Of course, it is short-sighted to spend large sums on any of this, when what we need are lifestyle changes, a solution ignored by the Right and the Left.
First! Seriously though, being a schoolteacher, I know PLENTY of greens, and one of their most distinctive features (to me at least) is their utter refusal to accept the fact that there is no ‘magic bullet’ when it comes to energy. We have to get our electricity from somewhere, and right now the only options are coal, natural gas, nuclear, solar, or wind (I’m probably forgetting some). All of these have problems, and we as a society simply need to choose which set of cons we are willing to live with and just accept them as necessary evils until fusion power is made economical. Greens are simply unwilling to even consider this. Even when presented with actual data showing that forcing wind and solar power on the country would bring disaster, you know, the fact that energy prices would skyrocket, crippling the poor, they still believe that wind and solar power will usher in this new utopia where all the world’s ills will be magically whisked away on the blades of some windmill. One of the major consequences of the falling away from Christianity that academia has promoted for pretty much a whole century is that the green movement has filled the spiritual vacuum in urban atheists. It’s ironic: they consider themselves to be these cool rationalists who only act on cold logic, but their entire view of how government, economics, and human beings work is all blind faith
The Enviros have been blocking energy development for so long, that even during our present deflation, energy supply shortages are causing inflation in common consumer items, like gas, food, and recently manufactured items.
Energy = Productivity
Modern civilization no longer uses muscle power, and instead leverages energy to produce all our products and services. Cheap energy is therefore required for growth, and yet the enviro misanthropes and their Democrat fellow travelers, have blocked the development of Nuclear, Oil, Oil sands, Oil shale, off shore oil, coal, and even dams. They are significantly responsible for our present economic problem, and have cost us growth we will never get back, for 3 or 4 decades. We haven’t built a Nuclear power plant in 30 years, and they produce power for 3.5 cents per kilowatt hour, the cheapest and therefore the most productive source for the economy.
Here’s what else the greens ignore: the oil and natural gas pipelines that already criss-cross the U.S. safely.
Millions of Americans run their autos and heat their homes with hydrocarbons safely transported around the U.S.
The welfare of those millions of Americans matters not a whit to the greens. Between homo sapiens and any other plant or animal species, greens always choose the latter.
The greens will never “wise up.” They are practicing a religion, not thinking through a problem.
If they could impose their version of Sharia, all oil wells in the world (and all other production of power) would be capped and shuttered.
Their religion calls for us to go back to plucking nuts and berries. Most can’t admit it to themselves, but their vanguard is actually pretty intellectually honest.
They aren’t pro-environment. They are anti-human. Our existence is what bothers them.
If the watermelons — green on the outside, but definitely RED on the inside — don’t like the pipeline, then of course they should support immediate construction of several heavy oil refineries in North Dakota.
Waive EPA requirements and get going.
It does not, however, matter. Sometime soon after 20 January 2013 the new Republican president will authorize both the pipeline and the refineries.
It’s instructive to think of the environmentalism as a secular religion. The activist Bill McKibben is running an online church devoted to the number 350 (the magic CO2 PPM level that the prophet James Hansen has revealed to us).
Too bad G.K. Chesterton was born in 1874 rather than 1974; he would have gotten a perverse enjoyment from all this. Then again, we do have Iowahawk.
“last Native tribes”? Up our way they’re called First Nations and Metis, and they represent almost 5% of the national population, and growing. Nothing “last” about them.
The Greens’ idea of “spread the wealth” is everyone enjoys the same level of prosperity as, say, Chad, the Sudan, and North Korea. Gaia must be protected from people and their wasteful ways. To that end, they fully intend to terminate access to cheap energy. Meanwhile, US nat gas companies have to sell their product, when the moronic government will let them get it out of the ground, to foreigners who have better sense than Americans in general, and Democrats/Libs/Progs and their fellow travelers in the Republican party,in particular.
Professor Mead, while I enjoy reading you posts – even when I find them frustrating – I think you need to start bashing the American right as well. Case in point: T. Boone Pickens, a legendary oilman and a prominent republican, is trying to establish a nationwide network to provide natural gas as fuel for cars and trucks. It’s cheaper than diesel and it’s cleaner. Most importantly, North America has lots of national gas, so it would help us reduce our dependence on foreign oil. A bill to support the Pickens plan is pending in the house; Pickens claims to have 185 supporters in the house, both republican and Democrat. Yet the bill has not come to the floor. Apparently, the Koch brothers are against it. Maybe you should look into this.
Here is a clip of Boone Pickens discussing this situation on Bloomberg News.
“It could eventually transport 900,000 barrels of oil a day ”
Compare the energy in 900,000 barrels of oil a day with the number of wind mills and solar farms needed to match that output. Then compare the land needed and other factors with the pipeline and ask which is environmentally more damaging. Here is another way to look at it: the pipeline will save thousands of eagles from a miserable death from the blades of a wind generator.
