The Hood Robin Syndrome

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

There’s a new study out, under the imprimatur of the Energy Institute of the Haas School of Business in Berkeley, California, entitled The Distributional Effects of U.S. Clean Energy Tax Credits.  As the title implies, it looks at who actually profited from the various “green energy” tax credits across the United States. SPOILER ALERT! It wasn’t the poor folks.

How much money are we talking about? Well, the paper says that from 2006 to 2012, the taxpayers have been on the hook for $18 BILLION DOLLARS to fund these subsidies, money that would have otherwise gone into the General Fund.

And just how much money is eighteen billion dollars? Here’s one way to think about eighteen gigabucks, regarding safe, clean drinking water.

Water Wells for Africa reports from their ongoing projects that on average it has cost them about $3.50 per person ($7,000 per well serving 2,000 people) to provide people with clean safe well water. So eighteen billion dollars is enough money to drill drinking water wells for three-quarters of the world’s 7 billion inhabitants. (Yes, I know that’s a gross simplification, some folks don’t live over a subterranean water table, and so on, but it is still enough money to drill the two and a half million wells that would be needed.)

So what did we do with this huge amount of money, enough wealth to truly change the lives of the world’s poor?

Well, following the brilliant policies pushed by the Obama Administration and the climate alarmists, we took enough taxpayer money to truly change the lives of the world’s poor folks … and instead, we gave it to the American rich folks.

No kidding! This is not a joke. This is what passes for moral activism in the liberal American universe. Throwing money at the rich is seen as striking a noble blow for POSSIBLY saving the poor from a tenth of a degree of warming by 2100.

Sadly, it’s no joke at all—the whole war on carbon has been a tragedy for the poor. In this case, the result of these misguided tax subsidies, of the type which have been pushed by climate alarmists for years, has been to create a real climate “hockeystick”. Here is the data from their paper:

the hood robin syndromeFigure 1. Distribution of benefits of the “Clean Energy Tax Credits” by the income class of the benefit recipient for the period 2006-2012. All values are percentages of the given benefit. “Residential” is subsidies for residential solar systems and weatherization. “Hybrid” are the subsidies paid to the owners of hybrids, as well as hydrogen, fuel cell and natural gas vehicles. “Electric Vehicle” is the subsidy paid to the pure electric vehicles like the Tesla, Leaf, and Volt.

Note that in all cases, the bottom half of the income scale got 4% or less of the benefits …

Look, if someone wants to fight the claimed evil menace of CO2, that’s their business.

And when they want to justify it on the basis that to them, it is a deed most noble and virtuous to be POSSIBLY helping the poor in 2050 by POSSIBLY reducing the future global average temperature by a few tenths of a degree … well, I gotta say that’s as dumb as a bag of ball bearings, but there’s no law against dumb.

But that’s just for starters. From there, it gets ugly fast. Tragically the preferred method of fighting evil carbon is to increase the cost of energy, which is an extremely regressive tax. Not only is it regressive, but unlike many taxes, there is no escape at the bottom of the income scale from increased energy costs. The poor pay no income tax, but they pay energy costs, and energy costs are a greater portion of their expenses than for the rich. So rather than going down with decreasing income, the effect of hikes in energy costs go UP with decreasing income. Like I said, it is among the most regressive,inescapable kinds of taxes you could design.

Raising energy costs sentence the global poor to further impoverishment, sickness, and even death. And hiking energy prices based on the pathetic justification of a POSSIBLE cooling by 2050 of a few tenths of a degree is a crime against the poor of unimaginable size and ubiquitous effect. The war on carbon literally hurts, sickens, and kills poor people all over the world. And I can assure you … the poor are not amused.

But I guess that merely shafting the poor by increasing energy costs doesn’t help the rich enough. So the other noble and virtuous method for POSSIBLY helping the future poor is to fling tax money at various pluted bloatocrats … yeah, that’s the ticket. We’ll help the poor in 2050 by making it easier for rich people to buy a new $100,000 Tesla, and meanwhile Elon Musk is laughing all the way to the bank … at this point, we have to wonder how much folks like Al Gore and Warren Buffet and the UN Climate Ambassador Leonardo Dicaprio had to do with the design of these tax subsidies for the rich.

And of course, these are just the income tax subsidies. They don’t include the massive subsidies handed out directly to the solar and wind industries. They don’t include the subsidies paid to the people wealthy enough to justify rooftop solar when the utilities have to buy their electric production at three times market value … or the cost that I and millions of others pay as electrical consumers to subsidize those over-the-top rooftop solar payments. They don’t include the cost of Solyndra and the other solar companies slurping at the public trough. They don’t include the millions of dollars that with one stroke of the pen Obama gave to his billionaire pal Warren Buffet by vetoing the Keystone pipeline. This is merely the Federal tax-related subsidies, nothing more … and this tiny part of the global waste in the war on carbon is eighteen billion freakin’ dollars.

But always remember … this is all being justified by the alarmists on the basis of “Think of the grandchildren”, and because they’re saving the planet from imminent doooom and destruction.

And if you are someone saving the planet from imminent doooom and destruction, well, you are the man. There is no action that you shouldn’t take if it is in the service of your noble cause. You know that you have right on your side, you’re preventing disaster. You know you are fighting the good fight to cool the fevered brows of those sweltering in the 2050 heat by at least a tenth of a degree, and that it is a fight that has to be fought if we are to save the very planet. Your strength is as the strength of ten because your heart is pure, and you have the moral high ground. As a result of all of that, there is no transgression you won’t commit in order to have other people pay to make your beautiful Elysian (and slightly-cooler) dream come to fruition … and meanwhile, let’s go for a spin in your new Tesla. After all, you only bought an electric car because it’s noble and virtuous and pollution-free … if you don’t count the coal-fired power plant providing your electricity.

I have a proposal for a new name for the Holocene, and it’s not the Anthropocene like some folks claim.

I think we should call it the Egoscene …

Regards to all,


My Plea For Better Understanding: If you disagree with someone, please have the courtesy to quote the exact words you disagree with. This will allow all of us to understand precisely what you are objecting to.

About The Title: For those not up on their English history, Robin Hood was the name of a legendary English outlaw whose most notable characteristic was that he robbed from the rich and gave to the poor … hence my invention of the term“Hood Robin Syndrome” to describe the opposite action.

Fossil Fuel Subsidies: To me, the issue is never the existence of a subsidy. It is whether we get something for the subsidy. For example, one of the fossil-fuel subsidies in the US is the tax exemption for diesel used by farmers and fishermen … in exchange for which, it encourages production and so we get more food. To me, that’s a good deal. The problem with renewable subsidies is that we’ve been subsidizing solar and wind since Jimmy Carter was President, and they are still not economically competitive in the grid-scale marketplace.

We get large value in return for fossil fuel subsidies, whereas for solar and wind subsidies we get almost nothing. Per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of energy produced from solar and wind, there is a subsidy to the producers of about two cents/kWh. Since base electric price in the US is around 8-10 cents per kilowatt-hour, that’s about a 20% subsidy.

The subsidy for oil, on the other hand, is about a hundredth of one cent per kWh, coal is about two hundredths of a cent per kWh, and nuclear is about eight hundredths of a cent per kWh.

Why the huge disparity? It’s because solar and wind don’t produce economically, so they have to be artificially propped up. I wouldn’t mind the subsidy if they actually produced. It’s the lack of getting value in return that is the problem.


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Very definition of madness, wouldn’t you say? Take money from the working poor and give it to the idle rich to indulge their green fantasies. Save us from those who would save the world. I’ll take my chances with global warming.


Hi from Oz. No, Alan, these ‘green fantasists’ are not mad – quite the opposite, these are smart, well organised people. Taking gob-smacking amounts of money from the working poor under the guise of ‘saving the planet’ and giving to the rich is just one of their opaque strategies to achieve their evil end purpose. To defeat this cult, we must focus on stopping them achieving the ends that they seek, not ridiculing the means that they use to achieve it – especially when the data above indicates that they are being very successful! Having lived through the Cold War, I suggest that all AGW skeptics read up on their 20th century history – especially the strategies and tactics used in the Stalinist era, the Nazis, the Cold War, etc., which the AGW crowd (and those quietly behind them, urging them on) have studied deeply and are using very effectively against the West. We must not sleepwalk into allowing them to win by merely laughing at them.


