Free Markets, Free People

fossil fuels

Obama’s “all-of-the-above” energy policy is really a “some-of-the-favored-above” political strategy

As usual President Obama has said one thing while demonstrating another.  He claimed, in his much panned energy speech, that the right energy strategy is to pursue an “all of the above” policy which includes not only fossil fuel, but alternative fuels as well.

“If we’re going to avoid being at the mercy of these world events, we’ve got to have a sustained, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy.”

And he claims that’s what he’s done.  Of course that’s nonsense as has been demonstrated many times on this blog.  His administration has done everything in its power for the past three years to block oil exploitation on federal land.  His administration has issued fewer permits for shorter times, slow walked those which have been let and disapproved such projects as the Keystone XL pipeline which is critical to any “all-of-the-above” strategy.

To make the point that fossil fuels are not in his “all of the above” plan, one only need look at his recent corporate income tax proposal in which petroleum companies are singled out for punitive treatment.  Hardly the move of a person interested in what he’s claiming.

“Since it’s an election year, they’re already dusting off their three-point plans for $2 gas. I’ll save you the suspense: Step one is drill, step two is drill, and step three is keep drilling,” Obama said. “Well, the American people aren’t stupid. You know that’s not a plan. . . . It’s a strategy to get politicians through an election. You know there are no quick fixes to this problem, and you know we can’t just drill our to lower prices.”

We can’t drill ourselves to lower gas prices?  But of course we can, if we will.  Remember that for 25 years, Democrats, who’ve taken every opportunity to block additional drilling, tell us it takes 3 to 10 years for us to benefit from new drilling.  Well, here we are, a quarter century later still in the same shape we were then and we have this guy telling us we can’t lower prices by increasing production?

Really?  So is there a new law of economics at work none of us have been privy too?  Supply and demand no longer work?

Rising prices now are a symptom of failing to do what we should have done over the previous quarter century.  Because of that we remain (as does the market) vulnerable to problems in supply elsewhere.   Like Iran, which is now cutting supplies to Europe and causing the market to react with higher prices due to a smaller supply.

Econ 101.  gas_prices_large3

If we had been drilling and producing for 25 years, we or the market wouldn’t be as susceptible to those sorts of shocks.   There’d be more supply and a greater diversity of supply.  That means lower prices.   And it would certainly mean more oil security for us.  Whether or not much of it is exported is irrelevant.  In time of emergency we would have a domestic supply that could be diverted to secure our energy needs.

Instead, we have a president who is reduced to claiming Americans “aren’t stupid” while he treats them as if they are.

He claims that you can’t reduce the price of oil by drilling for more oil (you can’t lower prices by meeting demand with increased product?)?  Now who is stupid.

And speaking of politics, because of his failure to enable the exploitation of petroleum products during his term in office, what is the only option Obama has in his bag of tricks?  Looting the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in order to help his re-election chances.  Who is it that doesn’t have much of a plan?

If you’re not tired of the double-speak from this man, you’re not paying attention.  His energy speech was pure blarney.

“There is no silver bullet. There never has been,” Obama said. “It’s the easiest thing in the world to make phony election-year promises about lower gas prices.”

Nonsense.  There certainly is a “silver bullet” way of lowering gasoline prices.  Produce more of it.  The reason there is no “silver bullet” in the offing is because he and people like him have stood in the way of its production.

You can’t make a silver bullet if you won’t let anyone mine the silver.  And that is precisely what Mr. Obama and the Democrats have done for 25 years.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

A couple of enviro myths and reality

Myth one – wind power has no down side.  Well, except for the fact that wind power needs fossil fuel backup to give it any consistency and thus can be hardly called strictly renewable or “clean energy”.

But in this case, I was thinking more on the endangered species side of things.  The assumption is that wind power is an entirely eco-friendly way of generating power.  Yeah, not so much if you’re a bird – especially, in the case of California, a golden eagle:

The death count along the ridgelines of the Bay Area’s Altamount Pass Wind Resource Area has averaged 67 a year for three decades.

The 200ft high turbines, which have been operating since the 1980s, lie in the heart of the grassy canyons that are home to one of the highest densities of nesting golden eagles in the US.

‘It would take 167 pairs of local nesting golden eagles to produce enough young to compensate for their mortality rate related to wind energy production,’ field biologist Doug Bell, manager of East Bay Regional Park District’s wildlife programme, told the Los Angeles Times. ‘We only have 60 pairs,’ he added.

Interesting – the enviro-crowd will go to war for some tiny fish no one is heard of to stop a dam or some other project, but when something they mostly support grinds up endangered golden eagles at a rate at which they can’t replace themselves, crickets (endangered crickets, of course).  In CA only the Audubon Society is speaking out. 

