Did The GOP Congress Change Energy Policy?

Last year, when Republicans gained a decisive edge in both houses of Congress, I made predictions as to the six energy-policy changes we could expect. Here’s where American energy policy stands today.

Keystone Pipeline

As predicted, the GOP got right to work backing the Keystone pipeline. With strong bipartisan support, on February 11, Congress passed the bill approving construction. Though many Democrats crossed the aisle and voted with the Republicans, it fell a handful of votes short of making it veto-proof. As expected, two weeks later, President Obama vetoed the bill. Late night arm twisting failed to bring the needed Democrats on board for the March 4 veto-override vote.

Oil Exports

A bill to lift the decades-old oil export ban was introduced in February and gained momentum throughout the year. On September 17, the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted to send the legislation to the full House for final passage—which took place on October 9.

The White House threatened a veto.

The Senate didn’t take up the bill. Lifting the ban, however, was included in the omnibus-spending package that Obama quickly signed on December 18.

With the ban now officially overturned, the first shipment of U.S. crude will be heading overseas in a matter of days—to Switzerland.

Climate Change

Days before the U.N. conference on climate change took place in Paris, the Senate held a hearing and passed resolutions designed to let the world know that Obama did not have the support of the U.S. Senate—which would be needed for any legally binding treaty. The New York Times reported: “proponents believe their defiance will have diplomatic repercussions.”

It is believed that the Republican drumbeat prompted the European Union to back off of its insistence that any carbon goals in the final agreement need to be legally binding. The agreement that was ultimately reached in Paris is, according to the New York Times, “essentially voluntary.”

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

In the December 18 spending bill, the EPA didn’t get a budget increase while many other departments did. It is considered a “loser.” Funding levels for the EPA in 2016 are at a level lower than 2010, but on par with 2015.

Additionally, the agency has received several smack downs in 2015 from federal courts—including putting its onerous Waters of the U.S. Rule on hold. Obama’s Clean Power Plan, the focus of the Senate’s resolutions, is facing numerous lawsuits and may also be awarded a stay. This is surely an issue to watch in 2016.

The Endangered Species Act (ESA)

One of the big concerns for anyone in the West who earns a living from the land—ranching, farming, mining and mineral extraction—has been the potential listing of the greater sage grouse as an endangered species. While it did not get listed, and the omnibus deal blocks the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service from putting it on the Endangered Species list, the Bureau of Land Management has enacted land use plans that will likely have many of the same effects of listing under the Act. It is time for ESA reform.

Federal Lands

This final issue saw little action in 2015; but with the anti-fossil fuel movement’s aggressive plans to keep resources in the ground, especially on federal lands, this one is ripe for attention.

For 2016, Congress will need to stay on top of Obama’s rules, regulations, and executive orders aimed at burnishing his legacy on climate change. It should also rein in the EPA, reform the ESA, and work to reduce the amount of land owned by the federal government.

 

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). She hosts a weekly radio program: America’s Voice for Energy—which expands on the content of her weekly column. Follow her @EnergyRabbit.

Apparently Americans Cause Climate Change And The Result…Terrorism

Radical progressives have come up with a new theory on the cause of global terrorism…climate change. You heard me correctly: climate change causes global terrorism.

International leaders, the Pope, the United States Chief Executive and other lawmaking members of Congress are taking this issue very seriously and are wasting no time. These oracles are empirically certain that Americans (the world’s alleged second largest climate polluter) are causing terrorism–but aren’t able to determine if the world is warming or cooling, hence the dumbed down “common core” term of “climate change”.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon told CBC News, “When we do not address climate change properly it may also affect many people who are frustrated and who are impacted, then there is some possibility that these young people who [are] jobless and frustrated may join these foreign terrorist fighters.”

“You can make a very reasonable argument that climate change is not that indirectly related to terrorism,” scientist Bill Nye said. “This is just the start of things. The more we let [climate change] go on, the more trouble there’s going to be.”

