The moral imperative of American energy

Cheap fuel is an important key to peace, human welfare and prosperity. We have the key.

The world can’t do without fuel and the scramble for world fuel resources lies at the root of most of our current geopolitical problems. The high price of fuel affects the environment (e.g., 3rd world deforestation) and the price and availability of food for those that can least afford it.

The scramble for fuel lies behind Arabia’s, Iran’s, Russia’s and China’s geopolitical manipulations – in Arabia and Russia’s cases, to keep the availability low and the price high, in China’s case to exploit reliable fuel sources in many of the most political and economically vulnerable parts of the world, notably in Africa. We in the U.S., meanwhile, are forced to maintain hugely expensive military commitments to keep world fuel supply lines open in the interest of protecting a world economy upon which we depend. Demand for high-priced oil keeps Europe in dhimmitude to an increasing subversive Islamicist influence while, in the Middle East, oil revenues fuel subversive jihadi movements worldwide, further tying down our military resources and our economic infrastructures.

Fuel’s impact on food production and prices is one of the factors stoking popular revolts from Mexico to Egypt. Fuel protects human lives by keeping people warm in the winter and cool in the summer. It’s no accident that some of the most strident, anti-oil environmentalism derives from a narrow cafe latte strip of our Pacific coast that enjoys temperate climate year-round and no worries about food prices and availability. Climate “I-got-mine”ers, I guess we could call them.

Cheap oil, coal and gas, in short, would resolve many of our world’s problems. However, there are ideological obstacles that must be overcome, the biggest one being America’s environmental movement, which increasingly takes on the trappings of a fundamentalist religion. Ask most Americans today and I propose that the large majority believes profoundly that a) we are running out of fossil fuels; b) there are practical alternatives to fossil fuel energy and c) fossil fuels contribute to global warming, ergo, fossil fuels are bad. Besides, people say, oil derricks despoil the view…even in areas where nobody ventures.

Let’s just focus on (a) for now: it’s a false premise!

A November, 2010 report by the Congressional Research Service highlights just how rich in fossil fuels the United States is – richer, in fact, than any other country in the world…even without considering the huge potentials of shale oil and methane resources. You can find an excellent summary of the report, with a link to the original CRS report, here:

http://www.energytribune.com/articles.cfm/6933/US-Has-Earths-Largest-Energy-Resources

The U.S. has more than enough safe and reliable energy resources to meet our needs and those of other nations until practical alternatives inevitably come on-line. We’ve had a petroleum based culture for a little over 100 years. We have enough for another 100 years. Making those resources (and other under-developed global resources) available to the U.S. and the global marketplace will drop the price of energy worldwide. That’s just simple economics: increasing supplies reduces prices. It would also boost domestic jobs development, improve our trade deficits, and reduce the costs of domestic manufacturing. Added fossil fuel supplies will help defund our enemies and relieve pressures on our allies.

The obstacles to its development are ideological and enviro-religious, not economic or environmental. As long as these resources remained unavailable, the U.S. and much of the rest of the world will continue to pay huge costs…not just in terms of imported energy and high prices, but also in terms of lost jobs and a dangerously unstable world.

The world desperately needs cheap energy. That’s a hard fact. For the world’s richest resource of fossil fuel energy to withhold its resources from the world in the interest of the self-satisfied, comfortable bourgeoisie of the environmental left is not just irresponsible, it’s immoral. You can’t be against “Big Oil” and “Big Coal” and in favor of “World Peace”.

Oh, and one more thing: while this author benefits greatly from fossil fuels, he does not work or benefit directly from the fossil fuels industry, although his retirement savings and pension fund assets in all likelihood depend upon the success of an incentivized and profitable energy sector to fund his retirement, social security, medical care and all other government and private industry benefits. In that, he’s probably just like you.

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Comments

  1. abc says

    Danny, only the third question is relevant.  If you don’t know the answers to 1 and 2, then you don’t know enough to comment on the issue at all.  On the third question, the answer is that we need to shift to electric cars and nuclear electricity production, which would reduce our emissions dramatically.  About half of our CO2 emissions could be eliminated by phasing out fossil fuels or equipping them with carbon sequestration in order to supply clean energy to the transportation and electricity generation sectors.

    As for questions 1 and 2, you might look at the following:

    http://skepticalscience.com/co2-warming-35-percent.htm
    http://skepticalscience.com/CO2-is-not-the-only-driver-of-climate.htm
    http://skepticalscience.com/human-co2-smaller-than-natural-emissions.htm

  2. Danny Lemieux says

    Z riffs through history: “The U.S. has been inconsistent and haphazard in their efforts. Indeed, as soon as Reagan came into office, his administration halved spending on conservation and alternative energy research.”

