Thursday, June 12, 2008

Energy Policy Problems

Victor Cavis Hanson has some thoughts on energy policy and what needs to be done.

Of course, give it a read.

But a paradox is that most environmentalists think of themselves as egalitarians. So, instead of objecting to the view of a derrick from the California hills above the Santa Barbara coast, shouldn’t a liberal estate owner instead console himself that the offshore pumping will help a nearby farm worker or carpenter get to work without going broke?

Another paradox: American laws and technology ensure a rig off Florida or in Alaska has far less chance of springing a leak than one in the Persian Gulf or the Russian tundra. If there really is a shared Planet Earth, then aren’t we all its collective stewards? By locking out energy exploration in the United States, we are encouraging it almost everywhere else.

It's nice to see a dose of reality and pragmatism.

At best, the massive transfer of national wealth to most oil producers translates into a Chinese worker on an assembly line working longer for less money while artificial island resorts pop up in the Persian Gulf. At worst, that strapped Chinese fabricator is also working harder for another Iranian centrifuge, al-Qaida landmine, or Saudi-funded madrassa.

We should stop talking about suing the OPEC cartel, jawboning the House of Saud to lower prices, blaming the oil companies, or adding yet another massive tax on sky-high gas prices. What we don’t need right now are more pie-in-the-sky sermons about wind and solar saving us all or about millions of new jobs in green technology that can be almost instantly created.

That all may be possible in a generation. But in the here and now, we still need to tap the abundant conventional energy we already have in the United States. And in large part that means building, mining, and drilling.

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