Notes on Obama’s $10-per-barrel Oil Tax, Part 2: Ceteris Ain’t Paribus

We looked at the first red flag that Obama’s new tax proposal isn’t the result of deep thought and study in the previous installment, Math Are Hard. All things being equal, ceteris paribus as the economic wonks say, 32 billion barrels a year times $10 is a $32 billion shot in the arm for renewable energy.

But ceteris ain’t paribus. The tax would kill the domestic oil and gas industry overnight. (I get it, that’s the point, but that’s not the way it is being sold to the American public.)

Oil is a commodity. The US makes about 10% of global production, and there is a current oversupply. We cannot affect the global price. That means that any special tax imposed on domestic production is effectively a reverse tariff; the main beneficiaries would be countries like Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Venezuela. Since nothing would curtail US consumption, foreign countries would enjoy a sudden windfall at US producers’ expense. Continue reading

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Notes on Obama’s $10-per-barrel Oil Tax, Part 1: Math Are Hard

Yes, I know that Obama’s $10-per-barrel tax proposal is DOA in Congress. What irritates me is that it is a thoughtless proposal, more about instigating division than about practical benefit. It is as if important policy issues have been entrusted to children, or worse, Internet trolls.

A few years back, I had a colleague who was good at identifying oil prospects, not so good at evaluating them. He’d say,”My prospect could hold 250,000 barrels of oil. That’s $25 million worth!” While that statement is superficially true, it’s also intellectually lazy because it fails to take into account the myriad costs and risks of an oil-drilling venture. (God made petroleum engineers to keep geologists honest.) Continue reading

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Sure, Obama was wrong. But there’s a bigger point to be made.

Throughout his two terms, Barack Obama’s position on energy policy is encapsulated in the soundbite: “We can’t just drill our way to lower gasoline prices.” In one case he doubled down, adding, “Anybody who tells you otherwise either doesn’t know what they’re talking about or they’re not telling you the truth.”* (Here’s an excellent video from the folks at Energy in Depth; hat tip to Rob Port at the Say Anything blog.)

Yes, Mr. Obama and his advisers were mistaken. But the bigger story is what this episode says about Free Markets vs. Central Planning. Continue reading

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Meet ISIS Czar Robert Malley (no relation)

I first heard Robert Malley’s name yesterday on one of the conservative radio talk shows. Since his name is only one letter different from my dad’s, I thought I’d Google him up. Maybe a long-lost cousin, who knows?

After digging a little into Malley’s background (admittedly, all on Wikipedia), I conclude we’d be better off to appoint Jared Fogle to the Child Abuse Task Force, or maybe John Gotti, Jr. to head the FBI. Classic Obama. Whose side is this guy on?
Continue reading

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Louisiana is disappearing! (… but not for the reasons you have been told).

Sea level rise! South Louisiana is disappearing  — an area the size of a football field disappears every 15 minutes!

Or so we’ve been told. The scapegoats range from the oil and gas industry to climate change to invasive species — feral hogs and the lowly nutria. The story fits well with environmentalist panic and the age of the Anthropocene.

Geologist Chris McLindon has studied the data, and thinks he has a better answer: faulting. Continue reading

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Memories of Hurricane Katrina and Double-U Brooks (from 2010)

 I’ve been waiting in the weeds for the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina to republish the following piece, my memories of the storm and its impact on New Orleans and New Orleanians. Lightly edited, first published August 28, 2010. I hope you enjoy it. Steve

It was a sunny Friday afternoon just five years ago. My wife was in New Orleans helping her sister move into her new Warehouse District condo. At lunch, they noticed that a storm had moved into the Gulf, and was threatening the central Gulf Coast. It was the “K” storm, already 2005’s eleventh named storm, too many for late August. Continue reading

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Silencing skeptics – financing alarmists

I daresay that most fossil fuel money was long ago driven from the debate or switched sides out of self-interest/self-preservation. It’s high time we question the motives of the Big Money on the alarmist side.

Watts Up With That?

Will Congress, media examine government, environmentalist and university alarmist funding?

money-speaks-truth-silentGuest opinion by Paul Driessen

Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA), other senators and Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) recently sent letters to institutions that employ or support climate change researchers whose work questions claims that Earth and humanity face unprecedented manmade climate change catastrophes.

