A heated battle is taking place in Arizona between the fledgling solar industry and APS, the state's largest energy company, which enjoys a state-granted near-monopoly over energy. In sunny Arizona, it is peculiar that solar energy is being portrayed as the bad guy. Since Arizona is a Republican-dominated state, APS is sneakily buying up influential Republicans, both directly and indirectly, to perpetuate its crony capitalism. The Washington Post refers to these Republicans as "some of the best pollsters and consultants money can buy."
The spin goes like this, "stop subsidizing the solar industry." The word "subsidy" is used to scare Republicans. The solar companies are being compared to Solyndra, the green energy company that went bankrupt despite receiving more than $500 million in loans from the Department of Energy.
The reality is, the solar industry is not being "subsidized." Energy users who do not use APS power, but use their solar panels instead for power, are simply not being double-charged. When they are not using APS power, but are instead sending unused solar power energy back to the grid for others to use, they receive a rebate. This is known as "net metering" and has been in place since 2009. APS wants to eliminate this, which will essentially have the effect of charging solar users for APS power they do not use. Instead of receiving 15 cents per kilowatt-hour rebates for power the solar users send back to the grid, APS wants to reduce the rebate to 4 to 10 cents. This would add $50 to $100 a month to the power bills of solar users. The utility also wants to start charging solar users a monthly maintenance fee. more >>
Despite disagreements on some specific questions, I was glad to get acquainted with David Jenkins through his article Are Climate Skeptics Ignoring God's Design? It's always heartening to encounter another admirer of four of my favorite conservative thinkers, Edmund Burke (1729–1797), T.S. Eliot (1888–1965), Richard Weaver (1910–1963), and Russell Kirk (1918–1994)—the last of whom mentored me through my master's degree and introduced me to my wife. It's even more heartening when he shares both my evangelical faith and my commitment to Biblical earth stewardship.
Jenkins affirms, as I do, that:
• "God has charged us with the responsibility to care for His creation" (which some evangelicals neglect or even deny, especially those whose eschatology leads them to protest, "Why polish brass on a sinking ship?"). more >>
Four decades ago this month, members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) launched an oil embargo against the United States in retaliation for our steadfast support of Israel in her hour of need. As the Jewish State fought off the Soviet-backed Egyptian and Syrian armies in what would become known as the Yom Kippur War, the OPEC cartel's actions sent the price of oil soaring and our economy into a recession.
Sadly, 40 years later, we have not learned the appropriate lesson from that experience: We must disconnect our oil-dependent transportation sector from OPEC and the associated national oil companies that together manipulate the global oil market to harm America. Americans are vulnerable to OPEC's manipulation in large measure because oil is the dominant fuel of the American economic engine, and because it holds a monopoly position in our transportation sector, accounting for 93 percent of its fuel base. Therefore, even as oil prices skyrocket, American motorists and businesses have no choice but to spend more.
In the years since the embargo officially ended, OPEC and national oil companies have leveraged this structural vulnerability to their benefit. They have done so by sticking to an anti-competitive playbook that enriches their coffers and weakens our economy. more >>
The Southern Evangelical Seminary is partnering with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries to deliver what promises to be an exciting series of presentations by many prominent apologists during the 20th annual Christian Apologetics conference in Charlotte, N.C., starting Friday. Dr. Richard Land, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, will be inaugurated as the fourth president of Southern Evangelical Seminary prior to the conference Thursday evening.
The premise of the two-day event titled, "Reasons for the Hope," is designed to deepen participant's understanding of subjects related to science, culture, and other religions.
"I think the single greatest factor has to be that we as Christians are seeing how we are losing the culture to anti-Christian worldviews," said Eric Gustafson, director of Development Southern Evangelical Seminary. more >>
We're all paying more at the pump. It's hurting consumers and dangerous for the fragile economy. And, it's because of a Washington handout to corn farmers and big Wall Street banks – all disguised as a measure to promote renewable energy and clean-burning fuels.
The Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) mandates an ever-increasing floor of ethanol be mixed with gasoline. The bill, which was expanded under President Obama, ensures a baseline level of demand for ethanol, distorting the market and sending the price of corn substantially higher. That's because gasoline refiners have to purchase ethanol, regardless of the price.
So, corn prices tripled, which has factored its way into the prices of other agriculture products. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the impact of the RFS is so broad that ethanol subsidies account for 10-15 percent of the rise in overall food prices. In terms of the overall economy, the RFS is expected to cause a decline of $770 billion in GDP in 2015 alone. That's real economic activity, which translates to real jobs and incomes for Americans throughout the country. more >>
The United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has a new report showing that the Earth has not warmed in the past 15 years. The results have those who believe that carbon dioxide emissions pose significant threat to the planet scrambling to explain why their previous predictions have not occurred. Critics of human-caused-climate-change arguments are using the results to argue, in essence, "see, I told you so."
Despite the fact that the IPCC's previous predictions did not come to pass, the new report argues that human impact on the climate is "unequivocal" and, given enough time, its predictions will eventually come true.
If humans release 800 to 880 gigatonnes of carbon into the atmosphere, the report predicts that the Earth's temperature will rise to dangerous levels by the end of this century. Of that amount, 530 gigatonnes has already been emitted. more >>