Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Lower Gas Prices are a Good Thing

I was shocked when I read the “Higher Gas Prices Are Needed” column in the July edition of Virginia Business.

Affordable energy is not the result of any subsidy, nor is it a subsidy in and of itself. “Cheap” energy is the result of a free-market, capitalist system that, absent government intervention, always results in the most efficient allocation of scarce resources.

In fact, the situation is quite the opposite of the premise stated in the column. Cheap energy is not the result of subsidies, nor is it a subsidy. When government purposefully and willfully obstructs carbon-based energy development and production, that government is in fact providing a subsidy for so-called green energy projects. The Biden Administration is very transparent about this and has a stated policy goal of weaning the USA off of the oil and gas industry. The Administration arbitrarily stopped all federal oil and gas leasing on shore and off shore, it stopped issuing permits for safe and efficient oil and gas pipelines, it stopped the Congressionally authorized development of the substantial and proven ANWR oil and gas reserves, and it unleashed the punitive powers of the EPA on all things carbon.

The United States has more coal than any other nation in the world, enough to supply nearly 50% of our current demand for electricity for hundreds of years at costs that make green energy look like highway robbery. Thanks to improved burner technology, but for CO2, coal can be burned completely emission free. The USA also has more proven oil and gas reserves than any other nation, and we produce it safer and cleaner than any other nation in the world. Moreover, the USA has enough proven oil and gas reserves to meet all of its current needs at affordable prices. Do accidents happen? Yes. Should we do more to stop them? Yes.

Is green energy cleaner? No. When you consider the environmental impacts of mining of lithium for batteries, the inability to recycle those same batteries, the coke and iron mining for steel windmill towers and solar panel racks, the barrel of oil in every windmill gear box, the birds and bats killed by wind farms, the wildlife habitat lost to millions of acres of scorched-earth solar farms, the landfills filled with unrecyclable windmill blades, the rare earth minerals used to make solar panels mined by children in third-world countries that have no environmental protections… I could go on.

Is reducing carbon and addressing the so-called “manmade, catastrophic climate change” a worthwhile endeavor? Not when you consider the failures of the climate modeling “science” to accurately predict temperature variations. Not when you put the effects of CO2 and other greenhouse gases (and, yes, water vapor is the most abundant and significant greenhouse gas) in the context of solar cycles, historic natural climate variations, and the significant impacts on climate that result from naturally occurring changes in ocean currents caused by cyclical events such as El Nino, La Nina, and the Pacific Decadal Cycle.

If you want to address environmental issues and have a strong Virginia economy (I hope you do), then you should support policies that provide “cheap” energy. Affordable energy is the essential element of a strong economy and reduced poverty, and it takes a robust economy to fund the kind of research and development that will result in the next truly clean form of energy.

If you want a weak economy, a depressed Virginia business climate, increased poverty, more food shortages, more supply-chain issues, more inflation, and yes, even more pollution, then by all means keep pushing the dream of clean energy. But, if you truly believe in Virginia Business, then I suggest editorials and content that supports free enterprise, capitalism, and clean, abundant and affordable energy from every possible source. If you can’t do that, then consider changing the name of the magazine to “Virginia Woke.”