Very true, This is a political issue not a scientific one and should be dealt with via politics. An article such as the one above when understood by those whose earnings are being stolen would lead to many arrests for fraud and savage financial penalties for the guilty, politicians, scientists, foundations, journalists and the media. Bring it on.

Van Jones was very explicit that the radical Left anywhere loves the Green Energy gambit precisely because it has political authorities deciding what will be produced, where, by whom, and who will be hired. It is a means of reuniting political sovereignty with economic power for the benefit of designated groups.
Climate Change is just an excuse for Cronyism and State Capitalism. Of course the connected Oligarchs are the ones who benefit.


Being smart and well-organized doesn’t mean they’re not mad – in fact, just as with the Bolsheviks, the fact that they’re smart, well-organized and mad is really the problem.


It’s a souped up hypered fantasy that so-called top concerns cannot renege on. Despite overwhelming contrary physical evidence, it’s undoubtedly written large and successively pumped to a gullible public,
Hey, Willis – was at the Falkirk Wheel Monday past. That’s quality and understanding for sure.


It’s not madness, it’s just that the aims of the policy are not the claimed aims. NONE of this is about saving the environment, it is about saving the banks.
From the graph caption:

“Residential” is subsidies for residential solar systems and weatherization.

When they introduce subsidies for solar panels ( for example ) and say the are giving the money to ‘residential’ users, all they are doing is inflating the market price of panels. The money goes to the residential sector of the market, not the residents.
If someone can find $1000 to invest in PV and the state gives another $1000 ‘subsidy’ the solar companies simply double the cost until the subsidies run out.
To do a full, grid-tied,residential installation with regulators, inverters etc you are talking tens of thousands, not thousands. So in most cases this means … a bank loan.
In the case of feed-in tariffs, as are applied in most european countries the PV installation produces a guaranteed income. With a guaranteed income you can go to a bank and the bank can justify lending you more money.
Once you sign on the dotted line and agree to give the bank X thousand dollars over the next tens years, the bank instantly increases it’s on paper assets by X thousand dollars and lends it to you part of what you’ve just promised to pay them, to buy your PV installation.
No you did not misread it, they lend you money that they did not have before you signed the loan agreement. That is how debt-wealth is created.
All the “green” subsidies are is a means of recapitalising the banks. Many naively think the word green refers to the environment, but it’s green as in greenbacks.

It is the very essence of corruption, tyranny, and thought control.

John Silver

Yeah, but those stupid paupers don’t pay much taxes anyway. So they don’t lose much, right?


That was a pretty ignorant comment Mr John Silver. True, they don’t pay income taxes, but as the article points out, high energy costs affect the poor far more than the middle class and the rich. The poor by definition have little extra disposable income. Taking what little they have in additional energy costs makes their lives more difficult. Also, poor does not equal stupid. Far from it.

this disabled vet has no taxable income however receives no welfare/SS/etc yet still pays electric bills that keep rising.
so this stupid pauper does lose.
I do hope you meant that sarcastically.
if not we have a problem.

Ben of Houston

Kolowski, I think Silver was being sarcastic there.

Robert of Ottawa

Well, no. The Court of Verseilles would be in admiration of the Warmistas “Quel scam!” they would applaud.


Have you all noticed the many parallels between the failed predictions of the Club of Rome and those of the IPCC. How the few anointed ones want to control the economies of the world, based only on models that are validated against reality?
Has anyone here read ‘The Vision of the Anointed’, by Thomas Sowell?


correction: ‘How the few anointed ones want to control the economies of the world, based only on models that have not been validated against reality?’

michael petko

I think you missed the point of the post – take this subsidy money and spend it on the poor in another country.
It is not about taking money from the US poor and giving it to the US rich, since most of the US tax money is coming from the same people getting the subsidies. Thus, the subsidies are acting as a tax rebate incentive to become more energy efficient.


The more important thing to keep in mind is that EVs in most of the country are powered by American coal. They’re mostly charged at night when coal is the predominant energy source.
I think this is a good thing.
That said, I agree that all subsidies and mandates are inefficient. Better to use the money for R&D.
We’d probably have fusion power plants producing energy too cheap to meter by now if we’d used the PTC and ITC money for R&D instead of subsidies for wind, solar, energy efficiency, and EVs. Once we get there, EVs will sell themselves.

Leonard Lane

Seems I have heard the “…too cheap to meter…” promise before.

Jay Turberville

That’s a bit of a leap. I think that if you look you will find that the working poor aren’t paying much in taxes. I think you will find that it is the middle and upper level incomes who are paying the taxes that fund these subsidies.
That’s not to say that these policies don’t affect the poor negatively. Surely they do. Just not in the way you say.
And, BTW, the “rich” aren’t necessarily idle.


I was actually enjoying my day before I read this. 🙁 Now my blood is angryfied.


It’s inconceivable that people in this country who have teeth rotting in their mouths are subsidizing Tesla purchases as well as an endless string of useless expenditures. (Yes you, Mr. Mann)
The U.S. distributes 3 trillion dollars every year. A lot of that gets spread out via medicare, soc. sec. etc., but hundreds of billions are left to give favors to the wealthy and connected, or groups who can deliver votes.
Sorry, Willis, but thirsty folks in Africa can’t vote.
The answer, of course, is to reduce the amount they receive. It won’t happen, I know, but one can dream.


“…thirsty folks in Africa can’t vote” Really, there are people who can’t vote in American elections? Don’t let the pol hear of that.

Ron Morse

My observation over the years has been that aid programs for the poorest of underdeveloped nations serves mostly to take money from middle-class people in rich countries and give it to rich people in poor countries.

Barbara Skolaut

Bingo, Ron!


Jesus knew that about nations and gov’ts:
“For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always.” Mark 14:7 (NKJV)


Indeed. And Jesus also knew how to deal with poor tenants, who were behind with their rent. The moral of the parable is that the absentee landlord should eliminate the idle tenant, and let out his land to more reliable tenants. Job done, as they say….
“The (absentee landlord) will miserably destroy those wicked (tenant farmers), and will let out his vineyard unto other (tenant farmers), who shall pay him the rent in their seasons.” (Math 21:41)


Please read the passage you quote (Math 21:41) in its context.
Jesus was not saying how absentee landlords should behave:
he asked how absentee landlords do behave when tenants behave badly.
And you are plain wrong when you say

The moral of the parable is that the absentee landlord should eliminate the idle tenant, and let out his land to more reliable tenants.

The moral of the parable is that those who were in religious authority (i.e. “the chief priests and the Pharisees”) were abusing their oversight of the religion.
The NIV translation of the relevant section of Mathew 21 is this

The Parable of the Tenants

33 “Listen to another parable:
There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and went away on a journey.
34 When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit.
35 “The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third.
36 Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way.
37 Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said.
38 “But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’
39 So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.
40 “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?”
41 “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.”
42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ” ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’ ?
43 “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.
44 He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.”
45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them.
46 They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet.”
The parable is also in other Gospels at Mark 12:1-12 and Luke 20:9-19.


Indeed, Ral. If you remember a different parable, he urges debtholders to forgive their debtors (the parable of the unforgiving servant, Matthew 18:21-35). There is a strong difference between being behind on one’s rent and being abusive and murderous.


>>The moral of the parable is that those who were in religious
>>authority were abusing their oversight of the religion.
Nonsense. it was originally a scathing comment about the Romans, who were living on Judaean lands and not paying rent. It was a political commentary, not a religious one.

D.J. Hawkins

@ralfellis August 31, 2015 at 8:07 am
Wow, your exegesis could not be more wrong. Clearly you have been quaffing too much from the cup of Liberation Theology. Richard S. Courtney has given quite sufficient context for anyone to see how far you’ve missed the mark. Or in this case, the Matthew.

You definitely hit the mark with that one.
calls for the ouster of Prime Minister Najib Razak have grown louder in recent months after the government
appeared to be obstructing an investigation into how more than $600 million in funds from a Goldman-backed development bank ended up in Najib’s personal bank account.”

