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The United States has been facing an economic malaise and severe foreign policy issues since the end of the last recession in 2009. Inept energy policies can be blamed for much of these problems. It is prudent for energy policy to be elevated to a number one issue in the 2014 and 2016 elections in order to restore the nation’s economy and international leadership.
CA– USE OF THE PROBLEM
President Obama and the Democrat Party have adopted a policy to restrict fossil fuel (coal, oil, and natural gas) use due to beliefs carbon dioxide emissions from combustion causes catastrophic anthropogenic (man-made) global warming (CAGW). As a consequence, the nation must rely on continued expansion of renewable energy sources of solar, wind, ethanol from corn, other biofuels, etc. to replace fossil fuels. With present technology, solar and wind energy sources are not economical due to erratic nature of their supply. Their use requires subsidies of grants or government-guaranteed loans for plant construction, requirements for utilities to buy back electricity from these plants at costs above conventional electricity costs (feed-in-tariffs), and mandates to use their electricity regardless of cost (renewable portfolio standards—RPS). Nineteen states have electricity rates above the national average and all have RPS. Arguments against ethanol from corn are numerous and global price increases for corn is said to be one of the causes of the Arab Spring in 2011. Biofuels are also a waste of tax dollars.
“Europeans are also being burdened by rising energy bills from domestic green policies and EU rules that effectively mandate higher cost electricity generation from renewables, like wind and solar power.”
Members of the Obama administration have to adhere to these beliefs and their actions are shown by a few quotations the past 6 years.
Campaigning in San Francisco during the Democrat Party primaries in January 2008, Presidential Candidate Obama told the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board, “So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.” “Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. Even regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad,” he added. “Because I’m capping greenhouse gases, coal power plants, you know, natural gas, you name it — whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, they would have to, uh, retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers.”
In an energy policy speech in Miami February 23, 2012, President Obama said, “The United States consumes more than a fifth of the world’s oil — more than 20 percent of the world’s oil — just us. We only have 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves. We consume 20; we’ve got 2.” The President failed to note he was off hundreds of billions of barrels of oil in U. S. domestic reserves.
Upon winning re-election November 6, 2012, President Obama stated during his victory speech, “Wewant our children to live in an America that isn’t burdened by debt, that isn’t weakened by inequality, that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.”
At a Chicago fundraiser May 29, 2013, President Obama said “I don’t have much patience for people who deny climate change.” At his swearing in ceremony May 21, 2013, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz declared he is “not interested in debating what is not debatable.” These remarks echo long-standing pleas of climate alarmists the “science is settled” with regards to burning fossil fuels causing CAGW.
On February 16, 2014, Secretary of State John Kerry gave a long speech in Jakarta, Indonesia saying, “We simply don’t have time to let a few loud interest groups hijack the climate conversation.” Referring to what he called “big companies” that “don’t want to change and spend a lot of money” to act to reduce the risks. “We should not allow a tiny minority of shoddy scientists and science and extreme ideologues to compete with scientific facts.” “Nor should we allow any room for those who think that the costs associated with doing the right thing outweigh the benefits.” “The science is unequivocal, and those who refuse to believe it are simply burying their heads in the sand,” Kerry said. An analysis refuting John Kerry’s remarks is contained in the March 4, 2014 paper by James H. Rust “John Kerry’s Climate Policy is the Same as Bloodletting: Patients are not Cured, and Sometimes Die”.
On August 4, 2014, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “Climate change is the most consequential, urgent, sweeping collection of challenges we face as a nation and world.” Clinton also said at the National Clean Energy Summit 7.0 in Nevada, “The data is unforgiving no matter what the deniers try to assert.” Focusing on wind, solar and other renewables, Clinton called for investments as a means to help raise U.S. families into the middle class faster than traditional energy sources. Ask the families of the two Americans beheaded by ISIS what they think is the biggest challenge for the United States.
Secretary of State John Kerry said during his January 2013 confirmation hearings that he would be a “passionate advocate” on climate-change issues, and he’s living up to that promise. In a speech August 2014 in Hawaii, Mr. Kerry called climate change “the biggest challenge of all that we face right now. Not 10, 20 or 100 years from now—right now.”
