more to providing energy that is efficient, effective and economical than the renewable fairytale storytellers want consumers to believe. Putting a solar panel on your roof is more involved than just installation. The German experiment proves that butterflies, rainbows and pixy dust won’t power the world after all—coal, natural gas, and nuclear power are all important parts of the power portfolio.
Why, then, did Merkel continue Germany commitment to an energy and economic suicide? It is all part of the global shaming that takes place at the climate change meetings like the one that just concluded in Lima, Peru.
If only U.S. legislators would read “Development and Integration of Renewable Energy” before they vote for more subsidies for renewable energy, but, heck, they don’t even read the bill—which is why calls from educated constituents are so important. I am optimistic. Maybe we could learn from Germany’s experience what they haven’t yet learned themselves.
The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens' Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations' combined efforts serve as America's voice for energy.