April 2008

Let Them Eat Ethanol

by William Yeatman on April 28, 2008

in Blog

They don't have enough to eat. Five people are dead in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, after a week of food riots. Unions in Burkina Faso have called a general strike to protest the high cost of grain.

Last week, Time magazine featured on its cover the iconic photograph of the U.S. Marine Corps raising the flag on Iwo Jima. But with one difference: The flag has been replaced by a tree.

At one point, expanding biofuels made sense for America's energy security. But the recent surge in food prices has forced us to adapt. The global demand for energy and food is expected to rise about 50% in the next 20 years, and the U.S. is well-positioned to be a leader in both areas.

That will require a careful, finely tuned approach to America's farm products.

By freezing the biofuel mandate at current levels, we will go a long way to achieving that goal.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tyfd6IHCCPM 285 234]

Pelosi Premium Pain

by William Yeatman on April 28, 2008

in Blog

House Republicans sent out an e-mail to celebrate the second anniversary of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D., Calif.) promise that she had a “common-sense plan” to reduce gasoline prices — details of which she has yet to reveal. Their release included the gory details on how today's fossil-fuel prices compare to those of two years ago: a barrel of crude oil up to $117 from $64; heating oil at $3.31 per gallon, up from $2.71; gasoline up to $3.56 a gallon from $2.96 (remember when we used to complain about gas flirting with the $3 mark?); and diesel fuel up to $4.14 from $2.87 per gallon.

Record high gasoline prices have created an interesting situation on Capitol Hill. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) has complained that the Democrats promised to do something about high gas prices in the 2006 elections, but that since winning majorities in the House and Senate they have done nothing except watch prices skyrocket.  Many Representatives and Senators have tried to put the blame on oil companies.  A bill to raise taxes on just the "big 5" oil companies passed the House last year.

Now, several Democratic Senators are threatening to block armaments sales to Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries unless they agree to increase their production of crude oil.  Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) have sent a letter to President Bush demanding that he use the threat of suspending arms sales to pressure Saudi Arabia to pump more oil.

The interesting thing about this is that all these Senators have opposed legislation that would increase U. S. oil production by opening federal offshore areas and the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to exploration.  They also all support cap-and-trade legislation on greenhouse gas emissions that would increase gas (and electricity) prices for decades to come.

This hypocrisy is beginning to be noticed by the press.  On Wednesday, Environment and Energy Daily (a sister publication of Greenwire) ran a story by Ben Geman that asks, "Should lawmakers pushing global warming legislation want high gas prices?”  Geman goes on to point out that the chief sponsor of legislation to suspend the 18.4 cents per gallon federal excise tax on gasoline is also the Senate’s chief promoter of cap-and-trade legislation—Senator John McCain (R-Az.).  Co-sponsors of McCain’s gas tax suspension bill include the chief sponsors of the cap-and-trade bill that is tentatively scheduled to be debated on the Senate floor in June, Senators Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John Warner (R-Va.)

Blowing Hot and Cold

by William Yeatman on April 28, 2008

Claims that global warming causes extreme cold weather are popping up once again.  The British Telegraph reports that, due to greenhouse emissions, we’ll have a wetter Arctic that will produce colder winters.  And in Peru climate change is being blamed for deadly cold temperatures.

The alarmists love these claims, because it makes their predictions even more unverifiable.

But consider what Al Gore said in his film:   “[T]here is one relationship that is more powerful than all the others and it is this. When there is more carbon dioxide, the temperature gets warmer, because it traps more heat from the sun.” 

Suppose Gore had said this instead:  “When there is more carbon dioxide, the temperature gets warmer … or it gets colder.”

Would Gore have been laughed off the world’s stage, or would he have been hailed as an even greater prophet?



The usual chorus of environmentalists and editorial writers has chimed in to attack President Bush's recent speech on climate change. In his address of April 23, he put forth a goal of stopping the growth of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2025.

The campaign against climate change could be set back by the global food crisis, as foreign populations turn against measures to use foodstuffs as substitutes for fossil fuels.

Global Warming Holiday

by William Yeatman on April 28, 2008

in Blog

Polls are cruel. Voters consistently say they want to stop global warming. They also say consistently that energy prices, especially for gasoline, are too high. So what are politicians supposed to do?