Free Markets, Free People

Forbes

More on the Keystone decision and why it was a decision based in politics, not what was best for America

More fallout from the Obama Keystone XL pipeline decision.  Read this carefully:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in a telephone call yesterday, told Obama “Canada will continue to work to diversify its energy exports,” according to details provided by Harper’s office. Canadian Natural Resource Minister Joe Oliver said relying less on the U.S. would help strengthen the country’s “financial security.”

The “decision by the Obama administration underlines the importance of diversifying and expanding our markets, including the growing Asian market,” Oliver told reporters in Ottawa.

Currently, 99 percent of Canada’s crude exports go to the U.S., a figure that Harper wants to reduce in his bid to make Canada a “superpower” in global energy markets.

Canada accounts for more than 90 percent of all proven reserves outside the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, according to data compiled in the BP Statistical Review of World Energy. Most of Canada’s crude is produced from oil-sands deposits in the landlocked province of Alberta, where output is expected to double over the next eight years, according to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

“Relying less on the U.S.”  “Diversify our markets”.  “99% of … crude exports go to U.S.”

Those three phrases shout one thing in unison: The U.S. is an unreliable trading partner.

One more shocking statistic, if we want to talk about safe and secure petroleum supplies in our future – “Canada accounts for more than 90 percent of all proven reserves outside the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries”.

In case you missed it that’s OPEC.  That’s right the very oil cartel in which we find most of the less than friendly oil exporters in this world.

As Gale Norton points out, this should have been a no brainer:

This seems like a truly simple determination. Iran is threatening to blockade the 20 percent of the world’s oil supply that flows through the Strait of Hormuz. The American economy is struggling from high unemployment. The volatility of oil prices, reflected in periodic spikes at the gas pump, is a threat to productivity. A privately funded pipeline project that would create tens of thousands of jobs while helping stabilize America’s energy supply clearly seems to be in the national interest.

Here we have, next door to us for heaven sake, a supply of oil from a friendly nation which is about as secure as it can get and we do what?

Reject it.

Warren Meyer, writing at Forbes, hits upon some apparent truths:

But local environmental concerns were merely the public pretext for a decision that is much more troubling.   Opposition to the pipeline began to rally among radical environmental groups long before any of them had the first clue about the pipeline route.  The real goal of these groups was not to protect water along the pipeline route, but to make it impossible to develop new sources of oil in Canada.  Unable to stop Canadian oil drilling and tar sand extraction programs, environmental groups are now trying to block any pipeline that is proposed out of the oil producing regions.

As I pointed out yesterday, the “local concerns” had been addressed or were being addressed successfully according to the Governor of Nebraska.  And, as Meyer points out, there was no real reason for this decision except:

The Keystone decision only makes sense in the context of a general push to limit energy supply and roll back our industrial economy and all its amazing gifts.  Part and parcel of this same effort has been the growing opposition to natural gas fracking.  Fracking is an underground procedure that has been used safely and successfully for decades to extend the life of older oil wells.  Fracking is one reason that serial predictions of older fields “running out of oil” have been repeatedly incorrect.

Recently, though, fracking has presented the promise of substantially increasing our domestic energy supply by opening up new shale formations previously thought to be impossible to produce.  With this new promise, anti-growth, anti-energy environmentalists have suddenly taken notice, and are gearing up to try to kill this exciting (and ironically quite clean) new energy source.

I think he has a very valid point – a point that William Tucker has also written about.  This is about stopping progress.  This is about a selfish belief that since they have theirs, the rest has no need for more.  Here’s Tucker’s description:

It is not that the average person is not concerned about the environment. Everyone weighs the balance of economic gain against a respect for nature. It is only the truly affluent, however, who can be concerned about the environment to the exclusion of everything else. Most people see the benefits of pipelines and power plants and admit they have to be built somewhere. Only in the highest echelons do we hear people say, "We don’t need to build any pipelines. We’ve already got enough energy. We can all sit around awaiting the day we live off wind and sunshine."

