Sunday, March 29, 2015
South Pole's icy edge is rapidly vanishing: Antarctic ice shelves have shrunk by as much as 18% in ten years, claims study
Amusing. The ice loss has accelerated in the last decade. But there has been no global warming in the last decade. So the loss CANNOT be due to global warming. If the data is sound -- a very big IF when looking at Warmist research -- the effect is probably due to sub-surface vulcanism -- with a lot of that being revealed recently
Antarctica's icy edge is disappearing in warming ocean waters, with the last decade seeing the rate of ice loss increase dramatically.
This is according to a new study that has combined 18-years worth of ice shelf thinning data from three different sets of satellites.
The researchers claim that some ice shelves in West Antarctica have lost as much as 18 per cent of their volume in the last ten years.
Satellite data from 1994 to 2012 clearly shows the accelerating decline which could hasten the rise in global sea levels, scientists say.
The findings, published today in the journal Science, come amid concern among many scientists about the effects of global climate change on Earth's vast, remote polar regions.
During the study period's first half, to about 2003, the overall volume decline around Antarctica was small, with West Antarctica losses almost balanced out by gains in East Antarctica.
After that, western losses accelerated and gains in the east ended.
'There has been more and more ice being lost from Antarctica's floating ice shelves,' said glaciologist Helen Fricker of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego.
The Crosson Ice Shelf in the Amundsen Sea and the Venable Ice Shelf in the Bellingshausen Sea, both in West Antarctica, each shrank about 18 percent during the study period.
'If the loss rates that we observed during the past two decades are sustained, some ice shelves in the Amundsen and Bellingshausen seas could disappear within this century,' added Scripps geophysics doctoral candidate Fernando Paolo.
The melting of these ice shelves does not directly affect sea levels because they are already floating.
'This is just like your glass of gin and tonic. When the ice cubes melt, the level of liquid in the glass does not rise,' Paolo said.
But the floating ice shelves provide a restraining force for land-based ice, and their reduction would increase the flow of the ice from the land into the ocean, which would increase sea levels.
'While it is fair to say that we're seeing the ice shelves responding to climate change, we don't believe there is enough evidence to directly relate recent ice shelf losses specifically to changes in global temperature,' Fricker said.
Weather Vain: Obama Uses Climate Hoax to Bully Govs
DESPITE the uncertainty expressed by his own FEMA head: "Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Craig Fugate said the frequency of tornadoes and hurricanes is cyclical, and he doesn’t know if global warming has anything to do with it. Should Obama's own FEMA head be denied funding?.
If you can’t beat ‘em, buy 'em! That’s the President’s new approach to climate change skeptics in conservative states. The Obama administration is apparently so desperate for support that it’s willing to blackmail governors into adding global warming to their disaster planning – or block their federal funds. FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said the conform-or-pay rules would go into effect next March. In the meantime, governors have a choice: they can bow down to the Left’s faulty science or lose millions of dollars in FEMA relief planning.
Under the new regulations, only states that tackle the effects of “changing environmental or climate conditions” in their long-term “hazard-mitigation plans” will qualify for funding. Specifically, governors must “identify tools and approaches that enable decision-making to reduce risks and increase resilience from a changing climate.” It’s a shocking amount of political arm-twisting, even for this administration.
Clearly, the rules were made to hurt – and it’s no secret whom. Republican Governors like Rick Scott (Fla.), Bobby Jindal (La.), Chris Christie (N.J.), Pat McCrory (N.C.), and Greg Abbott (Texas) have been openly critical of the administration’s climate push, and these guidelines are payback. Of course, many of these regions – including my home state of Louisiana – are coastal, meaning that they are especially vulnerable to storms and other natural disasters. And while FEMA promises that it won’t attach these same strings to hurricane, flood, or other post-disaster relief, the administration’s word is about as reliable as the Left’s science.
Interestingly enough, FEMA’s extortion plan comes on the heels of a pretty damning report from key environmental experts, who agreed last year that the White House’s National Climate Assessment is a “masterpiece of marketing” that crumbles like a “house of cards” under the weight of real-world evidence. In an open letter, the group of 15 blasted the government’s “climate models” for “dramatically fail(ing) basic verification tests. Nowhere do they admit to these well-known failures. Instead, we are led to believe that their climate models are close to perfection.” The real damage control started well before when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was forced to admit that the world’s temperatures haven’t risen in 17 years. (If you thought the holes in the Ozone layer were big, you should see the ones in the Left’s credibility!)