    And what have private industry and other world research centers done since? I note that you forgot to mention that DOE research on alternate energy development shot up during both Bush Administrations but dropped dramatically during the Clinton Administration.

    But, you knew that, of course.

  3. Charles Martel says

    “Anthropogenic climate change is a scientific question, not a political one. There is still a great deal of uncertainty as to the exact trajectory of climate change, but that it is occurring is no longer in serious dispute in the scientific community.” 

    Note the semantic sleight of hand: AGW is now AGCC. The warming has been disproved by 13 staright years of cooling, so the PC nomenclature has been moved from “warming” to “change.”

  4. abc says

    Danny must be losing the argument, since he is quibbling about spelling again.  Scientific American analyzed the signatories and found some interesting things:

    “Scientific American took a random sample of 30 of the 1,400 signatories claiming to hold a Ph.D. in a climate-related science. Of the 26 we were able to identify in various databases, 11 said they still agreed with the petition —- one was an active climate researcher, two others had relevant expertise, and eight signed based on an informal evaluation. Six said they would not sign the petition today, three did not remember any such petition, one had died, and five did not answer repeated messages. Crudely extrapolating, the petition supporters include a core of about 200 climate researchers – a respectable number, though rather a small fraction of the climatological community…”  (see:  http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2004/05/oregonpetition.php)

  5. abc says

    Danny, I understand that science doesn’t operate by popular vote, but when the sources you cite are fraudulent or grossly overstated, and their attacks on the consensus are not landing any lasting problems with the research, you do have to ask yourself if there really is anything that science could produce on the issue that would cause you to change your mind.  And, if not, then how can your view be considered rational?

  6. abc says

    Charles, please show support for the claim that we’ve had 13 straight years of cooling.  That is not the consensus view, nor what is born out by the temperature record.

  7. abc says

    BrianE, nuclear generation cannot be used for peaking.  That portion of capacity must remain fossil based and hopefully rely upon carbon sequestration.

  8. Charles Martel says

    abc, I never rant. I poke fun at the Margaret Dumonts of the world, who in their bleak cluelessness cannot ever see how grim and pedantic they appear to people who have a sense of humor.

    (My friend, the Chancellor of the University of Phoenix, agrees with my take on this. So does my sister-in-law, who cleans house for Al Gore. Malia Ann is on restriction for a few days, so I haven’t heard from her lately, but I’m sure she’d concur with me.)

  9. spiff580 says

    Well I disagree that they have provided the evidence to change it from a theory to a law.  I’m skeptical it even qualifies as a hypothesis at this time.  But I am skeptical about everything though.  The issue is too politicized and too many people have a vested interest on both sides to discuss this as rational human beings. 
    But my point to you is that there are not two separate climates.  If man does affect the climate it is only one part of the system; not a separate part.   
    I’m no expert but I do try to stay on top of these sorts of debates since they do affect my real world job on some level.  All I can give you is what I have observed.  I have worked with and around NOAA climatologists and meteorologists.  And among the ones I worked with there was not a consensus. 
    Like the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), NOAA’s official stance is that it is real and a problem, but my perception of that reality from behind the scenes is it had to do more with political expediency and PR rather than science.  For example: DWR had to develop a plan to address climate change because enough voters believed in it that politicians and elected leaders want and expect the agency to address it.  The funny thing is DWR always had a plan to deal with climate change in the form of flood emergency, drought and water supply plans.
    A 0.5 Celsius change in temperature is not unusual when one considers how long the earth has been around. We have only been directly tracking temperatures for about 100-years.  Accurately is a tough to judge since the conditions around many of the stations utilized have changed (i.e. temperature effect of urbanization around the station). Yes I realize that is only one part of the whole thing…but it is one inherent flaw or problem with the data that is not so easy to deal with.
    I don’t think the physics behind the system is understood as well as you think either… it is too complicated and there is too much we still don’t know to make that sort of assertion.  When you have a bunch of unknowns you have to make assumptions… the more educated assumptions you make the harder and harder it is to say your model/equation is accurate.
    Oh I believe they believe they can disentangle something so complicated as earth’s climate… just like the engineers who designed the Titanic believed it was unsinkable.  My point here this sort of arrogance is not uncommon.  What I worry about is the scientists have developed a conclusion and are massaging the science to support their conclusion rather than using science to develop a conclusion.
    I rather enjoyed Michael Crichton’s speech about this subject:
    http://www.s8int.com/crichton.html
    Read it …it is interesting.