This is quite a devastating analysis. Thank you. Would like to see one or two of the Republican Presidential aspirants making this case to the American people. The Dems conjure a war on women and a war on blacks, but the real war is the war on the poor. And it’s waged not by the right, but the left.
As I said, just devastating…
(aka pokerguy)


“The Dems conjure a war on women and a war on blacks, but the real war is the war on the poor. And it’s waged not by the right, but the left.”
It’s ludicrous to call Democrats “the left”. They are more right wing than British Conservatives.


I think we should call it the Egoscene
I prefer the shorter Obscene.

Chris y

I had the same reaction.

Tom J




Barbara Skolaut

Chuck wins the thread! 😀


Leonard Lane





This is a post that should be sent to all newspapers and media outlets. Maybe one or more might decide to publish it or an abbreviated version.

Great post. I wish more people would understand what’s going on with these subsidies/taxes, etc. Thanks Willis! The poor are the hardest hit with these “policies” and even the “middle class” is hard hit – whatever that/they are.

Rattus Norvegicus

Of course, the goal of those subsidies was not the relief of income inequality — that is better served with other, and not necessarily tax, policies. The goal of these programs was to encourage the adoption of non-carbon emitting technologies. I would not expect poor and lower middle income people to have the excess income available to buy a new Tesla, Volt or Prius or to install solar panels on their rented homes. By definition this involves choices that people make with their disposable income and the more disposable income you have the more you can benefit from such subsidies. This is hardly and indictment of the policy although it does point out a weakness of tax subsidies as opposed to a refundable carbon tax for achieving these goals.

Old Huemul

The economic consequences of a tax or subsidy, or whatever other policy, are not a matter of intentions. They are simply observable consequences that follow from a certain policy. Whatever the intent of the legislator, the fact is that some groups benefit and some others bear the cost. In this particular case, the rich benefit and the poor bear the cost. Pre-subsidy income distribution would thus be less unequal that the post-subsidy distribution (“less unequal” does not involve a judgment: it just means that without the subsidy the rich receive relatively less,and the poor relatively more, whatever the merits of such change in distribution).

Rattus Norvegicus

That’s about the most ridiculous statement I’ve ever heard. It is important to evaluate a policy in terms of what it was intended to accomplish. In aspects — takeup of solar voltaic for example — this appears to have been a successful policy. Other aspects are more debatable. But it is important to note, that for things like residential solar or weatherization, renters and landlords were specifically excluded from benefiting from this policy, and other benefits, such as the credits for hybrid and electric vehicles only apply to new cars. This will of course have negative distributional effects, but the policy was not intended to have positive distributional effects, it was intended to have effects on the takeup of alternative energy and efficiency technologies. Other aspects of ARRA did address lower income people. I personally benefited from a program to weatherize rental housing, which saved me a substantial amount of money on my winter heating costs.
The interesting part of this study is the question of how effective was it in promoting efficiency and alternative energy (answer: in some cases very good, in others moderately), not what the distributional effects might be, since other programs addressed helping lower income people.

Willis Eschenbach

Old Huemul August 29, 2015 at 6:50 pm

The economic consequences of a tax or subsidy, or whatever other policy, are not a matter of intentions. They are simply observable consequences that follow from a certain policy.

Rattus Norvegicus August 29, 2015 at 9:53 pm

That’s about the most ridiculous statement I’ve ever heard. It is important to evaluate a policy in terms of what it was intended to accomplish.

First, Ratty, since you didn’t quote what you disagreed with, I’m forced to guess that it is the statement above. In future, let me ask you once again to quote what you object to.
More to the point, intentions are pretty meaningless in the real world. In fact, they are so meaningless that we have a saying about them—”The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” So analyzing the results of our intentions, as you advise, may just provide us with a metric of how fast we’re getting to Hell …
For example, the intention of the many doctors who prescribed thalidomide for pregnant women was very clear. It was prescribed to avoid pregnancy-related “morning sickness”.
The observable consequences of their intentions were horrendously deformed babies.
So … should we judge the practice of prescribing thalidomide based on whether or not it was actually able to control morning sickness in pregnant women?
Because that’s assuredly what you are saying, that we need to evaluate the decision to prescribe thalidomide “in terms of what it was intended to accomplish”, which was nausea reduction … and judged by that metric it was a roaring success.
Now, I can understand why you want that narrow focus on the claimed intentions of a program. It prevents you from looking at the real effects of green policies, the unintended things like the poor subsidizing the rich, or the shafting of the three billion people living on under $3 per day by the insane push to drive up energy costs.
With that narrow focus on intentions, you can say “We are saving the world! We achieved our goal of driving down energy use by raising gas prices to European levels”, while ignoring the single mother who depends on her car to get to work, and who will now have to choose whether to cut back on food or on medical services for her kids …
I fear that kind of willful blindness will get you little traction here. Because trying to convince the practical folks that populate this site that we should ignore the real-world unintended consequences of poorly designed programs, and we should look only at whether thalidomide actually did prevent morning sickness … well, that dog won’t hunt.


Rattus, I accept your premise that a policy must be evaluated on whether it met it’s goals. However, it’s goals must also be evaluated on how well they align with the greater purpose they serve.
I would accept your point that we are evaluating it on the wrong basis, if helping the poor wasn’t the explicit reason given for much of the anti-carbon movement. So these policies accomplish the short term goal by undermining the long term one.
Willis’s point still stands.


Well of course any excuse to keep the rich rich if not richer.
“Adoption of non-carbon emitting technologies” is as good an excuse as any.

Gerald Machnee

Re Rattus:
**** encourage the adoption of non-carbon emitting technologies****
So does that mean Gore used the subsidy to fly commercial instead of his carbon emitting private jet to make his 300K spoof speech?

Paul Penrose

So Rattus, the ends justify the means? Even assuming the ends are laudable (which is questionable in this case), how can any educated person support such a supposition when so much evil in the history of the world has been committed using this demented logic?


You say:
….”refundable carbon tax for achieving these goals.”
Now in my little corner of this world, called Illinois, the states budget is so out of whack that winners of the state lottery have to wait for the politicians to pass a budget to collect their winnings.
You don’t really expect me to assume I’ll get a carbon tax “refund” do you ?
Maybe you ain’t from Illinois ?

Think off this as “job creation!” Another layer of bureaucracy will be required to administer refund evaluation and dispensation, along with attendant underlings and supervisors; plus additional oversight personnel.
“Carbon Tax Refunding” might reduce unemployment considerably, and might not cost more than 60%(+/-) of refunds.


Gee. The people in Illinois have to wait for the legislature “to pass a budget to collect their winnings?” This is after the state has already collected way more than enough in bets to cover the winnings? That sounds like a state that someone like Obama might have come from…. It is a good way to discourage people from playing the lottery.

Chris Hanley

‘… thalidomide “in terms of what it was intended to accomplish”, which was nausea reduction … and judged by that metric it was a roaring success …’
The parallel is apt up too a point, however in this case the technologies which the subsidies are directed to are useless boondoggles that don’t even work.

While I understand your point, the supposed goal of green energy was to change societal energy use patterns.
Simply making the top 20% richer is changing society, but not in the way the proposals were sold as.
Making poor people poorer does not engender better attitudes toward energy efficiency or alternative energy – except perhaps in the sense of forcing more of them off the grid to burn wood and dung.


What I would like to see is a simple calculation that takes the total amount of subsidies paid out, and divides it by the amount of CO2 not produced, and tells us what it actually cost us per ton of CO2. I would suspect we are paying some many thousands of times the “market price.” In other words, we are probably getting a bad deal.

You truly have to admire the beautiful symmetry of this scheme! I have a brilliant solution to a problem to a problem that may not exist. I band together with other like-minded entrepreneurs, and lobby the government to convince them that the problem is not only real, but much worse that we feared, but there’s good news! We just need a few minor subsidies and loan guarantees to let this fledgling business get off the ground…until we develop “scale”. The government willingly obliges, thereby elevating yours truly out of the working class, and securing my little piece of the American Dream.
Honestly, who doesn’t like Christmas?

Christmas? Where I come from it’s called a “confidence game” and people are supposed to go to jail for it.