And that’s precisely the case with Keystone.  Meyer again:

Ostensibly, Obama made the decision to block the pipeline because of concern over contamination of the Ogallala Reservoir, a vast underground water source that makes much of Midwestern agriculture possible.  And I am sure there are folks whose concerns are narrowly about the Ogallala or other environmental and NIMBY concerns along the proposed route.   But the US has tens of thousands of miles of petroleum pipelines, many cris-crossing this same general area.  There is nothing unprecedented or unmanageable about this particular line.  Had these routing issues been the actual problem, the Obama Administration could easily have approved the line with conditions or route modifications.

The national security and energy needs of the nation are being held hostage by an affluent elite who have decided, because they can, that enough is enough.  And they have the perfect soul-mate/tool to implement their desires in the Oval Office.  Don’t forget, this is the guy who said that at some point, “you’ve made enough money”.  They couldn’t be more simpatico.

Meyer also asks a question to make a point about the red herring of the route:

Does anyone doubt that had this exact same route been for high speed rail, rather than a pipeline, it would already have been approved and President Obama likely would have been proposing to throw a pile of taxpayer money at it to boot?  This despite the fact that high-speed rail almost certainly has more environmental negatives than an underground  pipeline.  The route has always been a red herring — the real goal is reducing energy supply.

He’s dead right.   Also:

The Keystone XL pipeline would have single-handedly carried more energy to the United States than the sum of all the green energy projects funded by the Obama Administration.  And it would have done so entirely with private  funds rather than the Administrations increasingly ill-fated and ham-handed attempts at venture capitalism with taxpayer funds. 

And:

In the case of the pipeline, the Obama administration killed a private infrastructure project that is widely supported, covers its own costs, and requires no taxpayer money.  I wonder where Thomas Friedman is — does he still lament our inability to do large infrastructure projects of the kind President Obama just blocked, or does he only support large state-funded triumphal projects?  This seems yet another example of what I called the tendency of government to shift capital from the productive to the sexy.

Spot on.

There you have it, all laid out in a neat bundle.  A “private infrastructure project that … covers its own costs and requires no taxpayer money”, vs. an environmentally destructive government boondoggle that most oppose and neither the federal or state government can afford?

The choice of this administration is the latter.

Finally, to once and for all put the “route” issue to bed, check out this map.  Find Omaha.  Yes, that’s right, there are oil pipelines all over Nebraska.

And surprise …the XL pipeline is the second phase of TransCanada’s pipeline plans. 

TransCanada won approval in 2008 for the first Keystone pipeline, which carries crude oil across Saskatchewan and Manitoba and through North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and Illinois. That portion began moving crude in June 2010.

Uh, yes, that’s right … Nebraska.  And apparently, at least to this point, everything has operated as expected with no environmental problems.  So could these route problems have been handled without rejecting the pipeline in question?  Of course they could have.

P.S. I’ll have a lot more to say about fracking (which suffers from the same sorts of attacks by the same sorts of groups) in a post soon.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Climate alarmist theory dealt yet another factual blow

This is becoming almost laughable.  James Taylor, from the Heartland Institute and writing in Forbes brings us the story that new data from NASA has all but proven the alarmist climate model predictions are clearly and demonstrably wrong.

NASA satellite data from the years 2000 through 2011 show the Earth’s atmosphere is allowing far more heat to be released into space than alarmist computer models have predicted, reports a new study in the peer-reviewed science journal Remote Sensing. The study indicates far less future global warming will occur than United Nations computer models have predicted, and supports prior studies indicating increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide trap far less heat than alarmists have claimed.

Study co-author Dr. Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and U.S. Science Team Leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite, reports that real-world data from NASA’s Terra satellite contradict multiple assumptions fed into alarmist computer models.