The letters allege that the targeted researchers may have “conflicts of interest” or may not have fully disclosed corporate funding sources. They say such researchers may have testified before congressional committees, written articles or spoken at conferences, emphasizing the role of natural forces in climate change, or questioning evidence and computer models that emphasize predominantly human causes.

Mr. Grijalva asserts that disclosure of certain information will “establish the impartiality of climate research and policy recommendations” published in the institutions’ names and help Congress make better laws. “Companies with a direct financial interest in climate and air quality standards…

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Can we stop the doom mongering?

Watts Up With That?

A letter to the editor which appeared in the Norman, OK Transcript on Tuesday, February 17th, reprinted here with permission of the author, Dr. David Deming:

I write in rebuttal to the Feb. 12 letter by Nancy Smart advising us to “listen” to climate scientists. According to Ms. Smart, climate science is “settled.” Instead of thinking for ourselves, she recommends we obsequiously follow the dictates of “our most respected and highest level scientific agencies.”

Whenever someone asserts that a scientific question is “settled,” they tell me immediately that they don’t understand the first thing about science. Science is never settled. Science is not a dogmatic body of doctrine. It is an open system of knowledge that establishes probable truths that are subject to continual revision. The entire history of science is one of established theories being overthrown. Astronomers once believed the Sun revolved around the Earth. Naturalists maintained that…

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On the futility of climate models: ‘simplistic nonsense’

Blogging this mainly as a bookmark for future reference. Leo Smith sounds like a brilliant engineer. Note that the post is actually a promoted comment. Mr. Smith’s subsequent comment (1/6/15 at 6:32 pm) is remarkable in its clarity, insight and warning.

Watts Up With That?

Guest essay by Leo Smith – elevated from a comment left on WUWT on January 6, 2015 at 2:11 am (h/t to dbs)


As an engineer, my first experience of a computer model taught me nearly all I needed to know about models.

I was tasked with designing a high voltage video amplifier to drive a military heads up display featuring a CRT.

Some people suggested I make use of the acoustic coupler to input my design and optimise it with one of the circuit modelling programs they had devised. The results were encouraging, so I built it. The circuit itself was a dismal failure.

Investigation revealed the reason instantly: the model parametrised parasitic capacitance into a simple single value: the reality of semiconductors is that the capacitance varies with applied voltage – an effect made use of in every radio today as the ‘varicap diode’. for small signals this…

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Ten Years at Redstate

Rathergate inspired me to fire the mainstream media in September 2004. That’s when I found Redstate. My morning routine used to be coffee, bagel and either the USA Today or the local paper. The phrase "fake but accurate" jarred my brain.

As Vladimir, I lurked at Redstate for a while before contributing a few throwaway diaries. But I found my blogging voice when I realized that my petroleum engineering background allowed me to make observations that the average reader would never find in the mainstream press. Geography helped too: Louisiana is a cornucopia of compelling content.

And there were some big stories:

  • Louisiana Politics and Politicians: the William (IN HIS FREEZER!) Jefferson clan, Edwin Edwards, Ray Nagin and the occasional honest pol;
  • Energy: High prices, low prices, Peak Oil (or not), the Shale Boom (I was initially skeptical of the Bakken), and the Obama Administration’s patently fraudulent claim of responsibility for same. You may have read about "fracking" in these pages before it was a thing:
  • Climate, Environment and Science: Anthropogenic Global Warming, the BP oil spill, Hurricane Katrina, the Bayou Corne Sinkhole, Bulls*** Detection.

The "Greatest Hits" tab at my blog contains links to the articles I like best.

I was a diarist for a looong time. My advice: Don’t give up writing. I became a Front Page Contributor in 2009, at the first Redstate Gathering in Atlanta. Late last year, I stepped back from the one-post-per-week goal I had set for myself. My personal life demanded revised priorities.

Through Redstate, I’ve met and interacted with some of the finest, most influential conservative minds in the country. I was an eyewitness to the political "coming out parties" of Nikki Haley, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, among others. I testified before Congress while the BP well was still blowing; my prediction of the spill’s impact was based on science and experience, and a lot closer to the actual outcome than the environmental calamity scenario being sold by the scientific illiterates in the press.

Few of my articles have clickbait titles ("You’ll Never Guess What Weird Trick BP Used to Cap the Macondo Monster Well from Hell!"). Traffic was never really my goal; posting on Saturdays meant less completion for space and more time for interested readers to digest the content. Anyway, I hope I brought something to the picnic. I wish you all well, although there may be the occasional Vladimir sighting from time to time.


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