Rebuttal to Dr. Vipond’s Blog on Financial Post Article on Alberta Air Quality and Coal Phase-out

by Norm Kalmanovitch, P. Geoph., Lead Author of our 2015 report “Burning Questions” and spokesperson in our “Burning Questions” video.

On Jan. 30, 2017, the Financial Post published an article by U of A professor Warren Kindzierski. P. Eng., disputing air quality/coal emissions claims of the NDP government. On Feb. 1, 2017, Dr. Vipond, a coal phase-out proponent and representative of CAPE, tweeted us his blog response. Here is our response to him, prepared by Norm Kalmanovitch, P. Geoph.

Note: Friends of Science Society is an independent non-profit funded by members. We do not represent any industry sector and have no corporate memberships.

Air Quality Facts

According to the World Health Organization, the safe maximum safe level of exposure to PM2.5 is 25µg/m3 and annual maximum is 10µg/m3

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs313/en/

Guideline values

PM2.5
10 μg/m3 annual mean
25 μg/m3 24-hour mean

PM10
20 μg/m3 annual mean
50 μg/m3 24-hour mean

http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EN.ATM.PM25.MC.ZS

PM2.5 air pollution, mean annual exposure (micrograms per cubic meter)

Brauer, M. et al. 2016, for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015.

This study from the World Bank shows that the world’s PM2.5 increased from 38.031µg/m3 in 1990 to 42.274µg/m3 in 2015

Canada’s PM2.5 level decreased from 7.8µg/m3 in 1990 to 7.2µg/m3 in 2015

Since the WHO standard for safe annual mean is 10µ/m3, and Canada is below the safe standard we do not have to reduce our PM2.5 but the world does because the average level is over four times the safe standard!

 

Environment Canada http://www.ec.gc.ca/indicateurs-indicators/default.asp?lang=en&n=029BB000-1 did a study of PM2.5 in Canada and found that Alberta as part of the Prairies and Northern Ontario grouping remained below the national standard of 10 μg/m3

image002-pm2-5-enviro-canada-from-norm

http://www.ec.gc.ca/indicateurs-indicators/029BB000-21BC-4027-8A02-6CCD42686227/AirQuality_EN.pdf

 

The PM10 Standard for safe annual mean is 20 μg/m3 annual mean. This report shows Calgary at 9μg/m3 and Edmonton at 11μg/m3 so both major cities in Alberta are well below the safe standard of 20 μg/m3 annual mean.

Toronto and Montreal which do not rely on any coal-fired power generation were worse than both Alberta cities powered by coal!

http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/canada-s-air-quality-3rd-best-in-world-1.980695

PM10

Select cities in Canada

  • Whitehorse: 3
  • Fredricton: 6
  • Victoria: 7
  • Vancouver: 8
  • Halifax: 8
  • Ottawa: 9
  • Calgary: 9
  • Regina: 9
  • Moncton: 10
  • Edmonton: 11
  • Toronto: 13
  • Montreal: 19

 enviro-canada-fine-part-aug-14-2016

Source: Environment Canada

real-time-map-of-world-air-pollution-who

Screenshot example of real-time map of world PM2.5 emissions available online. PM2.5 concentrations do fluctuate according to weather conditions, wildfires, industrial activity. http://aqicn.org/map/world/ 

 

China is often referenced as an example of the horrors of coal use. The reason that China has such high levels of pollution is that they do not employ the same level of pollution control on coal-fired power plants that we do here in Alberta.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/oct/10/china-pollution-levels-hit-20-times-safe-levels

 

This picture of a coal-fired power plant in China shows the steam coming out of the hyperbolic cooling towers and steam CO2which are non-polluting and PM2.5 and PAH pollution coming out of one of the main stacks.

image003-pollution-w-no-p-controls-from-norm

Further, China also has a popular charcoal-grilled street-food culture that contributes to large volumes of noxious emissions at ground level.

street-barbeque-china

Major cities like Beijing with 11.51 million people experience exaggerated “smoke from neighbour’s bar-be-que” effect from street vendors. China has imposed bans from time to time.

