Wednesday, April 06, 2022

Report: Biden Desperate for Oil from Canada, Just Not Thru Keystone XL Pipeline

President Joe Biden is desperate to increase oil imports from Canada as the nation continues to struggle with high fuel prices — but is determined not to resurrect the Keystone XL pipeline, whose permit Biden canceled on his first day in office in 2021.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Biden administration is seeking to increase Canadian oil imports through rail, which is dirtier and riskier for the environment than pipelines, as Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg has admitted.

The Journal reported Monday:

Biden administration officials are seeking ways to boost oil imports from Canada, people familiar with the situation say, but with one big caveat—they don’t want to resurrect the Keystone XL pipeline that President Biden effectively killed on his first day in office.

The people said deliberations are in early stages and that no clear-cut solutions have emerged....

Canada has ample reserves under its soil to meet U.S. demand, said Kevin Birn, an analyst with S&P Global Commodity Insights. It just doesn’t have enough pipeline capacity to pump it here, he said.

The Keystone XL pipeline was first shelved by the Obama administration despite passing an environmental review. President Donald Trump revived it, allowing construction to begin and creating thousands of jobs. But President Biden canceled it, in a symbolic gesture of support for environmentalists who want to wean the U.S. economy off fossil fuels due to climate change.

The Biden administration has defended its decision on Keystone XL by claiming that it would not have been completed on time to address the present fuel crisis. It has not answered the criticism that canceling Keystone XL sent a signal to oil and gas producers about the intention of the administration to limit future exploration and development, which it then duly did.

As Breitbart News noted at the time, Biden’s decision cost thousands of existing jobs and tens of thousands of future jobs — many of which were the “good, paying, union jobs” that Biden repeatedly promises will emerge from the “green” economy.


Technology and Growth Are the Cures to Climate Doomsday

Stephen Moore

I guess you could mark me down as a “climate change skeptic.” I’m not a climate scientist, so I have no expertise on what is happening with the planet’s temperature or severe weather events that can wreak havoc on life and property.

I am skeptical that “collective action” through governmental policies will make planet Earth a more hospitable place. Is this the same government that can’t balance its budget, control its borders, stop the crime spree across America and has allowed a 10% inflation tax, among other foibles?

Now, these same politicians will, like Moses, stop the oceans from rising? Fat chance. And they accuse the United States of being religious zealots.

But I do have faith in free markets and the technological advances that for thousands of years have moved us away from the Hobbesian nightmare of humans living in dank caves with life on Earth being “nasty, brutish, and short.”

Deaths from hurricanes, landslides, tornadoes, earthquakes, droughts, floods, food and energy shortages, severe heat and cold and other disruptions from Mother Earth have fallen sharply over the past century. The property damage from acts of nature as a share of our GDP continues to drop yearly.

For example, more accurate weather reporting prepares people for deadly weather events. Building technologies make mankind smarter about weather- and earthquake-proofing homes, buildings, bridges and other structures to protect against collapse and rubble. The real “green revolution” on agriculture output has dropped rates of famine and hunger to all-time lows. My mentor, the late, great economist Julian Simon, taught us that the “ultimate resource” to save us from Armageddon is the human mind.

Hence, I was thrilled when CNN reported that scientists had invented a new technology that flies planes into clouds and injects them with silver iodide to make more rain and snow.

The technology could be a cost-effective way to alleviate severe droughts, which have afflicted the western U.S. in recent years.

If you’re a green climate change activist or scientist, you have to be thrilled, right?

It turns out the climate change industrial complex isn’t ecstatic. As CNN notes, some climate scientists complain that the technology could be “getting in the way of nature.” Read that sentence again because it is so rich with irony. Isn’t the entire climate change movement about altering Mother Nature?

This reaction also makes one wonder whether something is going on here in the climate change industrial complex beyond stopping the warming of the planet. Climate change has rapidly evolved into a multitrillion-dollar global industry.

Inexpensive and non-life-altering solutions aren’t part of the plan, just as the folks who said that we were running out of oil attacked the shale revolution, which proved them so tragically wrong.

There are thousands of other examples of new technologies beyond the rainmaking breakthroughs just mentioned. They have already invented or will invent in the years and decades ahead technologies to make our planet warmer, colder, drier, wetter, sunnier or in whatever direction we want to turn the dial. None of these require draconian laws and mandates to destroy our modern-day energy sector and replace our power supply with 19th-century windmills.

We have the supposed greatest minds in the world who have allegedly come to a solution to save the planet dramatically by hitting a “reset” button on energy by turning to some of the most inefficient sources. That’s the best they’ve got?

I was struck by this disdainful comment by UCLA climate scientist Donald Swain regarding the rainmaking machine: “Resources are much better invested in climate solutions already guaranteed to make significant and equitable impacts.”

The professor seems to be saying that it makes far more sense to eliminate 80% of the world’s cheap and abundant energy sources than to bring power to the world’s poorest regions and institute an inexpensive and promising technology that could cut the number of droughts by half or more.

It almost seems they don’t want these innovative and nonintrusive solutions to work. Free markets and technology may help save the world from doomsday, but they won’t overturn a century of progress in human welfare and won’t make the green energy lobby rich.


You’ll Miss Fossil Fuels When They’re Gone

What would a world without oil and gas look like? We’re getting a preview: surging prices for food and other everyday goods. Oil and natural gas aren’t needed to only generate energy. They’re also critical for an array of products including face masks, diapers and vegan leather.

