Bad climate policies are riskier than fossil fuels, authors argue

Misguided government climate policies that demonize fossil fuels potentially could stifle significant economic growth and improved North American energy security, two speakers warned at the Heritage Foundation.

Technology that has unlocked previously inaccessible oil and gas resources “was an achievement of risk-taking energy entrepreneurs who created a market-based revolution without government help that is still going on,” said Kathleen Hartnett White, who directs the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Armstrong Center for Energy & the Environment and previously chaired the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

“At the same time, a global crowd is determined to eliminate fossil fuels in the name of stopping global warming,” White said. “They’ve tragically done well so far on coal, and have set their sights on natural gas.”

Such efforts dismiss fossil fuels’ sizable economic contributions in making the world more livable, noted the second speaker, Heritage Found Chief Economist and former Wall Street Journal economics writer Stephen Moore. “Overnight, one technology doubled or tripled the amount of oil and gas this country has,” he said. “With the right policies, the US could become the 21st Century Saudi Arabia of energy.”

The pair spoke at an event launching their new book, “Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy.” It argues that fossil fuels—far from being a curse—are actually the modern world’s life blood.

White said the Obama administration has pushed the US Environmental Protection Agency to exceed its authority and develop policies that actually are designed to reduce energy use from fossil fuels.

“EPA’s rogue qualities these days are appalling,” White stated. “It’s been 9 years since it found that carbon dioxide poses a danger. If anyone made that decision, it should have been Congress. CO2 is not a pollutant. It’s a gas of life that’s literally in our blood. Many people who have open minds still are unaware of the risks these climate policies pose.”

Renewable technologies that are supposed to replace fossil fuels have been assigned a job that they can’t complete, White said. Optimistic studies suggesting that this could be readily achieved omit significant infrastructure replacement costs, she said.

Moore added, “The law says environmental standards have to be commercially achievable. Obama’s Clean Power Plan seems to be designed more to discourage fossil fuels’ use. We produce more goods with less energy now. It’s a natural process that has nothing to do with the government and everything to do with markets.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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