April 25 news: Trump’s energy policy is to seize foreign oil fields; High gas prices mean record Big Oil profits

Dumbest Guy in the Room: Donald Trump’s Energy Policy

As the rumor mill surrounding next year’s presidential election picks up steam, Donald Trump’s potential candidacy has received the nod from a few Republican Party stalwarts. For his part, Trump appears to be courting party leaders by rolling out big-picture policy statements. For example, in March, Trump proposed an extraordinarily straightforward energy policy for solving the short and long term energy woes of the United States.

The plan has two principal parts. First, the U.S. military re-invade the Middle East and commandeer control of Iraq’s oil fields. As Trump sees it, the U.S. earned the right to annex Iraq’s abundant reserves of crude oil by investing about $1.5 trillion in ousting Saddam Hussein. Trump explained his thinking in an interview with George Stephanopoulos:

Trump: George, let me explain something to you. We go into Iraq. We have spent thus far, $1.5 trillion. We could have rebuilt half of the United States. $1.5 trillion. And we’re going to then leave. So, in the old days, you know when you had a war, to the victor belong the spoils. You go in. You win the war and you take it.


Stephanopoulos: It would take hundreds of thousands of troops to secure the oil fields.

Trump: Excuse me. No, it wouldn’t at all.

Stephanopoulos: So, we steal an oil field?

Trump: Excuse me. You’re not stealing. Excuse me. You’re not stealing anything. You’re taking- we’re reimbursing ourselves- at least, at a minimum, and I say more. We’re taking back $1.5 trillion to reimburse ourselves.

But Trump is not one to put all his eggs in one basket. On the contrary, in the unlikely event the U.S. is unable to colonize Iraq’s oil reserves by military shock and awe, Trump’s plan envisions an equally simple “Plan B” strategy for bringing down gas prices. Trump explained the mechanics of this strategy to CNN:

“I can send two executives into a room. They can say the same things; one guy comes home with the bacon and the other guy doesn’t. I’ve seen it a thousand times . . . We don’t have the right messenger. [President Barack] Obama is not the right messenger. We are not a respected nation anymore and the world is laughing at us.”

In other words, because OPEC controls the price of crude oil, all we need to do is tell OPEC to reduce oil prices and Ta-Da! — cheap gasoline for everyone forever and ever.

Wow. Why didn’t we think of this before?

High Gas Prices Mean Record Profits for Big Oil

While many Americans are seething at gas prices, which have hit $5 per gallon in parts of the country, big oil companies are expected to report significant first quarter profits later this week.

Analysts say they expect the world’s largest non-government controlled oil company, Exxon, to report a staggering $10 billion profit — a 60 percent increase.

Shell is expected to post a healthy 22.2 percent gain, translating to $5.9 billion for the company, which is right on par with competitor Chevron’s profits.

It’s enough to make people grappling with how to survive the pain at the pump furious.

“We’re the ones getting shafted,” said Jack Foley, a New York City driver.

But experts say you shouldn’t cast blame on big oil — they’re not responsible for setting the price.

Hybrid Cars achieves 68.7 mpg in 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid

The 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid is officially rated at 44/44/44 city/highway/combined, but the folks over at Hybrid Cars have squeezed 68.7 mpg out of their test unit.

By using some hypermiling techniques on a ten-mile course consisting of country lanes, some light highway motoring and with a handful of stoplights along the route, Hybrid Cars achieved what it calls the “upper limit” of what any 2012 Civic Hybrid driver should expect in terms of fuel economy. At an impressive 68.7 mpg, the Civic Hybrid is certainly a fuel-sipping vehicle if driven using some gas-saving techniques, but the real fuel economy tests will come when everyday Joes slot in behind the wheel and pilot Honda’s hybrid sedan under more “normal” driving conditions. Until then, let’s just say that the fuel economy rating of the 2012 Civic Hybrid slightly improves upon the 40/43/41 numbers sported by the 2011 model.

Ozone hole linked to southern rain increases

The hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica is a significant driver of climate change and rain increases in the southern hemisphere over the past 50 years, US scientists said Thursday.

The findings by a team at Columbia University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science are the first to link ozone depletion in the polar region to climate change all the way to the equator.

Researchers said the analysis should lead policy-makers to consider the ozone layer along with other environmental factors such as Arctic ice melt and greenhouse gas emissions when considering how to tackle climate change.

“It’s really amazing that the ozone hole, located so high up in the atmosphere over Antarctica, can have an impact all the way to the tropics and affect rainfall there,” said Sarah Kang, lead author of the study in the journal Science.

“It’s just like a domino effect,” she said.

Scientists say the Antarctic ozone hole, discovered in the 1980s, was created by the extensive use of manmade aerosols containing chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

Since the signing by 196 countries of the 1989 Montreal Protocol, most CFC production around the world has stopped, and experts expect the hole to close by the middle of this century.

Costly gasoline clouds Obama re-election prospects

With gas prices climbing and little relief in sight, President Barack Obama is scrambling to get ahead of the latest potential obstacle to his re-election bid, even as Republicans are making plans to exploit the issue.

