American Elephants

Let’s Get Serious About an Energy Policy… by The Elephant's Child
June 25, 2008, 5:22 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Obama gave a speech yesterday in Las Vegas. It was called “A Serious Energy Policy for Our Future”. He (hold your breath) blamed John McCain for the high price of gas. Well, he also spread it around Washington a little. He talked about our “addiction” to oil, and the “promise” of biofuels and “green Jobs” and the usual solar and wind blather. He promised that he will fix it.

The possibilities of renewable energy are limitless. But to truly harness its potential, we urgently need real leadership from Washington — leadership that has been missing for decades. We have been talking about energy independence since Americans were waiting in gas lines during the 1970s. We’ve heard promises about it in every State of the Union for the last three decades. But each and every year, we become more, not less, addicted to oil — a 19th century fossil fuel that is dirty, dwindling, and dangerously expensive. Why?

Why do they always claim we’re “addicted” to oil? As if we could just go through rehab, and we wouldn’t have to use anymore. Our economy runs on oil. Everything that we eat, wear, use and live in or with, is transported to us by the energy in petroleum. To simply dismiss it as “a 19th century fossil fuel” shows a breathtaking lack of understanding of the importance of oil in our economy. And “dwindling” — only because with our refusal to tap our own abundant resources, we are increasingly dependent on oil from foreign sources. The world has plenty of oil. Brazil has just discovered two immense oil fields. Iraq’s oil reserves are estimated to be greater than Saudi Arabia’s. China and Cuba are drilling just off our coast. But back to Barack:

After all those years in Washington, John McCain still doesn’t get it. I commend him for his desire to accelerate the search for a battery that can power the cars of the future. I’ve been talking about this myself for the last few years. [?] When John F. Kennedy decided that we were going to put a man on the moon, he didn’t put a bounty out for some rocket scientist to win — he put the full resources of the United States government behind the project and called on the ingenuity and innovation of the American people. That’s the kind of effort we need to achieve energy independence in this country, and nothing less will do. But in this campaign, John McCain offering the same old gimmicks that will provide almost no short-term relief to folks who are struggling with high gas prices; gimmicks that will only increase our oil addiction for another four years.

Sigh. Democrats have swallowed so much Marxism that they cannot understand that “capitalism” is not a dirty word. “Capitalism” is simply the name Marx gave to the natural workings of the free market, because he was trying to sell his own system — socialism. Democrats do not like the free market. They don’t understand it, and they fear it because they cannot control it. [Which is the basic idea. It is called freedomfree market. They are supposed to let it alone.]

But Obama is too late. The Manhattan Project is already underway. As a result of higher energy prices, Robert Bryce tells us in The Energy Tribune ,” huge investments in renewable energy technologies are being made without government mandates. And yet more good news: the amount of technology and capital being brought to bear is unprecedented.”

According to New Energy Finance Ltd., a London-based research firm, in 2007 some $148.4 billion was invested globally in what it calls “clean energy technologies, companies and projects.” That’s nearly a four-fold increase over 2004 levels. And the 2007 estimate may be too low, according to Mark Mills, a co-founder of Digital Power Capital, a private equity fund that invests in energy technologies, and the co-author of The Bottomless Well, a provocative book on energy. Further Mills points to two critical differences from the 1970s, when energy price spikes hit the U.S. They are the huge amount of venture capital now available to energy entrepreneurs, and “the phenomenal new suite of technologies that are being brought to the market that can address the problem.”

Back in the ’70s, there was little private capital available to entrepreneurs who were developing new energy technologies. Today there are several thousand firms providing venture capital or private equity. And they are providing funding to inventors who can tap a staggering array of new technologies, from nanotechnology to high-bandwidth wireless communications, as they work to come up with new energy solutions.

Why has all that venture capital become available? Because people with some spare cash saw the immense returns that came from early support of the Google guys, for example. The market responds. Mr. Bryce goes on to say:

That’s the essential point: markets, not governments, are going to determine the pace of our transition to alternative and renewable fuels. The length of that transition — which will likely last several decades — depends almost exclusively on how quickly those new sources can become cost-competitive with fossil fuels.

Obama returns to the Democrat congress’ 68 million acres ploy (see Poof! Nancy Pelosi solves the oil crisis!) CAFE standards, already jacked up, and ‘improved’ biofuels. New studies show that ethanol has little effect on gas prices, but significant pressure on food. The effect of ethanol on gas prices is almost too small to measure, but the effects on food prices and security are huge. And 2-4 million acres of corn may be lost in the wake of Midwest floods. The problem is land turned from producing food to our fuel tanks. The earth’s population is expected to increase until about 2050, and then begin turning down. We are going to need all our farmland producing food to feed the world, and to avoid turning forest land over to food production. Government support for corn-based ethanol ensures a significant and continually increasing demand for corn. These policies interfere with the normal functioning of markets.

In the run-up to the 2006 election, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi was complaining about $2.50 gas prices and in a press release said,”Democrats have a commonsense plan to help bring down skyrocketing gas prices…” Well, yes. Since then she has forced a vote to increase taxes on energy four times. And dragged in oil company executives for an inquisition. But their commonsense plans are not yet apparent.

Brian Sussman addresses Democrat tactics and how our present predicament came about in an article at American Thinker. Obama, in defending his lack of military and foreign policy experience, chastises Republicans for using fear tactics. Which is what Democrats are using to try to dissuade our government from allowing offshore exploration and drilling. And why they are more interested in mandates and socialist solutions like nationalizing America’s oil refineries.

The free market works. Government mandates and government control have a long unhappy history. This is not change we can believe in.

Ultimately, it is all about freedom. Free markets mean free people. Have an idea? Go for it! (The image is the Morgan Life Car, hydrogen powered and 150mpg, Cost? If you have to ask…)

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