By Alan Caruba
I have long believed that the environmental movement, particularly in America, is quite literally an internal enemy, no less insidious than the efforts of the former Soviet Union to infiltrate spies and agents of influence into our government to affect policy.
I know that sounds harsh, but one needs only look at Great Britain where environmentalism has turned that once great nation into a virtual police state where every bizarre and insane environmental policy is culminating in a nation that will soon be experiencing blackouts and brownouts to its entire system of providing electricity.
“In the frigid opening days of 2009, Britain’s electricity demand peaked at 59 gigawatts. Just over 45% of that came from power plants fuelled by gas from the North Sea. A further 35% or so came from coal, less than 15% came from nuclear power and the rest from a hotchpotch of other sources.” The problem England faces, according to the August 8th edition of The Economist, is that it will soon be dependent on “Vladimir Putin’s deeply unreliable and corrupt Russia.”
This report comes when both the Russians and the Chinese have signed agreements with Cuba, just ninety miles from Florida, to begin to explore and extract its offshore oil. America, however, denies access to 85% of all of its offshore oil and natural gas reserves along its extensive east and west coasts. It further denies access to its huge deposits of coal in its Midwestern States. We import 60% of the oil we consume; much of it comes from Canada, Mexico, and Venezuela.
There hasn’t been a new refinery built in the United States since the 1970s. The bulk of our electric grid for the distribution of electricity was built in the 1950s and 60s. In the last days of his administration President Bush rescinded the ban on offshore exploration and extraction, but that ban has been reinstated by the Obama administration.
As The Economist noted, regarding the United Kingdom’s energy policy, “this is almost criminal.” It is no less so for America, a nation’s whose success has been based on vast amounts of coal, oil and natural gas. It is coal that provides just over 50% of our electricity. It is nuclear power that proves another 20%. The rest comes from our own hotchpotch of gas and hydroelectric power.
In recent years, leading environmental organizations have been crowing about having thwarted the building of more than one hundred coal-fired new plants. Wilderness areas like Alaska’s ANWR have been put off-limits to extraction despite estimated reserves of oil in the billions of barrels.
Comparable areas in America known to have vast reserves of coal have been put off-limits as well. The process of securing the permits to build a nuclear plant has slowed it to a crawl and often meets with NIMBY (not in my backyard) resistance.
If a foreign enemy denied this “master resource” of energy to America, we would go to war with it, but the enemy is internal and, at present, it occupies the White House and is in control of the Congress.
Much of the policy of the current administration is aimed at imposing a massive tax on all energy use in America. That is the purpose of the Cap-and-Trade act currently moving through Congress.
Meanwhile, several of those people chosen to be the nation’s “czars” as well as several Cabinet Secretaries, are determined to impose on America the same fate awaiting Great Britain.
The energy and environment czar is Carol Browner, formerly the Clinton administration director of the EPA. She was (is?) a member of the Socialist International’s Commission for a Sustainable World Society and is famous for not wanting to put any of her machinations on paper despite the Obama administration claim of “transparency.”
Obama’s green jobs czar is Van Jones. He has twice been arrested at the Los Angeles riots in 1993 and at the 1999 Seattle protests against the World Trade Organization. He is a self-described “revolutionary”, a devotee of Communism.
Obama’s science czar is Dr. John Holdren whose appointment has attracted the most attention because of his often bizarre views on global warming and population reduction. He is a strong advocate of “greenhouse gas reduction” even though carbon dioxide plays no role in climate change and the Earth has been cooling for a decade.
Obama’s Secretary of Energy, Dr. Steven Chu, is a global warming believer and advocate of “alternative energy” such as wind and solar power. These two sources are so inefficient and inadequate that they would literally not exist without billions in government subsidies. They constitute barely one percent of all the electricity generated in America.
Obama’s Secretary of the Interior, Kenneth L. Salazar, has already blocked leases to mine coal.
Obama’s Director of the EPA, Lisa Jackson, served under Carol Browner when she was in charge and is currently leading the effort to declare carbon dioxide a “pollutant” so it can be regulated under the Clean Air Act. It is a gas vital to all plant life on Earth and the current concentration in the Earth’s atmosphere is about 380 parts per million; that’s 380 molecules of CO2 versus a million others, mostly water vapor.
As Great Britain heads into its new Dark Ages, the United States will follow suit unless we undertake a radical program to build more plants to generate electricity. We have enough coal for hundreds of years’ worth. We have nuclear technology that can provide much of what we will need.
What we have is neither the political will, nor intention, to provide it.