Without any real science to prop up his agenda, the President is pulling a page from his abortion playbook: government extortion. Unfortunately, this kind of ideological hostage-taking is nothing new for the White House. When Catholic Charities wouldn’t pledge allegiance to the administration’s abortion views, HHS pulled the plug on more than $5 million in human trafficking grants, despite the fact Catholic Charities is among the most qualified organizations to render aid and assistance to the trafficked.
Obviously, the totalitarian tactics of this administration knows no bounds. “This story really brings together all the elements of Obamaism,” writes Dan McLaughlin. As HotAir puts it, “It’s legally dubious; it ignores Congress… it’s an obvious political pander to the Left with a bonus of putting right-wingers in a spot, even at the expense of placing citizens at risk; and it (mocks) state autonomy. Basically, it’s the environmental equivalent of executive amnesty. All that’s missing is 18-24 months of Obama statements denying that he’d ever do something like this before turning around and doing it.”
The Great Oxygenation Event
Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser
Photosynthesis (PS) is the process by which algae and plants convert carbon dioxide (CO2) to organic matter, like the wood of trees. Any other organism on this planet that is not an alga or plant itself feeds on the former. Therefore, CO2 is the source of all life on earth. There is not a single organism that does not require the carbon atom as a basic building block.
Photosynthesis brings about another product, rarely mentioned but vital to all higher organisms on the planet, and that is molecular oxygen (O2). There is no other source of O2 on earth but photosynthesis. Therefore, without carbon dioxide there also would be no free oxygen in our atmosphere.
Without oxygen in the water there would be no fish. Without oxygen in the air there would be no mammals on land. Oxygen is the material organisms need to turn the plant-accumulated sun-energy into energy useful for our ability to move and propagate. Given its concentration in the air alone, nearly 21%, oxygen is approximately 500 times the level of CO2 that makes up 0.04% (even after burning all the fossil fuels for centuries). As you can see, there is little CO2 but plenty of O2 in the atmosphere.
Given the fact that all free molecular O2 in our atmosphere and water comes solely from CO2 via the photosynthesis (PS) process, you may wonder if this was a “slow and steady” accumulation of O2 or if there were epochs in the earth history that really got the PS process going in grand style. Indeed, the latter was the case and it’s what scientists commonly refer to as “the great oxygenation events” (GOEs). Actually, there were two such periods. The first one some two billion years ago (plus or minus a few million) and second one a billion-plus years later. Now, don’t get the idea that the GOE happened over night or even over a few thousand years. In geological terms such “short” periods are not even mentionable. No, each GEO took many millions of years.
The Great Oxygenation Event
However, the GOE is real, particularly the second one. It was a time of great plant exuberance on earth. Plants like the modern-day horsetail (Equisetum sp.) and the long-extinct scale trees were growing all over like mad. In some of the coal seams, their imprints can still be found. The GOE happened mainly during the (geological) Carboniferous period stretching from 350 to 300 million years ago. During these 50 million years, a great part of the atmospheric CO2 was converted by PS to O2.
Actually, the PS process was so active then that the O2 concentration in the air rose to 35%, nearly double the level it is today. The decline since took many more millions of years to distribute it “more justly” between the atmosphere and the ocean water. Today, the oceans hold much of that formerly “excess” molecular oxygen. But now back to the “evil” carbon dioxide.
Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
As mentioned already but worth repeating here: the entire supply of molecular oxygen on earth is derived from that CO2. Naturally (pun intended) the PS process did not just create the oxygen, it also had a “side effect” of reducing the atmosphere’s content of CO2. Around the time of the GOE, the atmosphere contained more than ten times the level of today and before that it was more than a 100 times that level.
Despite the planet’s continuous (and still continuing) attempts to keep the atmosphere supplied with an adequate level of that CO2 stuff it had steadily declined to a level of approximately 200 ppm (parts per million). At that concentration, plants simply become starved of available CO2 as its partial pressure can no longer sustain PS. Mother Nature’s PS process consumed more CO2 than all the thousands of volcanic vents and eruptions could push into the air. Luckily for all life on earth, the algae and plants did not die out and managed to slow down their CO2 consumption by “hibernating” until they could once more “breathe again freely” when the CO2 level had increased again. There is evidence in for that in the renewed growth of ancient redwood trees in California.
