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  • Morning Bell: Where Does the Left Expect Our Energy to Come From?

    There were no fewer than 12 events relating to energy costs on Capitol Hill yesterday: six news conferences and six hearings. Today another nine hearings and news events are scheduled. Daniel Yergin, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Prize” and chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates, assured one Senate panel that speculators were not to blame for the recent rise in oil prices: “When an issue is this hot, it would be so much easier if there was a single reason to blame.” Instead, Yergin said, the market is relentlessly bidding up oil prices in response to deep-seated fears that the growth in demand will keep outpacing the growth in oil supplies in coming years.

    Despite all the concerns that current and future energy supplies are and will be short, the left continues to restrict our ability to access new energy supplies both domestically and internationally. The left’s fanatical opposition to developing America’s own resources in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and in the Outer Continental Shelf are well known. But less known are the policies the left supports now, and wants to enact in the future, that cut America off from international sources of lower-cost energy.

    As the senator from Illinois, a major producer of corn ethanol, Barack Obama supports continuing a ban on sugar-based ethanol from Brazil. Allowing importation of cheaper Brazilian ethanol would help mitigate the cost of the congressional ethanol mandate and lower the cost of gas for U.S. consumers. Obama also has promised he will enact policies making it impossible for the U.S. to import oil from Canada’s Alberta oil sands. In response, one Canadian oil executive said: “If the U. S. doesn’t take it, then we will develop other markets.”

    But oil is not the only energy source where the left refuses to allow an increase in supply. Although Obama occasionally signals he is in favor of allowing new nuclear plants to be built, he also fails to address the serious policy hurdles that must be overcome for that construction to happen. The same is true of Obama’s embrace of coal. Like NASA’s James Hansen, Obama would allow coal power plants to be built only if they have carbon-sequestration technology. Problem is, no such technology exists to successfully deploy carbon sequestration.

    By as early as next year, the demand for electricity will exceed reliable supply in New England, Texas and the West and, by 2011, in New York and the mid-Atlantic region. Technologies such as solar power are promising, but they are still only one-tenth as efficient as the cheapest fossil fuels. Ninety percent of our electric power comes from coal, natural gas or nuclear power. Wind power is growing but still only accounts for 1 percent of power, while hydroelectric power accounts for 7 percent but is shrinking as environmentalists succeed in tearing them down.

    To keep up with a growing economy, we are going to need new power from somewhere. How dark is our nation going to have to be before the left identifies where our energy can come from?

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    14 Responses to Morning Bell: Where Does the Left Expect Our Energy to Come From?

    1. Rita Reuer, Tea, SD says:

      The left's opposition to everything that wouild improve our energy sitiuation leaves me wondering, 'Are they nuts?!!!" Is it just a "hate Bush" thing and revenge or is there a logical explanation of their stance?….Rita

    2. Joanne Conrad, Genes says:

      I thought I heard on something like Fox News that Brazil does not have extra

      sugarcane fuel to export — that they are

      using all they can produce. ???

    3. Lyle Valentine, Wa says:

      I really enjoy the Morning Bell, I encorage my friends to subscribe to become better informed.

      Keep up the good work.

      Lyle Valentien

    4. Sam Deakins says:

      How many acres in ANWR would it take of solar arrays or wind turbines to produce the energy that oil can produce from that site?

