After reading a few of your comments, we figured the discussion on this blog would benefit from a little issue elucidation.
- First off, though we endorse a carbon tax, we do not believe that it is realistic to expect one in our lifetime. Americans would probably throw the president and party who enacted such legislation out on their posteriors. The only way this works is if it is coupled with a cut in income taxes and corporate taxes as we suggested in our last post. Even then, passage of of a carbon tax remains an extremely long shot.
- Let drilling be part of a comprehensive plan. The global warming fetishists also happen to be the same people who have been anti-nuclear and in our neck of the woods (Washington State) anti-hydropower. Of the alternatives to fossil fuels in providing electricity to Americans, nuclear power is the only one even close to having proven capacity to produce. All the other "alternative" energy options combined produce something like 0.5% of all the energy consumed in this country. And this, even after the huge subsidy to their production and the high price of oil.
- All of which brings us to our point about R&D (research & development, to the uninitiated). Spend money on R&D, but do so in a cost effective fashion. We'd like to see a competition with a $100 million prize to the team or corporation or university or whoever was able to come up with the cleanest most viable alternative energy source. It does no good to simply throw money at wind or solar or whatever when the "solution" (though we doubt there will ever be just one OR that we'll ever truly go away from fossil fuels) may be something that has not ever been discovered yet.
A command and control solution to our energy problem will not solve the problem. We guarantee that the cure will be worse than the disease. For those of you who doubt this guarantee, we point, once again, to the ethanol debacle. Mandate ethanol, starve the already poor and starving in lesser developed countries.
- We agree with Lomborg and the consensus conference of earlier this year. The money being expended trying to cool the earth could be better spent in other areas. And, efforts to curb global warming, which studies show will have little to no impact, will hinder economic development that would, in the future, enable us to develop the technology necessary to actually do something.
Want to do some good in this world? Good that would actually save lives and make them better--make the world a better place?
Per the consensus, the most cost-effective ways to help the world's poor:
1. Vitamin A & zinc supplements
2. Doha trade round
3. Iron supplements and salt iodization
4. Expanded youth immunization
5. Biofortification of seed stocks
Those of you who click through to the article will find global warming-related initiatives at the bottom of the list. Even global warming R&D is near the bottom of the list. But then, we don't really care about developing new energy sources because of the environment. We don't think it's as serious a problem as the GW fetishists.
- Re: the millions less miles Americans drive today versus a few years ago: this is due far more to the price of gasoline than to any efforts of the GWF's.
- Drilling off the coasts is only part of the solution. And admittedly, not a short term one. We hope only to derive short term political gain from the issue, but we believe, and there is reason to do so, that drilling could help America's long term issues with energy dependence. Banning development of domestic oil and shale-oil is a stupid policy and stupid Democrat Party "article of faith." If they want to hold to it, they should be punished at the polls. But in addition to drilling off-shore and in ANWR, we think Congress should open up America's shale-oil supply to development and production. The numbers we've read--1.5-2.6 trillion barrels--that could potentially come from those sources are huge. They could be and would be developed and produce oil the same way as the Canadian tar sands. Coal liquefaction is another fossil fuel alternative.
There is energy to be had on American soil. And it can be extracted cost effectively. We should free American corporations to get at it. Fossil fuels will always be part of the American energy picture because they are there and they are cheap--far cheaper than the "alternatives." And, as they dwindle, market forces will drive innovation that will bring other energy alternatives online--the same way we went from whale oil to light sweet crude.
- For those of you religiously opposed to fossil fuels, your next alternative should be nuclear power. It is proven and it is clean. Call on your local representatives to do what is necessary to free the American nuclear industry from onerous regulations and frivolous lawsuits. In the nuclear sense, we should follow the example of the French, whose energy needs are satisfied in large measure by their extensive nuclear power program.
Our comprehensive energy/environment policy recommendations:
- open American coastlines, ANWR to traditional oil drilling.
- permit development of shale-oil extraction.
- enact a carbon tax combined with a cut in income and corporate tax.
- expand nuclear power plant construction.
- introduce cost effective, competitive R&D legislation
- start worldwide campaign to divert money now being spent on ineffective global warming policy towards the Top 5 cost-effective ways to help the world's poor.
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