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« Schneider in the archives | Main | A good trick to create a decline »

That green energy scandal

It's here. I think we are going to be seeing a great deal more of this kind of thing.

Surprising documents ...reveal that Assistant Secretary of Energy Cathy Zoi has a huge financial stake in companies likely to profit from the Obama administration’s “green” policies.

Zoi, who left her position as CEO of the Alliance for Climate Protection — founded by Al Gore — to serve as assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy, now manages billions in “green jobs” funding. But the disclosure documents show that Zoi not only is in a position to affect the fortunes of her previous employer, ex-Vice President Al Gore, but that she herself has large holdings in two firms that could directly profit from policies proposed by the Department of Energy.

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Reader Comments (40)

Like we've heard before, this will be spun as "putting her money where her mouth is" and simply being an intelligent investor who is concerned with the environment. The article mentions the possibility of waivers to allow her conflict of interest to stand. Gee, I wonder if those waivers will be granted?

I'll be (happily) surprised if this goes anywhere.

Apr 26, 2010 at 3:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterJonasM

Agree with JonasM

Since so many have their snouts so deep in the trough of tax payers' money that they have to breath (as well as talk) through their arses, why would Zoi be singled out?

If Pachauri and Oxburgh can get away with it, why not her?

Apr 26, 2010 at 3:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Brumby

According to a report from Reuters, just released today, the real scandal is with skeptics. Here are some quotes.

"The attacks against climate science represent the most highly coordinated, heavily financed, attack against science that we have ever witnessed," said climate scientist Michael Mann….

"There are two kinds of opponents -- one is the fossil fuel lobby. So you have a trillion-dollar industry that's protecting market share," said Stephen Schneider…, referring to the oil industry's long history of funding climate sceptic groups and think tanks. "And then you have the ideologues who have a deep hatred of government involvement"….

Better communication about the science is key, scientists say, even if they complain that many sceptics are reluctant to debate the science on a level playing field.

(Somewhat off topic, I realize.)

Apr 26, 2010 at 4:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterDouglas J. Keenan

We new about the Gore connection when she took her position as assistant secretary for energy efficiency and I guess the shares issue will depend on when she obtained them. Maybe just a lot of hot air blowing around, we will see.

Apr 26, 2010 at 4:11 PM | Unregistered Commentermartyn

"Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive."

Another case of Green philanthropy turning money into more money by funding a number of diverse groups whose prime purpose is to soak the taxpayer for private profit.

These people make the Jesuits look like amateurs.

Apr 26, 2010 at 4:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterMac

I'm obviously in the wrong job!

Apr 26, 2010 at 4:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterSam the Skeptic

A couple of points: firstly, the route from Wall Street to the Treasury is well-trodden, and the US is reasonably used to dealing with conflicts, so I wouldn't go overboard.

Also I saw in the story the following: 'Obama “Energy Czar” Carol Browner said last year: “We need to make sure that eventually, we can get to a system where an electric company will be able to hold back some of the power so that maybe your air conditioner won’t operate at its peak, you’ll still be able to cool your house, but that’ll be a saving to the consumer.”

That's curiously worded I agree (saving?) but there is rational development of smart kit, like freezers, that will turn themselves off for short random periods when they sense loss of grid voltage at peak usage, it's to deal with intermittency issues apart from anything else. May not be the same thing.

Apr 26, 2010 at 4:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoddy Campbell

My own response is that alarmists started the threats a long time ago.

I don't remember any of these scientists in this article actually standing up and saying publicly to these eco-nutters calling for the execution of oil and airline bosses to desist from making such outrageous comments. Such utterances to quell scepticism of the science suited their purposes back then.

What these advocates of global warming fail to see is that the growth in scepticism is directly attributable to their own failure to convince. The continued fall out from the flawed IPCC process highlighted the large holes in the science, the bogus claims, the censoring of dissenting views and the utter disregard of criticism.

When you hear someone say, "We have kids" you know you are dealing with failed narrative. They are plenty of wrongs in this debate but to infer that sceptics are more likely to turn to violence to further their case than alarmists is to deny the opposite reality.

Apr 26, 2010 at 4:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterMac

To illustrate the point of threats to sceptics.

Talking Points Memo - "The Insolent Braggart"

June 2, 2009, 9:42PM

Title - At what point do we jail or execute global warming deniers

"What is so frustrating about these fools is that they are the politicians and greedy bastards who don't want a cut in their profits who use bogus science or the lowest scientists in the gene pool who will distort data for a few bucks. The vast majority of the scientific minds in the World agree and understand it's a very serious problem that can do an untold amount of damage to life on Earth.n So when the right wing fucktards have caused it to be too late to fix the problem, and we start seeing the devastating consequences and we start seeing end of the World type events - how will we punish those responsible. It will be too late. So shouldn't we start punishing them now?"

