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Resources Are Almost 5 Times as Abundant as They Were in 1980

The following article originally appeared in Reason. Humanity is enjoying a world of increasingly cheap and ever more abundant mineral, agricultural, forestry and energy resources reports a brilliant new study, the Simon Abundance Index. This analysis by Marian Tupy,* editor of Human Progress at the Cato Institute, and Professor Gale Pooley from Brigham Young University – Hawaii uses data on 50 different commodities to track their price trajectories over the past 37 years from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. They find in real price terms their basket of commodities decreased by an average of 36.3 percent between 1980 and 2017. That's great, but their...

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No, Xcel’s Pledge to be Carbon-Free by 2050 Does Not Make Good Business Sense

Lee Schafer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune wrote an article in the Sunday, December 9th edition of the newspaper stating that Xcel's pledge to generate 100 percent of its electricity from "carbon free" sources by 2050 made good business sense. Unfortunately, Xcel Energy's plan will only make "business sense" for Xcel, companies like Mortenson Construction that are financially invested in the renewable energy industry, Xcel's shareholders, and non-government organizations like Fresh Energy that promote renewable energy sources like wind and solar despite their high cost and low reliability. ...

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Higher Than Expected Natural Gas Prices Highlight Importance of Coal-Fired Power Plants

Generating electricity with natural gas is far more expensive than generating electricity with coal at current gas prices. In fact, natural gas prices must remain below $2.92/mmbtu at a combined cycle natural gas plant, and below $2.24 at combustion turbine plants for consumers to save money on fuel costs relative to coal....

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If Efficiency Is No Longer Cost Effective, We Shouldn’t Subsidize It

The Minnesota Department of Commerce released a study on Tuesday saying that electric and natural gas utilities could continue to meet their current efficiency mandates, but that it will become more expensive to do so over time. Under the Next Generation Energy Act, passed in 2007, electric utilities are mandated to reduce their electricity sales by 1.5 percent annually. Electric utilities have reached this goal, but according to the Commerce report, the days of easy, low-cost energy savings are nearing the end. In order to keep up the energy savings, utilities will have to pay higher "incentives" and subsidies to get consumers...

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Macron Blinks in Fuel-Tax Dispute With Yellow Vests

This article originally appeared in The Wall Street Journal: PARIS—French President Emmanuel Macron suffered the first major setback in his push to overhaul the French economy, backing off a fuel-tax increase that enraged much of the nation and sparked a grass-roots protest movement against his government. Faced with another weekend of destructive protests by the gilets jaunes—or yellow vests—Prime Minister Édouard Philippe told a press conference on Tuesday that the tax increase would be pushed back six months to allow for public discussion. The worst riots to hit Paris in decades erupted during antigovernment protests on Saturday, leaving the city’s shopping and tourist center dotted with...

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Utility Dive Names Xcel Energy “Utility of the Year.” We’re Less Impressed

Utility Dive, a website that covers the ongoings of the electric utility industry, has named Xcel Energy the Utility of the Year for 2018, commending the company for retiring coal-fired power plants and investing billions in future wind, solar, and natural gas installations. As for us, we don't think Xcel should be applauded for pursuing policies that result in higher profits for Xcel shareholders at the expense of the families and businesses who have no choice but to buy their electricity from the monopoly utility. ...

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American Frackers Are Dismembering OPEC

OPEC used to to be the most influential cartel in the world. Even if the general public didn't know that OPEC stood for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, they were keenly aware of the power this  group held to raise, or lower, oil prices, and what impact gas prices had on their families. But many people don't realize the power of OPEC is withering under the onslaught of American oil produced on American soil. America's surging oil production is so disruptive to the cartel that the Middle Eastern nation of Qatar has announced it will leave the organization in January. This...

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Revenge of the Diesel Class: Yellow Vest Protests Continue to Rage in France Over Climate Taxes

Thousands of Yellow Vest protesters in France continue to protest over the climate taxes imposed by French President Emmanuel Macron that will initially lead to a 30 cent increase in diesel prices, with the tax increasing over time. The New York Times described the protests as "shaking French politics to the core." The Yellow Vests are not young college students or far-right activists, they are the working class inhabitants of rural France that have been forgotten by the leaders in urban areas. NPR reports: "Among its ranks are retirees and the unemployed, farmers, housewives and people who have never protested before," NPR's Eleanor...

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