No one seems more aware of the electoral peril than Obama himself.

“My poll numbers go up and down depending on the latest crisis, and right now gas prices are weighing heavily on people,” he told Democratic donors in Los Angeles this past week.

In fact, Obama raised the issue unsolicited in a series of town meetings in Virginia, California and Nevada that were ostensibly about his deficit-reduction plan. And he made the gas spike the subject of his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday.

“It’s just another burden when things were already pretty tough,” he said.

As Obama well knows, Americans love their cars and remain heavily dependent on them, and they don’t hesitate to punish politicians when the cost of filling their tanks goes through the roof. Indeed, for presidents, responding to sudden surges is a recurring frustration.

“These gas prices are killing you right now,” Obama said at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, acknowledging that many Americans can’t afford new fuel-efficient cars and must drive older models.. For some, he said, the cost of a fill-up has all but erased the benefit of the payroll tax holiday that he and congressional Republicans agreed on last December.

Obama Says Clean-Energy Programs Cuts Would Harm Effort to Cap Gas Prices

President Barack Obama said proposals in Congress to cut investments in clean energy technology would hurt efforts to stem rising gasoline prices, which climbed to a 33-month high April 21.

In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama said while “there’s no silver bullet that can bring down gas prices right away” increasing U.S. oil production, investing in clean, renewable energy, and ending $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies to oil and gas companies each year will help curtail rising gas prices.

“That’s $4 billion of your money going to these companies when they’re making record profits and you’re paying near record prices at the pump,” he said. “It has to stop.”

Obama said in the address that he disagrees with a Republican proposal in Congress to reduce clean energy investments. House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin proposed a 70 percent cut to clean energy programs in the Republican budget plan released April 5.

Gasoline for May delivery rose 3.13 cents, or 1 percent, to $3.3086 a gallon on the Nymex, the highest settlement since July 15, 2008. Gasoline, which gained 0.6 percent this week, has increased 45 percent in a year.

US Coast Guard slams Transocean

The US Coast Guard slammed drilling rig operator Transocean’s “poor safety culture” in a report Friday on the massive explosion and fire that unleashed the biggest maritime oil spill in history.

Poor maintenance, inadequate training and the bypassing of alarms and automatic shutdown systems prevented the crew from shutting down the runaway well after it blew and led to a chaotic abandonment of the blazing Deepwater Horizon rig.

“The investigation revealed that Deepwater Horizon and its owner, Transocean, had serious safety management system failures and a poor safety culture,” the Coast Guard concluded in a 288-page report.

“The company leaders’ failure to commit to compliance with the International Safety Management Code created a safety culture throughout its fleet that could be described as: ‘running it until it breaks,’ ‘only if it’s convenient,’ and ‘going through the motions.’”

The report — released on the one-year anniversary of the rig’s sinking — is just the first volume in the Coast Guard’s investigation and does not touch upon the failures that led to the blowout or the effectiveness of the spill response.

Fracking’s Environmental Footprint to Transform Pennsylvania Landscape

Executives in the energy exploration and drilling industry practically salivate when talk turns to possibilities in Pennsylvania.

Perhaps fittingly, their nickname for the Keystone State is “the Saudi Arabia of natural gas.”

Being heralded as twin energy founts, however, is about where the similarities between the natural gas-rich Middle Atlantic state and the oil-laden Middle Eastern nation end. Their geographies are studies in extreme contrast and size-wise, two Pennsylvanias could be shoehorned into just one Saudi Arabia.

Right now, the hydraulic fracturing fever sweeping their state has many Pennsylvanians in turmoil. In addition to concerns about impacts on their water and air, state residents are worried about the indelible footprint fracking infrastructure is in the midst of stamping on the forests, open spaces, rural hamlets, agricultural fields and public lands they call home.

After all, William Penn is the Englishman and Quaker credited with founding the state. Back in 1681 he christened the region Sylvania “” the Latin word for woods “” for obvious reasons.

So, just how will this hunt for buried energy treasure transform the landscape of a state that draws millions of tourists to its state parks and prides itself on its productive forests?

Xinjiang Goldwind Wins Two Orders for Wind Turbines in U.S. Market

Xinjiang Goldwind Science and Technology Co. said it won two orders for its wind turbines in the U.S., helping the Chinese manufacturer expand into the world’s second-biggest energy market.

Goldwind will supply five 1.5-megawatt turbines to wind farms in Ohio and Rhode Island, the Shenzhen-listed company said today in an e-mailed statement today.

The country’s largest wind-turbine maker after Sinovel Wind Group Co. is focusing its effort for overseas sales on Australia, the U.S. and South Africa, Garth Heron, the company’s associate director of international business, said in March. Goldwind currently has 9 production plants in China and is able to manufacture 4,000 1.5-megawatt turbines annually.

Chinese manufacturers are increasingly exporting their machines, building on their expertise gained in supplying the majority of units erected in the domestic market and turning it into the world’s largest installed base of wind power.

In December, Goldwind said it will sell power to Commonwealth Edison Co. from its Illinois project, the first large U.S. wind farm using Chinese-made turbines.