You’d think these facts alone would be enough to get the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), all “anti-carbon-footprint-advisors” like the United Nations’ IPCC and many NGOs to reconsider. Not a chance. They are hell-bent to call it pollution. Even the U.S. Supreme Court said so (perhaps you can forward the link to this post or a copy to the court and/or to any of the elected officials in your area); they might just be interested in getting this info.
In any event, I think it’s an appropriate contribution to this year’s “Earth Hour” on Saturday, March 28, 2015. The WWF and other NGOs are asking you to curtail your “carbon footprint” for the “sake of Mother Nature.” Some folks then have a candle light dinner or candle light party.
That’s great, burn some candles at Earth Hour. It’s good, really, because burning candles produce more life-sustaining carbon dioxide than modern low-carbon-footprint electric lights.
Major peer-review scandal causes withdrawal of 43 published scientific papers
Peer review cannot prevent dishonesty or bias
There’s a lot of unsettled science going on these days. The peer-review system, which is supposed to serve as a quality assurance system, allowing credentialed experts to pass judgment on new research before it is published, is breaking down. The latest in a series of scandals involves 43 papers, but more are expected to follow.
Fred Barbash of the Washington Post reports:
"A major publisher of scholarly medical and science articles has retracted 43 papers because of “fabricated” peer reviews amid signs of a broader fake peer review racket affecting many more publications.
The publisher is BioMed Central, based in the United Kingdom, which puts out 277 peer-reviewed journals. A partial list of the retracted articles suggests most of them were written by scholars at universities in China, including China Medical University, Sichuan University, Shandong University and Jiaotong University Medical School. But Jigisha Patel, associate editorial director for research integrity at BioMed Central, said it’s not “a China problem. We get a lot of robust research of China. We see this as a broader problem of how scientists are judged.”
Meanwhile, the Committee on Publication Ethics, a multidisciplinary group that includes more than 9000 journal editors, issued a statement suggesting a much broader potential problem. The committee, it said, “has become aware of systematic, inappropriate attempts to manipulate the peer review processes of several journals across different publishers.” Those journals are now reviewing manuscripts to determine how many may need to be retracted, it said."
Science has become a major industry, with the billions of dollars of government funding available not just in the US but worldwide providing incentives for cheating. Promotion in universities depends on publication in peer-reviewed journals, so desperate academics seek it, no matter how trivial or even phony the results. In addition, in medicine, climate science, and many other fields, huge financial stakes exist for non-scientists, leading to pressure on the peers who do the reviewing. As the Clmategate emails revealed, conspiracies among the peers who review can lead to suppression of research contrary to the interests of the conspirators.
The integrity of science – and the continued progress of mankind – depends on the efficacy of peer review. We are at a critical point, with the danger of phony science misleading us into dead ends and worse.
British regulator knocks back Warmist complaint
Decision of the Complaints Committee: 021014 Ward v The Mail on Sunday
1. Bob Ward complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that The Mail on Sunday had breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Exposed: Myth of Artic Meltdown”, published on 31/08/2014.
2. The article reported that the Arctic ice extent had increased over the last two years.
3. The complainant was concerned that the article gave the inaccurate impression that the long-term decline in Arctic sea ice had reversed. He said that the article had omitted the fact that the Arctic sea ice extent in August 2014 had been the seventh-lowest recorded level since records began. He also said that the article had not made clear that the 2012 reading had been the lowest on record, nor had the article explained that, on numerous occasions, the ice extent had increased for one year, without reversing the overall decline.
4. Further, the complainant said that the article had inaccurately reported that there was no evidence that the number of polar bears were declining. He said that latest estimates indicated that, of the 19 sub-populations of polar bears, four are declining, five are stable and one is increasing; there was not enough data to estimate trends for the other nine sub-populations. The article had included a graph recording Arctic Sea extent over the last ten years headlined “How melt has slowed over 10 years”. The complainant said that the graph was significantly misleading as the linear trend in the sea ice extent data was steeper for the period between 2004 and 2014 than it was for the entire record of 1979 to 2014.