Likewise, rural China residents cook and heat their homes by burning biomass – dung or wood – which is responsible for deaths and significant pollution globally.

cattle-manure-china_05_b_-101

global_iap_daly_2004-who-map-deaths-due-to-indoor-pollution

Consequently, while old or poor emissions-managed coal-fired power plants in China certainly contribute huge volumes of pollution, ground level pollution is significantly affected by both charcoal grilling in urban centers and biomass burning for cooking and heating in rural areas.

The experience in China is so far removed from how air quality and industrial pollution is managed in Alberta, that should not be used as an indictment against modern/supercritical coal-fired power in Alberta.  On the topic of biomass, let us also look at Alberta inequities.

Biomass uses wood by-products and wood pellets for fuel which produce both PM2.5 and PAH pollution when burned. Biomass power plants are not monitored so we have no way to tell what level of these pollutants is emitted from this Boyle Biomass power plant. We do know that some pollution is emitted because these power plants do not have the same level of pollution control found on all Alberta coal-fired power plants.

image005-boyle-biomass-plant-norm

Note in this Huffington Post article there is no mention of any pollution controls but there is mention of “carbon credits” because this biomass is deemed to be “renewable energy” which is both excluded from the carbon tax and benefits from receiving carbon credits

On an annual basis ALPAC brings in $14 to $18 million from selling power to the grid. They also generate carbon credits and make about $2 million a year from that and get another $7 million a year from the Alberta Bio-Producer credit program. This is on top of $350 million a year in pulp sales.

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/david-dodge/biomass-burning-wood_b_6457938.html

 

On the other side of the ledger is our coal-fired power plants which pay a hefty carbon tax for the CO2 pollution that they emit with this tax going to subsidize biomass power carbon credits for putting out real pollution!!!

Genesee Generating Station

Alberta’s Genesee coal-fired power plant.

http://www.capitalpower.com/generationportfolio/CA/Genesee/Pages/default.aspx 

 

 

 

New Reports Challenge SHARE on Climate Change Risk and ‘Denial’ for Pension Fund Trustees and Corporate Boards

Friends of Science Society has issued two new reports. The first entitled “Climate Change Risk Clouds Boardroom Competency” challenges a recent report by SHARE – Shareholder Association for Research and Education. SHARE claims energy and utility corporate boards should have ‘climate change competent’ directors. Climate change is a complex interdisciplinary field far removed from the core business of corporations.

cover-climate-change-risk-over-board-competency-jan-300-2017

“Climate Change Risk Clouds Boardroom Competency”

climate-change-risk-clouds-boardroom-competency-final-jan-30-2017

Cover images licensed from Shutterstock

The second report is entitled “Climate Change Insights for Pension Fund Trustees and Beneficiaries.” This document disputes an earlier SHARE report by law firm Koskie Minsky LLP,  telling pension fund trustees “climate change denial is not an option.”

Based on Friends of Science Society’s research and in our opinion, due to the influence of tax-free pension funds, Sovereign Wealth Funds, other institutional investors and union beneficiaries, taxpayers are being forced to accept policies based on climate change ideology, not evidence. These investor-promoted policies will enrich tax-free institutional funds at the expense of non-beneficiary taxpayers.

This SHARE report was funded by the West Coast Environmental Law Foundation, an environmental group supported by some of the same foundations that are also signatories to a letter to Premier Notley on climate policy.

cover-clmate-change-4-trustees-jan-31-2017

“Climate Change Insights for Pension Fund Trustees and Beneficiaries” 

climate-change-insights-for-pension-fund-trustees-and-beneficiaries-final-jan-31-2017

Friends of Science Society question the propriety of unelected, unaccountable tax-free investors, collaborating to change public policy, over the wishes of the electorate.

