Thursday, January 25, 2007
Strangling the Energy Baby ... by Alan Caruba
Strangling the Energy Baby
By Alan Caruba
There is an effort in Congress—mostly thanks to the Democrat leadership—to strangle the energy baby in the cradle.
Why they and some addled Republicans would want to do this defies an answer beyond the hatred environmentalists have for all forms of energy other than windmills, solar panels, and crops which should be eaten instead of poured into one’s gas tank.
Let’s start by understanding there are now three hundred million Americans. More people increase the need for more electricity. America currently must generate 15.43 trillion kilowatts of electricity and is in immediate need of more.
This is why, following every winter storm, the very first piece of news reported is how many people are without electricity. To put it another way, no electricity means an instant return to the days when heat come exclusively from a fireplace or wood-burning stove. Light came from candles or lanterns burning whale oil.
Nothing ran on electricity because there was no electricity. Try to imagine getting through your day without electricity.
Most of the nation’s electricity is produced in coal-fired plants and in mid-January a coalition of environmental groups was demanding that banks reject loan requests for projects that might produce greenhouse gas emissions; projects like the eleven new pulverized-coal power plants that a Texas utility, TXU Corporation, plans to build at the cost of about a billion dollars per plant.
A pollution-free alternative for new electricity generation is, of course, nuclear fission. While the cost of natural gas and oil will remain volatile, between 1990 and 1999 the cost of nuclear fuel decreased 46 percent. The environmentalists, of course, have little to say about nuclear power plants that these days provide some twenty percent of our electricity needs.
If we put aside the issues surrounding electricity, the other major factor of the nation’s economy is transportation and that runs on gasoline and diesel. Anything that affects the cost of these fuels has an immediate impact on everyone’s life. The nightly news gets apocalyptic every time the cost of oil, i.e., gasoline, increases. The fact that the cost per barrel has dropped precipitously of late is not being reported with equal fervor. Wall Street, however, has taken notice and is bullish on America.
All of which brings us to the “Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act.” Let me say this is probably the most stupid title attached to a piece of legislation in the long history of Congress. Humanity, let alone Americans, are not “stewards”—those responsible for—the climate and not likely to provide any “innovations” beyond what now exists. In short, we are not in control of the climate. It is in control of us.
Six U.S. Senators, including at least two 2008 presidential contenders, revealed their plans to, as Reuters so delicately expressed it, “force power plants and industry to curb heat-trapping greenhouse gases, seeking to cut emissions to one-third of 2000 levels by 2050.”
Over in the House, more than a dozen environmental groups gathered on January 17 to lobby for the ”Clean Energy Act”, the keystone of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s mad schemes to punish Big Oil for providing the fuel that keeps all of us on the road. This bill would actually require oil companies to “invest in renewable energy research” as if the U.S. government hasn’t already spent billions without much to show for it.
The “Clean Energy Act” not only will do nothing to encourage oil companies to explore for and then extract the oil and natural gas we know exists offshore the continental shelf of America—thus providing greater energy independence—but will force up the cost at the pump for every gallon of gas Americans will purchase.
It costs billions to find new sources of oil and billions more to extract and refine it. Where does Speaker Pelosi think that money is going to come from if she punishes oil companies for what she and other environmentalists deem record profits?
When you attack Big Oil, you are attacking every single driver of every single car and truck in America because you are rendering these companies less competitive in the global marketplace.
This explains why we are told from morning until night that global warming is happening, the oceans will rise, the glaciers will melt, and we will surely all die. This is “science” based on computer models. If the U.S. weather bureau, using the most sophisticated existing computer models, cannot accurately predict next week’s weather anywhere in the nation, why oh why does anyone believe these same computers can predict it fifty years from now?
The real problem is now and it comes in the form of these Senate and House pieces of legislation based on nothing but the vivid imaginations of environmental fear mongers and the unbelievable ignorance of politicians, some of whom want to be your next president.
The real energy needs of America will not be met by Congress. They are set to impose new costs and new obstacles to the generation of energy, whether it is electricity or whether it is fuel for your car or truck. They propose to do this by mandating “renewable” fuels and increasing the taxation of energy companies.
Why we elect such people to public office is one of those vexing questions, but the least we can do to protect ourselves against them is to write, phone or fax to tell them to leave energy to the people who know something about it or to pray to a just and merciful God that President Bush vetoes these very bad laws.
Alan Caruba writes a weekly column, “Warning Signs”, posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center, http://www.anxietycenter.com/. His book, “Right Answers: Separating Fact from Fantasy”, is published by Merril Press.
© Alan Caruba, January 2007