Obama told “CBS This Morning” in an interview earlier this month: “What we know is that — as human beings are placed under strain (from the changes in the climate), then bad things happen.  And, you know, if you look at world history, whenever people are desperate, when people start lacking food, when people — are not able to make a living or take care of their families — that’s when ideologies arise that are dangerous.”

I think most Americans believe the ideology of Jihadists who have declared war against America, her Constitution, and her people are the real danger. Unlike the warming of the globe, this is a tangible threat. I am so disheartened to say that President Obama and countless other oath breakers are blaming you the American for the global calamities, the existence of the Jihadist, and the terror war.  

It is rumored that when George Washington was sworn into office, he reverently placed his hand on the Holy Bible while it was opened to Deuteronomy 28. This would be very fitting because as a church elder, Washington would have been very familiar with this chapter’s declaration of blessings to a nation that obeys and honors the one true God while affirming to an unlawful, disobedient people: “thou shalt not prosper in thy ways; and thou shalt be only oppressed and spoiled evermore, and no man shall save thee…and thou shalt become an astonishment a proverb, and a byword, among all nations…”  

As a Christian minister, I appeal to everyone reading: cast off your confidence in man and a political system; turn your mind, soul, and body to your Creator, who gave you life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. Then with His grace, vote, act, and live according to the mandates of our blessed religion that have, and will, preserve our liberty and prosperity in America.

 

Learn more about your Constitution with Jake MacAulay and the Institute on the Constitution and receive your free gift.

With The Paris Climate Conference Complete, What Comes Next?

Recently, the Sierra Club announced their next effort: “to prevent the extraction of fossil fuels right from the start”—a campaign known as “Keep it in the ground.” The plan is to “shut down coal mines, and crack down on hydraulic fracturing, along with stopping the transportation of fossil fuels in oil trains, pipelines and coal export terminals.”

This should sound ludicrous to anyone who understands energy or follows the topic, but activists are buoyed by several recent victories. A post on Greenpeace.org states: “Remember when we told you that the movement to keep fossil fuels in the ground was gaining momentum? We weren’t making that up.” The author then goes on to list the “much-discussed” successes—including rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline.

She then touts something that slipped under the radar for even the most ardent news watcher: on December 7, the Bureau of Land Management “announced a last minute delay to a fossil fuel lease sale”—which the post claims is due to “grassroots opposition.”

The antis have gained momentum. Last month, 2016 presidential contender Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and colleague Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced the “keep it in the ground bill.” While the bill is “certain to languish in the Republican controlled Congress,” they hope by getting it on “lawmakers’ radar,” they can “kick off a grassroots movement that will eventually force lawmakers to block new drilling and mining on public land.”

Then, just days after the Sanders/Merkley bill was introduced, President Obama intoned the movement’s message in his speech announcing the rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline: “we’re going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them.” Activists believe that by keeping “the pressure on,” “the grass roots movement can push him in the right direction.”

The fight, however, goes much further than federal lands: “it stretches into local fights, over small drilling wells, coal mines and infrastructure.” As they learned from the Keystone fight, “opening multiple fronts” is important.

So, now you know what comes next. If you are in the energy industry—or are in a city, county, or state where it prospers—like low gasoline prices, or don’t want your taxes raised, “keep it in the ground” should scare you into action.

Here’s what’s happened in many states just as a result of low oil prices—not as a result of keeping it in the ground, which would have a much greater impact. And this quick review doesn’t include the devastation wrought on Appalachian Mountain residents as a result of Obama’s war on coal. For example, states such as New Mexico, Louisiana, North Dakota, Wyoming, and Oklahoma are facing budget shortfalls ranging from $30 million to $1 billion. In Alaska, due to a multibillion-dollar budget deficit, the governor has proposed the first income tax in 35 years.

These budget shortfalls impact everyone.

In these states, services people depend on from state government are paid for by taxes; and one of the largest and most reliable tax sources is the oil-and-gas sector. The services include state police, the public schools and colleges, health services, highways, and more.

Additionally, the federal government receives more than $10 billion annually from oil-and-gas revenues.

If the “keep it in the ground” movement is successful, government services must be cut, taxes on everything must go up, and electricity rates will “necessarily skyrocket.”