    5. Teresa McBride, Calg says:

      If Barak Obama doesn't want Alberta's oil, China and India most certainly will. The only ones who will be hurt will be American consumers. The provincial government here is quite prepared if necessary to shut off the taps for a while to send a message. Imagine what would happen down there if you take out a substantial portion of your energy supply. There would be major panic and fuel prices soar even higher than they are now. Obama seems to think that he can reject certain sources of energy, raise taxes, and cripple America's ability to become energy self-sufficient, but that energy supplies will remain stable and prices of fuels will somehow become lower and continue to fall. Good luck with that. This just shows how ignorant and inept this man really is. He will do enormous damage to the U.S. and trigger a global depression if he ever becomes president. It is also interesting that politicians down there seem to avoid talking about and criticizing India and China who are now the two biggest emitters of CO2 on the planet, and will soon dwarf the U.S. and others. They are also the two largest polluters on the planet. CO2 it should be noted is not a pollutant, it is one of nature's fertilizers and absolutely essential to life on this planet along with oxygen and water vapour (water in the gaseous state, also a greenhouse gas). There is no talk about action against them. This is because Canada and Alberta are much easier and convenient targets. India and China would be much more formidable (and dangerous) adversaries. As well China owns much of America's debt, and could inflict a lot of damage in one day of retaliation on the global currency markets. Hence no one is willing to confront them. So by all means Obama can stop the oil flowing from Alberta. It will all simple go east in a lot CO2 emitting tankers to China and India, where the refining processes are even dirtier, and the end product will burned in cars that are dirtier and far less fuel efficient. Also once the oil is on the high seas and American boycott will be circumvented by international brokers directing tankers to unload at any U.S. port. The prospect also arises that if environmentally responsible companies now developing the oilsands are forced to abandon all development there, Chinese state-owned companies will come in and take over. I am sure politicians in the U.S. would be extremely uncomfortable at the prospect of the Chinese controlling and developing a resource right on their front door step.

    6. Donald in Raleigh, N says:

      The question is, gentlemen, how do the "the silent majority" influence this? I've written my Congressman and senators and get back "canned" position papers that basically support the status quo and other totally feckless "solutions" emphasizing alternative fuels, conservation, Government mandates and a messianic belief in the Global Warming hoax. These people cannot be this stupid. Aside from the influence of special interests this is a perpetuation of the radical environmental movement to force the will of the minority over the great unwashed and that would be us gentlemen. Beware the power of the intellectuals to impose their self aggrandizing, paternalistic, patronizing influence to achieve their dubious goals. It does not help that they own our institutions of "higher learning" and the media, the opiate of the masses.

      Frustrated

    7. Bill Belcher, Michig says:

      The Mortgage Bailout Bill should be renamed the Warren Buffet Bailout Bill. Check ownership of Bank of America who helped Countrywide

    8. seh california says:

      Funny how conservatives think oil and other fossil fuel are truly the only solution. That is fine, when fossil fuels truly run out, or are too expensive to extract (if you don't believe me just look up commentary from top executives at the oil companies who I have personally heard say this, artic refuge or not), or world war breaks out over the last of these precious resources and your sons and daughters go to the battlefield, us "radical" liberals will be sitting in our solar-powered, wind-powered, geo-thermal dwellings enjoying life, safely and securely.

      Truly the issue is people afraid of change and who are unable to adapt. That is the Republican party.

    9. Erline Jenkins, Sulp says:

      I do not approve of us, in the form of the Federal Government, bailing out anyone who has or will have a problem paying their loans. Unless they are totally stupid they had to know they didn't make enough money to buy a house that cost so much more than they could afford and if they were that stupid they couldn't possibly make enough money to pay any kind of home loan. Also the real estate commpanies didn't care if the people could afford their houses as long as they got their commission, and the same goes for the lending institutions. Oh yes, I am also completely against

      real estate speculators getting any of help. They are speculators and should know better but must not care as long as someone bails them out. NO! NO! NO!

    10. Bill LaNeave , Dayto says:

      5 out of 9 Supreme Court Justices understand that in addition to a well regulated militia the people have a right to bear arms. That is cutting it a little close. God Bless America.

    11. Judith Krupa, Michig says:

      I firmly believe the radical left in our country, including the majority of the Democrat Party, knows full well the chaos their policies are causing. Their goal is the degredation of the U.S., the silencing of all opposition, and complete control of the government. They are neither clueless or ignorant. Global warming? major hoax. Energy crisis? Manipulated by the left. With a President Obama, this country will rapidly plunge into socialism.  

    12. jean worthington ba says:

      Seeing that McCain has been a Senator for many many years, and voted against most everything that we needed to have- avoided the immigration problem, the energy problem, we could have kept our men and women in their jobs instead of sending the factories overseas, and I can think of many more problems we are now having but a man we all know named McCain voted against everything that would have helped us avoid the problems we now have. How can anyone believe him now when he wants to become President?. It seems that he will promise anything right now. But remember his pattern from all of those years. Be smart vote for Obama. Give him a chance to prove all of those things could and will be done.

    13. Almir R. Americo / S says:

      I will take this opportunity to add some useful words about bio-fuels.