Accountability requires the responsible agencies of government to admit error, which happens rather less often than one might hope for.
The list is getting pretty long: Solyndra, A123, Fisker, and on we go.
To be fair, though, military contractors operate in much the same mode. Most beneficiaries of government largesse have some sort of angle, and they are not in the game to just break even!


That all you got ??
I’m thinking not.
Keep it coming.
People might start to listen.

It has always fascinated me that the left wing parties in the democracies, i.e. the so called “Labor” party in Australia, the British Labour party, the various Green parties in Europe have always supported energy policies that penalise the lower income groups they claim to represent. The Democratic party in America seems a somewhat different animal, it appears to contain an inordinate number of billionaires. Perhaps they think their ability to amass fortunes entitles them to tell others how to behave.

Paul Penrose

“Perhaps they think their ability to amass fortunes entitles them to tell others how to behave.”
That is exactly what they think, and I find it completely contemptible on every level.


Regressive policies are not left-wing.
The Green policies that are adopted by left-wing parties (and by right-wing parties too) are the result of infiltration of the parties.
Infiltration by those who put their religion above “justice” or “utility / benefit maximisation”.
Their religion is green. See the previous post about appeasing zealots.
They corrupt the political process by not standing on their own platform (as the Green Party loses when it does).
And for real fun discuss why US Evangelicals have abandoned Jimmy Carter’s party. There’s no ideological reason for that. Just a matter of expediency.

The sincere greenies are just tools. The policies forced upon us in the US are actually neither Democrat nor Republican, liberal nor conservative, green and not green. They are policies contrived by globalists, international bankers and other special interests who have different objectives and care little about saving the planet.
The real political struggle is between “We-the-people” and the special interests. Unfortunately, not enough of the electorate have actually come to realize that yet. Until they do, nothing will change here.

D.J. Hawkins

OK, I’ll bite. US Evangelicals have abandoned the Democratic party because it is anti-Israel, pro-gay marriage and pro-abortion. See? Not hard to figure at all. And it’s hardly expedient given the pounding they get in the press and the calls from Dem legislators to restrict their First Amendment rights.

The term is limousine liberal.
And the notion that this is just an American phenomenon is false. In Europe over 150 years ago, Rousseau came up with the notion of the “noble savage” – the predecessor to modern limousine liberalism. Rousseau didn’t intend that, but many of the upper classes of the era used this notion to justify obstructing progressive policies.

“dch47982”, indeed, almost all collectivist societies end up being tyrannies. Reasons are the underlying irrationality of collectivism makes it very difficult for people to stop the shift to tyranny because they lack thinking skills to debate the power-grabbers and they’ve bought into the premise that the collective is moral – anything it does it right. (So Hitler succeeded with his pitch that the Aryan’s value was in his sacrifice to society, not in his individual attributes.)
(Note the nature of those who gain power:
– Lenin and Trotsky were cheap thugs who met in jail
– Hitler was a n’er do well
– Che Gueverra enjoyed killing
I am only aware of one democratically elected heavily socialist society that voted itself out of existence – the kibbutz movement in Israel. And perhaps the Pilgrim’s after their first winter in America, as reality was staring them in the face (Individual effort varied in their socialist system.)

Michael Maddocks

This is why the west has a shrinking middle class.

Louis Hunt

They can always justify rob’n the hood to give to the rich. That’s because all the big-money donors to political parties just happen to be rich. They have to pay them back somehow or they’ll stop donating. Besides, if they don’t prevent climate change now by giving billions to the rich, they’ll just have to give trillions to them in the future to pay for all the damage rising sea levels will do to their beach-front homes. /Sarc

Robn Hood did not steal from the rich and give to the poor – rather he stole from the government (King/nobelmen) that which the government had already stole from the citizens. Robin Hood did not practice altrusim but rather he defended justice!


We shouldn’t smear Robin Hood, he was a good guy.
I think the article is referring to his brother Robin Bastard.


Right on Willis! You did, however, wake the bee in my bonnet. 🙂

… but there’s no law against dumb.

Dumb often carries the death penalty. It’s pathetic that the condemned usually know better. It is beyond description when the guy who ended up with his boot nails welded to the floor of the equipment enclosure was the very person who wrote the safety manual for that very equipment.


“Dumb often carries the death penalty.”
“Nature abhors a moron.”
—H.L. Mencken


We even have Darwin awards for these folks.
“Hey y’all! Watch me swallow this little bluegill backwards!”


And here was the 2009 winner of the Darwin awards.
She believed the Greenie propaganda that said poly bears were nice and cuddly, and thought it would be a good idea to swim with them. But reality bit her on the arrse…


One thing I have a beef with and that is this statement ‘ The poor pay no income tax, but they pay energy costs” that statement drives me crazy. I have on occasion been in the income bracket where I did not have to pay “income taxes” ( a family with a stay at home mother etc). But I still paid taxes, gasoline, beer , rent , hydro heating fuel and even food, they and many others like VAT , (GST, PST in Canada). indirect taxes and other hidden taxes are being paid by even the “poor”. To only mention “income taxes really irks me.


It’s true while income tax is the most visible and largest singular tax, there is death by thousand cuts type taxes as well. I often wondered when an evangelist climate nut will propose a tax based on size of family since the larger the family the more CO2 is produced.


Indeed. I could not find a taxation pie chart for the lower and middle classes, but the following is a UK government revenue chart. And the only taxation the poor will not pay here, is income tax.
NIC. ….. National Health, and they pay that.
VAT. ….. Yes, they pay that on purchases, although not on food in the UK.
Corporation taxes. ….. Yup, the company just loads those onto the product price.
Fuel and N. Sea duty. ….. Yes, because the oil company puts that in the price of petrol.
Business rates. ….. Yes, included in the cost of goods.
Council tax. ….. Yes. Less for the poor, but a big percentage of income.
Sin tax. ….. I presume this is fags and booze. And the poor pay a lot of this.

Willis Eschenbach

Thanks, asybot. That’s why I said “but unlike many taxes”, because although for some taxes there is a bottom limit, for other taxes there is no lower threshold.
And you are correct that many taxes are equally applied top to bottom. You pay gas tax, rich or poor.

Gas tax – the rich can afford it, no problem – the poor cannot, sometimes cannot even get to work (I’ve been there) sometimes I would use coins just to get enough gas to get home…


Sorry Willis, I missed that but a lot of people never ever seem to understand this and I have often heard this ridiculous statement from many people:
” Be glad you only make a little money you don’t have to pay taxes” It used to drive me nuts , now I just think to myself, just another ignoramus.


asybot, one of the things that drives me nuts about the US tax policy is that “fees,” “fines” and “surcharges” are not considered “taxes.” They really should be. We have fees added to telephone service, internet service, and so forth to “finance the oversight” of same….but then we can’t exempt ourselves from the sum of those fees in our income tax preparation.
If I paid $2,000 in sales, use, contractor, fee, fine, and surcharges to various governments, shouldn’t I be able to itemize those and reduce my effective income? Even if we exempt “fines” as a result of doing something administratively “bad,” shouldn’t these others be considered double taxation?

Tom J

Hi, asybot! You’re forgetting one very big one: property taxes. I’ve been successful in recently getting a loan modification on my duplex. The mortgage with escrow is $962.32/month. Since 1 bedroom apartment rents in the Chicagoland area run $800-$1,000/month continuing to own my home is the best bet. But, here’s the hitch; the property tax portion of that $962 is almost $300/month. And, that’s with a disability exemption. And, whereas the mortgage is fixed, the only thing that will stop yearly increases (250% total since 2002) in the property tax are probably cosmic rays in the stratosphere. There’s a whole bunch of elderly homeowners living on Social Security (payments which fall far short in equivalency to the $15/hour minimum wage that the ‘same’ political class is calling for) that are surrendering 10-15% of their SS payments to this onerous tax.


@ Tom J . I do count them in, as a renter I pay the property tax for the owner as part of the rent. You don’t think I’d get a break now do you? I am not familiar with the system in Chicago But in our area property taxes are public knowledge but as to how the system works seems better left to an accountant the rules, restrictions give/ take away etc drove me nuts when I first looked at buying. The other thing was that you pay property taxes as long as own the home , then pay taxes on the selling price and death taxes when you left it to your kids, as they say they get coming and going. to me renting was the solution never had enough long term security to end up buying.


