Ben Zycher on the hypocrisy of BlackRock’s ‘sustainability’ initiative:
Blackrock—the largest asset manager in the world—has announced in the form of a public letter from its CEO Larry Fink to corporate managements that henceforth“Sustainability [will serve] as Blackrock’s New Standard for Investing.”
It is unsurprising that nowhere in the various materials issued by Blackrock in support of this new mission is there to be found an actual definition of “sustainability.” Instead, Blackrock informs us that
Sustainability in the investment context means understanding and incorporating environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into investment analysis and decision-making.
That “definition” is worse than useless . . . Continue reading “‘BlackRock Discovers the Joy of Other People’s Money’”
By H. Sterling Burnett
These days we may be distracted by the COVID-19 virus, but climate issues move on. Recently, Wired magazine published an article about big batteries, or more precisely linked battery packs located in enormous battery farms. They will be needed if we want to generate energy from sources that emit no carbon dioxide.
Batteries store energy. They can be small—like the one inside your cell phone. But when it comes to storing solar or wind energy—sources that produce electricity intermittently—they must be huge. The batteries store the energy that these somewhat unreliable sources of energy produce so it can be used when needed.
Wired cites the example of San Diego Gas & Electric, the state’s third-largest private utility, which installed a pair of batteries that can store enough energy to power just 1,000 homes for four hours. Think about it. To power just 1,000 homes for four hours, each battery “consists of five shipping containers’ worth of equipment, eight 10,000-gallon tanks of electrolyte solution (the stuff that holds the charge), and a maze of wires, pumps, switches, and PVC piping. They sit in corrosion-resistant concrete safety pits that are large enough, in case of a leak, to hold all 80,000 gallons of electrolyte plus all the water from the county’s worst day of rain in the past 100 years. Rain! Being in California, I want to know if they are safe from cracking during earthquakes, or how they might be affected by wildfires or mudslides? Continue reading “The Problem with Batteries (Big Batteries)”
Barry Asmus, who died March 30, 2020, studied at Montana State University, where he was mentored by economists at PERC, the Property and Environment Research Center. He picked up his appreciation of the free market from them (Richard Stroup was his thesis adviser). While Barry didn’t enter the environmental field, he became an advocate for the free market.
John Goodman remembers Barry Asmus:
Almost everybody I know believes in something.
But no one I ever met believed as fervently and passionately as Barry Asmus. He didn’t just believe. He wanted you to believe, too. His speeches on public policy came close to being sermons. If you happened to be a liberal, he did everything he could to save your political soul.
He loved to get in front of an audience and give his listeners an unforgettable experience. He was disappointed if he didn’t get a standing ovation at the end.
He once told me: when you finish a speech, if you aren’t sweating from head to toe you haven’t done your job.
I think it was Paul Samuelson who once said, “I’m very lucky; I get paid for doing something I would have done for free.” I believe the same could be said of Barry. He made a good living as one of the nation’s most effective public policy speakers. But if he didn’t need the money, I think he would have done it all for free. Continue reading “Barry Asmus, RIP”
The World Meteorological Organization said the coronavirus pandemic is expected to push carbon dioxide emissions down by 6 percent this year, which would be the largest one-year decrease since World War II. WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in a virtual briefing that the drop could be traced to the “lack of emissions from transportation and industrial energy production.” (Reuters) Continue reading “The Environmental Impact of Coronavirus”