Got a question for you. Is it a stretch to say that the enviros have managed the impressive feat of alienating all four schools of foreign policy? Their contempt for Jacksonians and Hamiltonians is obvious. But by blocking this pipeline they indirectly entangle us more in the Middle East, thus losing key support from the Jeffersonians (if they ever had any in the first place) and at the very least making the Wilsonians a bit uncomfortable.
Even if Obama does decide he wants the pipeline built (pretty likely, given the upcoming election), the greens will tied it up for years with litigation and regulatory maneuvering. The proliferation of “activists” and their organizations has made large infrastructure projects almost impossible, and Obama **cannot turn off this countereconomic activity even if he wants to**. It’s like the “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” scene in “Fantasia.”
In addition to what all those above have said, a guy could wonder: wouldn’t it be so much simpler to just build a refinery near the source instead of building a 2000+ mile-long pipeline? And possibly less costly? The Greens would hate it just as much.
@Chase, yes, I’m sure that the evil Koch brothers have so much power that they can prevent the bill from coming to the floor all by themselves. [BTW, what happened to T. Boone’s giant wind farm idea?? Oh, yeah. nevermind.]
Damn unintended consequences.
There would be no need to transport this crude across environmentally-sensitive territory if other policies did not make it difficult or impossible to refine it nearer the source. Product is safer to move than raw material.
There is easily another 900K bbl of refining capacity available in the northern Midwest (if you include Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois) if plants are permitted to update and expand. I’m thinking in particular of a vast brownfield along the Chicago S&S Canal, near where Joliet Prison used to be, that was nothing but refining yards before EPA and NIMBY. It would sure look better as working enterprises than bare-stripped waste land. People could, you know, work there.
Why do leftists hate science so?
Those “lifestyle changes” that you recommend go by other names in most of America — names like “unemployment”, “poverty”, and “decline”.
Please consider points of view other than your own.
It’s impossible to reason with the Greens. They are just as ideologically driven as Lenin, Stalin and Mao, but instead of building socialism they are saving the planet. They don’t yet hold all the levers of power but are entrenched in Government agencies such as EPA and NASA. The abolition of these latter bodies would go a long way towards demoralising the Luddites.
Dr. Mead, the phrase “tar sands” was used historically – people 300 years ago did not recognize oil as we do today. There is no tar – tar comes from coal. the correct description is “oil sands” and the product is called bitumen. The environmentalists persist in using the inaccurate historic name because it sounds nasty in modern, environmentally sensitive society. Please do your article a favor and use the right terminology.
Certainly many on the ‘green’ side are honest in their fervent opposition to projects such as these. But it is downright naive of Mr. Mead to ignore much of what the opposition is really engaged in – a shakedown in order to gain a cut of the payout.
As Robert Heinlein wrote, “Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as “bad luck.” Shared poverty and misery is what the “Greens” (also known as “Marxists”) wish for us all. we should have the good sense to reject them outright.
“For the sake of the planet, the greens must wise up.”
Here’s the news: Ain’t.Gonna.Happen.
Short of recycling through compost heaps nothing can or will be done about them. Too embedded in the current megastructure to remove in any other way. Inbred for several generations.
I reject the premise that we have had any war as a result of oil shortages or desired increase in the supply of oil. It’s almost too thoughtless to parse.
“…..what we need are lifestyle changes, a solution ignored by the Right and the Left.”
Sorry, Dave, but airy unsupported assertions such as yours drive rational people crazy.
Why, exactly do we “need” un-specified “lifestyle changes”? What are the the “solutio” to?
And what are those “lifestyle changes”? Do they include forcing Americans back into cities, imposing totally irrational and uneconomic “light rail” on us, and abandon our cars?
Great ideas, Dave!
Or are you an EV fan who forgets that electricity doesn’t grow on trees?
But I thought oil comes out of the earth, pure and natural, full of organic goodness n’ stuff! What’s the problem? Oh, right…people are.
You can count on ‘green’ terrorists to sabotage/blow up the pipeline once up and running…gotta create a crisis that won’t go to waste, you see.
It would be a target of Greenie terrorists.
Not only will the Pipeline transport Canadian crude, it also moves along the Bakken shale oil play in North Dakota and will transport that oil as well. Currently the Bakken is producing approximately 250K barrels per day and is projected to ramp up to almost 1,000K barrels per day by 2020. That’s a lot of oil we will no longer import from the middle east.
The specter of potential energy independence broods over the freighted greenies, weighed down with the burden of saving Gaia. Soon they will see the need for a final solution and begin systematically eliminating the threat: humanity.
WRM, I imagine the Greens will tag your blog as a denialist troll reserve. Can you imagine – science as the troll.
Bush said America is addicted to oil. I think he’s right. Shouldn’t we then discourage projects which gives an easy way out? The jobs creation argument is also overblown. There are more jobs in creating greener technologies than building one pipeline. If jobs was a priority, they should build a road instead which would result in the employment of taker drivers for the next decades.
America has the opportunity to tell Canada, their biggest trade partner, thanks but no thanks. We Americans need energy but not at the costs imposed by the tar sands.