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  • Morning Bell: The World Is Powering Up While America Powers Down

    The economy is by far the No. 1 issue on most Americans’ minds. Gas prices are a close second. The two issues are intimately related. But the spike in oil prices this year is just the tip of the iceberg. Due to similar developments in supply and demand, electricity prices are set to skyrocket next year.

    While American oil consumption has grown only 15% since 1973, electricity use has shot up 115%. Right now the U.S. has 760 gigawatts of power to meet consumption. We will need 135 gigawatts of new capacity over the next decade to keep the lights on, but right now only 57 gigawatts of power are planned. No matter what Barack Obama and Al Gore tell you, alternative energy sources cannot meet demand. Solar is still only one-tenth as efficient as the cheapest fossil fuels. Today 97% of our electricity comes from fossil fuels, nuclear and hydro power. Wind provides 1% and solar .01%.

    The rest of the world knows that green sources of energy are inadequate to keep their people out of poverty. That is why around the world, from Europe to South America to Asia, countries are building coal and nuclear power plants at a dizzying pace while also drilling for oil wherever they can find it. Meanwhile, the United States, crippled by an out-of-control environmental movement, is refusing to develop needed energy sources.

    Oil

    The left’s campaign against oil development is well known. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), liberals in Congress are preventing an estimated 19.1 billion barrels of oil from being developed in our Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) and another 10.4 billion barrels from being developed out of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Currently the U.S. has only 22 billion barrels of oil reserves. If Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Harry Reid would just allow the House and Senate to vote, the U.S. could double its potential oil reserves over night. Since energy prices are set on the margin, such a drastic move would surely lead to a significant drop in oil prices. As if the current production bans were not enough, environmental groups such as the Center for Biological Diversity plan to use the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent decision to list the polar bear as an endangered species to stop oil production on current oil leases as well.

    While liberals in Congress are forcing less oil production at home, the world is busy drilling at every opportunity. Brazil, whose beautiful beaches rival or surpass anything in California or Florida, recently discovered a huge underwater oil field and it is moving quickly to begin drilling. In Asia, China and Japan were able to put aside centuries of mistrust to come to an agreement on how to drill and share oil in waters in between their countries.

    Coal

    Despite signing the Kyoto Protocol, countries across Europe are rapidly building new coal power plants. Germany plans to build 27 coal-fired plants by 2020. Italy plans to increase its reliance on coal from 14% today to 33% in just five years. In all of Europe, 40 new major coal power are set to be built in the next five years. In 2006 alone, China completed enough coal power plants to match all of Britain’s capacity. India plans to boost coal production by 50% by 2012 and quadruple it by 2030.

    While the rest of the world can’t build coal power plants fast enough, liberals have brought construction of coal power plants in the United States to a complete stop. A highly organized network of environmental groups such as the Sierra Club have been using every state, local and federal law they can to stop construction of coal power plants nationwide. The environmental coalition, which includes the Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense Fund and Environmental Integrity Project, claims 65 victories over the last three years.

    Nuclear

    The United States has not built a nuclear power plant in 30 years. While there are 30 plants currently being planned, all are tied up in the arcane permitting process the environmentalist left has created. None of the projects has started construction. Meanwhile, the rest of the world is embracing nuclear power. France already gets 80% of its electricity from nuclear power. Japan has six nuclear plants under construction and another six planned. India also has six under construction and another 19 planned. China has seven under construction and another 85 planned.

    The nuclear industry does not need subsidies or handouts in order to succeed. The biggest risk the nuclear industry faces is reactionary government regulation. If the federal government could lift the ban on fuel recycling it could safely manage nuclear waste.

    A Question of Values

    High energy prices hurt rural and poor Americans the most. The Democrats have become the party of the rich. Rising energy prices do not hurt rich San Franciscans and New Yorkers as bad as they hurt middle-class Iowans and Kansans. Poll after poll shows that Americans desperately want to increase energy production. The rest of the world is increasing their energy production. Why can’t we?

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    28 Responses to Morning Bell: The World Is Powering Up While America Powers Down

    1. Edwin Buck, Albuquer says:

      The kook left wants to weaken this country to "teach" this country a lesson in humility. I've heard it many times, "this country has 3% of the worlds population but they use 25% of the worlds resources. This is denuding the worlds resources for our own, instead of sharing it with the world". This is because of the education they've been getting from the kook leftist teachers from grade 1 to 12. The leftist teachers organization is promoting this canard to turn this country into a soviet style government. They believe that with a soviet style government, they will be in control.