Rule of Law- Over “Climate Justice”

Some time ago, climate activists noticed they were not winning over the American public, whose opinion was deeply divided on global warming/climate change. They turned to legal venues to promote their agenda, including shareholder proposals and legal complaints. Any jurisdiction, like Massachusetts or the UK, who enacted reductions of fossil fuel emissions will be subject […]

via Climate Case: Judge Defends Rule of Law — Science Matters

FOLLOWING THE LOGIC OF “PHASING OUT OIL SANDS”

Contributed by Robert Lyman @ 2017

At a town hall event in Peterborough, Ontario on Friday, January 13, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded to a question concerning his Government’s recent decision to approve the expansion of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline by saying it was a matter of trying to balance economic and environmental concerns. He went on to say that, “We can’t shut down the oil sands tomorrow. We need to phase them out. We need to manage the transition off of our dependence on fossil fuels but it’s going to take time and in the meantime we have to manage that transition.”

 

One might be forgiven for wondering about the logic that would lead the Prime Minister of Canada to say that, as a matter of national policy, we should phase out one of the most important sources of economic and industrial development in the country, a source of literally tens of billions of dollars annually in government revenues, business and personal incomes, employment and export revenues. The case, one can only surmise, rests on accepting the thesis that humans are causing catastrophic global warming, that Canada’s actions will remove that threat, and that the commitments that Canada made at the December, 2015 Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris oblige the government to make massive reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

 

Each of those points is highly questionable, but let us follow their logic to see where they lead. The COP21 Agreement contained no commitments with respect to emissions reduction targets. It contained only a loose political expression of support for collective action to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2.0 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels and specific commitments to file periodic reports on the nationally-determined actions that governments were taking to achieve that goal. Separately, the Government of Canada agreed to set targets – a 17% reduction from 2005 emission levels by 2020 and a 30% reduction from 2005 emission levels by 2030. Canada has not yet enunciated a goal for 2050, but the targets set to date are consistent with the view propounded by many environmental lobby groups that emissions in the industrialized countries should be reduced by 60 to 80% below 2005 levels by 2050.

 

Achieving major emissions reductions will be especially difficult given that normal economic growth would lead to their increase. Environment Canada, in its most recently published review of Canada’s GHG emissions trends in 2014, projected that, after declining from 736 megatonnes (Mt) of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2 eq) in 2005 to 699 Mt in 2012, emissions would grow to 727 Mt in 2020. The fastest growing source of emissions at the sectoral level is the upstream oil and gas industry, including both conventional and non-conventional (i.e. oil sands) sources.

 

Looking at the numbers, reducing emissions from the projected 2020 levels to the targeted ones would mean a reduction from 727 to 611 Mt, or 116 Mt; reducing emissions from projected 2020 levels (there are no authoritative projections of 2030 levels) by 2030 would mean a reduction from 727 to 515 Mt, or 212 Mt; and reducing emissions from projected 2020 levels by 2050 would mean reductions ranging from 433 Mt (60% target) to 580 Mt (80% target).

 

Environment Canada projects the emissions from all oil and gas production in Canada to be 204 Mt by 2020. That includes emissions from not only the oil sands but also the conventional oil and gas production in Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador and the territories. If that could be done by 2030, it would almost attain the national emissions reduction target for that year. It would not come even close to meeting the much more ambitious targets the environmental lobby seeks for 2050.

 

But why focus on oil and gas? The logic, one can only presume, arises not only from the fact that present emissions represent a large share of the Canadian total. It is also the fact that, comparatively speaking, the oil and gas upstream industry is considered emissions-intensive.