So, now that you understand the costs will result in a destruction of our economic system and standard of living, will you engage in halting the movement? Without the participation of Americans, they will roll on to more “victories.”

 

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). She hosts a weekly radio program: America’s Voice for Energy—which expands on the content of her weekly column. Follow her @EnergyRabbit.

Reprieve! Binding Paris Treaty Now Voluntary Mush

Paris climate talks this past week descended into madcap all-night negotiations, as delegates desperately tried to salvage some kind of agreement beyond empty promises to do something sometime about what President Obama insists is the gravest threat to our planet, national security and future generations.

He gets far more energized about slashing energy use than about Islamist terrorism, even after the Paris and San Bernardino butchery. Determined for once to lead from upfront, he took a 500-person greenhouse gas-spewing entourage to the City of Light, to call for preventing increasing droughts, floods, storms, island-swallowing rising acidic ocean levels and other disasters conjured up by alarmist computer models.

Legally binding carbon dioxide emission targets were too contentious to pursue. So was modifying the concept of “differentiated responsibilities.” It holds that countries that historically caused the recent atmospheric carbon dioxide build-up must lead in cutting their emissions, while helping developing countries eventually do likewise, by pouring trillions of dollars in cash and free technology into the Green Climate Fund for supposed climate change adaptation, mitigation and compensation. Developing countries had insisted on that massive wealth redistribution as their price for signing any binding document.

Although China now emits far more CO2 and other greenhouse gases (GHG) than the USA or EU, it refused to fast-track reducing those emissions. China and wealthy petro-states also opposed paying into the Climate Fund. Other major bones of contention were likewise never resolved.

Thus, in the end, what we apparently got out of Paris is voluntary emission caps, voluntary progress reviews, no international oversight of any voluntary progress, and voluntary contributions to the Fund.

Of course, the entire climate cataclysm mantra is based on the claim that carbon dioxide has replaced the solar and other powerful natural forces that have driven climate change throughout Earth and human history. Now, merely tweaking CO2 emissions will supposedly stabilize climate and weather systems.

President Obama fervently believes this delusion. He will likely use the voluntary Paris gobbledygook to say America somehow has a “moral obligation” to set an example, by de-carbonizing, de-industrializing and de-developing the United States. Thankfully, Congress and the states will have something to say about that, because they know these anti-fossil fuel programs will destroy jobs and living standards, especially for poor, working class and minority families.

The impacts would be far worse than many news stories and White House press releases suggest. Those sources often say the proposed climate treaty and other actions seek GHG reductions of 80% below predicted 2050 emission levels. The real original Paris treaty target is 80% below actual 1990 levels.

That means the world would have to eliminate 96% of the greenhouse gases that all humanity would likely release if we reach world population levels, economic growth and living standards predicted for 2050. The United States would likely have to slash its CO2 and GHG reductions to zero.

Moreover, current 2050 forecasts already assume and incorporate significant energy efficiency, de-carbonization and de-industrialization over the next 35 years. They are not business-as-usual numbers or extrapolations of past trends. Further CO2 reductions beyond those already incorporated into the forecasts would thus be increasingly difficult, expensive, and indeed impossible to achieve.

As we explain in a MasterResource.org analysis, there is a strong positive relationship between GDP and carbon-based energy consumption. Slashing fossil energy use that far would thus require decimating economic growth, job creation and preservation, and average per-person incomes. In fact, average world per capita GDP would plummet from a projected $30,600 in 2050 to a miserable $1,200 per year.

Average per capita GDP in 2050 would be less than what Americans had in 1830! Many futuristic technologies would still exist, but only wealthy families and ruling elites could afford them.

That would be catastrophic for jobs, health and welfare in developed countries – and lethal to millions in poor nations, who would be denied the blessings of electricity and fossil fuels for decades to come. That is indefensible, inhumane and immoral. And for what?

