Post image for HuffPo Pessimism on Obama’s Energy Targets

At The Huffington Post, Jeffrey Rubin writes: “Only a Recession Can Deliver Obama’s Energy Targets.”

Unfortunately, we have heard this song many times before. In 1973, President Richard Nixon unveiled “Project Independence” in response to the OPEC oil embargo that was triggered by the Arab-Israeli war. President Jimmy Carter called the need to lessen U.S. dependence on Middle Eastern oil the moral equivalent of war in response to the supply disruptions that followed the Iranian Revolution. President George Bush Jr. referred to America’s dependence on foreign oil as nothing short of an addiction.

Over the past four decades, U.S. presidents have waxed eloquent about the need to reduce the country’s dependence on imported oil. Yet the U.S. economy still relies on imports for more than 50% of the 19 million barrels of oil burned every day. As a result, the U.S. remains as vulnerable to soaring oil prices as it was during the OPEC shocks in the 1970s.

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Richard Morrison, William Yeatman and Ryan Young join forces to bring you Episode 74 of the LibertyWeek podcast. We talk about the COP-15 post-game and China’s changing reputation with the climate change crowd starting around (7:00).

An historic agreement has apparently been reached at COP-15 in Hopenchangen.  Having read the draft text, it appears to be nearly as historic as some of the earlier historic agreements achieved after heroic efforts at the last several COPS.  It seems that President Barack Obama has made almost as much progress by attending the COP as President George W. Bush made at earlier COPs without attending.  The world will now congratulate and thank President Obama for pulling the world back from the brink just as they expressed their gratitude to President Bush.

Of course, as President Obama said at his press conference, it’s going to take a lot more work and–surprise–many more meetings.  Here’s what the President said: “We hope [these decisions] will bring about a result which, if not what we expected from this meeting, may still be a way of salvaging something and paving the way to another meeting next year.”

Hopenchangen has thus guaranteed the future of future meetings!  If the UNFCCC wants to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions, I hope they will consider teleconferencing.  If they don’t, then they are soon going to run out of glamorous cities and resorts in which to meet.  They’ll have to start revisiting the locations of past COPs.

There was one little ray of hope in President Obama’s remarks at his press conference.  In thanking India for their role in the negotiations, the President observed that hundreds of millions of Indians don’t have more electricity and that he understood that they need more energy, not less, in order to reach decent standards of living.  Yes, the world is not energy rich.  It’s energy poor.  That is a much bigger challenge than global warming, and focusing on global warming obstructs progress on increasing access to energy.

My colleague at CEI, Iain Murray, just sent around a column by the well-known environmental and science writer Fred Pearce.  It appeared yesterday at Yale Environment 360 and is titled “Climategate: Anatomy of a Public Relations Disaster.”  The whole article is worth reading, but the last two paragraphs say it all.  Any comment by me would be superfluous:

“I have been speaking to a PR operator for one of the world’s leading environmental organizations. Most unusually, he didn’t want to be quoted. But his message is clear. The facts of the e-mails barely matter any more. It has always been hard to persuade the public that invisible gases could somehow warm the planet, and that they had to make sacrifices to prevent that from happening. It seemed, on the verge of Copenhagen, as if that might be about to be achieved.

“But he says all that ended on Nov. 20. ‘The e-mails represented a seminal moment in the climate debate of the last five years, and it was a moment that broke decisively against us. I think the CRU leak is nothing less than catastrophic.’”

Your host Richard Morrison teams up with collaborators Jeremy Lott and William Yeatman to bring you Episode 72 of the LibertyWeek podcast. We begin with UN climate hypocrisy in Copenhagen, presidential arm-twisting on health care and a cloudy look at government transparency. We conclude with the end of the tobacco road in Virginia and scandal of banking and nepotism in Venezuela.