 

A great irony is that, viewed on a total fuel cycle (”wellhead to tailpipe”) basis, 80 to 85% of the GHG emissions associated with oil occur at the tailpipe, or point of combustion stage. Yes, it is the downstream use of fossil fuels that causes the most intensive emissions! So, which are some of the other emissions-intensive parts of the Canadian economy? Here’s a list:

 

Electricity Generation

Freight Transportation

Aviation

Metal and non-metal mining

Smelting and refining

Petrochemicals

Fertilizer production

Motor vehicle and parts manufacturing

Aluminum

Pulp and Paper

Iron and Steel

Cement

 

The fact is that governments will not be able to achieve the large emissions reduction now committed to or contemplated unless they address, cut back or “phase out” emissions in all these economic activities.

 

The next time Prime Minister Trudeau announces in Ontario that, in the national interest, we will have to phase out an emissions-intensive industry, maybe he should substitute “motor vehicle and parts manufacturing” for oil sands. It would only be logical.

~~~~

Trump Transition Will be a Tsunami Washing Away Climate Corruption.

Guest post by Dr. Tim Ball ©2017

Many people, including my wife, ask why I continue to fight for the truth about the greatest deception in history, the claim that humans are causing global warming. The answer is simple; I don’t want any politician to be able to say they weren’t told. I have written a multitude of articles in every medium possible, published books, done countless radio and TV interviews, and given hundreds of public lectures. It is in the record and readily available with the simplest of Internet searches. If they didn’t know, they didn’t look very hard or were deliberately selective.

 

Despite that, there were times when I questioned the efficacy of my actions. This was brought home recently when in one of the many Internet interviews I do with students around the world a young woman asked if, in retrospect, I would follow the same path. After very little contemplation I said no and quoted the old saying that if the world wants to be fooled, let it be fooled. However, I then added, that it is of no consequence because of the path already taken and so you must follow Winston Churchill’s dictum.

 

“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” 

 

Nothing has happened to challenge my “honour or good sense.” Indeed, I steadfastly kept the idea in the front of my mind that if evidence of ‘good sense’ appeared that showed I was wrong, I had to be the first to announce it to the world.

 

Over the last 40 years, I saw events come and go that I thought would expose the greatest deception in history: The claim that human CO2 is causing catastrophic global warming, known as anthropogenic global warming (AGW). I kept thinking and hoping that something or someone would appear to expose the entire thing. It needed an event or person who could go to the heart of the problem that was established and firmly protected within the realm of government. I watched the Chapter Eight debacle in which sections of a final report agreed on by the committee were drastically altered when it was released to the world. I thought the leaked emails, first 1000, then 5000 and finally 220,000 from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) that became the control centre for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) would open people’s eyes. The exposure of malfeasance, collusion, and manipulation of data, publications and even scientific journals should have stopped the corruption. It didn’t.

 

The disclosures should have converted the valiant supporters of the IPCC and CRU. It didn’t. For the few of us who already knew, it was just confirmation. It is a measure of the tunnel vision of left-wing ideology that the Guardian reporter George Monbiot, a strong supporter of both agencies and their work wrote,

 

It’s no use pretending that this isn’t a major blow. The emails extracted by a hacker from the climatic research unit at the University of East Anglia could scarcely be more damaging. I am now convinced that they are genuine, and I’m dismayed and deeply shaken by them.

 

But this didn’t trigger a campaign by him to demand the truth as it would in a less doctrinaire person. As Clive Crook wrote in The Atlantic

 

I had hoped, not very confidently, that the various Climategate inquiries would be severe. This would have been a first step towards restoring confidence in the scientific consensus. But no, the reports make things worse. At best, they are mealy-mouthed apologies; at worst, they are patently incompetent and even willfully wrong. The climate-science establishment, of which these inquiries have chosen to make themselves a part, seems entirely incapable of understanding, let alone repairing, the harm it has done to its own cause.”

 

I thought the leaked emails from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) that exposed the corrupt activities of the central scientists at the IPCC would stop the juggernaut. Instead, they hired PR people and set up controlled whitewash investigations as Crook noted. None of it stopped and only marginally slowed the AGW deception. The marginal delay occurred because the emails were leaked in November 2009, a month before the Conference of the Parties (COP) 15 meeting in Copenhagen that planned to agree on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. A year later COP 16 in Durban, South Africa, they approved the replacement for Kyoto, the great socialist transfer of wealth scheme based on use and abuse of CO2, with the Green Climate Fund (GCF).  Too many people had too much invested, and most of the public didn’t understand what was happening.

 

A major factor in perpetuating the deception was the claim that 97 percent of scientists agreed. This was another falsehood deliberately created to perpetuate the myth. A Queensland University researcher claimed to have surveyed 11,944 papers and concluded 97.1% expressed an opinion supporting climate change. In fact, by their definition, only 41 agreed with their hypothesis or 0.3%.  The only 97% figure of relevance is the 97% who have never looked at the IPCC science.

 

The 3 % who have, were shocked. For example, Emeritus Professor of physics, the late Hal Lewis wrote in his resignation letter to the American Physical Society (APS) in October 2010

 

“the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist.”

 

German meteorologist and physicist Klaus-Eckart Puls had a similar experience as he explained.

 

“Ten years ago I simply parroted what the IPCC told us. One day I started checking the facts and data – first I started with a sense of doubt but then I became outraged when I discovered that much of what the IPCC and the media were telling us was sheer nonsense and was not even supported by any scientific facts and measurements. To this day I still feel shame that as a scientist I made presentations of their science without first checking it.”

 

For most, it is so bad they think they are misreading it, so they reach out to others for confirmation. This was the experience of people like Albert Jacobs who contacted me several years ago to speak to a small group of Albertans. Their concern about the proposed Kyoto Protocol led to examining the scientific justification and found it wanting.  I met the group at the Calgary airport and after convincing them that the science was worse than they surmised the discussion turned to the real issue. Should they stick strictly to the science or be aware that the issue was science corrupted and used for a political agenda. The other issue was making the science understandable to the 80% of the public who are Arts students. To their credit, they stuck to the science and did it with great success.

 

A few years later I got a call from Malcolm Roberts a recently retired Australian engineer and businessman who also looked at the climate science. I helped him work with others to create the Galileo Movement, an organization that has achieved the same impact as Friends of Science. Malcolm wanted to become proactive, and as we communicated, he became aware that the real problem was in the deliberate use of bureaucrats. He learned that Maurice Strong set up the IPCC through the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and as Strong knew the politicians and public would not challenge the bureaucrats. This culminated in Roberts running for office under a new Australian Party banner – One Nation.

 

Meanwhile, he also learned that everything presented to the public was computer generated; there was not a shred of empirical evidence to support the AGW hypothesis. His campaign as the Senator from Queensland was successful, and his maiden speech started the search for empirical evidence. To my knowledge, it is the first open challenge to the bureaucrats who control the global warming agenda by a politician. He asked the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), the agency responsible for climate change, to produce empirical evidence for global warming.

 

They produced a report that failed to provide any evidence. Instead, they countered with English TV celebrity Brian Cox showing a temperature graph from NASA GISS showing the temperature rising. Apparently, he didn’t know that a temperature graph is not empirical evidence of AGW. Worse, he didn’t know the graph was altered to exaggerate the gradient. If he had done even minimal research, he would have come across Tony Heller’s explanation of what and how the ‘adjustments’ were made to create exaggerated warming. Because of these events Senator Roberts arranged for Tony and me to appear with him at the Australian Parliament with a public presentation. The Senator spoke about the failure of CSIRO to provide empirical evidence. Tony explained the extent of the corruption of the temperature data, and I provided the entire development and objective of the AGW deception from the Club of Rome through Agenda 21 and the IPCC.

 

Then, as the ancients would say, the stars aligned. While in Australia with Senator Roberts Donald Trump won the US Presidential election. It will change everything, but especially with the climate corruption. A measure of Trump’s acumen and developer’s sense was that he appointed various people to head transition teams before the election. He knew you need everything ready to go on the first day of construction. Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), who both Tony and I knew, was appointed to lead the transition team dealing with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and climate change. He invited the three of us to appear at a meeting on Capitol Hill to make similar presentation to those we made in Australia.

 

We appeared on the Hill on December 12 before Senators, Congressmen, Aides, and members of the public. We then went to the CEI to participate in discussions with a group called “Cooler Heads” that included other members of the EPA transition team. Considerable discussion ensued with many questions related to positive actions. President-elect Trump wants clean air and water, so some form of EPA is required. What is not needed are bureaucrats creating regulations and enforcement without scientific evidence for a political agenda.

 

It is likely Trump will advocate withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement.  Ironically, because of Obama’s need to bypass the US Senate, it was an Agreement, not a Treaty. Then, to satisfy less committed nations and reach an agreement for the publicity it was made non-binding. This means the US can walk away and there is nothing any other nation can do.

 

The exploitation of environmental concerns and global warming to push a political agenda is coming to an end. Control of bureaucracies is critical because they are the massive army of unaccountable control. As American author and social commentator, Mary McCarthy said,

 

Bureaucracy, the rule of no one, has become the modern form of despotism.

 

Two actions are required to drain the Washington environmental and climate change swamp; reduction of funding and changes to legislation. Both are scheduled for implementation by the Trump administration under the guidance of the transition teams. Nothing cleans out a swamp better and quicker than a tsunami.