Mr. Obama and the alarmists in Paris insisted that drastic GHG reductions will hold global temperature increases to 2 degrees Celsius (3.5 F) and prevent climate and weather disasters. Now, some even claim that the upper safety limit is actually 1.5 degrees C (2.7 F), which would require even more draconian energy and emission cutbacks. Otherwise, Earth could become uninhabitable, they assert. Nonsense.

The EPA’s own analyses suggest that its fully implemented Clean Power Plan would bring an undetectable, irrelevant reduction of perhaps 0.02 degrees Celsius (0.05 F) in average global temperatures 85 years from now – assuming carbon dioxide actually does drive climate change.

In the Real World, climate changes regularly, and recent climate and weather trends and events are in line with historic experience. In fact, average global temperatures haven’t risen in nearly two decades; no category 3-5 hurricane has struck the USA in a record ten years; Greenland and Antarctic ice are at record levels; and still firmly alkaline sea levels (8.1 pH) are rising at barely seven inches per century.

Many scientists believe the sun and other powerful natural forces may soon usher in a new era of colder temperatures, regardless of whether atmospheric CO2 rises above 0.40% (400 ppm). That would pose much greater threats to human health, agriculture and prosperity (and wildlife) than global warming.

We must never forget: Fossil fuels facilitated successive industrial revolutions and enabled billions to live better than royalty did a century ago, helped average incomes to increase eleven-fold, and helped average global life expectancy to soar from less than 30 in 1870 to 71 today.

Carbon-based energy still provides 81% of world energy, and supports $70 trillion per year in world GDP. It will supply 75-80% of global energy for decades to come, Energy Information Administration, International Energy Agency and other studies forecast. Carbon-based energy is essential if we are to bring electricity to the 1.3 billion people who still do not have it, and end the rampant poverty and lung, intestinal and other diseases that kill millions of people in poor countries every year.

Furthermore, thousands of coal-fired power plants are built, under construction or in planning around the world. China and India will not consider reducing GHG emissions until 2030, and even then it will be voluntary and dependent on how their economies are doing. That means atmospheric carbon dioxide levels will continue to climb, greening the planet and spurring faster crop, forest and grassland growth.

President Obama and the 40,000 climate alarmists gathered in Paris largely ignored these inconvenient realities, and whitewashed the adverse consequences of anti-hydrocarbon policies. Even binding targets would have had minimal or illusory health, climate and environmental benefits.

Instead, they would have horrendous adverse effects on human health and environmental quality, while doing nothing to prevent climate change or extreme weather events. What alarmists wanted in Paris would have let unelected, unaccountable activists and bureaucrats decide which industries, companies, workers, families, states and countries win the Climate Hustle game, and which ones lose.

And it’s not just President Obama, who wants to slash America’s carbon dioxide emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025 – and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050! Every Democrat presidential candidate demands similar actions: Hillary Clinton wants one-third of all US electricity to come from wind and solar by 2027; Bernie Sanders wants 80% by 2050; Martin O’Malley wants 100% by 2050.

Obligating the United States to slash its fossil fuel use, and send billions of taxpayer dollars annually to dictators, bureaucrats and crony industrialists in poor countries would be disastrous. Thank goodness it did not happen. But we are not out of the woods yet.

Dr. Roger Bezdek is an internationally recognized energy analyst and president of Management Information Services, Inc., in Washington, DC. Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death.

Watch John Kerry Make Stunning Admission At Climate Change Conference

Video Transcript:

At the climate conference in Paris, John Kerry said emissions cuts by the U.S. would do nothing to the global climate.

The fact is that even if every single American citizen biked to work, carpooled to school, used only solar panels to power their homes, if we each planted a dozen trees, if we somehow eliminated all of our domestic greenhouse gas emissions, guess what – that still wouldn’t be enough to offset the carbon pollution coming from the rest of the world.

All nations would need to be united together for it to be effective, according to Kerry.

If all the industrial nations wend down to zero emissions – remember what I just said, all the industrial emissions went down to zero emissions – it wouldn’t be enough, not when more than 65 percent of the world’s carbon pollution comes from the developing world. It’s just plain physically impossible to do so.

Is it realistic to think all nations can unite? What would the economic impact be of this initiative? Share and comment below.