This June's United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UN CSD) in Rio de Janeiro will largely sidestep discussions of climate-change theories as leaders perceive the subject to be too controversial, according to summit insiders seeking ambitious and wide-ranging agreements on the world’s future. What is being touted as the biggest political gathering of the year will instead focus on framing UN “green” goals in terms of economic prosperity and environmental necessity.

 

Ener1 Inc., which owns an electric car battery-maker that reaped a $118-million grant from the Obama administration, filed for bankruptcy protection Thursday. The New York-based company claimed defaults on its bond debt were spurred by rising competition from China and other countries. Ener1 listed $73.9 million in assets and $90.5 million in debt as of December 31 in Chapter 11 papers filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

 

The Obama administration really needs to get its act together. According to CNSNews.com, at least two of the claims President Barack Obama made during his recent State of the Union address have been directly contradicted by his own administration. One of them, in fact, was contradicted by his administration at the very moment he was uttering it!

 

As environmental groups hail President Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline, billionaire and prominent Democratic donor Warren Buffett is set to reap a handsome reward from the decision. Buffett’s Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC is a notable beneficiary — among other U.S. and Canadian railroads — of the move, as it is one of the railroads that will transport the Canadian oil if the pipeline isn’t approved.

 

House Republicans unleashed a barrage of criticism Wednesday during a House hearing on Chevrolet’s Volt electric car, after the head of the federal auto safety agency insisted that the vehicles are not dangerous. "The Chevrolet Volt is safe to drive and it has been safe to drive the whole time," David Strickland, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), told a congressional panel. "Not only would I drive it, I would [take] my wife, my mother and my baby sister along for the ride."

 

President Obama rejected a permit to expand the controversial Keystone pipeline Wednesday, blaming Republicans for ordering a hurried deadline that, he claimed, did not provide sufficient time for officials to review the plan. "The rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by Congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipeline's impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment," the President said in a statement.

The White House disputed that the pipeline provision that Republicans attached to the short-term payroll tax cut extensions last year — which forced the Obama administration to make a decision in two months — is what dismantled the project. "This announcement is not a judgment on the merits of the pipeline, but the arbitrary nature of a deadline that prevented the State Department from gathering the information necessary to approve the project and protect the American people," Obama charged in his written remarks. "I'm disappointed that Republicans in Congress forced this decision, but it does not change my administration's commitment to American-made energy that creates jobs and reduces our dependence on oil."

TransCanada’s Keystone XL, which would transport Canadian crude oil from Alberta, Canada, to southern parts of the United States, has been battling an ongoing review from the State Department, and despite receiving several other federal, state, and local approvals, the department retracted from signing off on the project last year after environmental groups and Nebraska lawmakers protested the measure.

Human rights activist Kerry Kennedy, ex-wife of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy, stands to rake in millions from her seemingly selfless defense of the oil-drilled rain forest in Ecuador. An Ecuadorean appeals court recently upheld a ruling that Chevron Corporation, the U.S. oil giant, should pay $18 billion in damages (which the company is now appealing) to plaintiffs who accused the company of inflicting environmental damage on the Amazon jungle — in what Kennedy called "the biggest corporate environmental disaster on the face of the Earth."

 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce targeted the Obama administration Thursday with a call to authorize the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport Canadian crude oil from Alberta, Canada, to southern parts of the United States. TransCanada’s 1,700-mile pipeline has been battling an ongoing review by the State Department, and while a final stamp of approval was expected last fall, the Obama administration folded to Democratic lawmakers and environmental groups in November, deciding to suspend its verdict until 2013.

The Chamber’s plea arrived a day after Obama held a White House meeting with U.S. business leaders to announce a new plan designed to boost job "insourcing." "In the next few weeks, I will put forward new tax proposals that reward companies that choose to bring jobs home and invest in America — and eliminate tax breaks for companies that move jobs overseas," the President declared. "Because there is opportunity to be had, right here."
 
At a press conference Thursday, Bruce Josten, the Chamber’s executive vice president for government affairs, referenced Obama’s job-creation rally cry. However, Josten affirmed, "The president missed the biggest in-sourcing opportunity yesterday and it’s called the Keystone Pipeline."
 

The Obama administration’s track record with taxpayer-funded, green-tech subsidies is severely flawed, and according to new documents obtained by CBS News, its failures were all too predictable. The Energy Department's $535-million loan guarantee to Solyndra is, at least publicly, its most illustrious investment blunder, as the company went bankrupt last year leaving taxpayers with a hefty bill and putting more than 1,000 employees out of work.

All in all, 12 green energy companies are in financial disorder after collectively receiving more than $6.5 billion in government assistance, five of which have already filed for bankruptcy, including Solyndra, Beacon Power, SpectraWatt, Evergreen Solar, and AES’ subsidiary Eastern Energy. According to CBS News, these green-tech ventures were junk-bond-rated companies with red flags planted all over them.

The first company under the spotlight is Beacon Power, a flywheel-based energy storage company which reaped $43 million from the Energy Department’s green energy program. The documents obtained by CBS News show that Standard & Poor’s had confidentially branded the Beacon project with a dismal "CCC+" rating, previous to the loan’s completion.

President Obama lauded the hard work and dedication of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) employees on Tuesday, assuring them that he will stand by their side amid a burgeoning sentiment from congressional Republicans that the EPA's environmental regulations will devastate the economy and kill American jobs.

He also told EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and the roughly 800 EPA employees who gathered at the headquarters in Washington that new government regulations on power plant emissions will save "thousands" of lives and inhibit "cases of childhood asthma."
 
"Just a few weeks ago, thanks to the hard work of so many of you, Lisa and I were able to announce new common-sense standards to better protect the air we breathe from mercury and other harmful air pollution," Obama professed, referring to new federal rules adopted in December to regulate mercury and other emissions from coal power plants. "And because we acted, we’re going to prevent thousands of premature deaths, thousands of heart attacks and cases of childhood asthma."
 
In his succinct monologue, the President added that EPA regulations can help generate jobs and promote economic growth, such as through jobs wherein people work to restore contaminated areas and through fuel-efficient vehicles that will ease the burden of high gas prices so that consumers can "go spend on something else."

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