Man I got out of IL over 30 yrs ago and am now in TX, thank God!
Every now and then I hear someone say TX should have an income tax and maybe we could lower our property taxes. I always interject that I’ve lived in two states with income taxes and that it doesn’t work that way. If you let the politicians have an income tax, they won’t cut some other tax, they’ll just spend it all.

You left out that you can deduct a significant part of your payment from your income tax. Also that your payment is building up equity. And the owning of a property gives you the capability to gain from asset price increases (and decreases).
None of the above is true for renters.

Tom J

Hi again, asybot. I was a renter too for about 20 years.
Here’s a funny story. A number of years back I was having a conversation with an accountant. I said that as a renter I was paying my landlord’s property tax. He told me, no, I wasn’t paying the property tax, the landlord was paying it.
I’ve come to the conclusion that that’s what a college education does to someone. His answer was technically true I guess, but it was totally meaningless.
He went on to argue that the landlord’s property tax was irrelevant to the rent I was paying. This was an accountant!
I fear there’s an awful lot of people who think that way.


Tom J, accountants often lack the real-world application of their accounting. As someone who spends a lot of time working with corporate accountants, I have often dragged them out of the cubicle and taken them to an operating location and had to open their eyes to what the real world is doing, why it was doing it, and what money ramifications it had.
Old man story time: I once had to prove a property that the company owned existed by taking an accountant to it because the post office decided that 1400 East Street was a bad address and returned mail going to it a few times. It turns out that the PO had a glitch in their addressing software that wanted the address to be at the beginning of the block we owned (Something like 1000 East Street instead of 1400) The company owned the address and about 15 acres on each side of the building, so the particular address was a moot point – until the post office started bouncing letters with the ‘wrong’ address on them, creating a stir at the corporate offices.
Accountants, in my harsh generalization, are basically math majors with a backing rule set (like GAAP in the US). They often don’t understand the goal the rules they implement are aiming toward and can thus implement them hilariously wrong or disturbingly ruthlessly.

D.J. Hawkins

Pffffft. My NJ 3-bedroom is over $750/mo in property taxes, and I don’t live in the lake association where is would be 2X that. With the balance on my mortgage what it is, I basically rent my home from the town.


Poor people can’t AFFORD electric and hybrid vehicles and they CERTAINLY don’t own their own homes.
I don’t know what you’re bitching about because these subsidies were never intended for the poor or even to help the poor.
Only an idiot would think that.

Paul Penrose

And just where do you think the money came from for these subsidies? And when the PV feed-in rates force electric rates to increase, who do you think is hardest hit? Not the rich. Of course these subsidies weren’t designed for the poor; they are gifts to the rich and (to some extent) on the backs of the poor. That’s the point of this article. Only an idiot wouldn’t understand that.

Will Nelson

Barbee got that right, this is a subsidy for only the rich and since there are so many poor people the poor people can afford the regressive tax structure these subsidies help create. And if the poor get any ideas about buying hybrid cars or homes they should remember it is the rich really that need these things.


… these subsidies were never intended for the poor or even to help the poor.

That is exactly the point Willis is making. It’s perverse that a lawyer can end up paying less income tax than his secretary and even more preverse when his secretary’s taxes end up subsidizing him.
[sarc] Perhaps you think the poor should be taxed more as an incentive to make them work harder. They’re only poor because they’re lazy after all. [/sarc]


“[b]About The Title:[/b] For those not up on their English history, Robin Hood was the name of a legendary English outlaw whose most notable characteristic was that he robbed from the rich and gave to the poor … hence my invention of the term“Hood Robin Syndrome” to describe the opposite action.”
I always felt that was what Robin Hood was about until I read the other day someone state that he actually robbed from the over taxing government of the day and gave it back to the citizens.

Right . Back in 2003 I wrote :

The misinterpretation of Robin Hood has long bugged me .
It wasn’t the Baker , the Smith , the Fletcher or even the money lender who Robin and his band “stole” from
it was the Sheriff and his tax collectors .

The only people who were rich were the political class and their enforcers .

Tom J

There were actually two Robin Hoods. You’re right about one of them: he actually did rob over taxing officials and return the money to the citizens.
However there was a second Robin Hood. But, he was a wealthy government official who fleeced the citizens. Robin was his nickname. His full name was Robbing Hood.

Gerald Machnee

I guess we know where Gore and Suzuki fit in.

Jason Joice MD

I’ve paid way more than my share of taxes. I don’t feel bad one bit about receiving a credit for my Tesla purchase.

Steve P

Be sure to wave at the homeless from your trick ride, Doc, and don’t forget who’s paying for your juice when you have to plug it in.

Willis Eschenbach

Jason Joice MD August 29, 2015 at 7:26 pm

I’ve paid way more than my share of taxes.

Dr. Joice, I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who actually pays federal income tax, state income tax, state sales tax, gas tax, and all the rest of the taxes, who would not make that same statement that they pay more than their share. We all feel like we pay more than our share of taxes, including myself.
So what?

I don’t feel bad one bit about receiving a credit for my Tesla purchase.

Well, I never said you should feel bad about getting taxpayer money to support your expensive tastes. What I said was that the program was industrial-strength dumb. But hey, if the government offered me money, I’d take it.
My difficulty with taking government energy bucks is a practical one—I’ve always lived a simple and minimal life. As a result, my electricity bill is far too low for me to economically justify installing a solar system, even including claiming the government credit.
And when I built the house I live in, I weatherized it to the max, so I can’t take advantage of any weatherization programs.
So the guy like me living a simple and minimal life gets penalized, and the rich get rewarded with taxpayer money … not my idea of a reasonable response, particularly to an imaginary problem.
So I said nothing about the people getting taxpayer money. Like I said, I’d take it if I could, you’d be a fool not to.
Nor did I say anything about the taxes you pay.
As a result, the simple fact that you felt a burning need to justify taking the subsidy by discussing your taxes and your Tesla indicates to me that in fact you do feel bad about it … well, that, and you want us to know you have a Tesla. And I understand that, because if I had one, I’d likely slip it in about every third sentence …
In any case, my congratulations on your successes in life, and I mean that seriously. Tesla or no Tesla, clearly you’ve done well, and I see no reason for you to apologize for any part of that success.


beautiful reply!

Perhaps there should be an energy allocation system. I can imagine an ‘Individual Energy Allocation Account’ (IEAA?) for each resident. Every resident would receive (annually?) permission to purchase xx kwh of electricity, xx gallons of gasoline, xx air miles, etc. These allocation units could be traded, bought and sold. Balance could be managed by a smart-card system from a gov’t maintained database using a hybrid of E-Bay and Obamacare Marketplace software.
Willis could trade (or sell) his electricity units to Al Gore, and Al could trade them to me for air miles. At year’s end, low energy consumers could convert unused units to tax credits, or sell them to Al for cash.
Low income households could get a supplementary income and Al could pay for permission to buy as much av-gas as he can afford.
I think of it as “Trickle Down Cap and Trade.”


Every resident would receive (annually?) permission to purchase xx kwh of electricity, xx gallons of gasoline, xx air miles, etc. These allocation units could be traded, bought and sold.

And what if every one of those “credits” was issued based on each individual’s own specific “value” or “worth” to society – as agreed on by some standard of course, and could be traded freely for any other item of value to each each person?
What if each such “energy credit” were colored a specific color to present how much value it represented? Say “green” or “purple” or “blue” with decorative symbols and impressive signatures and numbers all over it – just to make it difficult to cheat and counterfeit such “energy credits” obviously. And what if you could purchase any “non-energy” things you might need with unneeded or excess or spare “energy credits” – certainly, not everybody needs to buy heat or air conditioning every day of the year. Diapers, clothing, food, or shelter are sometimes needed too. Chairs, tables, boxes, paper, ink, pencils … Why, ANYTHING could be “bought” or sold at any time with “energy credits”!
What a concept! You’ve come up with something new and valuable that should be marketed by governments and kings and dictators everywhere! /sarcasm. 8<)

Nope! Everybody gets the same ration.

I’ve been tossing this concept around in my mind for a few days, but I’ve been hesitant to post it.
Obama might hear about it.

