Tue, July 23

Letter: The key to prosperity in today’s world is cheap energy


In her letter (“United States should not drill its way to energy independence”, letters, 3/28/12) Julie Maloney makes several interesting statements that deserve scrutiny.

We have all heard, since the 1950s, about the carburetor that would allow a car to get anywhere from 50 to 100 miles per gallon of gas but was prevented from coming to market by our government. Ms. Maloney refers to “….many, many solutions that have been invented and prevented from widespread exposure and use.” She doesn’t explain how such a vast conspiracy could possibly be kept secret when hundreds or thousands of people would have to be involved.

Ms. Maloney also states that “We have the technology to enact solutions that will curb our oil use…” and “The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) has developed a plan to cut projected oil consumption in half by 2030…” According to her, the UCS proposes that increasing fuel economy, using clean biofuels and hybrid autos will do the trick.

Outside the UCS dream world, not one expert out of a thousand believes that oil isn’t a big part of our future – unless we destroy our economy and revert to the dark ages, of course.

Ms. Maloney believes we have no moral right to “…consume over 20 percent of the world’s petroleum….” …while holding only “2 percent of the proven oil reserves.

First, let’s look at the figures and then I’d like to discuss the “morality” of our system.

In 1944 the U.S had 2 percent of proven oil reserves, about 20 billion barrels. Since then we have produced over 170 billion barrels.

Today, the President says we still have about 2 percent of world reserves, or about 21 billion barrels. The president relies on statistics over a decade old. With new technologies for finding and extracting oil, industry analysts – experts – say we have more oil than Saudi Arabia. Of technically recoverable reserves, one U.S. agency estimates we have 219 billion barrels. Another agency says 400 billion barrels. And private industry believes the figure is closer to 1.4 trillion barrels.

With gas at $4 a gallon, Mr. Obama speaks from both sides of his mouth. To the left, he says he intends to “wean the U.S off oil.” To the rest of us he claims we are “drilling everywhere,” that he has opened up “millions of acres” to exploration and that production has increased under his administration. Really? Eighty-nine percent of federal lands are off limits to drilling. Under Clinton, drilling permits were up 58 percent (1992-2000). Under Bush, up 116 percent (2000-2008). Under Obama, down 36 percent (2008-2011). Increased production has come mainly from private lands the government doesn’t control. The administration stopped production in the Gulf, costing about 116,000 jobs, after falsifying a report that originally called for renewing production (there are currently hearings being held to determine guilt). The little increase in production has been due to Bush policies that are now coming on line.

In fact, especially with huge new discoveries of natural gas reserves and new technology to retrieve oil and gas, the United States is awash in fuel waiting to be extracted.

What about the morality question? Environmentalists tell us the world is warming and fossil fuels contribute to the condition – in fact are the prime movers – and that we will kill the planet if we don’t stop. History tells us, however, that mankind flourishes under warmer climate. In Europe, before the last mini-Ice Age that started between 1250-1300 AD and ended around the 1850s, there was abundant food and resources. Greenland was named for a reason. During the Ice Age, famine and warfare were common.

Which would we rather endure? Warmth or Cold?

Around the world there is much poverty, and poverty leads to civil unrest and war. The key to prosperity in today’s world is cheap energy. Look around. All good things come from cheap energy, from our abundant food to our luxury lifestyle (compared to third world countries). If we can produce enough cheap energy to help Third-World countries rise up out of poverty and starvation, where is the moral ambiguity in that? If, at the same time, we become less dependent on terrorist-sponsoring nations to fuel our own economy, we help strike down those who use poverty to enslave and enrage their people.

Jim Barber

Camp Verde