Tag Archive for: GreenEnergyMyth

Debunking Another Misleading Green Energy Study

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

A popular talking point among green energy evangelists is that gas, oil, and coal are, in large part, successful because they are highly subsidized. Wind and solar, so the argument goes, would win in a fair fight, but, alas, the playing field is far from fair. But the supposed data they are drawing on to come to such a conclusion is misleading and geared more toward generating headlines than good policy.

A primary source used to back this claim up is a working paper presented by a group of International Monetary Fund authors titled “Still Not Getting Energy Prices Right: A Global and Country Update of Fossil Fuel Subsidies.”

The paper claims that hydrocarbon-based fuels—like gas, oil, and coal—enjoy $5.9 trillion in subsidies annually. Though often presented in the media as an IMF paper, it is specifically not an official publication of the organization but rather a working paper that is meant to, according to the IMF, “elicit comments and to encourage debate.”

Well, here is your debate, IMF.

As is often the case with so-called academic studies, the top-line number here makes for a much better headline than it does a basis for public policy. Indeed, even a cursory look into how the study came to its fanciful conclusions shows how misleading it ultimately is in general and how trivial it is for the United States.

There are three basic problems with the study.

First, it so broadly defines “subsidy” as to be completely meaningless. In fact, the study states that only 8% of its reported costs reflect actual, direct subsidies. The rest predominantly comes from the amorphous “undercharging for environmental costs” that supposedly occur from the extraction, refining, transportation, and use of fossil fuels. Such environmental costs include “underpricing for local air pollution” (42%) and “global warming costs” (29%). What’s left goes to the equally tenuous congestion and road accidents costs (15%) and forgone tax revenues (6%).

Though characterizing any of these so-called indirect subsidies as a pro-hydrocarbon bias is problematic, we will focus on the undercharging environmental costs, which are divided between global warming and local air pollution, because they represent the preponderance of their calculations.

The problems with the global warming number are many. For example, there is virtually no evidence that man-made global warming is having any costly impact on today’s world. The real costs, if one buys into global warming alarmism, come in the future—thus the study relies on the extremely tenuous and theoretical social cost of carbon calculations.

As my Heritage Foundation colleague Kevin Dayaratna has pointed out, the use of the social cost of carbon is so unreliable that it is virtually useless as a basis for public policy.

Second, the study presents its overall findings in global terms when the numbers only have meaning at local and regional levels. For example, the largest contributor to its bottom-line number is local air pollution. Putting aside the fact, as my colleague Travis Fisher points out, how easy it is to cook the books and exaggerate the assumed costs of things like small particulate matter in the air, the other problem is that regional variances for local air pollution are so immense that any broad policy conclusion, such as “tighten local air pollution standards,” would be irrelevant.

It would make no sense to apply the same policy response in the U.S.—where local air pollution levels are very low and getting lower—that you would apply to countries in the East Asia and Pacific region, where, according to the study, local air pollution levels are high. The study undermines its own credibility by presenting a cumulative, global number that serves no purpose other than to inflate its bottom line.

And third, the study provides no accounting for the massive contribution to human flourishing that has resulted directly from the use of hydrocarbons. This is perhaps the biggest problem with this study specifically, and the modern environmental movement more broadly.

The truth is that human well-being has skyrocketed in terms of wealth, health, and life expectancy since the Industrial Revolution, which was fueled by hydrocarbons. No statistic demonstrates this more clearly than the fact that climate-related deaths are down a staggering 92% since the 1920s, when the statistic was first recorded.

Nonetheless, the IMF authors took the time to give us their number on the alleged subsidy costs associated with gas, oil, and coal; so, in the spirit of fairness, a look at the benefits associated with fossil fuels seems appropriate.

Let’s break it down, and for the sake of consistency, all numbers will be adjusted to 2019 dollars. Prior to 1700, per capita gross domestic product (the sum value of all goods and services produced within a nation’s borders) in the West stagnated at around $955 per year. Today, the average North American can expect a per capita GDP of around $66,935.

While historians and economists may debate at the margins, most can agree that two things were key to this astronomical rise in economic production. First was the spread of free enterprise (thank you, Adam Smith), and second was the broad availability of affordable, scalable, and efficient energy (thank you, hydrocarbons).

For hundreds of years, people in Western nations made around $955. Then they started using coal, then oil, and then natural gas. Now, Americans make around $66,935. So, the average income, one could argue, has increased nearly $66,0000 as a direct and indirect result of hydrocarbons (using the same rationale as the study authors). That’s a big number, for sure.

Of course, the study authors took their localized numbers and globalized them. For the sake of comparing apples to apples, let’s do that for the United States.

There are approximately 331,900,000 Americans today. Had we stayed on the same GDP trajectory that we had been on for hundreds of years prior to the use of hydrocarbons, we would have a GDP today of around $316,964,500,000. Subtract that from 2022’s GDP of approximately $22.24 trillion and you get $21,926,692,686,448! That’s nearly $22 trillion in a single year in increased economic output and wealth due to free enterprise and the use of hydrocarbons.

Now, to be fair, let’s subtract the $5.9 trillion ($5.5 trillion in 2019 dollars) in alleged direct and indirect government subsidies for so-called fossil fuels that the working paper cites, which, remember, is a global number; it’s not just limited to the United States. When you subtract those alleged subsidies from the increased economic output, you still get over $16 trillion in direct and indirect benefits from hydrocarbon use. And that’s just for the United States—globally, the benefits would be immensely more!

Oh, and by the way, the environment—despite what the authors suggest—is getting better and better all the time, even with those pesky local pollutants that they pin 42% of their costs on. While some regions of the world do have work to do, the United States shows that gas, oil, and coal use and economic growth do not dictate poor air and environmental quality; and, indeed, Americans have enjoyed ever increasingly clean air for decades.

On its face, my benefits of hydrocarbons calculation could look like a version of the same screwy math used by the IMF working paper. That would be a fair critique. The point is, however, any broad assessment of the alleged costs of using coal, oil, and gas must also be paired with the immense benefits those fuels have brought all of society. When that is done, the only logical conclusion is that these fuels have made the world a better place for all of us, and any contention otherwise is about as valuable as a solar panel at midnight.


This article was published at The Daily Signal and is reproduced with permission.

No Current, Viable Alternative to Fossil Fuels

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

During his State of the Union Address, President Biden blamed high U.S. energy prices on greedy oil companies despite as former presidential candidate Biden having virtually pledged to put them out of business.

During a Democratic primary debate with Sen. Bernie Sanders, Biden said, “No more subsidies for the fossil fuel industry. No more drilling on federal lands. No more drilling, including offshore. No ability for the oil industry to continue to drill — period, [it] ends, number one,” later adding, “No more, no new fracking.”

Joe has largely kept his promise, evidenced by an aggressive war against fossil energy which has included banning of the Keystone XL pipeline along with myriad other executive orders placing regulatory restrictions on drilling.

It is perhaps forgivable then, that Republican attendees loudly groaned at his ironic SOTU temerity when Biden said, “When I talked to a couple of [companies], they said, ‘We are afraid you are going to shut down all the oil refineries anyway, so why should we invest in them?’ We are going to need oil for at least another decade.”

No, we are going to need oil — and natural gas — for many decades, most likely centuries, because there is no current replacement source capable of fulfilling a huge supply gap.

Those who believe in the existence of adequate non-fossil alternatives essential to achieve a “carbon-neutral” U.S. — much less global — energy balance anytime soon, or at any cost, are dreadfully misguided.

First, for some much needed proportional perspective, consider that more than 80% of total world energy (not just citing electricity) comes from hydrocarbons, while much-touted wind and solar account for about 2% and 1% respectively.

