The Republic of Cyprus has entered the maelstrom of the world's most volatile region thanks to new-found gas and oil reserves combined with an erratic Turkish foreign policy and a civil war in Syria. Even as leaders of this Mediterranean island show skill dealing with these novel threats and opportunities, they need support from a strong U.S. Navy, something not now available.
Cypriot underwater gas and oil discoveries follow directly on ones found earlier in Israeli seas, located adjacent to them and uncovered by the same American (Noble) and Israeli (Delek, Avner) companies. The current estimate of 5 trillion cubic feet (tcf) as well as some oil has a value estimated at US$800 billion, a huge sum amount for a small country whose current GDP is a mere $24 billion.
The great majority of this energy will likely be exported to Turkey or Europe. A pipeline to Turkey would be cheapest and easiest but so long as Turkish troops continue to occupy 36 percent of Cyprus, this will not happen. A recent court decision permitting the Israeli government to decide what quantities of energy to export now offers other possibilities: Cyprus could swap gas with Israel that then goes to Turkey or the two allies could jointly build a liquefied natural gas terminal in Cyprus. more >>
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 >>
Renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has said this week that while he had "nothing specifically against a creation museum," Creationism should be kept "out of the science classroom."
"We live in a free country; people can say whatever they want about whatever," he said, adding a warning to his StarTalk radio show audience that they should not "confuse it with actual science."
Tyson was answering a letter from a listener who had visited the Kentucky-based Creation Museum and was curious how the scientist would answer one of the institution's claims. more >>
A recently discovered skull in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia may challenge the traditional notions of human evolution.
Researchers writing for Science Magazine found skulls at Dmanisi, one of which bore a strong resemblance to skeletons found in Africa from the time period.
The significance? The various species predating Homo Sapiens may have been subsets of the same species rather than different species as the traditional evolutionary theory posits. 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 >>