Today’s homily was going to be about the bad decision by Donald Trump and the Republicans to put a 30% tariff on imported solar panels. I’m running out of time to write what I think here, so instead I’m just going to copy in the text of a series of tweets by Eugene Wilkie who owns Now! Solar, a solar panel installing company in the Washington area (Richland/Kennewick/Pasco).

I haven’t confirmed the accuracy of his tweets, or edited them in any way. There are two which contain graphs, so I’ve used the original tweets. You can see all the original tweets here.

Here goes.

As a solar company, we are devastated to learn Trump has imposed a 30% tariff on solar panels virtually killing the solar industry. Solar employs more people than coal and oil combined. today’s decision will cause the loss of roughly 23,000 American jobs this year.

In the last decade, solar has experienced an average annual growth rate of 68%. Nearly 260,000 Americans work in solar – more than double the number in 2012 – at more than 9,000 companies in every U.S. state.

The cost to install solar has dropped by more than 70% since 2010, leading the industry to expand into new markets and deploy thousands of systems nationwide

In 2016, Solar installed 39% of all new electric generating capacity, topping all other technologies for the first time. Solar’s increasing competitiveness against other technologies has allowed it to quickly increase its share of total U.S. electrical generation

The solar industry employs the kind of “forgotten” Americans whom Trump champions: small contractors who employ blue-collar workers earning a median of $26 an hour; one in 10 are veterans.

On one side are manufacturers SolarWorld, a U.S. subsidiary of a German company, and Georgia-based Suniva, majority-owned by a Hong Kong firm. Both complained to the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) that cheap imports, mostly from China, were killing them.

They filed their ITC complaint under a seldom-used statute in which the criteria is nearly impossible to refute. Commissioners needed only to find that large numbers of an imported product were undercutting a U.S. manufacturer.

This industry is America’s fastest-growing energy business, expanding by 20% each of the past four years and now employing nearly 374,000 workers.

Solar companies created 1 in 50 new jobs in the U.S. in 2016,

Analysts say will send the price of solar panels surging and halt hiring in an industry that has grown 17 times faster than the U.S. economy.

It will create a crisis in a part of our economy that has been thriving, which will ultimately cost tens of thousands of hard-working, blue-collar Americans their jobs,” Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA’s chief executive, said in a scathing press release.

tRrump has railed against renewable energy and dismissed climate change as a hoax, had significant discretion over today’s decision proving that he is not putting America first and ultimately will put thousands out of work.

Projected it will cost the industry 88,000 jobs nationwide, about 34 percent of the 260,000 Americans employed in solar in 2017, according to calculations released last June by SEIA. At risk would be 6,300 jobs in Texas, 4,700 in North Carolina “and a whopping 7,000 in SC

Last year, Trump proposed a 2018 budget that slashed funding for the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy by 71.9 percent.

The administration pushed a proposal designed by coal baron and Trump ally Bob Murray to bail out coal and nuclear power plants with a plan that would add $10.8 billion in ratepayer costs.

The Environmental Protection Agency moved to repeal the Clean Power Plan, the nation’s only major federal program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and incentivize utility-scale clean energy investments.

The White House also illegally withheld $91 million in funding to ARPA-E, an experimental energy research program responsible for “holy grail” breakthroughs in battery storage technology.

#TrumpsWarOnSolar is a reflection of his deep hatred of anything @BarackObama stood for.

As an #Solar industry veteran for over 25 years, I have contended that if they stripped the incentives from fossil fuel and renewables we would beat them on pricing and the flip to renewables would be swift.

Republicans keep crowing about how we need to quit subsidizing and paying out to prop up industries but what they refuse to talk about is the number of incentives fossil fuel receives.

Energy analysts have made the point again and again that fossil fuels, not renewable energy, most benefit from supportive public policy

The profits of US fossil fuels are built on a foundation of government assistance.

