Election politics with the Ambler Road; Perry on emission reduction “Just do it!”

Gov. Walker lifts funding restrictions on road to benefit Northwest Alaska mines
James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News, November 28, 2018

Gov. Bill Walker has partially reversed one of his cost-cutting moves, allowing work to proceed on the proposed Ambler Road in the Brooks Range of northern Alaska. In an announcement Tuesday, Walker said he is allowing state agencies to use $3.6 million in available funds to advance the project. Work on the Ambler Road was halted in December 2014 when Walker issued Executive Order 271, which froze spending on six major construction projects, including the Knik Arm Crossing, Juneau Access Project, Susitna-Watana Hydroelectric Project and the Ambler Road. In his statement, Walker said the state’s fiscal situation has improved since he issued the executive order freezing funding. Work on Susitna-Watana and the Knik Arm Crossing remains frozen, and the Juneau Access Project has been canceled.

Our Take: Why the delay? Governor Walker could have released these funds a long time ago – the claim that the fiscal situation was to blame rings hollow. The governor didn’t have any problem hiring numerous special assistants who cost more than $3 million dollars and did nothing to strengthen the economy. This smells like election politics – releasing the funds would have jeopardized potential votes from the anti-mining crowd.   Our advice to the new administration? Do the right thing, do things right, do the right things right.

Oil’s wild price swings keep stock investors on the sidelines of energy sector
Tom DiChristopher, CNBC, November 29, 2018

  • Oil prices have plunged more than 30 percent, while the S&P 500 energy sector is down about 15 percent.
  • Analysts say the wild swings in the oil market means stock investors are sitting on the sidelines of the energy sector.
  • Portfolio managers believe energy stocks are undervalued, but still don’t see generalist investors rushing into the sector.

Natural Gas Magazine, November 29, 2018

Reaching net-zero carbon emissions from heavy industry and heavy-duty transport sectors is technically and financially possible by 2060, and earlier in developed economies, and could cost less than 0.5% of global GDP, according to a report published November 19 by the ‘Energy Transitions Commission’ (ETC). The report, Mission Possible, outlines possible ways to fully decarbonize cement, steel, plastics, trucking, shipping and aviation. These together represent 30% of energy emissions today, but this could rise to 60% by mid-century as other sectors lower their emissions.

From the Washington Examiner, Daily on Energy:

Energy Secretary Rick Perry said Thursday morning that the U.S. is the model to the world for how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions despite Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord.

Perry explained that although “America got criticized for backing away” from the climate deal, it should not be taken as the U.S. not having an interest in dealing with the problem of global warming.

“We have great interest in it, but we just don’t talk about it,” Perry said in giving the keynote speech at a Consumer Energy Alliance forum on the power grid.

Bragging rights: Perry added that the U.S. has cut overall emissions 14 percent over the last 13 years, while his home state of Texas was able to cut emissions while increasing oil and natural gas production and adding more cars on the road.

The U.S. story “isn’t just rhetoric,” because “it’s not bragging if you can do it,” he added, while not mentioning the recent national climate assessment released last week that talked about economic losses in the nation if climate change is not addressed.

Buy natural gas: His big pitch to the world is to buy more U.S. natural gas to help other nations reduce their carbon footprints, he said.

“My job is to sell a lot of [liquefied natural gas] around the world” to help others reduce emissions, he said. “I think there is a great story to be told here.”

Tackling climate change Texas style: Texas reduced its emissions by nearly 20 percent while growing its economy, which was primarily the result of fuel switching to natural gas and building more state-of-the-art power plants to burn the fuel, he explained.

“I shared that with people around the world,” Perry said. “Here’s a model that works.”