Not to be outdone, Georgia Democrat U. S. Senate candidate Michelle Nunn’s website said “… in Georgia rising sea levels could have a significant effect on our coastal regions. Communities like Tybee Island and St. Mary’s are already confronting climate change….” The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Tides and Currents database gives sea level data for Fernandina, FL., six miles from St. Mary’s. Data from 1897 to 2013 shows a constant sea level rise of 2.02 mm per year or 8 inches per century. Data shows a slight decrease in rate of rise the past 20 years. Candidate Nunn is now featuring television ads supporting uneconomic renewable energy programs.
REASONS FOR CLIMATE ALARM PITCH
Environmentalists within the Democrat Party like Al Gore and Tim Wirth subscribed to global warming in the 1980s and gained further support after the United Nations formed the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change (UNIPCC) which produced a series of 5 Assessment Reportsreleased since 1990 with the most recent in 2014. These documents are accepted without question. CAGW is stated to cause increased heat waves, record high temperatures, flooding, drought, wildfires, reduced snowfall, tornadoes, hurricanes, sea level rise, Arctic ice melting, etc. that are readily shown to be false or exaggerated.
To counteract omissions, half-truths, and false statements in these reports, the Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) was formed in 2003. Since 2009, NIPCC has released6 Reports that give authoritative, easily-read information about vast amounts of experimental data showing negligible influence of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels on climate, benefits of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide, financial losses from mitigation, and proper role of adapting to climate change. NIPCC is supported by three non-profit organizations–Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, Science and Environmental Policy Project, and The Heartland Institute.
A host of data exists to show all catastrophic events alleged caused by CAGW occurred in the past when atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were lower and constant. For many weather events, rates of occurrences recently declined. In addition, lack of global warming the past 16 years, when atmospheric carbon dioxide levels increased the highest rate in thousands of years, is conveniently ignored in the UNIPCC Summary for Policymakers Reports. Due to consternation among climate alarmists, 52 explanations have been produced to date for the pause in global warming.
FRENZY FOR CLIMATE ALARM
Due to Congressional elections this November and a United Nations meeting in Paris late 2015 to devise an international treaty to reduce fossil fuel use, there is an abundance of reports from the media and federal government to support the CAGW scare. A few examples follow:
On March 31, the New York Times (NYT) featured an article by Justin Gillis “Panel’s Warning on Climate Risk: Worst is Yet to Come” that reported findings in the just released UN IPCC Working Group II report “Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaption, and Vulnerability”. From the 44-pageSummary for Policymakers Mr. Gillis stated, “In particular, the report emphasized that the world’s food supply is at a considerable risk—a threat that could have serious consequences for the poorest nations.” An April 9, 2014, article by James H. Rust “Last Dance for IPCC Group II Report?” refutes IPCC arguments for dangers of carbon dioxide emissions discussed in that article.
An August 26 NYT article “U. N. Draft Report Lists Unchecked Emissions Risks” by Justin Gillis reports an unauthorized U. N. draft report shows more dangerous consequences of global warming than reported in the U. N. 5th Assessment Reports released in 2013 and early 2014. Mr. Gillis wrote, “Global warming is already cutting grain production by several percentage points, the report found, and that could grow much worse if emissions continue unchecked.” Using Department of Agriculture data, Roy Spencer determined the increase in world crop yields from 1960 to 2011 was 200 percent for wheat, 150 percent for corn, and 137 percent for soybeans. IPCC Reports exaggerate and distort effects of climate change. The USDA is predicting record corn and soybean yields in the U. S. for 2014—record corn crop yields have been set in the U. S. 5 of the past 12 years. The leaked report cited by reporter Gillis is to be finalized and released in October, a time to influence U. S. elections.