Hydropower and nuclear combined add about another 11%, with just over 4% of primary energy from nuclear which faces cutbacks with about 25% of existing capacity in advanced economies expected to be shut down by 2025.

Bear in mind that it requires lots of that primary energy — again not just electricity — to produce all those solar panels and construct those giant fields of wind turbines.

Materials must be excavated by heavy machinery, transported to production facilities, melted and fabricated into parts, and then delivered to the installation site and constructed.

According to Mark Mills at the Manhattan Institute, constructing and replacing each wind turbine is estimated to consume about 30,000 tons of iron ore, 50,000 tons of concrete, and 900 tons of plastics for the huge blades.

They are also short on longevity and long on maintenance. Many of those already installed are reaching their 15-20-year end of life to become enormous forests of costly junk.

A solar plant with enough output to supply about 75,000 homes would require half again more tonnage in cement, steel, and glass.

Then, since wind and solar are intermittent and weather dependent, humungous amounts more of rare earth materials will be required for batteries to provide power on demand when needed … most of it to be purchased and transported from China (lithium) and the Congo (cobalt) which provide more than 80% of the world supply.

Yes, and don’t forget those “clean” electric vehicles (EVs) that are supposed to replace gasoline varieties. They need batteries too…really big ones.

Each Tesla-class battery requires mining, moving, and processing more than 500,000 pounds of materials: 20 times more than the 25,000 pounds of petroleum that a typical internal combustion engine uses over the life of a car.

Mark Mills calculates that averaged over a 1,000-pound battery’s life, each mile of driving an EV “consumes” about five pounds of earth moved by hydrocarbon-powered vehicles…a comparable petroleum-fueled vehicle only consumes about 0.2 pounds of liquids per mile.

On top of that, don’t forget that those EVs can’t be recharged by sunbeams at night or cloudy days, nor friendly breezes when the wind isn’t blowing.

So we need also need a “spinning reserve” backup of reliable energy, typically natural gas turbines, to balance out our energy grids second-by-second to make up for intermittency.

This isn’t very efficient — like driving a car in heavy traffic — plus it puts heavy stresses along with enormously increased EV recharging power demands on those already overburdened grids.

And after all, weren’t those so-called “alternative” sources supposed to be environmentally friendly?

Well maybe not so much.

Wind and solar require huge amounts of land and expensive transmission lines to deliver electricity from remote sites to high-demand metropolitan centers (plus power transmission losses).

Nearby landowners are filing numerous “not in my backyard” (NIMBY) lawsuits over wind projects for health concerns, including such symptoms as headaches, nausea, sleeplessness, and ringing in the ears resulting from prolonged exposure to inaudible low “infrasound” frequencies that penetrate walls.

Environmentalists also decry wind turbines as “Cuisinarts in the sky” for bird and bat slaughters.

And there’s nothing clean about many millions of tons of nonrecyclable solar panels and massive worn-out turbine blades that will wind up in landfills along with toxic rare earth elements such as dysprosium.

Meanwhile, as China sells us those rare earths we increasingly depend on, they continue to build the equivalent of about one coal-fired plant per week.

So regarding the whole idea of wind, solar or EVs eliminating “carbon pollution” or climate change, don’t believe it for a moment.

The only thing “green” about any of them will come from pocketbooks of taxpayer subsidies and hiked-up energy costs and other inflation that fall heaviest upon the poorest among us.

This article was published by CFACT and is reproduced with permission.

Is There an EV in Your Future?

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Discussions about converting the American fleet of over 275 million vehicles to EVs keep accelerating as more car companies begin to offer EV models.  In California, the enlightened leadership has dictated that no internal combustion vehicles will be sold in the state after 2034.  Let us look at the practicality of this conversion.