How many climate change advocates support such views? It seems many do.

Apr 26, 2010 at 5:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterMac

@Douglas J. Keenan
No you are not off here. The topics is related, maybe more than we even want to know. I guess all the 193 governmnts know people can see though the IPPC and it's claims. But having all the attention headed at the climate, who is looking to close at the oil supply situation ? Obama, went straight from Copenhagen and signed the paper admitting drilling in sensitive areas. He also have said on more than one occation the energy price will go sky high. I guess the real problem is the oil supply in the years to come. Setting a very high tax on CO2, may reduce the demand, thus "saving the world". Bad idea ?

Apr 26, 2010 at 6:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterRolf

Rolf: that makes two of us, I came to a similar conclusion some months back.

The Imminent Crash Of Oil Supply

Apr 26, 2010 at 6:37 PM | Unregistered Commenterpete

Also rather OT I'm afraid.

But I hasten to advise that on Thursday 27 May, Professor John Beddington, CMG, FRS, Government Chief Scientific Advisor and Head of the Government Office for Science will give a public lecture and talk about climate change at 7pm, National Science Learning Centre , York University.

Admission is by free ticket only from or send name & address to or call 01904 432622.

Regrettably, I have already booked a holiday for this week but it would be really nice if someone could go along and congratulate him, on behalf of all grateful tax payers, for his assiduous work in upholding the higest standards in science, espousing such sensible and moderate policies based on "consensus" science, safeguarding all our interests (and keeping our fuel bills so low!)

Apr 26, 2010 at 6:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Brumby

The article at PJ is premature. If they wanted to hit hard, they should have waited for the moment they could prove Ms. Zoi actually made profit using her current position. Right now there are only "could haves" and "might haves" there. Doesn't this sound familiar to you?

Apr 26, 2010 at 6:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterMichal Gancarski

`Green energy scandal`....hmmm... rather weak story and it will be snowed under the Goldy Sacks avalanche...

Apr 26, 2010 at 7:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterHoi Polloi

To be green with financial conflicts of interest is to be OK. To be Dick Cheney with above board connections with Halliburton (with gov't contracts negotiated during the Clinton Administration) is worse than the original sin. Indeed, liberal hypocrisy at it's worst.

Let's wait and demand to see Gore's, Browner's and Zoi's 2009 income tax returns. Should be interesting.

Apr 26, 2010 at 7:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterMescalero

With the emegence of the witchfinders and ecofacists, the global cooling deniers show their true character - "you will bend to our will, or die". The environmental movement has been iredeemably corrupted. Charities have abandoned their causes for "the big one" and a seat on the gravy train. Scientists avert their eyes to keep the grants flowing.

The fact so many of the posters here are warming fellow travellers, unprincipled, and just shrug, is a matter of shame.

Apr 26, 2010 at 7:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterAndrewSouthLondon

Yer Grace:

I kinda have to agree with Hoi Polloi. This is a weak case so far. I read the documents and Zoi has acknowledged the connections and has listed a series of disvestments. Remains to be seen whether they will actually occur... and the back-story (or stories) have yet to emerge. Serious Materials seems to be in full damage control mode at the moment...

Apr 26, 2010 at 8:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobert E. Phelan

Sounds remarkably like Lord Oxbourgh's conflict of interest, but on a larger scale.

It stinks.

Apr 26, 2010 at 9:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterKon Dealer

If Pachauri and Oxburgh can get away with it, why not her?

For those of you in the UK about to go to the polls, when a politician promises: "Yes! We Can!" and "Change", find out what he or she is really saying. What America got with the election of Obama was Chicago Politics in Washington, and Zoi is just a part of it. A very small part.

"Nothing new here, move along."

Apr 26, 2010 at 10:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

The warmists continue with this rubbish about big oil funding etc. The money "cycle" is well documented proving the warmists are swimming in funding. Joanna Nova on her site has had a very good summary of where its all going , for a long time now.

Apr 26, 2010 at 10:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoss

"Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive."

I like the version of ARD Fairbairn, a New Zealand Poet:

Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.
And when the art we have perfected,
We're just the boys to get elected.

