American Elephants


The Energy Gap, and what to do about it… by The Elephant's Child

Nancy Pelosi called plans to drill for more oil “a hoax.” She called for President Bush to release oil from the Strategic Reserve. She claimed that drilling wouldn’t help since it would take too long. She blamed high prices on speculators. She blamed oil companies. She said that the oil companies had 68 million acres that they weren’t drilling on. She demanded to sue OPEC. I’m sure I’ve missed several of her little stories. She now says she’ll allow a vote on drilling for more crude to come to the floor of the House. And I really believe her, don’t you?

To understand Nancy Pelosi and Harry “oil is dirty” Reid’s stubborn resistance to oil drilling, building new refineries, building nuclear energy plants, and their enthusiasm for ethanol, solar and wind, you have to understand from whence comes “progressive” money.

One thing that “Progressives” do especially well is to organize into groups. They have meetings and write grant proposals, organize more, do financial studies, negotiate, do focus groups, poll testing, and write more grant proposals. And they get huge amounts of money from liberal foundations.

“Progressives” come in many varieties, there are Environmental Progressives, Labor Progressives, Social Justice Progressives, Anti-Globalization Progressives, Anti-Corporate Progressives, Anti-Capitalist Progressives, Post-National Progressives, and Anti-War Progressives, and I’m sure there are other groupings.

Very high on the list for Environmental Progressives is ending our reliance on (they say addiction to ) fossil fuels. They believe that most of the pollution in the world comes from “dirty” oil and gas. They believe that “dirty” oil and gas is causing runaway global warming which may end life on earth. They want to stop all development, curb consumerism. reject modernism, and end industrialism and capitalism to start with. Does this sound loony? The more extreme want to reduce human population, and return to a “simpler” time.

The Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund took out full-page ads in the Washington Post and other newspapers to blast Offshore drilling for oil as “George W. Bush’s Gasoline Price Elixir” that is “100% Snake Oil”. It urges visitors to their website to send a letter to their members of Congress that says “I am not buying the lie…that sacrificing the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and America’s coastal waters to oil dilling would make a real difference in gas prices — either today or twenty years from today!” It adds “With just three percent of the world’s oil reserves, our nation doesn’t have enough oil to impact the global market or drill our way to lower prices at the pump.” Here you have the ideas that are reproduced in Harry and Nancy’s playbook.

The Natural Resources Defense Council has a long history of exaggeration, misrepresentation and lies. Remember the Alar scare, when all apples were removed from grocery stores? The scare made a bundle for NRDC, and cost the apple growers over $250 million for no reason at all as Alar proved to be perfectly safe. Then there was their swordfish scare.

This was too much for even the Washington Post. The United States has only 3% of the world’s oil reserves only when one is speaking of Known oil reserves, which were last measured before Congress imposed a moratorium on drilling in 1981. Technology and techniques have changed, and estimates have ballooned, but they have to be able to measure to compute today’s known reserves.

Only when pumping finally begins, is a lease classified as “producing”, which with a little twisting turns into the statement that “Oil companies aren’t using the leases they already have”. Environmental impact statements, sensitive resource development plans, oil spill recovery plans, reports filed, exploration begun, environmental lawsuits argued, infrastructure built simply don’t count.

Drilling is environmentally dangerous, they said. Between 1993 and 2007 there were 651 spills of all sizes at OCS sites, the equivalent of 1 barrel of oil spilled per 156,900 barrels produced. More oil is released from the ocean floor naturally.

The environmental progressives believe that they can just shut off the oil and gas, and the high prices will force the government to invest billions in “renewable” energy, for that fits their vision of “clean” energy. They want us to have another Apollo Project. If we can go to the moon, we can certainly shift to renewable energy.

Currently, renewable energy contributes just 6% of U.S. energy consumption. Hydropower contributes 44% of the minuscule renewable energy sector, and biomass/waste contributes 46.5%. This latter contribution is from factories that generate their own power from burning the waste from their processes. Both are not really approved by the environmental crowd. Wind contributes 2.3% (of the 6% renewable category), solar contributes 1%, and geothermal contributes 5.6%. This teeny-weeny bit is what they believe will power the American economy if we just fork over enough money.

Problem is, the Apollo Project was a straight engineering feat. Wind only blows part of the time and at the right speed, even in the windiest locations, and must be backed by electric power whenever it doesn’t blow. A solar array requires vast acreage. Biofuels produce less energy than must be used to produce them. And biofuels have already caused severe disruption in the world food supply by putting farmers’ crops in our gas tanks. We must stop trying to grow our fuel. The world population is expected to double by 2050, and we are not producing enough food now to feed them without cutting down forests and putting more land into farming. The most promising technology seems to be fuels produced from algae, which requires far less land, and re-grows quickly.

So what we have here is an Energy Gap. It’s the gap between reality and dreams, between fact and fiction, between the hard lessons of the marketplace and Utopian hope. Progressives are good at “hope”, but not too successful at math, economics and science.

What has been forgotten in most of the debate is that oil is a matter of national security, as the War in Georgia should remind us. Nations all over the world are drilling for oil and natural gas, building nuclear reactors and new refineries, acknowledging the realities of supply and demand. We are stuck with so-called “progressives” who put their political party ahead of their country.

Barack Obama’s “Oil SENSE Act,” introduced in January 2007, is kind of a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that forbids exploration with modern seismic methods that are about as intrusive as photography on land. Deroy Murdock describes this as engineering a Space Shuttle mission with slide rules. The maps of 20-40 years ago led to 17 percent of offshore wells striking oil. With contemporary surveying, 70% of wells hit oil.

Not much sense here, in spite of clever names. But there’s always hope.



Obama Kerry? You heard it here first! by American Elephant
August 15, 2008, 4:31 pm
Filed under: Election 2008, Foreign Policy, Liberalism, Politics | Tags: , ,

With the Democrat Convention fast approaching, speculation is at a fever pitch over whom the Obamessiah will anoint his vice-presidential running mate. And since Kathleen Sebelius accidentally let slip earlier this week that the theme of the Democratic convention Wednesday night, the night the VP nominee will speak, will be national security and a tribute to veterans, the blogosphere has been a twitter with speculation that the theme is itself a hint to whom Obama will give his nod.

And so the chatter on teh interwebs, picked up by Drudge today, is that the anointed one might look to the annoying one — the “haughty, French-looking senator from Massachusetts who, by the way served in Vietnam” (James Taranto’s oft-repeated description) — to bolster his non-existent national security creds.

(By the way, I think the fact that this rumor made it to the top slot on Drudge suggests it might just be an actual trial-balloon.)

But this is an idea we floated, graphically at least, weeks ago in a piece picked up by Michelle Malkin, on the passing of the mantle of most egregious flip-flopper from Kerry to Obama.

But for the same reason we made the graphic, I think the idea of Kerry as VP will be very appealing to the man who has waged the most image-centered, superficial campaign in American history. You’ve seen the posters, the logo’s, “O-Force One”, the presidential seal:  Barack Obama is clearly a man who thinks he can graphic-design and photo-op his way into the White House without ever submitting to a substantial interview or debate. Indeed, I think the Berlin spectacle made it clear that it’s his strategy. It’s all branding. The man loves his “O”. I think whomever he picks, how it affects his “brand” will be of utmost importance to him. And what better to a campaign focused entirely on image than to turn the Obama “O” into “OK”.




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