Topic category: Energy
Life in a box
Is there an exit strategy for this energy, environment and economic predicament?
“Life in a box is better than no life at all,” playwright Tom Stoppard famously opined, through the personage of Rosencrantz. (Or was it Guildenstern?)
That’s lucky for us, because our energy, environmental and economic policies have certainly put us in a box – and there is no easy way out.
Congress passed a $787-billion “stimulus” bill, and a $3-billion cash-for-clunkers program that trashed perfectly good cars, and the energy and raw materials that created them. It’s halfway toward imposing nationalized healthcare that could cost taxpayers another $2.5 trillion over its first decade.
Unemployment now stands at 10.2% officially, or 22% if you include people who have given up on finding a job. At this point, 25 states have borrowed $23 billion from the Federal Unemployment Trust Fund, to meet their obligations to work-deprived workers.
Meanwhile, over in Copenhagen, the G-77 poor nations snubbed Europe’s offer of $10 billion over three years, for climate change reparation, mitigation and adaptation. “The world’s scientists and policy makers say this is the greatest risk humanity has ever faced,” G-77 chairman Lumumba Di-Aiping noted. Something closer to $1 trillion every few years would be more appropriate, he suggested.
That’s in addition to regular foreign aid – and on top of the $50 trillion in life support for corrupt dictators that the developed world has already provided to still-impoverished nations since 1950.
In response, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton dutifully pledged that the United States will importune taxpayers, private donors and other countries to raise $100 billion annually through 2020, to help poor nations cope with the “ravages” of global warming – or our current “CO2-driven” global cooling. She claims the money will be provided only if China and other major developing countries agree to binding emission targets that can be verified internationally (a condition that they have steadfastly rejected).
But of course, neither Di-Aiping nor Clinton wants to remind anyone of a few elephantine realities. This “greatest risk humanity has ever faced” is based on fraudulent claims, data, models, analyses and peer reviews. The proposed 83% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050 would send the United States back to levels last seen in 1908 – or 1868 when population, energy use and technology changes are considered.
The cap-tax-and-trade laws and Copenhagen treaty represent the greatest transfer of wealth, power and control in the history of mankind. Perhaps worst, the energy taxes and restrictions amount to economic suicide by PDCs – previously developed countries.
That collective seppuku would benefit some in emerging economies but bring little or no environmental gain or climate stabilization. The surging economies will emit far more pollutants and CO2 than the US, Europe and Canada can eliminate, even if they send emissions to zero; and carbon dioxide is a minor player in climate change, compared to the sun and a host of other natural forces.
Where will the United States find the trillions of dollars to pay for all this? “We’re out of cash,” President Obama has pointed out. So he and Congress have announced the usual progressive “solutions.”
They raised the national debt ceiling to $14 trillion – a 39% increase since Democrats took charge in 2007. (The debt is now 60% of the nation’s GDP.) They plan to raise taxes, print more increasingly devalued currency, and unleash the Internal Revenue Service on businesses and families. And of course implement cap-tax-and-trade – to take $300 billion a year from energy consumers, and transfer it to government bureaucrats and companies with good lobbyists.
They adamantly refuse to raise revenue by doing what built America: tapping the energy and mineral resources that America still has in abundance: a century’s worth of oil, natural gas and shale oil in Alaska, the Western states and Outer Continental Shelf (OCS); two centuries’ of coal on public and private lands; and vast stores of uranium, metals and rare earth minerals. Oil shale deposits alone contain 1 trillion barrels of recoverable oil, nearly equal to the world’s total known conventional oil reserves, the Institute for Energy Research calculates.
These resources could generate trillions of dollars in bonuses, rents, royalties and taxes, and create or save millions of high-paying jobs. They could provide the billions of tons of concrete, steel, copper, fiberglass, plastic films and rare earths that will be needed to cover millions of acres with wind turbines, solar panels, geothermal facilities and transmission lines, for the new “eco-friendly” economy.
But many of our best energy and mineral prospects are locked up in over 500,000,000 acres of wilderness, park, refuge, recreation, scenic, endangered species habitat, and ecological study areas and “protective buffer zones.” Offshore, the vast majority of our OCS energy is likewise off limits.
Developing these resources is ideologically anathema to Democrats and greens, who concoct new anti-development rationales and restrictions every week.
Instead of developing these bounties and reaping the energy and economic benefits, we spend trillions importing replacements: oil, natural gas, uranium, metals and even wind turbines. A new 240-turbine wind farm in western Texas has reportedly created 2,800 jobs – but 2,400 of them are in China, where the turbines are manufactured! The 400 new green-collar American jobs include truck drivers to haul the gargantuan parts from the West Coast to West Texas, an installation and landscaping crew, and a small army of bureaucrats, lawyers and accountants.
This is the green, sustainable economy of the future? America’s oil and natural gas industries alone support more than 9 million American jobs and contribute well over $1 trillion annually to the US economy, PricewaterhouseCoopers has calculated. Coal likewise generates vast job and economic benefits. At 400 temporary jobs per wind farm, renewable energy has a long way to go.
How long the US economy and family can survive such “sustainability” is a question our illustrious law and policy makers had better start addressing.
“Quite frankly, from our point of view,” Polish Finance Minister Jan Rostowski recently said, “it’s totally unacceptable that the poor countries of Europe should help the rich countries of Europe help the poor countries in the rest of the world.” Those Eastern European countries lived under Nazi and Soviet regimes for five decades. They have no desire to live under a UN climate dictatorship.
Copenhagen and the circling of alarmist wagons over the climate change email and computer code scandal has made one thing absolutely clear, to anyone with open eyes and minds. The caterwauling over warming has nothing to do with science or saving Planet Earth.
It has everything to do with global governance, UN control of energy, economies and lives, and of course money – for research, renewable energy, bureaucracies, and international welfare.
Rosencrantz was satisfied with life in a box. “You’d have a chance, at least. You could lie there thinking, ‘Well. At least I’m not dead.’”
Have we now become Rosencrantz? Or does the spirit of Patrick Henry still reside within? “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains or slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God. I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
Hopefully, the 1776 redux will come at the ballot box. But if the eco-tyranny continues, Earth’s climate may really heat up.
Paul Driessen is senior policy adviser for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), which sponsors the All Pain No Gain education campaign and petition against job-killing global warming policies, and the ClimateDepot website for the latest news and views on climate change. He is also a senior policy adviser to the Congress of Racial Equality and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green Power - Black Death.
Biography - Paul Driessen
Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of many articles on energy and the environment. He has degrees in sciences and environmental law.