    2. George, Texas says:

      "If Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Harry Reid would just allow the House and Senate to vote, the U.S. could double its potential oil reserves over night." I think you are confusing the terms Oil Reserves and Oil Production. The Oil reserves exist independent to congressional leaders. What would improve is oil production and our problem is production, not reserves. As oil production technology improves and the price rises, the percentage of the available oil that can be recovered economically increases. We'll never run out of oil, but eventually production rate, demand, and price will settle out where oil is too expensive to burn as fuel.

    3. Conn Carroll Conn Carroll says:

      Dear George-

      I am not confusing oil reserves and oil production. You write: "The Oil reserves exist independent to congressional leaders." This is simply not true. The EIA estimates of our proven reserves to not include oil that is illegal to develop … like the oil in ANWR and the OCS.

      If Congress lifted the bans, then oil companies could start exploring those areas and eventually determine how much energy is actually there. But right now, environmentalists will not even let us find out!

    4. TMLutas, Indiana says:

      People don't understand how their energy gets to them and what are the choke points that matter to them personally so their house stays comfortable, they can get to work, and their job doesn't disappear. They understand clean air and think that such things can gotten cost free.

      This information problem is a bit of a beast but it *can* be solved. When you can put in your zip code or even address, your employer, and find out what are the energy challenges and who's fighting to put them back into the stone age, you're going to have a huge shift in the electorate in favor of sensible energy development. Until it's brought down to the personal level, the NIMBY, BANANAS, and luddite forces are going to win more often than not.

    5. LibertarianDoc, US says:

      In addition to drilling and nuclear, we need to get the leftist out of the way of building new refineries, too.

    6. Thomas J. Setter says:

      We the people have to ACT. Congress will NOT act

      without a massive push by CITIZENS. Lets all do 1

      simple thing.

      Contact YOUR 2 Senaators

      1 Congessman/women today!!!

      Without this nothing-0000000000-ZILCH will get done.

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    8. karen schmitt in sed says:

      Listen too the experts, people like Al Gore. WE CANNOT DRILL OUR WAY OUT OF THIS PROBLEM. There is a finite amount of fossil fuels, and we need to find another way. That way is preferably with a renewable source such as wind or solar power.

      We've already wasted the last EIGHT years, with a president who couldn't make up his mind whether global warming existed or not. Let's not be as dumb as he was. Let's fix this problem together!

    9. DL Schulz Washington says:

      What you don't disclose is that most, if not all, of the coal powered plants being proposed for Europe and Japan have very stingent airscrubing guidlines that are adhered to as a matter of course. Those guidelines are all that the Sierra club are proposing be followed in this country. Western Europe Has successfully followed airscrubbing guidlines for over 25 years and managed to build their economy at the same time.

      You also do not disclose that for the most part the rural poor of the center of our nation, where most of the coal powered plants will be built (without airscrubbers) are fighting with all they have got to keep out coal and are more inclined to welcome wind power.

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    12. George, Texas says:

      Conn Carol,

      Thanks for the explanation of how the EIA oil reserves estimates take into account legality along with geology and economics. I assumed that we at least got to count any oil we know about even if congress says it's off limits. However, I still think the rate oil can be pumped out of the ground is more important to price than the reserves in the ground.

      There seems to be some balance here in Texas where oil and gas production and wind power continue despite the efforts of environmentalists. Wish people in other states could see the positive economic impact of energy production. No signs of a recession around here.

    13. Tom Sheehan, Dalton, says:

      "Electricity use has shot up 115%" since 1973. Has anyone attempted to calculate how much it will shoot up if battery powered cars fill the streets and highways? And, what energy source will be used to produce all the electricity needed to recharge them?

    14. Joe Lamb says:

      I am only an old man who lives in a town that is barely a dot on the map. The elitists on the east coast have no use for all the people who live in dots on the map but put all the dots on the map together and they will be larger than ny, la, sf, and etc. put together. The elitists in dc I am hoping will not notice until it is too late. The dots are getting together with the purpose of draining the socialist swamp in dc. The refusal to drill for oil is the last straw.

      penny candy

    15. lolyd and Amy Jump, says:

      wouldn't sane people agree that what the Democratic congress is doing amount to treason. why can't we pursue this?