(removes tongue from cheek)

I’ve heard it said that Tesla is more a fashion statement than a form of transportation. Personally, I choose a bad haircut and well-worn shoes….and a proper car.

Sorry Doc. A Tesla is nothing more than an expensive toy, a profligate waste of your money and mine, since I helped to subsidize your purchase. You can get from point A to point B in just as much style for a lot less money. It is a poor investment, and you would have been a lot smarter to have put the extra cash into something that would pay good dividends and help shelter your income. Enjoy your second adolescence.


From the article:
Solar subsidy 2 cents/kWh
Oil subsidy 1/100 cent/kWh
Coal subsidy 2/100 cent/kWh
Nuclear subsidy 8/100 cent/kWh
It is good to know solar subsidies are about 200 times larger than oil subsidies and 18 to 20 times larger than all the other energy subsidies combined. But to climate zealots and activists, eco-profiteers, and the lobotomized (when it comes to climate) media and politicians it only means that it is horrific that we still have subsidies for oil, coal, and Nuclear.


“…a legendary English outlaw whose most notable characteristic was that he robbed from the rich and gave to the poor.”
I understand that Robin, early on, tried it the other way around. It was a spectacular failure, though he did make a few farthinges here and there. I think it was Friar Tuck who suggested a better way.

Eugene WR Gallun

It took a few hundred years but finally the Democratic party figured out how to rob from the poor and give to the rich.
Eugene WR Gallun


Yes, climate zealots, and those who take advantage of all the ‘green’ subsidies, are hurting, and as you note, even killing the poorest of the poor through making energy more expensive and less available.
But is there a surprise in any of this? Zealots of every persuasion have been responsible for most atrocities and abominations for all of recorded history, along with a host of lesser evils. ISIS cuts off the heads of innocent people and then say they act only on behalf of God. Surely there can be little expectation climate zealots will not do terrible harm….. if people allow them to. Zealotry is an almost perfect predictor of who has the potential to do great harm…… if people allow it to happen.


Good overview of subsidies for those who don’t need it:

Yes of course.
CAGW is just an amped up improved version of this age old scheme.
The cause is usually very vague and flexible, the objective always the same. rob the many to enrich the well connected few.
Paris-ites have always worked this way.

Claude Harvey

I was disappointed to see the study did not include the same breakdown on tax credits to commercial solar and wind farms, where it’s almost exclusively the high-roller, limited partner investors who reap the benefits of tax credits and accelerated depreciation and where only “sophisticated investors” (translate: rich and politically connected) need apply. There, the numbers are just obscene.

Willis Eschenbach

Claude Harvey August 29, 2015 at 8:09 pm

I was disappointed to see the study did not include the same breakdown on tax credits to commercial solar and wind farms, where it’s almost exclusively the high-roller, limited partner investors who reap the benefits of tax credits and accelerated depreciation and where only “sophisticated investors” (translate: rich and politically connected) need apply. There, the numbers are just obscene.

Claude, I try to limit the scope of my posts to one subject. For that subject, you might see my analyses of a couple such commercial projects:

Make 29% On Your Money, Guaranteed! 2011-11-18
Sounds like a scam, huh? But it’s real. Let me explain how people (no, not you or me, don’t be foolish) can make a guaranteed 29% return on their investment. However, to make it clear, I’ll need to take a short digression. I ran across a National Geographic article on…

Solar Fossil Fueled Fantasies June 15, 2015
Sometimes when I’m reading about renewable technologies, I just break out laughing at the madness that the war on carbon has wrought. Consider the Ivanpah solar tower electric power plant. It covers five square miles in Southern California with mirrors …



The exclusion from road taxes for diesel fuel used by farmers and boaters is no subsidy.
The tax was installed in order to pay for the road system, and since farm vehicles and boats don’t use roads, then it makes no sense to tax them to support the roads.
Without the exemption, farm vehicles and boats would be subsidizing motorists.

Willis Eschenbach

Thanks, Mark. You are right that that was the initial reasoning. However, since then the fuel tax in many states has just been swept into the general fund, and so that reason no longer holds.

Federal gas taxes have typically not been devoted exclusively to highways – The federal gas tax began its life as a deficit-fighting measure under President Herbert Hoover decades before the Interstate Highway System. Only during a brief 17-year period beginning in 1956 did Congress temporarily dedicate gas tax revenues to construct the Interstate network, a project completed in the 1990s. Since 1973, the gasoline tax has been used to fund a variety of important transportation priorities and has periodically been used to reduce the federal deficit.
Many states use gas tax revenue for a variety of purposes – While many states have historically dedicated their own state gasoline taxes to highways, that decision has not been universal. According to Federal Highway Administration data, roughly 20 cents of every dollar collected in state gas taxes, motor vehicle fees or tolls nationwide is used for public transportation and other governmental purposes. Many of the states that do use gasoline taxes solely for highways do so because they remain bound by constitutional earmarks of gasoline taxes imposed three-quarters of a century ago, regardless of whether those decisions still make sense today. SOURCE



A few years ago (2000?), the tax refund laws in Texas became so convoluted and the fines for minor mistakes so high, that our local fuel distributer quit selling non-taxed fuel. I worked for a fracking company which used 75% of its fuel for off-road but it was cheaper to just pay the tax.

Just Steve

Why should the gas tax “trust fund” be any different from the Social Security “trust fund”. Politicians have never been able to keep their hands off of large sums of available cash by which they can buy a few more votes, or line their own pockets.
As to the off road diesel tax…I used to own a refrigerated trailer. The diesel used to run the reefer unit falls under the off road category. There used to be places you could find off road pumps, where the fuel had no tax applied. For a whole host of reasons, they have for the most part disappeared. If you want to go through the headache, you can fill out a lot of paperwork to get refunded the tax.
Off road diesel is also dyed. Taxed fuel is clear. Some states have special officers running around checking trucks for dyed fuel in their truck fuel tank. IIRC the minimum fine is $5,000 for having dyed untaxed fuel in an on road vehicle.


The depreciaton allowance for miners and drillers is only a “subsidy” if the same allowance for all other businesses is a subsidy.
Actually if you thought about, having to depreciate items rather than cost them completely in the year in which they were purchased increases the taxes that businesses have to pay.
Don’t fall for the left wing nonsense that any tax that is less than 100% is a subsidy.

Terry Bixler

This is how Obama got elected. People donate to him to open the floodgates of tax monies to themselves.

bull, he is part of the machine politics out of Chicago which are no different than the politics out of California. It is not just a popularity contest it is machine politics that the media knows about but never reports on.

This is a great interview between Carly Fiorina and Katie Fouric. One of the very few times that someone actually lays the issues if the economy, health, education, real pollution and limited resources (like over fishing-my insert) on the line versus the waste of resources on a climate that always changes. Like the story of King Canute turning back the tides, the climate will change in spite of us.
Thanks for another great post Willis.
Oh, and I just read a story about a 5000 year old Olive tree in Palestine. I wonder what stories it could tell. Adapt or die.


Say What?

I wish she had made it more of an issue as Climate Change should be made into the hottest topic and the candidates should study and then reveal the hoax to the voters. So far, in the mainstream media, nobody hears the dissenters. Our arguments are being censored effectively because nobody just runs across our claims as often as they get the reinforced mantra of Global Warming. I think we need a candidate to make the hoax into an issue, otherwise they will regret it – come December. We need the “silent majority” to get the word out.

I wondered how to describe these “do-gooders”. “Psychopath” is not quite right, although their callousness towards others’ actual (rather than modelled, ie imaginary, future) pain suggests it is.
I suggest the term “ecopath” for an environmentalist who wilfully injures (or causes to be injured) other humans in the course of pursuing their goals.
It’s not enough to be well-meaning if you also disregard the social and human costs of your well-intentioned actions, or if you prioritise imaginary benefits over actual harm to other humans.

Eugene WR Gallun

Joyce Kilmer were she a 21st century environmentalist
I think that I shall never see
A child as lovely as a tree
Eugene WR Gallun

“Watermelon” (see avatar) and “Ecoloon” are my favorites.