Douglas J. Keenan:
As a political scientist, and one who studies (inter alia) the politics of business, I am always deeply offended by the facile views of people like Mann and Schneider (and Lord May and Bob Ward) who run what I call the 'Six Degrees of Exxon Mobil' trope. McKittrick is a fellow at the Fraser Institute in Vancouver, which recieves around $10K of the $120m-odd Exxon gives to public bodies annually. (It spends about $1B annually dealing with the issue in its operations, but that's ignored). We can therefore call McKittrick (and McIntyre) the equivalent of witches — and ignore, of course, the much larger sum Exxon gives to Stanford (Schneider's institution), which of course has no corrupting effect at all.

In terms of business politics, these views are really flat earth stuff. Business derives most of its influence from its structural power - its ability to deliver streams of economic benefits (jobs, taxes) that governments need, their ability to promise or threaten investment or disinvestment.

That aside, it is facile to suggest that the petroleum industry is threatened (within any commercially relevant time scale) by climate change. Oil will be around for a while yet under any scenario. Coal is threatened, especially by the easy shift to lower carbon-intensive fossil fuels like natural gas as a first step towards decarbonisation. And which company is the largest free market producer/holder of gas reserves (after Gazprom)? Exxon Mobil.

Nothing worse than 'concerned scientists' venturing where they are ignorant. I have introductory university physics, but I wouldn't make pronouncements on the origins of the universe, and would be rightly criticised if I did, but the point about science is that I might still be right. To suggest otherwise commits something called the genetic fallacy, but then scientists (especially climate scientists) don't seem to do much philosophy of science these days.

Apr 26, 2010 at 11:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterAynsley Kellow

The scam is Enhanced Oil Recovery.

Wikipedia: In United States, the Department of Energy (DOE) has estimated that full use of 'next generation' CO2-EOR in United States could generate an additional 240 billion barrels (3.8×1010 m3) of recoverable oil resources. Developing this potential would depend on the availability of commercial CO2 in large volumes, which could be made possible by widespread use of carbon capture and storage. For comparison, the total undeveloped US domestic oil resources still in the ground total more than 1 trillion barrels (1.6×1011 m3), most of it remaining unrecoverable. The DOE estimates that if the EOR potential were to be fully realised, State and local treasuries would gain $280 billion in revenues from future royalties, severance taxes, and state income taxes on oil production, aside from other economic benefits

James Hansen (March 2009):
We must either leave coal in the ground or else capture all of the emissions, including carbon dioxide, and put them back in the ground, which is very difficult to do. So we should not build any more coal-fired power plants that do not capture the carbon dioxide.

Newt Gingrich (April 2009):
Green coal and carbon sequestration is the most important single breakthrough we can make… I think that enhanced oil recovery, as a component of carbon sequestration, could lead to up to a 100 billion barrels of additional oil coming out of existing [US] fields.

Apr 27, 2010 at 1:12 AM | Unregistered Commenteranon

Climatologists and their latest woes:

"There is no proof in the context that they want it, that the earth goes around the sun. They are demanding a level of proof that doesn't exist in science.

"And then they say when you can't prove it to the extent that they want, then clearly that means there isn't any evidence, which of course is a logical fallacy."

...or so says Andy Pitman, co-director of the Climate Change Research Center at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.

Must be so difficult for climatology now that the concept of 'proof' is raised in even puff pieces. Oh what happened to the halcyon days of unquestioned scare story regurgitation and the endless flow of grant money?

Time to manufacture a few more lies, like the lack of interest in scientific debate in skeptics, the evil funding behind skeptics, and the endless death-threats.

Let's ignore the fact that skeptics are almost invariably interested, open minded scientists or engineers, who are unfunded (unlike climatologists), skeptics have been trying for years to obtain access to the data and algorithms which constitute the purported "proof" of AGW, and that climatologists brag in email of being tempted to assault skeptics at scientific meetings.

Because, in climatology, it is normal to ignore the facts in pursuit of the cause.

Apr 27, 2010 at 2:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterZT

Below is a page of links that charts the rise of carbon trading starting with Enron and Gore.

Gore was a political front for Occidental Oil (like his father
before him).

Pachuri arrived at the IPCC via The Indian Oil Corporation.

The backup position, Peak Oil would also benefit the oil companies

Apr 27, 2010 at 2:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterE Smith

Australia dumps emissions trading:

Pretending to save the world is just too expensive.

Apr 27, 2010 at 2:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterSmokey

who are the oil companies backing?