~~~~

cover-dr-balls-book

Dr. Ball’s latest book is available on Amazon.

http://drtimball.com/

Why are Tax-Subsidized Charities David Suzuki Foundation and Ecojustice Making False and Misleading Statements on Pipelines and Oil? We Complain to CRA

 

Overview

On Dec. 17, 2016, The David Suzuki Foundation, a registered Canadian charity, sent an email to subscribers claiming that “Pipeline approvals expose broken environmental assessment process” – that same day Ecojustice Canada Society, a registered Canadian charity, sent an email to subscribers claiming “Research shows that approving the Kinder Morgan pipeline will be a death sentence for the Salish Sea orcas.”  No factual support was offered for either statement. No balanced statements were provided regarding the benefits of this economic activity. Readers were requested to donate.

Registered charities are given the privilege of issuing tax receipts to donors on the principle that the charities are performing a public benefit, and this privilege comes with certain obligations which include presenting balanced and factual information.  Likewise, there are certain guidelines and rules about activities that affect public markets and national policies.

Consequently, in our opinion, the messages these charities sent are not simple matters of Freedom of Speech – especially when their tax-subsidized activities are blocking taxpaying workers and industries from performing federally approved activities.

Thousands of Canadians are out of work. The federal approval of the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion and Enbridge Line 3 have been subject to detailed review.

We have two reports on moving oil by pipeline and tanker.  We hope the Canadian public will review this factual information.

MOVING OIL BY PIPELINE

https://friendsofsciencecalgary.wordpress.com/2016/11/27/moving-oil-by-pipeline-examining-the-facts/

MOVING OIL BY TANKER

https://friendsofsciencecalgary.wordpress.com/2016/11/18/moving-oil-by-tanker-in-canada-the-facts/

Both charities also claim in these and related documents that building pipelines will prevent a ‘low-carbon’ future when such a thing is not in the realm of reality. According to the International Energy Agency:

“In 2014, the shares of primary energy supply by energy source were: oil, 31.3%; coal, 28.8%; natural gas, 21.0 %; biofuels and waste, 10.3%; nuclear, 4.8%; hydro, 2.4%; and “other”, including all renewables energy sources, 1.4%.”

https://friendsofsciencecalgary.wordpress.com/2016/11/14/facts-and-fallacies-on-world-fossil-fuel-use-vs-renewables/ 

Likewise, renewable energy will not replace fossil fuels anytime soon.

https://friendsofsciencecalgary.wordpress.com/2016/05/31/why-renewable-energy-cannot-replace-fossil-fuels-by-2050/

Climate change and energy policies have significant consequences for individual people as well as for the nation’s economy.  The discussion should be based on facts and evidence.