US fossil fuel production is subsidized to the tune of $20 billion annually Researchers at Oil Change International (OCI) set out to quantify the level of US fossil fuel subsidies, OCI is only counting direct production subsidies. As they acknowledge, that leaves out a great deal

OCI’s analysis leaves out indirect subsidies — things like the money the US military spends to protect oil shipping routes, or the unpaid costs of health and climate impacts from burning fossil fuels.

These indirect subsidies reach to the hundreds of billions, dwarfing direct subsidies — the IMF says that, globally speaking, they amount to $5.3 trillion a year.

OCI acknowledges that its estimates of state-level subsidies are probably low, since many states don’t report the costs of tax expenditures (i.e., tax breaks and credits to industry), so data is difficult to come by.

Adding everything up: $14.7 billion in federal subsidies and $5.8 billion in state-level incentives, for a total of $20.5 billion annually in corporate welfare.

Notice that asterisk by remediation, which refers to the cost of cleaning up environmental messes and abandoned infrastructure left behind by fossil fuels. Shady insurance, bonding, and liability-cap policies mean that taxpayers are probably on the hook for lots more than this.

Intangible drilling oil & gas deduction ($2.3 billion)
Excess of percentage over cost depletion ($1.5 billion)
Master Limited Partnerships tax exemption ($1.6 billion)
Last-in, first-out (LIFO) accounting ($1.7 billion)

(Heather here again.) There was some push-back, and other discussion. Here’s a (big) selection of the tweets in response:








































(Me again.) Okay, that was really long, so there won’t be too many more tweets.


Political Tweets

Thank goodness there’s still a free media in the US. It’s chilling how many USians are prepared to ignore the influence of the Kremlin and its values on the White House because they want a Republican government.
(Via Ann German.)


It absolutely blows me away that this sort of thing is allowed in a country that considers itself the “Greatest Democracy in the World”. It’s a disgrace. And now that the law is finally doing something about it, the GOP is going to appeal the ruling! I don’t know the grounds of their appeal. It can’t possibly be that this isn’t gerrymandering, so it must be that gerrymandering is okay! GOP motto: “If you can’t win by playing fair, play dirty.”
(Via Ann German.)


Interesting analysis of Donald Trump’s tweets for the year.
(Via Ann German.)


(Via Ann German.)


Conspiracy Theory Tweets

I had to create a new section for these tweets as, like Ann German who sent them to me, and everyone else (sensible) who’s seen it, I can’t quite believe what I’m reading. This is not normal politics!




Absolutely disgraceful behaviour by the White House.
(Via Ann German.)

History Tweets

Wow! The wreck of the Clothilde, the last slave ship to import slaves to the US from Africa, may have been found. The tale is a disgraceful one. Though slavery was still legal in the US in 1860, importing new slaves had been illegal for decades. One man bet he could get slaves into the country past authorities. He took 110 people from what’s now Benin, and got them into the US. When slavery itself was outlawed 5 years later, the government would not pay their passage back to Africa, so they established Africatown. The man who imported the slaves arranged for the ship to be burnt as part of the process of hiding his crime.
(Via Ann German, video at link.)


How sick is this? It literally makes me feel ill. There was, and still is, a lot of pretty disgusting stuff in Australia in relation to the Aborigines. (I didn’t retweet this one. It’s just here for your edification.)


Gun Safety Tweets

No comment.

Space Tweets

Dealing with space junk when you live on the international space station …


Marine Tweets

I’m saying it again: Octopuses are cool!


Creepy Crawlie Tweets

This one looks like an invader from another planet that wants to be our overlord. It will eat us if we don’t obey!


These ones will be nicer overlords, but overlords all the same.



Other Animals Tweets

How cute is this?!


How to make your garden hedgehog friendly.


A baby only a mother could think was beautiful, but he’s definitely lovable!


New species!
(Via Ann German.)


Bird Tweets

Well, it’s Tuesday in New Zealand, but I love it anyway! (Well it was Tuesday when I started this post. It’s Wednesday now!)


Did it forget how to fly?


Dog Tweets

Awwww …


Cat Tweets

Oh wow!!! Three serval kittens!!! Absolutely gorgeous!!!



How did that happen?!


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