A July 26, 2014 NYT article by Coral Davenport “Obama pursuing climate accord in lieu of treaty” discusses President Obama’s forging a sweeping international climate change treaty to cut fossil fuel emissions; but without approval of Congress. Davenport wrote, “To sidestep that requirement, President Obama’s climate negotiators are devising what they call a ‘politically binding’ deal that would ‘name and shame’ countries into cutting their emissions. The deal is likely to face strong objections from Republicans on Capitol Hill and from poor countries around the world, but negotiators say it may be the only realistic path.”
REASONS FOR FOSSIL FUEL DEVELOPMENT
Annual U. S. fossil fuel use is approximately 900 million tons of coal, 6.6 billion barrels of oil, and 26 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The U. S. is the wealthiest nation in the world on energy resources. The EIA estimates U. S. coal reserves are 481 billion tons. U. S. government estimates of oil and natural gas reserves are too low because they fail to account for improving technologies in production.
Estimates for oil and natural gas reserves are difficult because of rapidly improving methods of drilling sparked by hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. In a September 16, 2014 article by Energy & Capital writer Keith Kohl “Discovered: The Super Shale” describes features of North America over 100 million years ago during the Cretaceous Period. North America was split in two by a massive sea over 2000 miles long stretching from the Arctic to the Gulf of Mexico known as the Western Interior Seaway (WIS). Conditions in the WIS were perfect for producing oil shale over millions of years to thicknesses exceeding 12,000 feet. Gradually the land rose and the WIS disappeared. Mr. Kohl calls this the Super Shale and estimates it may contain 6.268 trillion barrels of oil. Even if this estimate is reduced by an order of magnitude, U. S. oil reserves will lasts 100 years.
Restrictions on oil and natural gas production off shore, in the West, and Alaskan lands should be lifted and encouragement given the oil and natural gas industry to start production. In an article “Drilling on Federal Lands: How The West Could Be Won Again” in the October 26, 2013 Denver Post, Professor Timothy Considine wrote, “But if the output on federal lands had matched that on private property, the economic benefits would have been significant. I estimate that over the next decade, the region’s seven states — Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Montana, Nevada, and Idaho — would gain between $9.5 billion and $26 billion in annual gross regional product, between $2.4 billion and $5.1 billion in annual tax revenue, and between 67,000 and 208,000 regional jobs.”
Energy supply has been a cause for international strife from prior to WWII until today. A September 4 article in the Financial Post by Lawrence Solomon “How global warming policies have led to global insecurity” points out Western nation’s failure to develop fossil fuel resources led to unstable events in the Ukraine, power for ISIS, unstable Middle East, and China’s pressuring its neighbors over islands in the South and East China Seas. ISIS is selling 40,000 barrels of oil per day for $2 million per day.
On September 19, 2014, the U.S. Department of Defense announced a plan to construct and commission bio-refineries that produce a collective annual 100 million gallons of drop-in biofuels for military and private sector transportation needs, for an average price of $3.45 per gallon. Military purchases of these fuels from the private sector would be $1 per gallon cheaper for an annual savings for tax payers of $100 million.
For the U. S. to rapidly grow its fossil fuel production will make the country a dominant player in international affairs and allow us to supply our allies when they are being threatened by energy supply cutoffs as Russia is doing at this time. Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia wrote the US Congress March 6 to help them buy American natural gas and reduce their dependence on Russia by loosening US export limits.
For information about various excuses for global warming alarm by the federal government, CFACT issued a report by Paul Driessen called “Climate Hype Exposed” which gives a compact summary of many problems cited and errors in formulation.
The people of the United States need to understand production of fossil fuels is a manufacturing process. Production of 1000 tons of coal, 330 barrels of oil, or 7 million cubic feet of natural gas is the same as producing a $30,000 car, 7000 bushels of corn, or 15,000 two-dollar hamburgers. Millions of high paying jobs are created, billions of tax and royalty payments paid, and security and safety for all our citizens. Do we want to risk nuclear war by failing to develop our fossil fuels?
A final reason for fossil fuel development can be stated in ethical terms through considerations of man’s moral duty to protect the poor. A great summary of reasons to fight climate change policies is a policy statement by the Cornwall Alliance “Protect the Poor: Ten Reasons to Oppose Harmful Climate Change Policies” issued September 17, 2014.
REPUBLICAN ACTIONS ON ENERGY POLICY
To address energy policy failures, the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed three important pieces of legislation that lay the groundwork for a national energy strategy that would help the United States take better advantage of its abundant, domestic energy resources, promote North American energy independence, curb gas prices, and create jobs.
First, H.R. 4899, the Lowering Gasoline Prices to Fuel an America that Works Act, would allow the United States to responsibly expand production of its own energy resources.
In addition, H.R. 6, the Domestic Prosperity & Global Freedom Act, would bring certainty to the U.S. Department of Energy’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) export approval process, increasing natural gas production and setting a timeframe by which the agency must act on an application to export LNG to our allies. It is also estimated that the legislation will bring more than 30,000 jobs to Ohio by 2035.
Finally, H.R. 3301, the North American Energy Infrastructure Act, would help build the energy infrastructure needed to fully enhance our domestic production.
Republican Senate candidate Dan Sullivan (Alaska) blamed President Obama and Senate Democrats for locking up the country’s energy resources in the Republican Party’s September 6, 2014 weekly address; vowing that a GOP-controlled Senate would be the best fix. Sullivan said, “The Obama-Reid agenda has locked up America’s natural resources, burdened small businesses throughout the country with an avalanche of regulations and suffocated job growth through a complete disrespect for the rule of law. A Republican Senate would approve Keystone XL pipeline jobs, because Canada is our neighbor and ally. We’ll authorize more offshore development, because it’s good for coastal states and the rest of the country. We’ll seize the opportunity to expand our energy trade, because that will benefit our nation, and others who need energy – like Ukraine.”
In a September 16, 2014 speech before The Heritage Foundation, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said,“The reality is right now we’ve got an administration in the Obama administration that are science deniers when it comes to harnessing America’s energy resources and potential to create good-paying jobs for our economy and for our future.” This attack is putting the Obama administration on the defensive when it comes justifying their global warming policies.
PLAN OF ACTION
Physicist John Droz, jr. circulated a paper on how energy policy should be approached in the election that I can’t improve upon. His article in entirety follows:
As we move towards a critical November election in the US, you should look for an opportunity to communicate with your local House or Senate candidate. My recommendation is that you reach out to your federal candidates, to see which of them are most sympathetic to supporting science-based policies.
Prior to the elections, these politicians are likely to be more available and receptive, so now is the time to make some inroads!
Here are some suggestions to consider:
1 – The candidate should have “Energy” listed on their Issues webpage — as energy is an extremely important matter, since it plays a pivotal role in our economy, security, etc.
2 – When writing up any Issue page, it is important to adhere to two criteria:
— Distinguish yourself from your opponent
— Establish an accurate, understandable and defendable position
3 – Their fundamental position regarding technical matters: technical policies should be based on real science. For example:
— We do have energy and environmental issues [i.e. there is no denial]
— Such technical matters should be resolved by applying genuine Science [i.e. vs political science]
4 – A major mistake many Republicans make regarding Energy is to advocate an “All of the Above” strategy.
— This is a Democrat originated slogan, so why would any Republican say it?
— More importantly, it is nonsensical:
“ALL of the above” would include unreliable alternative sources of energy — why would we support those?
“ALL of the above” would include extremely expensive alternative sources of energy — why would we support those?
“ALL of the above” would also include environmentally destructive alternative sources of energy — why would we support those?
5 – The appropriate Energy mantra to advocate is “All of the Sensible.” Which energy options are sensible? Well, that’s exactly the conversation we should be having!
IMO sensible alternative energy options would be those that have scientific proof that they are a net societal benefit. Another perspective would be that we support alternative sources that provide abundant, reliable, and low-cost energy.
6 – For more information they should look at our website, WiseEnergy.org. The candidate should pay particular attention to EnergyPresentation.info — a comprehensive science-based discussion of energy. Energy and Mankind is also an excellent primer.
I’d be glad to answer questions about any of this.
john droz, jr.
physicist & environmental advocate