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    17. Eileen, Nashville, T says:

      Karen Schmitt in Sedona, AZ writes:

      Listen too the experts, people like Al Gore. WE CANNOT DRILL OUR WAY OUT OF THIS PROBLEM. There is a finite amount of fossil fuels, and we need to find another way. That way is preferably with a renewable source such as wind or solar power. >>>

      Now, why would I listen to Al Gore? He doesn't even follow his own advice. He drives an SUV and rides in limos whenever he can, rides on private planes, and has a boat that he uses a lot on the lakes here in TN, and uses more energy in his own home that we could light up the state of TN. Since when did Al Gore become an expert? Did he suddenly go back to school to get a new degree? Spare us the Al Gore rhetoric. This man does NOT know what he is talking about and if you took a science class instead of listening to him, you might actually get an education. Maybe I should be more specific so you can understand, go to a college or University that isn’t liberal in it teachings so YOU might actually get a good education. He uses 20 times more energy than the “average” American. Mr. Gore paid more than $30,000 last year for his electric and natural gas needs. Now, try again to explain to me how that makes him an expert? I think the only thing that makes him is a hypocrite. Let me also include the former –almost VP, John Edwards. Who also uses a lot of energy and natural gas in his home to power NC? But, at least the man has solar energy in his home. So, before you start telling I am wrong, I am a science major and I am getting a GREAT education because our schools isn’t full of liberal instructors and/or Professors. And, clearly I can provide you with facts, not fairy tales. The average household in America consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hrs per year according to the Department of Energy. In 2006, Gore devoured 222,000 kWh, 20 time more that the national average. That’s the inconvenient truth, don’t like it, take it up with Gore. By the way, yes we can drill and very quickly that it will NOT affect the environment or hurt nature’s animal inhabitation. You’d be surprise instead of listening to Al Gore and others alike and actually read a book on the science on green house gases and fossil fuels, renewable energy, not written by an environmentalist by an actual scientist you’d get an education with real facts. Oh, according to the environmentalist, wind power kills birds so they will not support that anymore.

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    19. Koblog says:

      Yeah, right, Karen Schmitt of Sedona. Al Gore an "expert." An expert con artist.

      I'm so tired of this "we can't drill our way out of this" when the rest of the world, including Al's buddies like Hugo Chavez are drilling up a storm as fast as and wherever they can. Some "expert" Al is as he doubles his personal use of electrical power to, what, a gigawatt per month while jetting around the world in private planes.

      I have read experts and Al Gore is no expert.

    20. gurbach, California says:

      The Republicans were unable or unwilling to force a reasonable energy policy even when they were in complete control of Congress. The Democrats are basically evil. So – we have to choose between evil and stupid. Kick them all out.

    21. richard conquest, An says:

      Very well said. In the UK the greens and other 'envionmentalists' have paralysed energy policy so that 'nuclear' is a four letter word and our coal fired stations are being run down. To be replaced with what ? Ruinously expensive and hopelessly inefficient windfarms to disfigure some of the most beautiful countryside. And of course we have these maniacs and fanatics in Bruseels thinking up ever more unrealistic 'targets' for renewable energy. Only in the UK is this nonsense taken seriously. At least in the US there is some light at the end of the Congressional tunnel.

    22. DL Schulz Washington says:

      To Eileen of Nashville,

      There is no scientific evidence that supports that the new windmills kill any more birds than the windmills of Holland or those used by the pioneers of the great plains to bring water to stock tanks. The sound made is actually less than the old clanking stock tank windmills. The wind always blows, why not make use of it?

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    24. Addiction Recovery W says:

      I think you are puzzling the terms Oil appropriates and Oil product. The Oil substitutes live self-governing to congress leaders. What would ameliorate is oil production and our trouble is production, not appropriates.

    25. bkb, Texas says:

      Wind power is intermittent, unreliable, noisy and expensive (even with subsidies). Many modern turbines are 400 feet tall and carry 130-foot-long, 7-ton blades that slice up raptors and other birds. They operate only 8 hours a day, on average, compared to 85% of the time for coal, gas and nuclear plants. They rarely provide power during peak summer daytime hours, when air-conditioning demand is highest, but wind speed is low to nonexistent.

      Using wind to replace all gas-fired power plants would require some 300,000 1.5-MW turbines, covering Midwestern “wind belt” acreage equivalent to South Carolina.

      A single 1000-MW nuclear power plant would reliably generate more electricity than 2,800 1.5-MW intermittent wind turbines on 175,000 acres.

    26. Mary Dardon Des Moin says:

      Eileen, Nashville, TN writes:

      Karen Schmitt in Sedona, AZ writes:

      Listen too the experts, people like Al Gore. WE CANNOT DRILL OUR WAY OUT OF THIS PROBLEM. There is a finite amount of fossil fuels, and we need to find another way. That way is preferably with a renewable source such as wind or solar power.

      **************************************************

      You poor dear being sucked in by Al Gore.

      Did you know that Al Gore ownes the Company in Europe called Generation Investment Management that sells the carbon offsets. Do you know how that works ?

      It is a service that tries to reduce the net carbon emissions of individuals indirectly, through proxies they perform called a 'offset' action……… by planting a tree. (scam)

      The guy is making millions and yes it is green and all going in his pockets.

      So when Al Gore beats the drum for possible future global warming, he is also drumming up business….or should I say more green.

      .

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