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Climate Panic Behind Energy Crisis

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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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Business

Prairie premiers, governors urge Canada, U.S. to keep border crossings open longer

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Washington – Canada’s Prairie premiers and two U.S. governors want their respective countries to restore pre-pandemic operating hours at entry points along their shared land border.

The group of provincial and state leaders have written to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Joe Biden to argue that curtailed hours at border crossings are hurting the economy.

The letter is signed by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson, as well as Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum.

It says travellers and businesses are being forced to go out of their way to find entry points with longer hours, driving up fuel and labour costs.

The leaders say that’s also hurting smaller border communities along the Canada-U.S. border that depend on international traffic for their economic livelihoods.

The letter does not mention that the U.S. still requires visiting foreign nationals to be vaccinated against COVID-19, a requirement Canada lifted over the weekend.

“Residents and businesses on both sides of the border have expressed concern that the reduced hours of operation will become permanent,” the letter reads.

It also argues that the supply chain problems that have persisted since the onset of COVID-19 in 2020 will only linger so long as cross-border trade and travel remains curtailed by limited hours at border crossings.

“Resuming pre-pandemic operating hours will ensure the efficient and steady flow of people and goods, which will only improve trade activity and reduce inflationary pressure on both sides of the border.”

A notice on the Canada Border Services Agency website warns of limited operating hours at nearly 40 land ports of entry, mostly in the Prairie provinces, along with Quebec, New Brunswick and B.C.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 3, 2022.

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Business

Vancouver gas prices pass $2.39, breaking North American record: analyst

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Vancouver – Gas prices in Vancouver hit a new high of more than $2.39 a litre at some stations Thursday, blowing past the previous peak set this summer.

One gas analyst said that’s a new all-time record for North America, and expects prices to continue to rise this week.

Dan McTeague, president of Canadians for Affordable Energy, said prices passed the previous record of nearly $2.37 a litre, set in Vancouver in June, due to the temporary shutdown of refineries in the U.S. Pacific Northwest and California.

McTeague said prices will likely rise again then drop fairly quickly once the supply issues are resolved.

“I don’t see the all-clear light at the end of the tunnel just yet. It’s going to happen and when it does it will be a dramatic drop, probably about 20 cents a litre, not in one fell swoop but very close to that over two or three days,” he said.

Gas prices jumped overnight across Canada by almost 20 cents in some places.

McTeague said no one could have predicted gas prices increasing at the speed they have over the past several days.

“The bottom line is that there’s not enough supply out there and however we got here, we’re going to have to spend a bit more time trying to figure this out because this is the kind of things that bring economies to a standstill,” he said.

According to the CAA’s price tracker, gas is up nationally by just over three cents on average at $1.58 per litre, with some provinces seeing higher jumps than others.

The CAA says the average gas price across Vancouver was $2.32 on Thursday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 29, 2022.

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