And nationally:

Nationwide, about 440,000 birds are said to be accidentally killed at wind farms each year, as well as thousands more bats. With the government pushing for more wind energy farms, that statistic is likely to rise.

Can’t wait to see what comes of the Cape Wind project off of MA.  The toll of birds is sure to rise, and my guess is it will become a favorite hang out for sharks – with the automatic chumming and all.

Myth two – we’re “deforesting” the earth and that is a major reason that the climate is changing and getting warmer (more CO2 generated by man , minus less CO2 capture by forests).

A new study says not so fast:

For years exponents of climate change theories have used images of deforestation to support their cause.

However, the density of forests and woodland across much of the world is actually increasing, according to a respected scientific study.

The change, which is being dubbed the ‘Great Reversal’, could be crucial in reducing atmospheric carbon, which is linked to climate change.

Seems that the density has in fact increased significantly enough to actually reverse what was claimed as irreversible a decade ago:

In countries from Finland to Malaysia, the thickening has taken place so quickly that it has reversed the carbon losses caused by deforestation between 1990 and 2010.

Of course, even if they acknowledge the results of the study, enviro types aren’t happy with the mix of the new density.

Environmentalists expressed concerns, however, that much of the increasing density is driven by huge new monoculture plantations.

In China, an ambitious reforestation programme has added three million hectares to the country’s forests every year over the past decade, but green campaigners believe this is predominantly composed of one species – eucalyptus.

But the study says the density, regardless of species, is having the effect of taking in more carbon that forest were taking in during the previous decade, regardless of species.

The research, carried out by teams from the University of Helsinki and New York’s Rockefeller University, shows that forests are thickening in 45 of 68 countries, which together account for 72 per cent of global forests. Traditionally, environmentalists have focused their concern solely on the dwindling extent of forested areas, but the authors believe evidence of denser forests could be crucial in reducing the world’s carbon footprint.

So – if you’re one of the global warming alarmists who want to do something about your carbon footprint – go plant a tree or two.  As for the myth of deforestation – well, it’s just that, a myth.  10 million hectares of “new forest” are planted each year on newly felled woodland or reclaimed land.  And, per the study, the density in which it is planted has, within a decade, “reversed” any theorized damage and has the world in a net positive situation for CO2 capture.    That means, of course, that the alarmists no longer have this particular issue with which to hammer industries that use forest products – well except whine about what they’re planting.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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Irony: Biofuels may be 167% more polluting than fossil fuels

Even more irony – the groups lining up against the EU’s energy targets mandating the use of biofuels are not who you would expect:

Energy targets for 23 of the EU’s 27 members suggest 9.5 percent of the bloc’s transportation energy will come from biofuels by 2020, said the groups, which include Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and ActionAid. The crops may need an area twice the size of Belgium, and clearing the necessary land could make the fuels 167 percent more polluting for the climate than sticking with gasoline and diesel, they said.

The proponents naturally say that’s all nonsense:

The EU aims to get 10 percent of its energy for transportation from biofuels, hydrogen and renewable power by 2020. The target is meant to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020.

EU energy spokeswoman Marlene Holzner said the targets require less land than the study suggests and that EU guidelines prevent the use of deforested land.

“The Renewable Directive says very clearly that it is not allowed to chop down forests to produce biofuels,” Holzner said in an e-mail. “The same goes for drained peatland, wetland or highly biodiverse areas.”

Well of course it says that’s not allowed. Whether or not that’s actually followed is another matter entirely. But here’s the point – the directive’s implementation means that existing land that can be used to reach the targets must be converted from growing whatever it is growing now (food?) to being dedicated to biofuel production. Either way a large area (twice the size of Belgium?) is going to have to be dedicated to such production to make the 10 percent target viable. So where does "food production" go? Looking for new land, that’s where. Or, the EU learns to live with the reduction in agricultural products and the resultant increase in prices required to turn the existing land into biofuel production.

The bureaucrats wave away the concern:

The 10 percent target would require 2 million to 5 million hectares of land, and there is enough unused terrain in the EU that was previously used for crop production to cover its needs, Holzner said.

This is classic government intrusion into markets and the beginning of the inevitable market distortions that brings along with the law of unintended consequences.  Biofuels have to be grown somewhere.  Government is going to subsidize that at a rate higher than growing food.  That means, at some point, food growth is going to be displaced.   Holzner, with an airy wave of the hand says “hey, the land is available – problem solved”. 

Of such are man-made disasters cluelessly formulated and executed.

~McQ

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