This investigation began in conversation with a friend who knows the vehicle market as well as anyone.  Not only is he one of my go-to guys regarding his in-depth knowledge of cars, but he operates a leasing/car acquisition company and has detailed knowledge of the vehicle market.  The discussion was during the highest gas pricing phase in California. He stated he regularly gets calls from people wanting EVs. He advised clients that the additional cost of an EV – even at that moment when gas prices had hit their highest point – did not make economic sense.  Overall, you will still pay more for the EV in total cost than with a gas-fueled vehicle, and that includes rebates.  This was before the price of EVs escalated significantly because of the soaring cost of lithium and cobalt — essential to the building of EV batteries. 

Is that all the costs for converting to an EV?  I had some discussions with a general contractor and electrical contractor who work with these issues regularly.

I inquired what it would cost to retrofit my home for an EV.  The electrical contractor said though not every home would have the same costs, this is what it would cost for my home.  I would have to retrofit my electrical panel and that would run around $2,500. He cautioned not every home needs that.  I would need to run a line for the EV to my garage costing from $850 to $2,000. The price of that would go up if both the Beautiful Wife and I were to get EVs. 

The general contractor pointed out that Siemens, an international company, in coordination with an American company, ConnectDER, had developed a simplified EV connector.  The device is a collar to your home electrical meter.  The cost of the collar has not been announced yet.  The reception of the power companies having a device connected to the meter which derives power for an EV has not been sorted out either.  This device is supposed to cut the cost of adapting your electric panel from the current thousands of dollars.  This may work for single-family detached homes, but it does not resolve the bigger problem – apartment buildings and condos.

This discussion came from a story the general contractor told me about consulting with the owner of an eleven-unit building who wanted to add eleven charging stations.  The building original conceived as condos was being renovated to be sold off as condos after the renovation.  The cost to put in charging stations for all the units was budgeted at $10,000.  They had discussions with DWP (the Los Angeles power company).  The DWP would not drop in a new service just for the EVs.  DWP was requiring a new main distribution panel/electrical closet at a cost of over $100,000.  The owner passed on putting in the charging stations.

Whereas a single family detached home may have enough room on their electrical panel to expand for an EV, an apartment or condo building is built without that level of flexibility.  In a 50-unit building the panels are designed for the anticipated load of the existing units.  The electrical contractor pointed out each vehicle would need a charging station and they would not be operated by credit card as they are in commercial areas. 

The building would need to be rewired for the charging to be billed separately to each unit. The electrical contractor estimated the cost for retrofitting the building at between $400,000 and $500,000.  Also, the entire electrical service in the building would have to be shut down for an unknown period.

The electrical contractor then conveyed that the power company (DWP in LA) must redo their lines to accommodate the load capacity of the new EV chargers.  Since often there is a street with multiple apartment/condo buildings, the power company would need to completely re-engineer their delivery system to accommodate all these new EV charging stations.  The electrical contractor would not begin to estimate the cost and inconvenience of that or how long it would take to redo the entire city. 

The two contractors suggested the power company was in no way prepared to handle the huge demand that would be generated by the statewide dictate to convert to EVs.  I set out to check with the DWP of Los Angeles.  The community affairs spokesperson directed me to their annual glossy report.  The most recent one spoke only of having 45,000 commercial charging stations by 2025 and 120,000 by 2030.  This is in a city of four million people and an estimated two million residences.

I asked her the following, “How is DWP going to rewire for every apartment building, condo and single-family residence that will need to install EV chargers as dictated by the Governor?  What would the costs of that be?  That is what I am seeking.  Also, how much additional energy draw would there be?” She said she would get back to me.  When she did, she stated “The information from our Briefing Book is our answers to your questions.”  My reply was “Otherwise you have no real plan to deal with millions of charging stations.”

Many people have seen a few charging stations added to commercial buildings.  You may be thinking what is the big deal?  Commercial building owners do not need to rewire their buildings because they only have a few stations.  Those stations allow charging by credit card.  The cost of the installation is not borne by the building owner.  The owner typically passes those costs through to tenants as operating expenses under terms of their leases and recoups the full cost of those installations within a year.  Once there are mainly EVs on the road, the home charging stations will function as the principal source of energy.

Apartment owners have no such means to recoup their extensive costs.  In most cities in America (certainly in California), there is rent control.  There are no discernible means to recoup the funds.  They cannot increase rents.  That will not stop the city councils of many cities to fall in line with this “Dreamsville” plan for EVs to dictate that building owners install these charging stations.  Renters will, of course, say the “rich” apartment owners can afford to install the charging stations.  It is not their money.  And then there is the condo building where anyone who has lived in a condo knows the boards are designed to wreak havoc.

This is the end game of what happens when you elect people to run your state/city who have never run anything in their lives.  They dictate idealistic plans while not thinking their way through to the end of the scenario.  Gallivanting Gavin will be off running for president touting this as one of his accomplishments while leaving us with his unachievable, idealistic mess.

Let me leave you with this thought: If EVs are so good why do they have to be mandated? Why has the federal government had to commit billions of dollars and recommit more billions of dollars to subsidize their purchase?


This article was published by Flash Report and is reproduced with permission from the author.

Energy Shortage and Mineral Dependence

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Editors’ Note: Although the November 8th election here in Arizona will be focused on economic issues and our southern border invasion, the Inflation Reduction Act should be a central issue for the Senate race between Blake Masters (R) and incumbent Mark Kelly (D). Similarly, incumbent Kyrsten Sinema (D) will attempt to remain in her Senate seat in 2024. Both of these leftist Senators represented a 51st vote that passed the dishonestly named Inflation Reduction Act. It was really a disguised Green New Deal bill passed by reconciliation (50 Democrat votes + the VP) and represents enormous threats to America’s national security and economy. The following article factually describes these threats and the absurdity and danger of Mark Kelly’s and Kyrsten Sinema’s votes. They claim to be voting in Arizona’s interests but the reality is the opposite. Both deserve to be defeated in the November and 2024 elections respectively. In Blake Master’s senatorial quest, be assured he would never support such a bill, including the obscene weaponization of the IRS with 87,000 agents new agents.


The Biden Administration got its key legislation through Congress, thanks in large part to Senators Manchin of West Virginia and Sinema of Arizona. Previously, they had opposed key provisions of the larger Build Back Better, but caved to this latest spending travesty. As Bloomberg News put it ” it is a climate bill, just don’t call it that.”

The misnamed Inflation Reduction Act contains large provisions for suppressing oil and gas production and forcing a change over to so-called “renewables” and electric vehicles. It embraces what has become known as the Green New Deal.

This is coupled with the Biden policy of selling oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, largely to help Democrats in November by temporarily putting pressure downward on gasoline prices.

The typical news report will tell you that sales from the reserve now push America’s reserves back to levels last seen in 1985.

That is true as far as it goes, except the economy is larger than in 1985, which means the level of reserve is even lower in relative terms to total output and population.

Per capita, oil consumption has fallen from 1985 largely because of increased efficiency. But overall consumption is about  26% greater.

In comparing levels of the reserve with 1985, you must consider the economy is much larger than in 1985, and the population is considerably greater as well.

Presently, the US uses approximately 19.78 million barrels a day, versus 15.69 million barrels in 1985.

Real Gross Domestic Product, which is GDP adjusted for inflation, a more accurate measure of the size of the economy, was just under $20 Trillion in 2021, versus about $8.5 trillion in 1985. In other words, our economy is almost 2 1/2 times larger. That we have that kind of economic growth and only increased oil consumption by 26% is a remarkable testament to increased efficiency, which of course means less “greenhouse gases.”

The population has grown from 238 million people in 1985 to over 338 million today.

The problem is, that it leaves the country much more vulnerable to energy shocks caused by geopolitical events. The SPR  must support a much larger economy and a substantially greater population. So the result is to leave us much worse off than we were in 1985.

Moreover, all the oil taken from the reserve needs to be replaced, which means all that was provided to the economy to help moderate gasoline prices in the short term for election purposes, will have to be reversed at some point, lest the country is left in a bad state of energy insecurity. This oil needs to be replaced at the same time Biden and his green goblins are reducing production. This obviously adds to demand at some point while production is falling, a formula for higher prices.

Meanwhile, it appears that the forced transition to electric vehicles is hitting some significant snags, that potentially are extremely dangerous. However, no consideration is given to these issues as the legislation pushes demand for electric vehicles through loans, and subsidies,  even while battery production cannot possibly meet demand.

No less than the left-leaning Economist Magazine, a reliably anti-Trump screed, points out the problem in their most recent issue. In a remarkable article, “Could the EV boom run out of juice before it really gets going?”, the magazine points out a total lack of capacity to meet demand and extreme dependence on China for both production and the minerals necessary for production.

To quote from the article:

Most troubling for Western carmakers is China’s dominance of battery-making. The country houses close to 80% of the world’s current cell-manufacturing capacity. Benchmark Minerals forecasts that China’s share will decline in the next decade or so, but only a bit—to just under 70%. By then America would be home to just 12% of global capacity, with Europe accounting for most of the rest.

Other metals such as cobalt come from unstable areas such as Congo, and much of the lithium comes from Chile.  Chile this fall will vote on a revision of its constitution that if passed, will nationalize natural resources.  This recalls the famous quote attributed to Milton Friedman to the effect that “if the government were to take over the Sahara Desert, there would be a shortage of sand in five years.”

Moreover, it takes 5 to 25 years to build new mines, and Chilean production using ponds consumes enormous amounts of water in extremely arid regions.

And then there is the extreme dependence on China, a country that is hostile to the US. As the Economist puts it:

“Even if the West’s EV industry somehow managed to secure enough metals and battery-making capacity, it would still face a giant problem in the middle of the supply chain, refining, where China enjoys near-monopolies. Chinese companies refine nearly 70% of the world’s lithium, 84% of its nickel and 85% of its cobalt… as with battery manufacturers, Chinese refiners gobble up dirty coal-generated electricity. On top of that, according to Trafigura, both European and North American firms are also expected to rely on foreign suppliers, often Chinese ones, for at least half the capacity to convert refined ores into the materials that go into batteries.”

Burning coal to make batteries.  Make sense to you?

Besides battery assembly and raw material supply issues, there is evidence charging stations don’t work.

And when batteries catch on fire, they can electrocute first responders and are almost impossible to extinguish.

Readers need to appreciate that this is not a normal transition in energy sources such as we have had in the past. This is a top-down, politically driven effort based on the dubious science of global warming. Since when have politicians ever designed anything as complex as this without making a complete hash out of it? Rather than adapting to climate change (which is naturally occurring all the time), they are attempting to change the climate of the earth and the very basic way we live.

It would seem appropriate that new systems to replace existing systems should be thoroughly tested before implementation. But the green industrial complex is in a hurry lest we get wind of their failures.

That is dangerous enough. The track record of the Department of Energy is strewn with failures. But clearly, this effort is coupled with a policy to suppress that which we have (domestic oil, gas, and coal capabilities) which in fact makes us very dependent on both production and refining of essential minerals from countries with shaky politics. And in the case of China, the US is made dependent on an outright hostile regime for the production and refining of vital materials. Finally, we are about 80% dependent on battery production itself.

Ironically, if we do get Chinese production, it will be on the back of massive coal consumption. How does that move the needle on global warming, the underlying cause for this incredibly arrogant attempt to alter the climate in 100 years?

Is it wise to leave a nation’s energy grid and transportation sector in the hands of hostile powers? Are there any realists left in the Departments of State and Defense anymore? Is the security of the nation of no consideration here?

We are moving from energy independence to energy dependence, and almost complete production and mineral dependence on a country that is our enemy. Given the nature of the world, as it is, this is a move beyond stupid to suicidal.

Senators Kelly and Sinema, do you care?




Democrats Look To Sustainable Investing Craze As Means For Pushing Climate Agenda

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes
  • Democrats have increasingly pushed their expansive climate agenda through the financial sector and legal system as Congress has failed to implement Green New Deal reforms.
  • “Congress is really unwilling to impose much in the way of costs and to address climate change,” David Kreutzer, the senior economist at the Institute for Energy Research, told the Daily Caller News Foundation in an interview. “Frustrated by that, people in Washington want to use non-legislative ways to impose these costs and raise the price of energy-intensive goods and energy in general.”
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission proposed a sweeping set of rules Monday that would require companies to disclose their carbon emissions and how they were planning to transition away from fossil fuel reliance, the latest example of the sustainable investing movement.
  • “This is just an attempt by the left to use the business community, the finance sector, companies … to accomplish with other people’s money, what they can’t accomplish at the ballot box,” Andy Puzder, the former CEO of CKE Restaurants and a visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation, told the DCNF in an interview

Democrats, banks, regulators, and activists have increasingly set their sights on the financial sector and legal system, not Congress, for pushing their aggressive climate agenda.

In the latest example of the ESG and sustainable investing movement, the Democratic-majority U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed a sweeping set of rules Monday that would require publicly-traded companies to disclose their carbon emissions and how they were planning to transition away from fossil fuel reliance. Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Pat Toomey was one of many lawmakers to immediately slam the proposal, saying it “hijacks the democratic process and disrespects the limited scope of authority that Congress gave to the SEC.”

“Congress is really unwilling to impose much in the way of costs and to address climate change,” David Kreutzer, the senior economist at the Institute for Energy Research, told the Daily Caller News Foundation in an interview. “Frustrated by that, people in Washington want to use non-legislative ways to impose these costs and raise the price of energy-intensive goods and energy in general.”

“One of the ways that they’re doing it — it’s like an all fronts attack — is under the guise of environmental, social, and governance investments,” he added. (RELATED: New York To Divest Pensions From Fossil Fuel Companies)

Regulators have also targeted Americans’ pensions. In October, the Department of Labor (DOL), which is tasked with regulating private sector pensions under the 1974 Employee Retirement Income Security Actreversed a Trump-era rule that placed barriers to fiduciaries’ ability to consider ESG factors when selecting investments.

Similar to the SEC proposal Monday, the DOL rule stated that “climate change and other ESG factors can be financially material” for investors. (RELATED: Biden’s Green Transition May Usher In More Energy Insecurity. Here’s How)

“The primary purpose of fiduciaries is to look out for the wellbeing of the pensioners who contribute to these funds,” Pat Pizzella, the former deputy secretary of labor during the Trump administration, told the DCNF. “Not to speculate on risky or trendy, expensive ESG products. I think their priorities are a little misplaced.”

He added that the Trump administration’s view was to look at ESG investing from a legal point of view. Pizzella predicted that individuals with pensions managed by fiduciaries that invest in risky ESG-focused companies or funds would eventually take the institutions to court….


Continue reading this article at Daily Caller and is reprinted with permission.

The Russia/Bermuda Dark Money Subterfuge

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

If there is one thing you can say about the Russians it is that they stick to their proven playbook no matter what carnage they inflict on the innocents or how greatly they deceive the gullible.

During the height of the Cold War, they sought to stop America’s introduction of sophisticated weapons that would have blunted any planned invasion of Western Europe by the Red Army by infiltrating the “peace movement” with money and resources.

So it should come as no surprise that members of Congress continue to express deep concern that Putin’s Russia may be preventing the West’s energy independence by promoting through third parties, who may be unwilling dupes or active co-conspirators, “green” alternatives that are either impractical, aspirational, or an outright fiction.

It has been reported that Russia has been using a legal loophole to actively fund opponents of American energy independence, by funneling untraceable money through an entity in Bermuda, a nation that does require disclosure as to whether funds originated from a foreign government.