5. The complainant said that the newspaper had also inaccurately reported the comments made by the American politician Al Gore; it said that in 2007 Mr Gore had suggested that the North Polar Ice Cap could be completely gone in seven years. The complainant said that it had been significantly misleading to omit that, while he had cited one study which predicted that this would be the case, he had also cited a different study which had suggested it could happen by 2029.
6. The complainant said that the newspaper should acknowledge that the article was inaccurate and significantly misleading, publish his letter in full and provide an assurance that it would take greater care to ensure that future articles on this issue were accurate.
7. The newspaper said that the “myth” mentioned in the headline was the claim that the Arctic might be ice-free by 2014. The article had reported the unexpected increase in Arctic sea ice over the past two years, but it had made clear that the long-term trend remains in decline, caused, at least in part, by human activity. The newspaper said that the article had included a considerable amount of balancing material and had quoted several scientists.
8. In relation to polar bears, the article had acknowledged that that there was “no reliable data from almost half the Arctic, so it cannot say whether numbers are falling or rising”. It had not been significantly misleading on this point.
9. The graph headlined “How melt has slowed over 10 years” had been accurate; readers could see for themselves how the levels of ice have gone down over the past 10 years, and up in the last two.
10. While the newspaper did not accept that the article was significantly misleading, it offered to publish a lightly amended version of the complainant’s letter. The complainant’s letter would make clear that he considered the article to be misleading.
Findings of the Committee
12. Topics such as the effects of climate change and global warming remain matters of intense discussion and debate. Under the terms of Clause 1, newspapers are entitled to publish controversial or unorthodox views on such issues, provided that they are not inaccurate or significantly misleading.
13. The article presented the author’s view that forecasts regarding the melting of Arctic ice had overestimated the rate of decline. The complainant did not dispute that measures showed that the Arctic ice extent had increased over the last two years. The article had made clear that the long-term trend still showed a decline, and the coverage had included commentary from a number of scientists, expressing a variety of views on the matter, including one who had stated that he was “uncomfortable with the idea of people saying the ice had bounced back”, and warned against reading too much into the ice increases. The article had made clear that scientific opinions regarding the significance of the most recent data varied. In this context, the omission of the information that the measure in 2012 had been the lowest on record, and that 2014 had still been the seventh lowest since records began, was not significantly misleading. The article did not suggest that it had been established as fact that the long-term decline in Arctic sea ice had reversed.
14. The article had made clear that the Polar Bear Specialist Group admitted that it did not have the necessary data to establish whether the numbers of polar bears was rising or falling. In this context, it had not been significantly misleading to suggest that there was no scientific evidence to establish that the number of bears was declining.
15. The article had been illustrated with a graph which plotted the Artic Sea extent in millions of square kilometres, titled “How melt has slowed over 10 years”. While the Committee noted the complainant’s concern that the linear trend in the sea ice extent data was steeper for the period between 2004 and 2014 than it was for the entire record of 1979 to 2014, in circumstances in which the complainant did not dispute that the graph had been plotted accurately, the Committee was satisfied that the presentation of the data had not been significantly misleading.
16. The complainant was concerned that the newspaper had misrepresented a speech by Al Gore. As Mr Gore had cited a study which projected that the Arctic sea ice could disappear by 2014, it had not been significantly misleading to omit that he had also cited a different study which had suggested it could happen by 2029. The Committee also noted that the newspaper had tried to contact Al Gore for comment on this matter. There was no breach of the Code. Nonetheless, the Committee welcomed the newspaper’s offer to publish a letter from the complainant.
It’s Time to use U.S. Oil to make the World Far Safer
It’s Time to use U.S. Oil to make the World Far Safer
by STEVE CHAMBERS March 24, 2015
The United States has the opportunity to use vast, untapped reserves of oil to make the world far safer, now and for generations to come. These reserves would eliminate the world's concerns about where its oil would come from, how much it would cost, or whether it might be shut off by Mideast warfare or willful disruptions. They would defund some of the world's worst regimes. And they would be profitable at today's prices, so pose no economic burden and in fact would provide many economic benefits. The only thing standing in the way of developing them is feverish environmental fear.