Good article Willis:
We knew and published some of these points in 2002 – including the key point of clean water, infant mortality and misallocation of resources:
Kyoto wastes enormous resources that are urgently needed to solve real environmental and social problems that exist today. For example, the money spent on Kyoto in one year would provide clean drinking water and sanitation for all the people of the developing world in perpetuity. [Since the start of global warming hysteria, about 50 million children below the age of five have died from contaminated water.]
Thank you, Allan
[excerpts from my recent article published on]
In 2002 the PEGG, the journal of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) solicited the following debate on the now-defunct Kyoto Accord (Kyoto Protocol), between Dr. Matthew Bramley and Matt McCullough, P.Eng. of the Pembina Institute, who supported the Kyoto Accord and relied upon the IPCC’s position, and Dr. Sallie Baliunas, Harvard Astrophysicist, Dr. Tim Patterson, Carleton Paleoclimatologist, and Allan MacRae, P.Eng., who opposed Kyoto based on scientific statements in their PEGG article and rebuttal.
Now, after 13 years, it is instructive to look back at the two positions and determine how they have fared.
One’s predictive track record is perhaps the only objective measure of one’s competence. The IPCC has a negative predictive track record, because ALL of its scary projections have failed to materialize. The IPCC thus has NO credibility, actually it has NEGATIVE credibility.
Probabilistically; based the IPCC’s negative predictive track record, one would more correct if one assumed the opposite of the IPCC’s scary projections.
All the IPCC’s scary projections of catastrophic humanmade global warming, wilder weather, and climate change have failed to materialize, despite significant increases in atmospheric CO2, the purported driver of this falsely-predicted “weather weirding”. According to the best data from satellites, global temperatures measured in the Lower Troposphere (LT) have not increased significantly in about 18 years. Hurricane frequency and intensity are at record low levels. The climate has been remarkably stable despite substantial increases in atmospheric CO2.

In comparison, let us review the eight predictions we made on our 2002 Rebuttal [my comments in brackets]:
Kyoto has many fatal flaws, any one of which should cause this treaty to be scrapped.
Climate science does not support the theory of catastrophic human-made global warming – the alleged warming crisis does not exist. [NO net global warming has occurred for about 18 years.}
Kyoto focuses primarily on reducing CO2, a relatively harmless gas, and does nothing to control real air pollution like NOx, SO2, and particulates, or serious pollutants in water and soil. [Note pollution in China and the former Soviet Union.]
Kyoto wastes enormous resources that are urgently needed to solve real environmental and social problems that exist today. For example, the money spent on Kyoto in one year would provide clean drinking water and sanitation for all the people of the developing world in perpetuity. [Since the start of global warming hysteria, about 50 million children below the age of five have died from contaminated water.]
Kyoto will destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs and damage the Canadian economy – the U.S., Canada’s biggest trading partner, will not ratify Kyoto, and developing countries are exempt. [Canada adopted Kyoto but then most provinces wisely ignored it – the exception being now-depressed Ontario, where government drank the Kool-Aid.]
Kyoto will actually hurt the global environment – it will cause energy-intensive industries to move to exempted developing countries that do not control even the worst forms of pollution. {Note the air in China.]
Kyoto’s CO2 credit trading scheme punishes the most energy efficient countries and rewards the most wasteful. Due to the strange rules of Kyoto, Canada will pay the former Soviet Union billions of dollars per year for CO2 credits.
[We shamed our government into not paying the FSU, but other governments did so, to bribe them to sign Kyoto.]
Kyoto will be ineffective – even assuming the overstated pro-Kyoto science is correct, Kyoto will reduce projected warming insignificantly, and it would take as many as 40 such treaties to stop alleged global warming. [IF one believed the utterly false climate models, one would probably conclude that we must cease fossil fuel consumption.].
The ultimate agenda of pro-Kyoto advocates is to eliminate fossil fuels, but this would result in a catastrophic shortfall in global energy supply – the wasteful, inefficient energy solutions proposed by Kyoto advocates simply cannot replace fossil fuels. [Those governments who adopted “green energy” schemes such as wind and solar power are finding these schemes are not green and produce little useful energy. Their energy costs are soaring and those governments are in retreat, dropping their green energy subsidies as they try to save face.]
In summary, all our predictions have proven correct in those venues that fully embraced the now-defunct Kyoto Accord, whereas none of the IPCC’s scary projections have materialized.
So what happens next? Will we see catastrophic humanmade global warming? No, our planet will cool.
I (we) predicted the commencement of global cooling by 2020-2030 in an article published in the Calgary Herald in 2002. That prediction is gaining credibility as solar activity [in current SC24] has crashed.

Timing is difficult to estimate, but I now expect global cooling to be evident by 2020 or sooner.


It’s worse than a question of “is wind better / cheaper than coal?” Everyone thinks it’s an equation. It’s not. Power demand is shrinking in US and AUS. The power stations and grids are ALREADY in place.
If you needed capacity, THEN it’s an equation. Is coal better than wind (net of all applicable externalities if you like). But when you don’t need it, the economic value of the windmill is zero or negative.

A few more points on energy:
The modern energy industry keeps those of us who live above the tropics from freezing and starving to death.
When imbecilic politicians fool with their countries’ energy systems, they put entire societies at risk. This is particularly true today in Britain and Western Europe, where these fools have compromised their energy systems through the widespread adoption of nonsensical grid-connected wind and solar schemes that produce little or no useful net energy. We predicted this energy debacle in several articles published in 2002.
We said in 2002:
““The ultimate agenda of pro-Kyoto advocates is to eliminate fossil fuels, but this would result in a catastrophic shortfall in global energy supply – the wasteful, inefficient energy solutions proposed by Kyoto advocates simply cannot replace fossil fuels.”
Apparently that blunt statement was not clear enough.
Sadly, it will take a catastrophe to enlighten these fools, and I fear we will see it soon, in the form of an increase in excess winter mortality in certain European countries.
Regards to all, Allan

Bill Parsons

“We’ll help the poor in 2050 by making it easier for rich people to buy a new $100,000 Tesla, and meanwhile Elon Musk is laughing all the way to the bank …”
It’s pure graft. Tesla now rated by Consumer Reports as “best car evahh!” – so good it broke their ratings scale. Just like the guy with his mallet at carnival, knocking the bell right off the top of the “high striker” game. Wow!
A little skin ripped from the hide of the American public… must be good for covering somebody’s poor business acumen.


Leftists also forget there are always unforeseen and unintended consequences of circumventing free-market forces by State economic control: the lost jobs, the lost inventions that were never made, the new products that were never launched, the new companies that were never started, etc., all as a direct result of the State wasting capital that a free-market would have utilized differently…
Free-markets are the best and most moral way to effectively use and allocate land, labor and capital.


If you exclude tax breaks from the definition of subsidies then the whole thing makes more sense. All that matters is the NET flow of money ie, total tax less total ‘subsidy’. If that net is negative then you are being subsidized, of it is positive then you are paying tax. If you are claiming to be a producer of energy but are being subsidized then in reality you are a net absorber of energy. ie you are a burden.

John F. Hultquist

Thanks Willis. I know this makes you angry. Me too.
I’ll send a link to our local (small town) paper.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The numbers are news but the conclusion is not.
It takes money to make money.

This is the reverse Robin Hood effect.


It is a bit like city-center car-tolls, that prevent the poor from driving in cities. Well, the great unwashed should be on buses anyway. Don’t they know their place? /sarc


Liberals deserve blame for much of the looting but conservatives have dirty hands too. In 1999 Gov George Bush pushed a law in Texas forcing power companies to buy all green power produced in Texas. This mainly benefitted Sam Wyly, the Green King of Texas. In 2000 Bush did badly in the first 3 primaries. He had to win in S Carolina or give up. The polls had McCain 10 points ahead of Bush. Ten days before the election somebody flooded S Carolina with TV spots calling McCain a military coward. Bush won. Several months later it was learned that the Green King funded the attack ads.
By 2010 West Texas had so many wind mills that only 75% of the power being produced could be sent to consumers in East Texas cities. Presidential candidate Rick Perry pushed a bill that forced the rate payers of Texas to fund new high tension lines costing $5 billion. I could go on with this.
Also, you might think that SOME subsidies are good, like farming subsidies. I don’t buy it. Sure we get a lot of food, more than we can eat. Then we dump it in Africa. That makes African farmers uneconomic and they stop farming. Then they move to city slums, doubling the ranks of poor people. I see a bunch of conservative governors and congress critters strongly supporting farmers with ethanol subsidies and other green crap, like foecing all gasoline to have 10% alcohol. The vast majority of the farm subsidies go to people with home addresses in New York City or San Francisco. Rich bankers with low wage share croppers working the land. (Remember the conservative lady from Iowa who ran for president last time? She got farm subsidies AND subsidies for her medical business.)
All subsidies distort the free market structure of production. They should all be abolished.