The loophole has apparently been serving as an open invitation for Russia — in particular its largest oil and gas company, Gazprom — to channel unlimited, unaccountable millions in dark money (anonymous donations) to American non-governmental organizations; these then fund “green” programs that discourage “dirty” energy exploration, and encourage the use of “clean” energy, such as solar panels and wind turbines. Unfortunately, even if they were able to meet all energy needs — which is disputed — they are not widely available or ready for use.

Such a strategy would not only be consistent with past Soviet/Russian practices but would be expected by a Putin whose long game of chess seeks to hold the West hostage by becoming the major supplier of natural gas to Europe at a time when his operatives have helped shut down viable energy alternatives. So as Putin seeks to decapitate Ukraine, he knows that one source of income for his war machine remains the natural gas that nations such as Germany must have in order to survive economically.

Not surprisingly, the Biden administration’s seemingly inept energy policy has played directly into Putin’s hands. Americans, from the first day of the Biden administration, have been devastated by skyrocketing inflation. The most dramatic example is at the gas pump. In just one year, the price of gasoline — $2.17 a gallon in 2020 — has doubled, with no signs of slowing.

How did we get here?

To appease the Progressive wing of his party, Biden, within days of his inauguration, began shutting down virtually America’s entire energy independence and oil and gas exploration industry, and is still freezing future oil-and-gas drilling leases. The move not only threw thousands of Americans out of work, it has also forced Americans to pay premium prices for just about everything in the American economy — whatever is processed, manufactured, or transported — all of which require fossil fuel energy. Wind turbines and solar panels do not truck supplies to your supermarket, or even build the electric vehicles — costing more than $56,000 a car — that the Biden administration wants you to buy. If you cannot afford $5-a-gallon gasoline, hey, an electric vehicle is your answer! Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg’s questionable suggestion was, “Take the bus.” The current administration policy seems to be, “Let them eat electric vehicles.”

Some members of Congress understand that this kind of response is more than ludicrous. Buying oil from Russia, Iran, and Venezuela is basically counterproductive. Given the nature of potential threats, it would make America a vassal state.

Congressmen Jim Banks and Bill Johnson have sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, asking for an investigation into the reported Russian manipulation of American “green groups” that are seemingly funded with “dark money.” The letter was following up on an earlier letter sent by Representatives Lamar Smith and Randy Weber to then Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in 2017. Their letter notes:

“According to Sea Change’s tax filing, in 2010 the group received $23 million, half of its total annual contributions, from a Bahamian shell corporation tied to the Russian government. Sea Change then passed that money to groups like the Sierra Club and the Center for American Progress who lobbied strongly against fracking and pro-energy policies, to reduce competition with Russian oil and gas. In 2020, the Center for American Progress donated over $800,000 exclusively to Democrat politicians and groups’ and Sierra Club Independent Action spent $3.7 million supporting Democrat candidates.

“Russia also used its state media and social medial disinformation campaigns to attack America’s energy industry. Russia Today is especially focused on energy policy. According to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Russia Today’s coverage ‘is likely reflective of the Russian Government’s concern about the impact of fracking and US natural gas production on the global energy market and the potential challenges to Gazprom’s profitability.’ In 2021, after Biden’s first year in office, Gazprom, a Russian state-owned energy company, earned record profits.”

The paper trail is chilling and as clear a warning as one could ask for. Yet, as of this writing, it is not clear if Yellen has replied.

Recognizing the one strategic card the Russians have to play, the late U.S. Senator John McCain once said “Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country.”

In whatever private moments Putin may allow himself, he knows that Russia’s energy exports are the one truly genuine weapon he has against the West, democracy, and the forces of history that are coming for him. If he can prevent affordable energy independence from being achieved by America and her allies, he will have secured a victory beyond measure. But he will need the duped assistance of those in the White House to achieve that objective.


This article was published by the Gatestone Institute and is reproduced with permission.