The world consumes about 92 million barrels per day of oil, or roughly 34 billion barrels a year. The oil market is quite separate from the rest of the energy market. Lawrence Livermore Labs provides data that show that 70% of oil consumption in this country fuels transportation (the rest going primarily to industrial uses as both energy and chemical feedstocks), while transportation burns oil for 92% of its fuel. Therefore, the oil market is quite separate from other sources of electrical generation, whether coal, nuclear reactors, or windmills. This pattern is similar around the globe. Global consumption has been growing quite steadily at just about 1% per year and is likely to continue to do so, even allowing for the numerous initiatives to make transportation less dependent on oil, including electric vehicles.
The economic growth of China and India, along with smaller countries, makes continued oil consumption growth virtually certain, and they might actually force growth to accelerate. Each of those two giants alone is likely almost to double current total oil consumption by the time their economies yield per capita incomes comparable to the developed world, which should happen in the next generation or two. The faster they grow their economies, the faster global oil consumption will grow.
Supplying this growing demand are officially declared, proven oil reserves of approximately 1.6 trillion barrels, which would last approximately 47 years at current consumption levels - but which will dwindle much faster as Chinese and Indian consumption grow. Almost half of these global reserves lie under the sands of the Mideast, and would outlast reserves in most other areas given the various current production rates, so the world would become more and more reliant on Muslim oil. As terrorism has bitterly taught the world in the past 14 years, some of the revenues from these Mideast reserves are being used to spread virulent versions of Islamic ideology and its accompanying jihad throughout the world. If it weren't for these oil revenues, militant Islam wouldn't be a major global problem.
Of these global proven reserves, the U.S. contributes only about 30 billion barrels, or less than 2%, despite the rapid increase of reserves from the shale oil fracking boom. At the current consumption of about 19 million barrels per day, these reserves would only last 4 years if not supplemented by imports and further discoveries. Canada officially contributes 173 billion barrels, the third largest in the world, after Venezuela and Saudi Arabia; however, this number grossly understates the real potential in Canada.
The large majority of Canada's reserves come from the heavy oil in the sand formations of far northern Alberta. These are variously estimated actually to contain between 1.6 and 2.5 trillion barrels - that is 1.0-1.6 times global proven conventional reserves. Not all of these reserves can necessarily be recovered at current prices, but clearly the potential is enormous. The lowest cost technology to tap these reserves is economic at about $60-65 per barrel (on a West Texas Intermediate oil price equivalent), according to the Canadian Research Institute, with alternative approaches requiring prices about $30 higher.
But the U.S. reserves are also grossly understated. In the high scrub brush terrain of the Green River area of western Colorado, eastern Utah, and southwest Wyoming lie shale formations on or near the surface that are estimated to contain up to 3 trillion barrels - twice the global proven reserves. Pilot programs have demonstrated that these reserves would be economic at about $35-54 per barrel, per the U.S. Department of Energy. Combining the reserves in the Canadian oil sands with those in the Rockies shales, North America could triple the world's reserves of oil, at today's prices.
Despite the prodigious profit potential of these reserves, only three companies have recently begun tentatively developing them. This is because the vast majority of the reserves lie on Federal lands that are not available for development.
This was not always the case. Towards the end of its last term, the Bush administration issued regulatory policies, over the objections of Congressional Democrats, making these reserves more accessible than they had been. The Obama administration reversed those polices in November 2012. The reason: concerns about anthropogenic climate change (ACC).
Proponents of ACC theories hate all forms of carbon energy, but they harbor a special animus for both Canadian oil sands and Rockies oil shales. Producing them requires large amounts of heat, which requires burning natural gas or oil itself, significantly increasing the carbon footprint of each barrel of oil. As a consequence, environmentalists not only block the development of the Rockies shales, but are also blocking the XL Pipeline that would safely and efficiently transport the Canadian oil to Gulf Coast refineries, where it could be efficiently processed in facilities that were built to handle heavy Venezuelan crude oil.
ACC proponents greatly overstate both the strength of their evidence and the consequences of the potential problems, as an increasing amount of research and findings is demonstrating, including from ACC-promoting scientists. Indeed, even their common claim that, in the words of Vice President Kerry, "Ninety-seven percent of the world's scientists tell us" that ACC is an "urgent" problem turns out to be a fiction.