Guess what? George Bush is not a conservative. Don’t lump him in with conservatives. We haven’t had a conservative president since Ronald Reagan, and even then he wasn’t a pure conservative, but better than most…


“All subsidies distort the free market structure of production. They should all be abolished.”
Exactly! And they all have “unintended” negative consequences that become the excuse for another government program. Pass an energy policy that artificially drives up the cost of home heating and then pass a program to subsidize the cost of home heating. Have agriculture policies that set minimum crop prices and then set up a food subsidy program so the poor can afford the overpriced groceries. This evolves into a government so large and with so many regulations and programs that even the staff in the agencies can’t know all of them. And in the end you wind up like Greece.

You got it. The biggest beneficiaries are the millions (really) of bureaucrats who personally benefit from that racket.
When I’m running things (starting the second Tuesday of Never), there will be a mass layoff of every employee of the Dept’s of Education, Energy, Homeland Security, the EPA, and a dozen other federal bureaucracies. That enormous burden should be lifted from hard-bitten taxpayers. Despite their self-servong P.R., they add no net value to the country.
Security and national defense should be provided by police, the military, and the 50 National Guards. The others are State issues — per the Constitution.
The problem was even predicted by none other than Karl Marx, who warned of a growing, unaccountable, nameless and facelss bureaucracy. That is happening now. Since year 2000, “fees” for public services have risen by more than 25%. Why? Because there is never enough money to feed the ravenous beast.
There are very few legitimate reasons for subsidies. At least 97% of all subsidies should be eliminated. The free market works far better and more efficiently than any government solutions.
But we have probably passed the point of no return. The federal bureaucracy, including most of the teachers receiving federal subsidies, numbers in the multi-millions. One-half of all Americans are now on the dole. They all vote, and they will not vote to cut their own benefits and jobs.

Yes , the overwhelming transfer of wealth the political class creates , whatever their rhetoric is to themselves and their bureaucratic empires .
In highschool in the `60s we read essays worried about how we would fill our expanded leisure time in the future . The State has taken care of that with regulations and paper work , backed , as Alan Greenspan said in his Ayn Rand days , by a gun .
One of the Statist mantras is “creating jobs” . Jobs don’t create wealth ; production does . One of the shallowest thoughts proffered here was that the subsidies for Teslas for the rich was fine because other programs subsidized energy for the poor . It reminds me of one of Thomas Sowell’s brilliantly simple observations : If people think healthcare is too expensive , how do they expect that that healthcare plus a bureaucracy to administer it will be less ?
If the production is there , eg , the energy cheap , then more people need to work less . And that’s a pleasant thought — the common expectation a half century ago .


“They don’t include the massive subsidies handed out directly to the solar and wind industries.”
It’s a pity you didn’t include this, as I suspect it dwarfs other subsidies. For example, it is not surprising that “GE does not disclose revenue for its wind business”, however having flogged over 25,000 of the monstrosities, at a couple of mega bucks a pop, taxpayers have poured $50B or so down the drain on GE alone.

Bob Lyman

The logical next step would be to conduct a study of which companies, countries and stockholders benefitted from the manufacture of heavily subsidized wind and solar equipment, electric vehicles and biofuels. In the case of solar equipment (PV Modules), seven of the top ten manufacturers are based in China and two in Japan, only one in the U.S. Of the top ten manufacturers of wind turbines, four are based in China, three in Germany, one in Spain, one (the largest – Vestas) in Denmark, and one in the U.S. It seems clear that a substantial portion of the subsidy benefit is being exported.


The tax on gasoline and diesel fuel refunded to farmers is because fuel is used off road and the tax was originally passed to support the construction and maintenance of roads.

Well, like it or not, it is the poorer members of our society who tend to vote these leftist clowns and ecoloons into high office.
Leftist clowns and ecoloons by definition are not economically savvy and are usually obsessed with ’causes’ designed to make them look caring and concerned. The end result is inevitable and always the same, the poor get screwed by the rich, as the latter are normally quick to understand how they can personally exploit the situation.
Put simply, the left likes to think that because of action A, the result will be B and that is good, but ignore the fact that B causes the further results C, D & E, which can usually be relied on to be bad or detrimental.

Leo Smith

Takes a liberal to discover a cool way to rape the poor

Barbara Skolaut

Leo, I am so stealing that.

Steve P

Best to avoid labels, and address issues.
The liberal-conservative, left-right paradigms really reflect the two front paws of the same tiger, playing both sides against the middle. Divide and conquer.
Imagine, if you could rate a movie, or novel, only by describing it as liberal or conservative. This is your mind on programming and propaganda. If you’re going to use labels, at least broaden your palette.
In this case Barbara, you’ve jumped in with both feet at the chance to blame all raping of the poor on liberals, but do you really think our world is so simple, so predictable, so easily understood that it can be rendered completely only in black & white?
Of course I hasten to note as I close that the idea never crossed my mind that any conservative would ever think of raping the poor.


NEW YORK The U.S. war in Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest, a study released on Thursday said.14 Mar 2013
Are the Iraqis more secure? Fewer deaths? Freedom to live peacefully?
Matters of Scale – Spending Priorities
Amount of money needed each year (in addition to current expenditures) to provide reproductive health care for all women in developing countries $12 billion
Amount of money spent annually on perfumes in Europe and the United States $12 billion
Amount of money needed each year (in addition to current expenditures) to provide water and sanitation for all people in developing nations $9 billion
Amount of money spent annually on cosmetics in the United States $8 billion
Amount of money needed each year (in addition to current expenditures) to provide basic health an nutrition needs universally in the developing world $13 billion
Amount of money spent each year on pet food in Europe and the United States $17 billion
Amount of money needed each year (in addition to current expenditures) to provide basic education for all people in developing nations $6 billion
Amount of money spent each year on militaries worldwide $780 billion
Combined wealth of the world’s richest 225 people $1 trillion
Combined annual income of the world’s poorest 2.5 billion people $1 trillion

And your point is?
Are you pretending that an all-powerful, anonymous, un-accountable international “government” would do a better job more accurately or more efficiently of taking all the world’s time, money and energy from everybody (except those whom that international government favors!) and giving it to those who that international government favors?
Or merely that “you” would “feel better” if “your” propaganda were satisfied according to how “you” feel that propaganda should be satisfied? How do “you” propose treating those innocents who disagree with “you” (and those guilty of NOT agreeing!) with “your” interpretation of a prefect world and “your” desires to impose “your” will on everybody else?

Once again another good article Willis. This same racket is happening here in UK too.
In the North East of England where I live, in the middle of summer we get up to 16 hours of daylight. We do not need the electricity then, since very few buildings are air-conditioned, lights are not needed etc. In the middle of winter when we do need the electricity for heating and lighting we get 7 hours of daylight, with the Sun a maximum of 15 degrees of altitude.

Gras Albert

Failed UK politician Ed Milliband’s lasting political legacy legacy is the Climate Change Act, the single most effective instrument of legislation in the last 300 years at transferring money from the poor to the rich. Why?, because the poor pay artificially inflated energy bills and the rich own the land that attracts renewable energy subsidy…

Philip Mulholland

This whole issue of robbing the poor to pay the rich reminds me of the 19th Century Corn Laws. Increasing the cost of energy by imposing taxes in order to fund so called Green Energy is an example of state interference that clearly rewards an uneconomic industry. If it is easier to make money by getting the state to tax its citizens rather than to lower your industry costs by improving efficiency or applying new technology, then lobbying the politicians to impose taxes is clearly the correct business decision to make.
Put simply if an industry is not profitable then it is not sustainable. Funding Green Energy is a pyramid scheme, another example of the myth of a free lunch, that we can all have endless energy for no effective cost or effort.