One fact is that no wind or solar devices can exist without massive volumes of oil, natural gas and coal.  So, if we follow the logic of these charities to “keep it in the ground,” we will have no power or energy sources at all. How is that in the national interest? What is the public benefit?

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The Energy “Subsidy” Debate – Some Additional Fuel for the Fire

Contributed by Robert Lyman © 2016

One of the recurring side debates that always seems to rage between those who favour large public spending to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and those who argue that such expenditures are not justified concerns whether energy markets are already “distorted” by existing subsidies to fossil fuel industries.

There are many complex elements to this debate, including the question of what actually constitutes a “subsidy”, who benefits from it (producers or consumers?), whether the costs of environmental effects caused or avoided should be included in the calculations, whether tax subsidies (i.e. deductions and credit that provide incentives for investment) should be weighed against the revenue received by governments when the investments occur, and so on. There are few simple answers.

With that preamble, I think John Petersen, a lawyer and investment analyst with special expertise in energy storage technologies, has provided some valuable additional information in his recent article on the subsidies provided by United States governments to Tesla Corporation and its counterpart SolarCity (both owned largely by Elon Musk). Tesla manufactures electric cars (EVs) and SolarCity manufactures the batteries needed by EVs and other users. The details of Petersen’s calculations can be found in his article here:

http://seekingalpha.com/article/4028003-teslas-subsidy-shuffle-big-public-costs-public-benefit

The combined U.S. federal subsidies to Tesla and SolarCity per vehicle sold in 2015 include $2,400 for the solar panels, $2,100 for energy storage technologies, $2,250 for GHG emission credits, and $7,500 for EV investment tax credits, for a total of $14,250. In addition, in states like California that offer zero emission vehicle (ZEV) tax credits, each vehicle sold qualifies for a $7,750 tax credit. The combined federal-state subsidy is thus $22,000.

If you assume that an average EV will save 600 gallons of fuel per year during a ten-year useful life, the combined subsidies work out to $3.67 per avoided U.S. gallon in ZEV states and $2.38 per avoided gallon in non-ZEV states. That is equivalent to $413 per tonne of GHGs avoided in ZEV states and $268 per tonne avoided in non-ZEV states.

Petersen also offers some comparative information on federal subsidies provided to different energy sources produced in the United States, based on data from the Energy Information Administration for 2013 (the most recent year available).

The following table shows the subsidies paid, the energy produced in 2013 from that source, and the subsidy per million British Thermal Units (BTU) to provide a common standard of comparison.

U.S. Federal Subsidies to Energy Production 2013

Energy Source                       Subsidies        Energy Production    Subsidies per

(millions)            (trillion BTU)              MMBTU

Coal                                            $1,085                     20,209                    $0.05

Oil and Natural Gas              $2,346                     43,695                    $0.05

Hydropower                                $395                      2,579                    $0.15

Nuclear                                      $1,660                      8,117                    $0.20

Biofuels                                     $2,445                      4,495                    $0.54

Geothermal                                  $345                         220                     $1.57

Wind                                           $5,936                      1,549                    $3.83

Solar                                           $5,328                         286                   $18.63

For comparison, the current spot price of natural gas in the United States is $2.96 per MMBTU.

Petersen notes that it is not entirely fair to compare subsidies in one year to the production in that year, as the subsidies are intended to increase production over time, and it takes several years in some cases before the up front investment results in production. Still, the difference in magnitude between the per-BTU subsidies to conventional fossil fuels and the renewable fuels is striking. For example, the per-BTU subsidies to wind producers are 76 times as high as the subsidies to coal, oil and natural gas.

It is unfortunate that comparable information is not available for Canada.

 ~~~~