Many scientists, including MIT professor emeritus of meteorolgy Richard Lindzen, have repeatedly pointed to flaws in the ACC theories, most recently Lindzen in a Wall Street Journal article. In his article, he not only points out that ACC promoters' own models have predicted rapidly rising global temperatures for the last 15 years while actual temperatures have been flat, but also that the proposals to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide would be onerous for developed economies and crushing for developing ones. Not incidentally, he also describes how Congressional devotees of ACC are trying to use the power of the Federal government to silence skeptics of accepted ACC wisdom.
Several panels of eminent economists, including many Nobel laureates, studied the likely impact of ACC under the aegis of the Copenhagen Consensus. They, along with others such as energy specialist Alex Epstein (in his new book, The Earth is Not a God), have reached conclusions about ACC's economic consequences similar to those of climate scientists such as Professor Lindzen. They have also pointed out that the policies environmentalists propose would hurt people in developing economies in the short and medium term and thus stunt their long term economic growth. It's worth noting, incidentally, that the Copenhagen Consensus panels accepted the premise of ACC in reaching their conclusions.
Ironically, by hurting long term growth in developing countries, ACC proponents' policies would make it harder for the people in those countries to deal with the problems that they worry will occur. If those developing economies instead grew and developed, their people would be able to adapt to and substantially mitigate the predicted negative impacts of ACC - if any in fact materialized. Consequently, poorer countries are not concerned about addressing ACC. They recognize a greater urgency to improve the economic lot of their people today and grow their income to the levels enjoyed by developed countries and won't sacrifice these gains to address problems that might or might not occur generations from now. Nor are developing countries such as Venezuela, Nigeria, and China interested in suppressing their own oil production industries.
The ACC proponents' opposition to American oil is a fool's errand. They can't stop everyone's oil from reaching the global market, just America's, but oil is fungible, so stopping American oil only is pointless. Other countries also have large oil reserves, particularly the Venezuelans, who claim the world's largest reserves, at just under 300 billion barrels. The large majority of these are oil sands, just as carbon-intensive as Canada's, that lie in the nearly inaccessible Orinoco basin. Their production costs would be comparable to Canada's. For the time being, the country's parlous economic and political situation are preventing production. Yet even if Venezuela can overcome these problems, one must ask: Does the world really want this unstable nation and ally of Cuba and Iran to become the next Saudi Arabia? Would the world not prefer to have the U.S. and Canada be the guarantors of oil security?
Even without the Venezuelans, other producers, such as Russia, Angola, and Nigeria, will bring new reserves onto the market, albeit probably at higher prices than North American producers would demand, and probably with their own political baggage. High oil prices would be a grudgingly accepted consolation prize for environmentalists, as it might lead to more conservation. But the price difference would likely be oil in a range a range of $90-110 from higher cost sources versus of $55-90 from the Canadian oil sands and Rockies' shale. Is the limited conservation that this might induce enough to warrant preventing the U.S. from developing its huge reserves? Consider the broader context.
Imagine the geopolitical impact of bountiful and moderately priced oil coming from two stable North American democracies. The greatest impact would be on the militant Muslim petrostates, who are using their oil revenues as a weapon, exporting their extreme versions of Islam and funding terror and turmoil around the world. Even more troubling, Iran's regime is currently in the process of trying to gain control the oil reserves of the Saudis, Iraq, and the other Mideast oil producers. If it succeeds, it will be able unilaterally to threaten the non-Muslim world with oil disruptions - particularly if it obtains nuclear weapons. But with virtually unlimited, moderate cost oil from North America, the oil receipts of Iran - as well as the Saudis - will be far below their current budgetary needs. Not only will the Iranian regime have less money to fund its jihadist, expansionist plans, but the leverage it would hope to gain will virtually disappear, at least once the U.S. shale reserves are actually producing. On the other hand, not developing these reserves will be an open invitation to the ayatollahs to continue to use oil as a sword of its jihad.
Moreover, the significant fiscal pressure that Iran would face for the foreseeable future might force the regime to curtail or even drop its nuclear arms program. As a minimum, such constraints would force them to seek means other than oil exports to fund their regime and its vicious pet programs. At best, the ensuing pressure on Iran's broader economy and people could precipitate merciful regime change.