  10. says

    Danny Lemieux: And here is where you show us that you really don’t understand science. Let’s take your examples – “entomologists” (please do spell checks, ABC) study insects, which are a very major source of CO2 emissions. A botanist, that studies plants, would be able to explain the role of plants in CO2 cycles…including the fact that when the world gets warmer, plant and animal life expands and exudes more CO2 into the atmosphere). Linguists are not scientists.

    Entomologists and botanists may notice historically anomalous changes in biological distributions, but they probably wouldn’t be able to determine the causes. Nevertheless, it represents a data-point, and any theory of climate change would have to be consistent with this data-point. 

    Linguistics is the scientific study of language. 

    Danny Lemieux:
    Your examples are bad. If you insist on this line of reasoning, of course, we could ask how a railroad engineer ended up leading the U.N.’s IPCC project and how on earth somebody like Al Gore could have any credibility whatsoever on this subject.

    Rajendra K. Pachauri has a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering and Economics. He has done scientific work in the economics and environmental effects of energy development, as well as extensive administrative experience. Al Gore is not a scientist, and relies upon scientists to inform his policy advocacy. 

    Danny Lemieux: But more to the point, scientists…all scientists…are supposed to understand the scientific process, scientific methodology, have a basic understanding of how complex life and climate processes are, understand statistical error and variation and know that one does not confuse hypothesis and theories with fact and, most importantly, that science does not progress by “consensus”.

    And by that process scientists have reached a strong conclusion that humans are affecting the climate. No one has provided any significant evidence to undermine this conclusion. 

  11. abc says

    spiff:  “Oh I believe they believe they can disentangle something so complicated as earth’s climate… just like the engineers who designed the Titanic believed it was unsinkable.  My point here this sort of arrogance is not uncommon….”

    Why is it arrogance when scientists and engineers build the Titanic or build climate change models, but then they are heroes when they develop airplanes, cancer medicines and cell phones?  All of this is part of the same process.  In fact, the models and modelers at Livermore also work on nuclear weapons, but I guess the math that goes into bombmaking is different even if it’s actually the same…

    And to repeat, they can disentangle the natural factors from the man-made ones.  That you don’t want to believe it has more to do with your point of view than the facts at issue.  Can’t help you with that, I’m afraid.

  12. says

    Charles Martel: Note the semantic sleight of hand: AGW is now AGCC. The warming has been disproved by 13 staright years of cooling, so the PC nomenclature has been moved from “warming” to “change.”

    That’s odd.

    NOAA: “Capping off the warmest decade on record, the average global temperature in 2010 tied 2005 as the warmest year since reliable records began in 1880.
    http://www.climatewatch.noaa.gov/image/2011/2010-ties-2005-as-the-warmest-year-on-record


  13. BrianE says

    1. even if you use nukes, you still need combined cycle gas for peaking capacity, so they are complementary.  If you are talking about baseload comparisons, then you ought to specify that.- abc

    I was just responding to this. It appeared you were confused. I didn’t think I needed to specify those were baseload. And it wouldn’t necessarily need to be Natural Gas for peak loads.

    And now for something completely different:

    News Flash– HUMANS MUST STOP BREATHING TO CONTROL GLOBAL WARMING

    “ Now that scientists have reached a consensus that carbon dioxide emissions from human activities are the major cause of global warming, the next question is: How can we stop it? Can we just cut back on carbon, or do we need to go cold turkey? According to a new study by scientists at the Carnegie Institution, halfway measures won’t do the job. To stabilize our planet’s climate, we need to find ways to kick the carbon habit altogether.”

    http://carnegiescience.edu/news/stabilizing_climate_requires_near_zero_carbon_emissions

  14. says

    Charles Martel: Note the semantic sleight of hand: AGW is now AGCC. The warming has been disproved by 13 staright years of cooling, so the PC nomenclature has been moved from “warming” to “change.”
     
    That’s odd.
     
    NOAA: “Capping off the warmest decade on record, the average global temperature in 2010 tied 2005 as the warmest year since reliable records began in 1880.”
    http://www.climatewatch.noaa.gov/image/2011/2010-ties-2005-as-the-warmest-year-on-record

  15. Charles Martel says

    Zach, answer the first point. When you came to roost here, you went on and on about AGW. Now it’s climate change. Why the switch in nomenclature? Isn’t AGW a strong enough, reliable enough term?

  16. Charles Martel says

    “Why is it arrogance when scientists and engineers build the Titanic or build climate change models, but then they are heroes when they develop airplanes, cancer medicines and cell phones?  All of this is part of the same process.”

    Could it possibly be because your latter three examples actually work?

  17. BrianE says

    Actually Zachriel, if you accept the premise based on their modeling, humans will basically need to cease to exist. Unless you believe the world can magically quit using carbon based fuels. We can’t even go back to living in caves and burning wood since burning wood is not carbon neutral.


    From the article I previously linked to:


    This is the first peer-reviewed study to investigate what level of carbon dioxide emission would be needed to prevent further warming of our planet.

    “Most scientific and policy discussions about avoiding climate change have centered on what emissions would be needed to stabilize greenhouse gases in the atmosphere,” says Caldeira. “But stabilizing greenhouse gases does not equate to a stable climate. We studied what emissions would be needed to stabilize climate in the foreseeable future.”
     
    The scientists investigated how much climate changes as a result of each individual emission of carbon dioxide, and found that each increment of emission leads to another increment of warming. So, if we want to avoid additional warming, we need to avoid additional emissions.
     
    With emissions set to zero in the simulations, the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere slowly fell as carbon “sinks” such as the oceans and land vegetation absorbed the gas. Surprisingly, however, the model predicted that global temperatures would remain high for at least 500 years after carbon dioxide emissions ceased.

  18. says

    Charles Martel: When you came to roost here, you went on and on about AGW. Now it’s climate change. Why the switch in nomenclature? Isn’t AGW a strong enough, reliable enough term?

    Though related, they refer to different things. Global warming refers to the increase in the Earth’s average temperature. Climate change refers to changes in the overall patterns of weather. 

  19. says

    BrianE: Actually Zachriel, if you accept the premise based on their modeling, humans will basically need to cease to exist.

    There is such a large lag factor, that even eliminating emissions will mean global warming to some extent. That doesn’t mean the problem is hopeless or can’t be mitigated. 

  20. JKB says

    Well, if you’d read the link I provided to the First Things post by an eminent physicist from Princeton, we could look a real numbers.  Such as the pre-industrial CO2 level was 270 ppm.  It is now 390 ppm.  Now, the plant kingdom for which we depend on for food, requires 150 ppm just to grow at all and love higher levels.  Greenhouse operators pump in over 1000 ppm to stimulate growth in their plants.  There is evidence that California orange groves are 30% more productive than 150 years ago due to the increased CO2.  Of course, there are upper limits on CO2 for animal life but the Navy uses 8000 ppm for submariners on 90 exposures while NASA uses 5000 ppm for 1000 day exposures.  At our current rate of fossil fuel usage it would take 300 years to reach 1000 ppm, just below where plants would like it and that doesn’t account for the feedback of more plant usage due to stimulated growth.

    All this, then there was a jump to conclusion that correlation of a 0.8 degree C rise in temperature happened during the last 150 yrs.  Of course, the “scientists” seem to disregard solar activity changes, along with several other temperature drivers instead associating it all to a tiny trace gas in the atmosphere.

    ” At the present time, the concentration is about 390 ppm, 0.039 percent of all atmospheric molecules and less than 1 percent of that in our breath. About fifty million years ago, a brief moment in the long history of life on earth, geological evidence indicates, CO2 levels were several thousand ppm, much higher than now. And life flourished abundantly.”

  21. says

    JKB: Well, if you’d read the link I provided to the First Things post by an eminent physicist from Princeton, we could look a real numbers.

    Sorry, but Happer is just propagating the usual myths. If he really had a point, he would submit his ‘work’ to a climatology journal for peer review. He did send a petition to the Physical Society, and only a tiny percentage signed on, and it was rejected. He can’t even convince others within his own peer community, much less those with expertise in climate science.

    Here are some quotes from Happer: 

    “This is George Orwell. This is the ‘Germans are the master race. The Jews are the scum of the earth.’ It’s that kind of propaganda,”

    That sort of rhetorical excess has no place in a scientific discussion. The vast majority of climatologists are hard-working scientists. Even if they are wrong, they aren’t Hitler. 

    “Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. Every time you exhale, you exhale air that has 4 percent carbon dioxide. To say that that’s a pollutant just boggles my mind. What used to be science has turned into a cult.” 

    That completely and utterly shows how confused Happer is. Breathing is (generally) carbon-neutral. The carbon you exhale as CO2 came from plants that fixed the carbon from the atmosphere. 

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