NYT DotEarth Blog: Andrew C. Revkin: Is China Chortling at Senate Climate Stasis?
Senator John Kerry is trying to tamp down the advance obituaries on his effort, with two colleagues, to cobble a passable Senate energy and climate bill. He just listed three reasons for climate optimism on Talking Points Memo. The first was that he and Senators Joseph Lieberman and Lindsey Graham had invested enormous amounts of time and effort; the second, that a very variegated coalition (from oil companies to environmental groups) was behind the effort; and the third, that everyone recognized China would celebrate if the effort failed…

Apr 27, 2010 at 3:15 AM | Unregistered Commenterpat


International Emissions Trading Association (IETA)

The biggest lobbying group at Copenhagen was the International Emissions Trading Association which was created to promote carbon trading more than ten years ago.

Its members include :-

BP, Conoco Philips, Shell, E.ON AG (coal power stations owner, EDF (one of the largest participants in the global coal market), Gazprom (Russian oil and gas), Goldman Sachs, Barclays, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley.

Apr 27, 2010 at 3:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterE Smith

Not only have the Australians abandoned ETS legislation now the Germans have abandoned the aim of a global binding agreement.,1518,691194,00.html

The political will over enacting climate change legislation and global agreements is slowly but surely being eroded by growing public scepticism.

Apr 27, 2010 at 11:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterMac

The climate change scandal will most certainly carry on as almost all parties are firm believers of it. The worst would be Lib Dem. Unformately they are leading by a mile in unweighted polls:

Apr 27, 2010 at 11:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames Z

Merkel Abandons Aim of Binding Climate Agreement, whoever would have thought it.

Let the infighting begin or perhaps it’s another political ploy to get other countries onboard the gravy train. Whichever Germany seems to be on a no lose gamble. After you, no after you, you first, no no I insist, I will if you will first. Maybe Cathy Zoi will be selling off a few shares or would that send the wrong message let’s hope these so called green politicians will be hung out to dry by their own greed.

Apr 27, 2010 at 12:34 PM | Unregistered Commentermartyn

@Mac - It makes me sad though that i live in the UK as was shown with the ban on flights the UK will be one of the last to catch on.

Funny to see the forward thinking Germany's seem to take the lead in such things, take Greece and the bail out they are leading asking questions if they should be giving all this money to a country that is in such a finance state (but thats another story of capitalism, funny enough shown up by warmists as a corrupting influence that doesn't work).

Apr 27, 2010 at 2:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterShevva

So Germany & Australia ditch Carbon Trading "for now".

But back in the UK, the only sign that cold reality is creeping in comes in a report from the Royal Academy of Engineering (see: -
(download the full report in pdf format),

written by a group of very highly qualified engineer - alarmists. Whilst they never question the "science" driving the AGW policies, they state:-

"The Climate Change Act, that became law on 26 November 2008, has
committed the UK to at least 80% reductions of greenhouse gas emissions by
2050. While there is a wealth of reports and studies on future energy systems
and technologies, there is no clear and realistic overall picture of how these
targets might be achieved and what such an energy system might look like.

* There is no single ‘silver bullet’ that will achieve the required 80% cuts in
greenhouse gas emissions. Fundamental restructuring of the whole of the
UK’s energy system will be unavoidable.

* Demand reductions across all sectors of the economy will be essential
through a combination of increased efficiencies and behavioural change.

*The full suite of low-carbon energy supply technologies already available
(or identified as credible) will be needed, including nuclear, renewables and
carbon capture and storage brought together in a balanced way.

* The scale of the engineering challenge is massive."

The scenarios they consider are discussed at page 7 and tabulated in tables 1 & 2 on page 9.
They then go on to look at the scale of Renewable Power Supply and Biomass (Tables 3 & 4 page 10) together with nuclear and fossil fuel (Table 5 page 11).

This comes from people with interests in nuclear and renewable energy but it seems very likely that they do at least know how to add up. The implications of implimenting any of their four 'scenarios' are frightening.

On the political front we have Labour and the Tories with half baked, unconsidered, unaffordable policies which stand no chance of working.

But fear not! Here comes everybody's favourite Superhero, Leader of the Dims, Cap'n Clegg!
Sporting his underpants over his trousers to hide his piratical trick of swiping the other parties' policies, hyping them up to even more absurd levels and calling them his own, we have:-

"40 per cent of UK electricity to come from clean, non-carbon-emitting sources by 2020, rising to 100 per cent by 2050, underpinned by guaranteed price support; and ensure that at least three-quarters of this new renewable energy comes from marine and offshore sources."

“Reject a new generation of nuclear power stations"

"The Liberal Democrats are committed to securing a legally binding global agreement on limiting the increase in global temperatures to below 1.7 degrees Celsius."