      As rising food prices continue to threaten food security around the world, Brazilian ethanol is one obvious solution being largely ignored. Brazil set up its efficient fuel alternative program in the 70s, when the first oil crisis hit the world. Now Brazilians drive cars moved by ethanol or gasoline mixed in any proportion. And since long ago gasoline in Brazil is not pure, but blended with 25% ethanol, resulting that internal consumption of ethanol in the country is already superior to gasoline's. Ethanol in Brazil is already much cheaper than gasoline at current international oil prices.

      Brazilian ethanol is produced from sugarcane without any governmental subsidies and the fuel has a very competitive price. Researchers are increasing the productivity (more fuel extracted per sq.km. of crops) by adapting sugar canes species to each type of land and topography. The productivity now is more than 3 times the records of 30 years ago and it keeps on raising, being expected to soar very soon when the technology to extract ethanol from cellulosic materials (crop waste) will be available for large scale production.

      Ethanol production in Brazil uses just one percent of total arable land, and the country can expand its sugarcane fields without disturbing sensitive land areas (like Amazon), just by tapping land such as depleted pastures. Just raising intensity of cattle production from the current 0.8 animals per hectare to 1.2 animals (a target already far exceeded in many parts of the country) would release about 80m hectares of land for crops. There remains plenty of room for expansion: the country has 355 million hectares of farmable land, of which 7 million hectares under sugarcane of which the amount used to make ethanol fills 3.4 million hectares (compared to 200m hectares of pasture). Another 105.8 million hectares remained available, which allows Brazil to increase ethanol production without affecting the environment or food. By comparison, the additional terrain for Brazilian crops could surpass all of the land now under cultivation in the European Union.

      Meanwhile, Brazilian food production has doubled in the past decade and that’s the most impressive thing about ethanol from sugarcane: in contrast to corn-based American ethanol or biodiesel derived from soybean oil, there is no cost pressure and no competition with food.

      Another persuasive fact for incentiving ethanol production in Brazil is the electric energy that is generated as a by-product of ethanol processing: taking into consideration the energetic balance, the electricity generated in sugar cane processing in Brazil is almost as large as its ethanol equivalence. It's like a two large scale hydroelectric plants generating electricity exactly when it's more necessary: in the Brazilian dry season! So the producers of ethanol are also having increasing revenues by selling electricity to the country's national electric system, which has become an strategic and reliable source of electricity. For all these reasons, ethanol in Brazil is a win-win game for the country, the farmers, the consumers and the environment.

      Off course Brazilian ethanol does not intend to concur with petroleum, but it could ease up current oil crisis by supplying a small part of the world energy demand. It is only necessary to look at the increasing demand from the non-oil countries like India and China to understand that the very high price of oil is here to stay. With the existing price of oil, the permanent threat of war in the Middle East, the international geopolitics, and the environmental problems, there seems to be no other easy solution for the energy problem away from the liquid ethanol produced out of sugarcane. This is certainly a very important aspect of the Brazilian economy for the next few years and the rest of the world will have to accept the reality of the liquid ethanol from sugarcane as the right and best solution for the oil crisis.

      The problem is that much of Brazil’s ethanol exports continues to face prohibitive tariffs and other barriers to developed markets in the US and Europe. The United States currently places a 54-cent-a-gallon tariff on ethanol imported from Brazil. Consumers in the country are being severely affected, particularly in areas such as the Southeast, where corn does not exist and the logistics to bring ethanol from the center of the country is practically impossible. It is difficult to understand the maintenance these tariff levels, except for political reasons. The developed world appears purposely myopic in relation to the opportunities Brazil presents, maybe it's because that would upset wealthy US and European farmers – a price apparently not worth paying.

      Almir R. Américo – Sao Paulo, Brazil (almiramerico@gmail.com)

    14. Bob Wilis, Middlebu says:

      Has anyone given thought as to why the politians in Washington don,t seem to care about the price of fuel in America? Maybe it's because they ride around in limos that are paid for by our government and the fuel is included in that price. We the people (sound familiar) pay the taxes that support this government,that is the legal residents of America. I think that all, legal citizens of America should adopt the reasoning that at every polling place in America when they are preparing to vote, IT'S TIME TO GET SOME NEW BLOOD IN OFFICE AND GET RID OF THE OLD, and hopefully get someone in that will look out for the BEST INTERESTS OF AMERICA AND HER PEOPLE!

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