Kentucky Loses Money on Coal

For the Fiscal Year 2006 Kentucky provided a net subsidy of nearly $115 million to the coal industry.

And the coal industry kicked back $2 Million to Mitch McConnell.

The Climate Cost Is Unknown.

Coal is responsible for an estimated $528 million in state revenues and $643 million in state expenditures. The $528 million in revenues includes $224 million from the coal severance tax and revenues from the corporate income, individual income, sales, property and transportation taxes and permit fees. The $643 million in expenditures includes $239 million for the coal haul road system, regulation of the environmental and health and safety impacts of coal, support for worker training, research and development for the coal industry (?), promotion of education about coal in the public schools (propaganda) and support of residents employed by coal. Total costs include $85 million to subsidize the mining and burning of coal.

The industry actually costs more than it brings to the state.
The coal industry generated revenues of $303 million while spending to support coal industry totals more than $270 million and off-budget tax expenditures add $85 million for a total of more than $355 million. The net direct impact of the industry on the state budget is an estimated (minus) –$52 million.

Coal employment accounts for only one percent of Kentucky employment. Direct employment in coal totals $83 million while coal workers’ share of state expenditures totals $73 million. The net impact of direct employment is $10 million. But revenues generated in supply industries total $142 million. Spending to support those workers totals $214 million. The net impact of indirect employment on the Kentucky state budget is –$73 million.

These figures do not include the many externalized costs imposed by coal including healthcare, lost productivity resulting from injury and health impacts, water treatment from siltation caused by surface mining, water infrastructure to replace damaged wells, limited development potential due to poor air quality, and social spending associated with declines in coal employment and related economic hardships of coalfield communities. Some of these externalities impose additional costs to the state. Others are borne by communities that mine and burn coal and by those outside the region.

Official sources project a significant decline in production as easy-to-mine coal is depleted with additional challenges as aging coal-fired power plants are retired and new laws on carbon emissions raise the price of coal relative to cleaner alternatives. Industry representatives and supporters embrace Carbon Capture and Sequestration, but these technologies face high costs, significant risk and uncertainty, are already utilizing large public subsidies, and there is no indication that they work.

Tax expenditures for the coal industry are a set of growing but largely hidden subsidies. Kentucky should examine its rate of taxation and use of subsidies and think strategically about the needs of the Commonwealth and the best path to a prosperous future.”

Oh, yeah, Mitch McConnell is bribed $2,020,466 per year.

Rand Paul is only bribed $234,755 per year

ExxonMobil Valuation Actually $324B Less Than Reported

“Runaway growth in the emission of greenhouse gases is swamping all political efforts to deal with the problem, raising the risk of “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts” over the coming decades, according to a draft of a major new United Nations report.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a body of scientists and other experts appointed by the United Nations that periodically reviews and summarizes climate research, found that companies and governments had identified reserves of these fuels at least four times larger than could safely be burned if global warming is to be kept to a tolerable level.

Put into terms that even capitalists can understand, the valuation of (fossil fuel) companies and petro nations are based largely on their perceived (reported) oil, gas and coal reserves. If 3/4’s of these reserves cannot be used. The valuation of these companies and nations is actually 1/4 of their claimed value.

For example, ExxonMobil’s oil reserves are reported to be 72 billion BOE (barrels of oil equivalent), but it has only 18 billion usable barrels. Its’ market capitalization of $432 billion should actually be $108. ”

Saudi Aramco’s value has been estimated at as much as $7 trillion but is actually worth only $1.7 trillion. Whoops.

And don’t get me started on Canadian Tar Sands. Oh, Okay…
“Producing synthetic crude oil from tar sands generates three times the global warming pollution of conventional crude production. Extracting tar sands bitumen – a low-grade, high-sulfur crude oil that must be extensively refined to be turned into fuel – uses vast amounts of energy and water.”

Alberta tar sands “proven” reserves total 168 barrels but only 42 billion can be used. Since it’s three times as polluting, actually only 14 billion barrels or 8.3% of its “reserves” can be used.