Consider fertilizer, which is produced using hydrogen from natural gas (the molecule CH4). Natural gas accounts for about 75% to 90% of fertilizer production costs. Russia and Belarus are large producers, and uncertainty about sanctions has reduced their exports. But skyrocketing natural-gas prices in Europe have also pushed fertilizer producers such as Norway’s Yara and Hungary’s Nitrogenmuvek to curtail production. Some suspended operations last fall when Russia slowed natural-gas deliveries.

As a result, fertilizer prices last month hit a record. Many farmers are scaling back land in cultivation. Some say they plan to use less fertilizer, which could reduce crop yields. Others are switching from planting corn and wheat to soybeans, which require less fertilizer.

The fertilizer shortage couldn’t have come at a worse time. The war is disrupting grain shipments from Russia and Ukraine, which account for a quarter of global wheat exports. Wheat prices last month hit a record. While Americans will have to pay more for cereal and pasta, Africans could experience severe food shortages.

At the same time, food manufacturers report that the cost of plastics for containers and packaging is soaring. Plastics are made from oil and natural gas, which are in short supply globally.

Hydrocarbons known as natural-gas liquids are used as feedstock for petrochemical plants. Ethane (C2H6) is isolated from natural gas and then processed into ethylene, which is converted through a chain of chemical reactions into polyethylene—the most common plastic in use today, found in shopping bags, water bottles, catheters and even bulletproof vests.

U.S. shale fracking produced a gusher of natural-gas liquids including ethane. As a result the cost of plastic feedstock plunged and petrochemical investment exploded. Ethane prices today are about half of what they were in 2011, though they crept up this past year as demand increased. In 2018 the American Chemistry Council estimated that 333 chemical-industry projects valued at more than $200 billion had been announced since 2010.

With so much gas from shale fields, the U.S. in 2015 became the world’s top exporter of ethane, surpassing Norway. Ethane exports have increased to 508,000 barrels a day from nothing in 2013 and have become a major feedstock for petrochemical plants in Canada, China, Europe and India.

One little-appreciated fact is that some cheap plastic products imported from China are made from ethane fracked in the U.S. Overseas petrochemical plants also use the petroleum-based hydrocarbon naphtha as a feedstock. Russia is a major exporter of naphtha, but fracking has made low-cost American ethane more globally competitive.

Another common byproduct of natural-gas processing and oil refining is polypropylene. There’s a good chance you’re wearing something with polypropylene. It’s in iPhone cases, fitness apparel and female sanitary products. Early in the pandemic, Exxon Mobil tapped its petrochemical supply chain to ramp up polypropylene production for face masks.

Polypropylene is also often used in appliances, medical sutures, food containers, furniture and plastic drinking straws. Progressives in places like Seattle and San Francisco have banned single-serve plastic straws. Yet they mandated face masks, which are made from the same raw material. Surgical masks are now among the most common kinds of litter in California, especially near schools.

The inconvenient truth for progressives is that petrochemicals are ubiquitous and indispensable. Replacing oil and gas as an energy source poses enormous technological challenges. Replacing them as a product feedstock would be next to impossible. As much as progressives loathe fossil fuels, they can’t live without them. Drive an electric car or ride a bike? Streets are paved with asphalt, which is made from petroleum bitumen. The cost of asphalt, by the way, is also soaring in tandem with oil prices.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has highlighted how even a modest decline in the supply of oil and gas can send prices for energy and raw materials soaring. Government policies that restrict oil and gas production won’t only increase energy prices. They will raise prices and lead to shortages across the economy. Welcome to the wonderful world without oil and gas.


Greens have blocked the building of badly needed dams in Australia

While it was very pleasing to this old water conservation enthusiast to hear PM Morrison announce a 5.4 billion funding for the Hells Gate Dam in Queensland, I believe it is important we put this announcement in an historical context and understand where it fits in relation to overcoming our now urgent water shortages. Yes, I know there are floods across Australia and many of our dams are spilling, but this old Bushy also knows that we have had eleven years of above-average rainfall and the next inevitable drought cannot be far away and when it does things will be different.

Therefore, it is important to note that this announcement by the PM comes 46 years after the last major dam announcement, which was Wivenhoe Dam in Queensland, commenced in 1975. During the intervening period our population has grown by eleven million people. Those eleven million people require one million three hundred thousand megalitres of water each year just for municipal use, so it is not difficult to see that despite present flooding we will be in huge trouble come the next inevitable drought. It is also important to highlight that total dam capacity is not as important as annual dam yield. That is the average water that can be released from the dam while maintaining storage capacity for future dryer years. While this yield will vary from dam to dam, and from year to year, it is reasonable to suggest that in most years it would not be above 40 per cent of total capacity. So just to supply the municipal needs of our increased population since the building of Wivenhoe we would need to have a dam or dams with total capacity of over five million megalitres, plus our increasing agricultural needs.

Obviously, these dams have not been built and just to add to our water plight, over two million, four hundred thousand megalitres of our stored water has been given to the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder, who is flushing this valuable resource to the sea. Again, I know we are presently awash with water, but a couple of years into the next drought many areas of southern Australia will be out of water; including Sydney and likely, Snowy Hydro. Why? Because we stopped building dams over forty years ago and our need for water has not stopped growing. Our forebears knew what to do but it seems we lost both plans for our future and interest in our future.




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