"Yes, Shipmates! I can see that working! Never mind that the engineers are in a tizzy how we can cut by 80% even with nuclear!
What's that I hear, 'We don't produce enough renewable energy from marine sources to boil a kettle?' You scurvey knave - Don't confuse me with facts, I've made up me mind!
Why, never mind 80%, my trusty sabre will cut deeper than that! 100% at least! We'll show those lily-livered swabs Ruddy & Merkel what us Dims are made of! Shiver me timbers! Lets go for a 250% reduction in CO2 and limit temperatures to half a degree at most! If Bosun Charlie Kennedy hasn't swigged all the grog we'll splice the Mainbrace!"

Apr 27, 2010 at 3:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Brumby

"The scale of the engineering challenge is massive"

And I bet they know just the bloke to fix it!

at a small fee, of course!

Apr 27, 2010 at 3:17 PM | Unregistered Commenteranon

Martin Brumby.

I had the Green candidate arrive at my door for a chat a few days ago. I had a nice discussion about the proposed reduction of UK CO2 from all parties. She wasn't phased one bit about how to reduce the UK's carbon emissions. She seemed completely blind to any of the hurdles facing anyone taking on this task. I wish I had this document with me at the time; I may have made her see sense.

I have found that not one of the candidates in my town has the slightest idea about the scale of what faces them, yet they don't half get shirty with me for questioning it.

I'm now armed for the next knight to appear at my cave. Thanks.

Apr 27, 2010 at 5:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoss Hartshorn

April 27, 2010 | Ross Hartshorn

Two more good 'uns to keep up your sleeve, which even the RAE report skirts over, are:-
(1) the absolutely pitiful contribution wind makes to the energy balance (December - February average 0.8% of total electricity generated - and that in such a variable and unpredictable manner that fossil fuel power stations have to be kept powered up and spinning to avoid wind fluctuations crashing the grid) and

(2) the improvements in efficiency of energy use that the RAE report assume in order to justify the reductions in energy demand in their scenarios 2, 3 & 4 would necessitate demolishing most of the UK housing stock built before about 1925 as well as massively upgrading insulation in the rest AND rebuilding the great majority of schools and hospitals. There are also big consequences stemming from these consequences, of course. Think of the 'carbon footprint' of all that demolition and construction work! Think of the increase in asthma, alergy and respiratory problems due to the savagely reduced ventilation in homes to avoid wasting heat energy.

All clean fun.

And I'm sure everyone here will be thrilled to learn that the Government;'s Chief "Scientific Advisor" John Beddington now stresses that "water supplies affect economic growth, energy security, food supply and healthcare.
The interdependence of these elements could produce a "perfect storm" leading to global instability if the problem is not addressed", he says.

So according to the latest doom laden report "Global Water Security - an Engineering perspective" the "UK must lead the efforts of developed nations to curb its "water footprint"."

That sound kind of familiar. I smell a funding application coming round the corner.

Apr 27, 2010 at 5:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Brumby

April 27, 2010 | Martin Brumby

You couldn't make this stuff up if you tried! I am shocked!

I was aware of the low amount of energy generated from wind, which I asked about to my green candidate. Rather than addressing the issues, I was simply told that's why we need to spend LOTS more money to improve it. For some reason I wasn't convinced. Call me cynical.


Apr 28, 2010 at 9:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoss Hartshorn


Unfortunately for us here in the UK, change means exactly the same as we have under labour but under a new name.

I was somewhat disturbed by the next Governments insistence that it will continue combating climate change the only way Governments know...increasing taxation!

It seems that all the main political players are warmists at heart...or at the very least they lack the balls to go against current "scientific consensus"!


Apr 29, 2010 at 10:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

Well, back to the original subject....

I see there are also holding in very "non progressive" companies, like Wal-Mart and those "evil Wall Street" bankers.

She must have to hide her head in shame when attending a green rally over that.

May 3, 2010 at 4:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterTW in the USA

It is incredibly ingenuous to pretend that it is acceptable to place a person invested in green companies in a position to enrich her friends or herself. It is very simply a conflict of interest. That is why we have this category of position. If something was not good or the best thing to do, why would one in her position be inclined to identify the problem and not fund it? DO NOT claim that morals alone will rule all decisions. That is not human nature, although it is a state we seek to acquire. Obama's relationship with carbon trading and green companies in Chicago constitute a conflict of interest from which he cannot escape. One should recuse themselves from important decisions about such things to make the validity of the decisions more acceptable and valid to the public. Insider trading and enriching one's friends are just plain too rampant practices in Washington today - all of the deals and hacks done to pass Obamacare make me nauseous.

May 10, 2010 at 4:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharles Higley

The goal of green energy is generally to create power with as little pollution as possible produced as a by-product.

Jul 2, 2012 at 2:48 AM | Unregistered Commenterplumbing

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