This same economic vice would grip the Saudis and other militant Islamic petrostates, as well as Russia and Venezuela. These bad actors would have to find other ways to finance their mayhem and ambitions. Better yet, they would have to abandon them, to everyone else's benefit.
Consider also what this would mean for major oil consuming nations. The Chinese regime would not have to worry about where its oil would come from, or whether disruptions in the Mideast could throttle its economic growth, leading to social unrest that might topple the regime and threaten the lives of the Party bosses. This would affect their calculations about whether they need to devote so many of the nation's scarce resources to the blue water navy that it is now rapidly building to control sea lanes and dominate offshore oil reserves. Perhaps with less uncertainty about oil, the Chinese government could be persuaded to be less expansionist and bellicose.
Meanwhile, India and the rest of the developing world would not have to worry about oil security, either, and would be able to focus their efforts and resources on other, more productive matters of economic development. Furthermore, with secure, moderate cost energy, these countries should be able to grow more quickly than with higher cost oil. Such higher growth would not only be a global good in its own right, it might enable some poor residents of an India or Tanzania, who otherwise might not survive to adulthood or receive an education, to develop technology that helps control the problems ACC might create- or demonstrate that there are no such problems in the first place.
Turning to Europe, its people would not be held in thrall by Muslim - or Russian - oil exporters. This should have a liberating effect on their governments' attitudes towards these exporters and the Mideastern immigrants that are causing such burdens on their economies and disruption in their societies. Stable, moderately priced oil would also produce much wider benefits for their economies.
Summarizing this geopolitical opportunity, America's vast oil reserves could be an important offensive economic weapon to help pacify, stabilize, and develop the world. America could free the world from the risks of oil disruptions or price gyrations, not to mention the violence funded by Muslim and Russian oil revenues, to which the ACC proponents now subject us.
In addition to all those significant benefits, one must consider the substantial economic gains the U.S. would receive. Our trade deficit would fall dramatically; every million barrels per day of oil exported would produce about $22 billion in revenue. The U.S. Treasury would receive sizable windfalls from the combination of additional royalties on the oil produced and taxes on the profits of oil producers and income of workers. Assuming an average royalty of 12.5%, reportedly the average for the last 100 years, for every additional 1 million barrels per day of production, the Treasury would receive about $2.7 billion. If the Rockies could supply the incremental growth of the world over the next decade, that would reach roughly 10 million barrels a day in production, or exports of $220 billion per year (roughly half the trade deficit in 2013 of $472 billion) and royalties of $27 billion. As the late Senator Everett Dirksen would have noted, we'd then be talking about "real money," even if the U.S. had to split the exports with Canada.
In addition to these benefits, the economy would reap many other rewards. Well paying jobs would proliferate throughout the Rockies and along the routes that oil would follow for refining and export. The benefits of these job increases would ripple throughout the economy. Stable energy prices at reasonable levels would lower risk and hence allow higher returns on capital and greater productivity gains throughout the economy. At the likely price levels, this situation might even help stimulate alternative, "clean" energy technologies by giving them a moderately high and stable price as a target. Finally, greater geopolitical stability could even lead to a peace dividend.
The U.S. thus has the opportunity to make the world safer while substantially helping its own sluggish and debt-burdened economy. Our choice is a simple but stark one: to use our energy as a weapon to defund and defang the jihad and a resurgent Russian empire while promoting global economic growth and stability; or to allow ACC proponents to perpetuate policies that endanger world peace and burden the global economy with high costs for dubious benefits. Once we decide, the next step is simple. The only thing Washington needs to do is to cut the red tape that is strangling our vast oil reserves (both Rockies shales and others on Federal land) and let private enterprise do the rest.
It's time for the American people to take a hard, clear-eyed, open-minded look at ACC worries and decide whether they really warrant leaving our oil weapon in its scabbard, despite all the good its use could do. Already, poll after poll reports that Americans are overwhelmingly concerned about economic matters, and are far more concerned about national security than they are about ACC, if they even mention anything remotely like ACC among their concerns. If Americans conclude that ACC isn't the great global threat some claim, then we should elect a government that will wield American oil for the prosperity and security of the entire world.
For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.
Preserving the graphics: Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere. But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases. After that they no longer come up. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here or here
Posted by JR at 1:39 AM