Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Less Expensive Oil: Boo-Hoo, Boo Hoo


Many environmentalists had assumed that if neither fear nor reason helped us to lessen our reliance on oil, then at least we could count on scarcity. But scarcity is not an economic or environmental policy. Humans have long had a habit of expecting the sky to fall. Yet from Malthus to Paul Ehrlich, predictions that the planet was on the verge of starvation have never come to pass (or at least not as broadly as expected). Nonetheless, the drop in oil prices comes at a terrible moment. Last month the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported that our only chance to halt the rising temperature of the Earth, and to prevent the calamity that rise will cause, would be to eliminate fossil-fuel emissions by the end of the century.
"Terrible moment." An article so silly it could only have been written by a believer in catastrophic global warming. What are these people, ghouls? After the worst economy since the Great Depression, millions still out of work after six years of poor job creation, and they begrudge people having extra dollars in the pockets and the hundreds of thousands of new American jobs less expensive oil will create.

"Last month the IPCC reported that our only chance..." We have been passing "last chance" tipping points since 1989 and the world hasn't come to an end in the intervening quarter-century. Quite the contrary, food production (both absolute and per-capita) sets records every year with warmer world temperatures (longer growing seasons), we have fewer tornadoes, and fewer and weaker hurricanes. 
A plan to end U.S. fossil-fuel dependence would be an unlikely goal in any case, but, if oil remains easily accessible, it becomes politically impossible. “It is technically feasible to transition to a low-carbon economy,” Youba Sokona, the co-chair of one of the I.P.C.C.’s working groups, says. “But what is lacking are appropriate policies and institutions.

Appropriate policies = legal coercion. Appropriate institutions = more money for Big Climate.

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