Are these companies and nations severely overvalued… Only if humans are smart enough to live. Does this look like a bubble? The laissez faire capital market should be screaming “sell!”

Who is the Enemy? – The Quadrennial Defense Review 2014

The Department of Defense has concluded that climate change is the greatest threat to America.

“Climate change poses another significant challenge for the United States and the world at large. As greenhouse gas emissions increase, sea levels are rising, average global temperatures are increasing, and severe weather patterns are accelerating. These changes, coupled with other global dynamics, including growing, urbanizing, more affluent populations, and substantial economic growth in India, China, Brazil, and other nations, will devastate homes, land, and infrastructure. Climate change may exacerbate water scarcity and lead to sharp increases in food costs. The pressures caused by climate change will influence resource competition while placing additional burdens on economies, societies, and governance institutions around the world.

These effects are threat multipliers that will aggravate stressors abroad such as poverty, environmental degradation, political instability, and social tensions – conditions that can enable terrorist activity and other forms of violence.

“The Department will employ creative ways to address the impact of climate change, which will continue to affect the operating environment and the roles and missions that U.S. Armed Forces undertake. The Department will remain ready to operate in a changing environment amid the challenges of climate change and environmental damage. We have increased our preparedness for the consequences of environmental damage and continue to seek to mitigate these risks while taking advantage of opportunities. The Department’s operational readiness hinges on unimpeded access to land, air, and sea training and test space.

Consequently, we will complete a comprehensive assessment of all installations to assess the potential impacts of climate change on our missions and operational resiliency, and develop and implement plans to adapt as required. 

Climate change also creates both a need and an opportunity for nations to work together, which the Department will seize through a range of initiatives. We are developing new policies, strategies, and plans, including the Department’s Arctic Strategy and our work in building humanitarian assistance and disaster response capabilities, both within the Department and with our allies and partners.” 

The DoD has concluded that climate change represents the greatest threat to America. Then, who are our enemies and how do we fight them?

Terrorists are not the prime enemy. They seek to destroy the modern industrial infrastructure that is polluting the planet.

Religious fundamentalists are not the prime enemy. They seek to return to a pre-industrial age, with few modern, energy-demanding conveniences. 

China is not the enemy. It seeks to expand its economy and pollutes as much as we do or more, but  it is intent on creating modern technology to reduce carbon emissions. Russia is not the enemy, except in that its economy is based on selling fossil fuel…

Then, who is the enemy?  It is those individuals and agencies who are polluting for profit, while using those profits to fund a disinformation propaganda campaign to deny climate change. It is the Koch brothers and the oil and gas companies and their executives and stockholders. We have met the enemy and they are us.

How do we fight the enemy? We must expose the enemy and charge them for the damage they have done and are doing. We must name them and shame them. We must expose their methods. We must take their names off buildings and think tanks and put it on the grave markers of those who have suffered and died from pollution, and on memorials for those hundreds of millions who will die in the future from the effects of climate change.

How to we fight the enemy…with what weapons? Building more fighter planes, bombers, tanks and aircraft carriers is not the way to fight them. Each of these machines uses petroleum or nuclear energy. The infrastructure to build these machines uses more energy. Spending our capital and our attention on prevention of non-critical threats wastes both energy and time. We must spend what we would on armed defense on defending the planet, as a whole, not just the United States, because that cannot be done. The climate does not stop or change at the border. We must fund the Department of Climate Defense, and spend the money on building solar panels, not drones; windmills, not tanks, space solar power, not aircraft carriers. We must organize a Conservation Corps to plant trees to soak up carbon;  we must use our special forces to spread renewable energy technology around the world.

We realize that our security depends on the security of all nations, that is why we have troops deployed all over the world, seeking our enemies, supporting our friends… We must now take that perspective and understand that this fight is for the whole world, and we can lead it with a new Coalition of the Willing; willing not to fight those that will have no impact on the future, but those who will. We must create a common world defense, and a new expeditionary force, to lead us to the next frontier, where there is energy, living room, natural resources, and the future of mankind… the frontier to space.