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Economy

Climate Panic Behind Energy Crisis

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7 minute read

Climate activists, including members of Extinction Rebellion, participate in a demonstration in front of the Thurgood Marshall US Courthouse on June 30, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

My testimony to U.S. Congress

I was delighted to be invited to testify before the United States Congress for the seventh time in two years. Below are my oral remarks. All references can be found in my full testimony, which draws on much of what I have published here on Substack over the last 18 months. To read my full testimony, please click here.

Good morning Chairwoman Maloney, Environment Subcommittee Chairman Khanna, and Ranking Member Comer, and members of the Committee. I am grateful to you for inviting my testimony.

I share this committee’s concern with climate change and misinformation. It is for that reason that I have, for more than 20 years, conducted energy analysis, worked as a journalist, and advocated for renewables, coal-to-natural gas switching, and nuclear power to reduce carbon emissions.

At the same time, I am deeply troubled by the way concern over climate change is being used to repress domestic energy production. The U.S. is failing to produce sufficient quantities of natural gas and oil for ourselves and our allies. The result is the worst energy crisis in 50 years, continuing inflation, and harm to workers and consumers in the U.S. and the Western world. Energy shortages are already resulting in rising social disorder and the toppling of governments, and they are about to get much worse.

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We should do more to address climate change but in a framework that prioritizes energy abundance, reliability, and security. Climate change is real and we should seek to reduce carbon emissions. But it’s also the case that U.S. carbon emissions declined 22% between 2005 and 2020, global emissions were flat over the last decade, and weather-related disasters have declined since the beginning of this century. There is no scientific scenario for mass death from climate change. A far more immediate and dangerous threat is insufficient energy supplies due to U.S. government policies and actions aimed at reducing oil and gas production.

The Biden administration claims to be doing all it can to increase oil and natural gas production but it’s not. It has issued fewer leases for oil and gas production on federal lands than any other administration since World War II. It blocked the expansion of oil refining. It is using environmental regulations to reduce liquified natural gas production and exports. It has encouraged greater production by Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, and other OPEC nations, rather than in the U.S. And its representatives continue to emphasize that their goal is to end the use of fossil fuels, including the cleanest one, natural gas, thereby undermining private sector investment.

The author preparing to testify before Congress.

If this committee is truly concerned about corporate profits and misinformation, then it must approach the issue fairly. The big tech companies make larger profits than big oil but have for some reason not been called to account. Nor has there been any acknowledgement that the U.S. oil and gas industry effectively subsidized American consumers to the tune of $100 billion per year for most of the last 12 years, resulting in many bankruptcies and financial losses. As for misinformation about climate change and energy, it is rife on all sides, and I question whether the demands for censorship by big tech firms are being made in good faith, or are consistent with the rights protected by the First Amendment.

Efforts by the Biden administration and Congress to increase reliance on weather dependent renewable energies and electric vehicles (EVs) risk undermining American industries and helping China. China has more global market share of the production of renewables, EVs, and their material components than OPEC has over global oil production. It would be a grave error for the U.S. to sacrifice its hard-won energy security for dependence on China for energy. While I support the repatriation of those industries to the U.S., doing so will take decades, not years. Increased costs tied to higher U.S. labor and environmental standards could further impede their development. There are also significant underlying physical problems with renewables, stemming from their energy-dilute, material-intensive nature, that may not be surmountable. Already we have seen that their weather-dependence, large land requirements, and large material throughput result in renewables making electricity significantly more expensive everywhere they are deployed at scale.

The right path forward would increase oil and natural gas production in the short and medium terms, and increase nuclear production in the medium to long terms. The U.S. government is, by extending and expanding heavy subsidies for renewables, expanding control over energy markets, but without a clear vision for the role of oil, gas, and nuclear.

We should seek a significant expansion of natural gas and oil production, pipelines, and refineries to provide greater energy security for ourselves, and to produce in sufficient quantities for our allies. We should seek a significant expansion of nuclear power to increase energy abundance and security, produce hydrogen, and one day phase out the use of all fossil fuels. While the latter shouldn’t be our main focus, particularly now, radical decarbonization can and should be a medium- to long-term objective within the context of creating abundant, secure, and low-cost energy supplies to power our remarkable nation and civilization.

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Alberta

Future of Energy is Here – Province of Alberta pitches Alberta and Albertans at 2022 Energy Council conference

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Alberta’s Energy Minister Pete Guthrie is making a powerful presentation to state and provincial legislators from across the United States and Canada at the Energy Council’s Global Energy and Environmental Issues Conference in Banff.  

It’s a convincing pitch on behalf of energy workers, and Alberta taxpayers who rely so heavily on the province’s most lucrative industry.  The presentation is boosted by this video profiling Alberta’s stable, abundant and environmentally responsible energy supply.  

Energy Minister Pete Guthrie issued the following statement on Alberta’s energy sector at the 2022 Energy Council conference:

“Energy matters now more than ever. This year, we’ve seen how geopolitical events and volatile energy markets can impact the lives of people throughout the world. It matters where the energy that powers our homes, our economies and our lives comes from.

“The world needs a solution for long-term energy security that is also responsible, reliable and affordable. That solution is Alberta.

“It’s in this spirit that Alberta is proud to host the Energy Council’s Global Energy and Environmental Issues Conference in Banff. We are promoting our energy sector to more than 160 participants – including state and provincial legislators from the United States and Canada.

“During the conference, we will focus discussions on the future of the energy industry, the strength and security of the North American energy system and the role Alberta has to play.

“Alberta is the global leader in responsible energy development that the world needs. We have the innovation, technology and expertise needed to produce responsible energy. We have the highest human rights, labour and environmental standards. We have Canada’s fastest-growing renewable energy sector. On top of all that, we are rapidly developing carbon capture and storage and lowering emissions, with the Pathways Alliance targeting net zero by 2050.

“Our government firmly believes Alberta is the key to energy security for North America and the world. Our track record speaks for itself.  Last year, about 62 per cent of the crude oil imported to the United States came from Alberta – that is 10 times more than their oil imports from Saudi Arabia, and over four times more than all of OPEC. Every barrel that comes from Alberta helps replace one produced by countries that do not adhere to our high environmental and social standards. Our province has one of the largest oil reserves in the world, and we are ready to supply nations around the world with our reliable and responsibly produced resources.

“Alberta’s support of research and innovation excellence ensures that innovators can continue to make groundbreaking discoveries, commercialize game-changing emissions-reducing technologies and solve some of the industry’s biggest challenges.

“The future of energy is here. It’s Alberta.”

 

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Alberta

Alberta introduces bill for $2.8 billion in inflation-fighting payouts, rollbacks

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Edmonton – The Alberta government has introduced legislation to implement inflation-fighting rebates and payouts announced recently by Premier Danielle Smith.

Affordability Minister Matt Jones says the changes allow for help for families, seniors and the vulnerable soon.

Middle- to lower-income families, those with a household income of less than $180,000 a year, are to get $600 over six months for each child under 18 years of age.

The same income threshold and benefit applies to seniors, and the payout will also go to those on disability supports.

There will be electricity rebates and the 13 per cent provincial tax on gasoline is suspended from January to June.

The total cost of the package is pegged at $2.8 billion.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 7, 2022.

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