The nitty-gritty:

"The satellite observations suggest there is much more energy lost to space during and after warming than the climate models show," Spencer said in a July 26 University of Alabama press release. "There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans."

In addition to finding that far less heat is being trapped than alarmist computer models have predicted, the NASA satellite data show the atmosphere begins shedding heat into space long before United Nations computer models predicted.

The new findings are extremely important and should dramatically alter the global warming debate.

Well it should indeed dramatically alter the debate, but there’s really no debate going on.  On the one side you have those who continue to pile scientific fact after scientific fact on the collapsing theory of AGW.  And on the other side you have those who stopped looking at the science after the last IPCC report and stubbornly cling to the anti-science belief in “consensus” while charging full-speed ahead trying to pass a regime of insane taxation.    The reason should be obvious by now – politics and big bucks.

Here’s what this new information means:

Scientists on all sides of the global warming debate are in general agreement about how much heat is being directly trapped by human emissions of carbon dioxide (the answer is "not much"). However, the single most important issue in the global warming debate is whether carbon dioxide emissions will indirectly trap far more heat by causing large increases in atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds. Alarmist computer models assume human carbon dioxide emissions indirectly cause substantial increases in atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds (each of which are very effective at trapping heat), but real-world data have long shown that carbon dioxide emissions are not causing as much atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds as the alarmist computer models have predicted.

The new NASA Terra satellite data are consistent with long-term NOAA and NASA data indicating atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds are not increasing in the manner predicted by alarmist computer models. The Terra satellite data also support data collected by NASA’s ERBS satellite showing far more longwave radiation (and thus, heat) escaped into space between 1985 and 1999 than alarmist computer models had predicted. Together, the NASA ERBS and Terra satellite data show that for 25 years and counting, carbon dioxide emissions have directly and indirectly trapped far less heat than alarmist computer models have predicted.

So that means:

In short, the central premise of alarmist global warming theory is that carbon dioxide emissions should be directly and indirectly trapping a certain amount of heat in the earth’s atmosphere and preventing it from escaping into space. Real-world measurements, however, show far less heat is being trapped in the earth’s atmosphere than the alarmist computer models predict, and far more heat is escaping into space than the alarmist computer models predict.

Or, if the relevancy and accuracy of alarmist computer models hasn’t been called into question before, if it isn’t now, you’re just simply unwilling to consider new facts or science and should be treated accordingly.

Oh, and before I forget it, the “polar bears are drowning” guy is in a bit of hot water – no pun intended:

A federal wildlife biologist whose observation in 2004 of presumably drowned polar bears in the Arctic helped to galvanize the global warming movement has been placed on administrative leave and is being investigated for scientific misconduct, possibly over the veracity of that article.

Charles Monnett, an Anchorage-based scientist with the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, or BOEMRE, was told July 18 that he was being put on leave, pending results of an investigation into "integrity issues." But he has not yet been informed by the inspector general’s office of specific charges or questions related to the scientific integrity of his work, said Jeff Ruch, executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.

Just a little FYI.  Meanwhile Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) thinks is pretty sure that all this opposition against the theory of AGW is just a result of “vested interests” in the oil and coal industries and it is imperative that the government start educating people about why this stuff is serious (and why they need to let government tax the crap out  of them as a result):

The top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday urged Energy Secretary Steven Chu to launch a national climate-change-education campaign.

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), in a letter to Chu, said the public’s understanding of climate change is “diminishing” in part because there are “powerful vested interests in the oil and coal industries successfully fanning disbelief.”

“I ask you to investigate the disconnect that appears to be growing between the scientific and the public understanding of climate change,” Waxman said. “I hope you will then decide to lead a national effort to ensure the public is fully and accurately informed about the science of climate change and its implications for human health and welfare.”

Facts?  We don’t need no stinkin’ facts.   Not when billions in revenue for government are at stake.  And they wonder why no one trusts them.

[HT: looker]

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO